Serving French cuisine in an elegant setting, the Maisonette is the pinnacle of upscale restaurants in Cincy. Donald Trump first started making his big deals here, the only five-star restaurant in Ohio. A fantastic menu is complemented by a stylish environment, the perfect combination to impress your date. But because the menu is so expensive, the Maisonette definitely is not a first- or second-date restaurant. It was awarded Mobil's Five-Stars for an unprecedented 36 consecutive years, the only restaurant to have achieved this honor. Reservations, and tie and jacket, are required. 114 East Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/721-2260; also check it out at www.maisonette.com.
The name says it all. This restaurant, located in the Cincinnatian Hotel, has been compared to Maisonette by several customers. The menu is diversified and offers some great seafood choices. It's not overly pricey, but your date will still be impressed with your taste and the live entertainment. And, if you've really impressed her, the Cincinnatian's rooms are right upstairs! 601 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/381-3000.
La Normandie Taverne & Chop House
A downtown tradition for almost 70 years. Check out the specialties like dry-aged steaks, fresh fish and rack of lamb. Stop in for a downtown happy hour. 118 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/721-2761.
While the view overlooking the river and the city will impress you, the food at Primavista will win you over. With great chicken and pasta dishes on the menu, the choices are diverse enough to please almost anyone, even a picky date. Call for directions, though, as Primavista is tough to find. Queens Tower, 810 Matson Place, Cincinnati, OH, 45204; 513/251-6467.
Scalea's Ristorante & Italian Market
Authentic fine dining Italian Ristorante, Scalea's is one of the newer restaurants located in a trendy part of town. The extensive all-Italian wine list is impressive; garden private dining areas available. Attached to Scalea's, a gourmet Italian market/bakery and located in Covington's Historic Riverside District, Scalea's was established in 1925. 320 Greenup St., Covington, KY, 41011; 859/491-3334.
Dee Felice Café
The perfect place to enjoy some satisfying Cajun or Italian food while listening to some funky live jazz. The menu could be more complete, but the food is still great. Come across the river on a Wednesday night to taste a phenomenal steak while listening to some local jazz bands crank out great music. 529 Main St. Covington, KY, 41011; 606/261-2365.
Classic American entrees offering fresh seafood and aged beef. Nice view of downtown Cincinnati across the river. 405 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY, 41071; 859/261-0300.
With over 70 area locations, pick a corner and you'll probably find a Skyline. New Orleans has its gumbo, Chicago its deep-dish pizza, Cincinnati has Skyline Chili. A unique style of chili, served over spaghetti, and topped with a mountain of grated cheddar cheese. A hearty dose of hot sauce on top rounds it out. Known for their cheese coneys too.
Montgomery Inn Boathouse
A Cincinnati landmark restaurant set on the Ohio River. This place is all about the ribs, arguably some of the best anywhere. Bob Hope is said to be a regular mail-order customer of Montgomery Inn's ribs. The meat literally falls off the bone ( which, in Bob's case, is a good thingwith no teeth and all). 925 Eastern Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/721-7427..
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Good food and fresh beers brewed on site, Rock Bottom offers a lively, casual atmosphere. Set in the heart of downtown at Fountain Square, it's a convenient stop for the downtown happy hour crowd. One Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/621-1588.
Redfish Looziana Roadhouse & Seafood Kitchen
Decorated in authentic Cajun style, this downtown hot spot features Creole cuisine and fresh daily seafood, served up with live blues and jazz. 700 Race St, Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/929-4700.
Arnold's Bar & Grill
A laid-back bar that also serves some great Italian food if you're in the mood, Arnold's has that corner bar feeling. You'll love the live jazz and blues and she'll love the outdoor patio out back. Because of its relaxing atmosphere, Arnold's is a great place to take a date. 210 E. 8th St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/421-6234.
Neighborhood restaurant/bar in trendy Hyde Park. The bar area is pretty small and can get a little tight. Good meeting spot/warm up spot before a night out. The talent level can be pretty impressive at times. Nice, comfortable patio out back with outdoor dining for a more intimate date setting. 3516 Edwards Rd. Cincinnati,OH ; 513/871-5543.
If you're looking for some of the best pizza in town, check out Cassano's. It may not look like much, but this is the place to be for those late-night munchie attacks. 8227 Daly Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45231; 513/522-2263.
For your pizza fix, Dewey's may give Cassano's (see above) a run for its money. Dewey's has some of the more imaginative pizza names ("Edgar Alan Poe pizza") and a great salad selection too. Grab a cold one here while you and your buddies chow down on some great grub. 3014 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45209; 513/731-7755.
The owner, Vincenzo Mazzocca, has managed to transform an old gas station/diner into one of the Italian hot spots in Cincy. Great, authentic Italian food is complemented by a laid-back atmosphere and the infamous beer can airplanes hanging from the ceiling. But don't let the casual environment fool you - this is some serious Italian food. 11085 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH, 45246; 513/771-0022.
This moderately priced restaurant is located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel and, considering the fantastic menu and affordable prices, is a good place to grab some dinner on the go as it's never really crowded. Combined with the live entertainment, Cafe Cin/Cin offers a decent date setting. 25 W. Fifth St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/621-1973.
Behle Street Cafe
Quality casual dining, Behle's is a popular spot among young Cincy professionals. Featuring special fat free pastas, Caesar and Greek salads, it's open from 11:00 am to 1:00 am, serving food until midnight. 50 E Rivercenter Blvd., Covington, KY, 41011; 859/291-4100.
Barleycorn's Yacht Club
The friendliest and most affordable riverboat dining in town. Features homemade soup, Texas-style chili, potato skins, giant hot sandwiches, seafood favorites and a giant screen TV. Spectacular view of the riverfront. 201 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY, 41071; 859/292-2978.
Sloppy Joe's Spectacular view of downtown and the river from two different restaurants. American menu includes steaks, chops and fresh seafood, and sandwiches, pizzas and pastas and an outstanding raw bar. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY, 41071; 859/581-2800.
The Precinct Inc. Set in an old police station, thus the name. Once a favorite among some of the local sports celebs. For years, considered by many as the best steaks in town. 311 Delta Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45226; 513/321-5454.
1940's Art Deco, grand steakhouse, New York all the way. Across from the Aronoff Center for Performing Arts (the premier theatre in town). Jeff Ruby's is the only steakhouse in town that dry-ages its beef on premises and it also offers Cincinnati's largest wine list. One of the newest, hottest restaurants in town. 700 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/784-1200.
Morton's of Chicago
Specializes in prime, aged steaks and whole Maine lobsters. Named best steakhouse in America by People Magazine. 28 W. 4th St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202; 513/241-4104.