November 22, 2019

25 Iconic Cincinnati Restaurants to Take an Out-of-Towner

From classic staples like Skyline and LaRosa's to new favorites such as Sotto and Pho Lang Thang, the Queen City has many unique dining options to delight outsiders. If you have guests visiting, you can start off the day with Holtman's donuts, wispy thin pancakes from Sugar n' Spice or a traditional breakfast from Sleepy Bee. Later, either make the obligatory chili run to Camp Washington Chili or grab some tacos at Bakersfield or Gomez. The Cincy-exclusive possibilities are endless.
Scroll down to view images

Join the CityBeat Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future. Support our coverage with a one-time or monthly donation.


No. 5 Breakfast: Sugar n’ Spice Restaurant
4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

No. 5 Breakfast: Sugar n’ Spice Restaurant

4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Sugar n’ Spice
4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills
For over 75 years, this family-friendly Paddock Hills diner has been serving up “Wispy Thin” pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, steak and eggs, corned beef hash, breakfast quesadillas and much more to one of the most-diverse clientele in town. From the after-church crowds to college students to doctors heading off to work at nearby hospitals, folks from all over the economic spectrum continue to start their day at this cozy counter or crammed into the precious few booths. Wait time is often long for this popular spot, but it’s not unlikely that your hanger might be soothed by some complimentary nuggets of fried macaroni and cheese or gooey chocolate brownies. When those coveted seats finally come available, younger diners are rewarded with rubber duckies in addition to their meals. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Sugar n’ Spice

4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills
For over 75 years, this family-friendly Paddock Hills diner has been serving up “Wispy Thin” pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, steak and eggs, corned beef hash, breakfast quesadillas and much more to one of the most-diverse clientele in town. From the after-church crowds to college students to doctors heading off to work at nearby hospitals, folks from all over the economic spectrum continue to start their day at this cozy counter or crammed into the precious few booths. Wait time is often long for this popular spot, but it’s not unlikely that your hanger might be soothed by some complimentary nuggets of fried macaroni and cheese or gooey chocolate brownies. When those coveted seats finally come available, younger diners are rewarded with rubber duckies in addition to their meals.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Zip's Cafe 
1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout
Zip’s has been doing burgers right since 1926, and generations of East Side Cincinnatians call Zip burgers their favorite. If you’re feeling like a light meal, order a classic Zip burger, with fresh, flame-broiled meat from local butcher Avril-Bleh & Sons, nestled in a toasted honey-egg bun from Klosterman Baking Company, and a side of super crispy onion rings. Or go big with the Girth Burger, a Zip burger topped with a split Avril-Bleh mettwurst. With worn wood flooring and dark wood paneling, the small space is separated into a dining area and a bar by a saloon-style door. Head to the back bar for a local beer on draft while you wait for space at a booth or a seat at one of the shared family-style tables. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Zip's Cafe

1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout
Zip’s has been doing burgers right since 1926, and generations of East Side Cincinnatians call Zip burgers their favorite. If you’re feeling like a light meal, order a classic Zip burger, with fresh, flame-broiled meat from local butcher Avril-Bleh & Sons, nestled in a toasted honey-egg bun from Klosterman Baking Company, and a side of super crispy onion rings. Or go big with the Girth Burger, a Zip burger topped with a split Avril-Bleh mettwurst. With worn wood flooring and dark wood paneling, the small space is separated into a dining area and a bar by a saloon-style door. Head to the back bar for a local beer on draft while you wait for space at a booth or a seat at one of the shared family-style tables.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Montgomery Inn
9440 Montgomery Road, Montgomery; 925 Riverside Drive, Downtown
World-famous for its ribs, Montgomery Inn has been a staple in Cincinnati for more than 60 years. Along with ribs, the Inn offers barbecued spring chicken, salmon, pulled-pork sandwiches, burgers, salads and more, including everyone’s favorite: Saratoga chips served with the Inn’s famous barbecue sauce.
Photo: Provided

Montgomery Inn

9440 Montgomery Road, Montgomery; 925 Riverside Drive, Downtown
World-famous for its ribs, Montgomery Inn has been a staple in Cincinnati for more than 60 years. Along with ribs, the Inn offers barbecued spring chicken, salmon, pulled-pork sandwiches, burgers, salads and more, including everyone’s favorite: Saratoga chips served with the Inn’s famous barbecue sauce.
Photo: Provided
Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave., Colerain
If you don’t want to be basic, take your guest to this James Beard Award-winning chili parlor. A great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Camp Washington Chili features greasy-spoon breakfast offerings, double decker sandwiches, Cincinnati-style chili, coneys and even a few salads. The chili parlor opened its doors in 1940, and current owner Johnny Johnson has been working at the parlor since 1951. Open 24/6 — they’re closed on Sundays.
Photo: Jesse Fox

Camp Washington Chili

3005 Colerain Ave., Colerain
If you don’t want to be basic, take your guest to this James Beard Award-winning chili parlor. A great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Camp Washington Chili features greasy-spoon breakfast offerings, double decker sandwiches, Cincinnati-style chili, coneys and even a few salads. The chili parlor opened its doors in 1940, and current owner Johnny Johnson has been working at the parlor since 1951. Open 24/6 — they’re closed on Sundays.
Photo: Jesse Fox
LaRosa’s
Multiple locations including 2411 Boudinot Ave., Western Hills; 417 Madison Ave., Covington; 2717 Vine St., Clifton
A chain of local pizzerias that’s been dishing up pies since 1954, as well as pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. The sauce and crust are both a tiny bit sweet. Although you can get their famous pizza at any of the locations around Cincinnati, visit the original location founded by Buddy LaRosa in 1954 in Western Hills for a little slice of history with your pie.
Screen Shot via Google Maps

LaRosa’s

Multiple locations including 2411 Boudinot Ave., Western Hills; 417 Madison Ave., Covington; 2717 Vine St., Clifton
A chain of local pizzerias that’s been dishing up pies since 1954, as well as pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. The sauce and crust are both a tiny bit sweet. Although you can get their famous pizza at any of the locations around Cincinnati, visit the original location founded by Buddy LaRosa in 1954 in Western Hills for a little slice of history with your pie.
Screen Shot via Google Maps
Pompilios
600 Washington Ave., Newport
This restaurant, where the toothpick scene in Rain Man was filmed, has been offering classic family Italian food since 1933. You really can’t go wrong with any pasta dish. Play a game of bocce ball on the back court in the warmer months or grab a burger in the attached Colonel Pomp’s Tavern.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Pompilios

600 Washington Ave., Newport
This restaurant, where the toothpick scene in Rain Man was filmed, has been offering classic family Italian food since 1933. You really can’t go wrong with any pasta dish. Play a game of bocce ball on the back court in the warmer months or grab a burger in the attached Colonel Pomp’s Tavern.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Precinct
311 Delta Ave., Columbia Tusculum
You can always rely on a Jeff Ruby restaurant for a big, rare steak and platters of seafood. The Precinct, housed in a historical Romanesque-style former police precinct, opened in 1981 and was the first in a long line of Ruby steakhouses. If you bleed red and black, the Bearcat filet mignon may be a good choice for you. For Xavier fans, the Precinct has you covered too with The Musketeer, a cowboy ribeye. But there are other options, like seared scallops or something from the tableside service menu like seafood fettuccine alfredo.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Precinct

311 Delta Ave., Columbia Tusculum
You can always rely on a Jeff Ruby restaurant for a big, rare steak and platters of seafood. The Precinct, housed in a historical Romanesque-style former police precinct, opened in 1981 and was the first in a long line of Ruby steakhouses. If you bleed red and black, the Bearcat filet mignon may be a good choice for you. For Xavier fans, the Precinct has you covered too with The Musketeer, a cowboy ribeye. But there are other options, like seared scallops or something from the tableside service menu like seafood fettuccine alfredo.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Goodfellas Pizzeria
603 Main St., Covington / 1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Goodfellas makes their dough fresh every morning and their sauce in-house. If you’re headed there for a late-night slice or for lunch, be prepared for quite a line, but you’ll be glad you put in the time. While you wait, watch as the pizzaiolos spin dough saucers high into the air. The slices are New York-style and as big as your face. They also offer subs, calzones and a multitude of dipping sauces. A bourbon bar is upstairs. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Goodfellas Pizzeria

603 Main St., Covington / 1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Goodfellas makes their dough fresh every morning and their sauce in-house. If you’re headed there for a late-night slice or for lunch, be prepared for quite a line, but you’ll be glad you put in the time. While you wait, watch as the pizzaiolos spin dough saucers high into the air. The slices are New York-style and as big as your face. They also offer subs, calzones and a multitude of dipping sauces. A bourbon bar is upstairs.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Eagle OTR
1342 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
The Eagle is nested inside a retired post office and has a relatively small menu, comprised of fried chicken, sandwiches, snacks and several side dishes. Booze-wise, they serve 100 kinds of beer and have about 15 different brews on tap. The fried chicken is free-range, all natural and sourced from Ohio farms. Opt for a whole, half chicken (white and dark meat) or a quarter of a chicken (select white or dark). The brown sugar bacon is a must.
Photo via Facebook.com/TheEagleOTR

The Eagle OTR

1342 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
The Eagle is nested inside a retired post office and has a relatively small menu, comprised of fried chicken, sandwiches, snacks and several side dishes. Booze-wise, they serve 100 kinds of beer and have about 15 different brews on tap. The fried chicken is free-range, all natural and sourced from Ohio farms. Opt for a whole, half chicken (white and dark meat) or a quarter of a chicken (select white or dark). The brown sugar bacon is a must.
Photo via Facebook.com/TheEagleOTR