October 25, 2019

36 Deliciously New (and Newish) Cincinnati Restaurants to Eat at Right Now

Hello. Are you hungry? You probably will be at some point today or in the near future (unless you’re a robot). And when you’re ready to eat, you may need a restaurant recommendation. That’s where we come in.

This year, CityBeat’s handy annual Dining Guide is a collection of some of the best places to eat in Cincinnati — as decided on by readers in our annual Best Of Cincinnati issue — plus assorted other listings from this past year’s dining reviews and features. In 2019, more than half a million votes were tallied to determine our reader picks in a slew of categories. But as this is the Dining Guide, we’re focusing on winners in the Eats section — aka places where you can eat. This slideshow includes some recent restaurant additions plus the top 10 best new restaurant reader picks from the 2019 BOC.

Note: This is obviously not a list of every restaurant in Cincinnati. But it is certainly an excellent starting point in any conversation that begins with “Where should we eat?” that would otherwise end in a) tears b) loud arguments c) starvation. So close your eyes, point your finger at a random dining destination and get ready to bon voyage to bon appétit.

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Kiki
5932 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Kiki College Hill has opened its doors after two years of planning, fundraising, pop-ups and patience. Owners Hideki and Yuko Harada have created their dream restaurant in an old corner bank at 5932 Hamilton Ave. Kiki offers two ramen choices: shio ramen, a chicken broth with pork belly, negi, a tea-marinated egg and rayu; and kimchi ramen, featuring housemade kimchi and tofu. To warm up your pre-ramen palate, try the shishito peppers crowned with fluffy shreds of parmesan cheese, or the edamame, tossed in sea salt or tare. And you could never go wrong with the gyoza, either pork or mushroom, or the curry pan, a sort of fried bread or dumpling Hideki has described as a “curry donut,” stuffed with potato, onion and carrot. Must try: If you’re looking for punchier flavors, go with the karaage —  fried chicken with an option to add bright oroshi ponzu or mellow Jordy mayo (named after sous chef Jordan Ellerhorst).
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Kiki

5932 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Kiki College Hill has opened its doors after two years of planning, fundraising, pop-ups and patience. Owners Hideki and Yuko Harada have created their dream restaurant in an old corner bank at 5932 Hamilton Ave. Kiki offers two ramen choices: shio ramen, a chicken broth with pork belly, negi, a tea-marinated egg and rayu; and kimchi ramen, featuring housemade kimchi and tofu. To warm up your pre-ramen palate, try the shishito peppers crowned with fluffy shreds of parmesan cheese, or the edamame, tossed in sea salt or tare. And you could never go wrong with the gyoza, either pork or mushroom, or the curry pan, a sort of fried bread or dumpling Hideki has described as a “curry donut,” stuffed with potato, onion and carrot.
Must try: If you’re looking for punchier flavors, go with the karaage — fried chicken with an option to add bright oroshi ponzu or mellow Jordy mayo (named after sous chef Jordan Ellerhorst).
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Mazunte Centro
611 Main St., Downtown
Inspired by the vibrancy of Mexico City, Centro still serves the classics — tacos and tostadas, tequila and Topo Chico. But a handful of dishes exclusive to this location were added to the menu, namely tortas and tlayudas (imagine a love child between a Mexican pizza and a giant loaded nacho). Out-the-door-tacos for those on their lunch break and lingering evenings sipping tequila are both served with the same warm hospitality. Although folks in Mexico indulge in a leisurely meal and siesta midday and grab street tacos at night, Americans are more accustomed to working through lunch and partying after dark. Mazunte serves Mexico City food on a Cincinnati scheduleMust try: The impressive chicharrón de queso. Literally translated to “cheese cracklings,” it’s a disc of shredded cheese wrapped around a wine bottle and fried. Don’t be alarmed when a foot-tall cheese tube arrives at your table; be amazed. It’s an excellent two-for-one deal — snap some off and dip it in salsa roja or salsa verde (both if you’re bold) or crumble it over the tlayuda for an added crunch factor.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Mazunte Centro

611 Main St., Downtown
Inspired by the vibrancy of Mexico City, Centro still serves the classics — tacos and tostadas, tequila and Topo Chico. But a handful of dishes exclusive to this location were added to the menu, namely tortas and tlayudas (imagine a love child between a Mexican pizza and a giant loaded nacho). Out-the-door-tacos for those on their lunch break and lingering evenings sipping tequila are both served with the same warm hospitality. Although folks in Mexico indulge in a leisurely meal and siesta midday and grab street tacos at night, Americans are more accustomed to working through lunch and partying after dark. Mazunte serves Mexico City food on a Cincinnati schedule
Must try: The impressive chicharrón de queso. Literally translated to “cheese cracklings,” it’s a disc of shredded cheese wrapped around a wine bottle and fried. Don’t be alarmed when a foot-tall cheese tube arrives at your table; be amazed. It’s an excellent two-for-one deal — snap some off and dip it in salsa roja or salsa verde (both if you’re bold) or crumble it over the tlayuda for an added crunch factor.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The View at Shires’ Garden
309 Vine St., 10th Floor, Downtown
Located on the 10th floor of downtown’s City Club Apartments, this 6,000 square-foot rooftop spot features an indoor dining room, an outdoor patio, two full bars, outdoor small and group dining and cocktail tables with impeccable views. The food menu features Saturday and Sunday brunch and dinner options like mussels, whipped bone marrow over beef tenderloin tartare and entree greens. Must try: The Nicoise with seared tuna loin with marinated tuna crudo, olive tapenade, fingerling potatoes, French green beans, deviled egg salad and green goddess pesto. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The View at Shires’ Garden

309 Vine St., 10th Floor, Downtown
Located on the 10th floor of downtown’s City Club Apartments, this 6,000 square-foot rooftop spot features an indoor dining room, an outdoor patio, two full bars, outdoor small and group dining and cocktail tables with impeccable views. The food menu features Saturday and Sunday brunch and dinner options like mussels, whipped bone marrow over beef tenderloin tartare and entree greens.
Must try: The Nicoise with seared tuna loin with marinated tuna crudo, olive tapenade, fingerling potatoes, French green beans, deviled egg salad and green goddess pesto.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Oakley Wines
4011 Allston St., Oakley
Oakley Wines started as a boutique bottle shop just off the main drag. And then it became more than a neighborhood hang when upward of 100 people started stopping in for Friday-night wine tastings. Recently taken over by the owners of The Rhined cheese shop, the bar has been featuring a new food menu overseen by chef Lydia Jackman. Jackman focuses on “creating a multi-cultural experience where you can eat French, Italian and German-inspired dishes” paired with Oakley’s glass or bottle list. Must try: The tomato pie, with water buffalo cheese and caper aioli. Look for additional hearty dishes this winter.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Oakley Wines

4011 Allston St., Oakley
Oakley Wines started as a boutique bottle shop just off the main drag. And then it became more than a neighborhood hang when upward of 100 people started stopping in for Friday-night wine tastings. Recently taken over by the owners of The Rhined cheese shop, the bar has been featuring a new food menu overseen by chef Lydia Jackman. Jackman focuses on “creating a multi-cultural experience where you can eat French, Italian and German-inspired dishes” paired with Oakley’s glass or bottle list.
Must try: The tomato pie, with water buffalo cheese and caper aioli. Look for additional hearty dishes this winter.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Sacred Beast
1437 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
“Simple food. Taken seriously” is the motto of this modern diner, which feels like one of the largest restaurants in OTR. Clearly, this kitchen knows how to get the very best out of the humble egg. The “Diner Breakfast” is a truly great plate of food: Soft scrambled eggs, a short stack of ricotta pancakes topped with two strips of maple-glazed pork belly and a small grilled tomato make up this scrumptious meal. There’s also the equally delicious omelet filled with a simple combo of goat cheese and sweet peppers. The deviled eggs with pork rinds and chilies are excellent, as well. In addition to excellent eggs, the menu features options like a double cheeseburger with Dijonnaise, American cheese and a pickle on a Blue Oven bun; chicken schnitzel; and steak tartare frites; plus strong cocktails, mocktails, shots with a back and a wine by the glass. Must try: That omelet.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Sacred Beast

1437 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
“Simple food. Taken seriously” is the motto of this modern diner, which feels like one of the largest restaurants in OTR. Clearly, this kitchen knows how to get the very best out of the humble egg. The “Diner Breakfast” is a truly great plate of food: Soft scrambled eggs, a short stack of ricotta pancakes topped with two strips of maple-glazed pork belly and a small grilled tomato make up this scrumptious meal. There’s also the equally delicious omelet filled with a simple combo of goat cheese and sweet peppers. The deviled eggs with pork rinds and chilies are excellent, as well. In addition to excellent eggs, the menu features options like a double cheeseburger with Dijonnaise, American cheese and a pickle on a Blue Oven bun; chicken schnitzel; and steak tartare frites; plus strong cocktails, mocktails, shots with a back and a wine by the glass.
Must try: That omelet.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Lonely Pine Steakhouse 
6085 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
The casual dining destination takes a simple concept — quality food at an affordable price — and elevates it with Southwestern flair and retro decor. From Gorilla Cinema Presents, Lonely Pine is the first foray into food service for the company and is less focused on blatantly paying homage to a film, though there are clues for those on the hunt for Easter eggs. There are nods to Back to the Future  hidden throughout. Steaks are dry-aged with shareable sides like au gratin potatoes. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s chess pie with chocolate, blueberries and whipped cream; a citrus creme brulee; and locally made ice cream with seasonal flavors. Must try: The New York strip, dry-aged in house for 30 days. An aggressive sear yields a perfectly cooked medium-rare center. You can order a pad of garlic butter on the side, but the seasoning on the beef is so well applied that it’s unnecessary. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Lonely Pine Steakhouse

6085 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
The casual dining destination takes a simple concept — quality food at an affordable price — and elevates it with Southwestern flair and retro decor. From Gorilla Cinema Presents, Lonely Pine is the first foray into food service for the company and is less focused on blatantly paying homage to a film, though there are clues for those on the hunt for Easter eggs. There are nods to Back to the Future hidden throughout. Steaks are dry-aged with shareable sides like au gratin potatoes. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s chess pie with chocolate, blueberries and whipped cream; a citrus creme brulee; and locally made ice cream with seasonal flavors.
Must try: The New York strip, dry-aged in house for 30 days. An aggressive sear yields a perfectly cooked medium-rare center. You can order a pad of garlic butter on the side, but the seasoning on the beef is so well applied that it’s unnecessary.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Maize
1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Maize specializes in a unique fusion menu that honors traditional recipes from across Latin America, with an emphasis on Venezuelan cuisine. The restaurant takes its name from maize, a corn flour dating back some 10,000 years and first utilized by indigenous Mexicans. The flour serves as the basis for the arepas, cachapas and empanadas served at Maize and acts as an access point for the rich world of Latin American cuisine. The bright blue accents of the restaurant lend to the tropical vibe, as do the multitude of rum options on the drink menu — there are more than 30 in house. Must try: The ceviche is perfect: plump and plentiful mahi, snapper and shrimp with diced mango, serrano pepper and lime.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Maize

1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Maize specializes in a unique fusion menu that honors traditional recipes from across Latin America, with an emphasis on Venezuelan cuisine. The restaurant takes its name from maize, a corn flour dating back some 10,000 years and first utilized by indigenous Mexicans. The flour serves as the basis for the arepas, cachapas and empanadas served at Maize and acts as an access point for the rich world of Latin American cuisine. The bright blue accents of the restaurant lend to the tropical vibe, as do the multitude of rum options on the drink menu — there are more than 30 in house.
Must try: The ceviche is perfect: plump and plentiful mahi, snapper and shrimp with diced mango, serrano pepper and lime.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Baker’s Table
1004 Monmouth St., Newport
This cozy brunch spot on Monmouth Street has been serving local, seasonal cuisine to the masses since December 2018. Chef and co-owner David Willocks aims to make everything in-house, including the bread, and calls it the canvas upon which the food appears. As such, the menu reads like a love letter to biscuits and brioche and sourdough sandwiches. This hip destination often has a line out the door for patrons waiting to try main courses or ever-popular options like biscuits and gravy with Eckerlin pork sausage, eggs-in-a-hole and a fried chicken sandwich. Willocks runs The Baker’s Table with his wife, Wendy Braun, a designer who created the look of the open-floor-plan restaurant to blend craftsmanship and vintage tradition. Enjoy an Amaro Spritz or a cup of coffee with friends at the namesake 25-year-old baker’s table in the back of the space. Food and culture website Eater named The Baker’s Table one of 2019’s best new restaurants in America. The restaurant just launched dinner service. Must try:The ricotta donuts are little balls of fluffy joy with a thinly fried exterior and a generous sugar dusting. They come with strawberry lemon curd and are a perfect appetizer before your eggs or pancakes.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Baker’s Table

1004 Monmouth St., Newport
This cozy brunch spot on Monmouth Street has been serving local, seasonal cuisine to the masses since December 2018. Chef and co-owner David Willocks aims to make everything in-house, including the bread, and calls it the canvas upon which the food appears. As such, the menu reads like a love letter to biscuits and brioche and sourdough sandwiches. This hip destination often has a line out the door for patrons waiting to try main courses or ever-popular options like biscuits and gravy with Eckerlin pork sausage, eggs-in-a-hole and a fried chicken sandwich. Willocks runs The Baker’s Table with his wife, Wendy Braun, a designer who created the look of the open-floor-plan restaurant to blend craftsmanship and vintage tradition. Enjoy an Amaro Spritz or a cup of coffee with friends at the namesake 25-year-old baker’s table in the back of the space. Food and culture website Eater named The Baker’s Table one of 2019’s best new restaurants in America. The restaurant just launched dinner service.
Must try:The ricotta donuts are little balls of fluffy joy with a thinly fried exterior and a generous sugar dusting. They come with strawberry lemon curd and are a perfect appetizer before your eggs or pancakes.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Karrikin Spirits Co. 
3717 Jonlen Drive, Fairfax
Karrikin combines a distillery, brewery, bar and restaurant in a gigantic former warehouse located in what feels slightly like a no-man’s land of industrial buildings between Mariemont and Mount Lookout. But this distillery/brewery/restaurant operates out of a renovated warehouse, which makes for a roomy and exciting destination. The executive chef, Jared Bennett, served for six years as sous chef and then chef de cuisine at Metropole. Even inside a warehouse, you can safely expect delicious food to come out of Bennett’s kitchen. The three-page beverage menu starts with a description of the spirits made in-house, below that are house cocktails and a few mocktails featuring housemade non-alcoholic sodas and shrubs. The food options range from wood-fired steaks and pasta to seafood and more. Must try: The roasted cauliflower: creamy, roasted cauliflower with crunchy wild rice in a savory quince vinaigrette sauce. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Karrikin Spirits Co.

3717 Jonlen Drive, Fairfax
Karrikin combines a distillery, brewery, bar and restaurant in a gigantic former warehouse located in what feels slightly like a no-man’s land of industrial buildings between Mariemont and Mount Lookout. But this distillery/brewery/restaurant operates out of a renovated warehouse, which makes for a roomy and exciting destination. The executive chef, Jared Bennett, served for six years as sous chef and then chef de cuisine at Metropole. Even inside a warehouse, you can safely expect delicious food to come out of Bennett’s kitchen. The three-page beverage menu starts with a description of the spirits made in-house, below that are house cocktails and a few mocktails featuring housemade non-alcoholic sodas and shrubs. The food options range from wood-fired steaks and pasta to seafood and more.
Must try: The roasted cauliflower: creamy, roasted cauliflower with crunchy wild rice in a savory quince vinaigrette sauce.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger