The 10 Sexiest Dishes in Greater Cincinnati

Strap in for a tour through Cincinnati’s sexiest dishes.

click to enlarge Nicola’s - Photo: Aidan Mahoney
Photo: Aidan Mahoney

This story is featured in CityBeat's July 12 print edition.

The dishes that are setting senses on fire this summer are more sumptuous and sensual than the usual cooling gazpacho. Instead, aphrodisiacs like truffle-topped cacio e pepe from Nicola’s, oysters from Nolia Kitchen, caviar from Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and more are tantalizing the taste buds of those in the city and beyond. Let’s strap in for a tour through Cincinnati’s sexiest dishes.

Malfatti “A True Love for Rome” from Nicola’s
1420 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine
The act of slurping a buttery noodle is iconic, reenacted in movies from around the world, used as backdrops on runways and talked about in songs. If you want to indulge in your own noodle-slurping moment, order the Malfatti “A True Love for Rome” cacio e pepe from Nicola’s, and be sure to add truffle shavings for an extra bit of love-invoking pheromones, as some say truffles are an aphrodisiac.

Love Boat from Mei Japanese Restaurant
8608 Market Place Lane, Montgomery
Sushi in itself is sexy — the eye-catching bright colors of the vegetables and fish tightly wrapped to one’s delight, and the not-too-full feeling you get after indulging in so many rolls, which may leave room for delectable dessert or a, um, different kind of dessert. The atmosphere of sitting in one of Cincinnati's only Tatami rooms will also make any date more intimate. Order the perfect romantic meal, the Love Boat, a special gourmet dinner for two featuring yakitori, shrimp tempura, gyu negi maki, shumai, sushi and sashimi.

Caviar from Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse
505 Vine St., Downtown
Known as one of Casanova's favorites, caviar is purported to increase your libido, due to its amino acids. The amino acid L-arginine found in caviar can increase blood flow, and therefore, is thought to increase your lust or hunger for touch. Order the caviar from Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and try it out yourself.

Cappellacci di Giano from Boca
114 E. 6th St., Downtown
With spring pea, butter-poached lobster and lemon, Boca’s Cappellacci di Giano also puts a spotlight on another aphrodisiac's favorite, lobster. Lobster  is considered by some to be an aphrodisiac thanks to its high zinc content. Zinc is known to assist in testosterone production, which helps some perform better in the bedroom.

Pan-seared crab cakes from The View at Shires’ Garden
309 Vine St., 10th floor, Downtown
Watermelon is a nice addition to any dish in the summer. The View at Shires’ Garden’s pan seared crab cakes appetizer consists of pan-seared crab cakes with roasted corn chow-chow, a watermelon radish, lemon and dill crèma that add just the right touch to a classic starter. Sometimes all you need is a starter for date night when the mood, dishes and drinks are just right.

Rodeo Drive sushi roll from Baru
595 Race St., Downtown
Baru takes the patron to a place of intrigue immediately with a huge red and black tiger mural in the background of the restaurant, preparing the eyes for more excitement to come. Baru is a dark bar that also serves elevated food. Baru serves sushi and drinks like The Side Piece, a slick cocktail made with Hennessy VSOP, Cointreau, lemon juice, simple syrup, an orange twist, and the Rodeo Drive sushi roll, made with king crab, avocado, cucumber and caviar, which combines two aphrodisiacs together.

Gulf oysters from Nolia Kitchen
1405 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine
Nolia Kitchen offers up a lot of dishes that are purely there to strike a chord of indulgence, like gulf oysters, skillet cornbread and crab boulettes. Just saying those items on the menu out loud could make anyone feel tantalized.

Strawberry dessert from Salazar Restaurant
1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine
Sometimes dessert is a must for dinner, and in that case, another aphrodisiac enters our list at this James Beard Award-nominated restaurant: strawberries. A dessert so decadent at night, order Salazar’s strawberry dessert that consists of white chocolate and goat cheese mousse, toasted white chocolate and fresh strawberries.

Goat cheese toast from Chez Renée French Bistrot
233 Main St., Milford
In certain ways, Milford captures the vibes of a small European town with its ever-evolving gastronomic menus and growth, all with the gorgeous Little Miami River in the background. With the Governor, 20 Brix and now Covalt Station among the best restaurants in the city, we can’t forget about some of Milford’s classic stars, like Chez Renée. When at this bistro make sure to also sit outside, and order the goat cheese toast to start, boasting another aphrodisiac to check off the list — honey. Make sure to also order the mussels and frites, a French classic perfect for conversation in between each bite.

Champagne and The Rhined charcuterie board from Oakley Wines
4011 Allston St., Oakley
Sometimes taking the decadence with you into nature or a cabin in the woods sets the mood. If that is more your speed,  pick up treats like Bernard Remy Champagne Brut Carte Blanche and pair it with The Rhined cheese and charcuterie large to-go board. Even though the charcuterie board is meant for 12-16 people, having an assortment like this will wow any cheesemonger — even if the sparks don’t fly, at least your taste buds will. The board includes an assortment of artisanal cheese, seasonal and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables, pickled vegetables and candied pecans from The Rhined, local jam and your choice of either a crostini from The Rhined or Sixteen Bricks baguette, all on a single-use wooden board.

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