Flavor: Part Manhattan coffeehouse, part upscale college cafeteria commons, Ingredients offers casual grab-and-go fare. With a menu focused on fresh ingredients with minimal processing, health-conscience diners can nosh on breakfast or lunch sandwiches, panini and brick-oven pizzas. Salad fixings are innovative, including golden beets, roasted peppers and hearts of palm. Build your own or choose from signatures such as the Grilled Chicken Salad with prosciutto, Maytag blue cheese, spiced Bosc pears, yellow tomatoes and walnuts or the Thai Shrimp Mango salad.
Flair: Located inside the Westin Hotel, Ingredients draws a crowd. Ordering is not for the meek of heart — it’s a scene straight from Wall Street, but once you settle in to one of the cozy chairs or sidle up to the counter and plug in your laptop, you’ll be humming along.
21 E. Fifth St., Westin Hotel, Downtown, 513-852-2740. Open 7 days. $6.50-$8.
Flavor: A Cincinnati tradition, Izzy’s serves a Reuben we can all be proud of. Other sandwiches such as the “Reubenator” and the Izzy’s Mex showcase their delicious corned beef. If you aren’t in the mood for corned beef, try the Turkey Reuben, Veggie Reuben or the Jeff Ruby: cole slaw, roast beef, rye bread, roasted turkey, chopped liver and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. Try one of their deli sandwich selections or other specialties named after various Cincinnati celebs. We don’t think we need to mention the potato pancakes.
Flair: Simple formula: good service good food = good times. Expect a wait at lunch and expect to leave full. Izzy’s holds childhood memories for many of us. Need we say more? Winner of “Best Deli.”
800 Elm St., Downtown, 513-721-4241 and other locations. Open Monday-Saturday, many locations open on Sunday. $6-$10.
Flavor: This diminutive deli is known for its scrumptious ham and turkey sandwiches with all the fixings as well as the more exotic spicy Vietnamese Pork sandwich. From lo mein to lasagna, you’ll always find something different depending on the day.
Flair: Hiding inside the Main Public Library Downtown, this tiny shop does big business during the week. It mostly caters to library patrons and bookworms, but some of area’s working class have discovered the gem. It’s the perfect stop for a quick lunch on the go or a more leisurely lunch with a good book in the library’s courtyard.
800 Vine St., Downtown, 513-665-3339. Open Monday-Saturday. $1-$5.