cincinnati restaurants

Dig into pizza at local favorite, CWC. (Photo: Cara Hummel)

Eat + Drink

Heading to Cincinnati? Hit Up This Local’s Food and Drink Guide to the Queen City

You might think of Ohio as a flyover state (and yes, there are many corn fields), but its major metropolises have big-city energy and charm well worth a venture to the Midwest.

This is especially true for Cincinnati, which has experienced an incredible revival over the past few years and is now teeming with cool places to eat and hang out.

Here’s what to see, eat and do when you’re in the Queen City.


Ask any Cincinnatian about the best food in the area, and they’ll point you straight to Skyline, the city’s famous restaurant franchise—but there’s a lot more to this hip city than just the nation’s best chili (don’t fight us on this).

cincinnati restaurants
Waffles and Nutella? Yes, please. (Photo: Taste of Belgium)

For breakfast, take a seat at Taste of Belgium, known for their uniquely tiny-but-dense waffles. You may scoff at their size, but just one or two of them—especially those topped with s’mores or banana-nutella—will fill you right up. (Just hope you have room left for their salty frites or goetta, a classic Cincinnati meat dish.)

Craving something healthier? Sleepy Bee Café serves breakfast sandwiches, omelets, tofu scrambles, and more using locally-sourced ingredients.

When lunch time rolls around, the options are limitless. For Mexican food, we’re calling it a three-way tie between Mazunte (the salsa bar is a must), Bakersfield (prepare for tasty but strong margaritas), and Nada (the fried avocado tacos are next-level).

cincinnati restaurants
Feel like Mexican? Head to Mazunte. (Photo: Mazunte)

Visit Senate OTR for gourmet hot dogs (yes, you read that right); the best is the “Lindsay Lohan,” topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, and balsamic. Feel like a kid-at-heart grilled cheese with a twist? Make your way to Tom+Chee for inventive dishes like the Grilled Mac+Chee and the famous Original Grilled Cheese Donut.

The restaurant, which you might recognize from its appearance on Shark Tank, has since franchised to other cities, but Cincinnati’s proud to be its home base.

For dinner, stop by Incline Public House for a variety of classic American bites and one of the city’s best views. Craving Italian? Sotto is one of the most elegant restaurants downtown, right across from Fountain Square. Make a reservation to avoid a long wait, and whatever you do, don’t skip the ricotta doughnuts for dessert.

cincinnati restaurants
Try a unique take on noodles at CWC. (Photo: Cara Hummel)

If you don’t mind a drive away from the downtown scene, check out CWC in the suburban town of Wyoming. Only a year-and-a-half old, the weekend-only spot is the restaurant realization of culinary multimedia platform Cooking with Caitlin and is incredibly underrated.


Cincinnati is home to a vibrant microbrewery scene. Housed in the former bottling plant of pre-Prohibition Christian Moerlein Brewing Co., the 25,000-square-foot facility at Rhinegeist in Over-the-Rhine includes a bustling taproom and rooftop, plus a variety of tasting and tour options.

cincinnati restaurants
Get experimental with your sips at Sundry and Vice. (Photo: Sundry and Vice)

For cocktails with a hipster vibe, you’ll want to hit apothecary-themed Sundry and Vice, where the scene is moody and the drinks are beautiful.

MadTree Brewing Company, which re-opened after an $18 million expansion in Oakley last year, has over 25 beers on tap and a café serving yummy wood-fired pizzas. Fretboard Brewing Company, further from downtown in the Blue Ash neighborhood, is the newest in the game and worth the trek for its live music, fun taproom games, and Smoked Out Cincy barbecue.

In the booming OTR district, drinks are also served with a side of fun. The Rook features a free library of over 800(!) board games that patrons can check out and play while they sip craft beers and munch on pretzel bites.

cincinnati restaurants
Play games and sip colorful cocktails at 16-Bit. (Photo: 16-Bit Bar + Arcade)

Not the board game type? Battle your friends at over 50 vintage arcade games in 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, where whimsical cocktails pair perfectly with classics like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

Into speakeasies? Just pull down the right VHS from the top shelf of The Video Archive to open the doors to a Quentin Tarantino-inspired bar with creative décor and drinks.

And if the weather’s nice, why not go on a drinking tour? Cincinnati Pedal Wagon offers a fun alternative to typical bar-hopping

This article was published through a partnership with Jetsetter magazine. Read the original story: Where to Eat, Play, and Stay in Cincinnati: A Local’s Guide to the Queen City by Jackie Homan, a regular contributor to Jetsetter.

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