Restaurants in the Cincinnati Metro Area


A local spot — now with multiple locations — specializing in… grilled cheese and tomato soup! But forget the standard grilled cheese: we’re talking about sandwiches loaded with meats, specialty cheese, veggies — even potato chips (local, of course). And check out the dessert: grilled cheese donuts!

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Rookwood Commons and Newport on the Levee

Mad Mike’s Burgers and Fries
Great burger joint in Florence, KY, and Newport, KY (more locations), offering a wide array of toppings, plus gourmet burgers. Check out the weekly special!


Located just across the river in Covington, AmerAsia is weird. Funky. Small. Cheap(-ish). Tasty. Did we mention weird? The owner’s grandfather serves as chef, has cooked around the world and can claim training by the chef-lineage tracing back to imperial Chinese chefs. Cincinnati Magazine’s food writer loved it. But go at lunch, when the extensive beer list does not unduly influence the climate and when prices are cheaper. And don’t forget to ask about daily specials!

King Wok
Located near UC in University Heights, King Wok offers reasonable lunch meals, wide variety and good quality. Coupons in Bearcash.

Thai Express
No beauty, this takeout joint in University Heights has cheap, plentiful dishes with good flavors. Coupons in Bearcash.

Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine
Small Thai place near the Rookwood commons


Currently taking recommendations



Eli’s BBQ
Stunningly good in an easy-to-drive-past location on Riverside Drive. They now have a location at Findlay Market as well.

City BBQ
5 locations in the metro area.


First Watch 
Covington, Hyde Park

Sugar and Spice
Located on Reading Road.

The Echo
Located in Hyde Park.

Taste of Belgium
Four locations in the Cincinnati area including Findlay Market and Rookwood area.

Coffee Emporium 
The Hyde Park (a “house”) location sells various muffins, scones, etc. and they have good beverages. Very cool places to sit outside, outback, and even upstairs if you don’t mind sitting rather close to others, often college kids studying at the tables.

Holtman’s Donuts
In Over-the-Rhine.

Bellevue Bistro 
Just over the river in Bellevue, KY.

Sleepy Bee Cafe
Two locations – Oakley and Blue Ash.

Cincinnati Chili

For the uninitiated, Cincinnati chili may seem odd. The dish combines pasta, beanless chili and cheddar cheese (kidney beans and onions may be added). Having its origins in Greek food, the chili tastes essentially nothing like “Tex-Mex” chili — instead, think chocolate, cinnamon, cumin. The basic three-way chili is pasta, chili and cheese. A four-way adds beans or onions, a five-way adds both. Variations abound, such as Blue Ash Chili’s six-way (adding deep-fried jalapeno slices). And chili parlors also tend to offer double-decker sandwiches — hey, you might even find Cincinnati’s own sausage, goetta, on the menu!

Blue Ash Chili

Camp Washington Chili

Empress Chili
The original Cinci chili… now located, ironically, in Kentucky.

Gold Star

Once-local chain now owned by an out-of-state entity.


While Cincinnati of course includes plenty of coffee chains — Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts — it also has local coffee shops and even roasters.

Coffee Emporium
Multiple area locations, roasting their own coffee downtown — not unusual to spot the mayor, a member of city council or some other notable in the Over-the-Rhine location

Lookout Joe
Coffee shop and coffee roaster

Carabello Coffee
“Coffee and Compassion in Tandem”

Lookout Joe


BLOC Coffee Company

Cheapside Cafe

Fast Food Nearby

Newport Pavilion
95 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY 41071

57 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY 41071

Several locations nearby including
2507 W. Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219 and
93 Carothers Rd, Newport, KY 41071

 Food Trucks

A trend in other cities arrived in full force in Cinci around 2010. Food trucks park and operate various places around town, with some downtown spots just minutes from the GBSC campus.

New Orleans to Go Po’ Boys and More
Stunningly good New Orleans food, prepared by a woman who came to Cinci with her husband and kids after Hurricane Katrina

Red Sesame Food Truck
Korean BBQ/Tacos

Empanadas Aqui
Authentic Venezuelan street food

Quite Frankly
Sandwiches and franks

Looking for something new? Check out the Street Food Finder.

Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Popsicles

Cincinnati’s own premium ice cream. Probably best known for their huge chocolate chips which somehow (black magic?) remain soft in the freezer.

Another local spot, UDF is part of the Lindner family’s businesses. UDF always has specials, changing fairly frequently and generally running $0.99 to $2.99.

Started as a gourmet popsicle cart in local markets, Streetpops now has a storefront in Over-the-Rhine. Watch for them at local festivals as well.

Yagoot Yogurt
The youngest of the local dairy-dessert purveyors, Yagoot is owned by the Busken family. Be sure to join the Yagoot email club to get special offers!


Deep India/ Adeep India
Deep has a small seating area, so may work better for takeout. The menu includes dishes not widely available at other Indian restaurants in Cinci, prices run slightly lower than competitors, flavors are vibrant and fresh.
Coupons in Bearcash.

Right across from Cincinnati State in a converted house, Dusmesh offers more variety than many Indian lunch buffets. (No dinner buffet is available.) Coupons in Bearcash.

Royal Taj
A bit further away from campus, Royal Taj has some of the best flavors in the city. A lunch buffet is small but of good quality. Setting is pleasant.

Indian Bistro
Near Eastgate, Indian Bistro offers a varied menu at a reasonable price: Lunch buffet $7.99 per person. Delicious food with some harder-to-find dishes.

Shaan Indian CuisineOffering a lunch buffet in addition to their regular menu items and coupons on their website, Shaan is a tasty option in Hyde Park Plaza.

Owned by the former owners of Dusmesh, Swad is a bit farther away from campus in North College Hill (map). Great buffet.

Baba India
In the Hyde Park/Oakley area.

Mediterranean & Mid-Eastern

Andy’s Mediterranean Grill
Local spot featuring $8 lunch specials. Try the labneh and shawarma wrap.

Marrakech Morrocan Cafe & Grill
Snug Moroccan restaurant serving traditional dishes & tea in an informal, brightly–painted interior.” Located in downtown Clifton. Delicious!

Baladi Restaurant & Bakery
Arabic and Syrian flavors near downtown Clifton.


Tacqueria Mercado
Authentic Mexican food at multiple locations in the metro area — the nearest just across from the Main Library. Lunch specials offer affordable introductions to authentic flavor.

Small, unique decor, authentic menu, salsa bar, delicious! Some outdoor seating also available.


Local “pizza-parlor” pizza, but offering salads, pasta, etc., as well.

Based on southern Indiana, Dewey’s features more “gourmet” pizza. Calzones are notable options as well. Coupons in Bearcash.

Papa John’s 
2723 Vine St, Cincinnati (513) 961-7272

2901 Vine St, Cincinnati (513) 751-6262