Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure through the vibrant food scene of Cincinnati! From famous chili to mouthwatering goetta, this ultimate Cincinnati food bucket list has got you covered. Whether you’re a local looking for new gastronomic experiences or a visitor eager to explore the city’s culinary delights, this list will take you on a flavor-filled journey, introducing you to iconic dishes, hidden gems, and everything in between. So grab your appetite and let’s dive into the delectable world of Cincinnati’s food culture.

Breakfast Spots

Taste of Belgium

When it comes to starting your day off right, Taste of Belgium definitely tops the list. Known for their delicious Belgian waffles and other brunch favorites, this cozy little spot is a breakfast lover’s dream. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory, you can’t go wrong with their mouthwatering menu options. Treat yourself to their signature Liege waffle topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, or indulge in their delectable Chicken and Waffles dish. With generous portions and friendly staff, Taste of Belgium is the perfect place to kickstart your morning.

Sleepy Bee Cafe

For a truly unique and wholesome breakfast experience, look no further than Sleepy Bee Cafe. They pride themselves on using locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients to create delicious and nutritious meals. From their famous Bee Cakes made with organic whole wheat flour to their Beet Bloody Mary, every item on their menu is crafted with love and care. Don’t miss out on their Bee Seed Granola Bowl, packed with superfoods and topped with fresh fruits. Make sure to try their Bee-Loved Breakfast Burrito, a delightful combination of eggs, black beans, avocado, and salsa. Sleepy Bee Cafe is a must-visit for those seeking a breakfast that nourishes both their taste buds and the environment.

First Watch

Looking for a breakfast spot that offers healthy options without compromising on flavor? First Watch is the place for you. With a focus on fresh ingredients and creative twists on classic dishes, they have something to satisfy every palate. Indulge in their mouthwatering Avocado Toast, topped with fresh herbs and lemon-dressed arugula. Or try their Million Dollar Bacon, a sweet and savory sensation. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, their Sunrise Sampler is a popular choice, featuring eggs, bacon, sausage, and a homemade muffin. With their warm and inviting atmosphere, First Watch is the perfect spot to kick off your day with a delicious and wholesome meal.

Maplewood Kitchen and Bar

Maplewood Kitchen and Bar is a trendy breakfast spot that embraces the farm-to-table concept. Their menu is filled with inventive and healthy options that are sure to impress. Start your day with their Acai Bowl, packed with antioxidants and topped with an array of fresh fruits and granola. If you’re in the mood for something savory, their Smashed Avocado Toast with poached eggs and feta cheese is a crowd favorite. Don’t forget to try their signature Maplewood Latte made with real maple syrup. With its sleek design and friendly staff, Maplewood Kitchen and Bar offers a chic breakfast experience that will leave you wanting more.

Local Favorites

Skyline Chili

No trip to Cincinnati is complete without trying the city’s beloved chili, and Skyline Chili is the go-to spot for a true taste of Cincinnati. This local favorite has been serving up their unique take on chili since 1949. What sets them apart is their secret recipe, combining ground beef and a special blend of spices with a touch of cocoa powder. Enjoy your Skyline Chili over spaghetti noodles with a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese on top for the famous “Three-Way.” Don’t forget to pair it with a side of their addictive oyster crackers. Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati staple that shouldn’t be missed.

Graeter’s Ice Cream

Indulge your sweet tooth at Graeter’s Ice Cream, a Cincinnati institution known for their rich and creamy frozen treats. Since 1870, this family-owned business has been handcrafting their ice cream using a French Pot process, producing a velvety texture that is unmatched. With flavors like Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Salted Caramel, every spoonful is a taste of heaven. Don’t leave without trying their signature Elena’s Blueberry Pie, a delightful combination of blueberry ice cream and homemade pie crust pieces. Graeter’s Ice Cream is a local favorite that will satisfy any ice cream lover’s cravings.

Montgomery Inn

For a taste of Cincinnati’s famous ribs, look no further than Montgomery Inn. Since 1951, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up their mouthwatering barbecued ribs, earning them a spot as one of Cincinnati’s go-to destinations. Each rib is slow-cooked to perfection and slathered with their signature tangy sauce. Pair your ribs with their famous Saratoga Chips or their creamy macaroni and cheese for the ultimate comfort food experience. With its rustic charm and finger-licking good food, Montgomery Inn is a must-visit for barbecue enthusiasts.

Tom + Chee

If you’re a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, then Tom + Chee is a local favorite you won’t want to miss. This quirky eatery takes the classic comfort food combination to a whole new level. Their menu features a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, from the classic “Plain Jane” to more adventurous options like the “Hippy+Chee” with avocado, alfalfa sprouts, and cucumber. Don’t forget to dip your sandwich in their mouthwatering tomato soup or opt for their famous “Grilled Cheese Donut” for a sweet and savory treat. Tom + Chee offers a fun and nostalgic dining experience that will leave you craving more.

The Ultimate Cincinnati Food Bucket List

Ethnic Cuisine

Mazunte Taqueria

Transport yourself to Mexico at Mazunte Taqueria, an authentic Mexican eatery dedicated to showcasing the flavors and traditions of Oaxaca. With their homemade tortillas and vibrant sauces, Mazunte Taqueria captures the essence of Mexican cuisine. Start your meal with their flavorful guacamole and chips or their famous street corn. Indulge in their delicious tacos, including the iconic Al Pastor and Carnitas options. For a complete experience, pair your meal with their refreshing Horchata or traditional Mexican soda. Mazunte Taqueria brings the vibrant and bold flavors of Mexico to Cincinnati.

Taste of Lebanon

Known for its warm hospitality and flavorful dishes, Taste of Lebanon invites you to experience the richness of Lebanese cuisine. From their famous falafel and hummus to their mouthwatering kebabs and shawarma, every dish is a celebration of Lebanese flavors. Don’t miss out on their traditional tabbouleh salad or their creamy baba ganoush. Finish off your meal with a cup of strong Lebanese coffee or a plate of sweet baklava. With its cozy atmosphere and attentive staff, Taste of Lebanon offers an unforgettable dining experience.


For an elegant and intimate dining experience, Sotto is a must-visit for lovers of Italian cuisine. Tucked away below street level, this hidden gem combines rustic charm with modern sophistication. Their menu features traditional Italian dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients and a touch of creativity. Start your meal with their tantalizing meatballs or their decadent burrata cheese. Indulge in their homemade pasta dishes, such as the classic Bolognese or their ever-changing risotto specials. With its dimly lit ambiance and exceptional service, Sotto provides a memorable night out for those craving Italian flavors.

Bridge View Tavern

For a taste of the Emerald Isle, head to Bridge View Tavern, a cozy Irish pub with a welcoming atmosphere. Dig into their traditional Irish fare, such as their Shepherd’s Pie or their Corned Beef and Cabbage. Don’t forget to try their famous fish and chips, served with a side of tartar sauce. Wash it all down with a pint of Guinness or one of their Irish whiskey selections. Bridge View Tavern is the perfect spot to enjoy a hearty meal and immerse yourself in Irish culture.

Burgers and Sandwiches

Terry’s Turf Club

When it comes to burgers that are as big on flavor as they are on size, Terry’s Turf Club is a local favorite. This quirky burger joint is known for its extensive menu of gourmet burgers and its eclectic, retro ambiance. Choose from their wide variety of burger options, ranging from classic beef to bison or even lamb. Customize your burger with a selection of gourmet toppings and cheeses, and pair it with their famous sweet potato fries for a truly satisfying meal. With its colorful decor and lively atmosphere, Terry’s Turf Club is a burger lover’s dream.

Gomez Salsa

For those seeking a taste of Mexican-inspired fusion cuisine, Gomez Salsa is the place to be. This vibrant eatery offers a unique twist on Mexican street food, with their specialty being their delicious and inventive salsa. From their Sonoran Hot Dog topped with pico de gallo to their mouthwatering vegetarian burritos, every dish is bursting with flavor and creativity. Make sure to try their famous “Cheese Zombie,” a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with homemade queso dip. Wash it all down with one of their refreshing Jarritos sodas or a Mexican Coca-Cola. Gomez Salsa is a must-visit for those seeking bold and adventurous flavors.

Zip’s Cafe

If you’re in the mood for a classic American burger joint experience, look no further than Zip’s Cafe. Since 1926, this local favorite has been serving up juicy burgers and crispy fries that have stood the test of time. Sink your teeth into their famous Zip Burger, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a special sauce. Don’t forget to order a side of their addictive Saratoga chips for the ultimate burger companion. With its retro vibes and friendly staff, Zip’s Cafe is a nostalgic spot that will satisfy any burger enthusiast.

Eli’s BBQ

For a taste of authentic barbecue, Eli’s BBQ is the place to be. This no-frills eatery is known for its slow-smoked meats and mouthwatering sauces. Whether you’re in the mood for pulled pork, brisket, or ribs, you can’t go wrong with any of their offerings. Pair your meat with their homemade sides, such as macaroni and cheese or baked beans, for a truly satisfying meal. With its laid-back atmosphere and finger-licking good food, Eli’s BBQ is a must-visit for barbecue lovers.

The Ultimate Cincinnati Food Bucket List

Fine Dining


If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience that showcases the finest ingredients and culinary techniques, Boca is the place for you. This elegant restaurant offers a modern take on classic French and Italian dishes, with a focus on seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. Indulge in their luxurious Lobster Risotto or their perfectly cooked Wagyu Beef Tenderloin. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive wine list for a truly exquisite dining experience. With its sophisticated ambiance and attentive service, Boca is the ideal destination for a special occasion or a night of indulgence.

Orchids at Palm Court

For a truly unforgettable fine dining experience, Orchids at Palm Court is a must-visit. Located in the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, this AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurant offers a combination of elegant cuisine and breathtaking Art Deco architecture. Their menu features beautifully prepared dishes made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. From their delicate seafood dishes to their perfectly cooked steaks, every bite is a work of art. Don’t forget to save room for one of their exquisite desserts, such as their Chocolate Torte or Lemon Tart. With its stunning surroundings and impeccable service, Orchids at Palm Court provides a dining experience that is truly unparalleled.

Jean-Robert’s Table

For a taste of French gastronomy right in the heart of Cincinnati, Jean-Robert’s Table is a must-visit. This upscale restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, offers a menu inspired by classic French cuisine with a modern twist. Indulge in their expertly crafted dishes, such as the Roasted Duck Breast or the Truffle Risotto. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive selection for the perfect culinary experience. With its sophisticated atmosphere and attentive staff, Jean-Robert’s Table provides a fine dining experience that will leave you wanting more.

The Precinct

For an upscale dining experience with a touch of history, The Precinct is a Cincinnati institution that shouldn’t be missed. Housed in a former police patrol house, this steakhouse offers a classic menu featuring prime cuts of meat and fresh seafood. Sink your teeth into their mouthwatering filet mignon or indulge in their famous New York Strip. Pair your meal with one of their expertly crafted cocktails or a glass of wine from their extensive list. With its cozy and intimate setting, The Precinct provides a memorable dining experience for steak lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

Seafood Specialties

The Anchor OTR

For a taste of the sea, The Anchor OTR is a seafood lover’s paradise. Located in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, this trendy restaurant offers a variety of fresh and sustainable seafood options. Start your meal off with their creamy clam chowder or delicious oysters on the half shell. Indulge in their flavorful Lobster Roll or their mouthwatering Shrimp Po’ Boy. Don’t miss out on their famous Lobster Mac and Cheese, a decadent dish that combines the richness of lobster with the comfort of macaroni and cheese. With its laid-back atmosphere and delicious food, The Anchor OTR is the perfect spot to satisfy your seafood cravings.

Oyster House

For those seeking a refined and intimate seafood dining experience, Oyster House is a hidden gem in Cincinnati. This cozy restaurant offers a variety of fresh oysters from both coasts, as well as other seafood specialties. Start your meal with their Oyster Sampler, a selection of oysters served with a variety of house-made sauces. Indulge in their Pan Roasted Halibut or their classic Crab Cake. Pair your meal with a glass of champagne or a craft cocktail from their extensive drink menu for the perfect seafood experience. With its charming atmosphere and attentive staff, Oyster House provides an elevated dining experience for seafood enthusiasts.

Court Street Lobster Bar

Transport yourself to the coast of New England at Court Street Lobster Bar, a casual seafood shack in the heart of Cincinnati. This vibrant eatery offers a variety of lobster dishes, from classic lobster rolls to lobster bisque. Don’t miss out on their Lobster Poutine, a delicious twist on the Canadian classic featuring fresh lobster meat. If you’re in the mood for something else, their menu also features other seafood options like crab cakes and shrimp po’ boys. With its laid-back vibe and friendly staff, Court Street Lobster Bar brings a taste of the ocean to the Midwest.

Mitchell’s Fish Market

For a seafood dining experience that combines elegance with a casual atmosphere, Mitchell’s Fish Market is the perfect destination. This upscale restaurant focuses on serving the freshest seafood available, flown in daily from around the world. Start your meal with their flavorful Seafood Chowder or their indulgent Maryland Style Crab Cakes. Indulge in their perfectly prepared Atlantic Salmon or their mouthwatering Lobster and Shrimp Pasta. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive wine list for the ultimate seafood experience. With its stylish surroundings and attentive service, Mitchell’s Fish Market offers a dining experience that is sure to impress.

The Ultimate Cincinnati Food Bucket List

Dessert Heaven

Holtman’s Donuts

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Holtman’s Donuts, a local favorite for all things fried and sugary. This family-owned bakery has been serving up fresh and delectable donuts since 1960. Choose from their wide selection of flavors, including classics like Glazed and Chocolate Sprinkle, as well as unique creations like Fruity Pebbles and Maple Bacon. Don’t miss out on their famous “Ooey Gooey” donut, a mouthwatering treat filled with cream and topped with chocolate ganache. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Holtman’s Donuts is the perfect spot to indulge in a sweet treat.

Macaron Bar

For a taste of Paris in Cincinnati, Macaron Bar is a must-visit for macaron enthusiasts. This charming bakery offers a variety of delicate and flavorful macarons in an array of colors and flavors. From classic options like Pistachio and Raspberry to more adventurous choices like Lavender Honey and Earl Grey, every bite is a little piece of heaven. Try their Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich for a delightful twist on the classic treat. Whether you’re a macaron connoisseur or a first-time taster, Macaron Bar is the perfect destination for those with a sweet tooth.

Busken Bakery

Indulge in the sweet treats of Busken Bakery, a Cincinnati institution that has been delighting locals since 1928. Known for their delicious cakes, cookies, and pastries, this family-owned bakery offers a wide selection of baked goods that are sure to satisfy any craving. Sink your teeth into one of their famous smiley face cookies or enjoy a slice of their moist and flavorful cake. Don’t miss out on their seasonal specialties, such as their Pumpkin Bread in the fall or their King Cake during Mardi Gras season. With its friendly staff and mouthwatering delights, Busken Bakery is the perfect place to treat yourself.

Happy Chicks Bakery

For those with dietary restrictions or looking for vegan and gluten-free options, Happy Chicks Bakery is a paradise for guilt-free indulgence. This charming bakery specializes in vegan and gluten-free baked goods that are made from scratch using high-quality and organic ingredients. From their mouthwatering cupcakes to their decadent brownies, every item on their menu is a delicious treat. Don’t miss out on their famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombs or their refreshing Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Happy Chicks Bakery offers a guilt-free dessert experience that everyone can enjoy.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Melt Eclectic Cafe

Vegetarian and vegan food lovers rejoice at Melt Eclectic Cafe, a cozy eatery that offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options made with fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Start your meal with their flavorful stuffed grape leaves or their crispy tofu bites. Indulge in their mouthwatering vegan burrito bowl or their classic vegan lasagna. Don’t forget to save room for their delicious vegan desserts, such as their Black Forest Cake or their Coconut Cream Pie. With its laid-back ambiance and friendly staff, Melt Eclectic Cafe provides a welcoming space for vegetarians and vegans to indulge in delicious and nutritious meals.

Myra’s Dionysus

Myra’s Dionysus is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant that offers a diverse menu inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. From their flavorful hummus and falafel platters to their nourishing grain bowls, every dish is crafted with care and attention to flavor. Make sure to try their famous “Super Falafel,” a hearty and satisfying sandwich filled with crispy falafel, fresh vegetables, and a tangy tahini sauce. With its cozy and relaxed atmosphere, Myra’s Dionysus is the perfect spot to enjoy a wholesome and delicious vegetarian or vegan meal.

Loving Hut

Loving Hut is a vegan restaurant that offers a wide range of plant-based dishes that are not only delicious but also environmentally friendly. Their menu features a variety of Asian-inspired dishes, from mouthwatering Thai curries to flavorful Vietnamese pho. Don’t miss out on their vegan sushi rolls or their delectable mock meat dishes. Finish off your meal with their refreshing vegan desserts, such as their Mango Sticky Rice or Coconut Ice Cream. With its bright and welcoming atmosphere, Loving Hut provides a guilt-free dining experience that is good for both your tastebuds and the planet.

Muse Cafe

For those seeking vegan options in a trendy and artistic setting, Muse Cafe is the place to be. This vibrant cafe offers a variety of vegan dishes made with high-quality and locally-sourced ingredients. Start your day off right with their savory Vegan Breakfast Burrito or their indulgent Vegan Pancakes. Indulge in their flavorful Vegan Bahn Mi or their satisfying Vegan Buddha Bowl for a wholesome lunch. Don’t forget to try their delicious vegan desserts, such as their Peanut Butter Cup Pie or their Chocolate Avocado Mousse. With its laid-back vibes and friendly staff, Muse Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious and guilt-free meal.

Food Festivals

Taste of Cincinnati

Taste of Cincinnati is a food festival that celebrates the culinary diversity of Cincinnati. This annual event features over 100 local restaurants, food trucks, and vendors, offering a wide variety of cuisines and flavors. From classic Cincinnati favorites like Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream to international dishes from around the world, there is something for everyone at this festival. In addition to the delicious food, Taste of Cincinnati also features live music and entertainment, making it a fun-filled event for the whole family. Don’t miss out on this iconic food festival that showcases the best of Cincinnati’s culinary scene.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Celebrate the German heritage of Cincinnati at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States. This annual festival takes place in downtown Cincinnati and features an array of German food, beer, and entertainment. Indulge in traditional German dishes like bratwurst, sauerkraut, and pretzels, while washing them down with a cold pint of beer. Don’t miss out on the infamous “Running of the Wieners,” a race featuring dachshunds in costume. With its lively atmosphere and authentic German flavors, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is a must-visit for food and beer enthusiasts alike.

Asian Food Fest

For those looking to explore the vibrant and diverse Asian food scene in Cincinnati, Asian Food Fest is the perfect event. This annual festival showcases the flavors of Asia through a variety of food vendors, offering dishes from countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and India. From sushi rolls to dumplings, curry to pho, every dish is a celebration of Asian cuisine. In addition to the delicious food, Asian Food Fest also features cultural performances and live entertainment, providing a fun and immersive experience for attendees. Immerse yourself in the rich and flavorful world of Asian cuisine at this lively festival.

Cincy Winter Beerfest

For beer lovers, Cincy Winter Beerfest is an event not to be missed. This annual festival brings together over 100 breweries from around the country to showcase their best craft beers. Sample a wide variety of beers, ranging from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, while enjoying live music and entertainment. With its festive atmosphere and endless beer options, Cincy Winter Beerfest is the perfect opportunity to discover new brews and mingle with fellow beer enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on this celebration of beer that has become a winter staple in Cincinnati. Cheers to good times and great beers!

Pizza Paradise

Dewey’s Pizza

Dewey’s Pizza is a beloved pizza joint in Cincinnati known for its creative and unique flavor combinations. Their menu features a variety of specialty pizzas, from the classic Margherita to the adventurous Edgar Allan Poe, topped with fig and goat cheese. Don’t miss out on their delicious salads, like the Southwest Chicken or the Greek, which make for the perfect accompaniment to their mouthwatering pizzas. Whether you prefer thin crust or deep dish, Dewey’s Pizza is a pizza paradise that will satisfy all your cheesy cravings.

Adriatico’s Pizza

Adriatico’s Pizza is a Cincinnati institution that has been serving up delicious pizza since 1981. Known for their thick and generous slices, Adriatico’s offers a variety of toppings and flavors that cater to every pizza lover’s tastes. From their classic Pepperoni Deluxe to their famous Buckeye Pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and onions, every slice is a taste of pizza perfection. Don’t forget to try their cheesy breadsticks or their loaded salads for a complete meal. With its laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff, Adriatico’s Pizza is the go-to spot for a pizza feast.

LaRosa’s Pizzeria

LaRosa’s Pizzeria is a Cincinnati staple that has been serving up delicious pizza since 1954. This family-owned pizzeria is known for its signature thin crust and tangy sauce, creating a unique and flavorful pizza experience. Choose from their wide variety of toppings and specialty pizzas, or create your own masterpiece. From the classic Pepperoni to the popular Meat Deluxe, every pie is made with love and attention to detail. Don’t forget to try their famous baked hoagies or their flavorful pasta dishes for a complete meal. With its cozy atmosphere and welcoming staff, LaRosa’s Pizzeria is the perfect spot to enjoy a slice of Cincinnati’s pizza history.

Goodfellas Pizzeria

Goodfellas Pizzeria brings a taste of New York to Cincinnati with their authentic and delicious pizzas. With their thin, foldable slices and generous toppings, Goodfellas creates the perfect pizza experience. From classic options like the Margherita and Pepperoni to their unique creations like the White Clam and the Hot Brown, every slice is a delight. Don’t miss out on their appetizers, such as the creamy garlic knots or the meatball sliders, for the perfect start to your meal. With its hip and lively atmosphere, Goodfellas Pizzeria is the go-to spot for pizza enthusiasts craving a taste of the Big Apple.

With this comprehensive guide to Cincinnati’s food scene and must-visit spots, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on a culinary adventure through the Queen City. Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast, a mouthwatering burger, or a fine dining experience, Cincinnati has something to offer every food lover. So grab your appetite and get ready to indulge in the flavors of this vibrant city. Bon appétit!

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