Flavor: Bonefish Grill is a nice, upscale chain of fresh seafood restaurants in the South and Midwest. Their fish is certainly top quality — both in the year-round and seasonal varieties they feature — and the preparations can be quite minimal and delicious, like wood-grilled grouper with mango salsa or fresh fish tacos.
Flair: Both the Hyde Park and Buttermilk Pike locations of Bonefish are date-friendly and offer good happy hour prices in the bar area. They are affiliated with several sustainable seafood organizations. Winner of “Best Seafood.”
2737 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-5222; 588 Buttermilk Pike, Crescent Springs, 859-426-8666. Open 7 days. $9-$25.
Flavor: This riverside upscale chain restaurant serves steak and seafood with New England, Caribbean and Southern influences. Start with a steaming bowl of creamy clam chowder, a succulent shrimp cocktail or beautifully seared ahi tuna. Signature entrées include Snapper “Hemingway” and a Slow-roasted Prime Rib for the landlubber in your party.
Flair: Massive windows offering a panoramic view of the bridges straddling the Ohio give this dining room an upscale feel. Even better is the view from the patio.
405 Riverboat Row, Newport, 859-261-0300. Open 7 days. $12-$40.
Four Seasons Boatyard Grill & Pirates Cove
Flavor: A recent menu change offers a more affordable dinner with the same high-quality dishes. Four Seasons still offers fresh seafood with all types of fish, shrimp items and pastas, but it didn’t forget about its great salmon, prime rib, pork chops and chicken. Saturday nights feature a sailor’s seafood buffet feast complete with oysters on the half shell, peel and eat shrimp, Alaskan snow crab, and many other selections.
Flair: Billed as the only floating restaurant in Cincinnati, a unique treasure operating in one of only three car-carriers remaining in the country.
The accommodations are snug and private, with portholes delivering modest vistas of the yachts docked outside. An open-air dining area and live music from an array of local bands add another dimension. Pirates Cove invites smokers to light up on the patio while enjoying the music and extensive seafood appetizer selections.
4609 Kellogg Ave., East End, 513-871-1820. Open 7 days. $9-$35.
McCormick & Schmick’s
Flavor: Their large menu created daily will sure to please all palates. Start with fresh Oysters or Black Mussels and a bottle of wine from their expansive wine list while you ponder the specialties such as Mahi Mahi and Chilean Sea Bass. Not in the mood for seafood? They also offer steak and chicken. You must go for happy hour and sample the deeply discounted menu.
Flair: A pretty large restaurant, but the décor makes it feel cozy. Dark wood, white tablecloths and an impeccable staff make for a great evening.
21 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-9339. Open 7 days. $10-$30.
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Flavor: You know you want the Chilean Sea Bass prepared in Mitchell’s signature “Shang Hai” style with ginger, scallions and rice wine soy sauce. Mitchell’s (a national chain with restaurants all over the eastern half of the country) keeps the fish fresh and your favorite presentation in mind.
Flair: Perfect for a casual meal after a movie or date-style pre-movie eats. You can’t beat the view or the quiet ambiance.
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-291-7454; 9456 Waterfront Drive, West Chester, 513-779-5292. Open 7 days. $8-$30.
Mt. Adams Fish House
Flavor: Mt. Adams Fish House is a modern seafood restaurant. That means they serve sushi and flavorful unique dishes, not your typical heavily battered cheap piece of cod. Come hungry, because with entrées like the surf and turf — an 8-ounce filet and a pound of king crab legs — you’re going to need every bit of space in your stomach.
Flair: Perfect for a night out in lively Mount Adams and a great place to drop some cash on a date without having to get too dressed up.
940 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513-421-3250. Open 7 days. $19-$40.
Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant
Flavor: Perhaps best known for the annual Oyster Festival, this place also organizes a clam bake with all-you-can-eat clams, crawfish, shrimp, mussels, corn on the cob and baby red potatoes. Regularly serves fish, steak, pasta and Cajun-style entrées such as Grilled Salmon topped with Lobster Butter and the Creole Combo (Cajun grilled chicken with Southern fried oysters).
Flair: The bar area offers a relaxed, old-school saloon atmosphere while the Canal Room provides a more fashionable experience with white linens and glass-topped tables.
Court and Elm streets, Downtown, 513-421-0110. Open Monday-Saturday. $13-$20.