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Staff Picks

By Staff · March 29th, 2011 · Eats
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Best Taco Truck Without an Engine
aqueria Yolanditais the tiny taco trailer that stands beside Tienda La Centro America, a Latino grocery on Queen City Avenue. The menu is brief, but you’ve still got a tough choice — you’ll want to try everything that Rea, the owner, makes. Overstuffed tacos, priced at three for $6; burritos, quesadillas and tortas, all $7 each. Think you can eat Taqueria Yolandita’s tacos while driving? Think again. An order of three is a sit-down, eat-with-a-fork feast. The tortillas are heaped high with braised meat, fresh avocado, chopped onions and cilantro, quartered lemons (not limes) and slices of crisp radish. The chicken is popular, but I loved the pork (marinated al pastor) juicy and tender, with a smoky hotness that makes me purr. Burritos are served open-faced since they’re too full to roll up. And be sure to try the torta — a thick Mexican sandwich — slathered with mayonnaise and avocado and stuffed with barbecue (barbacoa). Legend has it that Mayan warriors asked to be buried with one of these sandwiches to eat in the afterlife. OK, I made that up , but it should be true. Try it and see. 2157 Queen City Ave., Fairmount/Westwood, 513-551-0828. (Anne Mitchell)

Best Damn Pie When You Least Expect It
People go to Anchor Grill to get their goetta on either right before or during major hangovers. Once inside the cozy confines, the linoleum and smoky haze might make them forget that the world contains sweeter things. Tattoo this on yourself, like the guy in Memento: Order Peanut Butter Pie at the Anchor Grill. It could save everything. 438 Pike St., Covington, 859-431-9498.

Best Bread Not for Sandwiches
Nicola’s might be the best restaurant in Cincinnati, and one of its most breathtaking offerings is its not-so-humble basket of bread. If Nicola’s sold paintings of this work-of-art presentation, we’d buy one. It’s a masterpiece. Delicate morsels of yeast dough, brushed with truffle oil or topped with micro-thin slices of zucchini or tomato and sprinkled with sea salt, or stuffed with smooth eggplant paste, or pulled into tall crisp grissini... Stop... Save room for dinner. 1420 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-6200.

Best Bar Snacks
Perhaps owing to the fact that they run a pretty nice restaurant as well, Four Entertainment Group’s bars tout some bitchin’ bar snacks for their patrons to enjoy with their libation of choice. Try keeping your hands out of the three-compartment bowls on The Righteous Room’s bar, which the bartenders keep stocked with Feta cheese stuffed olives, wasabi peas and candied almonds. At The Lackman, pair your local microbrew with the Yankee Doodle Deli’s gourmet spicy or sweet pretzels. They go great with anything. The Righteous Room: 641 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-381-4408; The Lackman: 1237 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0741.

Best Trip to the Mediterranean
Too many of our Mediterranean restaurants have a fast-food or college-student orientation, and their food can be pretty uninspiring. But Café Mediterranean in the Anderson Town Center not only offers a refined, relaxing setting but the food and service are also superb. One of our favorite current meals in any Cincinnati restaurant just might be its red lentil soup with swordfish kabobs, salad and homemade pita. 7454 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Twp., 513-232-2400.

Best Gluttonous Use of a Public Space
With all the revelry that takes place there throughout the year, Fountain Square carries this one home. I mean, really, an Oyster Festival sponsored by Guinness? Add to that not one but two beer festivals, Taste of Cincinnati and Oktoberfest. Need we go on? Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. www.myfountainsquare.com.

Best Marriage of Music and Food
And booze. The folks behind MOTR Pub, the newest addition to the wave of awesome sweeping OTR, brought their years of experience in the music and food worlds together to develop the new pub in the former Cooper’s space on Main Street. MOTR serves up great musical acts and tasty grub every evening, but don’t miss out on their spicy Bloody Marys and Migas Tacos during Sunday brunch. They are the light at the end of any fuzzy Saturday night tunnel. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-6687.

Best Brunch with Dessert
runch is like gay church, and finding a trifecta of delicious dishes, reasonable prices and well-designed atmosphere is like the Holy Grail for a Sunday morning. And Cincinnati is lousy with great brunch options (we’re lucky that way). But our current Sunday morning bliss is Take the Cake’s brunch. Each week’s menu is new and inventive variations on basics like shrimp and grits, eggs benedict and bread pudding French toast, with very fresh ingredients and bodacious baked goods. If you can resist eating your whole meal, you might have have room for a dessert, for which they are obviously famous. It is by far the best carrot cake we have ever had in our lives. 4035 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-241-2772. (Matt Morris)

Best Place to get Hammered Before Dinner Even Arrives
Cancun, Western Hills. The authentic Mexican food is off the chain, but if you plan on ordering a jumbo margarita (yes, even if you’re sharing), you best call a cab now because those perfectly frozen behemoths pack a punch. 6383 Glenway Ave., Bridgetown, 513-574-1639; additional location at 11930 Hamilton Ave., Pleasant Run, 513-851-6310.

Best French Fries
OK, this one is a tie. The Rookwood’s fries are everything you could want in a French fry: thin, fresh and flavorful, crispy and a little salty. But Senate’s truffle fries, with their truffle and thyme froufrou and accompanying aioli, never fail to satisfy. Both restaurants offer a second option, too: Grippo Fries at the Rookwood (yep, with Grippo barbecue seasoning), and Duck Fat Fries at Senate. Rookwood: 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-421-5555; Senate: 1212 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-2020.

Best Place to Feel Like Family
Oriental Wok in Fort Mitchell is freaking fantastic. We don’t know if it’s the delicious food, the 1980s staircase in the dining room or that owner Mike Wong will sit at your table and, with beer in hand, demand that he whip you up something special. He will also make excellent jokes about the Viagra Shrimp Cocktail. There’s an oxymoron in there somewhere. 317 Buttermilk Pike, Fort Mitchell, 859-331-3000.

Best Vegan Desserts
ou don’t need cream with your ice for your frozen dessert to be decadent. The lovely sister duo from Phro*ZEN vegan dessertsbelieve that everyone deserves happiness, including vegans and those with food allergies. Luckily, happiness in the consistency of ice cream can be found in their delicious frozen desserts, which promote peaceful living, Buddhist philosophy and are a “taste of Nirvana.” Recent flavors include Mint Cookie Meditation, Chocolate Chili Kiss and Raspberry Rhapsody. All flavors are animal free and they even make a special allergy-free line. Ice cream for everyone! Readily available at Park Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, twitter.com/Phrozenicecream. (Maija Zummo)

Best Intimate Brunch Across the River
Bellevue Bistro is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Serving breakfast sautés, goetta sandwiches and a variety of other sandwiches and salads for lunch, BB is a great place for an intimate breakfast or brunch. Get there early! 313 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, 859-581-5600.

Best Place to Channel Carol Channing and Exclaim, “I Don’t Remember Eating Corn!”
There are a dozen reasons to go to the popular Riverside Korean (and those dozen reasons are the banchan that traditionally start the meal: little dishes of pickled radish, kimchi, salad and other sour-sweet bites to nom). But along with your bibimbap, you might consider getting a pot (or three) of their hot tea. The oksusu-cha is made with roasted corn, though the flavor you taste is nutty and warm. To be sure, it traverses a bit outside typical American flavor profiles, but on a chilly day, there’s nothing better. 512 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-291-1484.

Best Breakfast for Hungover Vegetarians Who Date Hungover Meat-Eaters
Two words: vegetarian gravy. Keystone Bar and Grill in Covington allows everyone to indulge in the glory of a decadently heavy hangover breakfast by offering both sausage and vegetarian gravy. Everything is better with gravy on it, right? Add a Bloody Mary and keep the party going! 313 Greenup St., Covington, 859-261-7777.

Best Way to Save Money at Local Restaurants
We try not to toot our own horn, but The Best of Cincinnati card is the best deal in town, saving its possessors 40 percent at the various restaurants that take part in the program. The process is simple: For every $12 you load onto your card, you get $20 in food at such places as Maury’s Tiny Cove, Washington Platform, Indigo and Mokka. Participating restaurants change often, so get over to www.bestofcincinnaticard.com to get the complete lowdown.

Best Use of Non-Flammable Fire
Jungle Jim’s annual Weekend of Fire in mid-summer celebrates hot sauces of all flavors, featuring hot sauce eating contests, cooking classes, a hot lollipop licking contest and a cigar smoking zone. Don’t be scared. 5440 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield, 513- 674-6000, www.junglejims.com/weekendoffire.

Best Restaurant Boom Neighborhood
The rebirth of Downtown’s and Over-the-Rhine’s restaurant and bar scene is nothing to gloss over.

The presence and persistence of great new establishments like Mr. Sushi, A Tavola, Lunar Lounge and many more mark a new era for the central business district. It’s one of prosperity and popularity — even among the uncertainty of the rest of the economy. We’ll drink to that!

Best Cheater Stop at Findlay Market
ere’s the dilemma: How can you fool everyone into thinking you spent your day over a hot stove while still serving something healthy and local for dinner? Your one-stop shop is Fresh Tableat Findlay Market. Meredith Trombly, Louis Snowden and their staff do all the hard parts — finding the best locally sourced ingredients, cooking 40-50 delicious and beautifully presented dishes every day and even making sure the carry-out containers are compostable. All you need to do is put the results on the table and you’re green and golden. I love their roast beets with onions and chevre, and the Thai tofu cakes are superb. There’s curried chicken salad and eggless egg salad for lunch, or a long, lean slab of grilled wild-caught salmon for supper. Many of their ingredients are sourced right from other vendors at the Market. To keep from using too much paper, the menu is posted on Facebook. You can order ahead, drive by and pick up at curbside during the week. Open Tuesday–Sunday for your “I can’t believe it’s not homemade” needs. Box lunches and catering, too. 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3774. (Anne Mitchell)

Best Queso Dip
We have a weakness for anything cheesy, and it often results in us choosing a restaurant based on what sort of cheesiness we can obtain there. Taquiera Mercado has the best queso dip we’ve had outside of the Southwestern states. It’s not at all lumpy, it’s got a bite to it and we will fight our companions for the last drops. 100 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-381-0678.

Best Lunchtime Dessert Deal
Have you saved any room for dessert? At Skirtz and Johnston Fine Pastries and Chocolates in Findlay Market, hopefully you have. Primarily a pastry and chocolates shop, they’ve also gotten into the business of lunch, with a menu of sandwiches, side salads and soups. Every sandwich we’ve eaten has been exceptional, and the tahini dressing makes the simple salad delicious. Eating in grants you a beautiful atmosphere, always thoughtfully accented by creative floral displays. But the best part is the $1.50 price for a slice of cake (or cupcakes, as are often available). The sandwich and salad portions are reasonably sized, so that one of their dreamy desserts doesn’t over fill. 113 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-1286.

Best Reason to Get Out of Bed on a Sunday
The waffles at Taste of Belgium: the crispy outside, the crunch of the sugar, the heady smell of them as you walk through Findlay Market ... those are all very good reasons to get up and moving on a Sunday (or, really, any day of the week!). 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3280; Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, Downtown, 513-333-7744.

Best Place to Be a Regular
We don’t even go to Zip’s that regularly but the servers recognize us anyway. They ask us how the kids are doing, if we want our usual drink orders and they make sure we get the biggest portion of cheese fries at the table to go with our favorite burger. 1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-871-9876.

Best Use of Pink
Madisono’s Pink Grapefruit Sorbet has just the right amount of delectable tartness and appealing sweetness, and the taste balance is enhanced by a rosy pinkness emboldened with actual bits of grapefruit. Findlay Market, 110 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-772-3920 or go to www.madisongelato.com to find other retailers.

Best Hole-in-the-Wall Chinese
Yat Ka Mein in Hyde Park is the embodiment of an under-appreciated yet authentic joint. The guy in the kitchen was the chef at the late, lamented Pacific Moon and the best eats aren’t listed on the menu. He will accommodate any food needs, and it’s a great place for vegetarians. The hot pots are wonderful and his chicken soup is the best. The number of Chinese students who frequent it is probably the best testimony. 3646 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-2028.

Best Place to Feel Like You’re in an Old Movie
Sky Galley Restaurant at Lunken Field. Watching all the planes coming and going and sitting in the historic Art Deco space makes us feel like we’re the heroine in an old, black-and-white movie. The Potato Rags are so worth the five hours of cardio you’ll have to do to negate the calories: fries are stacked high and topped with ranch dressing, two cheeses, diced tomatoes, green onions and chopped bacon. 262 Wilmer Ave., East End, 513-871-7400.

Best Granola for Locavores
Created by GiGi’s Fine Food (based in Covington), GiGi’s Omega-3 Granola is healthier than the stuff you’ll find at your neighborhood grocer, with organic steel cut oats, golden flax seed and ground flax meal giving it an extra jolt of healthiness. Available at Whole Foods Markets and a few other shops in Northern Kentucky. www.gigisfinefood.com.

Best Late-Night Walk-Up Pizza Window
What do drunk people love more than dancing, making out with strangers and greasy eggs? PIZZA! Northslice is Northside’s friendly neighborhood walk-up pizza window (take out and restaurant) where you can get pizza by the slice — cheese, pepperoni, sausage, supreme, veggie and/or vegan — for $2.50-$3.25 until 3 a.m. on weekends. It’s delicious, but then again most food is after several beers. 1609 Chase Ave., Northside, 513-541-5858.

Best Way to Catch a Chocaholic Locavore
he chocaholic locavore is an animal rarely spotted in captivity — they like it wild. The best way to tame them is by offering beautiful, handcrafted local chocolates from Chocolats LaTour. The goodness of fair-trade chocolate, local ingredients and earth-friendly packaging puts them off their guard. One bite — say of chocolate flavored with Mt. Carmel Brewery Stout Ale — and you’ve captured them. Move on to a chocolate bar with sweet caramel, toasted pecans and the heat of local chili powder and you’ll have them eating out of your hands. Join the Chocolate Club to keep it coming. Before you know it, you’ll be buying a box to celebrate your anniversary. Shalini LaTour, chocolatier extraordinaire, is also a yoga teacher who’s beautifully fit in spite of daily exposure to cocoa nibs. See, we knew chocolate really was good for you. To find a retailer near you, go to www.chocolatslatour.com. (Anne Mitchell)

Best Place to Feel Like You’re in Your Friend’s Kitchen
Leah and Sierra have spent the past year welcoming people into their tiny space at ForkHeartKnife in Over-the-Rhine, offering amazing food and chats about shoes and dips and goings-on in the restaurant industry. The prices are so reasonable that two people can order one of everything on the menu and still walk out with change in their pockets. They recently announced that they will not be renewing the lease at their current space, so you have until the end of April to stop in one last time. 1437 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3451.

Best Surprise After First-Time Order
Imagine you’re sitting in a friendly Northside bar for the first time with some friends who inform you that the bar’s kitchen offers gourmet hot dogs. You’re probably going to be like, “Sure, I like hot dogs.” If you’re at Mayday it’s likely that the hot dog you’re served looks 50-times better than you expected and tastes really great (you didn’t realize while circling all your favorite toppings on the paper menu that this place is serious about hot dogs?). There are classic options such as the brat, mett and vegan dog to go along with the gourmet offerings: goetta dog, jalapeno pepper jack mett, Mexican chorizo and Polish kielbosa. Put a check next to the onions, grilled peppers and spicy mustard if you want to, no judgments. 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-541-0999.

Best Spicy Pretzels
Pretzels are kind of boring. They’re hard dough with salt on them, but Zels are different — a line of flavored pretzels from local company Yankee Doodle Deli. The Deli makes “spi-zels,” which are amazing spicy little pretzels you can’t stop stuffing in your mouth, “honey gla-zels” and “cinna-zels.” They’re available locally at the Party Source, Jungle Jim’s and assorted other locations including Coffee Emporium, where they’re served as a side. www.yankeedoodledeli.com.

Best Pastrami
Unless you had a bubbie (that’s a Jewish Grandmother) at home by the stove, Cincinnatians used to have to go to New York or to Cleveland to know kreplach from kasha and kugel from knishes. No longer! Now, we have Rascals’ NY Deli in Blue Ash, and long may it prosper. You’ve absolutely got to have the Pastrami. It’s the best pastrami that’s ever passed our lips. So moist! Not fatty, but so juicy that it melts in your mouth. Even the Turkey Pastrami is impressive. 9525 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-429-4567.

Best Place to Get a Bite and Some Culture
The Taft Museum of Art Cafe. The Taft salad is delightful: greens with blue cheese, pineapple, dried cranberries and orange basil balsamic vinaigrette. Add a cup of soup and sit outside in the garden in the spring, then browse the impressive collection of art afterward. So civilized! 316 Pike St., Downtown, 513-241-0343.

Best Reincarnation
We loved it for years and were despondent when it shut the doors a few years ago, but Neon’s is back and better than ever. From their unique daily drink specials and friendly staff to the best (and maybe biggest) outdoor patio in the city, what’s not to love? Check out the bocce courts as you mingle with friends over a cocktail. Also, there are always live bands in the summer and a grill going with burgers, brats, metts and awesome real Nathan’s hot dogs. 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-827-9361.

Best Food Trend
Proving Mark Twain right once again, food trucks finally hit the downtown scene in 2010. These staples of both coasts, which have now descended on the Queen City, are offering some great and different food at amazing prices. Follow them around town or stumble on to one after a night out at the bars.

Best Unorthodox Donut
Tom Chee’s Grilled Cheese Donut ($3), with grilled cheddar on a glazed hole-in-one. Wash that down with a bowl of their homemade pepperoni pizza soup and you’ll feel like Homer Simpson in food utopia. Downtown’s latest lunchtime entry also features fine options like Rabbit Mac and Cheese, a Pesto Turkey grilled cheese on sourdough and the BBQ Bacon, flavored with cult favorite Grippo’s barbecue chips. 133 Court St., Downtown, 513-721-2433.

Best Multitasking
Riverside Drive Thru and BBQ. Drive-thru’s are pretty much a West Side staple, but Riverside is way different in that they also serve up some kick-ass BBQ. You can drive in and get everything you need from chips and beer to an amazing pulled-pork loaded baked potato. The sauce is a vinegar-based, peppery concoction that will keep you coming back for more. 2790 River Road, Price Hill, 513-471-1111.

Best Reason to Prove That Oprah Isn’t Always Right
Aunt Flora of Aunt Flora’s House of Soul. CityBeat discovered Aunt Flora before Oprah did, but we still want to show her our love. Although Aunt Flora stumbled on her journey to become Oprah’s Next TV Star on the OWN network, she will forever be our Queen of Soul Food. Aunt Flora makes delicious yet still healthy Southern comfort food. You have to try the collard greens. And the cobbler, well, it’s better than sex. 7207 Montgomery Road, Silverton, 513-791-7437.

Best Non-Pizza Delivery
Suzie Wong’s has great Asian food in a cool, urban atmosphere, but what’s even better is that they deliver to your door. They have a delivery area that stretches from Oakley to Downtown so that you can better enjoy that amazing Cambodian Carpaccio and Malaysian Chicken. 1544 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-751-3333.

Best Restaurant Offering a Free Side of Jazz
Dee Felice Cafe was founded 27 years ago by the late Emidio “Dee” deFelice, a musician who started the Dee Felice Trio, which recorded a 1969 album, Gettin’ Down To It, with the godfather of soul himself, James Brown. The Covington restaurant offers live Jazz on a stage elevated behind the bar, which perfectly accentuates a Creole or Cajun dinner or casual drinks in the space’s New Orleans-style atmosphere. It’s also smoke-free, which is nice when you’re eating food or not trying to poison yourself. 529 Main St., Covington, 859-261-2365.

Best Vegan Baked Goods
While we are generally a carnivorous bunch, our vegan friends justifiably rave about the all-vegan baked goods made by Mary Beth King of Sweet Peace Bakery. Her products can be freshly shipped daily or are available at select specialty markets around town, including Park Vine, Clifton Natural Foods and Melt. Once you try the Butterfinger Bar you might never do dairy again. Got Milk? No. www.sweetpeacebakery.com.

Best Vegetarian BLT
Bacon smells good to everyone, even vegetarians (don’t lie). And sometimes vegetarians want to pretend to eat it. Thankfully, Tucker’s offers a fake-bacontastic double-decker BLT loaded with crispy veggie bacon (no soggy dog biscuit-tasting stuff), full of flavor with tomato, lettuce and hearty helping of mayo. It ain’t really healthy, but it’s effing good. 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-7123.

Best Old-School Chinese
For decades Chung Ching has been a fixture in College Hill. Full of regular customers, it’s time the rest of the city remembers this awesome mom-and-pop casual Chinese spot. Their Szechuan Crisp Shrimp is worth the drive up Hamilton Avenue alone, but the duck is always the star of the show. 5842 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-541-1243.

Best Trip to Florence
While Findlay Market isn’t the Ponte Vecchio, you might think that you are in Florence (Italy, not Kentucky) after you experience the amazing gelato at Dojo Gelato. There are always at least a dozen or more unexpected flavors (think avocado) to try of this hand-crafted Italian-style ice cream. Flavors change seasonally, but that is nothing more than an excuse for you to justify a scoop or two at every visit to the market. 137 Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-328-9000.

Best Guilty Pleasure
Chef Josh Campbell at Mayberry is simply amazing. Everything at Mayberry makes us feel good, but the one single item that is a must-have is the sinfully delicious tater tot casserole. We would order it for the name alone, but the dish is in fact really damned good. Mayberry also has probably the best BLT in town: the B is pepper bacon, the L is gouda and leek fondue and the T is roasted tomato compote. Thank you, Josh, for giving us this guilty pleasure. 915 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-5999.

Best Place To Eat Small Portions of Meat on Sticks
Those of us who subsist off journalism salaries rarely experience the treat that is restaurant-quality steak or seafood. Enter Ichiban, whose Robotayaki appetizers (Japanese-style grilled skewers) are just the answer. For $4-$6 you can enjoy two sticks of such delicious meats as beef fillet and duck breast or seafoods like shrimp, scallop or salmon to go with your reasonably priced sushi rolls. 1020 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-321-8686.

Best Food Bar and Micro Market
From the makers of Melt Eclectic Deli comes Picnic and Pantry, Northside’s best and only grocery. Come for brunch, lunch, take-home dinners or food: high-quality staples like artisan cheese, fresh and organic dairy, dairy alternatives, house-made baked bread, local and natural/organic snacks, farm-raised local cage free eggs, bulk food and eco-friendly cleaning supplies and paper products. “Specializing in the homegrown menu mentality, Picnic and Pantry strongly supports the use of sustainable products and offers biodegradable dishes, cutlery and practices a drop off/pick up of fine platters that will enhance any meal.” Yes. 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-681-8600.

Best Brunch Fit for a King (And His Court)
Orchids at Palm Court’s Sunday brunch buffet is a life-altering experience, offering a smorgasbord of options that make choosing just a few (or 10) an impossible endeavor: everything from delicious made-to-order omelets to French toast to salmon to exquisite cheeses to an array of dreamy pastries that will leave you slouched in your chair basking in a brunchtastic afterglow. And all for $29.95. 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100.

Best Newcomer
How good is master chef Jean-Robert de Cavel’s new dining adventure, the aptly named Jean-Robert’s Table? Very good. Less formal than his previous establishments, the Table offers seasonal French cuisine with a modern twist, reasonably priced wine and specialty cocktail options and absolutely delicious desserts. 713 Vine St., Downtown, 513-621-4777.

Best Global Flair in Pleasant Ridge
Considering that Emanu has been open for several years, it still seems to be a relatively well-kept secret in Pleasant Ridge. But it is truly one of the most delicious dining experiences available in Cincinnati. Chef Emanu Mogos’ lovingly prepared stews of spicy meats and soul-food renditions of cabbage or greens would be enjoyable for anyone who likes Indian food. Ethiopian is eaten with injera, a crepe-like bread with a yeasty flavor that diners use to pick up pinches of their dinner. Emanu is very vegetarian friendly, and some of their lentil dishes or the vegetarian combination plate are among the best fare on the menu. 6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge. 513-351-7686.

Best Indian Food In Clifton (and that’s saying something)
Dusmesh isn’t part of the main drag of the Gaslight District’s shops and restaurants. It’s further down, across from Cincinnati State, on your way to Northside. And while many of the curries and kormas in our local options are fairly interchangeable (and all relatively good), Dusmesh brings a little extra to all of the elements of the meal. Take, for example, the Kashmiri Naan, flat bread stuffed with dried fruit and nuts that brings complexity to a bread that is usually just used to sop up extra curry. All of the entrées have a depth of flavor, more fresh herbs and nuance than we might be accustomed to, and I’ve never had such tender lamb in a local Indian restaurant. Dusmesh is currently BYOB, so come prepared. 944 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-221-8900. (Matt Morris)



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