07 August 2006

Clark Street Blog Best of Cincinnati

Back when CityBeat’s BOC issue came out, I started thinking of some of my “Best Ofs”. Since I don’t have anything to post today, here are some of my local favorites instead:

Best Liquor & Beer Store: I like Cork & Bottle. Easy access, easy parking, good selection, knowledgeable and friendly staff. If Party Source is a Cray then Cork & Bottle is a PC. And how often do you really need a Cray? Also, Cork & Bottle carries my favorite beer, Christian Moerlein, and Party Source does not (at least I’ve never seen it).

Best Wine Shop: The best selection is Party Source, but Cork & Bottle suffices for 99% of my wine needs. I only check Party Source if I’m looking for something hard to find.

Best Restaurant w/ a View: Hooters. Okay, just kidding. Actual best views: The Pavilion from the east; Primavista from the west; Mike Fink from the south.

Best Bagels: Dunkin’ Donuts. Busken has good bagels, too. Both are lighter (airier) than Bruegger’s or Marx’s.

Best Bakery: Servati’s. I like their pumpkin and blueberry muffins and all those little desserts they make. Their iced cookies are better than Busken’s.

Best Burgers: Oakley pub. I ordered it medium-rare, and it came medium-rare. Three times. It’s the only place in this city that has done that. The fries are great too, as is everything else I’ve had on the menu. The only thing I didn’t like is the chili burger- didn’t like the flavor and messy to eat. The Oakley Pub may be small, but they don’t mess around in the kitchen. Special mention: the ostrich burger at Habits (right across the street).

Best Cheap Eats: Potbelly sandwich shop. I loved this place when I lived in Chicago and I love it now that it’s here. And I don’t have to park a mile away, at least not in the summer.

Best Chili (non-chain): Camp Washington Chili. The meatiest of the Cincinnati chilis. Dixie Chili (Monmouth St., N.Ky.) is also pretty good and meaty, but I find it a bit bland. I like a little kick.

Best Fish & Chips: I like the Green Derby's best. I also like Nicholson's. For quick carry-out, you can't beat the Alabama Fish Bar.

Best Chinese: Doodles in Hyde Park and Shanghai Mama’s downtown. Lately I’ve liked the Singapore noodles at Shanghai Mama’s. I also know the owner, and she’s a good person. Eat at Shanghai Mama’s.

Best Coffeehouse: The non-smoking Sitwell’s.

Best Deli: I like the rare roast beef from Avril’s (Court St.). I like the smoked turkey from Mike’s Meats (Findlay Mkt.). I like the baked ham from Ebert’s Meats (Monmouth St.). For one-stop shopping, I like the Clifton IGA.

Best Desserts: Take the Cake (Main & Liberty). It’s mostly cakes made to order rather than conventional desserts, but it’s great stuff. For normal desserts, Servati’s is good, and of course I think we all have a special place in our hearts for Graeter’s ice cream pies.

Best Ice Cream: It’s heresy to say anything besides Graeter’s, but the best ice cream is Cold Stone Creamery. And don’t forget about Agalamesis, either. Their mocha chip is great, as is their chocolate mint (very minty). In hot weather like this, the Dutch Holland chocolate shake really hits the spot.

Best Indian: I haven’t been to Cumin (Erie Ave, Hyde Park), but reliable sources say it’s the best. The chef came from Sitar (Hunt Rd, Blue Ash), which was the best when he was there.

Best Pizza (non-chain): Dewey’s. I haven’t been to ZZ’s (Walnut Hills) in a while, but I used to live near there and liked it a lot. If anybody has been there recently please comment.

Best Sandwiches: Izzy’s. Paula’s Deli in Findlay Mkt. also makes the best sandwiches, but offers fewer choices. I’ve had Paula’s reuben, pastrami & swiss, and “The Cuban” and they’re all great. Be sure to peruse Paula’s deli case, too. Good stuff in there.

Best Wings: The jumbo wings at Habits Café in Oakley.

15 comments:

KatieG said...

awww man... you almost make me wanna live in cincinnati....

CincyDaddy said...

Camp Washington is definitely the best chili. Great choice!

I would add that Dewey's also has the best Calzones in the city. They are huge and delicious!!

Anonymous said...

Party Source has multiple varities of Moerlein.

Dilly Deli or Piazza Discepoli (sp?) are the best wine stores in town.

Jim Meeker said...

The Cork 'n Bottle is the best wine store in town. They carry less of the 'grocery store' variety wines (the kind of crap you would find at Krogers)than the Party Source does, but they bring in a better selection of hand crafted wines. The Cork's wine prices are better that the Party Sources to boot. Why anyone would pay Ohio prices for wine os beyond me.

As to bagels, I woulder if you have ever had a real bagel before? those 'airy' bagels are just buns woth holes in the middle.

China Gourmet is hands down the best Chinese restaurant in town, and The Celstial in Mt. Adams has bar none the best viwe in the city.

gerard said...

ZZ's is closed. But they did have damn good pizza.

Anonymous said...

Sitwells??????

Do you drink their coffee- it's terrible! Although the servers, John and Lock, are good.

For great coffee near there try Sidewinders in Northside

Anonymous said...

Christian Moerlein is available at the Party Source in all varieties. I usually buy beer in 12 packs, so I can tell you it's in the second section of the big islands of beer, next to the German beers in 12 packs. I've seen their original, dunkel, Hefeweizen, and other seasonals every time I've looked. Also, if you're a fan of wheat beers, you ought to try Franziskaner. Usually available for about $13 or $14 a 12-pack at Party Source.

Joe said...

Great list; great idea. Glad someone caught that ZZ's closed - about 1 1/2 years ago, citing the owner's declining health.

I'd also say that Dewey's is pretty much a chain now, though homebred. They have locations in Dayton, and either soon or already open in Cleveland and St. Louis, with more to come. But they have some delicious pies, no question.

So, I'd give best damn non-chain pizza in Cincinnati to Trotta's Pizza. They cannot be beat. Once with locations all over town, they closed after some family infighting, but opened about five years ago inside a drive-through pony keg - no joke - in Westwood, along Glenway Avenue, cattycorner to the Western Hills Plaza. Go check it out.

Justin Hall said...

Dewey's calzones are mighty. Flying Pizza (there are a few in Dayton and one up by Fields-Ertel) and Rockafellas' (Evendale) are great if you're looking for New York style pizza.

Best coffehouse IMHO (and the only one in western hills) - Zen & Now on Bridgetown Rd. Great atmosphere, excellent drink selections, good food.

WestEnder said...

I'm glad to hear Party Source carries Christian Moerlein (just not when I'm there, apparently!).

It's true that Dewey's is practically a chain now, or at least headed in that direction. But it's still a local chain, and it's still great. If I had to pick my absolute favorite pizza, I'd pick the one we make on "family pizza night." Homemade sauce, loaded toppings, bottle(s) of wine. Can't be beat.

Definitely going to try one of those calzones, though...

I like the Pavilion view better than Celestial's because it's (1) open, and (2) I can afford 5 Pavilion visits for every Celestial visit.

Anonymous said...

Don't buy the Franziskaner in the 6 pack bottles --- they are green bottles and sometimes are skunked. The 16.9 oz version is much better and perfectly fits a weiss glass.

Louis said...

Wait, wait, hang on now. Dunkin' Donuts' bagels are round white bread. Bagels are not supposed to be light and airy. Marx is the only place in town that does them right.

TravisG said...

I live about three minutes from the Party Source, so I go there for my frequent booze needs.

All of the riverfront restaurants in Newport and Bellevue are unworthy of their view. Hell – Don Pablo's designed their patio to face away from downtown.

I can't eat bagels, chew gum or crunch ice cubes because my jaw could pop out of its sockets.

Shadeu Bread is great, but they gave me a lot of lip for buying all their pastries to take to work on my birthday. Bonbonnerie is pretty fantastic, though.

Zola's has the best burgers, hands down. Okay, that's not entirely true; the 915 in Ft. Thomas has the same owners and the same burgers, but I like Zola's atmosphere more. Zip's is always too crowded and people are always trying to take your friend's seat when he goes to the bathroom, but their burgers are great, too.

I work just a short walk from the Potbelly in University Heights, but it freaked me out in there. It was like they took the 1970s and placed them in captivity. Myra's can be pretty cheap, if you order the right stuff.

I've never actually been to Camp Washington Chili.

I like fish 'n' chips anywhere.

Have you ever had the gelato or sorbet that Matt Madison sells at his markets? Holy crap, dude. The super chocolate gelato will make you want to yank your tongue from your mouth and slap yourself in the face with it.

Oh yeah ... Cumin is fantastic.

I like the pizzas we make at home the best.

I don't really have an opinion on sandwiches, and I don't eat wings. Too much work for too little payoff.

farris said...

I'm in temporary exile from the Ohio Valley, and I hate it. But you can bet that when I come back this weekend for a quick visit, I'm going to be hitting my favorites.

How about chain pizza? Donatos anyone? Or best Breakfast? Has to be First Watch downtown...

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