Best Restaurant in Cincinnati.
In my opinion, Nicola's is the best restaurant in Cincinnati, hand's down! Every time I've dined there the food has been excellent. The gnocchi with shaved truffle melts in your mouth.
The bad part is the fact that I can't eat there every week... it's just too expensive. My wife and I usually eat family style and that saves some money (i.e. split an appetizer, split a salad, split a pasta, split an entree and split dessert). While I feel a little cheap ordering that way, I frankly feel that that's how Italian should be done. And we get plenty of food when you do that anyway.
I'm a Cincinnati native. A friend and I just got back from a week-long trip to San Francisco where we ate at all types and level's of restaurants, as well as went out to the Napa valley. We ate a lot of good food there, obviously. So when I returned to Cincy I was disappointed because Cincy's cuisine can not compare to the breadth and depth of San Fran's cuisine.
One night we headed over to Bockfest '09, but soon found we were too hungry to hang around. We google map'd a bunch of nearby restaurants and seen Nicola's had a good rating.
I wasn't expecting much, given it's in the Over-the-Rhine/Pendleton area--a gritty place with tons of potential--but when I got inside it was like stepping into a different world.
The only complaint is that the waitress gave off this "are you sure you have enough money to be here" kind of vibe, but she eventually lightened up. (The last place I was going to wander around dressed up all nice would be OTR!)
The long and short of it is that the food was great. The bread was great, it was all great. The food really was more complex and interesting than anything we had in San Francisco. Maybe we just didn't go to the right places, I dunno. Granted, we ate a lot of Asian food in San Fran, so we're not comparing apples-to-apples, but the complexity of the flavors at Nicola's superseded all the other places in San Fran. It's nice to discover a place in Cincy that can stand it's ground against bigger cities.
My friend and I got two entrees, a basket of bread (great), and two classes of wine. I don't remember what mine was, it was something odd, but his was basically a steak. It ended up being a little over $100 with tip. Not cheap, but it would be a good date place if you want to impress your date. I'll note I haven't been to Pigalle's or the Precinct, so I can't compare.
Note: I'm not saying the one star person is lying, but I didn't have any problems at all like he/she described. Overall, I recommend Nicola's if you have the $$$.
Not worth the effort.
What a disappointment. My wife and I and another couple had read all we could find on this `#3 restaurant in Cincinnati`. We had very high hopes going in. They were dashed immediately.
Once we were seated, we were informed that they were completely out of beef. No fillet, no prime rib, no strip. Nada.
Hard bread and salad consumed the first hour we were there. Into the second hour, our food arrived. Cold, unattractive and of very poor taste. Three different dishes, all inedible. Soggy Gnocci and something that resembled old Hamburger Helper.
We asked to speak to the manager, and he proceeded to yell at us and accuse us of trying to get free food (For the record, I never even took a bite because it smelled so bad, i did try my wife's not any better). He offered to take mine off the bill but the other three had been `partially consumed` (tasted)so we would have to pay for them. We said fine. Bring the check.
I sent the women outside while us guys settled the tab. Suddenly the manager comes up, takes the check and tears it up. He starts saying how very sorry he is and that he's been tired. I begin to think that he may have some understanding... but no. It turns out that when my friends girlfriend stopped to speak to him on the way out, to explain that we didn't want free food, just someone to listen to our concerns. He screamed in her face about how many dishes he serves and how great his food in and continues to yell at her until she leaves the restaurant in tears. THEN he came back to the table and tore up the check to cover his blatant bad behavior.
All in all it did turn into a fun story to tell everyone that was staying at our hotel, hopefully they won't make the same mistake we did. Fortunately, there was a White Castle next to the hotel. Better food, and MUCH better service.
Great N. Italian food. The food was excellent and we had a variety of things as there were four of us. The portion size is normal not mega like too many places. Unfortunatley everything is ala carte and pretty pricey. The cheapest salad is $9. The wine is more than fully priced but they do have an outstanding selection although they were out of our first choice. Service was attentive enough. Our main waiter didn't show his face much but the helpers took care of things as needed. I can't say we will eat here often but once in a great while it is a nice change of pace. Good for a special occassion. There is a patio area for those really nice evenings.
User review by geopesco. Food was good, but grossly overpriced; small portions. Service was average. These folks used to be a lot better before they got impressed by reveiws and started looking down ther noses at their customers. They just got greedy.
Best dining in Cincinnati. Amazing everytime. Nicolas features a seasonal menu that re-invents itself every 3 months. The menu is a bit pricey but worth every dime. The service is always dead-on. some people say the portions are small, but I have never left without feeling completely satisfied
wonderful but expensive.
I love the food at Nicola's but it is on the pricey side for the portions you get ($18-24 for pastas). The wines are especially expensive (I think the cheapest bottle was close to $50).
Dress is business casual. The restaurant can get a little loud. Service is professional but can be slow on busy nights.
Reservations are a must. Even with a reservation, we needed to wait 15 minutes at the bar before being seated.
An Excellent Evening. My wife and I just had the most wonderful evening at Nicola's restuarant. We have dined there before, but this time both the quality of the food and the attentiveness of the service were outstanding. The server informed us that the owner's son, Christian, had returned from Italy and was making changes both to the menu and to presentation. The wine selections also impressed us. We recommend Nicola's to anyone who hasn't been there in a while.
ExtremleyGood. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. It is not in the best neighborhood and parking is a little hard but the food is excellent. It is expensive but if you are willing to spend the money the food is fantastic and the restraunt is veruy nice on the inside.
Enjoy northern Italian cuisine in a rich atmosphere that never lets you lose track of time..
The space is airy, if a bit cold, with high vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls and goldenrod accents. Giant clock faces measuring six feet across hang on the walls throughout, a contribution from the building's owner, who also runs the Verdin Bell & Clock Company. Service is friendly and knowledgeable, and the wine list is long.
The menu offers northern Italian pasta, fish and meat specialties. Start with bruschetta e crostini--toasted bread crowned with a delicious assortment of toppings, like salmon, capers and onions, tomato tartare with Gorgonzola and olive tapenade. Cannelloni a modo mio is Nicola's signature version of Italian crepes, with ground veal, Bolognese and alfredo sauces. End your meal with the creamy panna cotta, a silky egg custard with chocolate sauce.
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