Looking For Something Fun And Quirky? Try Out These Unique Restaurants In Cincinnati!

Instead of going to your “run of the mill” standard choices, let’s find something a bit more interesting while you’re in town…

Exploring the city on the Ohio River, Cincinnati is full of interesting places, from the museums, the popular Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 19th-century architecture, and the Findlay Market, a place with many different vendors selling all types of goodies!

With a city like this at your fingertips, finding new restaurants can be exciting, especially if said restaurant has a lot of character to it. And what we mean by character, is that the place is quirky, fun, and unique! Whether it be with live performances, an out of the box theme, or simply the vibe of the entire place makes you feel good. Today we are exploring the most unique restaurants in Cincinnati, so sit back and relax while we take you on this virtual tour!

Speaking of quirky-fun, have you ever heard of a GiftYa virtual gift card? GiftYa is the hub for digital gift cards for a number of restaurants, online stores, fast-food chains, local businesses, and well known retailers throughout the country. It’s all online, so the process is super easy, all you need to have is someone’s email/number to send it to them. (Which means, losing or forgetting your gift card at home is no more)! 

Check out the fast and easy way to buy your gift cards right here!

1. Pepp & Dolores

An upmarket restaurant serving Italian fare and homemade bread & pasta!

Buy A Pepp & Dolores Gift Card

1501 Vine St | Cincinnati | peppanddolores.com

Inspired by the hospitality experienced on a Sunday dinner at your family’s house, Pepp & Dolores is a super casual Italian restaurant that’s all about paying homage to just that…home cooking, laughs, and love shared between the family. 

With actual family recipes featured on the menu, Pepp & Dolores plans to bring you back to those childhood memories of your own home, and that’s unique in itself. Whether you’re planning an event or just going out to eat anytime during the week, this place makes every person feel comfortable and taken care of.

Okay, now it’s time to see what’s on the Pepp & Dolores menu! You can have Pane bread, Housemade Ricotta, Marinated Eggplant, Braised Pork, Spicy Vodka pasta, and more! Pair any of those delicious meals with their refreshing cocktails like the Limoncello & Tonic. Pepp & Dolores have plenty to share with anyone who stops by!

“I had the orange wine and sunday sauce, amazing experience as usual with fantastic service from Shannon who went out of their way to make sure we had the best meal possible!” -Yelp Review

You can Purchase a GiftYa Gift Card to Pepp & Dolores here!

2. Cincinnati Dinner Train

This unique restaurant in Cincinnati takes place in a 1940’s style vintage train car!

a view of the Cincinnati Dinner Train from the outside on it's track, set during the summer time- the train is surrounded by a forest and there is a train track running along next to it. the train itself is long and the front is a maroon color.

Imagine having your dream meal as you take in those Cincinnati sites! Image courtesy of the Cincy Region website.

2172 E Seymour Ave | Cincinnati | cincinnatidinnertrain.com

Ever wanted to eat dinner on an old 1950s train car? Well if you come to Cincinnati, then you’ll get to experience exactly that! Cincinnati Dinner Train is a unique experience, you’ll get to jump into the past and see the sites while dining on good food. (To find out more info on booking and availability, be sure to look at their website for all of their options and restrictions).

Offering an exceptional four-course dinner for a little over 3 hours, this locomotive excursion sure delivers on good times! With Cincinnati’s famous Queen City Sisters singing after you eat dinner on the train’s performance stage, you’ll get to send off your journey with a full stomach and good tunes.

For the four courses you’ll get a choice of Prime Rib, Salmon with a Spicy Hoisin Glaze or Boneless Chicken Breast sautéed in white wine sauce, with appetizers and more to come, the Cincinnati Dinner Train is sure to provide a fun time for all who step on board!

“Such a fun and unique experience to celebrate an anniversary. Table for two in the Sword Car that seated at most eight people so definitely a quieter train car. Enjoyed the history by the conductor and owner also made several appearances.” -Yelp Review

3. Incline Public House

A laid back gastropub with a seasonal outdoor deck and unbeatable views of the city skyline!

2601 W 8th St | Cincinnati | inclinepublichouse.com

Dinner with a view. That’s what Incline Public House, one of Cincinnati’s most popular restaurants, is here to provide! Named after one of Cincinnati’s famous inclines, this restaurant was built with the word “atmosphere” in mind. Incline Public House offers tasty American-fare grub, along with some fascinating history on the location, and of course…the amazing views. 

Now that you know where you’ll be dining, you might be curious as to what this spot actually serves. So let’s break down just some of the tasty fare from the Incline Public House:

  • The kitchen is making their delicious eats (from scratch) using their in-house smoker and brick oven. They’ve got Buffalo Chicken pizza, Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos, The House Burger, and Sunday brunch specials like the Great Big Burrito.
  • Get crafty with their craft bottles & cans like the Abita Purple Haze 6, a Raspberry Lager (4.2%) and the Fretboard Reba 6, a Strawberry Blonde Ale (5.3%). That’s not all, there’s plenty more brews available at this unique restaurant in Cincinnati!
“Great food, great setting and attentive service. This unique venue was a slightly chilly for the patio. We set inside across from the pizza oven. The menu has something for everyone and afterwards we did the obligatory photo op.” -Yelp Review

4. Sugar n' Spice Diner - OTR

Cartoon murals and big and bold colors make this neighborhood diner something special!

1203 Sycamore St | Cincinnati | eatsugarnspice.com

For over 80 years, Sugar n’ Spice has been delighting the people of Cincinnati with its colorful walls, booths, tables, and cool cartoon murals. Known for its tasty breakfast and lunch with some of those recipes dating back to 1941, Sugar n’ Spice offers exactly that, sugar, spice, and well…everything nice! 

This is a family-friendly establishment, and with its quirky decor, anyone that enjoys a vibrant space to eat their food will absolutely adore this spot! Sugar n’ Spice is about the people, and over the years they’ve made sure to continue that sentiment with a friendly team.

With lots of delicious foods to try, this restaurant has crowd favorites like their Original Wispy Thin Pancakes, fluffy omelets, and signature sandwiches like the Grilled Cheese and BLT. There’s plenty more on the menu, so whether you fancy breakfast or lunch, Sugar n’ Spice has got you covered.

“Super cute diner! The decor is fun and they give you a rubber ducky with your meal. Food was great, prices very reasonable and good service. Highly recommend if you want a good breakfast place” -Yelp Review

5. Sotto

A rustic brick and wood “basement” serving delectable Italian cuisine!

118 E 6th St | Cincinnati | sottocincinnati.com

If you’re craving downright delicious and authentic Italian food, then Sotto in downtown Cincinnati might be the spot for you! This unique restaurant is located in a rustic, intimately-lit, and well decorated basement. Known for serving creatively crafted Italian cuisine in their “underground hideaway,” they provide a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. 

Serving up dinner, dessert, wine, and cocktails, Sotto has a bunch of stuff you’ll absolutely love, including but not limited to their Salumi & Formaggi, Wood Fired Branzino, and Swiss Chard. With dessert options like Ricotta Donuts, Gelati, and Sorbet, you can pair any meal with a glass of wine or homemade cocktails.

Some of the best Italian food I've ever had right up there with NYC and Boston. Amazing atmosphere and the pasta is perfection as well as the ricotta doughnuts! Can't wait to go back!” -Yelp Review

6. Alcove by MadTree Brewing

Warm, inviting, casual, and fun. That’s the Alcove in Cincinnati!

1410 Vine St | Cincinnati | madtree.com

In Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine District, Alcove, (by MadTree Brewing) is a bar and restaurant combo that features MadTree beers, in house cocktails, and seasonable farm to table foods. Open seven days a week for good drinks and good eats, the Alcove isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience. 

They’ve got a large wrap-around bar, lounge seating, dining areas with beautiful hanging plants, two intimate private dining rooms, and the crown jewel outdoor patio under four large trees connected to a greenhouse that’s used to grow herbs used in their cooking!

To share you can get the Charcuterie Board or Ginger Chicken Bites for something lighter to pair with a drink. Or dig into their Smash Burger and Crispy Tofu for something more hearty! If you’re thirsty, enjoy a number of MadTree brews like the Shade - Blackberry Tart Ale (4.6%) or the Happy Amber - Amber Ale (6%)!

“Vibe is A+, service also A+, food was delish and a little on the salty side but I'm down with that. We had a large group and no issues getting a table large enough.” -Yelp Review

7. Red Feather Kitchen

Chic and fun, this spot has craft cocktails, inventive seasonal cooking, and more!

3200 Madison Rd | Cincinnati | redfeatherkitchen.com

Red Feather Kitchen is a contemporary American farm to table restaurant that provides upscale-casual dining with a unique emphasis on classic culinary techniques and food prepared with care. 

With its warm woodwork architecture and light decor, Red Feather Kitchen has a different taste of luxury you won’t find anywhere else. This place offers an interesting perspective on how you enjoy your food. Whether you eat in house or decide on getting take out, this spot has a little something for many to enjoy! 

From the Crispy Skin Salmon that has spinach, oyster mushrooms, sun-dried tomato pistou, and bureau blanc, to the Red Feather Burger, an 8oz. burger with a brioche bun, boursin cheese, candied bacon, and red onion marmalade- Red Feather Kitchen has got the key to your taste buds.

“I had just the street food and some oysters and I was so impressed. I cannot wait to go back and try there for meals. Everything was delicious that ricotta was melting in my mouth it was so good. And are the best pork buns I've had in Cincinnati.” -Yelp Review

8. The Turf Club

A quirky space serving up beers, jumbo burgers, and plenty more!

a burger with lettuce, bacon, and two pieces of chicken all on a golden brown bun with thick but fries on the side bathed in the red light of the restaurant.

Take a BIG bite, this burger from this unique restaurant in Cincinnati will leave you satisfied! Image courtesy of The Turf Club on Google Photos.

4618 Eastern Ave | Cincinnati | turfclubcincy.com

Located in Linwood, The Turf Club is the definition of a quirky establishment. They have bright neon signs hanging on their walls, decorating the place in a warm purple-red light- (if you’re light sensitive, you may want to scope this place out before you decide to sit down and eat here, as the neon lights can be a lot for some people). The Turf Club wants to show off a “cool lunch or dinner vibe,” and with those atmospheric lights, they certainly are selling it! 

On The Turf Club menu, you can expect their signature burgers, stacked so full with ingredients you won’t know what to do with it all! The Filet Mignon burger is super popular, along with others like the Portobello and the Ahi Tuna. If you aren’t a fan of burgers, they do have Sauteed Shrimp, Homemade Tomato Soup, and Chorizo Avocado appetizers! 

“This place has character and charm. The food is good. The burger toppers are plentiful. And we recently discovered their absolutely delicious and reasonably priced martinis! All around great spot.” -Yelp Review

9. Ché

“Artisanal Argentine cuisine” all set in an intimate space with great mood lighting.

1342 Walnut St | Cincinnati | checincinnati.com

Ché in Cincinnati has been cookin’ up Argentina’s “favorite street foods” for almost 10 years. What started as a food truck has now developed into two locations with that same amount of love and charm that was in the truck. Keeping things fresh and exciting, this restaurant loves to show off their talents by highlighting their empanadas which are handcrafted in house- so you know the flavors are gonna be divine.

Their decor is very “pub” like, they’ve got a comfy-cozy vibe going on and people love it, especially when it’s the end of the week and they’ve got a spot where they can kick back and relax. At Ché’s they have brunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts like their Red Chimi Chicken Wings, Buffalo Chicken & Korean BBQ empanadas, Jerk Chicken Street Tacos, and more!

“Fun funky place with a great assortment of empanadas. I loved the mushroom and feta.  Short rib and the Cuban were big hits with the table.  Great cocktail with habanero infused vodka. Stop by and give them a try” -Yelp Review

10. The Eagle

A food & beer hall serving up Southern favorites along with good drinks & music!

Buy A Gift Card For The Eagle

Taking center stage is house-brined and dredged Fried Chicken along with Southern sides that will go perfectly with that crispy goodness is what The Eagle showcases. Sourcing all natural birds, this restaurant is all about making sure every ingredient is handled with care all set in a place where people can come and be social! Meet people while you have a meal and listen to live music at The Eagle.

Try out their selection of Fried Chicken, sandwiches like Grilled Cheese and Carolina Braised Pork, Pimento Cheese Plate, Hush Puppies, Cole Slaw, White Cheddar Grits, Homemade Biscuits, and a fine selection of cocktails!

“One of the most genuine, delicious restaurants in Cincinnati. Few dishes, but they're perfected each one. Definitely recommend reservations because they're seemingly always packed and there's normally a wait during weekends or peak hours, but it's well worth it!” -Yelp Review

Buy A Gift Card For The Eagle

11. Pampas Argentine Gastropub

“The Argentine Countryside” brought to you right in the heart of Cincinnati!

2038 Madison Rd | Cincinnati | pampascincinnati.com

Owner Juan Imeroni spent the summer as a young boy at his grandpa’s farm where he grew up learning and garnering an appreciation for food, culture, and the people of the Pampas. Now Pampas Argentine Gastropub is here in Ohio and has been creating a carefully curated selection of foods for people to enjoy while they take in the inviting atmosphere just like it were on any street corner back home. 

At Pampas you can expect a range of dishes to dive into like the Crispy Rabas, Chorizo Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Brisket Lomito, and more. The food here is just the crowning jewel, you’ll fall in love with the family atmosphere quickly at this well loved establishment.

“We keep coming back for more and never have we been disappointed. The food is rich in flavor and thoughtfully paired. The interior is calming with plenty of statement pieces. Every employee makes you feel at home. The service was excellent!” -Yelp Review

12. Losanti

A steakhouse that’s all about cooking steaks just right and keeping things casual.

1401 Race St | Cincinnati | losantiotr.com

Calling all steak lovers, we’ve got the place in Cincinnati for you! Losanti steakhouse is all about creating perfectly charred and flavorful steaks, along with other menu items that’ll leave you wanting more. Their plates look fancy, but they offer a more “laid back” atmosphere for you to enjoy your food with good company. And if you’ve got someone in your party that isn’t the biggest fan of steak, don’t worry there’s plenty more on the menu.

Enjoy Fresh Oysters, Mussels, French Onion Soup, salads, pastas, Truffle Mac & Cheese, Eggplant Parmesan, and of course: steaks, so many different styles and sizes to choose from at Losanti! Pair your meal with a cocktail, glass of wine, beer, and/or spirit and you’ll be ready for a good time.

“One of the best experiences we've had in quite some time. Delicious food; excellent atmosphere, and superb customer service. Kudos to Amber. Everyone made us feel welcome. We'll definitely come back.” -Yelp Review

There’s nothing more exciting than going out to a restaurant for dinner to treat yourself or a loved one, but sometimes it can get repetitive going to the same places over and over again. If you want to spice things up, then be sure to check out these unique restaurants in Cincinnati sometime soon to enjoy something new and different!

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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