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

August 8, 2022
jason wolfe
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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 from foods to crafts! 

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 a place that’s quirky, fun, and unique! Whether it be live performances, an out of the box theme, or just simply the vibe of the entire place makes you happy from sitting down at the table to paying the bill after your delicious meal. 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 paying for the bill, have you ever heard of a GiftYa virtual gift card? GiftYa is the hub of the online gift cards for a number of restaurants, online stores, fast-food chains, local businesses, and known brands throughout the country. It’s all online, so the process is super easy, from buying and keeping the gift card right on your computer or phone. (Which means, losing or forgetting your gift card at home is no more)! 

Check out this fast and easy way to buy your future GiftYa gift card right here!

Pepp & Dolores

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

Just look at that plating! Something unique anddd tasty! Image courtesy of the Pepp & Dolores Instagram page.

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 make you feel like you just stepped back inside 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, it’s now time to see what’s on the Pepp & Dolores menu! You can have Pane bread, Housemade Ricotta, Marinated Cucumbers, Wedge Salad, Meatballs, Braised Pork, Sausage & Peppers, with Pesto, Limone, Vodka, and Agnello pasta. Pair any of those delicious meals with their refreshing cocktails like the Spiaggia Rosa, titos, strawberry, lemon, and orange blossom water. Pepp & Dolores have plenty to share with anyone who stops by!

“Pepp & Dolores is as good as you have probably heard.  I tried a bite of every dish on the table and they were all fantastic.  The service was phenomenal and the ambiance of the restaurant is great.

The value of what you get is good and the portions are just right. Pepp & Dolores is in the A+ range with Soto for Italian food.” -Yelp Review

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

Cincinnati Dinner Train

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

This rolling restaurant is…right on track to be a good time! Image courtesy of the cincinnatiusa website.

2172 E Seymour Ave | Cincinnati | cincinnatidinnertrain.com 

Ever wanted to eat dinner on an old 1940s train car? Well if you come to Cincinnati Dinner Train, then you’ll get to experience exactly that! Seating up to 180 people on four vintage dining cars, this unique restaurant has special group charters Sunday through Friday while Saturday’s are open to the general public with a first come first serve rule, (to find out more info on booking and availability, be sure to look at their website for more info).

Offering an exceptional four-course dinner over a 3½ hour locomotive excursion, Cincinnati Dinner Train 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.

Cincinnati Dinner Train offers lots of tasty food options for you to indulge in for a date night, family day out, or simply a meal between friends. They offer Oven Roasted Prime Rib, Salmon with a spicy hoisin glaze, or Boneless Chicken Breast sautéed in white wine sauce, with dessert options like Homemade Chocolate Pecan Pie! With all these delicious goodies, Cincinnati Dinner Train is sure to provide a fun time for all who step on board!

“Aside from the the beautifully restored cars, the food was awesome and you get to see a view of the city you can't get anywhere.  The historical facts about the cars and some of "hidden Cincinnati " made for a wonderful evening.” -Yelp Review

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Incline Public House

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

Burger stacked up high with a view of the city up high! Image courtesy of the Incline Public House Facebook page.

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 give you just that! Named after one of Cincinnati’s famous inclines, this restaurant has been 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 knowing all of that, you might be curious as to what this hot spot actually serves. So let’s break down just some of the tasty fare from the Incline Public House:

“I've been here 4 times now and have tried a different appetizer and entrée all four times and the food was amazing and the service was swift and very friendly. Obviously the view is as good as it gets in Cincinnati. You just can't go wrong here. Enjoy!!!” -Yelp Review 

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Sugar n' Spice Diner

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

You can pose like a true star just like this good dog at this unique restaurant in Cincinnati! Image courtesy of the Sugar n’ Spice Diner Instagram page.

4381 Reading Rd | Cincinnati | eatsugarnspice.com 

For over 75 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 kid-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 for over 75 years, they make sure to continue that sentiment with a friendly staff and colorful vibes.

With lots of delicious foods to try, this classic restaurant has crowd favorites like their Original Wispy Thin Pancakes, Fluffy Omelets, and their Signature Sandwiches like the Grilled Cheese and BLT. While their other menu items consist of things like the Build Your Own Burger (with a choice of toasted bun or English muffin, with a bunch of ingredients), Steak n’ Eggs, and the Salmon Platter! 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

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!


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

Rustic, sleek, and down right cool, that’s Sotto! Image courtesy of the Sotto Instagram page.

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” to provide a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. (Their Instagram is full of amazing pictures of their foods and environment, so to get a hint of what it’s like there, be sure to go over there).

Providing a dinner, dessert, wine, and cocktail menu, Sotto has a bunch of stuff you’ll absolutely love, including but not limited to, Rigatoni con Pomodoro, with tomato, basil, and stracciatella, Oil-Packed Tuna w/ caper aioli, hard egg, and chili oil, and Breaded Pork Loin w/ caper and lemon! With dessert options like Ricotta Donuts, Gelati, and Sorbet! Pair any meal with a glass of wine or homemade cocktails, you’re sure to have an amazing time at this highly acclaimed restaurant!


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

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Alcove by MadTree Brewing

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

We mean…just take a look at that beautiful decor! What a nice thing to see while you dine! Image courtesy of the Alcove by MadTree Instagram page.

1410 Vine St | Cincinnati | madtreebrewing.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, seasonable farm to table foods from Chef Stephen Williams. Open seven days a week for dinner and brunch and lunch available Friday through Sunday, the Alcove isn’t just a restaurant, but an experience. 

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

Now that you know about some of the quirky attributes of the Alcove, let’s talk about the food! To share you can get a Cheese Board and Bistro Fries, with Fried Cauliflower, Tuscan White Bean Soup, Crispy Tofu, and Ginger Chicken Bites for something lighter to pair with a drink. Or dig into their Ohio Valley Burger and Sakura Farms Meatballs 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%)! 

“Love the space & menu! It will definitely be the place to be in the summer. Small portions for brunch so I suggest to get multiple dishes to share. Everything tasted delicious!” -Yelp Review 

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

Red Feather Kitchen

Chic. Fun. And Unique. With craft cocktails, inventive seasonal cooking, and more!

A dish that’s so full of flavor it makes every bite better than the last! Image courtesy of the Red Feather Facebook page.

45209, 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 and consideration. With its warm woodwork architecture and light decor, Red Feather Kitchen makes for 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 Crispy Skin Salmon that has spinach, oyster mushrooms, sun-dried tomato pistou, and bureau blanc, to the Short Rib, Chicken, Pork Chop, and Burger, Red Feather Kitchen has taken preparing its meat dishes with great attention. Also on the menu is a selection of smaller eats that will still deliver something delicious like the Charcuterie or Cheese Board, Roasted Olives, Sweet Potato Beignets, and the French Onion Soup!

“A great fine dining option outside of downtown. I tend to forget about this one, but am always happy when I remember to go back. The ambiance feels elevated and special but not over the top. Great spot for a date night. I have had there salmon a few times and it's always delicious!” -Yelp Review 

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!

The Turf Club

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

Beyond colorful and beyond fun. Image courtesy of The Turf Club Yelp photo page.

4618 Eastern Ave | Cincinnati | turfclubcincy.com 

Located in Linwood, The Turf Club is the definition of a quirky establishment. From the picture above alone, it’s something that’s definitely a little bit different than your average restaurant. (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 Mushroom and the Mahi Mahi. If you aren’t a fan of burgers, they do have Sauteed Shrimp, Homemade Tomato Soup, and Chorizo Avocado appetizers! But burgers and sandwiches are their speciality, so if you love those, you can’t go wrong at The Turf Club!

“Everything is fantastic, love the make your own burger with all the choices of fix-ins.  We found a new cheese we liked, halloumi.  Local beer choices.  Staff is nice and help guide you through all the choices of fix-ins.” -Yelp Review

Although this restaurant doesn’t have a GiftYa gift card opportunity yet, check back soon, as new places are being added to the GiftYa website frequently!


Full of unique drinks and classic coffee shop fares for those on the go!

Drinks that look good, taste good. Image courtesy of the Dunkin’ Instagram page.

125 E Court St | Cincinnati | dunkindonuts.com

Now what may not exactly seem unique, Dunkin’ is known for having a variety of unique drinks that change constantly with the season, holiday, and just general menu changes. If none of these other restaurants seem to be your cup of tea, (or should we say coffee), why not try out a classic? Since 1950, Dunkin’ has slowly made its way to be a national brand, with over 11,000 stores all around the globe, this franchise has been brewing up something special with its fast food and drinks that taste just as good as any other restaurant!

Now going through the entire Dunkin’ menu would take too much of your time, so let’s just talk about what’s especially unique at this place! You can add Cake Batter, Caramel Craze, or Cocoa Mocha flavoring in your Iced Signature Latte, along with the Frozen Matcha Latte and the Frozen Chocolate, (tastes like hot chocolate just nice and cold). Or you can try their Cornbread Donut, Apple Crumb Donut, or Cinnamon Stick for something sweet to add to your day!

“The espresso is better than expected and the donuts are always fresh. The friendly service keeps pace with the business. Not much seating, but most people get orders to go, so generally there's room to park and enjoy the food.” -Google Review

You can Purchase a GiftYa Gift Card to Dunkin Donuts here!

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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