Whether it's your first date, your third or your weekly date night with your significant other, Cincinnati has fantastic spots for intimate, fun and delicious dates. There's something for everyone, from casual to fancy. Here are nine spots to try on your next date night.
Sotto (Downtown): With its dim lighting, cozy booths and shareable Italian menu, Sotto is one of the best date spots in town. It's good for a celebration (engagements, anyone?) or simply an evening where you want to focus only on your date, like there's no one else in the room. Definitely try the ricotta doughnuts; they're easy to share, and the caramel sauce for dipping is downright sexy.
Inspirado (Covington): Is your date an experimental eater who always is looking for a new culinary adventure? Head to the newly opened Inspirado. Baron Shirley, formerly of Maribelle's, Senate and Jean-Robert's Table, created a multicultural restaurant and art gallery. Take in the art while sampling dishes such as laksa (a Malaysian noodle dish), lumpia (Filipino-style egg rolls) or chorizo fundido.
Quarter Bistro (Mariemont): Peruse the shops, grab a glass of wine at Dilly Bistro, Bar & Bottle Shop, and then walk over to Quarter Bistro for dinner. It offers a traditional menu with a few twists. Highlights include tasty steak frites, nice scallops and sangria. Afterward, take in a movie at the adjacent Mariemont Theatre or share an ice cream by the fountain outside of Graeter's.
La Poste (Clifton): What makes the Gaslight District another good date neighborhood are its plenty of shops, bars and other things to see and do. There are also a lot of dining choices, but for a date, my favorite spot is La Poste. Whether you pop in for appetizers and drinks or a full, three-course dinner, chef Andrew Mersmann's menu is perfect for a date. The flatbread du jour is fun to share (and always delicious), and the wild mushroom ravioli is satisfying for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
The Precinct (Columbia-Tusculum): Jeff Ruby knows how to do a romantic dinner. If you're celebrating a special occasion or simply want to share a steak with your sweetie, the Precinct is a winner. The tables are intimate, the service is incredible and the food is fantastic. Whether you're getting one of their famous dry-aged steaks, sharing shrimp or oysters from the raw bar or eating Ohio rainbow trout, your meal will be memorable.
York Street Cafe (Newport): Going on a first date? This is the place. The former pharmacy is bright enough (but not too bright) and features an eclectic menu (try the shareable Dirty Hummus or a conversation board of brie en croute or lettuce wraps). The decor is even more eclectic; The cafe is filled with owner Terry Cunningham's memorabilia collection, including a Spuds Mackenzie wall and a lot of children's toys. If your date is a flop, you can at least check out the interesting ephemera near your table. If it's going well, head upstairs for the second-floor entertainment, when available.
Tousey House Tavern (Burlington): For a brunch date, try Tousey House. It's an old farmhouse with friendly service and a homey feel. When the weather is nice, Tousey has a great patio, and inside there are various cozy rooms to enjoy a meal. The fried green tomatoes have a touch of smokiness, and the shrimp and grits are some of the best in the city. It's a nice place to start to a Sunday Funday with your sweetie or even a low-pressure early date with a new possibility.
Neons Unplugged (Over-the-Rhine): Neons isn't technically a restaurant (although it does serve food from Taste 513 and Mazunte) but it's a nice spot for a date. There's plenty to do (or not do) at Neons, which has two bars, a cozy couch, an outdoor bocce court and giant Jenga -- plus an excellent craft beer selection and fantastic cocktails.
Unwind Wine Bar (Hyde Park): Every time I go here with my girlfriends, I see a first date unfolding. You can always tell; it's a little awkward, starts with a handshake and everyone looks nervous. It's fun to watch the couple grow more comfortable with one another as the evening progresses! Unwind is a wine bar, but it also serves light bites, such as a cheese board and flatbread. You can get wine by the glass, beer or cocktails. There's a fireplace and lots of cozy corners for conversation and a beautiful patio for when the weather is nice. There are still a few good fall days left to take advantage of it, so take your next date there.
Where do you love to go on dates? Let us know!