Whether you want a cool meal when it's hot out or you're simply watching your waistline, salad can make an excellent meal. And Cincinnati has some fantastic choices that go beyond iceberg.
Here are our top nine picks for delicious salad spots.
Ingredients: Can't decide on what kind of salad you want? Make your own combo or choose from one of the pre-set salads at Ingredients. There are multiple combinations, so if you're looking for a protein punch, a vegetarian version or as much crunchy stuff as you can eat (that would be my choice), Ingredients is the place to go. 21 E. Fifth St., inside the Westin Cincinnati, Downtown. www.ingredientsforyou.com
Cilantro: While pho is always delicious, sometimes you want something a little lighter (and certainly cooler). This is where Cilantro's goi, a Vietnamese salad, comes in, with lots of shredded cabbage, basil, carrots and cilantro with your choice of protein and a tangy dressing. The portion is huge and keeps well, so you might be able to turn this into a delicious late-day snack back at your desk, too. 235 W. McMillan St., CUF. www.eatatcilantro.com
Dewey's: While known for pizzas, Dewey's is likely equally known for salads. Whether it's the house salad with pine nuts, cranberries and goat cheese with an excellent balsamic dressing, or one of the seasonal salads, like the current blueberry salad with marcona almonds, asiago and a lemon-ginger vinaigrette, you'll find creative, delicious salads as a healthy alternative to the pizza. (It also makes a delicious side to share.) Multiple locations. www.deweyspizza.com
Revolution Rotisserie & Bar: Any of Revolution's chitas (chicken pitas) can be turned into a salad, such as the Ben Franklin with Asian slaw, apples and an Asian barbecue sauce, or the Buffalo-style John Hancock. However, it also has some stellar stand-alone salads, like the Joan of Arc with strawberries, blue cheese and walnuts. Combine the two and you have one of the broadest salad selections around. 1106 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. revolutionrotisserie.com
Metropole: You don't necessarily need greens to make a great salad. Burnt carrot salad was on Metropole's opening menu. When the eatery removed it, the ensuing outcry prompted Metropole to bring the dish back permanently. The combination of sweet, roasted carrots, salty, tart pickled vegetables, creamy avocado and crunchy pumpkin seeds makes this one of those dishes that pleases everyone. 609 Walnut St., Downtown. www.metropoleonwalnut.com
Habanero: I love a salad with a little spice, and Habanero has all sorts of salads that fulfill that craving. The house salad in a taco bowl is a hearty meal: beans, corn salsa and a cilantro vinaigrette make a delicious combo. If you want meat, try the steak salad, with marinated steak, corn and tomato salsa and chipotle ranch. 358 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. habanerolatin.com
York Street Café: One of the best date spots in the city also has some of the best salads. York Street Café's chicken cherry salad, featuring dried cherries, sunflower seeds, red onion, feta and a housemade dijon vinaigrette, is a bright, fresh take on salad. The Greek salad is the classic you expect, with feta, olives, tomatoes, peppers, pepperocinis and a housemade Greek dressing. If you really need that iceberg, the wedge salad, with homemade gorgonzola dressing and lots of bacon, delivers. 738 York St., Newport. yorkstonline.com
Half Day Cafe: Want a salad on the sweet side? Bridge breakfast and brunch with Half Day Cafe's roasted pear salad: Caramelized pears, goat cheese, candied pecans and a maple vinaigrette balance savory and sweet. If you want something more substantial, add grilled chicken to any salad, or pair a house salad with a half sandwich, like the Thai chicken wrap. 1 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming. halfdaycafe.org
Oakley Pub & Grill: While Oakley Pub & Grill is known for burgers, I love its unique Cabbage Crunch salad: an Asian-style vinaigrette, cabbage and noodles topped with grilled chicken. A small is plenty for one, and the large will feature enough for leftovers. It tastes a little like ramen slaw someone might bring to a picnic, but you don't have to share -- unless you want to do so. 3924 Isabella Ave., Oakley. www.oakleypubandgrill.com
Where do you find your favorite salad? Tweet me at @winemedineme!