About Nicola's Ristorante

1420 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
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Located just north of Downtown in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati’s hip and historic neighborhood, Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano has long been a fine dining staple of the city during its 18 years of operation. Owners Nicola and Maureen Pietoso pride their restaurant not only for its highly acclaimed contemporary Italian menu, extensive wine list, and variety of unique dining spaces, but most especially for their restaurant’s long-standing reputation for being warmly hospitable and accommodating.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Italian

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
Liberty Street

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(513) 721-6200

Website:
http://www.nicolasotr.com/

Catering:
Nicola's Ristorante offers catering to diners' homes; 5-8 courses with wine parings, minimum 10 people, no Saturdays or Sundays, starting at $90.00 a person.

Parking Details:
Street parking and valet parking Monday through Saturday.

Executive Chef:
Joel Molloy

Additional:
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

Our award-winning food, wine, unique private & semi-private dining spaces, and professional service combine to create truly memorable experiences for business meetings, social celebrations, weddings, and rehearsal dinners. We can tailor the event to your individual needs.

Nicola's Ristorante Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.6

ambience

4.6

noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Notable Wine List
Cincinnati / Dayton
Italian
Cincinnati / Dayton
Notable Wine List
Cincinnati
1 More
Italian
Cincinnati
Best Restaurants in Over the Rhine ›

special occasion (115)
fit for foodies (102)
romantic (91)
See All
notable wine list (82)
neighborhood gem (63)
good for groups (29)
hot spot (17)
great for outdoor dining (11)
late-night find (9)
vibrant bar scene (8)
scenic view (1)
great for brunch (1)
great for lunch (1)
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Newest
1654 reviews
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food3
ambience4
service2

This was the first time we did not have ...

Dined 9 hours ago

This was the first time we did not have an excellent experience. Hopefully it was an off night.

food5
ambience5
service4
value4

This has become our favorite restaurant- ...

Dined 6 days ago

This has become our favorite restaurant- especially to celebrate special occasions. There isn't a thing I would change. Enjoyed every minute of our dinner- from the first bite of the incredible bread basket to the last sip of fine wine.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We always enjoy dinner at Nicola's!

vip
Dined on May 17, 2016

We dine at Nicola's for special occasions and any time we want an exceptional Italian meal with great wine and outstanding service.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

Only bad thing about the experience was ...

Dined on May 11, 2016

Only bad thing about the experience was the seat. We sat at the table right next to the swinging kitchen door. It was awful, I even called earlier to state it was my girlfriends birthday and thought the seating accommodation would have been better. They did end up moving us before our entree. That in itself was a little awkward moving also. Overall food was great, service was good, but they need to just get rid of that seat all together. Did at times feel like the waiter didn't want to be waiting on us, just a vibe I was feeling but no way to prove that. Overall good restaurant, probably won't go back for a while though.

Tags: notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Wow! Barb - Happy B-Day! 5 course and ...

Dined on May 10, 2016

Wow! Barb - Happy B-Day! 5 course and wine are $100 x 2 people!!!!!

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Delicious

Dined on May 9, 2016

We went out for the Pasta Bolognese Monday special. Both the salad and the pasta were excellent. Of course we had to order the bread basket.....dinner at Nicola's without the bread basket would be a big mistake. We all had the Orangcello Cosmo and it was soooooo smooth.

Tags: fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service1
value4

Food was excellent, service was abhorrent

Dined on May 7, 2016

The food, from start to finish, was amazing. We had the minestrone and polenta to start, the goat cheese for the salad course, and the gnocchi as the pasta course. Dessert was amazing as well - I had the strawberry panna cotta and my husband had a dessert coffee. The bread basket is always a gem as well. The service, however, left a lot to be desired - I've had better service at the local IHOP. Our server seemed to fuss over the larger tables around us but only stopped at our table once after he took our orders. He never asked how our food was. He did notice my empty glass about halfway through the pasta course (so, later in the meal), but even after I ordered a refill, it never came. Lucky for us, other waiters kept our water glasses full or else we would have had empty glasses throughout. By the dessert course, however, we had no water left and were sucking on ice cubes. Getting the check was an ordeal too. Again, the waiter hovered around his big tables but we waited a full 40 minutes after our dessert plates were cleared away to get our check. Then another ten minutes for him to process our card. We noticed another two-top near us, where the old man was practically waving his wallet around to try and get the waiter's attention. Alas, we were not a big table of celebrating graduates, so we languished in the corner and dreamt of drink refills. All told, it was a great meal overshadowed by poor service.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

We had a great meal on our first visit.! ...

vip
Dined on May 3, 2016

We had a great meal on our first visit.! We will definitely be back!

food5
ambience5
service5

The food was great, especially the goat ...

Dined on May 1, 2016

The food was great, especially the goat cheese salad! Our server was very helpful and made it an extra special night out.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Amazing!

Dined on April 30, 2016

If I could give this place more than five stars, I would! The food was incredible and the service staff (as well as the management) went above and beyond excellent service! Don't miss going. You won't be disappointed!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great evening Food was wonderful, as w ...

Dined on April 29, 2016

Great evening Food was wonderful, as well as service and atmosphere.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Outstanding!!!

Dined on April 27, 2016

Traveled in for a business dinner and selected Nicola's from best restaurants online review. The service was excellent, the bar tender was a wine Sommelier and very knowledgeable, as was our server. The food was amazing from their homemade assorted bread basket, to their salads, entrees and deserts, beautiful presentation and outstanding quality, simply fabulous! Perhaps the best Italian restaurant I have ever been to. I have found my #1 Cincy dining location, can't wait to go back!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Birthday dinner

vip
Dined on April 21, 2016

Another great dinner at Nicolas. Best bread basket in the universe!! Excellent wine selections to pair with exquisitely prepared food. We will return.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fabulous outside dining

vip
Dined on April 18, 2016

We have enjoyed dining at Nicolas several times but this was our first time dining outside. We had a great meal, a great server in Troy and a beautiful evening. Loved the ambience, the wine, and always outstanding food.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fantastic Dining

Dined on April 16, 2016

We had a memorable evening celebrating a friends birthday! The warm ambiance was enhanced by the outstanding service and incredible food. We thoroughly enjoyed the selections prepared by Chef Aaron and kudos to the pastry chef (Julie)-outstanding way to end a fine meal.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Continued Excellence

vip
Dined on April 9, 2016

Nicola's has been reviewed so favorably on OpenTable (over 1600/mostly positive and praising) that it's hard to mention something that hasn't already been said. So I would like to take a moment just to talk about the staff. We have dined at Nicola's many times and have always been greeted with warm, friendly, and professional staff members. The host/hostess station has always been helpful and courteous. The bartenders are engaging and make delicious craft cocktails that are tasty and satisfying. We have been lucky enough to always have a service team that has been committed to making our dining experience excellent in every way. Drinks are replenished, the meal outstanding and the timing of each course impeccable, and the staff is knowledgable about every aspect of the menu. When we've had a problem (which is rare), it was addressed immediately and to our complete satisfaction. A restaurant, no matter how good the food may be, is only as good as it's people. That is what allows Nicola's to continue to truly be an excellent dining experience.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Always a wonderful experience!

Dined on April 4, 2016

I have been to Nicola's a couple times, and it is always been a wonderful experience. The food is always delicious and interesting, and the service is always excellent. The dishes are always thoroughly explained and are presented beautifully.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
food5
ambience4
service1
value5

Great food, but....

Dined on April 4, 2016

The food. As always, was exceptional. Our server, terrible!

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

out of town

vip
Dined on April 2, 2016

i've never been to Cincinatti but after dinner @ Nicola's I won't take so long to return for my next visit! Wait staff was prompt, polite, and humble enough to defer to the sommelier for assistance in wine selection. The food was spectacular inits presentation and preparation. My monkfish was some of the best I have tasted. My wife was more traditional with a pasta and beef marinara which she ate entirely (something which rarely happens). I was in the mood for a big red (as in wine) which was not what the sommelier was recommending to pair with the monkfish. Normally, I would agree, but not tonight! I was not to be deterred from a big red. After ruminating over the Brunellos I was led to a Super Tuscan heretofore unknown to me-Prommis(sp?). The sommelier nailed it as far as I was concerned. Sure, it did not pair with the monkfish as well as one of the many delicate whites on the list would have, but this was not the point. The staff were willing to honor (what some would consider to be a wrongheaded, (ne!)pigheaded) their customer's wine preference! Kudos!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Make Sure To Dine Here

vip
Dined on April 1, 2016

Everything from A - Z was fabulous! Enough said.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Great date night, special occassion

Dined on March 29, 2016

Great date night, excellent food. Bread basket is THE BEST!!! We elected for the 5-course tasting menu. Only complaint was time between courses. We knew we wanted the tasting menu on arrival to the restaurant, yet dinner for two people lasted >>2 hours. Our server was very pleasant and explained that there was another large party that was slowing service this night. Will definitely return.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

We like the concise menu that is offered ...

vip
Dined on March 29, 2016

We like the concise menu that is offered - regardless of the season; five choices in four categories. We also like the ability to either share the pasta course, or just request half of a portion. We were surprised at the slight surcharge for bread - Nicola's serves the best bread variety compared with any other restaurant in town. The surcharge for bread is what we have had to accept in Europe; not sure we like seeing it here.

food5
ambience5
service4

The pasta was great as always. I always ...

vip
Dined on March 27, 2016

The pasta was great as always. I always get their house salad, it's so yummy!! Love their wine selection. Not happy about the 20+ minute wait even with a reservation.

food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Friday night date

Dined on March 25, 2016

The drinks and food were great. Great atmosphere. Just a little on the pricey side.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5

Went on Monday evening. Bolognese night. ...

Dined on March 22, 2016

Went on Monday evening. Bolognese night. Best I've ever had anywhere. Paired with the Nebbiolo wine. Perfect!

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Buon cibo, buon vino, buoni amici!

Dined on March 18, 2016

For an early dinner with friends before the show, Nicola's was perfect! The server was aware of our situation but we never felt hurried-just well taken care of. The wine suggestions were very good. Our dinners were fabulous and the portion sizes were perfect (many pasta dishes can be had in half portions). We came back after the show for drinks and dessert and were welcomed back warmly even though it was almost closing time. We will be back!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wonderful meal

Dined on March 14, 2016

My husband & I went there for his birthday & enjoyed every course we ordered. Our waiter was able to recommend a great wine that paired well with seafood & pasta. I'd go there again!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

True Dining Experience, Excellent dishes & Service

Dined on March 12, 2016

Excellent food selection and prepared to perfection. The timing of the course delivery was perfect – we were not rushed. This was a dining experience not fast food. This was our first visit but not our last. Our server Leeann was attentive, punctual, and offered spot on selection advise – She was a gem.

Tags: romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Never disappointed.

Dined on March 8, 2016

Fantastic food, wine, service and ambience. One of the city's finest!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Incredible!

Dined on March 8, 2016

We had the gnocchi and agnolotti and both were absolutely outstanding. The passionfruit dessert is a must try.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

Not memorable

Dined on March 6, 2016

Food was good but just not memorable. Bread basket delicious, in house made breads ... Even the one from the NY bakery ... but really there's no one local who can supply that bread? Waiter was good and fun but perhaps just too much. Can't recall an outstanding flavor. Beautiful ingredients though. Not on my list of place to return to. Overall satisfied but not wowed. Disappointed.

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Tasty food and lovely ambience .One of o ...

vip
Dined on March 5, 2016

Tasty food and lovely ambience .One of our favorite restaurants.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I love this restaurant.

Dined on March 5, 2016

Great food and wine. A perfect dinning experience.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot, notable wine list
food3
ambience4
service3
value2

Nice, but not memorable

Dined on March 5, 2016

We went to Nicolas with 2 other couples after hearing someone else speak highly of Nicola's food. While the food at Nicola's was good, it should be very good for the price we paid. My wife had the gnocchi and I had the Hunter's chicken, and while both were good, neither were memorable. The chicken was probably only about 1/2 of a chicken breast, which seemed like a small serving when charging $30 for chicken. Neither of the other couples thought their food was that special either. One thing that was kind of nice, they had a wine flight of four 3 oz pours of wine for $25. The wines were all Italian, 2 whites from one vineyard, and 2 reds from a 2nd vineyard in Italy. The vineyard owners came to our table and told us about the wines as we were trying them. When I spend close to $100/person on dinner, I have high expectations, and Nicolas food and service did not meet those expectations (with the exception of the Italian Vineyard owners, and I think that was likely a limited time promotion).

Tags: romantic, special occasion
food5
ambience4
service3
value3

Good food as usual.

vip
Dined on March 1, 2016

Food was great as usual. Had the Kale salad and Venison entree. Both yummy. Service up front was good (host and bar) Our server was not great though, absent minded, not very personable. Not the usual service we get, it was just one of those nights. Won't stop me from going back, usually everything is A+

food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great date night!

Dined on February 27, 2016

The restaurant was quiet and great for talking at your table. It was a perfect excuse to dress up a little and enjoy some fine foods and wines. I would definitely go back again.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience2
service1
value3

Service a Problem

Dined on February 27, 2016

We had the misfortune of having the same waitress for the second time in a row to this restaurant and she's simply not up to par. She interrupted dinner conversation repeatedly, she talked in first person plural, her comments seemed canned (i.e., identical within minutes of every course being served), and her voice was annoying. There was a huge disconnect between the quality of the food and the quality of the service, which greatly affected the dining experience. It was the kind of wait staff performance one would expect at a mid-range restaurant, and was certainly not congruent with my idea of a fine dining experience.

food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Outstanding!

vip
Dined on February 26, 2016

From the attentive , helpful, pleasant, but not obsequious service, and staring with the amuse boche [a delicate carrot mousse perfectly accompanied with a cheese cracker] through the passion fruit dessert each course was outstanding.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

From the moment you walk in the door you ...

vip
Dined on February 24, 2016

From the moment you walk in the door you now you are some place very special. The wine list is incredible. They have changed their menu recently to include new, creative and palate pleasing dishes. The hunters chicken and monkfish dish were to die for. The tortellini soup was amazing and the pappperadelle (sp?) pasta was over the top. They sent us out a small plate and the bread basket is always a hit. The olive oil and lemon cake along with the passion fruit dessert is a must to finish off your meal. Our server Lee Ann was so knowledge from A to Z and really helped us narrow down our choices and then let us enjoy. The new chef here has really brought some exciting culinary items to this restaurant that mustn't be missed.

food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great Food

Dined on February 23, 2016

Went for the Neighborhood Appreciation Night and our anniversary. It was such a great deal and a very romantic dinner.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list

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