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, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, 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

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.7

ambience

4.6

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (53)
Special Occasion (51)
Romantic (48)
See All
Good for Anniversaries (45)
Creative Cuisine (37)
Notable Wine List (37)
Neighborhood Gem (35)
Fit for Foodies (34)
Quiet Conversation (33)
Authentic (30)
Good for Birthdays (25)
Worth the Drive (24)
Cozy (17)
Historic (16)
Private Room (15)
Business Meals (15)
Tasting Menu (14)
Comfort Food (12)
Handcrafted Cocktails (10)
Good for Groups (10)
Bar Seating (9)
Pre/post Theatre (9)
Seasonal (8)
Local Ingredients (7)
Fun (7)
Hot Spot (6)
Outstanding Value (5)
Good Vegetarian Options (5)
Molecular Gastronomy (4)
Casual (4)
Family Style (3)
Modern Decor (3)
Vibrant Bar Scene (3)
Healthy (3)
Happy Hour (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
People Watching (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Great Beer (1)
Tapas (1)
Great for Lunch (1)
Spicy (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Vegan (1)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
Dining Occasion:
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1981 reviews
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 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 18, 2017

For this price, you expect the food to be perfect. Just not up to the same standards it was a few years ago.

Tags: Romantic
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food3
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 17, 2017

We absolutely loved Nicola's! It was our first time there, and the tasting menu was unavailable which wasn't an issue at all, our server recommended an excellent way to navigate the menu and therefore try several different dishes. We split a hot appetizer, the gnudi, and it was fantastic. The kitchen will split everything in half for you which is really nice! We also split a bread basket, a salad (with the goat cheese base-amazing!), and split a half portion of the gnocchi (another great thing- you can order the pasta dishes in half portions), and then we split a main entree. The half portion of the gnocchi was by no means small, we were stuffed before our main entree came out! We were glad that we split each and got to try a lot of the menu, and we can't wait to come back and do it again! The service was excellent as well, our server was fantastic and even gave us puppy training tips after we told him we were getting a puppy soon, he was fun and personable!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Worth the Drive, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion, Comfort Food, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Private Room, Romantic, Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Authentic, Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Good for Anniversaries, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 17, 2017

Very disappointed! I specifically saved this restaurant for a survival date but everything feel flat except for the service. To decor seemed very uninspiring not up to date and I hate to say it, it just felt "old". But that is something I can overlook if the food is good. And that is my biggest complaint, they might as well put a SALT block on the table. Other than the salad everything they brought out was not slightly salty but extremely salty, I got the bolognese and could only eat a few bites and my girlfriend could only eat a little of her for cheese gnocchi(sp?). The restaurant was busy, apparently a lot of people like it but I will recommend other Italian places throughout the city before hear, especially considering the price.

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food1
ambience3
service4
value1

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 16, 2017

I have dined at Nicola's many times and I have always been satisfied. I was very disappointed this time. I ordered bistecca that had no flavor. The meal quality was well below what I have come to expect at Nicola's.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food1
ambience3
service3
value2

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 15, 2017

Once again, outstanding meal this evening. The risotto, gnocchi, duck and short rib dishes were out of this world. Our other dishes were delicious as well, however these were superior. I love the changes to the menu throughout the year. It shows off the talent of Nicola's chef, Aaron Owen and his kitchen staff. Thank you.

Tags: Bar Seating, Special Occasion, Historic, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 14, 2017

The food was fabulous. I highly recommend the gnocchi. The atmosphere was relaxing, quiet, comfortable, tasteful, and rich. The staff were very attentive and friendly, but not overly friendly. I got the impression that they know who and when to approach. I think they are very experienced. Our server, I wish I remembered her name, was excellent.

Tags: Seasonal, Healthy, Authentic, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Pre/post Theatre, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Cozy, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 13, 2017

Very nice with interesting food choices

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 13, 2017

The menu is not cheap, but I quickly decided the excellent food and service justified the price. A bread basket even costs, but instead of a few slices of white bread, it comes packed with a dozen different specialities like focaccia in different flavors, well worth the $1.33! We had the boucheron goat cheese salad, delicious and ample. Before that the chef sent us a gift of stuzzichino. Our main course was four cheese gnocchi, delicious. Christina served us well, knowledgeable and personable. Great evening!

Tags: Authentic, Cozy, Good Vegetarian Options, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 13, 2017

Salad and Bolognese night on Mondays is a great value!

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Phenomenal meal! The potato gnocchi is the best, also highly recommend the pear dessert.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Creative and focused menu, outstanding food, great service

Tags: Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Excellent house made pasta and their carpaccio is divine!

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Food and wine pairing was excellent, we sat upstairs this time which was a nice change of pace from the main dining room. A bit quieter and warmer up stairs. Great option is to share plates, we ended up getting a few small plates with two entrees and it was perfect. The super Tuscan wine was a great pairing with lobster pasta and the beef.

Tags: Bar Seating, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Seasonal, Good for Anniversaries, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 10, 2017

Service was extremely poor. I ordered a house salad. Too much dressing. When I noted the problem for the server I received no accommodation. Very disappointing. Usually this is one of my favorite restaurants. Tonight it was one of my least favorite.

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food2
ambience2
service1
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 9, 2017

Charming atmosphere and decor. Food and wine top quality. Staff was professional

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 7, 2017

Nicola's remains one of the premier restaurants in Cincinnati. Great chef , great menu, great, wine list, great service. The bistecca, beef tenderloin dish was perfect as was my wife's striped bass. Nicola's has become our go to restaurant for special nights out; birthdays, anniversary, Valentine's, etc.. We recommend Nicola's as our first choice in Cincinnati dining.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Romantic, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 7, 2017

Qui si mangia sempre bene! The tasting menu is my favorite; it never disappoints.

Tags: Business Meals, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Probably the best food we've had since we moved to Cinci.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Good freshly made pasta dishes. A little too heavy on the butter for me but unique foods with great flavor. Bread basket recommended.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Always one of our fav places. We are never disappointed. The host was fabulous. Our server excellent and even good-naturedly put up with my jokes and tricks. We will be back!!

Tags: Hot Spot, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Molecular Gastronomy, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 3, 2017

Delicious and loved the bread basket!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 1, 2017

Great staff, service and food. Definitely see why Nicola's in on the top 10 list of best restaurants in Cincy!!

Tags: Comfort Food, Historic, Notable Wine List, Private Room, Romantic, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on February 1, 2017

Excellent service. Had to arrange a business dinner tonight choose Nicola's and it was a perfect setting for our meeting. W8ll do it again

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 31, 2017

Delicious as always. I've been going to this restaurant for about ten years and they never get old

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on January 28, 2017

We came across Nicola's during a visit to Cincy last year based on a friend's recommendation, and were amazed at the quality of food, service and ambience. During our return visit to Cincy this year, Nicola's was at the top of our 'must-do' list for our early Valentine's Day get-away in January. This has become our favorite restaurant in Cincy.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Used to be MUCH better. As of January 2017 the quality of food and service has dropped...Too bad.

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food2
ambience3
service2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 28, 2017

We were treated like royalty from the minute we walked in until we walked out the door at the end of the evening. All staff was very friendly and seemed to care that everything was just perfect. The menu items were creative and we enjoyed all that we ordered. They have an extensive wine and drink menu. We celebrated a birthday to which they brought us a complimentary dessert. We had not ever been to Nicola's, but when we return to Cincinnati we will plan to eat dinner there.

Tags: Romantic, Happy Hour, Vibrant Bar Scene, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 26, 2017

Nicolas never disappoints! Service- top notch, menu- sophisticated, Presentation- inviting.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Good Vegetarian Options, Romantic, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 26, 2017

Everything we ordered was absolutely wonderful. Service was amazing. Definitely one of the best restaurants in town.

I highly recommend the risotto and the gnocchi. The bread service alone is enough of a reason to go to Nicola's.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 26, 2017

Awesome food. Best staff..felt pampered. Bread basket was a wonderful compliment to the food.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Vegan, Authentic, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 24, 2017

Our table did the tasting menu with one additional add on. It was well paced and delicious, served with impeccable service! Our cocktails to start were delicious as well. Tried the pear old-fashioned off the signature cocktails and it was so tasty!

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Good for Groups, Tasting Menu, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Montreal)·Dined on January 24, 2017

Nicola's is consistently outstanding. Homemade pastas are out of this world. Maybe the best restaurant in Cincinnati.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Business Meals
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 22, 2017

Celebrated two birthdays. Every course was amazing. The roasted beet salad, the gnocchi and the steel head trout. The wine and cocktails were great and our server Rachel was super helpful.

Tags: Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 22, 2017

Excellent every time. We come here whenever we want great food in a great environment.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Quiet Conversation, Worth the Drive, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Food was excellent as well as the service. We had a party of four and they were very accommodating in splitting so each of us could try four different entrees. Wonderful experience

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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Great restaurant to take a date. Everything was excellent and the atmosphere was amazing. Highly recommended.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 16, 2017

Typical for Nicola's, every dish was beyond expectations in flavor and presentation, service excellent, and the bread basket worth the visit by itself.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Detroit)·Dined on January 13, 2017

Nicola's is always outstanding and we recommend it regularly. We met some old friends and sat, ate, and talked for a while. Nice evening. Rachel was a very attentive server and made good recommendations.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 11, 2017

We visited Nicolas for my daughters birthday. It was a quiet Tuesday evening. We elected to do the eight course dinner with the wine pairing. The courses were very diverse and the wine pairings complimented each course very well. Although, I was not a fan of the dessert wine at all.

Over all the staff was very attentive and well versed on all the courses and wine served. A bit pricey but we enjoyed our evening very much.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Romantic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 10, 2017

Been to Nicolas many times and have never been disappointed. Would have given our experience a 5 but although our server was extremely friendly and knew the menu from top to bottom,the service getting drinks and our food was painfully slow but I will note that the restaurant was quite busy the night the four of us dined. Please do not let that comment stop anyone from trying Nicolas for the first time or booking a return reservation.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 8, 2017

We had another great meal at Nicola's when celebrating a birthday and our daughter's return to college. We started with cocktails (processco and a very nice pear old fashion). My wife and daughter always look forward to the bread basket. We passed around three appetizers, the gnudi, prosciutto and melon, and the beet salad. We are still talking about the gnudi. We had the kitchen split the gnocchi three ways as we knew it is very rich. We topped off the meal with Nicola's great entrees, stripped bass, bistecca, and steelhead trout. I especially liked the glass of wine recommended by our waiter. It was a nebbiolo that by all rights could be classified as a barolo. The service was excellant. Our table upstairs was perfect. And our meal and evening outstanding.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 7, 2017

Food was delicious and beautifully plated. We had a salad, pasta, main course and a dessert. Pasta Bolognese was my favorite, simply melting in your mouth.

Service was probably the best I have ever experienced at a restaurant. The staff was very knowledgeable, polite, attentive but not too much to feel interrupted.

We'll be coming back. Not only for our anniversary.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 7, 2017

Absolute gem of an Italian high end restaurant. Gnudi is heaven on a plate. Wait staff work well as a team. Can only afford to go for special occasions and worth it.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 7, 2017

Gnocchi and the bread basket were by far my favorite items of the evening!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 6, 2017

From our welcome when we arrived at the restaurant to our wonderful waiter, it was fantastic.

Tags: Private Room, Business Meals, Notable Wine List, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Romantic, Authentic, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 5, 2017

The service and food was great. This was my third time and it seems to get better and better. Love this place!!!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 2, 2017

One of the best dinners I've had in years. The food was amazing and Stephen took GREAT care of us. My family and I will be returning!

Tags: Historic, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Alex was our sever, and was perfect.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 1, 2017

My friends and family had New Years Eve dinner at Nicolas. I have been there before and had a good experience. However, this dinner was a disaster! They had a tasting menu and did not have their normal menu items available. There were 2 entrée choices: Sea Bass and a Porterhouse. My mom and I split both. Everyone's food was cold when we got it. The Sea Bass was okay. I ordered the steak medium well and it was rare. I returned it and when it game back, it was still rare and very tough to cut. I returned it and didn't want it back. The manger came out and told us that the steak was really cooked, but the lighting made it look rare and that this particular steak always looks pink no matter how done it is. Really? That's the most ridiculous thing that I've heard.

The waiter had a very bad attitude and no one there seemed to care about the experience of their customers.

Overall, the experience was very disappointing and I'm so sorry I wasted my New Year's Eve there. If you only have 2 entrees on the menu, I would think you could cook them properly. Needless to say, after having only a few bits of the fish, I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home. The food there was much better!

I will never go back to this restaurant again.

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food1
ambience3
service2
value1

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on January 1, 2017

New Years Eve at Nicola's was a great way to celebrate the coming of a new year. The food was amazing - the truffle risotto incredible, the bistecca mouthwatering and cooked to perfection. Service was not rushed, the pace of the kitchen perfect. I ordered a 2000 Brunello - where else in Cincinnati can you get a properly aged Italian wine (Ruby's has a great library of American cabs)? Delightful!

Tags: Good for a Date, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Good Vegetarian Options, Private Room, Special Occasion, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

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