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

4.7

service

4.7

ambience

4.6

value

4.2

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Italian
Cincinnati / Dayton
Italian
Cincinnati
Best Restaurants in Over the Rhine ›

Special Occasion (55)
Romantic (52)
Fit for Foodies (47)
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Notable Wine List (41)
Neighborhood Gem (38)
Creative Cuisine (24)
Good for a Date (21)
Good for Anniversaries (19)
Authentic (17)
Good for Birthdays (16)
Good for Groups (15)
Historic (13)
Worth the Drive (12)
Cozy (12)
Business Meals (10)
Tasting Menu (9)
Private Room (9)
Quiet Conversation (9)
Pre/post Theatre (8)
Handcrafted Cocktails (7)
Fun (7)
Local Ingredients (6)
Bar Seating (5)
Vibrant Bar Scene (5)
Hot Spot (5)
Healthy (4)
Outstanding Value (4)
Casual (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Great for Outdoor Dining (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Modern Decor (3)
Scenic View (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Family Style (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Seasonal (1)
Great Beer (1)
People Watching (1)
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1787 reviews
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As always, wonderful evening with the Ni ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined 3 days ago

As always, wonderful evening with the Nicola team! Service perfect, food is best in the region! Perfect place for our evening to celebrate our success, thank you!

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food5
ambience5
service5

An incredible meal at an incredible rest ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined 3 days ago

An incredible meal at an incredible restaurant. Get the bread basket for certain. The new lamb shank and the steady Bolognese were fantastic. My wife had the gnocchi and that was perfection. Save some room for the Panna Cotta for a vast array of flavors.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries, Tasting Menu, Notable Wine List, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

What surprised us was that , while the s ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined 4 days ago

What surprised us was that , while the selections on offer were similar to those we have enjoyed at Nicolas' in the past, the tastes were surprisingly and interestingly different. All the pieces fit together perfectly.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Amazing food and an unbelievable value w ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined 7 days ago

Amazing food and an unbelievable value with the Monday "$15 bolognese and salad" special. We normally save Nicola's for special occasions (it's our anniversary spot) but by coming on a Monday night, it's more accessible as a nice date-night instead. We will be back!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Hot Spot, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The food was excellent and the waitress ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 26, 2016

The food was excellent and the waitress was very knowledgeable about the food and the wine. It was a real treat to be able to get together with my family, enjoy good food and conversation where we could hear each other. Sometimes restaurants are so noisy that it is impossible to have a conversation. The bread was to die for. That's primarily the reason we chose Nicola's Restaurant, because I wanted some good hot bread with my meal. We had spent the entire holiday weekend in Cincinnati and had never been served good bread.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Another spectacular meal at Nicolas. We ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 25, 2016

Another spectacular meal at Nicolas. We had family in town for the holidays and we chose to bring them to the best Italian restaurant in the city. The restaurant was able to accommodate my wife's vegetarian requests. I had the lamb shank which was spectacuar. The wine list is one of the best for Italian options.

We will return.

Tags: Tasting Menu, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great...as always. A Cincinnati favorite ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 25, 2016

Great...as always. A Cincinnati favorite!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great service from our young perky waitr ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 21, 2016

Great service from our young perky waitress. Homemade pasta is light and perfectly cooked. Best bread basket in town.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Pasta bolognase

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 21, 2016

Pasta bolognase

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food5
ambience5
service5

Absolutely wonderful from the food to th ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 20, 2016

Absolutely wonderful from the food to the service. Could not have asked for a better setting to celebrate an anniversary.

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food5
ambience5
service5

First time we had eaten upstairs, not su ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 18, 2016

First time we had eaten upstairs, not sure if I remembered there was an upstairs it had been so long since we had been there. The food was as good as I had remembered and it was romantic! Nice way to spend my husband's birthday celebration!

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food4
ambience5
service3

Steven was great-professional, knowledge ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 15, 2016

Steven was great-professional, knowledgeable and friendly. The atmosphere was perfect-dimly lit, noise level low. Chef Aaron came out to say hello which was very nice. The duck and melon with prosciutto were amazing. Portions are sizable enough where you can share them enabling you to try more dishes. Would definitely recommend.

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food4
ambience5
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Our seating location was very cramped an ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 12, 2016

Our seating location was very cramped and void of privacy. One of our guests encountered a shoulder injury from a waiter removing plates, re injured a shoulder problem. As they were removing dishes from the table, they yanked our guest arm back.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Casual
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food3
ambience2
service4
value3

Great staff, great service, great venue, ...

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on November 9, 2016

Great staff, great service, great venue, and great food. What else is there to say?

My girlfriend and I dined here for our anniversary. Had a great experience and the food was fantastic. We had the risotto, beat salad, gnocchi, and the stripped bass. I also had an amazing beer from North Coast Brewery, my girlfriend enjoyed a wonderful glass of red wine that was recommended by our server.

5/5

Tags: Molecular Gastronomy, Worth the Drive, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Pre/post Theatre, Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Fun, Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays, Great Beer, People Watching, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Cozy, Good for a Date, Comfort Food, Healthy, Local Ingredients, Historic, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Outstanding Value, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The three first tiimers all raved about ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 7, 2016

The three first tiimers all raved about the dining experience and we've made reservations to return.

Tags: Fun, Good for Groups, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Food was good but borderline to refer to ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 7, 2016

Food was good but borderline to refer to it as an "Italian" Restaurant. Competent and friendly Servers.

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Special Occasion, Healthy
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food3
ambience5
service4
value3

We were there for our 21st wedding anniv ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 5, 2016

We were there for our 21st wedding anniversary. My wife ordered wine and it we served in a dirty glass. She mentioned such to our waiter and was given a replacement. Glass #2 was dirty = another replacement. I had a nice Cabernet until the last sips when the waiter noticed me examining the bottom of my glass= a nickel sized layer on sediment at the bottom of the glass. Other tables received a full explanation of the menu items. We were simply asked what we wanted and had to ask many questions. It was very clear the waiter was not engaged with his job (or at least our table)

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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

Nicola's has always met our expectations ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 4, 2016

Nicola's has always met our expectations. The food is the obvious reason, but service is impeccable, and the ambiance is great. I still think this is the best restaurant in Cincinnati.

Tags: Bar Seating, Good for Birthdays, Private Room
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We went for a special celebration. The w ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 4, 2016

We went for a special celebration. The waitress could not have been more knowledgeable about the menu and even offered some tailoring to suit our table. The dessert course was delivered with a hand written chocolate "congratulations" on the plate. The waiters bring your dishes to the table for a simultaneous presentation-- nice touch! The quality and presentation of the food was outstanding--awesome work of the chief and his staff!!!! Great attention to detail in all of our dining experience-- from cocktails to dessert. Cants wait to go back for a special occasion.

Tags: Historic, Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Notable Wine List, Private Room, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Authentic, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Superb food, excellent service. Only th ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on November 2, 2016

Superb food, excellent service. Only thing missing was a round table! We'll be back!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

Had a fantastic dinner Tried the 5 cours ...

 
 (Nashville)·Dined on November 1, 2016

Had a fantastic dinner

Tried the 5 course tasting menu. Food was exceptional

Our waitress was excellent

Great evening, highly recommend

Tags: Modern Decor, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

Pasta bolognese Monday is consistently w ...

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 31, 2016

Pasta bolognese Monday is consistently wonderful!

Service is always professional and gracious.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5

Still our go to restaurant in Cincinnati ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 29, 2016

Still our go to restaurant in Cincinnati for special occasions. Quality of food and service continue to be consistently outstanding. Steven was great server. Octopus appetizer was different and quite good. Steelhead trout, Lamb shank and Striped bass each met parties high standards.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Hadn't been for awhile but not disappoin ...

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 28, 2016

Hadn't been for awhile but not disappointed. The menu had just been changed and there were some great options. The building is a converted carriage barn and is neat inside. There is a small bar area where they make great cocktails. The restaurant has many different seating options, tables for 4, booth seating, balconettes etc. They offer a small menu but everything is prepared perfectly, tastes fantastic and looks beautiful. The pasta is made in house and fresh as is the bread. Service was impeccable. Truly a special experience from start to finish.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic, Historic
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

My friend and I have been frequent custo ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 28, 2016

My friend and I have been frequent customers at Nicola's and have always loved it, so we arranged dinner there when we and another couple were going to a special concert. We were frankly disappointed. Nicola's seems to have gone rather "over the top" with their menu. The waiter was very enthusiastic about the fact that everything is cooked using sous vide, but if that's what sous vide cooking does, I'm not a fan. The food lacked flavor and character. I got a duck appetizer that came drowned in foam but without the wonderful rich duck flavor. The lobster pasta dish had hardly any lobster and it was overcooked for my taste. I had a glass of chianti classico which turned out to be mediocre. Also Nicola's has started charging $1.33 per person for the wonderful bread basket. I think that's silly and even gauche!

Tags: Historic, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Tasting Menu
1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience5
service5
value2

Delicious as always but we missed our fa ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 24, 2016

Delicious as always but we missed our favorite server, Leann!

1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The service was superb. The food was del ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 24, 2016

The service was superb. The food was delicious and it truly was a one of a kind experience.

Tags: Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This was my first visit to Nicola's and ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 24, 2016

This was my first visit to Nicola's and I was extremely impressed! The service was phenomenal and the food was absolutely fantastic! I brought a client from out of town here and they were blown away. I will definitely be back!

Tags: Good for a Date, Business Meals, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Notable Wine List, Romantic
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
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service5
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We had an amazing meal last Saturday. Ou ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 22, 2016

We had an amazing meal last Saturday. Our server Beth did a very nice job and talked through the menu and offered suggestions as to what we might like. The new duck appetizer and tortellini soup were out of this world. The entrees were creative and flavorful. The pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate dessert were to die for. The atmosphere was energetic and we had a wonderful evening. Just go. Theres no reason not to enjoy a meal like we just experienced!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Historic, Special Occasion, Private Room, Notable Wine List, Good for Groups, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The gnocchi and the bread basket was a g ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 22, 2016

The gnocchi and the bread basket was a great find. We were sat under the stairs in a fairly busy area which was not romantic. It was my anniversary and we got treated like two kids out to eat for prom. Our waiter was more concerned about his party room than our table. He would rush off and barely checked on us. I loved the food the the rest was sub par.

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food5
ambience2
service2

The upstairs was so dark and our server ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 22, 2016

The upstairs was so dark and our server was not informative at all. Two entrees were so salty that they were not edible. They did remove it from the bill, however, between all the factors the night was not good.

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food1
ambience2
service2
value5

Service was EXCELLENT! A very nice expe ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 21, 2016

Service was EXCELLENT! A very nice experience. Our number one choice for a special occasion.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
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value5

Fabulous food. Goat cheese salad and pot ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 20, 2016

Fabulous food. Goat cheese salad and potato gnocchi were outstanding. Service was great. First time guests, we'll be back for certain.

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food5
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service5
value5

Redemption! We have dined at Nicola's m ...

 
 (Northern MI)·Dined on October 20, 2016

Redemption! We have dined at Nicola's many times. Our previous visit was marred by problems on many fronts. We were a little concerned about this visit. Clearly, the previous problems were just a bad night all the way around. We enjoyed the excellent staff, wonderful food, attention to allergies that we had come to expect from this restaurant. I can freely recommend it again!!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Tasting Menu, Fit for Foodies
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food5
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Had a delicious meal at Nicola's. If yo ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 17, 2016

Had a delicious meal at Nicola's. If you go on Monday night they have a special on their beef bolognese with a salad. All three of us got one. Our waiter was not very good thus the service score. We were seated upstairs and would recommend the downstairs if you have a choice for ambiance.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience3
service3
value5

Bolognese was excellent, service was eve ...

vip
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 17, 2016

Bolognese was excellent, service was even better. Monday at Nikola's is unbeatable!

Tags: Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene, Outstanding Value, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Scenic View
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food5
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My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our ann ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 15, 2016

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary experience at Nicola's. We are not frequent guests, but this is our go-to place for special occasions.

The interior is very quaint and comfortable. Offering romantic seating or larger tables for more guests.

We enjoyed the duck appetizer and absolutely love the gnocchi antipasto! We enjoyed the steak and steelhead trout for main dishes. The trout was great.

We had a great time and will be back for our next occasion to celebrate.

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food5
ambience5
service5

We had such an amazing experience at Nic ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 8, 2016

We had such an amazing experience at Nicola's. Our biggest challenge was choosing which items to pick as they all look so fantastic. Due to a spill (caused by us) we had a bit of a mess to clean up and the staff was so quick, discrete and attentive to the situation. They surprised us with a small plate of our absolute favorite dish as a way to "reset the tone of the night" which helped us in choosing some new and equally fantastic items to enjoy! It is our favorite special place to go and have marked many of our special moments here!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Romantic, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wedding anniversary dinner. We found wha ...

 
 (Cincinnati)·Dined on October 7, 2016

Wedding anniversary dinner. We found what appeared to be the last parking spot near the restaurant, but the meter only accepted change. We asked the host to exchange paper money so we could fill the meter up, but they didn't have a coin in the building because "they round up to the nearest dollar" (?!?). We worked it out with help from others at the bar, but that was frustrating. After drinks were delivered to the table I told the server we were ready to order, but he walked away and it took him 5 minutes to come back and take the oder. The bread basket was pretty but didn't knock my socks off. Our meals took a very long time to come out,and my entree was EXTREMELY SALTY (a previous Yelp review warned of this). I ate 25% of it and set it aside. The waiter was very good about it and offered to bring another dish, but I kindly refused and ate another piece of bread instead. When we presented our gift card for payment ($100 from a few years back but no expiration date) we were politely told they were not going to accept it because it had another restaurant's name on it as well as Nicola's name and they have severed their relationship since the card was issued. We broke out a credit card and left immediately. My tongue is still suffering from the salt, my cocktail wasn't that great come to think of it, it was way too difficult to find a few coins to help us out, we couldn't use our gift card, and I was so frustrated that we didn't stay for dessert. Even though our waiter was personable, accurate and accommodating and the atmosphere was nice, the chef was not paying attention to what left his kitchen, and the overall experience was not special for the price we paid.

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food1
ambience4
service3
value1

Great food and great service! I took my ...

 
 (Cleveland)·Dined on October 2, 2016

Great food and great service! I took my dad and wife out to eat here on a whim and the food and service were as expected for a fine dining restaurant. The food was perfectly prepared and the service was great. The room was a little loud. However, this is not unexpected for restaurants in Cincinnati.

Tags: Historic, Cozy, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

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