Boca

114 East 6th St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
As downtown Cincinnati has seen a renaissance of new and exciting restaurant concepts come to town, the top quality ones are getting quite a following, pleasing giant crowds and landing national attention. Cincinnati’s dining scene has become a national interest with a lot of new ideas coming to market. So it’s no wonder the fine dining scene here is filled with such creativity. In that time, we have Boca, “culinary curiosity in modern decadence” and a place where creative combinations simmer for adventurous palettes. It’s an experience.

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The menu, which changes frequently, is roughly Italian, but much of what you try has a significant modern polish. Many options come as a “full” or a “tasting” and I will contend they are very much that — a tasting will not fill you up. Some of the seasonals here that I have known and loved:

  • Oysters Rockefeller: This classic preparation on the oyster with spinach and lime is good by the oyster as an amuse-bouche or maybe a few to whet the appetite.
  • Beet Mezzaluna Salad: Beet slices which have been stuffed with aged goat cheese are the base of this salad, with refined greens and a savory vinaigrette. Definitely a plus to have some of that balsamic on the side.
  • Risotte Cacio e Pepe: This risotto recipe comes with a base of peccorino Romano cheese and black peppers, peas and mint to add texture. Cacio y pepe tends to be a very salty dish, but this one uses it in a deft hand for a more refined flavor.
  • Buckeye Candy Bar: This combo of brownie, peanut nougat and gelato on top makes for a thick and sweet dessert, not overly sweet but with the thick fudge-like chocolate and peanut butter both bringing a strong aroma and very satisfying crunch.

The restaurant has so many intimate nooks and comfortable spots for a dinner, in spite of its place downtown. It’s about perfect for a dinner after a show at the Aronoff Center or a nightcap after a night downtown. Probably best when shared with a date or a small group of friends. Reservations are definitely a must thanks to the spot’s popularity but you can expect that the service makes it well worth the hassle. A final thought; Boca is about quality, not quantity, so many of the plates, even full plates, can be smaller than you may be used to.

Boca has turned a lot of heads since it opened its doors, and with good reason. It really offers a lot of great experiences. This classy fare is well worth a visit.

Recommendations

  • Reservations are a must. The place is simply too popular, especially on weekends, and especially when something is happening downtown.
  • The food comes in “tastings” and “full course” options, so you can try a few different things for more.
  • The extensive cocktail menu is worth a look.
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