Liu Garden

For a very long time, Downtown Dayton was served by one dive Chinese place: China Royal, in the corner of the Biltmore Tower along North Main Street. After that spot closed, the place was vacant for awhile before a new spot, Liu Garden, replaced it earlier this year. Under the ownership of a new family, this spot is in practice very similar to its predecessor — a Chinese buffet with a robust takeout operation. But this one has longer hours and a bigger variety of foods. Still, the food is pretty unremarkable.

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Cassano’s Pizza

Dayton Ohio has a variety of local pizza places, and several of the biggest chains have a lot of local exposure. Cassano’s, toting itself as the Pizza King, is definitely one of those.  The recipes, inspired by Vic Cassano and his family, here you will find thin crust pizza, subs, bar food and lots of love from the locals. In each of the smattering of locations around the Miami Valley, you’ll find a spot where the food comes pretty quickly and there’s a small dining room to enjoy it, but much of the business is done to-go. I like the things that I try here, this makes for a pretty good experience of inexpensive, comfort food that screams Dayton.

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King’s Table Bar & Grill

It’s a popular local watering hole for Beavercreek, east of Dayton, Ohio, and you would be hard-pressed to find a spot quite like it elsewhere in this city. Kings Table is known for two chief draws: an extensive menu of craft beers and an equally extensive game room for pool, darts and other activities. You may not know it but the spot also has a kitchen where it serves up the kind of pub grub so popular all over Dayton, but during the day you will find this spot much less busy than it is in the evenings. The food isn’t bad.

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The Vistro

As food trucks in Dayton go, there has been a great influx of new ones coming online in recent years to show up at all the public events and things. The most popular of the old food trucks are always tied up in private events and gatherings. The Vistro is one of the newer ones; while there are relatively few Vietnamese restaurants in Dayton itself, this spot offers some common Vietnamese dishes, which you can walk with and enjoy. These dishes are pretty easy to like, especially if you like Vietnamese food.

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What da Pho

Friendly puns and food jokes decorate the walls of this new Vietnamese restaurant which is set up shop in Beavercreek along the well-traveled road near the Mall at Fairfield Commons. Cute What da Pho  offers a sleek, modern Vietnamese concept as this kind of food sees greater acceptance in Dayton amid a small number of popular dives.  But these recipes offer a pretty tasty experience whether you are a tried-and-true fan or are getting your first taste.

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Nashville Hot

While it hearkens to the very favorite dish of the Music City, Nashville Hot (In Dayton, known as “Mike’s Nashville Hot” for the franchise owner) is actually founded in Cincinnati. The product of Tom+Chee’s David Krikorian and including former Bengals player Brad Cousino, this group is focused on taking hot chicken — a cuisine much beloved in Nashville but relatively unknown outside of that city — and popularizing it for a wider audience. Hot chicken is a sensitive thing for die-hards, but what the chain is offering is a great introduction to a dish many will not have tried before.

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Texas Beef & Cattle Co.

Quietly set up as a barbecue joint to serve the Wright Dunbar neighborhood, Texas Beef & Cattle Co. has quickly become a local attraction with a line out the door. And there’s a good reason for that, because people from downtown, where there are plenty of other dining options, are headed this way for the chance to try some of this food. West Dayton has had its struggles to be sure, but there are new businesses finding their way here that are changing this neighborhood with the quality they offer. This is one of them.

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Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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Amar India

Now with two locations in Dayton, Amar India is an Indian food restaurant with a focus on a more upscale Indian food experience. Owned by Surjit Singh Mattu, the two restaurants complement the group’s Beavercreek restaurant and buffet Jeet India, which is more of a casual kind of location. Here, you’re served by a waiter and choose from a smaller but robust menu of dishes that have a deeper character and flavor profiles. While at first intimidating to sit down and choose from so many kinds of food that might not be familiar, the end result is still a great dining experience.

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Remember When Tea Room

A charming pink house in Southwest Ohio’s quaint Waynesville, Remember When is a gateway to a bygone era, evoking the very friendly and all too uncommon art of the afternoon tea. Literally run out of the house of its owners, you will find every dish made by hand and every item a but of a personal touch. Once you understand how the place works you wilk find it a very pleasant place to try.

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