Carver’s Steak House & Chops

A much-loved steakhouse that serves the southern Dayton region, Carvers Steak House & Chops strives for a simple, elegant experience. With a low-lit interior and a focus on very professional service, this fine dining destination hits the classics — good steaks, good cocktails, seafood and classic American foods. While a lot of new restaurants come and go, and trends rise and fall, places like Carver’s endure with a consistent experience and an austere reputation. The prices here are on par with a fine dining experience, but for the south suburbs of the Gem City, this spot tends to be a favorite.

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Corner Kitchen

The newest addition to the Oregon District, and the creation of husband and wife team Natalie and Jack Skilliter, Corner Kitchen opened in a long-vacant space at the corner of one of Dayton’s most loved nightlife spots as a place where people can go to get something upscale but down-to-earth. The deliberate craft of its owners is apparent in the restaurant; each dish looks pretty simple from the outside but gets more complex as you dive in; and in the end the food here really delivers something that downtown Dayton has been craving.

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Bar Louie

Just close to 90 locations of Bar Louie are spread out across the Midwest and the East Coast, slowly expanding west in the U.S. These restaurants tend to locate one or two to a city, generally in the very upscale bar districts where they can justify higher prices and clientele looking for a more upscale experience. The bars are trimmed, often filled with televisions and sports gear, and most importantly, they’re nearly always packed. Expect a safe experience at one of these bars food-wise. Drinks are a different story. But whichever you pick, don’t expect to be wowed.

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W.G. Kitchen & Bar

A contemporary wine concept with a flair for Italian specialties, the Wine Guys Kitchen and Bar — or “W.G. Kitchen & Bar” for short — is a wine bar concept with three locations in greater Cincinnati. The walls are filled with vintages from around the world, and the large open interior dining area gives way to many intimate recesses for small groups to congregate along with large parties. W.G., the product and namesake of longtime wine connoisseur and Ohio food name Craig Decker, is is great place to go to try a few different kinds of spirit, whether you’re a novice to wine or an expert looking for a refined glass.

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The Deli on Webster

Webster Street isn’t far from downtown Dayton proper, but you don’t spot a lot of other things in that part of town that bring people out during the week. In fact, though, with the Second Street Market, the Dayton Dragons, and a few other things that bring downtown folks to play. But I consider The Deli to be a very under-appreciated gem of downtown dining. Too many folks missing out on the opportunity to try some great food.

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Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery

The Bassano family opened Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery in the eastern Cincinnati suburb of Maderia 15 years ago, and the Italian restaurant has been a mainstay of Italian cuisine in the city in the time since then. Tucked behind a strip mall it’s got a rustic feel that has meant the classy restaurant has remained a pretty, peaceful place to dine even as much of the town around it has undergone significant change in the past 15 years. But change or not, one thing hasn’t changed since I first set foot in here 15 years ago; the wonderful smell of Italian pastries that greets you when you walk in.

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Citilites

As the resident restaurant serving the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites (pronounced ‘city lights,’ it took me a few tries to figure out) is a class establishment. For performances, it hosts both lunches and dinners, but the store is most popular during the work day, as a spot for business meetings among the downtown companies. It’s got a variety of foods for a variety of customers, and the menu seems to change regularly. Generally though, it’s upscale dining, served best with a nice glass of wine. Odds are, if you’re from the local business community, you’ve attended a few big events in this restaurant.

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Dayton Racquet Club

Perched high atop Kettering Tower, Dayton’s tallest skyscraper, the elite Dayton Racquet Club is a members-only social establishment with a number of amenities, the most remarkable of which is a restaurant and lounge on the building’s 29th floor. It’s at this exclusive club that Dayton’s elite rub shoulders whether it’s for a gathering of business leaders over breakfast, a light lunch with a source, or cocktails after hours. The Racquet Club is good to its members, and the food here, matching the view, is top-notch.

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Wheat Penny

On its face, Wheat Penny is one of the newest pizza places in Dayton, but this downtown stop near the Oregon District strives to be much more. It’s the brainchild of local restaurateur Elizabeth Wily and capitalizes on the innovation of the kitchen seen at the successful Meadowlark restaurant in Kettering. With a slightly different feel and a whole different focus — not only good pizza, but interesting and creative preparation for vegetables — Wheat Penny has moved in on the Wayne Avenue restaurant scene in a big way, and in spite of exceptional competition in its proximity, this new concept delivers.

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Leo Bistro

The primary dining option for the Dayton Art Institute just north of downtown Dayton, Ohio, Leo Bistro has expanded far beyond the concept of the standard museum cafeteria and is now a full service place to eat, from the same basis as Elite Catering, the museum’s large-dining operation. Dayton Art Institute has a lot of events by itself, but it’s also host to a lot of cultural happenings of various groups around the city. Because of that, it’s likely a Dayton resident will try far more than the items on the standard menu when stepping into the DAI.

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