The Buffet at Monte Carlo

In Vegas, they say it’s all about the buffets. Indeed most casinos on the strip have one, and you can walk right in and eat without gambling. In fact many are comped right to your room. Such is the case with The Buffet at Monte Carlo. Most used by the guests of the hotel itself the place has a plethora of options it serves for lunch and dinner. Of course, this casino was created by MGM as more of a budget option for the strip. You’ll find the buffet matches. In quality, not price.

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The Dock Food & Spirits

Eccentric. Colorful. A resort. All of these things describe the collection of beach themed decor and busy dining areas that is The Dock in Enon. The seafood restaurant has a ton of quirk with it, designed to make you feel like you’re at a beach in the middle of southern Ohio. For all that excitement, the place does a pretty good job with the seafood dishes it offers, and the pleasant experience the place brings grows on you pretty quickly. It’s easy to miss it for its location in a small town, but it’s also so much fun, it’s worth a little trip.

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Ollie’s Place

Ollie’s Place has generated quite a bit of excitement in the months since it has opened in the south Dayton suburb of Centerville, Ohio. The spot brings the Dayton suburbs something they will surely love; a craft beer and whisky bottle shop with a connected tap room and restaurant. Take a step into the low-lit environment here and you’ll be immediately struck by the welcoming atmosphere. Not only is it a retail place to grab some craft brews, but it’s a place where you can relax and spend some time with a quality menu of bar foods perfectly matches to the extensive tap wall.

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Amber Rose

Amber Rose is a bit of an under-appreciated restaurant just northeast of downtown Dayton that caters to a number of European cuisines, ranging from German and Polish food to Hungarian, Italian and even Russian. The spot doesn’t advertise a ton so it’s not very well known out in the suburbs, but the food you find here is a great ethnic change-up from some of the other things you’ll find in town. Amber Rose offers a lot of dishes that are unique to Dayton, and it’s worth a try.

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Mehaffie’s Pies

One of Dayton’s longest-running bakeries, Mehaffie’s Pies has had a few locations around the city and its suburbs but now operates from a single location on Linden Avenue east of town. The bakery has been in operation since 1930, churning out fruit pies, key lime, specialty desserts and more — always popular with locals. But what really sets the spot apart is its cheesecakes, the classic New York-style take on the favorite dessert that gives you a different experience with it than you may be used to. This spot doesn’t really put the word out about itself, but it’s a place you’ll want to visit.

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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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Meadowlark

A highly experimental concept that brings an ever-changing face to contemporary cuisine, Meadowlark is the kind of place you go if you’re looking for a culinary adventure. This American cuisine restaurant offers up a ton of vegetarian dishes, sandwiches, soups, and dishes with inspiration all over the globe. It’s hard to find a restaurant that truly goes out on a limb to really try and make something new. In Dayton, it can seem almost impossible. But step into this little restaurant nestled behind a strip mall in south Dayton, and you won’t regret a thing you order.

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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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Carmen’s Deli

Carmen’s Deli serves a very specific niche in downtown Dayton; it’s a bistro based on the ground floor of Kettering Tower, the city’s tallest skyscraper, and easily its most visible tenant. Carmen’s offers sandwiches, wraps, and other goods for breakfast and lunch most weekdays, and it’s a popular destination for downtown dwellers and workers during those times. But whether it’s a sandwich or wrap, or even a simple cup of coffee you’re looking for from Carmen’s, this is a place where I’ve consistently had good experiences. Time and again.

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Serendipity Bistro (CLOSED)

Opened earlier this year right between downtown Dayton’s central business district and the Oregon District, Serendipity is a low-key wine bar and light cuisine dive along St. Clair street. I like the place for its real sense of refinement; it’s not the kind of place where you feel like you have to dress up to try good wines, but at the same time, the owners of the bistro put a huge amount of effort into making sure everything is creative and top-notch. Downtown Dayton has been hurting for places like this to enrich the nightlife a little, especially with so many wine connoisseurs in this town.

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