The Melting Pot

A chain that usually can be found in nice suburbs of cities across the United States, The Melting Pot bases its menu off of a pretty different menu item: fondue. Whether food is being cooked in cheese, or a hot broth, or you’re feeling a dessert and the food is in chocolate, the restaurant specializes in the simple love of a romantic dinner meant to be shared among a couple or a small group of people. It’s not a place where you go lightly, the prices are a bit higher and the attire is certainly a little nicer, but the end result is a very pleasant experience.

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Jay’s Seafood

Jay’s Seafood near Dayton’s Oregon District is a well-known surf and turf establishment near Dayton’s core specializing in upscale dinners. The catches of the day come in many different forms, but the spot knows how to make a variety of fish dishes, from simple clam chowder and fish tacos to lobster, top-shelf crab legs and oysters on a half-shell. A lot of potential in there. This is definitely a spot that is popular with the older folks, and the house is always packed, but Jay’s Seafood does fine dining in Dayton pretty well.

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Salar Restaurant & Lounge

A new restaurant anchoring the west end of Dayton’s Oregon District, Salar has a menu that it a little hard to describe as any one genre. With ravioli, empanadas, duck, pizza, burgers and quinoa, you’ll also find many of the dishes blur the traditional lines between the classic ethnic recipes. Whether it’s pork belly and sweet potato, pizza topped with chorizo, or quinoa topped with pine nuts and cilantro lime dressing, this is the kind of place you’d want to drop by if you had a hankering for something you’ve never tried before. Lunch or dinner, cocktails or a feast, I have been impressed every time I have come back.

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Blackbird

The crisp and razor sharp Blackbird is well known as one of Chicago’s top dining spots. Opened in 1997 by a small group of talented and ambitious restaurateurs, this class establishment has since garnered numerous world-renowned awards including the James Beard Award for its sleek minimalist design, as well as the legendary Michelin star. Today, the excellent team, led by executive chef Paul Kahan and mixologist Lynn House are out to bring bold conventions and a redesign of fine cuisine.

I’ve been to hundreds of restaurants. Sometimes you get weary of the same conventions and templates that boggle down local American cuisine. But every now and then, once in a blue moon, you have a meal that is more than a bite to eat. It is, in every sense of the word, an experience. And it belongs in a category all of its own.

For me, Blackbird is an experience.

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Thai 9

You might not be able to tell from its plain-looking building, but Thai 9 Thai and Sushi Restaurant is often mentioned as one of the best Asian cuisine places in Dayton. The Thai food place is situated on the edge of downtown and the Oregon District — where many of the city’s more cultured establishments are situated. Spend any decent amount of time around this city, and you’re certain to run into one local or another who swears Thai 9 has the best food they’ve ever eaten.

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West 82 Food Court

Located in Ohio University’s Baker University Center, West 82 Food Court is supposed to be the main place for the general public comes to eat when on campus. Aimed at off-campus students, visitors, and the general public, West 82 is supposed to have something for everyone — half a dozen food stalls offer small menus of various flavors.

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