The Wellington Grille

A bit off the beaten path in Beavercreek east of Dayton, The Wellington Grille caters to a bit of an older crowd but it’s still filled up pretty easily even on weekend nights. This Americana-style grill and steakhouse isn’t too formal a place to visit, but it’s kept a good reputation as an approachable meal. Perhaps the interior could use a refresh, but the food you have here will be a familiar and comforting thing. This spot has been around for a few years and doesn’t turn a lot of heads, but it’s a good date night spot.

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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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Istanbul Cafe

A downtown Cincinnati destination that specializes in Mediterranean, specifically Turkish, cuisine, Istanbul Cafe is popular with groups and larger crowds, specifically for events that might be a little nicer and more upscale. It’s got a following with tourists, a space popular with the local Turkish American population, and brings people in quantity on weekend nights. Plenty of great dishes from kebabs, falafel, lamb dishes, chicken and more. It’s a delightful place, a nicer restaurant that still delivers with friendly service and good food. The restaurant has landed some good reviews in local media, but where it continues to find good ratings, really, is with crowd-sourced reviewing sites.

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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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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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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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Deluca’s Restaurant

A much-beloved staple of the Pittsburgh dining scene, Deluca’s Restaurant prides itself simply as “the best breakfast in town.” You’ve probably seen this place on television, its popular Strip District location regularly sees a line out the door serving up fantastic breakfast foods like pancakes with sweet cream, eggs, spicy sausage and coffee. They recently opened a new location in Robinson Township, as well, to serve the city’s west suburbs. There is always, always a line out the door and for good reason; Deluca’s blows away the competition with its creativity and its simply delightful cuisine.

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Taza – A Lebanese Grill

With many restaurants in the western part of downtown Cleveland, Taza is still a relative island for the uniqueness of its Lebanese food concept among a sea of bars, grills, and other kinds of food. In fact, you set foot into the cavernous interior of the restaurant, and you’re almost blinded by the glitzy, gold interior. But turn your eyes quickly to the oversize bar and the wide menu of vegetable and Middle Eastern dishes, and you’ll find something great cooking up.

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Due Amici

A fine dining concept in the middle of the downtown Columbus hustle and bustle, Due Amici has an eclectic menu which defies genre. Large pizza and pasta offerings give it a definitively Italian feel, while ribs, seafood and sandwiches take different directions with the whole feel. Altogether the downtown concept has a very clean looking interior, but the food there is not to the level the rest of the restaurant emulates. It’s a shame to say, really, but the food does not impress me.

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Pasha Grill

Marketing itself as “authentic Turkish cuisine,” Pasha Grill is an upscale restaurant and bar right in the middle of The Greene shopping district in Dayton’s eastern suburbs. It’s actually the second in a family chain, preceded by Cafe Istanbul which opened in Columbus in 2001. With an intimate interior, an arid and picturesque outdoor patio and a variety of drinks in between, Pasha gives a simple feel to a ritzy location. Its food is distinctly ethnic, and in spite of a number of Americanized options, it’s all going to be a new experience for the unfamiliar customer.

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