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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Bar Dumaine

As Dayton’s restaurant world goes, Chef Anne Kearney is the cream of the crop. Cutting her teeth on the business alongside Chef Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans, she settled down in the south suburbs with a French-inspired concept, Rue Dumaine, with a nice upscale feel that has become a favorite in Dayton for years. After some scaling back, she’s re-launched Bar Dumaine, a re-brand of the concept with a bit of a scaled-down feel. The interior of the classic bar feels freshened up a bit and the menu has some very approachable features, setting a James Beard award-nominated chef up to carry her concept to the future.

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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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ele Cake Co.

While the name may suggest that Ele Cake Co. is a simple bakery operation, the several Dayton-area locations of this restaurant feel much more like a bistro. With a menu of sandwiches, small plates and other kinds of cuisine with specialties around the world, there’s definitely more to the place than its name. Come hungry and be ready to be filled, but don’t think about skipping dessert; that would be a mistake. About as bad a mistake as missing out on this spot.

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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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The Golden Lamb Inn

The famous Golden Lamb Inn of Lebanon, Ohio has been in business for over 200 years, and counts among its thousands of satisfied customers a dozen United States presidents. Once a stagecoach stop on the road to Cincinnati, this spot still operates as a hotel, restaurant and bar stop with some very classic and long-loved dishes. Step into the country kitchen and you’ll find an experience that is something like a museum, something like an old tavern lost in time, but still serving great food. Golden Lamb is a landmark well worth a stop in Lebanon, and the food delivers.

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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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Merchants Restaurant

For over 25 years, Merchants Restaurant has served downtown Nashville, Tennessee. This beautiful bar and nightlife spot exudes class; the ample bar hosts space for mixed drinks and the interior alludes to the namesake of this restaurant, Merchant’s Hotel, which opened in 1892. The spot holds much of the historic marble and some of the decor that brought that hotel to life, with a much more modern American cuisine menu. The food to be tried here has a great allure to it as a lunch spot or cocktail shop.

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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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Buckhorn Tavern

Far from the excitement in south Dayton, Buckhorn Tavern feels a lot like a rustic lodge, nestled a bit off the beaten path in Clayton. The low lit, slightly smoky interior is filled with regulars and locals and the chandelier is made of deer antlers, but make no mistake, the food here is some of the most down-home good stuff to be tried here in town. This steakhouse should not be passed up.

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