The recent renaissance of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood (the largest intact urban historic district in the country) has turned blocks of formerly unwelcoming streets into a thriving residential community that thrums with foodiphiles trolling the lively restaurant scene. Unparalleled for its imaginative and original menu of small plates with a Middle Eastern lean, Abigail Street is one of the busiest, with scores of repeat diners tucked into bench-lined tables and barstools. Dishes are served family style, among them rustic tajines with couscous and roasted vegetables, spicy grilled lamb ribs with fig relish, grilled octopus with merguez sausage, and fattoush—a bowl of crunchy vegetables laced with lemon and the aromatic spice zaatar. Wine flows here: Boutique bottles and quartinos are on tap via a green method that blends barrels and eliminates bottling and packaging. Now national notoriety is knocking: Chef-owner Dan Wright was recently featured in an episode of The Cooking Channel’s America’s Best Bites and won a people’s-choice nod for Best New Chef, Great Lakes Region, from Food & Wine magazine. So get there while you can, and don’t mind the no-reservations policy—there is plenty of neighborhood to explore while you wait. Tues.–Sat. 5–11 p.m. 1214 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio, 513-421-4040, abigailstreet.com
While in Cincinnati, check out ...
Taste of Belgium: It started with a good waffle—a Liege-style confection inspired by owner Jean-François Flechet’s hometown waffle vendor. But the Belgian beers and housemade pastries are not to be missed. 1133 Vine St., 513-381-4607, authenticwaffle.com
Findlay Market: Dozens of vendors and food artisans call this 161-year-old municipal market home. 1801 Race St., 513-665-4839, findlaymarket.org
Washington Park: Urban planners nationwide are talking about the stunning revitalization of this 150-year-old park—eight acres of mature trees, interactive fountains, and events that draw some of the best food trucks in the city. 1230
Elm St., washingtonpark.org
Queen City Ultimate Underground Tour: The 90-minute walks take you underground to turn-of-the-century tunnels connecting dozens of breweries. 1218 Vine St., 859-951-8560, americanlegacytours.com
Hello Honey: Everything is made in-house—from the wicked-rich ice cream to the waffle cones and marshmallows. 633 Vine St., 513-977-0300
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.