The center of the aviation industry in Ohio
and the Midwest, Dayton has attracted citizens from many different cultures. As a result, the city’s dining scene is an eclectic fusion of local tradition and international flavor. These ten must-try restaurants define Dayton’s culinary culture, from laid-back bistros and cafes, to innovative food served in luxury settings.
Bistro, Pizzaria, Restaurant, American, BBQ, $$$
Coco’s Bistro is a warm, intimate restaurant, whose menu encompasses a wide range of upscale American fare with continental inspiration. Begin with an appetizer of fried Brie or Denver lamb ribs, and enjoy a main course of wasabi BBQ duck or a Bourbon Street salad. For a more casual experience, try one of the artisanal pizzas. Reservations are suggested, and a private room is available for larger parties.
Coco’s Bistro, 250 Warren St, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 228 2626
Cafe, Restaurant, American, $$$
For an exquisite selection of dishes served in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, look no further than Coldwater Cafe. Diners can take advantage of indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a private function room called the Upper Plate, which offers good views. For a truly unique experience, adventurous guests can take advantage of the Chef’s Table, a five-course meal with wine pairings served in the kitchen by Chef Nick Hoover at a table set for four guests. Signature dishes include the ostrich filet, Chilean sea bass and gourmet grilled cheese. Coldwater Cafe is open for lunch and dinner and is located in Tipp City, just north of the Dayton Airport.
Coldwater Café, 19 East Main Street, Tipp City, OH, USA, +1 (937) 667 0007
Restaurant, American, $$$
Located inside the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites offers a range of soups, salads, and sandwiches as well as dinner entrees in an ideal location for theatre-goers. The Schuster is home to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dayton Ballet and the Dayton Opera as well as the Victoria Theater Association. The adjoining restaurant also hosts the Citilites Unwind Series, a schedule of events designed to help guests unwind after the workday, featuring happy hours as well as more eclectic events like Wine and Yoga. Highlights of the menu include chicken and summer squash gratin, and herb-encrusted lamb lollipops in addition to many gluten-free options, such as shrimp and grits. Reservations are highly recommended.
Citilites, 109 North Main Street, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 222 0623
Restaurant, Vegan, American, Mediterranean, $$$
Olive, a self-described urban dive, is arguably Dayton’s most accommodating restaurant. Offering gluten-free, paleo-friendly, vegetarian, vegan and multi-allergy options, Olive has something to please everyone. The restaurant creates its meals from as many local, organic and free-range sources as possible to ensure the highest quality. Re-purposing the former home of a Wympee diner, Dayton’s first drive-in built in 1938, Olive has a unique, Chicago bistro-inspired ambiance inside, while the outside remains the same, including the signage. Like the fast food restaurants of a bygone era, Olive seeks to make its customer service paramount, the perfect side to its tasty Mediterranean-American fare.
Olive, an urban dive, 416 East 3rd Street, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 222 3483
Restaurant, French, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Rue Dumaine is one of Dayton’s premier destinations for fine dining. Inspired by the cuisine of the Provence region of France, Chef Anne adds her own American flair by acquiring her ingredients from local sources. Originally from Dayton, Chef Anne and her husband Tom previously ran a restaurant in New Orleans called Peristyle on Rue Dumaine in the French Quarter. Offering a range of options from trout to duck, the menu also features gluten-free and seasonal vegetarian options.
Rue Dumaine, 1061 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 610 1061
Marion’s Piazza is a Dayton legend. Opened in 1965, the tiny pizza chain has since expanded to nine locations in the Dayton-Cincinnati area, their success achieved by word-of-mouth recommendations and minimal advertising. Voted Dayton’s best pizza 33 times, Marion’s is a local staple and offers a variety of thin-crust pizzas all cut in their signature small squares. Additionally, the pizzeria is famous for its 1965 price promotion: once every five years, for one day only, Marion’s offers its pizza for the original 1965 prices of $0.80 for a small and $2.50 for a large. Celebrity diners have included Henry Winkler, Sally Field and native Daytonian Rob Lowe.
Marion’s Piazza, 50 East Stroop Road, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 296 1177
Salar Restaurant and Lounge
Taking its name from the Spanish verb meaning ‘to salt or season’, Salar describes its cuisine as ‘world-fusion with strong French, Peruvian and Mediterranean influences’. Originally from Peru, Chef Margot Blondet seeks to blend tastes from her native land and her new adopted home by utilizing French cooking techniques. Thanks to this innovative mix, the eclectic menu contains dishes such as red quinoa-encrusted Chilean sea bass and white bean vegan scallops. The ambiance of the restaurant is upscale, but casual, achieving a comfortable balance. Beyond its superb dishes, Salar also specializes in premium cocktails, prepared with fresh-squeezed juices and fresh fruit.
Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 East 5th Street, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 203 3999
The Amber Rose
Restaurant, European, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, $$$
The Amber Rose
Dayton’s destination for Eastern European cuisine is The Amber Rose. Specializing in homemade German, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, Russian and Italian dishes, the menu features a virtinai and pierogi plate, Jager schnitzel, and Russian beef stroganoff. To complement this variety, the restaurant also offers a generous selection of hard-to-find European wine and beer. Located in a building that dates back to 1910 in historic North Dayton, The Amber Rose serves lunch and dinner.
The Amber Rose, 1400 Valley Street, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 228 2511
The Oakwood Club
Diner, Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, South African, Seafood, $$$
The Oakwood Club
The Oakwood Club is a classic American steakhouse. It was voted by the Dayton Daily News as the city’s best fine dining restaurant in the same year The Oakwood Club celebrated its 50-year anniversary. The atmosphere is quite upscale, and reservations are recommended. In addition to steak, the restaurant offers the finest seafood, including South African lobster tail and Maryland crab cakes, all complemented by an extensive wine list. When asked if he would open a second location given the restaurant’s success, owner Lance Stewart replied that he would rather have one great restaurant than two good ones, a testament to The Oakwood Club’s high standard of excellence.
The Oakwood Club, 2414 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, OH, USA, +1 (937) 293 6973
Restaurant, Bar, Cajun, American, $$$
Located just northwest of Dayton in Trotwood, Taste Restaurant offers affordable, upscale dining, accompanied by live music every weekend. Patrons can enjoy jazz, R&B, and soul with their dinner in a beautiful atmosphere. Taste is open for lunch, with a menu that includes unique dishes like beef short rib tacos and jerk chicken wings. In addition to dining in, lunch is offered for delivery and take away as well. Another unique feature is Taste’s late night menu, offered from 10 p.m. until close; closely resembling the lunch menu, these choices are prefect for a gourmet midnight snack.
Taste Restaurant, 2555 Shiloh Springs Road, Trotwood, OH, USA, +1 (937) 854 7060