Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Best places to eat

By Polly Campbell
Enquirer Staff Writer

If you have time in between all the weekend activities for a leisurely dinner, downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have plenty to offer. Some slow eats:

• Maisonette is Cincinnati's fine dining queen; the country's longest-standing holder of five stars from Mobil. Dinner 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Prix fixe dinner; 3-course $68; 4-course $85. 114 E. Sixth St., 721-2260.

• For a modern, more casual dinner, Aioli serves fresh and exciting food at lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday; dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday and 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday. Entrees $17-$25. 700 Elm St., 929-0525.

• Jeff Ruby's is a deluxe steakhouse, with lavishly sized steaks dry-aged on the premises. Open 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday. Entrees $20-$40. 700 Walnut St.; 784-1200.

• Cafe Istanbul, the best of many restaurants at Newport on the Levee, serves Turkish cuisine in a casbah atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Entrees $12-$17. One Levee Way, Newport; (859) 581-1777.

For quick meals that give you a taste of our region, check out these fast eats:

• Izzy's is famous for its corned beef sandwiches, which run $4.25-$6.50. There are three central locations: 800 Elm St., open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 721-4241. 610 Main St., open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday. 241-6246. 300 Madison Ave., Covington, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

• If you're a new visitor to the region, you have to try Cincinnati-style chili. There are several small chains - the most available is Skyline, with several locations downtown. Chili is about $5. 254 E. Fourth St., 241-4848; 643 Vine St., 241-2020; 1001 Vine St., 721-4715; 580 Walnut, 684-9600. Open 11-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

• For a carry-out or sit down Italian meal, try Scalea's in Covington. The deli is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. 318 Greenup St., Covington, (859) 491-3334.

• Graeter's makes Cincinnati's favorite ice cream, especially the flavors with the big, soft chocolate chips. The downtown location is open Friday and Saturday 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 41 E. Fourth St., 977-4129.

• La Mexicana in Newport serves big burritos and other authentic Mexican fare. Burritos are $5.95. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 642 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 491-3300.

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