Winters in Cincinnati can be rough. You have to shovel heaps of heavy snow out of the driveway, pay higher utility bills, and deal with the sun setting so much earlier than normal. The only positive thing in this pile of muddy snow is the amazing winter meals Cincinnati restaurants provide. You could try to make something at home, but why bother when world-renowned chefs can make it for you? There’s no need to hibernate all season, just get yourself to one of these fine establishments and eat until your toes thaw:

  1. Cincinnati Chili

Unless you’ve tried it, you won’t understand. To an outsider, it looks like a confused plate of spaghetti. But to the trained eye and palette, Cincinnati chili is a work of art. The base is thick spaghetti noodles covered in meat chili. Here’s where it gets fancy. Order it “two-way”, and you just get the noodles and chili. Order it “three-way”, and it gets topped with a huge mound of cheddar cheese. Order it “four-way” and you can add onions or bacon. “Five-way” is loaded with every topping option out there. If you’re really hungry, order a side of garlic bread or salad. If that doesn’t warm your heart and stomach, nothing will.

Available at Skyline Chili- 643 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH | 513-241-2020

  1. Chicken Soup

This one’s a classic all over the world, but the way it’s made in Cincinnati makes it special. Starting with the broth, use a salt-infused chicken broth. Add rice noodles, rice, and any noodles you like. Then, throw in some shredded chicken, bean sprouts, jalapeno, and mint. The final ingredients are avocado and pico de gallo. An unexpected calamity of flavors? Yes, but don’t knock it until you try it. This bowl of heaven is a classic in Cincinnati and you won’t find it anywhere else in the country. Most restaurants will serve it with a side of tortilla chips, limes, and salsa.

Available at Blue Agaves Mexican Grill- 11711 Princeton Pike, Cincinnati, OH | 513-671-1152

  1. Pho

Another classic enjoyed worldwide, but Cincinnati makes it special in our own way. After the usual base of rice noodles, beef broth, onions, bean sprouts and cilantro, things get crazy. Throw in some cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppers, and ginger to add some warm spice to the soup making it perfect for Cincinnati winters.

Available at Pho Lang Thang in Findlay Market-  114 W Elder St, Cincinnati, OH |  513-376-9177

Honorable Mentions:

Pizza at La Rosa’s

Grilled Cheese Donut at Tom + Chee

Trailer Park Hotdog at Senate

GalbiUgujiGuk at Riverside Korean Restaurant

Spit-Roasted Chicken at Floyd’s of Cincinnati

Now that you know where to warm yoursoul this winter, tell us what you think! Did we leave a crucial restaurant or foodstand off this list? Let us know on the Contact Us page. We love hearing what you think and sharing your favorite spots in Cincinnati because let’s face it, we live in a pretty cool city.