Nicola's Ristorante
Nicola's Ristorante

Nicola's Ristorante

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.nicolasotr.com/
  • Phone: 5137216200x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Carte Blanche,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Joel Molloy
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Fireplace, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Nicola's Ristorante offers catering to diners' homes; 5-8 courses with wine parings, minimum 10 people, no Saturdays or Sundays, starting at $90.00 a person.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Liberty Street
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Street parking and valet parking Monday through Saturday.
A word from Nicola's Ristorante
Located just north of Downtown in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati’s hip and historic neighborhood, Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano has long been a fine dining staple of the city during its 18 years of operation. Owners Nicola and Maureen Pietoso pride their restaurant not only for its highly acclaimed contemporary Italian menu, extensive wine list, and variety of unique dining spaces, but most especially for their restaurant’s long-standing reputation for being warmly hospitable and accommodating.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Nicola's Ristorante reviews from OpenTable diners
226 reviews since May 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.8
  • Food4.8
    Service4.8
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
96% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (201)fit for foodies (171)romantic (162)notable wine list (128)neighborhood gem (95)great for outdoor dining (39)good for groups (36)hot spot (30)late-night find (9)vibrant bar scene (9)scenic view (3)great for lunch (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • HJF
    ivydad
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Our first time under the new Chef. Had the 5 course tasting menu. Good choices, ingredients and presentation. The meat on the salty side. Would recommend it without hesitation. Attention to details classy service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special occasion
    Lovelandmom
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    This place does not disappoint. We came to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary, and will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Special Restaurant
    jdoecustomer
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Great restaurant and a place suitable for very special occasions, but not too fussy. The food is spectacular, perfectly prepared & presented, as to be expected for the price, and worth every penny. Staff is gracious, knowledgeable, and helpful. The bread basket is over the top. You will never be disappointed, no matter the occasion nor company.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    This is without a doubt the best meal I have had in Cincinnati. The last meal I had like this was in Florence, Italy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good, dependable, pricey
    Travelstoeat
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Appetizers and salad were fine, nice taste and decent portions but for the price there could be a little more food. Entrees were both underwhelming, for different reasons. My pasta was a filled triangle with corn and chicken. The pasta was nice, the sauce too sweet from the sweet corn, and the chicken was chunks of rather boring chicken breast. Really? My husband had the Branzini, a lovely fish cooked nicely and with seasonal vegetables, but the presentation was odd- a large square plate with food on one half, barely covering the side, and nothing on the other half of the plate. Just a big white bare plate. Not pretty. Net, a nice dinner but not a stand out. And for $170, with wine and tip, no desserts, it fell short.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Magnificent experience
    Marriedcouple
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    What a wonderful place to celebrate our wedding anniversary! The service was excellent, the food outstanding, and the wine superb. We highly recommend the Tomasino wine. We also greatly enjoyed several stuffed pasta dishes which were freshly made and beautifully flavored. Our only complaints were 1) a large party that was somewhat loud during our dinner experience, and 2) the menu is rather expensive which can be hard to justify particularly given that I have a knack for making gourmet pasta. On the other hand the food was superb and the portions were good; moreover the restaurant was generous with regards to offering complementary dessert/treats to commemorate our special occasion which help offset the impact of the cost.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Memorable
    DineAmiteDivas
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Ambiance is perfect: soft lighting, brick walls, wooden beams. Staff was attentive, and lets the diner drive the pace of service. At first glance, the menu was daunting, but the server explained everything in detail, and answered all of our questions. Chef offers pairings I've never imagined (think, Burgundy Truffles on Potato Gnocchi!). He even prepared a dish no longer on the menu table side for some long-time customers. Now that's going the extra mile!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific!
    karldye
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Nicola's is a real gem, tucked away at the very edge in Over The Rhine. The food is extraordinary, seemingly a combination of very high end Italian cuisine with French overtones. Truly a magnificent meal. Expensive, and worth it. Put it this way, I ate there two nights in a row!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful evening!
    heroVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Great way to spend a Saturday eveinng with friends -- delicious food, terrific drinks, slow, leisurely service -- a delightful night!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Paulb
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Had an excellent celebratory dinner here. Service is top notch, food was superb, and the evening was enjoyed by all.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stunning from beginning to end
    Courtney
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    My boyfriend and I came here for restaurant week and had an amazing time. The tables are situated in a way that promotes and intimate dining experience. The service was incredible, but the crown jewel was definitely the food. Where else can you enjoy freshly made pasta paired with impeccable wine? Do yourself a favor and splurge on this place, you won't regret it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So glad I got to go here
    sesingleton
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I visited this restaurant during restaurant week, the menu was fantastic! Our server was very informative & did a wonderful job of explaining the dishes...so well in fact that he changed my mind on what I was going to get. I was not disappointed at all! Fantastic food & service!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Italian in OTR
    JSM2014
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    My wife and I recently celebrated her birthday at Nicola's. The entire experience was outstanding! The food quality and preparation was absolutely on par with fine restaurants in Italy. We just moved back to the US from Europe and had the opportunity to visit Italy several times. Nicola's would be right at home in Northern Italy. The waiter - Jordan - was very personable, and was very knowledgeable about the menu, ingredients and preparation. The house made breads were fantastic, and our meals were the best we've ever had in a US Italian restaurant - and we travel coast to coast regularly. We would highly recommend Nicola's to anyone looking for a true Italian meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food and atmoshphere
    goodfood4all
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Went for restaurant week and found the food delicious, the wine menu extensive and the ambiance perfect. Tried items that I would normally not like the cauliflower salad. The waiter was attentive and answered our questions providing input to favorites. Would recommend and will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • As Usual - Excellent!
    DeligtedDiners
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    As usual...and what we've come to expect - Excellent! Food & Service always Superb.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Perfect Evening Out
    MowweryVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    My husband and I ate here during Restaurant Week and both had the three-course special. It was a beautiful night so we sat outside. All in all, it was a memorable evening. The food and wine were outstanding. The service very good. Nicola's is a restaurant that should be on everyone's "Must Try" list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So close, yet so far away
    Eatingwell
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Service was spectacular, but food missed the mark. Some dishes were excellent, including the foie gras. Others, however, were bland -particularly the pork tenderloin entree. Would dine there again, but the food didn't live up to reviews.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overpriced
    cincybirderVIP
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    This is my 2nd time to Nicola's. We went for Restaurant Week. The cucumber gazpacho was fantastic, the pork loin was mediocre, the panna cotta was good. For what you get, I think the food is way overpriced and it's not the best I've ever had, especially at their regular price. The service from the kitchen was super slow. They forgot one of the entrees for someone at our table. Our server was fun and very nice but all in all it was a so-so experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A fine dining gem
    AJcuisine
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    My second visit did not disappoint. While quite busy for a week night we did feel rushed and the service was very attentive. Great wine list, outstanding selections, entrees for every taste and palate all served in a cozy and warm environment. Our server was amazing and made our dining experience all the more special.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • eatitup
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    The food is always excellent, inventive and esquitely presented. Almost too pretty to eat. And i have never had poor service in this restaurant either. All service personel are polite, wanting to please and friendly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The first won't be the last
    GNUCKS
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Nicola's during restaurant week. Service was top notch from the moment we walked through the door. The food was up to our expectations and lovingly presented. Have been to Via Vite many times but our first time to Nicola's. We'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best meal in Cincy.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Absolutely unbelievable, definitely the best meal I have had yet in Cincy. Each plate had a unique flavor profile + great mix of textures.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant Week
    Cmartini
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    My boyfriend and I visited for restaurant week, which coincided with our anniversary. I can't see us retuning regularly or if there aren't any special events going on. The food was wonderful, but if you're spending a lot (with the regular menu, not restaurant week) I think you can do better elsewhere. However, the atmosphere is very intimate and romantic, which other places that are equally expensive don't have going for them. I will say the mozzarella on the farfalle was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. I initially though I had eaten a chunk of butter on accident - it literally melts away in your mouth. I would reserve this place for special occasions with a small group, and would definitely return if a deal is going on.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous
    heidiloo
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    I have been to Nicolas several times before and it's always been good. I went for restaurant week with a large group. They could not have been more accommodating. The menu was delicious. We will be back again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian Bliss
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    This was my second visit in a week and both trips were exceptional from a food stand point. Fresh, delicious and authentic. The service was better the first time. The second time it was lacking in attention. The atmosphere could be very elegant but it misses the mark. Not horrible but could be so much better. But will I be back? Absolutely. I live over a hundred miles away but the food is worth the drive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • awesome experience!
    katieNdan
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    We had a great experience dining here during restaurant week. LeAnn was an shading server and the food was beyond our expectations! We will definitely be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful food!
    FoodIsLife
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    My wife and I ate here during Restaurant Week, knowing that the menu is pricier than we usually like to pay. To our delight all three courses were fantastic, as was the service. We would recommend this to anyone who wants a special dinner out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • FIRSTIMERS
    flywamsr
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Restaurant week brought us out for the the first time. The food and service will bring us back!!! our server(Jordan) was a true pleasure....so knowledge of the menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wine!!
    ifif
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    I went to Nicola's for restaurant week and the menu was perfect!! I had the cauliflower, farfalle and the orange cake; plus a perfect wine suggested by the server. Me and my best friend went but this would be an excellent restaurant for a 1st date.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • ezdiner
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    Based on my previous visits to this restaurant the waiter's are usually very knowledgable about the menu and engage in discussion about the items on it but this time he didn't go into any detail. Also we were seated in a small (wine?) room with 4 tables. I prefer the open restaurant area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exquisite
    foodforsteve
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Having proposed to my girlfriend here, I was simply blown away by the entire dining experience. Our server, Denny, was extremely knowledgeable about the menu and wine list options. After I proposed, he promptly brought out two glasses of champagne. For couples, I would recommend splitting the salads and entrees. They will bring everything out on separate plates for you and it will allow you to experience more of the menu. We ordered a bottle of wine, salads, gnocchi, triangolo, tiramisu, and dessert drinks while escaping for about $150. Everything was simply amazing. For the experience we had, it was well worth the price. I can't wait to go back here for our anniversary!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • lindaVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Once again we had a delightful dinner. The food was very good. You can't go wrong with the gnocchi. I should have gone for the chicken but we were suggested a meal that we didn't enjoy much. Great service by Kenny and Andrew!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Will go back
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Wonderful experience they treat you quite well. The food is excellent. Highly recommend
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AMAZING!!
    KindleVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    this restaurant is a must. There was not one aspect of the food, service, atmosphere or attitude that was not outstanding. Boca, another nice restaurant in town, gets a lot of attention. However, I feel Nicolas is #1. The dishes we had were so creative like nothing I'd had before. Smoked sweetbreads (and I never liked sweetbreads!!) with smoked figs, cannenilla beans paste. So good! Cauliflower with crushed pistachios, creamy buffalo mozzarella, golden raisins, lamb ossobucco over a European couscous and a gnocchi that could compete with any Italian mamas homemade one. I could go on and on. Please go. Nicolas was packed, but not loud and such an intimate atmosphere. Service outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We were treated like royalty
    BradinCicy
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The servers at this place really know how to make people feel special.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hard work pays off
    Foodking
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Absolutely nothing to complain about at Nicola's. From valet-arrival to departure when Chip our outstanding server had our car brought around. In between, delicious and properly portioned courses - I had the lamb osso bucco - served with flair. A delightful experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great service and atmosphere
    DaveseeVIP
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Even though I messed up the reservation, the host staff was very effective in covering up my mistake and we were seated within a half hour! The food was good - I liked the pea soup over risotto with lobster, my wife thought it too much with undercooked peas, I would have liked more lobster. One surprise was what was described as beefsteak heirloom tomato by the server was the cherry tomatoes on a caprese salad. They were delicious, but somehow I imagined a single large slice of tomato. My wife ordered the traditional pasta, and despite her taste for salty dishes, she said it was too salty. Overall we loved the meal, the service, the wine, the atmosphere ...
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lives up to its past reviews
    NCTraveler
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We went to Nicola's because of a review that said they had "the best breadbasket in town." That was an understatement. I've never eaten anywhere that can match the variety and quality of breads they serve routinely. My favorite was the little pillow filled with eggplant. My salad (golden and red beets with goat cheese) was splendid, and the linguine Bolognese was simply the best I've ever had. Our waiter was pleasant, conversant but not annoying, and knowledgeable. I'll go there again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • One of Cincinnati's finest
    cvg2014
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Another great dinner, superb pork tenderloin, red drum, Jonah crab (among the three of us), with a Gavi de Gavi that paired well with everything. Attentive service that wasn't overbearing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enoladiner
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Nicola's Ristorante never disappoints. The food is exceptional, the service is great and the atmosphere is lovely. A perfect place for a date, celebrating a special occasion, or enjoying dinner with friends and family. I had the Sweetbreads for an appetizer. The presentation was great and the flavor superb...as was the rest of the meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate