Nicola's Ristorante
Nicola's Ristorante

Nicola's Ristorante

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.nicolasotr.com/
  • Phone: (513) 721-6200
  • 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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Nicola's Ristorante reviews from OpenTable diners
251 reviews since July 31, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
95% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (206)fit for foodies (192)romantic (178)notable wine list (146)neighborhood gem (106)good for groups (42)hot spot (41)great for outdoor dining (31)vibrant bar scene (10)late-night find (9)scenic view (1)Show More
  • still the best restaurant in town
    bigfanVIP
    Dined on 11/25/2014
    We have put this on a very short list of restaurants we have to keep coming back. Keep up the high standards.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bad Experiance
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 11/24/2014
    My dishes were only so-so. The prices were very high. Overall a poor value. Wish I had gone to Soto or Boca.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tremendous Experience
    RHH01VIP
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    Nicola’s repeatedly provides top notch service, flavorful food and innovative twists that create a wonderful experience. The fluke was so tasty and the gnocchi must be ordered. Take the endive salad for a test drive – what a combination.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Missing true Italian
    Underwhelmed
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    We miss their former expertise in Italian, as Nicola's seems more focused on complex sauces and combos for the sake of uniqueness. The pasta was overly rich (we had 2 different ones). The octopus was ok, but would have been better grilled. The environment is fun, busy and enjoys an interesting history. My fluke was overly complicated, a small pile of the fish, heavily sauced. The waiter was lovely but used most of his time to deliver the script.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Disappointing
    CincyEatz237
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    We made a reservation with the note- 5 year anniversary. My best friend swears by this place as he and his family eat here regularly. We were seated right away in a tiny room with two other parties. My pregnant wife was not excited to sit on a hard wood chair, and I was not excited by the lack of service. We never even saw the restaurant, not one mention of the occasion, and a complete lack of anything resembling a 4 star experience. We eat at plenty of great restaurants in Cincinnati- most are worth the effort/expense... But this was a comical experience.. Maybe they had an "off night," but this was a disappointing Friday date.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great!
    SLC32
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    The food was fantastic. Our group had the potato gnocchi, butternut squash tortellini, and triangulo. The bread is also delicious! The service staff was very friendly. Highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Canyoncooke
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    great food and exceptional staff. Beet salad tasty. Short rib entree was wonderful, left me wanting more.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • MDW31714
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    wonderful food, wine and service. at my last visit we were seated in the booths when you first come in and we felt like we were in the hallway. we made reservations in advance so we feel we should have been seated in the main dining area or upstairs. next time we will specify we don't wanted to be seated by the coat rack. otherwise it was perfect!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a great dining experience.
    edccVIP
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    Overall, superb as always. We had the the gnocchi and lamb osso boco. both were superb Our waiter was a true professional. Extremely friendly and quite knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. the menu was new. somewhat esoteric ob reading but our waiter took the time and explained each item clearly and with enthusiasm. the red pear desert was superb
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • irish
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    This restaurant is just incredible. The way they treat their guests is top notch. The food is just so elegant and tasty. Nothing to over the top just made to perfection. I really look forward to everytime i go there.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and attentive service
    amren52
    Dined on 11/19/2014
    Our server was excellent and knowledgeable - we kind of created our own tasting menu of dishes to be shared from each course which was awesome and incredibly accommodating. Courses were timed perfectly we got to our show right on time! And those little veggie rounds in the bread basket - delish!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overpriced for the quality
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    The restaurant is very nice on the inside. The menu is pricey for the neighborhood and quality of the food.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nicola's
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 11/13/2014
    Great restaurant! Everything was great, but the gnocchi was excellent!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yummy as always
    heroVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    Always a delightful evening and delicious food, great service and ambience
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • always a favorite!
    Redmond
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    My husband always picks this restaurant for his Birthday Dinner. Food is consistantly great---Gnoochi with Cheese Sauce and Truffles is a MUST have!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious entrees
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We had reservations for three and were seated immediately. Our service was top notch and food delicious. We ordered the bolognese, squash tortelloni and lamb. Portion sizes of appetizers and dessert were quite small, not really shareable; but the main entrees were plenty to leave you satisfied!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • fine dining relaxed atmosphere
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Wonderful dining experience. Great food, great service and an inviting, relaxed atmosphere. Very good experience.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Carnivore Meets Vegetarian
    vegetarianmeetscarnivoreVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    This was our first visit, but not our last! As the title indicates, we are a couple with two diverse palettes...and yet, your menu rose to the challenge. I had the butternut squash tortellini and my husband had the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese...both delicious! From the moment we walked through the door slightly early (they do not open until 5:30 so we were invited to join the owner at the bar), service was outstanding! (Our waiter took the time to take a second picture in case the first one was a little dark...while explaining in great detail all their dishes.) Nicola's is now a new favorite!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Portions Getting Smaller?
    JimK
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We chose to split the Beet Salad, and it was served on a traditional dinner plate with exactly half a portion. It was similar to serving a teaspoon of pudding on a dinner plate. Need to do better on the presentation in that situation. At least make it look like we were getting an adequate portion. The Fluke dinner was marginal at best. We are long-time customers, but it looked to me like the portion size has been greatly reduced.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The Art of a Meal
    Meghan
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    My husband and I were celebrating my 35th birthday and had an outstanding meal experience. The time and attention spent on the details of the entire meal experience should be commended. The wine list is fantastic and both the bartender and server had wonderful recommendations. The menu is not extensive, but still has nice variety. Just enough! Each course that we enjoyed was incredible. The flavor, portions and attention to detail are outstanding. Portion sizes were very impressive; typically at "upscale" restaurants the portions tend to be quite petite. Nicolas delivers on all aspects! We will definitely go back and will not wait for the next occasion to enjoy this local gem. It is such a treat!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Saturday evening
    TastyVIP
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Enjoyed a spectacular meal at Nicolas this past Saturday night. The best Italian food in Cincinnati. Enjoyed a super tuscan with the lamb osso bucco. The pumpkin curd dessert was delicious and the perfect size. We look forward to returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The Perfect Meal
    NOCARROTSPLEAE
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    We were treated with the most gracious service from the time we arrived until departure. We had an early reservation ,but were not rushed any way. The food was delicious and well prepared. Each dish was described in detail ensuring you would enjoy your meal. The wine list is exceptional ,but try something from Nicola's homeland. It will surely please.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointed
    Zekey227
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Service was outstanding. The waiter was knowledgeable of the menu. The entrees were disappointing. Appetizer, salad, and gnocchi were great. Short ribs and lamb were dry. Won't be back especially with the high prices
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect Special Occasion Place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    I went to Nicola's to celebrate my recent engagement and it was an absolute perfect place to go. Food was AMAZING, service was outstanding and I loved the vibe of the space. Our server even ended our night with a complimentary champagne toast for us!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • naterdayVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    excellent dinner... We would definitely return to this restaurant. It could not have been a better dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Food
    sar8
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    always great food and great service at Nicola's...!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Excellent as always! Nicola's is a long time favorite that never disappoints.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Sometime you get what you pay for!
    MikeVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    What a great experience all sound. Service was the best we have had in years. Waiter know so much about the menu. From the amazing apps to the house made limoncello, off the charts. If you are in the cincinnati area, this is a must. It's expensove but worth every single penny spent. Also an incredible wine list.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Must go for Italian
    live2eatVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We have been going to Nicola's twice a year for about 10 years, whenever we visit family in Cincinnati. We have never been disappointed on any level and look forward to seeing the new seasonal items. The kitchen is excellent and we have eaten at many Italian restaurants in the US and around the world so we know what good Italian food really is.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The best
    Skgibs
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We are partial to Nicolas because we got engaged here 3 years ago but it is such a great spot and the best potato gnocchi you can find.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • always excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Nicolas has been a favorite of ours for many years and in all that time we have never been disappointed in any aspect of our experience. Just wonderful!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bookworm
    Louisvillerez
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    Dined at Nicola's for the first time. The food was fabulous and our wait staff was exceptional explaining entrees in detail and assisting with a wine choice. I'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wednesday night
    TastyVIP
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Enjoyed another spectacular meal at Nicolas. Shared a great Brunello from the the best Italian wine list in Cincinnati. Leonardo provided great service and entertainment. Bravo Nicola! We look forward to returning.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A must do in Cincinnati!
    DavePVIP
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    I met a business client here who is a regular and the food, wine, ambiance, and service were outstanding! Perfect portion size and each course complimented the other! I will certainly be back here on my next visit to Cincinnati!!!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous in every way!
    kemevaVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Loved the smoked sweet breads, gnocchi, soup, short rib, german chocolate cake, wine... etc... Great food, service and night!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Our server, Bradley was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and suggested a wonderful wine. I had the butternut squash tortellini and it was delicious. The pasta was tender and the sauce was outstanding. I was with three others and they enjoyed their meals.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    RFO2
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Fairly expensive, but the great food is worth it. Our appetizers were seared sea scallops in a white wine sauce, and foie gras covered in a fruit paste. Scrumptious. Entrees were gnocci in a delicate cheese sauce and veal osso bucca with green cous cous (flavored with a broccoli reduction). Dessert was panna cotta with apples diced in tiny pieces). With one glass each of Italian white wine recommended by the waiter (who was from a small town in Italy near Lucca), the whole meal scored 9+ out of 10. Nicolas is a perpetual winner in the best dining places ratings in the Cincinnati area, and the scoring is well deserved.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice evening
    Food4me
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We chose Nicola's to celebrate a recent retirement. Our waiter was very knowledgable and able to describe all dish preparations. Food was excellent. The greatest disappointment - we waited over a half hour between salads and entrees. It diminished the dining experience because no one on staff had acknowledged the long wait. We were not asked if we wanted additional cocktails, or wine or.... Instead we were left wondering if we had been 'forgotten'. Once our entrees arrived, we had to ask for a wine list, and again wait. So, our wine wasn't poured, or ready, when we began to eat our entrees. The food was delicious and the ambiance was sophisticated. Undecided if we will return and hope for a better service experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian food lovers
    4SaturdayNightDinersVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    Food was exceptional starting with the beats, pasta dish, the rolls, the fluke fish entre........all was prepared to a t, delivered perfectly, was very delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • An amazing experience.
    RookieFooder
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Coming to Nicholas was a truly amazing experience for us. We're not the most dedicated "Foodies" but the service, the ambiance and the setting was perfect. The food was an artistic expression in mouth -watering euphoria. Think about that for a second... Hats of to the Chef. He set up my imminent wedding engagement that evening perfectly. The wine list is overwhelming - but that's a good thing for us personally. We loved the iPad list and the amazing selection. We can't say enough about this hidden gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.