National Exemplar

4.4
779 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
In April of 1983, The National Exemplar began operation in the Mariemont, Ohio landmark, The Mariemont Inn. The Inn was constructed in the mid-1920's as a small piece of the very unique Mariemont community, founded by Mary Emery. The National Exemplar Restaurant was named after learning that Mary Emery once referred to her developing community as the National Exemplar, meaning national model community. The National Exemplar Restaurant is a full service, neighborly restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. We only use the freshest quality ingredients to prepare each meal. Our goal is to serve great food, provide friendly and professional service in a clean and relaxing atmosphere.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American
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Hours of operation
Breakfast and Lunch: Daily: 7:00am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(513) 271-2103
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jeremy Luers
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Catering
Full-service menus available upon request. The National Exemplar is part of The Phoenix Restaurant Group which is a full-service restaurant management company located in Cincinnati, OH. Specializing in full-service restaurant dining, catering, banquets, special events and rehearsal dinners.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Plainville Road
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Parking details
Exit I-71 at Red Bank Road, follow Red Bank Road to 50 East, take 50 East (Wooster Pike) to 6880 Wooster Pike, on the circle in Mariemont (inside the Mariemont Inn).
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Entertainment
Live music in Southerby's Pub every Thursday evening 6:00-9:00.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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What 779 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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JD
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely experience with food, service and ambience!

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OT
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

A lovely spot for dinner in the heart of Mariemont.

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MK
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had to wait a little longer than we expected (~15 more minutes past our reservation time) with two young children (which is always a challenge), but the food and service was exceptional! Our server, Eric, was GREAT, describing the specials, giving his personal recommendations and even letting my husband sample one of the wines (which he ended up purchasing a glass!)

It was really cold outside and we did feel a cool draft throughout dinner (we weren't anywhere near the door, but there was a window across the room which may not have been completely sealed shut?), which was a bit annoying, but not enough to damper our Birthday celebration.

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G
Cincinnati
62 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

Food is normally quite good but my wife’s linguine was dried out and barely eatable. Not sure if it was under a warming lamp too long or just poorly made. The waitress noticed she didn’t eat much of it and my wife told her the problem. The waitress apologized and that was it. Disappointing and surprising given our past experiences.

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OT
Cincinnati
28 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect ambiance for the holiday season. A few of our favorite things: the deviled eggs are a terrific starter, the Hungarian mushroom soup is legendary, and perfect on a cold winters night. The cocktails are always on point, and the entrees always come at the correct temperature. Our favorite Cincinnati area restaurant!

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k
Cincinnati
7 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect place for our group of 12 friends!

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f
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Server was pushing us through the entire evening. She was always in a hurry! Food was fine, filet was overcooked. Risotto was very sweet.

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S
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 3

The National Exemplar is consistently our favorite restaurant. A fresh and creative menu that changes enough and always has something to satisfy. Very friendly staff and management. This is truly a Cincinnati gem that and a place you will find everything you need to accommodate any size group or meal. It is a very local and neighborhood restaurant that always makes us feel like we are home. We will be back soon.

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OT
Cleveland
4 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Family Reunion

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OT
Cincinnati
29 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Well-managed, Great food, ambiance, cocktails and service!

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A
Cincinnati
10 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just a great place, very nice menu, good for all types of dining.

Cozy and comfortable

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LJ
Cincinnati
27 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We eat here often and it is always an enjoyable experience. Good food and old world charm.

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BF
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I like the National Exemplar and often eat breakfast there. It was disappointing to find that they could not find my reservation. I offered to show her my confirmation but she did not want to see it. It seemed like I stood there too long while she continued to search for it. Embarrassing.

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S
Nashville
12 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good eating here. Bring back then original creme Brulé and GG‘s bread

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OT
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Due to an allergy, I am Gluten Free. The manager went out of his way to make sure everything we had was safe to eat and explaining how he was doing that the entire night. Because it was our anniversary, he gifted us with a glass of champagne and creme brulee for dessert. Awesome service.

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T
Cincinnati
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

Very disappointing! I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone until they straighten out their chefs/kitchen. We live walking distance and it is convenient but not worth the walk. Just awful! The seafood linguine pasta was starchy over cooked and served cold with massive salt taste. Almost unedible. The salad was served with the most bland house dressing. Tasted like vinegar with nothing else. We’ve given this restaurant plenty of chances to improve but we’ll go to Frishes Mainliner before the National Exemplar.

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DB
Cincinnati
22 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Loved it. Sean provided great service and recommendations. The menu is huge. The décor and ambiance are great for special occasions. Can't wait to go back for the pork shank.

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TF
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 4ambience 3

There was something wrong going on in the kitchen was the excuse I received. We were celebrating my sons 21st birthday and it was a major disappointment. Long wait in all drinks, appetizers, and meals. Bread came out at the end of the meal, I had the avocado and shrimp salad for $17 and there were no pieces of avocado, shrimp was almost raw and smelled as if has passed days earlier- on top of that the arugula was overdressed and wilted as if it were served hours before and repurposed! Waitress was very nice and put in a very awkward position because there was nothing she could say or do other than apologize. The following evening we at at Forno in Hyde Park and had an exceptional meal for 30 % less than the what we had at your restaurant. I am a business owner in the region and would have complained to the highest level at the restaurant had it not been for my wife telling me to just let it go because it was my sons birthday

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SK
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 3

The restaurant is not as good as it was a few years ago. We used to visit monthly but we have opted to visit other restaurants in our area.

It used to be a favorite but it has gone from Excellent to mediocre. We're very disappointed although i will say the meal we had this visit was very good but still not up the their standards of a few years ago.

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HS
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Hungarian mushroom soup, lamb sliders, and carrot cake were all great.

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KG
Cincinnati
10 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

They were very responsive to one guest’s need for a gluten-free meal - willing to adapt some items in ways that were GF yet maintained the integrity of the dish. I appreciated being able to taste a couple of wines I was considering to have with my entree. We experienced one little glitch in an ordered item being forgotten, but staff did everything to “fix” this minor situation. We were there in the evening, and either the lighting was too dim or the menu print was too light, but we all had difficulty reading the (new?) menu - don’t remember this ever being an issue during past visits. But the food was delicious - as always! All in all we love The National Exemplar’s staff, food, ambience, etc.! We’ll be back!

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MY
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 2

I was disappointed. I took my mom there for her 89th birthday. The music coming from the bar (which was right next to the restaurant) was bar music. Loud and annoying. I ordered a bison burger and it was two greasy patties with too much cheese. The brussel sprouts tasted burnt. The Hungarian Mushroom soup was good. We ordered the Snicker Doodle Creme Brulee and it was so so. I probably won't go back. My restaurant decision was between this and the Quarter Bistro and I'm sorry I didn't pick the later.

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S
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. Our server, Sean, was FANTASTIC! He was most personable, charming and made great suggestions. We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed the atmosphere. Thank you!

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B
Cincinnati
186 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything is excellent. We have the mushroom soup, mushroom fettuccini, and prime rib over and over again. Highly recommend the sweet potatoes as well.

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LT
Cincinnati
124 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Couldn't ask for a better neighborhood everyday go-to restaurant. It has improved tremendously over the years with a nice selection of value packed meals and specials. Weeknight specials ($1 oysters for instance on Mondays) are great value creators. The menu is eclectic with a little something for everyone. Highly recommend for a quiet causal meal in a non-sports bar environment.

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LJ
Cincinnati
28 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always enjoy the Exemplar. Good food, great service and warm atmosphere.

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s
Cincinnati
15 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was really good and innovative- I had the spinach salad with strawberries and cantaloupe etc which was delicious and also had the scallops which were equally as good and I liked having the option for a smaller plate. I gave it 4 stars because we waited 15 minutes for someone to come back and take our drink order after being seated- and then had to remind them to bring us some bread when the salad came out

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TH
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went for Restaurant Week and was a great choice! Completely opposite side of town from where we live but worth it. Hope to come back soon!

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JC
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Delicious food and quiet atmosphere. Great for a date night or time with family. Can accommodate larger groups.

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DO
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best place and food we have had in a long time! Can wait for our next special occasion to dine with them!

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j
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

love the ambiance. Waiter was very good. The restaurant week menu just didn't "get it". wasn't anything outstanding. Fried caesar salad was rather hard to eat. The flank steak was undercooked. The accompanying ingredients for the steak were very good. Just was not impressive.

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JA
Cincinnati
11 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Staff was very accommodating and helpful. Our waiter, Noah, was particularly knowledgeable and helpful. The meals were delicious.

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R
Cincinnati
48 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

We requested a table vs. a booth and had to correct the greeter when he tried to bring us to a booth. The bar area was nice but way too dim...cannot read the menu!

Our server was very sweet, and I hope she was just starting out since she was not knowledgeable with liquor choices; and drinks . Our friends ordered from the Restaurant week menu. My husband and I ordered the hamburger (Tuesday) special. She neglected to bring the beer out to me (which was included) until I was half finished with my burger. She said no substitutions but she did substitute the beer type with another. I would have preferred wine and paid the difference.

I find the restaurant was not up to its usual good standing.

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CL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of our favorite spots! Knowledgeable and friendly staff, fantastic food (the brussel sprouts are a must), and such a great ambiance. Highly recommend!

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A
Cincinnati
11 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tried the ribs and was amazed how good they were

Always good service

Nice cozy place to eat!

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l
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

great cozy place, had an awesome piece of prime rib. Always great service and very friendly staff. A++

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H
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service!! They have the best prime rib around.

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A
Cincinnati
11 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

always great food and great service

wonderful atmosphere/ambiance

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M
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So impressed by the wine list and happy hour specials! The Goat Cheese Bruschetta is to die for and big enough to share with the table. Charcuterie also offers something for everyone. I always get the bison burger, it's hard to find around town. My husband always gets the prime rib dip sandwich and it's cooked perfectly. Make a reservation for Sunday brunch - big tables for the whole family are a treat.

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F
Cincinnati
48 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Been here many times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always very good food and service and this time was no exception. Wonderful prime rib, fresh oysters. Try it, you will like it.

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