Nicola's Ristorante

4.8
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2987 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
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 20+ 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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What 2987 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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TL
Indiana
19 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was beautifully presented, flawlessly served and Devine to devour!!

OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nicolas and Orchids at the Palm Court are the best restaurants in town

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Stunning experience. We did the 5 course tasting menu and it was fabulous! We went for my husbands birthday and he said it’s the best restaurant we’ve eaten at in Cincy - hands down! Phenom!

OT
Cincinnati
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just everything was outstanding. From the drinks before dinner to the last sip of wine. The grand tasting is highly recommended. Be hungry, it is a lot of food. The gnocchi is the best I’ve ever had.

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience5

The food was not as good as I remembered last time I was there. And the bread basket was nit very flavorful.

b
San Diego
148 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great innovating food, well presented and excellent taste. Great wine list

SA
Cincinnati
9 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

The endive salad was remarkable and delicious. Very reasonable Cabernet recommendation by our server. Four different entrees and we were all pleased.

AW
Cincinnati
10 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

The first table we were seated at had an issue with being so close to the two tables adjacent to us that a server or patron couldn’t even walk in between. One of us would have to get up and move to allow someone to pass. The very nice server moved us to a much better table downstairs but it seems odd that they would have seated us at the first table to begin with.

All the food was very good, however, the birthday girl ordered a dish vegetarian vs the standard sausage it was served with. She had quite a long dialog with the server about whether she could order it vegetarian & the server offered her a detailed description of a vegetarian option which contained mushrooms in substitution of the sausage. She started eating it and was well into the dish when she discovered it had sausage. She isn’t one to say anything so she just picked the 10 pieces of sausage out. These mistakes can happen, I understand, but for the price point and quality of the (expected) dining experience, it’s less forgivable.The server also picked up her almost clean plate with the sausage piled on the side and didn’t even acknowledge the error.

The ladies bathroom was very dirty & obviously had not been monitored by staff. Both stalls had something wet on the floor (outside weather was dry). I was forced to stand in it in order to use the bathroom. The bathroom definitely did not look like the bathroom of a fine dining establishment even if it were clean.

Lots of problems during our first experience here, but I will say that we all enjoyed our meals even with the vegetarian mistake. The gnocchi, the bread and the gelato were ridiculously good.

CB
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful service and excellent food. Perfect evening!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Salad bread and wine were dicti

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was amazing, beyond expectation! Service was second to none. Order the gnocchi as an appetizer, you won't be disappointed.

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional food, and impeccable service (Chip).
A Cincinnati hallmark in fine dining.

A
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, great service and an overall great experience! Highly recommend Nicola’s!

J
Cincinnati
21 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nicola’s was outstanding. The food was fantastic, service excellent, and the setting artistic. We had not been to Nicola’s in several years and are so glad we returned. The grilled scallop appetizer was beautiful and delicious. Great selection of pastas and seafood. Thank you for a special evening for our family.

DM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Nicola's has been top notch for years. Food is excellent and consistent. We love Monday Special. Service is hit and miss, some terrific, some mediocre. Latest visit service was friendly but spotty, perhaps a new server. Overall, we really enjoy Nicola's and will continue to visit often!

SJ
Cincinnati
23 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We had our friends birthday dinner at Nicola’s and had a wonderful time. The food was incredible as usual and the service was excellent! I would highly recommend the lamb definitely one of my new favorite dishes.

C
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Perry was our server. He was attentive, knew the menu, and personable. I would give him and all if the restaurant an A+++++

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was great, my wife has gluten issues and the waitress was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I wish I remembered her name. Petite attractive brunette if that helps narrow it down. The Italian wedding soup and the scallops appetizer or phenomenal

LG
Cincinnati
41 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nicola's is has been one of the best Italian restaurants in the country for many years now. I have Italian business partners and they agree and love coming to Nicola's when they come to Cincinnati.

E
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience3

Like so many restaurants these days, Nicola's offers a lot of dishes with either garlic, aioli, or, most commonly, truffle flavoring. I am not a fan of any of these ( a LITTLE garlic is OK). So I ordered Italian Wedding Soup. It has a garlic taste. And the sausage meatballs were quite spicy, causing me to cough when I wished they didn't. I'm not telling you to change the recipe. I am saying: TELL people in advance.

The waitstaff took a very long time to clear our table once we were finished with the entrees. They should have been on it ten minutes sooner.

We were placed in a room in the rear. My wife didn't like it. Nor did a couple of the others. Once again, I would ask you to TELL people in advance what's coming. You don't manage expectations. We had expected to be in the main restaurant.

OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place, food was excellent.

DM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

My girlfriend and I went to dinner at Nicola's this past weekend on the recommendation of a colleague at work. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the food and the variety of high quality wines available. Service was slow at times, but exceptionally courteous, helpful, and accommodating. We are excited to return again in the future.

B
Cincinnati
18 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

The food and service were delicious! We were disappointingly seated in the "hallway" instead of the main dining area, so there were constantly people walking back and forth. If you're looking for a more intimate dining experience, I recommend you ask for the main dining area. Our server was great! I don't know anything about Italian wines, and he was kind and patient and helped us understand the menu better. It was our first time there and the dining/food experience was great! 4 very unique dishes, a true dining experience.

LR
Cincinnati
8 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is a fabulous dining experience . Our server was timely , friendly , knowledgeable , but not intrusive . The food was amazing ! Creative , delicious , imaginative , beautifully presented and there was not a single dish that anyone in our group had any order regret over ! Many bravos !

D
Philadelphia
26 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We had been to Nicolas before and prior to that Gilardis in town. I was very unimpressed with my entree which was spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs in the pasta dish as in the wedding soup were not made in house. We believe they were frozen. Meat sauce on the pasta was not good. It seemed to us that it had been hastily prepared and really not cooked the way sauce should be. The bar was very loud even in the dining room and there was a very loud table for a youth birthday party that really spoiled our early dining experience. Also, I had made an open table reservation at 7:30 and requested a table for 4. On the same day we dined there, I called the restaurant to ask if they could accommodate another person at our table. The guy who answered the phone told me no! Ok so we arrived and there were many many open tables that certainly could have accommodated us. And finally the hostess did not check us in when we arrived so I got the “ you didn’t show up” from Open table. Overall Nicolas failed that night. The bar is the focus not the patrons in the dining room. We have no plans to go back.

OT
Cincinnati
7 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

A friend and I went here on a whim one evening. The food was amazing. We got the bread basket (it’s definitely worth it). There were so many types of bread. The decor and feel of the place was very romantic. It would probably make a great date night spot. My friend got the pickled beets (salad) and it was beautifully presented. She said it tasted amazing and had a nice balance of flavors. For dinner she got maccheroni Tre Formaggi, which was essentially a delicious take on Mac and cheese. I got the chicken Involtini and it was very hearty and again a good combination. The sauce was delicious and there was just the right amount. I usually find sauces are too sparse. All in all we would go back again. The room was a little crowded and therefore noise was fairly high for a Wednesday at 7 PM.

b
Louisville
18 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We really enjoyed our night out!

Would recommend to anyone looking for a nice night out!

G
Cincinnati
45 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

As always - our evening at Nicola's was outstanding. Each course was well timed - looked beautiful, and was delicious. This is one of the top places in Cincinnati.

a
Cincinnati
8 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Always ask to sit in the front dining room the back is not that cozy

OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great food and service! One of the best restaurants in Cincinnati!

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great food and service. Will definitely recommend this place. Bread basket was great, nice selection of wine, the scallop appetizer was delicious (only comment is that I would have appreciated more scallops, the plate only brought one), and the frutti di mare pasta was outstanding. My husband had the ceasar salad, gnocchi and the short ribs. He said everything was delicious.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It’s always a pleasure going here! The food is great, the service is regularly spectacular, and the ambiance is just the right mix of chatter with the ability to still talk across the table to your partner.

O
Cincinnati
161 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Really? Ok so we had an 8:pm reservation; we waited 25 minutes to be seated. Hardly a “sorry”. Food was decent. Server tried to upsell us on bread...& dessert. Honestly the staff didn’t seem happy to be working here-except for the young guy shaving fresh parm & the Valet! Our servers rote presentation of the menu was uninspiring

OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Anniversary

KW
New Orleans
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nicola’s was excellent in every aspect of a dining experience. I plan to dine here more often in the future!

J
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As expected it was perfect. Our waiter was one of the best we’ve ever had. And the food was the best. Can’t wait till next time.

SR
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A very nice place to celebrate very special occasions with loved ones. Very quite and romantic. Excellent wait staff and the finest dishes. Food as delicious as the presentation.

JS
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nothing short of fantastic. Perfect timing and service, able to accommodate our needs; this was for a special occasion, and we were not disappointed.

NJ
Cincinnati
68 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Originally we went to Nicola's to enjoy 'Bolo Monday', but there were some new items on the antipasti and pasta sections that we had to check out. My wife and I shared the Mushroom and Ricotta Gnudi which was outstanding. But Nicola's really impressed with the Cappellacci past which has a foie gras mousse, parm glacé, maitake mushrooms and onion jam. Wow. Super delicious.

OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Went there for our anniversary and was greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne. Our waiter was more than knowledgeable on the new menu and the wine list. He was able to guide us in the right direction of the perfect bottle of wine.

I know everyone says this but YOU HAVE TO GET THE BREAD BASKET! Who knew that something so simple could be so good.

All in all it was a wonderful experience.

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