Nicola's Ristorante

4.8
2713 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 2713 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
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
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KE
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

For my son's 21st birthday, our group of seven recently dined at Nicola's. We could not have been more impressed! The service was outstanding and the food was delicious. Our waiter was top notch- attentive without being overbearing, friendly and professional. This place is a Cincinnati gem!

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OT
Cincinnati
16 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Monday special seemed like a great value along with a complementary birthday cake, However service was a little lacking. Our waitress left a bottle of wine for 15 minutes on our table without opening it. And it took multiple attempts to straighten our checks out. While the food and ambience was good, our experience would’ve been better with improved service.

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BA
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best meal of my life. Service is fantastic, and the food is outstanding.

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P
Austin
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Our service was superb. Not only was our assigned server outstanding, but the other servers in the area are also attentive to needs and never hesitated to take care of issues, fill water and tea, etc. Food is always great. One comment for improvement - we ordered the “Roasted Beet Salad”. We were very disappointed in the ratio of quinoa to beets. It really ended up being a quinoa salad with a few cubes of beets in it, it was tasty but not at all what we expected based on the description. We did not choose to send it back, but did mention our disappointment to the server, hopefully she passed it on.

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KZ
Cincinnati
11 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time here. We absolutely loved it! Our waiter (Steve) was awesome. He picked a wonderful wine for us from Tuscany. He made some suggestions all which were spot on! Definitely will be back.

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B
Cincinnati
29 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent dinner as always! My wife and I have eaten dinner here many times and have never been disappointed. Very extensive wine list and the seared gnocchi is to die for! Can’t wait to go back!

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OT
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Service was great, however over priced for the portions and quality. In serious need of updates and cleaning as bathrooms were just short of a bar quality and carpets were almost black with dirt.

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

Great dinner and fun evening out. The lobby should be cleaned up and the maitre d was not very attentive.

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KB
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing Italian food, everything was prepared with thought. We had the bread bowl, goat cheese salad, mushroom risotto and Bolognese. The meal continued to get better and better.

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r
Cincinnati
73 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

All was very good. I was with a Senior who is unable to eat dark green leaf vegetables, so we were able to find the gnocchi instead. Didn’t appreciate the high price on “a glass of the house red” at $18. Overall, it was a good night.

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OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

We are Italian and were disappointed that our pasta was over cooked. Also, our waitress spoke down to us like we did not know anything about Italian food when we were dining with my Father who was born in Italy and my Italian Aunt.

Our first experience was excellent so we hope this is an isolated experience.

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OT
Cincinnati
22 reviews
Dined on April 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

This was our second visit to Nicola's; the first visit was during Restaurant Week. The restaurant was very busy and we were seated in an area off the main dining room. Since we prefer to sit at the bar, on our second visit we waited for seats at the bar. We arrived at the tail-end of happy hour and on a night when they have a bolognese special. The bar is the place where take out orders get picked up, and there were a ton of take out orders. So we sorta felt squeezed between the bar and customers waiting for take out orders--noisy and crowded. So far we just have not found the perfect place for us to sit (and we chose two really busy nights, so that's a consideration as well). My husband loves the bolognese. I got the vegetarian bolognese (no groans please), and it was just fine. The Caesar salad is different; I'm not sure if it includes anchovies in the dressing or not. The bread, for which there is an extra charge, is great. We really like the overall ambiance of Nicola's. Our experience has been good enough that we will certainly give Nicola's a third try--maybe at the bar on a less busy night and time. This restaurant routinely is listed as one of Cincinnati's best, and it has very loyal regulars. Front of house hostesses are excellent at managing incoming and outgoing traffic--a real art. I recommend Nicola's for good food, good service, and good atmosphere.

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L
Cincinnati
14 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nicolas is always a great dining experience. We came for restaurant week and enjoyed the prosciutto and goat cheese salads, gnocchi was on point as usual and the pork tenderloin and chicken saltimbocca were great. We also tried the Elvis dessert. I probably didn’t need it, but also yummy.

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LM
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server, Stephen, was excellent. The food was mouth watering & everyone in our party of six was delighted with our dining experience . We’ll definitely be back!

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SS
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We were at Nicola's for Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Week. The food was outstanding, but the pace was a little on the fast side. Usually Nicola's gives a little more time between courses, which is preferable. Overall, still a great meal at one of our favorites.

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BC
Cincinnati
60 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Pleased to be surprised with Restaurant Week price fix menu - enjoyed food immensely and highly recommend; a top 5 restaurant in Cincinnati

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HL
Cincinnati
13 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Got some friends together for Cincinnati Restaurant week. Great menu for the price however heard some items ran out later in the evening.

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SS
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first visit to Nicola's and we loved it! The atmosphere, food and service were great. It was a bit pricey, but well worth it. You get what you pay for!

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t
Chicago
35 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was spectacular! We did the Cincinnati Restaurant Week menu for dinner and floored by the flavors of the salad, pasta and main dishes of branzino and pork. The latter were full servings too, we expected half of it given the 3 course pricing, but happily indulged.
The one 'complaint' I have is that the server did not seem happy to serve us, took long in returning to our table etc. We noticed all tables had bread and we asked for a bread basket mid way of the meal, which she gave us, but ruined the experience at the end when she gave us our bill and snarkily told us that normally there is an extra fee for the bread but she waved it because of something. We thought that was unnecessary, and could have been handled differently (with more finesse).
Thank you though, and we will be back!

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OT
Cincinnati
7 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I could live in their bread basket! The food is always spectacular. The gnocchi and homemade tagliatelle bolognese are amazing! We had a lovely waitress and wonderful service. I hope to return again soon.

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DL
Cincinnati
31 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

First time visit. Three of us went for the restaurant week menu and had the chicken saltimbocca which was outstanding. The only complaint was that the broccolini was too al dente. Everything else was perfect. Among the three of us we had the tagliatelle - very good, gnocci - excellent, mac and cheese - excellent. Ceasar - good, Goat cheese salad - excellent, Prosciutto Salad - outstanding! We had a nice bottle of wine and 1 after dinner drink as well. Can't wait to go back.

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MB
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time there. Service was very good, food was excellent.

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D
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

For restaurant week the menu was phenomenal! They did 3 courses without a tiny dessert as the 3rd course. You got a salad, pasta and a hearty entree sized meat course. Or you could sub an entree size pasta! The service is excellent! The only reason I didn’t give 5 full stars is the atmosphere is choppy and feels like an afterthought.

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N
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Wonderful food. Service was ok. We tried Nicolas for restaurant week. Would probably not go back due to service. Our waiter seemed a little put out that he actually had to serve us.

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RC
Cincinnati
25 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was amazing! From the service to drinks and the amazing food! 100% worth the carb coma.

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M
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was fantastic, server knowledgeable of menu and very pleasant.

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CC
Cincinnati
27 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful dinner at Nicola's. The food was delicious. The service was excellent. The setting is always very enjoyable. We will definitely be back in the near future.

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OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent food! Only wished the waiter had informed us the bread service was an extra charge. Well worth it though and the whole meal was an absolute steal during restaurant week!

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a
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Amazing food!!

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z
Cincinnati
26 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went during restaurant week. The food and service were wonderful. I dine here several times a year and it is always amazing.

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BK
Cincinnati
16 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Just love the main dining room on first floor, so sitting upstairs was not as much fun. But the Restaurant Week crowd made it necessary. Food was delicious as always!!

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OT
Cincinnati
11 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great experience at Nicola’s. The gnocchi is to die for. When the outdoor patio opens for summer it makes for a wonderful evening.

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RS
Cincinnati
38 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been many times, and it is consistently our favorite Cincinnati restaurant.

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f
Cincinnati
33 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 1food 5service 5ambience 3

Our dinner was very good, being restaurant week, the portions were significantly smaller than normal. We ordered a nice bottle of Tuscan wine, which we enjoyed tremendously and told our waiter it was a nice Allegrini. Our waiter told us we could order a half case from the restaurant if we desired. We asked the price, and it was agreeable. He then went to advise the manager of our purchase. Our waiter then came back twice and commented on the now empty bottle and how it has been popular with guests. The manager then came by twice to our table, first to advise it would be a few minutes before it was ready (actually took him 15 minutes before he came back) and looked directly at our bottle still on the table, and a second time to tell us the half case would be downstairs next to the door. He commented to us on this second trip he hoped we will enjoy our selection, and again looked directly at the empty bottle we had with dinner. To our surprise, this manager switched our wine to a different wine, and when we pointed it out, he said it was the waiter's fault for telling him the wrong one. He left and after another 15 minutes he came back with the correct bottles but then immediately told us it would cost us more for the correct bottles than what our waiter had quoted us. I replied our waiter knew exactly what he had quoted and even commented on our dinner wine after he had went to tell this manger of our desired purchase and after now waiting a half hour, the small difference of $30 for the half case between the wrong wine and the correct one, he should honor the price we were quoted. He refused to honor the quoted price and again several times blamed the waiter. Even after I advised we dined here often and his attitude over their mistake was shocking, he was adamant and let us walk out with a distaste about one of our favorite restaurants, all over his error and $30. Very unprofessional.

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a
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always lives up to my high expectations.Owner on premises, making sure each guest is satisfied. Old world, old school white table cloth ethic with perfected combination of cutting edge and traditional cuisine. Hooray for restaurant week!

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T
Cincinnati
26 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for the Restaurant Week menu and it was fantastic!

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OT
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

It was restaurant week and we sat in the private dinner room. It was nice, but the ambiance is better in the main dining room. As always bread basket is fantastic and all the dishes are extraordinary.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and great space!

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CC
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went for restaurant week. Delicious meal and very filling!

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MA
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was fabulous and the service excellent. The hostess and bartender were very accommodating from the moment we arrived. Our servers were very attentive and our 3 course meal was delicious. I highly recommend rhe Branzino!

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