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“Best Q in Cincy!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Eli's BBQ

Eli's BBQ
3313 Riverside Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1012
513-533-1957
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Ranked #8 of 1,653 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Barbecue
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night
southwest Ohio
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Best Q in Cincy!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

We'd heard about Eli's through the grapevine and decided to check it out. Don't miss the sign. Just a pig cut into a sheet metal sign on an unassuming older storefront. You'd be better served looking for the many cars parked out front and the the marquis tents covering the picnic pavilion that sits to the side.

BYOB, Eli's has a very efficient ordering system. You stand in line, order and pay at the cash register, and head to your seating -- indoors, or out the door to the spacious outdoor picnic pavilion. Take your pick. No matter where you sit, the Q is some of the best we've eaten ANYWHERE!

This clean, unassuming establishment -- in a quaint, older neighborhood of Cincinnati that runs along the river -- dishes up perfectly smoked, tender, meaty ribs, bearing a slightly sweet dry rub -- a combination which equals pork rib nirvana!. The pulled pork is just as tasty!. Not mushy, not dry, just perfectly smoked, tender mounds of pork with just the right amount of smoky, crispy ends chopped in. The cole slaw is not too sweet -- something that can overwhelm the taste of the cabbage and add too much sweetness to the pulled pork if you love it Memphis Style -- with the coleslaw on top of the meat. This we recommend!

The Baked beans are just a tad spicy -- not too much. Just a gentle zing -- just right. The only disappointment is the cheese and macaroni. Don't mistakenly order this thinking you're getting a nice bubbly baked mac and cheese. It's simply rather al dente macaroni with a cheese-whizzy sauce stirred in. This was the only disappointment of the meal. Not a total miss. Rather, more of a ho hum.

Regardless of where you sit, or what you order (cheese and mac excluded), you will be served up the best BBQ in the city -- and in our book -- some of the best in the country -- and we've eaten a lot of Q all across this wide land. Great for families, friends, tea totals, BYOB-ers, hipsters, old folks, you name it, Eli's is a good bet! Don't miss it!

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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210 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great BBQ and a cool place to hang out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

Went there on Friday night and had a great time! Here's a summary of our experience:
You jump in line on the sidewalk and wind your way into a house. Toward the back of the house is a counter where you order. Real simple menu - pulled pork (delicious), smoked turkey (delicious), ribs (good, not great), or hot dogs (no one in our group ordered). They have several sides - I tried the mac-n-cheese (very good) and mashed potatoes (good, could use a little more seasoning). They have a limited drink menu (Coke, Diet Coke, Orange Crush, Ale 81 (ginger ale) and water). Most people bring a cooler with whatever they like! After ordering you head out to the back yard. I had no idea what to expect but it's kinda like a block party! There were a couple hundred people hanging out! Picnic tables everywhere, some big tents, a gelato truck, live music and a city park across a small dirt road immediately behind the place. Kids and adults playing ball, throwing frisbees, footballs, eating on picnic blankets, etc. Just a great atmosphere! All kinds of different folks and a totally casual environment. We (group of 6) all loved it! They said to expect 50-55 minutes for our food. We hung out in the park and the food was ready in just under 45 minutes. Oh yeah, incredibly reasonable. Sandwiches are $5 and a sandwich with 2 sides is $8! Can't wait to go back!

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Hipster smokehouse”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2014

Delicious pulled pork sandwich. Luckily a beautiful day out so ate outside on picnic bench. Mac n cheese and cole slaw not good...Mac n cheese too thick and cole slaw too vinegary. Tries rib tips, too smoky and dry for my taste. No place to clean hands well and only port-a-potties for restroom.

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Kitchener, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Hands down, best BBQ ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014 via mobile

Went to Eli's based on trip advisor. Amazing!! Had the pulled pork sandwich, beans and jalepeno grits.....will be dreaming of this meal until I get to experience it again. Also ordered ribs to go as we still had a 7 hour drive home and thought they would make a perfect dinner. The smell drove us crazy, held out as long as we could and then devoured them as soon as we hit the Canadian border. All of their meat has such a wonderful smokiness and so so tender. My boyfriend and I would seriously take a road trip to Cincinnati just to hit this BBQ again.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Mother's Day BBQ!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2014 via mobile

Eli's never disappoints! We ate there for Mother's Day and even though it was very busy, the food never changes. Sometimes when restaurants get really busy they cut corners and the quality just isn't there, well Eli's isn't that way. Our dinner was fantastic like always.

Visited May 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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