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“A Rare Treat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Nicola's Ristorante

Nicola's Ristorante
1420 Sycamore St, Ste 3, Cincinnati, OH 45202
+1 513-721-6200
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Ranked #1 of 1,657 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Dessert, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Takeout, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Liberty Street
Description: Nicola's is located on the corner of East Liberty and Sycamore Street
Cleveland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A Rare Treat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

Last night, we ate at Nicola's for the first time but it won't be the last. We normally do not eat Italian out of town because Cleveland has outstanding Italian restaurants but we'll be making an exception for this one.

The rustic ambiance is charming and although Nicola's is white tablecloth and attentive service, it is not overbearing. Our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable about the wine list and expertly picked the perfect wine out of the wines that we were thinking about to complement the food.

As soon as we ordered our drinks, we were brought a basket of beautiful, tasty, and different breads. It would have been very easy to fill up on those. Then, before the first course arrived, we each had the Italian equivalent of an amuse-bouche, a toast with a pea and chive puree that was delicious.

Although many of the standard items were on the menu, there were also several that were unique. For the first course, we shared a grilled asparagus with ricotta, black olive, arugula, and a poached egg. It far exceeded our expectations.

Our second course was the risotto with lamb and spring vegetables. We are always reluctant to order risotto because it is usually cooked into submission but decided that it would be excellent here. We were right! Visually we were worried because the rice was covered with a creamy sauce but we could still taste each individual grain which perfectly complemented the rich lamb and the crunchy green vegetables.

We finished the meal with the dessert special, a blackberry pannacotta accompanied by a lemon gelato and a raspberry coulis.

This is not an inexpensive restaurant but it is worth every penny. Dinner with a drink, two glasses of wine, and an espresso was $96 plus tip.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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196 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
50 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“A Little Taste of Italy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

This is our second visit to this restorante. We love the ambiance. We came to celebrate our anniversary. Our waiter who was from Tuscany, brought warm memories of our recent journey to Italy. He was attentive and brought us champagne to celebrate the evening! The menu is similar to menus you would find in Italy. The bread basket had several varieties of tasty morsels. The portions are small but can be shared between two people. This made it nice for sharing many different items on the menu.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrenville, Illinois
Level Contributor
81 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Fun Italian”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Had dinner at this restaurant for a family birthday party. The appetizers are great and creative and the entrees equally delicious. The assortment of breads with the salad course was fantastic. The service was efficient and attentive.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
186 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 419 helpful votes
“NICOLA'S FAILS TO IMPRESS AFTER SEVERAL CHANCES”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Restaurants deserve several chances. Everyone has a bad night.. Unfortunately, Nicola's was not able to prove itself as a worthwhile dining choice in spite of its venerable reputation. Critics love Nicola's, and certainly the restaurant has all the trappings of a marvelous experience; the decor is attractive with its warm Italian rusticity, the location in Cincinnati's hip & gentrifying Over The Rhine neighborhood is very cool, and the service is quite warm & knowledgable. However, ultimately dining is about the food and Nicola's kitchen fails miserably. The pastas, while certainly al dente, are drowning in sauces so cloyingly sweet, I was literally forced to wash my mouth out after each taste. There was nothing memorable from the appetizers to the desserts which were all bland with absolutely no inventiveness. Even the wine list was over priced and incredibly pedestrian. Cincinnati has some marvelous restaurants that can compete with dining establishments throughout the U.S. Why Nicola's is at the top of critic's dining selections is beyond my comprehension. To each his own.......

  • Visited February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
218 reviews
186 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 215 helpful votes
“At the top of the Cincinnati list”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Been here many times. Best breadbasket of any restaurant in Cincy hands down and competitive with anywhere. Food is terrific although very rich. They do a great job with seafood including fantastic lobster ravioli.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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