The Tristate restaurant scene is ever-changing, eclectic and exciting. Lucky for us, choosing the winners of the 2011 Silver Spoons involves sampling it all. From traditional pub food to the best in French cuisine, Cincinnati has it all.

The awards are based on the experiences of our entire staff, as well as freelance writers. If we missed a dish, a chef or a dining experience, please comment online at CincyMagazine.com or send a letter to the editor at dfrench@cincymagazine.com. We hope to hear from you.

"” Dianne Gebhardt-French
 

TABLE WITH A VIEW
Celestial Steakhouse, Mount Adams
Especially at night, the city's skyline is magnificent. Throw in the view of the river and Northern Kentucky from the bi-level bar of crystal and glistening brass and it's perfect. Great steaks and seafood. Excellent service. It's the place to wow your out-of-town guests. If you are lucky, Cybele will be at the piano.


NEW KID ON
THE BLOCK
Enoteca Emilia, O'Bryonville
The sophisticated Italian menu and an attentive, eager staff are packing in the crowds "” even on weeknights.

OUTDOOR CAFÉ
Terrace Café,
@ Cincinnati Art Museum,
Mount Adams
Maybe it's the sun-dried Michigan cherries on the salad or the 60,000 works of art surrounding you, but this is the place to take out-of-towners to show them how good we have it.

TOP-NOTCH SERVICE
Carlo & Johnny, Montgomery
Lots of attention from a friendly and knowledgeable staff makes us feel pampered and special even before the first fabulous bite at this great Jeff Ruby restaurant.

DOWNTOWN
"HOT SPOT"
Nada, Downtown
It's getting tougher to choose just one winner with downtown dining options exploding. But, no matter what the crowd, the food and service are great. People-watching is fantastic with theatergoers and YP bar-hoppers adding to the mix.

'BURB "HOT SPOT"
Fox and Hound, Mason
From the patio to the poolroom, it's lively, it's hot and there are TVs at every turn tuned to the game. Too many specials to track.

ROMANTIC HIDEWAY
Chez Nora,
Covington, Ky.
Table for two on the rooftop with great jazz in the background. Oh, yeah...

ECLECTIC CUISINE
Brown Dog Café, Blue Ash
Rabbit, duck, venison, boar ... what's your pleasure?

BUSINESS BREAKFAST
First Watch, Covington, Ky.
You can execute a quiet meeting with a couple of people over a healthy breakfast, but with its location at 50 W. RiverCenter, be prepared to run into a wealth of politicians and powerbrokers.

CROQUE MONSIEUR
Café de Paris, Downtown
The buttery croissant melts in your mouth, the cheese is perfectly melted. A sip of the bold, rich coffee lets you know the day has started.

SEAFOOD WITH STYLE
McCormick and Schmick's, Downtown
Ahi Tuna Tartare is prepared tableside, the lobster bisque is rich with sherry butter and the crab cake bursts with fresh clumps of savory crabmeat "” winning hands-down over the competition's bread-crumb pretender. Quiz your server and linger over the daily specials before you make any decisions.

SOPHISTICATED SOUTHERN
Hugo, Oakley
Chunks of crab in the Charleston She-Crab soup and the smoked pommery vinaigrette drizzled over the Hugo salad are just the start to a fabulous meal. Afterward, enjoy a cocktail on the comfy leather couch that beckons from the corner. No hurry here.

COZY BRUNCH
Half Day Café, Wyoming
The menu changes seasonally, so there is always something new. The bread for the French toast comes from Sweet Williams Bakery, and pancakes include Mango Butter Rum and Sweet Potato.

LIONS, TIGERS,
BEARS, Oh, My!
Cincinnati Zoo, Avondale
Perhaps a giraffe ice sculpture? Events catered by Innovations at the Zoo and Botanical Garden are delicious. Lavender rubbed pork loin with sweet potato puree? Grilled artichoke with truffle oil? Or chefs will customize your dinner at Strolling Stations "” very popular are the pasta and risotto stations.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Tousey House Tavern, Burlington, Ky.
Cooked the way Mom did: light cornmeal crispy outside with a warm, juicy fresh tomato on the inside. Topped with country ham, cream cheese mousse and a touch of sweet tomato chutney. Walleye Pike is among the fine fish dishes on the menu.

BLACK ANGUS BURGER
Terry's Turf Club, Linwood
It's all searingly excellent "” the filet mignon chili, the buns from Shadeau Breads in Over-the-Rhine, and the Halloumi goat and sheep cheese. Of course, some come just for the coarsely-ground burgers with the Burgundy wine sauce.

PLATE TO SHARE
The View, Eden Park
Truffled Crab Macaroni simply surrounds the lump crab with Grafton Village white cheddar and smoked gouda in a most delicious way. And that's just a start in this elegant hideway with a view. We've liked every dish we've ordered.

THE GENERAL'S CHICKEN
Oriental Wok,
Fort Mitchell, Ky.
Owner Mike Wong's signature chicken dish is always perfect with snowpeas and baby corn. Next time, we have to try the fish prepared in a bamboo steamer with a black bean and garlic finish.

TEA TIME
Bonbonerie Café, O'Bryonville
Delectable scones, fresh fruit and finger sandwiches "” savor the pastries and cookies over a pot of tea. Reservations a must.

SPLENDID SOUP
Suzie Wong's,
East Walnut Hills
The Seafood Tom Yum Noodle is distinguished by the rich Thai broth as much as it is by the excellent seafood and noodles. Pineapple chicken is served on a quartered fresh pineapple and is tender and sweet. No doubt, this one is a winner.

SCALLOPS SO SEARED
Boca, Oakley
Seared Day Boat Scallops reach new heights with carmelized brussel sprouts, parmigiano reggiano and brown butter truffle vinaigrette.

SUPERIOR SUSHI
Mr. Sushi, Downtown
The location: close to theaters, bars and the office. The sushi: Superior. You won't want to miss the Hot Stone Bowl Bibimbab.

"WOW" APPETIZER
Bonefish Grill,
multiple locations
Spicy, tender, perfect "” Bang Bang Shrimp are a great way to start a meal, or enjoy with a cocktail.

AUTHENTIC MEXICAN
Taqueria Mercado,
Downtown & Fairfield
What an endorsement when you see a couple of chefs, dressed for work elsewhere, lunching at the table across the room. Savory, fresh and perfectly cooked with an array of options and sauces.

VEGETARIAN BOUNTY
Amma's Kitchen, Roselawn
Samosa Chat, made with fried Samosa,chickpeas, tomato, mint sauce and yogurt, is tangy, sweet and refreshing. A great cooling dish to balance spicy curry at this southern Indian restaurant.

FLAMING FLAVOR
P.F. Chang's,
Norwood
The spicy garlic and sesame soy sauce makes the Flaming Red Wontons offered on the Triple Happiness Happy Hour menu nothing short of memorable.

READY FOR
PRIME TIME
The Summit
@ Cincinnati State, Clifton
Cincinnati State's Midwest Culinary Institute students put their skills to the test with a fabulous dark and milk chocolate mousse cake. This sample was prepared by Robert Passero, a Pastry Arts student. Scrumptious.
 


FARM To TABLE
Bouquet Restaurant,
Covington, Ky.
Stephen Williams, owner and chef, shows off his halibut with zucchini. Squash soup is rich, yet delicate and the menu's list of thanks to local farmers and suppliers confirms what you knew: Fresh.


PERFECT POUR
Dilly Café, Mariemont
Count on James "Peanut" Kahles for a perfect pour and description of the wine and beer options. Yes, we come for the grilled shrimp and asparagus, but lingering in this bar is so pleasant that you don't mind the wait for a table.