Summer is here, and there’s nothing better than dining outside at a great restaurant — except maybe getting a good deal at the same time. With that in mind, here are a few restaurants you might want to try this summer:

Pirate’s Cove (4609 Kellogg Ave.): Featuring the only authentic Florida tiki hut in the area (built by Seminole Indians), dining here is like being on vacation. All seats are outdoors, and all offer water views. The menu is large, tropical, reasonably priced (nothing costs more than $13.95) and works well for sharing. Pirate’s Cove offers daily drink and food specials. For more information, call (513) 871-1820 or visit

An oldie but a goodie,Chez Nora (530 Main St. in Covington), is located in historic Main Strasse Village. This popular lunch and dinner spot blends good food and old-world charm with a popular rooftop bar that hosts live jazz music five nights a week. Go for the spectacular views of downtown and the river, even more spectacular on starry nights. Entrée prices range from $13 to $29 for dinner (most around $22); all lunch items are under $10. For more information, call (859) 491-8027 or visit

Embers (8170 Montgomery Road in Madeira) offers customers membership in a rewards club. Points earned accumulate into restaurant gift certificates, which are sent out at year’s end. Other specials include half-priced wine on Tuesdays and half-priced sushi (at the bar) on Wednesdays. Embers also offers a three-course, $33 special Sunday through Friday. Entrée choices include filet mignon, strip steak, grilled salmon or grilled shrimp. For more information, call (513) 984-8090 or visit

Mitchell’s Fish Market (with locations in Newport and West Chester) is known for its quality seafood options. Now it will also be known for its three-course, $22.95 dinner special. Guests are treated to a salad, choice of entrée (lobster and shrimp pasta, grilled king salmon or steak with lobster and shrimp cake) and choice of two sides. Outdoor dining overlooking the aquarium and the Ohio River is available at the Newport location. For more information, call (859) 291-7454, or (513) 779-5292 for the West Chester location, or visit

And, if you’re in the area, try Ollie’s Trolley, located at the corner of West Central and Liberty avenues downtown. Ollie’s is a great, affordable soul food restaurant operated out of an old trolley car. Specialties include burgers, rib tips, open-pit barbecued ribs (both beef and pork) and smoked turkey. Traditional sides include mac and cheese, greens, baked beans and what may be the best slaw in the Midwest. Seating is limited and there’s no outdoor seating, so take your lunch or dinner with you to your own great outdoor spot. Most dishes are under $10; for more information, call (513) 381-6100.

One additional note, Greater Cincinnati Independents, a community of independently owned and operated restaurants, now offers group gift certificates. Certificates, available online and in almost limitless denominations, can be redeemed in any participating restaurant (33 and counting). Dining choices are diverse —Andy’s Mediterranean,Mac’s Pizza Pub,Montgomery Inn Boathouse, The Polo GrilleandTink’s Café, just to name a few. Discounts are available on bulk purchases and discounted gift certificates ($25 value for $17.50) are available for a broad selection of specific member restaurants. For complete information, visit