Across the Ohio River from Cincinatti lies the city of Covington which is in Kentucky. Once very run down, Covington appears to be in the process of revitalisation. A hotel on the Covington riverfront is ideal if you want to enjoy a spectacular view, but be careful where you choose.
The Marriott offers very attractive rooms, but given the hotel's location, it seems incredible that the tiny hotel bar offers no view of the river and Cincinnati. But this is a vastly superior hotel to the neighbouring Embassy Suites, with its dull rooms, and with priceline.com you can get a great deal at the Marriott.
There are lots of cafes, restaurants and bars in the area known as Mainestrasse Village. We ate at Chez Nora, that has been owned by Jimmy and Patty Giliece since the early 1990s. Since opening the premises have been extended several times and this is testimony to the obvious popularity of the place with discerning locals. Deceptively large inside, the restaurant provides diners with good choice at reasonable cost.
The crab cakes in particular are worth a mention. On the upper levels there is a rooftop patio, and there is regular jazz music at weekends. Well worth a visit. Another notable restaurant in this area is Pho Paris, offering (as the name suggests) Franco-Vietnamese food.
If you are looking to dine in Cincinnati or Covington you cannot go wrong if you try one of the many establishments owned by or associated with Jean-Robert de Cavel, and the next time we are in Cinci, Pho Paris will be our first choice.
Having decided to stay clear of Mainestrasse at the weekend, on the Saturday night we took a 10 minute taxi drive from Covington to visit Primavista, an award-winning Italian restaurant regarded as one of the best in Cinci. The restaurant does offer a fabulous view. However, we probably had the least attractive table, and our view was the doors to the kitchen. The food is very good, and the wine list is commendable.
We enjoyed an exceptional Merlot for less than $35. Dinner for two with wine and drinks will be just under $150.
Facing Kentucky at the southern edge of Ohio state, Cincinnati is a sizeable city located on what locals always call "the mighty Ohio River", even though it's no wider than the Thames at London or lots of other rivers. (What would you think of a Londoner who unfailingly referred to his local river as "the mighty Thames"?) The river and the two sports stadiums on the riverbank are actually Cincinnati's main assets. I recently spent a week in what I can only call a deeply dull city with little to look at and little to do. Plenty of drunks sleeping on street corners, though. Cincinnati bored me so much that I nearly joined them.
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