In today’s Gem City Sunday post, check out restaurants to try in Dayton, Ohio!
Welcome to my new series – Gem City Sunday! On some Sundays (not every Sunday, because, let’s be honest, my blog schedule is always crazy), I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things about my current home in Dayton, Ohio. There are lots of theories as to why Dayton is known as Gem City, but no one really knows. All I know is that Dayton is a gem of a city, and I’m excited to start this series and share the things I love about living here.
Naturally, I decided that my first post for Gem City Sunday had to involve food, so I’m sharing all of my favorite places to grab a bite in the area. I will say that one thing I miss about living in Louisiana is the food, but there are still some gems (see what I did there?) in Dayton that keep me going back for more. This is by no means a full list of all of my favorite restaurants in the area, but these are definitely the top ones I’d recommend for people looking for something delish to indulge in. Check out these 15 restaurants to try in Dayton!
I fell in love with Lily’s Bistro pretty quickly when I first moved to Dayton. I even included it in my first Ohio post where I shared some places I’ve been loving in Dayton. They are a farm-to-table restaurant with a rotating menu that changes seasonally. Plus, they’re home to and participants in many area events. Lily’s is one of my go-to restaurants to take people to when they’re visiting, and so far, no one has left disappointed. They also have a delicious brunch that’s worth checking out.
Corner Kitchen is appropriately named after its location in the Oregon District. It’s located right on the corner of 5th Street and Wayne Avenue. They just added a patio area, which I love because it’s just nice to enjoy a good meal outside when the weather is nice, and of course, it offers plenty of opportunities to people watch. Their menu has everything from seafood to tacos to steak and more, and some of their items change seasonally. My favorite thing on the menu is their mussels. While their mussels are always on the menu, they change how the mussels are prepared, so it’s always a nice little surprise to see what flavor of mussels I’ll get on my visit.
Basil’s On Market
Basil’s On Market has four different locations in the Dayton area, but the one downtown has a beautiful view of the river. You may even see the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights show that happens at the top of the hour from 7 am-10 pm Monday through Friday and 11 am-10 pm on the weekends. There are five fountains that shoot water 200 feet up and 400 feet across where the Great Miami River and Mad River meet. It’s definitely a sight to see, especially when accompanied by a good meal. They also have patio seating so you can enjoy the show outside. Their menu features steak, seafood, pizza, and more, and they have a full bar. On the weekends, they have a delicious Sunday brunch buffet that’s sure to please all brunch connoisseurs.
Kyle and I went to Coco’s Bistro for a celebratory dinner, and we definitely weren’t disappointed. It’s an upscale restaurant with a covered patio area and an extensive wine menu. Their menu includes items like pork shoulder, salmon, and even a bistro burger.
Every time I go to Table 33 I think, “We don’t eat here enough.” It’s such a cute restaurant in downtown Dayton. Their dinner menu changes, but I’m confident you’d find something there you liked. They also have an awesome breakfast menu that’s available daily. Weirdly, every time we’ve gone there, whether it’s for breakfast, dinner, or just drinks, we’ve always had the same server, and he’s always given us incredible service.
Thai 9 has both Thai favorites and a full sushi menu. Usually I’m a little skeptical of places that boast about two different types of food, but Thai 9 has proven me wrong. Their menu is ginormous, and everything I’ve had there is delicious. I can’t go without getting their papaya salad appetizer. For the longest time, I was making my way through their many Thai curry dishes, but I’ve branched out try many of their other menu items, and I’ve yet to be disappointed. Along with Lily’s Bistro, Thai 9 is also one of my go-to places to take people when they visit. So far, everyone has been 100% satisfied.
Yung’s Cafe is one of the first restaurants I tried in Dayton, and it’s still one of my favorite. If you’re a fan of Korean food, you’ll love Yung’s Cafe. They have all of the favorites – bibimbop, bulgogi, etc. Plus, it’s a cute little mom and pop shop.
Speaking of Korean food, Sima is my favorite place in the area to do Korean BBQ. Granted, I think it may be the only place in the area that does it, but who knows? Either way, it’s delicious. If you want the authentic Korean BBQ experience where you get to cook your meat on the grill, Sima is where it’s at. Even if you don’t want that, you can still come and eat some delicious Korean food. We usually start with a Korean pancake, and the pork bulgogi and bibimbap are my go-to entree choices.
What Da Pho
One of my favorite things about What Da Pho (besides its name, of course) is its proximity to my house. It takes me less than five minutes to get there, and it’s both dangerous and amazing. Obviously, my go-to on the menu is their pho, but I also love their BBQ kalbi, and I’ll add an egg fried sunny side up. Any time I’m feeling a little under the weather, you’ll likely find me at What Da Pho.
Sky Asian Cuisine
Sky Asian Cuisine is one my favorite restaurants in the area to get sushi. I like to sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs make the sushi. I usually start my meal with a seaweed salad and then take way too long to decide on what kind of sushi I want because they all sound so good. The Mango Madness roll is one of my faves.
Wheat Penny is a local Italian restaurant known for their delicious pizzas. They have tons of different items on the menu, and they have a number of both lunch and dinner specials daily. Wheat Penny is also great for people who are gluten free, as there lots of options for people who want to enjoy good food sans gluten. My favorite appetizer is the warm focaccia bread with homemade ricotta. I also love trying out their daily specials.
Old Scratch is hands-down my favorite pizza place in Dayton. You order your food at the counter, and then you’re left to your own accord to find a seat. I haven’t eaten on their outdoor patio yet, but it’s usually pretty full. I’ve enjoyed every pizza I’ve had at Old Scratch, but I definitely prefer the pizzas with white sauce. My favorites are the Sophie Mae and Shroom.
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen
Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen is a little hole-in-the-wall place, but don’t let its appearance fool you. I’ve had some of my favorite Italian food in the area here. They have the usual favorites, like spaghetti, lasagna, etc. I usually go for the chicken parmesan or the trio. They also have a selection of wine because what’s Italian food without the wine? My favorite is the white sangria. For those that don’t like wine, they also have beer and liquor.
City Barbecue and Catering
I don’t usually crave BBQ, but City BBQ has changed that. It’s definitely some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. The first time I had it was catered at an event, but now Kyle and I frequent there and even brought his family there when they were visiting from out of town. I always go for the ribs because I like to dip them in all of the different kinds of sauces (the sweet one of my fave). Kyle is more adventurous with his orders, and when I try them, I’m always pleasantly surprised.
Salar Restaurant and Bar
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience in the area, definitely check out Salar. They call themselves a World Fusian restaurant, and they serve food with Peruvian, French, and Mediterranean influences. When Kyle and I ate their, we wanted to try out a few different things, so we ordered some of the small plates. Literally everything we ate was so good. 10/10 recommend the lamp lollipops and crab ravioli.
What are some of your favorite restaurants where you live?
Gem City Sunday is a series where I share blog posts about some of my favorite things in Dayton, Ohio. Why Dayton is called Gem City is unknown, but I do think this city is a little gem. My boyfriend, Kyle and I moved to Dayton during the summer of 2018, and the city found a way into our hearts. Check back on Sundays for new Gem City Sunday posts with topics ranging from my favorite restaurants, festivals to check out, things to do in Dayton, and lots more.