8 local spots to have a memorable meal or drink for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, people will be looking for restaurants that feature romantic settings and memorable meals.

Here is a sampling of eight places that offer a romantic or unique treat:

Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

The Monroe business at 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Road recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. From Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, it is offering guests to "enjoy a beverage you love with the one you love" during Valentine's Day With Rivertown.

Dinner courses include ribeye steak dinner with potato & seasonal vegetable or a full rack of ribs with beans and slaw. Dessert Wonton Trio is strawberry, lemon and blueberry wontons with chocolate-covered strawberries.

Raspberry Flicker will be featured on tap, as well as many large bottle features such as 2015 lambic, Geuze, Ojos Negros, Sour Noir and wines.

MORE: Rivertown Brewing opens new Monroe taproom, restaurant

Jag’s Steak & Seafood

The recently revamped fine-dining restaurant at 5980 West Chester Rd. in West Chester Twp. is offering four-course, prix fixe dinner from today to Feb. 17 for $75 per person. The menu features Black Truffle Filet, Ora King Salmon, Chicken Marsala, and more.

The award-winning business features a piano bar and lounge experience.

Michelle Brown, majority owner and head chef, has cooked at the James Beard House in New York City, serves as a brand ambassador for Certified Angus Beef and was the unanimous winner of the 2015 Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Pork Chopped competition.

MORE: Jag’s Steak & Seafood menu update: 5 things to know

Stefano’s Italian Cafe

Nearly three decades old, Stefano’s Italian Cafe, 2200 Central Ave. in Middletown, offers Italian cuisine cooked in an authentic, old-world, brick oven stove. That includes wood-fired pizzas and breads.

Menu items include antipasto, seafood, veal, traditional chicken-dressed dishes and steaks.

The longtime Middletown business opened in 1989 as full service deli and cafe, expanded its seating capacity and added outdoor dining and the brick over in 1993. A full-service bar and additional seating were added in 2001, and more patio space was added in 2010.


The modest, focused menu at Gracie's, 1131 Central Ave. in Middletown, features Pork Belly Shrimp & Grits, Deviled Eggs and The (Charcuterie) Board among its starters, as well as Half Roasted Chicken, The Burger, a Berkshire Pork Chop, Seared Salmon, Crispy Skin Branzino (a sea bass) and Braised Short Rib Mac among its main dishes.

A massive blackboard highlights daily specials: meatloaf (Monday), pork shank (Tuesday), fried chicken (Wednesday), pasta night (Thursday), fresh catch (Friday) and steak night (Saturday). There’s also a selection of wine, beer, top-shelf liquor and craft cocktails.

Co-owner Max Comisar is part of the family that for decades ran downtown Cincinnati’s Maisonette and La Normandie, Lebanon’s Golden Lamb and Montgomery’s Chester’s Road House.

MORE: 5 things to know about Gracie’s, downtown Middletown’s newest restaurant

Quarter Barrel Brewery & Pub

Quarter Barrel Brewery & Pub is located at 103 Main St. in Hamilton’s growing Main Street entertainment district. The restaurant offers rooftop dining overlooking the Great Miami River and Hamilton’s downtown.

Quarter Barrel’s biggest sellers are a farm-raised burger and large flat breads called Lavosh. It also offers traditional American “up-casual bistro pub fare,” and comfort food, with nightly specials.

MORE: New brewpub opens on Hamilton’s Main Street

Coach House Tavern & Grille

Executive chef Jared Whalen, who started his career at The Maisonette in Cincinnati, made menu changes to Hamilton’s Coach House Tavern & Grille at 120 Berkley Drive to offer a dining experience similar to a modern downtown Cincinnati restaurant.

Small plates and appetizers grace the dining menu. There's also a variety of hand-crafted, seasonal fare that incorporate classic traditions with today's trends.

A bar menu offers infused bourbons and wine selections.

MORE: Maisonette alum revamps Butler County restaurant

Lotus Pad Asian Cuisine

Lotus Pad Asian Cuisine is the latest restaurant to join Liberty Center.

Located across from Kona Grill at 7521 Gibson St., the restaurant offers fresh, organic Asian food with Thai and Vietnamese influences.

Menu items include numerous appetizers (larp pork, chicken satay and fresh spring rolls, to name a few), noodle dishes (pad thai and drunken noodles), soup and stir fry. Yellow, red and green curry dishes include a choice of tofu, chicken, pork, beef, pork belly, shrimp, seafood or crab.

MORE: New Asian restaurant opens at Liberty Center

Basil 1791

Basil 1791, a new Asian-American “gastro-pub-esque” restaurant, opened last month at 241 High St. in Hamilton, in the former Ryan’s Tavern.

The establishment is part of a northeastern Ohio group that operates three Basil Asian Bistro restaurants.

Basil features items you’d expect to find at a full Asian bistro, including egg rolls, crab rangoon, wonton soup, Vietnamese Pho, Pad Thai, Kung Pao, General Tso and Moo Goo Gai Pan, salads, wraps and curries.

Those who might not be interested in such fare can order steaks, salmon, curried mussels and, yes, burgers, including traditional beef burgers, plus lamb, chicken, salmon and vegetarian options.

MORE: 6 things to know about Basil 1791, Hamilton’s newest restaurant

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