Jay's Restaurant has been around since 1976 in Dayton's Oregon Historic District, and its ambiance includes a beautiful bar that dates back to 1882. Jay's is known for the seafood, and if you get a chance to attend a special wine luncheon or wine dinner, do not pass up the opportunity.
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The Oakwood Club's fans say it's even better than the Pine Club but without the national publicity. Indeed, it won first place in the most recent Dayton.com "Best of Dayton" award in the "Fine Dining" category. It's not all about the steaks at the OC — try the potato-encrusted Chilean Sea Bass for a real treat. And it's been around since 1962
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Batrender Carolyn Porter makes the seasonal cocktail Morchata at Meadowlark. JIM WITMER/STAFF
Credit: Jim Witmer
Credit: Jim Witmer
Meadowlark also has been a pioneer in the farm-to-table concept, and this place just has a knack of combining ingredients that most of us wouldn't think of putting together into a dish and turning it into something far greater than the sum of its parts. And Meadowlark captured the most votes for "Best Vegan Dining" in the Best of Dayton awards.
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Coco's Bistro just south of downtown Dayton has had three venues in its 20 years, but seems to have found a "forever home" on Warren Street. The dining room is beautifully decorated, comfortable and spacious. The Scampi shrimp-and-pasta dish, on both the lunch and dinner menu, is a highlight. And Coco's was the second-place finisher in the Fine Dining category in the Dayton.com 2016 Best of Dayton awards.
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"Rigatoni Boo Boo" with meat sauce, peas and ricotta, fish tacos, and NY strip steak in Cognac peppercorn cream sauce, three divine dishes from Corner Kitchen, open now at 613 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. VIVIENNE MACHI / ASHLEY BETHARD / STAFF
Corner Kitchen is the brainchild of the husband-and-wife team of Jack and Natalie Skilliter, both experienced restaurateurs before they opened their own place in the Oregon District in downtown Dayton. Diners can get a great burger and fries here or opt for a four-course meal.
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El Meson's owners travel the world to bring diners the best in Central and South American cuisine, and its tapas list is almost as exhilarating to read as it is to eat. There is nothing else quite like it. Plus, the sangrias and margaritas at El Meson are dangerously delicious.
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Coldwater Café is in the small town of Tipp City, and boasts a lovely atmosphere and a well-put together menu. Check out the special seating in the former bank vault. And it has wines on its list that you just don't see anywhere else in the region.
Scallops with butternut squash risotto, fried leeks, balsamic reduction and brown butter, on the menu at Coldwater Cafe & Catering. Photo from Coldwater Cafe Facebook page
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Salar Restaurant and Lounge marries Peruvian specialties with a distinctly Mediterranean approach. This is fusion cuisine in the finest sense of the word. And its cocktails are among the very best in town.
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Carvers is a steakhouse that does beef right. When first founded, it was affiliated with a small chain, but Carvers is now independently owned. Order a cut of beef on the bone here, and you will not regret it. That may be one reason Carvers captured first place in the Dayton.com Best of Dayton 2016 for "Best Steak." It's got a strong wine list, too.
Linh's Bistro is a Vietnamese restaurant adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and it serves the best pho in town. The toppings are always impeccably fresh, and the broth packs plenty of flavor. A bowl of this Vietnamese noodle soup might just cure the common cold.
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We’ve left SO many worthy restaurants off this top 12 list that I’m going to lie awake nights second-guessing the contents, but one thing I know for sure: You will not go wrong at any of these fine restaurants.