Let’s eat! The 20 food and dining winners from Best of Dayton in 2019-20

So, what are you hungry for?

With so many great dining options in the Dayton region, it can be hard to choose. The results of the 2019-20 Best of Dayton contest may help you make a savvy choice, even as we launch this year’s contest.

We’ve curated the winners based on a record-setting 1 million votes cast by the community.

Get ready to put your stretchy pants on.

>>PEOPLE’S CHOICE: The list of Best of Dayton winners

Best New Restaurant

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

5220 Cornerstone N. Blvd., Centerville | (937) 900-9463 | Website | Facebook

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant has it all. The upscale/casual wine-themed restaurant has a full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, Napa Valley-style tasting room and gift store.

Visitors walk through the front door into a wine-tasting bar and retail shop and order flights or individual tastes and peruse the chocolate truffles case and wine accessories.

The restaurant has an extensive menu that includes an appetizer of Crispy Brussels Sprouts, blended with mint, a sesame-Sriracha aioli and cashews, that will change your mind about Brussels sprouts; a Pan-Roasted Barramundi fish entree served with sauteed green beans, grape tomatoes and Thai-Lemongrass sauce; and a decadently rich Cooper’s Hawk Chocolate Cake with hazelnut ganache and Valrhona chocolate.

Best Italian

Mamma DiSalvo’s

375 E. Stroop Road, Dayton | 937-299-5831 | Facebook | Website

Mama DiSalvo’s, a community staple with a 40-year history, was also Dayton.com’s Best of 2017 Italian winner.

You can’t beat Mamma’s eggplant parmigiano, spaghetti alla carbanara, calamari, toasted ravioli or linguini vongole – and don’t forget the delicious meatballs covered in sweet and tangy tomato sauce.

Follow your meal with a decadent dessert. The sweet options include chocolate mousse, cannoli and tiramisu made from Savoiardi cookies soaked in espresso and topped with a rich delicate cream made from mascarpone cheese. The dessert is then dusted with cocoa powder.

Best Asian


852 Union Blvd., Clayton | 937-832-3000 | Website | Facebook

Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years and continues the streak this year.

The restaurant is known for high-quality customer service and fresh, delicious dishes. Ozu852 specializes in sushi, but its menu offers Japanese and Chinese favorites from fried rice and lo mein to soups, appetizers and specialty dishes. Dine in and take out available, as well as online ordering.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Best Chinese

China Cottage

6290 Far Hills Ave., Centerville | 937-434-2622

3718 Wilmington Pike, Kettering | 937-294-4724

1983 Shiloh Springs Road, Trotwood | 937-854-8033

784 N. Main St., Springboro | 937-748-8866


China Cottage has been a Miami Valley favorite since 1987.

The restaurant is known for award-winning Cottage Chicken, Rock Salt Prawn and Sizzling Steak, as well as fresh seafood selections. Don’t miss the sizzling Pao Pao Combination platter.

Best Indian

Amar India

2751 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Miami Twp. | 937-439-9005 | 7070 Miller Lane, Butler Twp. | 937-387-6505 | Facebook | Website

The restaurant calls itself “your authentic Indian food destination in Ohio,” and it must be true, because year after year it rises to the top of the Best of Dayton winner’s list.

Diners flock to the daily buffet and also dine on meals prepared by the talented chefs.

Some of the tempting tastes on the menu include vegetable samosa stuffed with potatoes and green peas, nine different nans, tandoori specialties, chicken vindaloo and lamb curry.

Best Mediterranean / Greek

Gyro Palace

57 S. Springboro Pike, Miamisburg | 937-436-2770 | Facebook

1124 Brown St., Dayton | 937-813-4004 | Facebook


Gyro Palace is a family-run restaurant that uses recipes handed down from generation to generation, according to its website.

The menu, cooked fresh per order, will have you drooling.

Original and chicken gyros, beef shish kabob, moussaka and chicken shawarma are among the traditional items. Make sure you try the spinach pie, falafel and dolmades.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Best Vegan Dining

Wheat Penny

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton | 937-496-5268 | Website | Facebook

Once again, Wheat Penny is the go-to spot for vegan dining.

The myriad sandwiches, pizzas and pastas to choose from will satisfy vegan appetites.

Among the choices are Mushroom Milanese, Arugula and Shaved Cauliflower Salad.

The show stopper, a Cauliflower T-Bone, is a center-cut slice of cauliflower poached in broth and then cooked to deep, burnished brown on a flat top. The “steak” is garnished with sauce made with olives, garlic, raisins, orange segments, herbs and olive oil.

Best BBQ

City Barbeque

2330 N. Fairfield Road, Beavercreek | 937-320-0000 |

Website | Facebook

5 E. Franklin St., Centerville | 937-312-1350 |

Website | Facebook

Once again, City Barbeque is the reigning Best of Dayton winner for Best Barbecue, and for good reason. This restaurant serves up some nationally-recognized barbecue, along with some tasty made-from-scratch sides. The beef brisket is not to be missed. City Barbeque offers dine-in, carryout and catering services and is a family friendly, affordable destination.

Best Breakfast

Tank’s Bar & Grill

2033 Wayne Ave., Dayton | 937-252-2249 | Facebook | Website

Pancakes, eggs, biscuits and gravy and hash browns - oh the hash browns!

There’s a reason Tank’s Bar & Grill was voted (again) the best place to get breakfast in this year’s Best of Dayton contest.

There’s no better place to fuel up for the day with their expansive menu. The Tankasaurus has three eggs and a six-ounce New York Strip served with toast and hash browns. The Hockey Puck Sandwich consists of egg, cheese, ham, smoked cherrywood bacon or sausage, served on your choice of bread.

And the hash browns – they are served six ways, including cheese, ham or Bull Dog gravy.

Best Brunch

First Watch

4105 W. Town & Country Road, Kettering | 937-643-4077

5245 Cornerstone North Blvd., Centerville | 937-732-9013

2614-A Colonel Glen Highway, Fairborn | 937-431-9150

2824 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Miami Twp. | 937-435-3127

Website | Facebook

First Watch is famous for its brunch options with a large menu, fresh ingredients, generous portions and a staff willing to help you customize an order.

What strikes your fancy? The menu has classics like cage-free eggs with bacon and pancakes or omelets. You can also dive into seasonal items such as Brilliant Beet Toast, Vanilla Chai Latte Pancakes or the Baja Chicken Burrito Bowl.

The menu also offers power bowls, fresh juices, fruit crepes and more to satisfy your brunch cravings.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Best Deli

DiSalvo’s Deli

383 E. Stroop Road, Kettering | 937-298-5053 | Website | Facebook

Do pastrami, corned beef and salami make you drool? If so you’ll want to head to DiSalvo’s Deli, voted the best deli in the Best of Dayton contest.

The combination of Boar’s Head meat and cheeses, fresh vegetables and dressings and locally baked fresh bread make for an amazing deli sub.

There are also plenty of salads to add as a side, and sweet desserts available to round out the meal.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Best Diner

Mel-O-Dee Restaurant

2350 S. Dayton-Lakeview Road, New Carlisle | 937-849-1378 | Website | Facebook

Folks head to a New Carlisle landmark for their favorite diner experience.

The Mel-O-Dee, established in 1965, has been family-owned for four generations, and the food puts the “home” in home cooking.

Breakfast is served all day, there’s a daily special on the menu, along with tasty soups that rotate each day of the week.

The restaurant is also known for “Broaster Foods,” the house specialty. “The Broasting process is a high-pressure cooking process that makes our chicken, chops and other meats juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside,” according to Mel-O-Dee’s website.

Best Family Restaurant

Spaghetti Warehouse

36 W. Fifth St., Dayton | 937-461-3913 | Website | Facebook

Known for its trolley-car seating and towering 15-layer lasagna, Spaghetti Warehouse has something for the whole family.

The eclectic atmosphere can keep young and old entertained, and separate menus cater to adults and children.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta Al Fresco, Grilled Chicken Alfredo and Baked Ziti will fill adult appetites, and Chicken Strips, Cheese Ravioli and a child-sized portion of Spaghetti and Meatballs are among the kid’s entrees.

Best Fine Dining

The Pine Club

1926 Brown St., Dayton | 937-228-7463 | Website | Facebook

When Daytonians want a special night of dining, many head to the Pine Club.

The steakhouse, which opened in 1947 at 1926 Brown Street near the University of Dayton, is known for great steaks, an old-school atmosphere and a Dayton classic, stewed tomatoes.

Chops and seafood round out the menu and can be complemented by creamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and more.

If you are a first-timer, keep these tips in mind: the Pine Club never takes reservations. And they don’t take credit cards.

Best Mexican

Taqueria Mixteca

609 E. 3rd St., Dayton | 937-258-2654 | Facebook | Website

2190 Shiloh Springs Road, Trotwood | 937-529-7535 | Facebook | Website

A repeat winner, Taquerica Mixteca is a fan favorite.

If you are looking for authentic and affordable, this is your place. Even the complimentary chips, salsa and sauces made fresh daily in house that greet you as soon as you are seated exceed expectations. Whether you stop in for a quick bowl of made-from-scratch guacamole, or you’re in for the big leagues — a ginormous chiles rellenos platter — we suspect it won’t be your last trip to Taqueria Mixteca.

Best Old-School Restaurant

The Pine Club

1926 Brown St., Dayton | 937-228-7463 | Facebook | Website

This Dayton throwback is also the winner of the Dayton.com fine-dining category this year.

Dark interior, stiff drinks and occasionally sassy waitresses make for a vintage atmosphere. You’ll also find creamed spinach and stewed tomatoes on the menu – more signs of another era.

Most Romantic Restaurant

Oakwood Club

2414 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood | 937-293-6973 | Website | Facebook

Looking for a very special evening? Slide into one of the leather booths at the Oakwood Club with someone you love and peruse the menu. Low lighting and an extensive wine list add to the ambiance.

Established in 1962, the restaurant prides itself on great service and food that bring charm to any occasion.

Credit: Christopher's

Credit: Christopher's

Best Hidden Gem

Christopher’s Restaurant

2318 E. Dorothy Lane, Kettering | 937-299-0089 | Website | Facebook

This cozy restaurant, tucked away in Woodman Plaza in Kettering, is loaded with great food for any budget, palate or dietary preference.

Christopher’s offers local and naturally raised meats, fresh salmon from the Faroe Islands, local cage-free brown eggs, locally baked breads, fair-trade organic coffee and teas, and many vegetarian and vegan options. They also source local produce when it is available.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or Vegan Wednesday, Christopher’s offers delicious, healthful food for all.

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

Best Seafood

Jay’s Seafood

225 E. Sixth St., Dayton | 937-222-2892 | Facebook | Website

This is a kitchen that knows what it's good at and has created food to last.

If you love fish and shellfish, this is the place for you. Grilled Pepper Crusted Tuna, Clam Chowder, Oysters Rockefeller and Bourbon Salmon are just a few highlights of an extensive seafood menu.

Each Thursday, the restaurant hosts a Lobster and Crab Night that should not be missed. And the wine list is deep and extensive.


>> Food & Dining winners

>> Bars, Beer & Nightlife winners

>> Arts, Music & Entertainment winners

>> Shopping & Services winners

>> Fitness, Outdoors & Recreation winners

>> People & Places winners

About the Author