The best destinations for a fine meal in the Oregon District

There’s nowhere quite like the Oregon District.

A walk down Fifth Street will take you to some of the city’s best — and the region’s best — restaurants.

If you ask us, each restaurant is just as delicious and unique as the next. From authentic Thai food to modern Italian cuisine to comfort dishes and Peruvian, there are so many options.

>> 10 reasons to love Fifth Street and the Oregon District


If you’re planning a trip to the Oregon for dinner, lunch and especially brunch, there are really no wrong decisions. The decision part, though, can be especially difficult. That’s why we’ve created this first installment in a guide to dining, shopping and entertainment in the Oregon District.

Today, we spotlight fine dining destinations in the Oregon District perfect for date night, a night out with friends or dinner with the family.

The Oregon District needs us now more than ever.

>> 100 reasons everyone should head to the Oregon District

In wake of the tragic mass shooting that took place in the Oregon District, Daytonians have come together like never before to support local businesses serving the Oregon District.

And it’s easy to see why.

🍴Roost Modern Italian

524 E.5th Street, Dayton


Roost Italian is the OD’s destination for upscale Italian dinner. The restaurant takes traditional Italian foods and utilizes modern techniques and ingredients, developing unique flavors to create what head chef, Dana Downs, calls “Modern Italian,” according to Roost’s website.

The restaurant has a romantic and dim interior making Roost a great option for a special occasion date night.

The restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday. Most pasta dishes on the menu range from $16-23 and entrees from $23-34. Call for reservations or book through Open Table (accessible from Roost’s website).

>> PHOTOS: The gorgeous setting and dishes you’ll discover at Roost Modern Italian

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

🍴Jay's Restaurant

225 E. 6th St., Dayton


In the 2018 Best of Dayton contest for Best Seafood in Dayton, Jay’s Restaurant took the top prize. Over the years, Jay’s has remained a staple in Dayton by staying consistent and retaining many of its favorite menu items.

Jay’s 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.

>> Downtown restaurant’s gorgeous antique bar has seen more than a century of history — from Buffalo Bill to the birth of the cash register

The menu includes an assortment of soups and appetizers including oysters, scallops, calamari strips and mussels ranging from $7 to $36 and a monthly three-course dinner special for $33. Entrees range from $24-32, with add-ons including lobster tail and crab legs at market price.

Jay’s is closed Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., Friday - Saturday 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. each week. Call 937-222-2892 to make reservations.


329 E. 5th St., Dayton


Known for its farm-to-table freshness, Lily's Bistro partners with as many local purveyors as possible. This means Lily's menu is constantly changing to serve what is fresh and available that growing season.

Lily's Bistro has lived up to its garden-fresh vibe, including traces of New Orleans influence from owner Emily Mendenhall's time spent living there. The menu rotates daily, pulling ingredients and inspiration from whatever produce is in season. Lily's also uses exclusively locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Lily’s is a destination for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and is equally famous for its patios, special events, family style Sunday chicken dinner and delicious creative cocktails. Lily’s won third place for Best Cocktail in the most recent Best of Dayton contest and third place for Best Dog-Friendly Patio.

>> Lily’s offers one of Dayton’s best restaurant patios

The dinner menu currently features small plates ($8-11), medium plates ($13-19) and supper ($15-26).

Lily’s serves lunch from Tuesday to Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Reservations can be made by calling Lily's at (937) 723-7637 or through its website.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

🍴Salar Restaurant & Lounge

400 E. 5th St., Dayton


Before diving into the wonderful dishes Salar serves, it’s important to also celebrate its equally inventive cocktails. With a completely new bar to add to the quality of drinks, Salar won second place in the Best of Dayton 2018 contest in the Best Cocktails category.

With strong influences of Peruvian French and Mediterranean, the food at Salar is world class and locally sourced or made fresh in house daily. Owner and executive chef Margot Blondet is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru. She opened Salar in 2013. The restaurant is open for dinner service only.

Menu highlights include appetizers ($10-20) such as lamb lollipops and Spanish chorizo, plus beef, seafood and vegetarian empanadas and entrees ($22-39) including Red Quinoa Encrusted Chilean Sea Bass, Roasted Short Ribs, Braised Lamb Shank and Seared Scallops.

Salar was forced to temporarily close for 8 months after a devastating fire in December of 2017. The restaurant was able to reopen in October of 2018 with an entire new look including a beautiful, large back patio dining area.

The bar opens daily at 4 p.m. and dinner service begins daily at 5 p.m.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

🍴Thai 9

11 Brown St., Dayton


Second place Best Sushi, winner of Best Appetizer and second place Best Asian Food — the results from the 2018 Best of Dayton contest speak for themselves.

Named for the nine levels of spice available for customers to order for their dish, Thai 9 can please even lovers of the spiciest cuisine. Pad Thai enthusiasts will be happy to know that the Thai peanut sauce at Thai 9 is next to none.

Thai 9 is open for lunch weekdays and dinner seven days a week starting at 5 p.m. House specials range from $13.95 to $24.95, noodle and fried rice dishes range from $13.95-16.95 and sushi combinations start at $17.95 (with individual rolls available as well). View the dinner menu here.

🍴Wheat Penny

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton


Wheat Penny is one of those places that has it all. Its cornerstone is California-style pizza, but it also boasts one of the best new brunches in town and a vegan-friendly menu. While Wheat Penny could more than satisfy a person who doesn't follow a vegan diet, Wheat Penny did win first place in the Best Vegan Dining category in the Best of Dayton 2018 contest. With jack fruit "meat" dishes and a cauliflower burger, Wheat Penny is known to best people's expectations of vegan food.

The eggplant fries are a mainstay on the menu and one of Dayton’s most unsuspectingly delicious appetizers, with a fried exterior so light and tempting.

Pizzas start at $13.95 for small and plate dinners served after 5 p.m. start at $21.

Wheat Penny is closed Sunday and Monday, Tuesday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Reservations are accepted for parties of 5 or larger and can be made by calling (937) 496-5268.

Chef Elizabeth Wiley, who also runs Meadowlark, was voted Best Chef in Dayton in the latest Best of Dayton contest.


824 E. Fifth St., Dayton


You can try to replicate it — and people have tried — but chances are slim that anyone can make Franco’s “World Famoso” Spaghetti exactly like the staff of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano, according to reporter, Amelia Robinson.

That’s because the recipe that includes a combination of egg, romano cheese, fresh-roasted garlic and olive oil with mushrooms or sausage came straight from Franco Germano, the restaurant’s owner. The owner of the popular Italian restaurant grew up in Duronia, Italy, where he developed an expansive knowledge and passion for food. Germano sadly passed away in 2018. But his legacy lives on in the food Franco’s serves its customers.

Franco’s is open 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Closed Sunday

🍴Glasz Bleu Oven

521 Wayne Ave., Dayton


Unless you’re looking for it, you might stroll right on by Glasz Bleu Oven. But you’ll sure be sad you did.

Glasz Bleu, part of the District Provisions market, draws inspirations for its cuisine from dishes found in a range of Mediterranean cultures — North African to France.

The Glasz Bleu Oven menus include Moroccan-style steamed mussels, Whole Grilled Fish, Beef Marrow Bones, Escargot with Saffron Butter, Hangar Steak, and a burger made from “Impossible Beef,” a plant-based meatless option. Several dishes are prepared in a wood-burning oven just inside the market’s front window.

About the Author