Known as the Birthplace of Aviation, Dayton was the famed Wright Brother’s hometown, hosting the first model airplanes that launched modern air travel.
You can still see the very first Wright brother planes on display at the Carillon Historical Park.
If that isn’t enough, you can head to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force where there are numerous iconic aircraft and space shuttles.
Dayton’s family-friendly Midwestern appeal extends to its restaurant scene, offering a wide variety of delicious and welcoming dining options.
Whether you’re looking for an Irish pub or a fine dining steakhouse, I have compiled a diverse list of the best restaurants in Dayton, Ohio to help you plan your culinary itinerary.
2414 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419
The Oakwood Club is a family-owned fine dining steak and seafood restaurant that has been an Oakwood neighborhood staple since 1962.
The original owners Ray and Margie Stewart have passed the business down to their son Lance who caries on the Oakwood Club’s beloved legacy of elegant, old-school charm and the highest quality seafood and steaks.
They use certified 21-day-aged Angus beef and fresh seafood flown in from the Florida coast to create a classic American steakhouse menu.
In addition to classic steak plates, they have a list of specialties that I found more enticing.
I tried their gourmet take on Beef Stroganoff, using beef tenderloin smothered in sour cream and mushroom sauce over egg noodles.
400 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402
Salar Restaurant and Lounge is a high-end Peruvian, Mediterranean, and French fusion restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District.
Head Chef and Peruvian native Margot Blondet offers creative dishes that fuse her home country’s dishes with European cooking methods.
The elegant yet inviting dining space and lounge serves colorful cocktails and festive multi-course meals using locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Peru is known for its incredible ceviche, so I recommend trying their authentic ceviche with mahi, shrimp, fried calamari, red onions, spices, and tons of lime juice.
For the main dish, I loved the Northern Peruvian Lamb Shank simmered in Andes Mountain beer, cilantro, red onions, and peppers and served with lima beans and rice.
1400 Valley St, Dayton, OH 45404
Located inside an early 20th century general store and deli in Old North Dayton, Amber Rose Restaurant and Catering is an Eastern European restaurant with an old-world café feel replete with antique chandeliers, a marble bar, and classic European café chairs and leather booths.
They offer a diverse menu of authentic European dishes from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Lithuania, and Italy.
The food is authentic, scratch-made, and moderately priced.
I went for dinner and started with a Polish favorite of potato and cheese-filled Pierogis in butter sauce with caramelized onions and sour cream.
For the main dish, I headed to Germany and sampled the Jagerschnitzel veal cutlets with Swiss cheese and mushroom sauce served with a side of spaetzle.
300 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH 45410
Another iconic Dayton institution born from historic roots, Dublin Pub opened in 1997 in an old 60’s Shell Station in the Webster Station neighborhood, and quickly became a famous haunt for locals and famous visitors alike.
Their popularity as an authentic and beautifully designed Irish pub grew exponentially, causing them to build an impressive add-on dining space made from 19th century building materials.
The atmosphere and design are stunning, garnering national acclaim and attracting patrons like Sheryl Crow and Quentin Tarrantino
They have a long list of Irish scotch and whisky along with an extensive tap beer menu to accompany an authentic menu of Irish and American pub fare.
I loved their Galway Bay Fish Sandwich with hand and beer-battered haddock and a spicy dill sauce on a kaiser roll.
5531 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45429
Meadowlark Restaurant is a chef-owned New American restaurant with a chef-driven menu of high-quality, scratch-made meals that run the American culinary gamut.
Located in Woodbourne, Meadowlark Restaurant has a tasteful and comfortable dining space with exposed brick walls and colorful artwork.
They serve lunch and dinner from a diverse menu of gourmet takes on regional American cuisine with a few globally inspired favorites thrown in.
I went for lunch and may have found my favorite sandwich ever in their fried green tomato, goat cheese, and bacon sandwich with lettuce, and caper mayo.
1926 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409
Receiving acclaim from The New York Times, Gourmet, and the Food Network, Pine Club is Dayton’s oldest steakhouse, opened in University Park by Jim Sullivan in 1947.
The Pine Club has changed hands twice since its opening, each owner preserving the iconic interior with its pine-wood walls and antique-chic décor.
Of course, the real star of the show is the classic, traditional steakhouse and old school American comfort food menus.
Their wine list has over 175 wines to pair with your steak dinner.
I had to go with their classic bone-in ribeye steak with creamed spinach and a loaded baked potato.
515 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH 45410
Wheat Penny Oven and Bar is a hip and bustling bar, pizzeria, and Italian eatery from the owners and chefs of Meadowlark.
Located in Webster Station, Wheat Penny Oven and Bar specializes in California-style pizza, gourmet takes on classic Italian American pasta and sandwiches, and a sophisticated bar program.
The menu at Wheat Penny is upscale, featuring a multi-course program of antipasti, salads, vegetable dishes, entrees, pasta, and of course, their famous pizza.
The menu is so vast, that I wanted to go back to sample from every menu section.
I loved their meatballs, a pork and beef blend over cheesy polenta with red wine sauce.
I thought their pizza was creative, taking inspiration from all areas of the globe.
I had the Porchetta pizza with roasted tomato salsa verde, mozzarella, housemade porchetta, ricotta, onions, Calabrian chili, arugula, and oregano honey.
2818 Miamisburg Centerville Rd, Dayton, OH 45459
Teetering between Woodbourne and Centerville in front of the Dayton Mall, Bonefish Grill is a popular seafood restaurant franchise with locations around the nation.
The atmosphere is upscale, bustling, and modern with a dimly lit dining room and fashionable lounge. Their vast seafood menu features fresh catches flown in daily from around the globe.
They have a great cocktail lounge with a lively happy hour menu.
They also have a kid’s menu so that you can enjoy a sophisticated meal with the whole family.
I recommend starting with their corn chowder with lump crab and bacon.
It was a hearty and delicious prelude to my perfectly cooked wood-fired Chilean Sea Bass smothered in lemon-caper butter.
1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton, OH 45409
Located inside an 1850s-era museum overlooking the Miami River, Carillon Brewing Company is a historic brewery, taproom, and pub.
The brewing company doubles as a museum, its historic original machinery and oak barrels marked with signage explaining the science and history of beer brewing.
Even the waitstaff dresses in 19th century German, Irish, and English garb, mimicking Dayton’s original beer brewing pioneers.
They offer a rotating menu of seasonal beers, all brewed in small batches on-site to pair with a simple menu of German and American pub fare.
I tried their Ginger Pale Ale along with an authentic German Soft Pretzel with house bier cheese and mustard.
7727 Washington Village Dr, Washington Township, OH 45459
Opened by CEO and restauranteur Michael Connor in 1992, The Chop House is an American steakhouse with a casual dining concept.
The fine-dining quality service, elegant cocktails, and USDA-choice steaks in a no-frills, family-friendly atmosphere won over diners, launching a successful franchise of 10 restaurants.
The flagship Dayton restaurant is in Washington Township.
The family-friendly and budget-friendly menu includes cocktails, wine, and multicourse meals at an affordable price.
I loved the slow roasted prime rib sandwich on an onion roll with an au jus dipping sauce and a side of mac n cheese.
250 Warren St, Dayton, OH 45402
Owned and operated by married couple Jim and Karen Gagnet, Coco’s Bistro is an elegant, urban-chic New American bistro and cocktail bar in the Oregon District.
Coco’s has been a local favorite since 1996, creating ever-changing menus of gourmet meals using locally sourced ingredients.
The charming, beautifully designed dining space is perfect for date nights.
The simple menu has a small list of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts along with artisanal cocktails.
I started with the rich fried brie with tomato bruschetta, basil pesto, and balsamic reduction.
The smoked chicken with blueberry BBQ, jalapeno grits, and blueberry relish wins my vote for tasty creativity.
131 Jasper St, Dayton, OH 45409
Dewey’s Pizza is a hip pizzeria and pub in an industrial-chic space across from the University of Dayton in South Park.
They offer whole and by-the-slice pies using gourmet ingredients and globally inspired topping combinations.
Their tap menu changes seasonally, using a mix of local and domestic beers.
Their unique style of pizza doesn’t fit under the usual categories. It’s thin and crispy but with a large, dense, and chewy crust.
I also enjoyed their gourmet salads like the candied walnut, gorgonzola, and grape salad or the marcona almond and blueberry salad.
My favorite pizza was the Porky Fig with a fig jam base, mozzarella, fontina, prosciutto, caramelized red onions, and gorgonzola cheese.
4432 Walnut St, Dayton, OH 45440
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar is a longstanding fine-dining franchise that originated in California in 1998 and has established itself as the gold standard for fancy steakhouses.
Fleming’s Prime is in Beavercreek in a polished and lively dining space with a beautiful bar area.
Fleming’s menu is a New American sampling of various regional cuisine techniques.
I recommend the extravagant chilled seafood tower with ahi tuna poke, shrimp cocktail, and lobster tails if you’re there with a crowd.
For the main dish, I savored the prime NY strip, served Oscar-style with jumbo lump crabmeat and bearnaise sauce.
225 E 6th St, Dayton, OH 45402
Jay’s Seafood has been an Oregon District institution since 1976, offering high-quality seafood and cocktails in a wooden floor retro dining space that hasn’t changed since the 70s.
The current owner, Amy Haverstick was once a server at Jay’s, while the Executive Chef Jeffery Robinson has been working there since 1980.
Suffice it to say that Jay’s is a proudly local restaurant with staff, owner, and chefs that grew up rising through the ranks.
The seafood is high-quality while the prices are affordable.
They’re famous for their clam chowder and super meaty crab cakes.
I loved their Greek-style Swordfish with a creamy butter sauce, capers, tomatoes, lemon, and feta.
936 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409
Located inside one of Dayton’s oldest standing firehouses, Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is a family-friendly bar and grill with a fun and unique atmosphere.
It’s a two-story 1800s-era firehouse with all the old fixtures still intact. Owned by Jimmie Brandell in 2011, Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is as entertaining for kids as it is for adults.
The vast menu at Jimmie’s Ladder 11 has everything from sandwiches and burgers to pasta and steaks.
I loved the Ladder 11 Sandwich with Romanian-style pastrami, corned beef, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on rye bread.
It also won the Best of Dayton 2020 Award for best sandwich.
Dayton’s diverse restaurant scene spans the experiential and culinary spectrum, from fine-dining elegance to rowdy, family-friendly fun.
Whether you’re in the mood for Peruvian or Eastern European, my list of the best restaurants in Dayton has a flavor and atmosphere for everyone.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!
- Oakwood Club
- Salar Restaurant and Lounge
- Amber Rose Restaurant & Catering
- Dublin Pub
- Meadowlark Restaurant
- Pine Club
- Wheat Penny Oven and Bar
- Bonefish Grill
- Carillon Brewing Company
- The Chop House
- Coco’s Bistro
- Dewey’s Pizza
- Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
- Jay’s Seafood
- Jimmie’s Ladder 11
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