Even if you know it’s never going to be healthy, you know you’re in love with fried food. Pretty much, if you throw anything into a deep fryer, it instantly becomes amazing. Have you ever tasted okra before it’s fried? Yeah, just don’t. With that being a testament, we now know that frying pretty much anything makes it taste better. This is why we went on an adventure to find some of the best fried foods that Cincinnati has to offer up. We probably lost a few years of our lives from our now partially blocked arteries, but these are (in no particular order) the most ridiculous fried foods in the city:
1. Southern Fried Oysters – Washington Platform
Did anyone else know that there’s a whole festival dedicated to oysters in Cincinnati? Yeah, we didn’t either, but we found out that not only does it happen, but it centers right around Washington Platform. Now, we’re not saying that oysters are for everyone, but we will say that Southern Fried Oysters most definitely are. Once again, this is one of those foods that may taste interesting before it’s fried, but is absolutely amazing after a few minutes in the fryer.
What makes them so good? Well, it probably has a lot to do with the breading, which has been the same since they started making their fried oysters over twenty-five years ago. To kick it up a notch, you can go with their Fried Oyster Po Boy, because it’s seriously amazing. Plus you can get all of the Fried Oysters for only $5! That goes without talking about their full-service bar, which is open late into the evening. Cajun fried food is simply amazing.
2. Fried Chicken – The Hitching Post
Put that KFC sh*t down, and get yourself over to the Hitching Post the next time you’re looking for some real chicken. Yeah, we understand that there’s nothing that crazy about the average piece of fried chicken, but, oh, there’s definitely something special about the hitching post and their kickin’ chicken. Fried chicken is only the beginning, though, if you’re looking for your own Fried Food Heaven.
Yeah, not only do they have delicious fried chicken here, but they also have Fried Corn on the Cob. We actually didn’t know this was even possible before we heard it was on their menu, but it’s become a favorite among the regulars for good reason. No, deep-frying corn does not make popcorn, in case anyone was curious out there. We always find a way to make healthy foods unhealthy. Gotta love America.
3. Fried Cheese – Arthur’s
Why stop at Mozzarella Sticks when you can have Beer Battered Fried Cheese. Sure, the breading is nice on the typical sticks, but there’s a little something extra when it comes to Arthur’s Fried Cheese. First off, they’re provided the beer they use to batter the cheese with directly from Rivertown Brewing. Second, they use Provolone instead of the usual suspect, and it’s definitely way meltier (coined word) and isn’t anywhere near as stringy as we’d expect.
What should you order with the fried cheese, you ask? Well, we’d honestly have to say that you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything. They have an epic wine collection if you’re looking for a twist on the typical cheese and wine combo, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. We’ll always stick to the Rivertown beer though, because beer and Fried Cheese is probably one of the most brilliant combos of all time. Plus they’re about to open up another location in Anderson.
4. Fried Plantains – Island Frydays
Before we go into how fantastic their plantains, we’ll just talk about how ridiculous we feel about not stopping in to this wonderful place. With Bob Marley banners hanging in force, and a very Jamaican vibe, this is one of the most unique restaurants that you’re going to lay eyes on in Cincinnati, but it’s a way to mix it up! Anyway, back to the plantains. In case you have no clue what a plantain is, it’s literally just a banana that’s used only for cooking. You know those banana chips you’ve probably tried? Yeah, those are plantains. The badass thing is the overall taste. You get this perfect balance of sweet and fried.
So, pretty much, it’s a Caribbean French Fry of sorts, and it’s catching a lot of buzz among the Clifton crowd. Everything is mellow at the “House of Love” as many call it, right down to the music jamming in the background. With so much to try, and the fact that we still have so much to discover on their menu, we can guarantee that we’ll be coming back soon, and you should definitely join us.
5. Sauerkraut Balls – Mecklenburg Gardens
It’s should come as no surprise that Mecklenburg Gardens has some of the best German food in Cincinnati. They were just named #5 on a list of the best biergartens in the country, so there’s that. Part of being an excellent German restaurant, though, requires you to have your own delicious variation on the classic version of Sauerkraut, and Mecklenburg goes above and beyond with their own mix on the tradition of Sauerkraut Balls. Dip them in that Thousand Island Dressing and you’re going to be blown away by the complexity added when fried.
At the end of the day, you have to respect the way that many of Cincinnati’s German restaurants stick to their traditions when it comes to food. Honestly, you’re not getting the full experience if you don’t knock back a few German beers while you’re scarfing down those delicious Sauerkraut Balls. No, seriously. Hefeweizen + Sauerkraut Balls… Oh yeah.
6. Fried Avocado – Maribelle’s
Once, again, just more proof that you can literally fry everything to make it even better. If you can think of frying it, someone has probably already done it. We’re definitely glad that they beat us to it, though, because they’ve had plenty of time to perfect it. You can still detect the fresh, veggie goodness that you always expect from Avocados, but you still get the crunch you love from your favorite fried foods. We’re not gonna say that it’s the healthiest thing you’re ever going to bite into, but we will say that it’s much healthier than most of the other fried options on this list.
Essentially, it’s a deconstructed guacamole, and then they throw a cilantro salad over the top to add plenty of seasoned flavor. If you’re looking for something to pair up with the Fried Avocado, you definitely have to go with one of their MadTree beers; we personally recommend Lyft. They’ve also chosen to make it both hormone and gluten-free. Like we said, it’s healthy, but leads you to think that it’s really not. We love it.
7. The Cinnamon Twist – Holtman’s Donut Shop
Fried donuts? Thank you! Two of our favorite things come together into one unbelievably delectable doughnut. It’s not like it’s anything complicated, really. they kind of just through the yeast into a fryer, twisted, and then sprinkle it with plenty of cinnamon and sugar to make it even better. We assure you, though, simplicity has never tasted so damn incredible.
So, we’re pretty much saying that there’s no better way to start your morning in Cincinnati than with a fried, twisted doughnut from Holtman’s; complete with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Some people may hate on doughnuts because they consider them “unhealthy,” but we have to say that the only thing unhealthy about these doughnuts is depriving yourself of them. Seriously.
8. Fried Risotto – Pompilio’s
Oh, rich, rich Risotto… we’d never seen this on any other menu, and it all has to do with someone getting creative for the most part. This was easily the fullest, richest tasting of everything we tried on this list, but it was absolutely perfect. The gooey cheese flowed right out of the crunchy exterior as we bit in, and the only way to describe the solid blending of everything: heavenly.
We’d actually be really impressed with you if you could eat all of these by yourself, because we literally felt like we would have to be wheeled out of the restaurant if we hadn’t split the order, but that’s exactly how they’re meant to be enjoyed. After getting them as a starter, don’t forget to grab yourself a glass of wine and load up on carbs. It is amazing Italian, after all!