New and classic hidden gem restaurants to discover around Dayton

Fried oysters at Ozu 852 are topped with black caviar and served with tonkatsu sauce.Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years. The restaurant, located at 852 Union Blvd. in Englewood, is known for fresh, quality sushi, hibachi, Chinese and Japanese foods.  LISA POWELL / STAFF

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Fried oysters at Ozu 852 are topped with black caviar and served with tonkatsu sauce.Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years. The restaurant, located at 852 Union Blvd. in Englewood, is known for fresh, quality sushi, hibachi, Chinese and Japanese foods. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Looking for a low-key, under-the-radar dining spot?

>>GUIDE: The most romantic restaurants in Dayton

Here are some of Dayton’s best hidden gem dining destinations. These places are either new, tucked away, off the beaten path or simply a casual spot with great food and chill vibe that you might be looking for this weekend — or anytime.

5 W. Monument Ave., Dayton | 937-221-8310 | WebsiteFacebook

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Latin Arepas is located with in Bar Granada on Monument Avenue on Dayton.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Latin Arepas is located with in Bar Granada on Monument Avenue on Dayton.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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Latin Arepas is located with in Bar Granada on Monument Avenue on Dayton.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Why it rates: You could argue that its placement, on the corner of Monument and Main before the bridge, would discount Bar Granada as a hidden gem. But the bold flavors served inside the restaurant's walls are a best-kept secret and will surprise patrons who otherwise knew the space as The Wine Gallery. The couple who operates the LatinArepas food truck pumps out big flavors from the relatively small space. The festive food, which includes arepas, rice bowls and tacos is a delight for the eyes and the taste buds.

>>MORE: Big, bold flavors found at restaurant at the back of the bar

💎BUCKHORN TAVERN

8800 Meeker Road, Dayton | 937-890-3261 | WebsiteFacebook

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The Buckhorn Tavern’s Bistro Filet ($11.99) is a rich creation of sliced filet mignon, grilled peppers and onions, mushrooms, provolone cheese on a toasted deli roll with garlic butter and topped with crispy fried onions. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

The Buckhorn Tavern’s Bistro Filet ($11.99) is a rich creation of sliced filet mignon, grilled peppers and onions, mushrooms, provolone cheese on a toasted deli roll with garlic butter and topped with crispy fried onions. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

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The Buckhorn Tavern’s Bistro Filet ($11.99) is a rich creation of sliced filet mignon, grilled peppers and onions, mushrooms, provolone cheese on a toasted deli roll with garlic butter and topped with crispy fried onions. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

Why it rates: The Buckhorn Tavern is a restaurant that you either know about or, more than likely, don't. Located on the Stillwater River, not too far from Englewood MetroPark, this is a rustic steakhouse that has been serving hungry diners since 1943. Best known for its flavorful ribs and grilled steaks, the Buckhorn Tavern menu offers plenty of other options as well. Most are priced at less than $15 a meal for dinner — a value for dinner anymore.

>>MORE: Why this tavern just north of Dayton is a throwback favorite

💎CALYPSO GRILL AND SMOKEHOUSE

1535 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs | 937-767-9000 | WebsiteFacebook

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Calypso Pork Belly ($12.99) with Shrimp Pup-a-lickie ($7.49) and pigeon peas and rice ($8.99) in the background. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Calypso Pork Belly ($12.99) with Shrimp Pup-a-lickie ($7.49) and pigeon peas and rice ($8.99) in the background. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

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Calypso Pork Belly ($12.99) with Shrimp Pup-a-lickie ($7.49) and pigeon peas and rice ($8.99) in the background. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Why it rates: When you can't be in the Caribbean soaking up the sun, at least you can enjoy authentic Latin-Caribbean cuisine here. Discover this Yellow Springs restaurant in an old KFC decorated with bright Caribbean colors. The restaurant opened in spring 2018 and is the brainchild of Brian Rainey, the chef and owner of Yellow Springs' beloved Sunrise Cafe. The menu features jerk chicken (including smoked jerk chicken wings), pork belly, empanadas, sweet plantains, ropa vieja, mojito-garlic shrimp and more. Calypso Grill also serves a scrumptious Sunday brunch. How does Banana Coconut French Toast with Honey Rum Pineapple and a Pineapple Mango Mimosa sound?

>> The DREAMY Caribbean food at Yellow Springs grill will help you escape winter

💎CHIAPAS MEXICAN GRILL

298 N. Main St., Centerville | 937-949-3390 | WebsiteFacebook

2733 West Alex Bell Road, Moraine | 937-952-6005 |  Facebook

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Pozole, a chicken and hominy soup with lettuce, radishes and lime, served by Chiapas Mexican Grill.

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Pozole, a chicken and hominy soup with lettuce, radishes and lime, served by Chiapas Mexican Grill.

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

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Pozole, a chicken and hominy soup with lettuce, radishes and lime, served by Chiapas Mexican Grill.

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Why it rates: The Centerville restaurant has been around since late 2015, while the Moraine location opened in the former Chappy's space just last year. The highlights here include an immensely satisfying Pozole soup made with chicken and hominy, and Fajitas, which can be ordered as steak, chicken, shrimp or as the show-stopping Fajitas de Seafood, featuring a tilapia filet, grilled shrimp, bay scallops and crab with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes served alongside the traditional rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, tortillas and pico de gallo.

>> Where you will discover some of the best (and most unexpected) Mexican food in town

💎CHRISTOPHER’S RESTAURANT

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

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A bowl of chicken and rice soup from Christopher's in Kettering. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

Credit: HANDOUT

A bowl of chicken and rice soup from Christopher's in Kettering. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

Credit: HANDOUT

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A bowl of chicken and rice soup from Christopher's in Kettering. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Why it rates: Tucked away in a Kettering shopping plaza, this restaurant has been serving fresh and delicious locally sourced food for nearly three decades. At Christopher's, you always know what you're going to get: quality ingredients, comfortable and familiar recipes, a cozy atmosphere and affordable prices. Christopher's is also known for its vegetarian and vegan menu options. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers weekly specials including cabbage rolls on Monday and vegan dishes on Wednesday. Some of our favorite dishes include The Brother Reuben and the Hot Cheese Supreme sandwiches, the vegetarian chili, the maple mustard glazed pork chop and the grilled edamame and carrots over soba noodles and vegetable strudel. Christopher's also has a nice selection of craft beer and wine, and house-made desserts.

>> Kettering restaurant is sold to two of its customers

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💎GREENFIRE BISTRO

965 W. Main St., Tipp City | 937-667-6664 | WebsiteFacebook

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Credit: Greenfire Bistro

ajc.com

Credit: Greenfire Bistro

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Credit: Greenfire Bistro

Credit: Greenfire Bistro

Why it rates: Located just off Interstate 75 in Tipp City, you will find a world-class experience at Asian-seafood fusion restaurant Greenfire Bistro. Originally named Chin's Ginger Grill, the restaurant was the brainchild of one of Dayton's most beloved chefs Art Chin. When Chin retired in 2019, he handed over the reins to Adam Berning. The restaurant is famous for its Asian cuisine, seafood, sandwiches, pastas and stir-fries, as well as filet, lamb, pork and more. It also has a great wine and beer selection. There is a fresh fish market located behind Greenfire that supplies the restaurant for all its seafood dishes. View the full menu here.

>> Discover some of Dayton’s best and most affordable seafood

💎HOSHI RAMEN

2820 Colonel Glenn Highway, Fairborn | 937-318-8006 | Facebook

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Hoshi Ramen serves up a colorful variety of Ramen and other dishes in Fairborn.

Credit: Hoshi Ramen

Hoshi Ramen serves up a colorful variety of Ramen and other dishes in Fairborn.

Credit: Hoshi Ramen

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Hoshi Ramen serves up a colorful variety of Ramen and other dishes in Fairborn.

Credit: Hoshi Ramen

Credit: Hoshi Ramen

Why it rates: To get a flavor of Hoshi Ramen, check out these descriptions of two specials running from Feb. 13-16, 2020: "The first special will be Tonkatsu with a cabbage salad! 8 ounces of deep-fried pork cutlet with a cabbage salad, topped with homemade black sesame dressing, rice, and our tonkatsu sweet brown sauce. Our other special is Beef Taiwanese noodle soup. Made with very tender beef, bok choy, cilantro, Szechuan peppercorn, and a white noodle. This soup is very rich in flavor with many secret Chinese herbs and spices."

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Grand opening set for new Ramen eatery near WSU

💎KUNG FU NOODLE

2801 S. Dixie Drive #3, Kettering | 937-938-9027 | Facebook

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A restaurant that specializes in noodle dishes from northern China is now open at 2801 S. Dixie Drive in Kettering. Kung Fu Noodle is located on the north end of a building that once held the Colony Club. Kung Fu Noodle opened “softly” in mid-January and is still serving a “trial operation menu,” with a permanent menu in the works in the weeks ahead. But even the trial menu is extensive, featuring appetizers such as roasted lamb skewer, dumplings, pot stickers and “Dandan Noodle,” consisting of thin vermicelli-style noodles with stir-fried ground pork, topped with spicy garlic sauce and green onion. AMELIA ROBINSON / STAFF PHOTO

A restaurant that specializes in noodle dishes from northern China is now open at 2801 S. Dixie Drive in Kettering. Kung Fu Noodle is located on the north end of a building that once held the Colony Club. Kung Fu Noodle opened “softly” in mid-January and is still serving a “trial operation menu,” with a permanent menu in the works in the weeks ahead. But even the trial menu is extensive, featuring appetizers such as roasted lamb skewer, dumplings, pot stickers and “Dandan Noodle,” consisting of thin vermicelli-style noodles with stir-fried ground pork, topped with spicy garlic sauce and green onion. AMELIA ROBINSON / STAFF PHOTO

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A restaurant that specializes in noodle dishes from northern China is now open at 2801 S. Dixie Drive in Kettering. Kung Fu Noodle is located on the north end of a building that once held the Colony Club. Kung Fu Noodle opened “softly” in mid-January and is still serving a “trial operation menu,” with a permanent menu in the works in the weeks ahead. But even the trial menu is extensive, featuring appetizers such as roasted lamb skewer, dumplings, pot stickers and “Dandan Noodle,” consisting of thin vermicelli-style noodles with stir-fried ground pork, topped with spicy garlic sauce and green onion. AMELIA ROBINSON / STAFF PHOTO

Why it rates: You might just miss it if you didn't know where to look as you're driving down Dixie. The very modest west Kettering restaurant only seats 22 guests, but don't let its interior fool you. The small but mighty eatery will blow you away with unique and flavorful dishes that you won't find anywhere else in Dayton. True to its namesake, their fresh, hand-pulled noodles make each dish they're featured in a delight. The aromatic Lanzhou beef noodle soup is a classic that's noodles harken back to China's Tang Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. Other standouts on the menu include the braised beef noodle soup, steamed cold noodles and the Dan Dan noodles. If you're feeling less adventurous, you can't go wrong with their stir fries or fried rice dishes.

>>MORE: Why customers are going crazy for this new noodle destination

💎LA COLOMBIANA

2495 Commons Blvd., Beavercreek | 937-306-8096 | WebsiteFacebook

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La Colombiana opened in 2014.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

La Colombiana opened in 2014.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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La Colombiana opened in 2014.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Why it rates: This little family-owned eatery is a gem, though it might not be the first restaurant you think of when deciding where to eat near the Mall at Fairfield Commons. The menu is filled with traditional and approachable Colombian dishes, including empanadas, meat skewers, and platters. The made-to-order food always comes out hot and full of flavor. Plus, it's reasonably priced.

>>MORE: Hidden in plain sight Beavercreek restaurant pumping out big flavors

💎HEAVENLY INDIAN VEGETARIAN & KOSHER RESTAURANT

9486 N. Springboro Pike (State Route 741), Miami Twp. | 937-522-0862 | WebsiteFacebook

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Why it rates: The restaurant with a distinctive name and concept offers a wide-ranging menu that includes Tandoori appetizers, curries, Indo-Chinese dishes, South Indian specialties such as Dosa and Uthappam, Chaat items, rice dishes and a variety of pastries. All of its breads, cookies and pastries are made without eggs.

>> The Dayton area's 1st vegetarian Indian kosher restaurant is now open

💎CENTER STREET CAFE

47 E. Center St., Farmersville | 937-696-0055 | WebsiteFacebook

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Center Street Cafe in Farmersville sales flights of bacon.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Center Street Cafe in Farmersville sales flights of bacon.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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Center Street Cafe in Farmersville sales flights of bacon.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Why it rates: They had us at bacon flights. Yes, bacon flights. They are kinda like beer flights, but with strips of specially flavored thick-cut bacon served in labeled mason jars. Beyond the bacon, this adorable farm-to-table restaurant serves up inventive homemade dishes that are locally sourced. Some of our favorites include Cracker Jack French Toast (thick-cut challah bread bathed in a rich custard with Cracker Jacks and a salted caramel compound butter), the Black & Blue VooDoo Burger, poutine and delicious crispy Brussels sprouts that come flash fried and tossed with a honey glaze and chopped peanuts.

💎OZU852

852 Union Blvd., Englewood | 937-832-3000 | WebsiteFacebook

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Blue Crab Fajita, a Japanese appetizer on the Ozu 852 menu, is made with blue crab, red onion and cream cheese in a fajita wrap topped with balsamic spicy mayo sauce and garnished with yamamomo fruit. Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years. The restaurant, located at 852 Union Blvd. in Englewood, is known for fresh, quality sushi, hibachi, Chinese and Japanese foods. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Blue Crab Fajita, a Japanese appetizer on the Ozu 852 menu, is made with blue crab, red onion and cream cheese in a fajita wrap topped with balsamic spicy mayo sauce and garnished with yamamomo fruit.  Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years. The restaurant, located at 852 Union Blvd. in Englewood, is known for fresh, quality sushi, hibachi, Chinese and Japanese foods.  LISA POWELL / STAFF

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Blue Crab Fajita, a Japanese appetizer on the Ozu 852 menu, is made with blue crab, red onion and cream cheese in a fajita wrap topped with balsamic spicy mayo sauce and garnished with yamamomo fruit. Ozu 852 has won the Best Asian Food category in the Best of Dayton contest for numerous years. The restaurant, located at 852 Union Blvd. in Englewood, is known for fresh, quality sushi, hibachi, Chinese and Japanese foods. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Why it rates: There's a reason this Asian fusion destination has been a repeat winner in Dayton.com's Best of Dayton contest for Best Asian Restaurant and Best Sushi. Ozu852 is known for high-quality customer service and fresh, delicious dishes. The restaurant specializes in sushi, but its menu offers Japanese and Chinese favorites from fried rice and lo mein to soups, appetizers and specialty dishes. If you want to spend your evening at home instead, you can place an order for carryout.

>> PHOTOS: The sumptuous and delectable dishes at Ozu852 are artistry on a plate

💎THE FLORENTINE

21 W Market St., Germantown | (937) 855-7759 | WebsiteFacebook

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The Florentine Restaurant serves steaks, fish and chops. Pictured: Dry aged New York Strip.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

The Florentine Restaurant serves steaks, fish and chops. Pictured: Dry aged New York Strip.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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The Florentine Restaurant serves steaks, fish and chops. Pictured: Dry aged New York Strip.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Why it rates: This historic eatery traces its history back to 1816 and is part of Ohio's second-oldest inn (Golden Lamb is the oldest). It serves up well-made cocktails and has a broad dinner menu, with highlights such as Pan-Roasted Orange Roughy, Shrimp Scampi Florentine, a pair of Bone-In Pork Loin Chops and the holy trinity of steaks: Ribeye, New York Strip and Petite Filet Mignon. But don't overlook the Mushroom & Merlot Burger.

>> Historic restaurant serves one of Dayton's best steaks

💎TONY’S ITALIAN KITCHEN

615 S. Main St., Englewood | 937-836-1145 | WebsiteFacebook

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The spaghetti aglio e olio at Tony’s Italian Kitchen, 615 S. Main Street, in Englewood. Photo: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

The spaghetti aglio e olio at Tony’s Italian Kitchen, 615 S. Main Street, in Englewood. Photo: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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The spaghetti aglio e olio at Tony’s Italian Kitchen, 615 S. Main Street, in Englewood. Photo: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Why it rates: You will feel right at home at this quaint family-run Italian restaurant. The restaurant owned by the Benvenuto family has been serving "family recipes to pasta lovers" for more than 30 years. The menu includes calamari rings swimming in fresh garlic, butter, wine and tomato sauce; baked stuffed clams, marinated artichokes, various spaghetti dishes, cannelloni, stuffed shells, baked ziti, lasagna, pasta e fasul, fettucini bolognese, shrimp oreganata, chicken cacciatore, clam sauce vongole and several other seafood dishes. When you stop by Tony's be sure to check out the garlic-infused spaghetti aglio e olio.

>> Restaurant’s authentic garlic dish will knock your socks off

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