Appearance of Okto “itemprop =” image “/>Dining area and bar “itemprop =” image “/>A selection of dishes available at Okto “itemprop =” image “/>Dining area to the left of the bar “itemprop =” image “/>Carpaccio Okto: thinly sliced marinated octopus, pickled onion, capers, lemon oil, radish and pea tendrils “itemprop =” image “/>Dining area “itemprop =” image “/>Seats in the Octo “itemprop =” image “/>Beluga lentil salad: fresh cabbage, ginger, rocket, goat cheese and balsamic dressing “itemprop =” image “/>Lobster noodles: spicy tomato sauce, lobster and fresh noodles “itemprop =” image “/>Appearance of Okto “itemprop =” image “/>Chef Wissam Baki “itemprop =” image “/>Baklava dessert plate “itemprop =” image “/>Deboned Branzino “itemprop =” image “/>Carpaccio Okto: thinly sliced marinated octopus, pickled onion, capers, lemon oil, radish and pea tendrils “itemprop =” image “/>Table with squid mural “itemprop =” image “/>Beluga lentil salad and mocktail “itemprop =” image “/>The toilet “itemprop =” image “/>Lobster noodles: spicy tomato sauce, lobster and fresh noodles “itemprop =” image “/>Private dining area on the upper floor “itemprop =” image “/>Distribution of dishes in the octo “itemprop =” image “/>
Cincinnati-based Earth & Ocean Restaurant Group (the team behind E + O Kitchen in Hyde Park) is bringing the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean to Queen City with the recent opening of Okto Downtown.
The Greek restaurant concept takes over the space previously occupied by E + O New Asian on the corner of Walnut Street and E. Seventh Street, directly opposite the Weston Art Gallery. Okto held its grand opening on August 24th. The restaurant group will soon open a second E + O Kitchen in The Banks.
While Cincinnati is home to dozens of high-end restaurants – some just blocks away from the new facility – the Okto holds its own as one of the few upscale Greek restaurants in the area, which was one of the determining factors in its inception.
Anthony Castelli, Marketing Director of the E&O Restaurant Group, says the team surveyed locals to find out what they were looking for in the restaurant scene and the answer was clear.
“When we (Cincinnati residents) asked to tell us about a category of food that they thought was under-served in Cincinnati, an overwhelming majority responded with Greek, Mediterranean, and Vegan. For these reasons (and perhaps the fact that half of our owners are.) Greek ancestry), fresh, upscale Greek was a natural choice, “Castelli said CityBeat in an email interview.
Okto aims to be a sophisticated, yet accessible, restaurant with fresh ingredients, a respected chef, and a complete guest experience.
Chef Wissam Baki, the talent behind Okto’s undeniably beautiful and delicious dishes, gained experience in kitchens around the world before finding his way through Okto’s doors. Chef Baki comes from Lebanon and has been making a name for himself in the restaurant scene since he was 16.
“Chef Baki started preparing Mediterranean cuisine in Beirut before moving to Dubai and preparing both Greek and Italian cuisine,” says Castelli. “Wissam then opened a steakhouse in Canada and then moved to Miami to work at Estiatorio Milos, a Greek restaurant. Most recently head chef at Astra, a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Miami with a focus on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. “
The Okto menu includes traditional Mediterranean dishes such as hearty tiropita and spanakopita pastries, kebabs, flaming saganaki (a fried Greek cheese) and baklava, as well as branzino (boned at the table), lobster noodles and chef Baki’s signature octopus carpaccio. There are also many options for vegetarians and vegans, such as the beluga lentil salad with fresh herbs, ginger, rocket and goat cheese and balsamic dressing.
To wash it down, Oktos Bar is stocked with a selection of wines and liquors from Greece and cocktails that go well with the restaurant’s Mediterranean flavors – as well as a couple of non-alcoholic cocktails to choose from.
The dining room of the restaurant is divided into two main areas with the bar in the middle between the two. To the left of the bar are several velvet tables with a lively mural depicting an octopus. To the right of the bar is the larger dining area, with neutral tones of light brown floors, white chairs and lights, and black accent walls. The restaurant has a private dining area on the upper floor. Regarding the design, Castelli says they wanted to take their guests from Cincinnati to a Greek villa.
Castelli says they will be opening their outdoor dining area this fall with help from the City of Cincinnati and the City Managers Office.
Okto is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 pm-11pm.
Octo, 645 Walnut Street, downtown.
| Photos by Hailey Bollinger