Twenty-five area restaurants served more than 60 dishes to some of the most discerning taste buds in Cincinnati USA today. They were competing at Best of Taste, the region's most prestigious annual culinary competition and precursor to the P&G Taste of Cincinnati.
The judges--celebrities, foodies and the epicurious-- named the Prime Rib Cannelloni from Bella Luna as the Best Dish, one of five awards won by the restaurant. The award is for the most votes via blind taste tests of all the dishes entered into the competition.
Additionally, Claddagh Irish Pub and Habanero Latin America each received two awards.
The following are the winners of the 2011 Best of Taste Awards:
Best of Taste: Bella Luna, Prime Rib Cannelloni
Award of Excellence: Mac's Pizza Pub, Mini Reuben Mac-over
Award of Merit: Habanero Latin America, Chicken Taco
Best of Taste: City BBQ, Gumbo
Award of Excellence: Arloi Dee Thai Bistro, Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Award of Merit: Courtyard Café, Baked Potato Soup
Best of Taste: Bella Luca, Lobster Ravioli
Award of Excellence: Washington Platform, Southern Fried Oysters
Award of Merit: Habanero Latin America, Baja Fish Taco Platter
Best of Taste: Claddagh Irish Pub, Jameson Burger
Award of Excellence: Bella Luna, Pulled Pork Shank
Award of Merit: Krimmer's Italianette Pizzeria, Lasagna
Best of Taste: Taz Restaurant, Falafel Sandwich
Award of Excellence: J Gumbo's, Bumblebee Stew
Award of Merit: Courtyard Café, Black Bean Burrito
Best of Taste: Bella Luna, Bread Pudding
Award of Excellence: Claddagh Irish Pub, Bread Pudding
Award of Merit: Pizza Tower, Funnel Cake Fries
Bella Luna, Prime Rib Cannelloni
Organizers also announced a new feature of the P&G Taste of Cincinnati where each guest can be a food critic for a day-- the Time Warner Cable People's Choice Awards.
At the People's Choice Awards, each restaurant will submit one menu item and guests can vote all weekend for their favorites by ladling money into a bucket at each restaurant booth.
At the end of the weekend, the menu item with the most money collected will be the 2011 People's Choice Best Dish, and subsequent awards will be given for the People's Choice Award of Excellence and People's Choice Award of Merit.
All proceeds collected will be donated to the Freestore-Foodbank.
The P&G Taste of Cincinnati USA, presented by Time Warner Cable and Miller Lite, is Memorial Day weekend: Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, from noon to midnight, and Monday, May 30, from noon to 9 p.m. Admission is free.