Living with a flatmate from Cincinnati has taught me a few things about the city— I've learned about the magic of Graeter's, the rivalry with Cleveland, and a whole freaking lot about chili.

Chili is like a religion in that city, and locals are always after where to get the best chili in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati chili is different to the traditional chili that comes from Texas. Firstly, you almost never eat a bowl of it plain. Instead, Cincinnati chili is heaped on top of spaghetti or a hot dog (which is called a coney.) Secondly, there's typically a heck of a lot of cheese involved, which is referred to as a 3-way. It's a 4-way if you throw in some onions, and a 5-way if you add some beans on top of that. 

While there's a lot of debate over where to get the best chili in Cincinnati, there are definitely a few restaurants that are beloved by the locals. Here's eleven well-known places to get you started on your chili journey.

11. Dixie Chili

Dixie Chili is actually in Northern Kentucky, but any local would consider it part of the Cinci area. It's worth the drive to check out Dixie's 6-way chili, which has all of the fixings of a 5-way with the addition of garlic on top.

10. Blue Ash Chili

Blue Ash Chili also offers a 6-way chili, which features fried jalapeño peppers. Guy Fieri ordered the dish when he stopped by for a visit, so you know it's good. The restaurant also offers a 'No Freakin' Way Challenge' where a diner can eat for free if he or she finishes an 8lb chili in an hour.

9. Chili Time Restaurant

Chili Time puts a unique spin on the Cincinnati tradition with their Chili Cheese sandwich. The chili doesn't have as much spice as many other Cinci places, so it's ideal for visitors that prefer milder dishes.

8. Camp Washington

This mom-and-pop shop is decorated to look like a 1950s parlor —featuring checkered floors and booths. Camp Washington is open 24 hours a day, so you can get your chili fix at any time of the night.

7. Empress

Empress Chili has its claim to fame by being the oldest chili shop in Cincinnati. Empress also serves chili pizza—sounds more weirdly delicious the longer that you think about it.

6. Blue Jay Restaurant

This unassuming diner isn't known for its chili, but you should still add Blue Jay to your bucketlist. The sharper cheese and slight heat of the chili make the dish stand out from other Cinci options.

5. Price Hill

This family-owned chili shop boasts large portion sizes and a welcoming atmosphere. For a truly magical experience at Price Hill, try the chili cheese served over their home fries.

4. Pleasant Ridge

This late-night chili shop is open until 4:30am, making it a good stop for not-so-sober patrons to stop by for some greasy food on their way home. Just make sure to bring cash—Pleasant Ridge doesn't take card.

3. Zip's Cafe

Although Zip's is known for their gourmet burgers, the single bowl of chili on the menu is a hidden treasure. Don't be expecting coneys or 3-ways here; the magic is in the simple chili recipe itself.

2. Gold Star

Gold Star is a contender for the best chili in Cincinnati. This chain is in fierce competition with Skyline, although fans of the chain argue that it has a richer sauce and will save you a buck or two compared to Skyline. 

1. Skyline

Skyline is a household name in Cincinnati. The company was started by a Greek immigrant in 1949, and Skyline now has several locations throughout the city. The secret to their success lies in the company's secret blend of spices in the chili, which is rumored to have cinnamon in it. Locals are fiercely loyal to either Skyline or Gold Star, and the two restaurants remain a source of contention for the best chili in Cincinnati.

Ultimately, where to get the best chili in Cincinnati depends on individual preference. Each chili shop offers a unique blend of spices, meat, and cheese that people either love or hate. Try a few places and get involved in the endless chili debate; every local in Cincinnati is sure to have an opinion that they'll be eager to share with you.