Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, youre likely to enjoy the elegant, 1950s-style decor and the big menu of well-prepared southern Italian standards served in oversized portions just right for sharing. Private parties, banquets, and corporate events are other house specialties.
Maha's specializes in Mediterranean foods, especially falafal wraps. They've got burgers and BLTs, but the menu is also loaded with middle-eastern favorites like kibbie, hummus and mujadara.
Taking a page from the Big Apple playbook, this pretty little bakeshop is all about cupcakes, in dozens of flavors and garnished with a superlative buttercream frosting. Served on a cupcake-sized plate, a cup of tea on the side, they may well be the sweetest snack in town.
This little gem of an ice-cream parlor and candy store couldn't be sweeter. Done up in cotton-candy colors, with an Alice in Wonderland tea-party theme, Malley's makes jumbo sundaes, ice cream sodas, milkshakes, parfaits, and special treats like strawberry shortcakes with generous scoops of ice cream, real whipped cream, and homemade sauces. Long hours ensure you can always get your daily ice-cream fix.
Mallorca, with its large portions of classic Spanish dishes and formal, friendly service, has developed a devoted following. Best bets include paella Valenciana a generous portion of shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, half-lobster tail, chicken, and chorizo sausage in a saffron-flavored seafood broth.
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
Asiatown's only restaurant dedicated solely to Thai food, Map is making friends fast. While the menu may seem familiar, the precisely executed dishes exiting the kitchen are no run-of-the-mill fare. Don't miss the beef jerky starter, larb salad, country-style pad Thai, and duck in green curry.
This dim cantina hosts blues and rock bands during and after dinner. Mexican decor includes pottery and photos of Pancho Villa with his motorcycle.
Market partners John Owen and Dave Rudiger have transformed a former municipal impound lot into an upscale sports bar. To go with the 100 beers and the requisite banks of flat screens, Market offers shareable starters, big salads, great sandwiches, and plenty of steaks, pastas, and seafood. A heated patio extends outdoor dining well into fall.
Chef Karen Small transformed a seldom-used private dining room at Flying Fig into a sleek gourmet retail marketplace. The European-style shop offers a deft mix of prepared foods, made-to-order sandwiches, specialty retail products, and beer and wine. Sandwiches could not be better, prepared as they are with impeccable ingredients and fresh-baked breads. Heat-and-eat foods like Ohio barbecue beef, veal ricotta meatballs, and cheese quiche provide heartier options come dinnertime.
The coziest wine bar in town has, naturally, a very extensive wine list and a knowledgeable staff. Small wine-friendly menu includes cheeseboards, smoked salmon with lemon and capers, and pates.
This smartly appointed eatery is a contemporary cafeteria, offering breakfast and lunches; mid-day offerings include freshly made burgers, pizza, soups, salads, and panini. A project of environmentally attuned Bon Appetit Management Co., the cafe makes a fine addition to the weekday restaurant scene, while practicing a high degree of environmental awareness.
This massive Ohio City brewpub seats well over 300 guests in multiple dining rooms, at various bars, and in a gem-like beer garden. Upscale pub grub joins an ever-evolving list of world-class suds, cooked up by an award-winning brewmaster. Don't miss the house chips, meat boards, Cubano, and ridiculously delicious southern fried chicken.
We've seen hallways bigger than this tiny Italian restaurant, but the intimate ambiance and robust food are ample compensation for the lack of elbow room. The small menu has the usual pasta, chicken, and veal dishes, all well-prepared and flavorful. And the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are notable for their crisp, almost wafer-thin crusts. Impressive all-Italian wine list.
Owner, namesake, and painstaking chef Marta Runza works magic on her Eastern-European repertoire, turning out succulent, slow-cooked sauerbraten, ephemeral Czech dumplings, and the best roast duck of any nationality in town. And while the tiny dining room and bar are no more glam than Granny's rec room, the friendly Old World charm is priceless. Try the bar's unusual Czech specialties.
Although it has the sleek brass, glass, and polished-wood look of a chain restaurant, this charming pub is locally owned and operated. The large menu goes well beyond colcannon and boxty to embrace quiche, gyros, and even burgers; no matter what you pick, the warm, custardy bread pudding makes a sweet ending. Irish brews on draft.
Sleek and handsome, this putatively Irish pub (younger sib to the Twinsburg original) offers an eclectic menu of lunch and dinner fare, ranging from boxty and Irish stew to quiche, gyros, and penne primavera. Despite a busy bar scene, speedy service and a no-smoking policy make this a family-friendly destination.
Euro-techno charm and nearly 100 different beers (along with martinis and a small wine list) make this the destination of choice for savvy suds fans; and for those who aren't so savvy, the annotated beer list is as educational as it is intoxicating. To go with, try Italian fare from next door's Bar Cento.
If you've ever doubted that toasty, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches are the universal comfort food, just check out this boisterous Lakewood bar, where the kitchen turns out more than two dozen scrumptious variations on the theme, and the clientele ranges from smiling grannies to pierced, inked, and also smiling local rockers. Impressive beer selection.
Candles and white lights make every evening at the Merry Arts a little like Christmas in Killarney, minus the whole "Silent Night" thing.
Michoacan state eateries celebrate the simple pleasures of mole poblano, Swiss enchiladas with chicken and green sauce, and pork ribs with tomatillo sauce. The west side location is a classic taqueria (read: diner) serving a crowd that grew up eating the stuff.
Trained in Italys Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list.
Located on the second floor of Asian Town Center, this Korean restaurant is bright, modern, and roomy. Meals begin with cups of nutty barley tea and a huge spread of panchan: pungent side dishes that range from fiery kimchi to steamed broccoli. Miega prepares its flavorful kalbi and bulgogi atop a tabletop hot plate. The galbi dolsot bibimbap — rice, beef, veggies, and a fried egg served in a sizzling earthenware bowl — is one of the best in the city.
Small, casual and friendly, this family-owned Vietnamese restaurant serves cinnamon-scented pho, colossal crêpes and an assortment of tasty noodle bowls, along with plenty of vegetarian options.
Mister Brisket (a.k.a. Sanford Herskovitz) has expanded his specialty butcher shop to include a carryout sandwich counter, featuring everything from barbecued beef to rich Romanian pastrami. But the real draw is the unconventional corned beef, baked in a convection oven, rather than boiled, as is done in most delis. Does it make a difference? Try it, then decide for yourself.
Pete and Mike Mitchell's handmade ice cream is probably the best in the region, and their colorful, contemporary ice cream parlor couldn't be more inviting. Key lime pie and mango are our current passions among the 30 or so ice cream and sorbet flavors, but we've never found anything that wasn't great. Best yet, the shop is open daily, year-round.
Madagascar vanilla, Holland cocoa, and berries from the great Northwest all find their way into brothers Mike and Pete Mitchell's stupendous homemade ice cream. Besides scoops of candy-crammed Double-Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, the colorful and contemporary year-round ice-cream parlor serves big specialty sundaes, malts, shakes, and fat-free fresh fruit smoothies.
This is the largest of Pete and Mike Mitchell's contemporary ice-cream shops, as well as home to the brothers' production facility, where ice-cream meister Mike Mitchell works his small-batch magic, developing taste sensations that range from Key lime pie to double-chocolate chunk. (Fat-free fruit smoothies are available for the diet-conscious.)
Owner Maureen Schneider has carved a warm and cozy niche out of a former 1920s tavern near the Cuyahoga River. The eclectic dinner menu, posted on blackboards, changes often and blends hearty fare, like lamb and duck, with Californian and Pacific Rim accents; lunch includes a selection of sophisticated noshes, as well as soups, salads and sandwiches.
Strip-plaza setting notwithstanding, this handsome bistro has grown into Mentor's "go-to" spot for casually upscale dining, with an eclectic menu that ranges from Kobe burgers and signature crab cakes to pastas and parmigianas. For those who like lighter fare, a selection of stone-oven-baked pizzas fill the bill; for those who like drinking, the on-site wine shop provides 700 or so choices by the bottle, priced at retail plus a $5 corking fee.
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