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Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, you’re 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Probably the only restaurant in the region to have an X-Wing fighter stationed in the parking lot, Mike's Place is full of weird decor and wacky humor. Nonetheless, the inexpensive food — huge portions of casual fare thrown together with wild abandon — is seriously tasty, ranging from tall homemade biscuits to Mike's award-winning barbecue. Large beer list.
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.
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.
Svelte and sophisticated, Moxie is where you take your business partners to impress them with your good taste. The seasonal American foods, including grilled fish, savory meats, and bountiful salads, are artfully presented by professional servers.
Finally, a proper British tearoom, free of Victorian fuss or clutter, where even manly men can feel welcome. Despite the frivolous name, Mrs. Ticklemore is serious about her top-grade teas, indulgent pastries, and delicious little savories, making the fare at this tearoom as good-tasting as it is refreshing to the spirit.
Owner Billy Dagg is a retired Cleveland firefighter, and his cheerful Irish pub is a second home for many of the city's finest, who flock here for the shepherd's pie, big slabs of char-broiled prime rib and the expansive international beer collection. Happily, even those of us who don't carry a badge are made to feel welcome, and if you don't leave here well-fed, that's no one's fault but your own.
Long known as Shticks, this East Side bastion of healthy eating has stepped ever so slightly away from exclusively vegetarian offerings. Its falafel sandwiches, pita melts, veggie wraps, turkey bacon BLTs, and soups are tasty and nutritious, and you don’t have to be a member of the university community to feel welcome.
Exceptional, seasonal and extravagant ingredients produce big results in small packages. Three-, four- and five-course prix fixe menus available.
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