Chef, artist and musician Antonio Carafelli turns humble Tex-Mex and Latino standards into flavorful masterpieces in this little Lakewood storefront.
Stepping into this cozy neighborhood ristorante with its wooden bar, linoleum floors, and menu of pizza, pasta, and assorted parmigianas, cacciatores, and marsalas is like traveling back in time to the days when Italian restaurateurs baked their own breads, made their own pastas, and served it all in charming, intimate spaces. Almost everything on the full-meal deal menu is delish. But when it comes to fried calamari and baked lasagna, Brunos scores among the very best.
Big, juicy steaks, an annotated wine list, and friendly waitresses make this the place for expense-account types to unwind after work or to entertain on the weekends. Excellent choices include the Cabin Club strip steak, the center-cut rib-eye, a behemoth porterhouse, and a buttery filet mignon. A few seafood and poultry items are also available.
Warm, welcoming, and handsomely appointed, this upscale Thai restaurant offers a large selection of well-prepared if somewhat understated curries, stir-fries and noodle dishes, including lots of vegetarian creations.
Clean, casual and family-friendly, this gourmet pizza parlor (part of a large, California-based chain) is the best bet for dining with the little ones while at Legacy Village.
This is the spot where Dave Lombardy actor, playwright, and hungry guy launched his Cosmic Sub empire way back in 1997. Now he has branches all around the region, where he and his crew create nearly three dozen types of mouthwatering subs, stuffed with the finest ingredients (including vegetarian options), bundled up in the region's best buns, and served in a space as colorful as your favorite tie-dyed T-shirt.
Brothers has grown away from its funky blues-club vibe of days past. Now it features three rooms: a restaurant/tavern, a wine bar that specializes in acoustic sounds, and the roomy Music Hall, which hosts rock, blues, jazz, and reggae acts.
If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you havent been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandras voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its names translation: The Kiss.
Dont let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonnas kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
This welcoming bistro brings approachable, affordable, and delicious Mediterranean-inspired food to the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Shabby-chic with a farmhouse twist, the restaurant features mix-and-match plates, kitchen-towel napkins, and repurposed fixtures. With a host of small plates, shared plates, pastas, pizzas, and prix fixe dinners, the menu has options for every mood and budget.
Channeling the spirit of a European wine bar, this funky little spot in Ohio City makes a tasty backdrop for a small but tempting menu of thin-crusted pizzas, house-cured meats, handmade pastas, and some of the best twice-fried, Belgian-style fries you'll ever find on a Cleveland tabletop. To go with, the annotated wine list offers 100 selections, while next door's Bier Markt provides dozens of imported brews.
If you crave it, chances are that Freshlys serves it, from a big menu of tasty international noshes including corned beef, pastrami, gyros, pizza, salads, pasta, and wings. Service is mostly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who just hafta have it now.
Flavors are mainly mild and ingredients mostly familiar at this pretty Thai restaurant on Lander Circle, making Peppermint a stress-free destination for both daring diners and their more timid next of kin. Among the many options, find plenty of noodle and rice dishes, as well as seafood, curries, and vegetarian treats. A small kids menu expands the family friendly theme.
Zanzibar brings back soul to Shaker Square with a menu of upscale soul-fusion cuisine. Owner Akin Affrica, whose family runs Angie's Soul Café, has not only spiffed up the notion of a soul food restaurant, he has spiffed up the notion of soul food. Expect shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all served up in a tasteful setting.
While most of his Lakewood neighbors aim high or low, Jim Sprenger steers for the middle, serving good-quality grub at rational prices in a comfortable setting. Family-friendly comfort food like chicken paprikash, fish and chips, and amazing grass-fed-beef burgers share the menu with creative sandwiches and bacon-and-cheese-topped fries. Toss in quality craft brews and attentive service, and you are indeed eatin' good in the neighborhood.
Friendly, clean, and cozy, Herbs Tavern is home to some of the West Sides favorite burgers (such as the mushroom-and-grilled-onion-topped Herb Burger), along with good homemade soups and chili. To wash them down, the bar stocks plenty of draft beers, as well as a wide selection of spirits and wine.
Comfy, cozy, and casual enough to take the kids, this tidy taqueria offers a large menu of freshly prepped Mexican and Tex-Mex standards, ranging from flautas, burritos, and homemade tamales to cheesecake and fried ice cream. Special menus for kids and non-carnivores make it a particularly appealing family destination.
You've got to love a place that makes Ohio City feel like a beach shack in Cozumel, and Johnny Mango a "world café" and juice bar does just that, with a blend of Asian, Mexican, and Caribbean flavors, and items that range from burritos to pad Thai to Jamaican jerk chicken. Service is speedy, portions are hearty, and there are plenty of choices for vegetarians. Full bar and small patio.
Built largely from local, sustainable, and organic ingredients, the vegetarian menu at this coffeehouse is wholesome if not terribly thrilling. Fresh salads, house-made soups, straightforward veggie sandwiches, pizzas, and calzones fill the concise menu. Superbly brewed Phoenix coffee pairs beautifully with Root's house-baked vegan and vegetarian pastries.
If youthful and edgy are what it takes to toss your trenne, this snug little restaurant at the far end of a Parma strip plaza may not be your kind of place. But if good-tasting Italian fare, brought forth in large portions at reasonable prices, is what makes your Alfredo creamy, look no further than the dimly lit Corleones.
For 15 years, the Fromholzers ran a handful of successful cheesesteak shops in the City of Brotherly Love. In the summer of 2010 they opened this friendly Twinsburg sandwich shop. Hands down the best cheesesteak in town, plus stuffed hoagies and (on special nights) juicy roast pork with sautéed broccoli raab.
An eye-opening experience for anyone who thinks Asian food is limited to lo mein in paper containers. This cuisine rambles between Cambodian home cooking and Vietnamese classics. The menu – heavy with descriptions and suggestions – reads like a textbook.
A little bit Greek, a little bit Middle Eastern and perhaps even slightly northern Indian, the names, ingredients and flavor notes of Anatolia's authentic Turkish cuisine will strike familiar chords for veteran tabletop travelers. "Don't-miss" dishes include sleek and smoky baba ghannouj, lamb-and-beef doner kebab and its yogurt-topped sibling, iskender. To drink, splurge on a bottle of Kalecik Karasi, a full-bodied red from Turkey's most prestigious vineyard.
Casual, comfortable, and beautifully appointed, this Mexican bar and grill is an inexpensive stop for after-work unwinding or for grabbing a bite before downtown entertainment. While the food isn't always as interesting as the decor, it partners up perfectly with the vast tequila collection, featuring nearly 100 brands served straight up, in flights, or as part of 30 or so oversize cocktails.
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.
Boasting one of the very few wood-burning ovens in town, Vero turns out some of the most authentic Neapolitan-style pizza around. Owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer inherited the oven — and the space — from the previous tenant, La Gelateria. The gelato is the same, but the pizza is much improved. An airy, chewy edge blistered with char gives way to a thin, crisp inner crust supporting a few choice ingredients. These pies are meant to be enjoyed fresh from the oven.
If you like a little sizzle with your steak, head over to this unpretentious West Sider, where you can watch in atavistic wonder as your steak sears, tableside, on a 750-degree slab of volcanic stone. Gimmicks aside, the result is a top-quality piece of meat, full of juicy savor. Alternatively, enjoy a selection of Greek and Mediterranean classics, like saganaki and braised lamb shanks; on Sundays, the brunch buffet is a popular bargain.
Little Hunan Solon is operated by some of the same people responsible for the excellent Hunan by the Falls, and it offers much the same menu of meticulously prepared Asian foods served in a serenely contemporary space. "Can't-miss" choices include Sichuan sesame noodles in a thick sesame-peanut sauce, Hunan-style dry-roasted green beans with garlic and remarkably luscious walnut prawns.
Part family restaurant, part community meeting place, this locally owned-and-operated eatery has been dishing it out for nearly three decades, to the delight of a devoted clientele. The enormous menu rambles from Reubens and blintzes to quesadillas, pork chops, and chicken Marsala with varying degrees of success. But the hot pastrami? That has never, ever let us down.
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