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Known more for its ribs than its rock, Pacers features DJs on the weekends. A mammoth TV and lots of booths make it a good place to watch sports.
Casual, comfortable and completely unpretentious, this popular Japanese restaurant serves some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, featuring quality ingredients, plenty of variety and wallet-friendly prices. An assortment of tempura, yakitori and teriyaki dishes serves as counterpoint.
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.
Chef/owner Zack Bruell has netted nearly all the fish in the sea to craft his Asian-tweaked oceanic menu. Impeccably fresh fish is served raw, poached, deep-fried, grilled, roasted, seared and sautéed. Stellar sushi courtesy of in-house sushi chef. Many wonderful non-fish selections as well.
Some of the city's top players belt out a soundtrack of classic blues and R&B from their perch tucked away in the corner of this neighborhood bar in one of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods.
A large menu of reliably well-prepared Asian standards has made Pearl of the Orient one of the area's most popular and enduring Chinese restaurants.
With a handsome lounge, a shady porch, and a pan-Asian menu that includes Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai standards, as well as sushi and even some gently handled fusion fare, the Pearl is a gem for casual dining. Small but thoughtful wine list.
The tastefully exotic decor at this national chain is almost more interesting than the food, an array of generally well-prepared Chinese cuisine with a Californian accent. Portions are large, prices are reasonable, and service is remarkably attentive. Further hooks are the sophisticated list of mostly West Coast wines (priced at a premium) and an assortment of good ol' American desserts (think cheesecake and chocolate).
This aromatic eatery offers authentic Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes, flavored with ingredients like fresh Asian basil, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Much of the menu is devoted to noodles, including an assortment of pad Thai. Cash only. Carryout only.
Cantilevered over the mighty Cuyahoga River, this upscale Italian restaurant offers a spectacular view and an impressive dinner menu of imaginative seasonal cuisine, created under the direction of acclaimed Akron chef Roger Thomas.
A taste of Vegas in downtown Cleveland, this sprawling complex boasts four distinct vibes: pumping house music in the martini bar, national comedians in the Hilarities theater, an open kitchen and piled portions in the bright restaurant, and sequined performers in original revues at the cabaret.
A landmark dining room overlooking Lake Erie, Pier W combines a sophisticated, contemporary interior with worldly cuisine focused on fish and seafood. (Check out the fine bouillabaisse, for instance, a house signature.) Factor in its jaw-dropping view of the downtown skyline, and its no wonder that Pier W is one of the city's most beloved restaurants.
This beautifully renovated space inside a former appliance store captures the energy and appearance of an authentic Irish pub, with a stone fireplace, stained-glass windows, and a boisterous clientele. The simply prepared pub fare makes a fitting sop for any of the 20 beers on draft. And because owner Patrick Campbell is a professional Irish hoofer, you never know when dancing may erupt.
A popular lunch stop for downtown’s white-collar crew, Porcelli’s serves a simple but sophisticated menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastas, including gnocchi with pesto cream and penne with chicken, spinach, and walnuts. Prices are reasonable, particularly by downtown standards, and speedy service will get you back to the office before Scrooge even knows you’ve ducked out.
Don’t 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 nonna’s 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.
Cozy and retro, this former workingman’s watering hole serves up food, booze, and a bowling machine along with the live music. You’ll find locals laying down everything from lounge and jazz to folk and bluegrass.
Casual and unpretentious, the Pufferbelly has been bringing new travelers to Kent's landmark 1875 train station for more than two decades. The all-encompassing menu includes something for everyone, with varying degrees of success. But even if the restaurant can't claim to offer destination dining, as an occasional layover on life's travels, it generally fills the bill.
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar.
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