A visit to Jim Anagnostos's shiny silver diner is a nostalgic trip back through time, to the days of all-American meals like meatloaf and gravy, liver and onions, and classic chili.
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.
Like a well-worn couch, this vintage corner tavern may show its age, but its comfort is undeniable. For proof, just look at the diverse clientele, chowing down on big portions of hearty, inexpensive food. While the burgers are always a good bet, the eclectic offerings include everything from ham & eggs to veal Parmesan, and chicken paprikash to black-eyed peas.
A clean, casual Lebanese-American eatery across from the Cleveland Clinic, Cedarland has a large menu of Middle Eastern standards, including shishtawook, baked fish, and falafel. Lots of choices for vegetarians. There's a small imported-foods market too.
This attractive Larchmere Boulevard space is operated by the folks behind Angie's Soul Café and Zanzibar Soul Fusion. Here, the focus is on Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by the Big Easy: Think authentically prepared gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, and étouffée. The seafood is fresh, the sauces vivacious, the portions robust, and the prices right where they should be.
If you sent the Lee Road diner cars through some sort of magical car wash, what would come out the other end is the Katz Club Diner. The chrome is brighter, the glass clearer, and the linens crisper. On the menu are comfort foods like eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, chicken a la King, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes – all cooked the "Doug Katz Way." In the morning, a well-tended coffee bar dispatches cups of locally roasted java and fresh-baked pastries.
Rightly praised for its gigantic stuffed and toasted grilled cheese sandwiches, this home-grown phenomenon fills bellies and buoys spirits. Fillings range from the austere to the ridiculous, such as the pair of cheese pierogies inside the Parmageddon. Wicked beer list, kitsch-filled dining room, and rockin' tunes create a festive atmosphere.
Provenance and Provenance Café opened in the Cleveland Museum of Art, plugging a gaping hole at that institution. Provenance is a 75-seat fine-dining restaurant, while Provenance Café is a sporty quick-service option. Run mutually by Doug Katz and Bon Appétit Management, both offer diners completely different but equally satisfying experiences.
The former Baricelli Inn has been spruced up by new owner and hospitality pro Scott Kuhn, with a streamlined decor, a handsome bar and lounge, and a delightful menu of seasonal American dishes crafted with an eye toward local sourcing. Sunday brunch is a popular draw, as is the Wednesday-night prix fixe menu. In summer, the secluded patio is a delight.
The Shibley family launched their Greater Cleveland burger empire in 1981 with the motto, If you crave it and we have it, well be glad to make it for you. The restaurants now number six, and the Shaker Heights location is one of the nicest. Juicy gourmet burgers dominate the menu, although hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and omelets are available too. A large breakfast menu, available all day, includes eggs, pancakes, corned-beef hash, and oatmeal.
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