If you weren't born into an Italian family, dining at this unpretentious Solon restaurant could be the next best thing. Chef-owner Jimmy Daddano makes all his sauces from traditional recipes: Yeasty garlic rolls, slathered with butter and cheese, arrive fresh from the oven, and Jimmy's mom makes the homemade desserts from scratch.
Part of a no-frills Illinois chain, the region's first Jimmy John's specializes in plump, fresh, and remarkably inexpensive subs and giant club sandwiches, including several options for vegetarians. And in a tip o' the hat to downtown's remaining workers, JJ's delivers.
Joes is a comfortable, tidy restaurant with a large menu of homey standards, including excellent corned-beef sandwiches, homemade soups, and freshly made Middle Eastern specialties.
About as fancy as it gets at John Q's is a 16-ounce strip steak with a coating of cognac mustard and cracked black peppercorns. Other beef entrées porterhouse, filet mignon, rib steak, and prime rib are presented unadorned, all the better for you to enjoy their grilled flavor. The sprawling restaurant includes several romantic, curtained booths; ask for one when you make reservations.
Cops, lawyers, secretaries, hipsters, football fans, and neighborhood residents sooner or later, everyone ends up at Karls, for the good food, well-stocked bar, and unpretentious vibe. A one-pound corned-beef sandwich is the house specialty; other good bets include the Friday-night fish fry and the well-dressed Snuggery Burger.
Ken Stewart's newest endeavor is a top-notch restaurant disguised as a fanciful homage to rural rusticity. Fish and seafood are the stars of the contemporary menu, and while the prices are as up-to-date as the preparations, generous portions, imaginative decor, and polished service make a meal here seem like a value. Impressive wine list.
One of Akron's top restaurants, clubby Ken Stewart's serves a large menu of seafood (the house specialty), steaks, chops, chicken and pastas, as well as dozens of daily specials. Prices can be high, particularly on specials; portions are massive; service is polished; and preparation is solid, if not always au courant. Impressively large wine list.
A little bit glam, a little bit retro, and entirely fun-loving, this handsome, possibly haunted martini bar brings plenty of flair to downtowns burgeoning entertainment district. Full dinner menu, from upscale noshes to desserts, is also available. Open Friday and Saturday only.
This colorful Mexican restaurant produces what may be the city's best mole, that thick, mahogany-colored sauce of tomatoes, peppers, chocolate, ground nuts, raisins, and spices. The rest of the kitchen's output isn't bad either, with virtually everything made from scratch.
A little cramped, occasionally noisy, and quite possibly the city's smallest restaurant, this tiny French bistro still manages to turn out superlative crepes, earthy pâtés, and one of the best Croque Monsieur sandwiches this side of the Seine.
A longtime fave for moviegoers at the nearby Cedar Lee, Lemon Grass offers a large assortment of reliably prepared Thai dishes, including a solid assortment of meat-free fare, in a bright and pleasant space.
Located in the Asian Plaza a three-floor complex of professional offices, gift shops, herb stores, and Asian food markets Li Wah offers an assortment of traditional dim sum as well as a large menu of fresh seafood and authentic Hong Kong-style cuisine. Dim sum is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Artful, ambitious, and urbane, this Ohio City bistro disproves the notion that Clevelanders are strictly a steak-and-taters crowd. At dinner, a tightly composed "progressive American" menu treads fearlessly from braised pork belly to eggplant flan and beyond, always focused on seasonal, sustainable, locally grown foods and always playing to an enthusiastic audience.
Colorful, quirky, yet sophisticated, Lopez's urbane charms present the perfect backdrop to its creative menu of "gourmet Tex-Mex" fare, ranging from lobster empanadas to mahi-mahi tacos and blue-cheese-piqued guacamole. There's also a solid selection of homemade desserts and an impressive array of top-shelf anejo tequilas.
This classy-looking Mexican eatery complete with handsome bar and first-rate tequila selection features well-organized lunch and dinner menus encompassing all the usual crowd-pleasers, including burritos, tacos, and fajitas. But in our book, the savory chicken in mole sauce steals the show.
Chef Heather Haviland scours the state in search of farm-fresh eggs, seasonal produce and eco-conscious meats for her killer weekend brunches. Think sweet corn waffles with strawberry-rhubarb compote, cheddar-scallion scones topped with scrambled eggs and sausage gravy, and delectable pastries.
The pool room has been turned into a music room, with both local and touring indie bands of all stripes. But the two-level ’60s-style lanes with hand pinsetting are still intact.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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