Aladdin's serves reliable, health-conscious foods like freshly squeezed juices, vegetarian chili, and an assortment of pita and roll-up sandwiches. For dessert, some diners can't get enough of the crunchy, honey-soaked walnut baklava, which is some of the best around.
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.
Wild, woodsy aromas suffuse this friendly little restaurant, where hickory smoking, slow cooking, and mesquite grilling are the order of the day. Nearly everything, from the thick, sweet, and peppery BBQ sauce to the delicate biscuits in the strawberry shortcake, is made fresh and in-house. And for a real taste of the ol' West, be sure to try the zesty Smokin' Beans.
Although the kitchen at this Caribbean-themed restaurant (part of the Darden Restaurants chain) tends to keep the heat turned down, much of the food such as pressed Cuban sandwiches, butterflied coconut prawns, pan-seared pork tenderloin in a rummy demiglace is flavorful and attentively prepared. Still, the real draw is the bustling bar scene, fueled by shooters, beer, and boozy, fruity, and frozen concoctions designed to make every night feel like a week at the beach.
Owner, chef, host, server, bartender, and busser: Junior Battiste really does it all. As a result, dining in this teensy Cajun restaurant can be an adventure, marked by warmth, whimsy, and occasionally slow service. Still, those who value style and substance over speed won't be disappointed: Junior's made-from-scratch cookin' is some of the best in town.
BD's takes the salad-bar concept one step beyond: Rather than just assembling a plate of greens, you choose from an assortment of raw meats and vegetables, douse them with flavored oils and sauces, sprinkle on an assortment of spices, nuts, and seasonings, and hand the whole shebang over to cooks manning an enormous 600-degree steel grill. Recipe cards are provided for the unimaginative.
Casually upscale and unselfconsciously cool, this neighborhood bistro is home to delicious gourmet pizzas, an intriguing collection of fish and seafood dishes, and a dashing wine list containing one of the regions largest assortment of half-bottles.
Neighbors have thanked owners Marc and Ruth Levine for "not being another wing-and-beer joint," while others appreciate them for not being too upscale. Bistro 185 takes the glorious middle road, offering hearty made-from-scratch comfort dishes at blue-collar prices.
Reasonably priced, family-friendly dining inside an upscale, Disneyesque facsimile of ancient Roman ruins is this Columbus-based restaurant's claim to fame. The menu focuses on pasta, pizza, or wood-grilled meats; for dessert, the partially caramelized cheesecake, in a pool of crème anglaise, tastes like more.
Still our pick for one of the best dinner values in town, Brennan's manages to combine the vibe of a well-worn bar with the quality of a contemporary bistro. While the kitchen does right by burgers, steaks, and sandwiches, the real thrills are the daily specials full-meal deals ranging from porkchops, fresh fish, chicken and pasta, pegged at $22 or less.
A tried-and-true combo of handsome surroundings and familiar fare makes this snug Chagrin Falls tavern a popular neighborhood spot.
While real pubs are woven into the fabric of a neighborhood, youll find Claddagh (part of a national chain) adrift in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by a shopping mecca. Once you're inside, though, evocative decor, friendly service and a multipage menu of well-prepared dishes, including a standout version of fish n chips, help soften the blow. Nor does it hurt that the full bar carries a solid selection of draft beers as well as every Irish whiskey available in the U.S.
Despite its bright new decor, Corky & Lenny's remains that most venerable of urban eating establishments: a good Jewish deli. From garlicky dills waiting at each table to the fizzy chocolate phosphates, all the traditional noshes are on hand. Corned beef is lean and flavorful, latkes are fat and tender, and the creamy cheesecake may be the best in town.
Dark, handsome and predictably pricey, this upscale steakhouse (part of a California-based chain) does the expected fine job with slabs of USDA Prime beef, as well as turning out some clever reimaginings of standard appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Solid wine list, with more than 100 wines available by the glass.
If you think everything fades after three decades, check out this mainstay of the East Side dining scene, where the seasonal menu of well-crafted cuisine remains reliably, vibrantly up-to-date. Summer lunches on the shady, tree-lined patio are a high point of the season; in the winter, several fireplaces make for cozy indoor dining.
A reliable choice for flavorful Thai and Chinese food, this good-looking East Sider offers options ranging from the traditional (think General Tso's Chicken) to the upscale (including specials like buttery rib-eye steak in spicy red-bean sauce), all served by efficient staffers in a charming if sometimes noisy room.
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.
HPP's Beachwood location is big, manly and urbane, with all the trappings of an upscale midwestern steakhouse. Happily, the food shrimp cocktails, Kobe beef burgers and of course, thick, juicy steaks is as satisfying as the setting, and the place is as popular for after-work unwinding as it is for weekend splurges.
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.
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 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.
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.
Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, youre 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.
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.
The city’s best jazz club books headliners from every corner of the genre. The dining room where acts perform — you can have dinner while you listen — was recently redesigned for even better sound and sightlines.
Giant omelets, lighter-than-air Dutch baby pancakes, smoky thick-sliced bacon . . . What more could it take to get you outta bed and into a seat at this friendly, good-looking breakfast spot in Woodmere?
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.
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.
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).
Luscious slabs of beef and creative, indulgent salads, sides and desserts make this modern American steakhouse a prime location for well-heeled meat-eaters. A well-organized wine list, gracious service and contemporary rustic decor with a Napa-like sophistication complete the regions best steakhouse.
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