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.
During daylight hours, this anchor of the Warehouse District party scene masquerades as a simple bar and restaurant. But on any weekend, the place becomes a holding pen for a unique cross section of clubbers, from gel-headed fratsters to hip-hoppers to suited execs.
The club's logo -- a porker in a tie -- says it all. Down and dirty, but still kind of chic, the large, open Pig caters to an older, rock-oriented crowd, with cover bands. Never a cover.
Well-prepared fresh seafood is the specialty at this beautifully renovated space in the Warehouse District. Don't miss Blue Point chowder or the grouper over lobster-mashed potatoes.
If anyone is worried about the state of the economy, you would never know it by the festive crowd of well-dressed hipsters mixing it up inside Ohio's first Brazilian churrascaria. The house specialty is an endless parade of fresh-off-the-grill meats, carved tableside by a crew of peripatetic "gauchos." A meticulously maintained buffet offers salads and more, while elegant, a la carte desserts are worth saving room for.
Imported from Buffalo, the Chocolate Bar is part nightclub, part restaurant. By day, the airy space bustles with lunchtime activity, with diners digging into affordable salads, sandwiches, and entrées. At night, ladies (and the men who love them) pair chocolate martinis with decadent desserts. While chocolate finds its way into all manner of menu items, it's wise to stick to those that come with whipped cream or alcohol.
The main attraction at this downtown bar and grill is the 40 beers on tap always fresh, always rotating. To go with, pick the fresh, hand-formed burgers on a pretzel bun. The casual atmosphere includes plenty of TVs tuned to sports, making it just right for a Gateway-district beer break.
This being Zack Bruell's fifth Cleveland restaurant, diners now know they can expect high-caliber service, an interior pulled from the pages of Architectural Digest, and a menu the size of Atlas Shrugged. What Bruell calls "modern French-American" might just as well be billed New Mediterranean, with nods to Morocco, France and Italy. In the end, the food is characteristically Bruellian: tidy stacks of meat and veg resting in an opulent sauce, diamond-cut by the acidity of lemon.
At Aureole in New York, chef Dante Boccuzzi snagged Michelin stars two years running. Back home in Cleveland, he has taken over the former Lockkeepers and injected it with a more casual sensibility. Working as he has in Italy, France and Asia, Boccuzzi incorporates elements of these cuisines into boldly flavored dishes like Thai-style mussels, house-made cavatelli and pomegranate-glazed duck. Full bar and wine list.
If you can get past the noise and the crowds of young hipsters, you'll discover a handsome Warehouse District wine bar with a large, informative wine list and an ambitious menu of trendy tapas. Of particular note are the menu's 16 horizontal wine flights, a great way to travel through the wonderful world of wine.
This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike.
Chef-owner Rocco Whalen's well-appointed bistro is one of the best in town, with a seasonal menu of smart, contemporary fare, spiced up with Asian and Mediterranean accents.
This Irish bar in the heart of downtown features live music most weekends — primarily singer-songwriters and Irish acts. But it’s best known for having Guinness on tap and throwing one hell of a St. Paddy’s Day party.
Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget.
Noisy and fun-loving, this 100-seat restaurant is part of the Corner Alley complex, a high-energy hangout featuring 16 lanes of bowling and a fashionable martini bar. With cheese here, bacon there, and deep-fried goodness nearly everywhere, spa cuisine this is not. But thanks to zesty flavors and often-imaginative preparation, the offerings still beat the standard bowling-alley lineup by a long shot.
Filled with maps (of Ireland, Cleveland, and the world), this downtown pub is big enough for the small airplane hanging from the ceiling to fly around in.
Cobblestone roads lead to the best beers around. The tasting room provides a bird's-eye view of the shiny steel tanks and antique bar that Eliot Ness once bellied up to. The cellar bar is less bright, but even more atmospheric.
Ohio's first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) restaurant has drawn national kudos for both its design and its New American menu of locally sourced foods. Chef Jonathon Sawyer has a gift for making chef-driven fare seem both approachable and casual.
The two-story guitar outside the Hard Rock is a beacon for music lovers, who pack the place every weekend to feast on mammoth burgers and music videos. The dining area is sometimes cleared for concerts, which typically feature rockers on the rise.
Riding high from the success of two popular food trucks — not to mention a Food Network reality show appearance — Chris Hodgson landed his first bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Teaming up with the experienced Scott Kuhn, Hodge delivers exciting, approachable dishes with broad appeal. Who can resist lobster corn dogs, flaky goat-cheese tarts, and light-as-air gnudi? For the mains, dig into a pasta version of French onion soup, pitch-perfect duck breast, and luxurious braised lamb shank.
House of Blues is the place to see megawatt artists on their way up (or down) the charts. The Music Hall holds more than 1,000, while the more intimate Cambridge Room hosts local bands and national acts still cultivating their following.
This Tower City location is elegant without being stuffy, and the menu is a meat-eater's delight, with a wide selection of steaks and chops. Service is attentive and efficient. The restaurant maintains an impressive wine cellar.
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.
Dark, intimate, and timelessly elegant, this manly little jewel box of a restaurant is the sort of place you suggest when you want to impress the boss, wow a date, or just remind yourself why you work so damn hard. The menu is crammed with upscale Italian specialties, including some stunning risottos and one of the city's finest long-boned veal chops; at lunch, though pssst the char-grilled burger is out of this world.
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Go to this opulent Warehouse District restaurant and find out. The kitchen's heady creations are nearly as grand as the room itself, with bold flavors, savory ingredients, and a pleasantly upscale Italian accent. Hey, at least our dreams of the good life are free.
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.
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.
Cozy and candlelit, this club uses gourmet music to attract a mellow crowd.
A friendly downtown gathering place for after-work drinks, Leader also serves salads, sandwiches, and appetizers during lunch and dinner.
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.
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