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.
A hip hangout near the Gordon Square Arts District, this noisy wine bar offers grape-friendly snacks, starters, and sharable items. Instead of full-size entrees, diners can expect meat-and-cheese boards, Mediterranean flatbreads, and a host of creative tapas-size dishes. Some 150 wines are sold by the bottle, all priced just $12 over retail; good deals on glass pours, too. $$$
Stepping into this cozy neighborhood ristorante with its wooden bar, linoleum floors, and menu of pizza, pasta, and assorted parmigianas, cacciatores, and marsalas is like traveling back in time to the days when Italian restaurateurs baked their own breads, made their own pastas, and served it all in charming, intimate spaces. Almost everything on the full-meal deal menu is delish. But when it comes to fried calamari and baked lasagna, Brunos scores among the very best.
Chinato makes diners feel special with redefined Italian dishes served in a contemporary setting. Start with glistening crudo or a bowl of unabashedly salty seafood fritto misto. Chinato's pastas are lush, dreamy and (fortunately) available in half portions. Entrées include buttery skate wing, Amarone-braised beef and brilliant porchetta.
No pricey destination restaurant, Clifton attracts crowds with simple, appealing American fare, much of it served in large, sharable portions, along with craft beers, creative martinis, and fine wines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An Irish bar on steroids, the Harp isn’t just your corner joint with a few shamrocks on the wall. It boasts a large Irish-influenced menu and a spacious patio with a view of the lake. The music’s as likely to be rootsy rock or blues as Irish.
Heading into its fourth decade, this charming Ohio City café remains a reliable, if non-trendy, refuge for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch, best enjoyed in the airy garden room, a mug of cinnamon-scented coffee at hand. While gourmet burgers are the specialty of the house, other options abound, including salads, wraps, steaks, and pastas.
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.
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.
Like any good Fellini flick, this production is loaded with fantastic scenery. If that scenery is the journey, then the food must be the destination. Spanish, Moroccan, Turkish, Italian and Greek items combine in harmonious fashion. Think Italian wedding soup, wood-fired Turkish kebabs and Moroccan chicken and couscous. Enjoy the namesake film from a wrought-iron balcony as it is projected onto a large interior wall.
Whether it's authentic Neapolitan pizza, tangy house-cured salumi, or luscious braised pork cheeks, count on Cleveland celebrity-chef Michael Symon and his staff to do it right at this sassy, sexy little boîte in trendy Tremont. For luxe on a budget, grab a seat at the bar and check out the daily happy-hour specials.
This welcoming bistro brings approachable, affordable, and delicious Mediterranean-inspired food to the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Shabby-chic with a farmhouse twist, the restaurant features mix-and-match plates, kitchen-towel napkins, and repurposed fixtures. With a host of small plates, shared plates, pastas, pizzas, and prix fixe dinners, the menu has options for every mood and budget.
This massive Ohio City brewpub seats well over 300 guests in multiple dining rooms, at various bars, and in a gem-like beer garden. Upscale pub grub joins an ever-evolving list of world-class suds, cooked up by an award-winning brewmaster. Don't miss the house chips, meat boards, Cubano, and ridiculously delicious southern fried chicken.
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
Exceptional, seasonal and extravagant ingredients produce big results in small packages. Three-, four- and five-course prix fixe menus available.
A laid-back alternative to the Warehouse District's pricey haute spots, this nautically themed tavern specializes in fish, seafood, and plenty of beer, in bottles and on tap. One of downtown's best happy hours.
Fun and funky, downtown's only Japanese-style ramen house offers an array of noodle bowls ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Creative sides and add-ons allow slurpers to customize their bowls in almost endless ways, while a tight selection of cold sake, beer, wine, and creative cocktails adds to the merriment.
Like any good Argentinean eatery, this one offers a hearty platter of expertly grilled meats. The gaucho-sized meal consists of grilled skirt steak, flanken-cut short ribs, chicken breast, and two types of sausage. In the other-than-beef department, there are also pounded, breaded, and fried Milanese-style dishes, sautéed fish, and a number of pizzas. Start with the beef empañadas. Expect a Warehouse District-appropriate atmosphere that is equal parts lounge and restaurant.
A stone's throw from West Sixth and a few steps below the pavement, an after-dinner martini crowd gathers at this candlelit Italian restaurant's bar.
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.
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.
Giant deck, tremendous view of the mouth of the Cuyahoga, and warm-weather weekend parties that run all day and all night.
Short for Southern hospitality, SoHo serves fresh takes on Low Country, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. On the snappy and cohesive menu are classic Southern staples like shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all dressed up for a more demanding modern audience. Even the cocktails scream Deep South, with bourbon, rye and moonshine-fueled bevies going down like sweet tea on a sticky summer day.
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