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.
Aladdin's serves a variety of simply prepared, Middle Eastern-inspired foods, including homemade soups, salads, pita wraps, steamed veggie plates, and pita "pizzas." Choices for vegetarians abound, and freshly squeezed juices, fruit smoothies, and a small selection of beer and wine are available.
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.
A laid-back vibe, a killer bar, and an ambitious kitchen cooking up everything from burgers to braised lamb make this friendly East Side gastropub a worthwhile find.
Casual, cozy, and with a splendid secluded patio for warm-weather dining, this upscale tavern offers everything from burgers and ribs to filet mignon and veal medallions. The surrounding countryside is charming, and getting there on the winding Geauga County roads is almost half the fun.
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.
This warm sports bar hosts live rock and blues when major games aren't commanding attention.
Since 1948, this casual diner has been a part of West-Side life: so long, most residents can't recall a time when it wasn't dishing up burgers, onion rings, and milkshakes. A recent closure gave management the time to renovate the entire space, resulting in a fresh, vintage-tinged design that neatly fits with the retro menu. Here, thin, diner-style burgers, crisp onion rings, and thick milkshakes rule the roost. Fried clam fans will find some of the best in town.
If you miss Mom's cooking, this is the place to get your fix. Big Al's has all the comforting favorites, like thick, steaming soups, housemade mashed potatoes with gravy, open-faced roast beef sandwiches and chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is served until the diner's late-afternoon closing time.
Always energetic and occasionally riveting rustic Mediterranean and American cuisine leads the way at this chef-driven bistro in Kent. Above-average desserts, too, from an in-house pastry chef.
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.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Ohio countryside, this rambling lodge offers a lovely backdrop for Executive Chef Brandt Evans' hearty American fare. While entrées like short ribs and mac 'n' cheese may sound homey, count on Evans to update them with luxury ingredients and season them with culinary magic.
Come to Bo Loong to sample some of the city's most authentic dim sum tiny sweet-and-savory dumplings, buns, and tarts whose name translates as "dot the heart." If you order from the menu, consider the golden, pan-fried noodles, topped with seafood, meats or vegetables. Dim sum is served daily, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bo Loong is open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
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.
Former Browns player Al Bubba Baker has discovered life beyond the gridiron and its dry-rubbed, slow-smoked, and slathered with homemade BBQ sauce. While Bubbas St. Louis-style ribs are meaty monsters, his boneless baby-back rib steak is one for the record books, deboned by a secret process and tender enough to cut with a fork.
Part of a national chain that attempts to recreate the experience of a boisterous Italian wedding circa 1950, Buca di Beppo is crowded, noisy, and fun. The wall-posted menu includes gargantuan appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, veal, and chicken dishes made for sharing. The food is good, even if it is overshadowed by sheer portion size.
Part of a national chain that attempts to recreate the experience of a boisterous Italian wedding circa 1950, Buca di Beppo is crowded, noisy and fun. The wall-posted menu includes gargantuan appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, veal, and chicken dishes made for sharing. The food is good, even if it is overshadowed by sheer portion size.
Nestled into a rustic, rambling structure on the Mario's International Spas' campus, The Cabin offers an enticing menu of mostly Mediterranean fare, featuring wood-fired pizzas, plush pastas, and well-executed seafood, chops, and steaks.
A suburban outpost of the Cleveland Heights original, Aurora's Café Tandoor serves precisely prepared Northern Indian food in an attractive setting. Among our favorites are the restaurant's unusual cashew-and-pistachio-crusted naan, warm from the tandoori oven, and the unusually good kheer.
The menus nothing fancy, composed mostly of pasta, a few sandwiches, a simple pizza, and some pastries. And while the surroundings are clean and comfy, the amenities are homey at best. But when you and a bud each can snare an ample portion of spaghetti with homemade meatballs and share a freshly stuffed cannoli, and still get change from a $20, thats what we call a bargain. Beer and wine are available.
Big, crisp, creative salads and reduced-cholesterol omelets make this bright, airy restaurant a hit with both area cube farmers and health-conscious hipsters. Meanwhile, sloths, slackers, and the rest of us can dine just fine from the menu's collection of burgers, hot dogs, and deli treats.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
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.
A snug little hideaway just behind the Q, Cleats is part of a rapidly growing local chain of sports bars. Wings are the kitchen's claim to fame, but we've got our eyes on the fries fresh-cut cuties so good, we sometimes order them without the cheese and bacon.
Besides stocking such essentials as pet food and toothpaste, this urbane market includes a big wine department, a selection of food-fashionable gifts, and a well-stocked deli overseen by an in-house chef. Eat-in/carry-out options range from mac & cheese to freshly prepared sushi. For a final taste of something sweet, grab an oversized German-chocolate brownie.
Snug and friendly, Corks Wine Bar is a delightful spot to savor favorite wines, develop new passions and have a good time doing it. The impressively long wine list includes both well-known boutique bottlings and esoteric, hard-to-find items, and the classic hors d'oeuvres, such as pâtés, cheeses and warm baguettes, complement everything from a French Vouvray to a Tuscan Chianti.
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.
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