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.
Warm, welcoming, and handsomely appointed, this upscale Thai restaurant offers a large selection of well-prepared if somewhat understated curries, stir-fries and noodle dishes, including lots of vegetarian creations.
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.
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.
If you like a little sizzle with your steak, head over to this unpretentious West Sider, where you can watch in atavistic wonder as your steak sears, tableside, on a 750-degree slab of volcanic stone. Gimmicks aside, the result is a top-quality piece of meat, full of juicy savor. Alternatively, enjoy a selection of Greek and Mediterranean classics, like saganaki and braised lamb shanks; on Sundays, the brunch buffet is a popular bargain.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
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.
A cool vibe and a sizzling menu of attentively prepared American fare have turned Doug and Karen Katz's bistro into one of the city's top restaurants. "Classical simplicity" is the watchword here, and when those classical techniques are applied to first-rate ingredients, the results are often nothing less than astonishing. Interesting list of food-friendly wines.
One of the region's few remaining "special occasion" spots, Chez Francois offers a clubby waterfront setting, formal service, a menu of French classics, and a formidable wine list.
Lakewood’s last call before you hit Rocky River, Around the Corner boasts multiple rooms and patios filled with burger munchers, karaoke hounds, and music fans taking in danceable local rock, blues bands, and DJs.
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 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.
In a neighborhood where you can't swing a pizza box without hitting an Italian restaurant, this is one of the best, with generous servings of thoughtfully prepared foods, at reasonable prices. Specialties include angel-hair pasta loaded with plump, intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and chopped kalamata olives, tossed with garlic and olive oil.
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.
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.
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.
Along with wonderful aromas, the well-appointed dining room is filled with plants, artwork, and soothing shades of teal and plum. The well-organized menu emphasizes the richer, less fiery northern Indian cuisine, although a few southern Indian dishes are served during Saturday lunch and Sunday dinner.
Live oldies, rock, and blues invigorate the weekend crowds at Under C's Lounge, the spacious basement club adjoining Carrie Cerino's Italian restaurant.
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.
For those who have come to this entertainment complex primarily to play the state-of-the-art games and then find that the starship piloting, dinosaur dodging, and race-car driving have left them peckish, meals in the lavishly appointed Grand Dining Room are generally good-tasting, satisfying, and reasonably priced conveniences.
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.
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.
Established in 1918, Guarino's is one of Cleveland's oldest restaurants and is still a family operation. While the decor tends toward Victoriana, the kitchen's pasta, veal and seafood dishes are all Italian.
Romantic and very Italian, this intimate little restaurant features an enticing menu of well-prepared regional specialties, mostly from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Best of all, the hands-on owners make everyone feel like part of la famiglia.
While the atmosphere at this Hyde Park location may be a smidgen less elegant than at its Cleveland-area counterparts, the Prime dry-aged steaks here are second to none. For unforgettable flavor, pick the thick Kansas City bone-in strip. At 20 ounces, this juicy hunk of beef will almost certainly require a doggy bag, but it's one of the best steaks around.
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.
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.
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