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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, Bruno’s scores among the very best.
Brothers has grown away from its funky blues-club vibe of days past. Now it features three rooms: a restaurant/tavern, a wine bar that specializes in acoustic sounds, and the roomy Music Hall, which hosts rock, blues, jazz, and reggae acts.
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 tried-and-true combo of handsome surroundings and familiar fare makes this snug Chagrin Falls tavern a popular neighborhood spot.
The beer’s the thing at this hip-yet-homey Lakewood pub — more than two dozen choices on draft, including what owner Garin Wright calls “breakouts, hot stuff, and things you’ve never seen before in your life.” Still, the food is keeping up , with a satisfying assortment of burgers (including some meat-free variations) as well as salads, soups, and assorted noshes.
This sleek restaurant specializes in authentic Moroccan cuisine. Naturally, there are numerous couscous and tajine dishes, plus a festive Berber stew featuring prawns, scallops, and mussels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Besides offering the usual takeout options, this storefront pizza palace supplies the eats for Hotz Café, next door’s vintage tavern, thereby solving the problem of how to entertain your buds when the apartment’s a mess and the beer is all gone. For a touch of class, a buttery half-head of roasted garlic sits in the center of all the thick-crusted specialty pizzas. Ribs, chicken and salads are available too, along with bar noshes like fried pickles and wings.
An outpost of the Northfield Center original, this Polish soul kitchen serves big portions of well-prepared standards like cabbage rolls, fresh kielbasa, and roast pork. Don't let the paper placemats and counter service fool you: The hearty food is a tasty bargain. And certainly don't miss the jumbo pierogi, our pick for some of the best around.
When Michael Symon set out to craft Cleveland's best burger, he didn't take the task lightly. Built with beef supplied by legendary New York purveyor Pat LaFrieda, the burgers explode with beefy goodness. Other B's include brats, beer, and bad-ass milkshakes. Tack on orders of rosemary-scented Lola fries, golden onion rings, or blazing-hot Sriracha wings.
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.
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.
This Tremont taqueria puts the power of the pen in the diner's hand. Guests design their own tacos from a list of some 30 components — from shell to filling to salsa to toppings. The best part: They are all just $3 each. This blissfully informal approach is a great fit for the unpretentious food. In addition to the tacos, the menu features a few starters and sides, not to mention a landslide of tequilas and margaritas. The delightful patio makes a perfect perch to enjoy them.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun-Thurs, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fri-Sat
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.
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. $$$
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 region’s 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.
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