If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you havent been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandras voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its names translation: The Kiss.
Dont let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonnas kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
Zanzibar brings back soul to Shaker Square with a menu of upscale soul-fusion cuisine. Owner Akin Affrica, whose family runs Angie's Soul Café, has not only spiffed up the notion of a soul food restaurant, he has spiffed up the notion of soul food. Expect shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all served up in a tasteful setting.
The shelves of this fine Italian market groan beneath a vast collection of meats, cheeses, oils, sauces, breads, pastries and pastas. Meantime, customers waistbands groan beneath the delicious onslaught of Galluccis prepared carryout foods, including subs, salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan and especially authentic Italian-style pizza, available by the pie or by the giant rectangular slice.
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.
L'Albatros seduces diners with a roster of classic brasserie gems like escargot, roasted cod, and an outstanding selection of cheeses. But since this is a Zack Bruell restaurant, guests can count on more than a few contemporary menu twists, all served up in a series of intimate dining spaces and, in season, one of the region's loveliest secluded patios.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adjacent to Arts Collinwood, this corner storefront is a multimedia café hosting art openings, jazz recitals, and the Waterloo film series, as well as serving a light menu of savories and sweets. Wine, beer and cocktails are served, and patio seating is available.
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.
This new incarnation of Club Isabella sparkles in every way, from the gorgeous setting to the original and eclectic cuisine from chef-owner Fabio Mota. Among the seafood-centric options: buttery frogs legs, fried sweet and spicy cuttlefish, crab-rich pasta, monkfish in smoky bacon-studded cream sauce, and scallops with braised pork belly.
The city's ultimate Italian sweet shop, Corbo's bakes nearly two dozen different types of cookies every day. Seven-layer cookies, cookies coated with toasted pine nuts, cookies stuffed with apricot filling, cannoli and four or five types of biscotti are just a few of its delicious offerings. The bakery opens early and stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays, making this a sweet destination for coffee and cookies after a stroll through Little Italy.
A visit to Jim Anagnostos's shiny silver diner is a nostalgic trip back through time, to the days of all-American meals like meatloaf and gravy, liver and onions, and classic chili.
Behind the doors of Empress Taytu awaits an exotic culinary adventure of the first order. The restaurant serves authentic Ethiopian foods, including beef, lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes cooked with a variety of spices and herbs.
Every student body needs a place like this small Middle Eastern café near the CWRU campus, where the big menu ranges from fries and burgers to falafel and spinach pies, and the freshly made food is both satisfying and cheap.
If you think Fat Cats is cool, you'll definitely love Felice. Run by the same restaurateur, this cozy eatery is tucked inside a restored Craftsman-style home on the Shaker-Cleveland border. Awaiting diners is unfussy and affordable Mediterranean fare, much of it with a decidedly Spanish flair. There's chorizo-spiked mussels, lamb sliders, skirt steak chimichurri and garlicky seafood stew. Full bar, wine and beer. Outdoor patio.
The menu at this sunny storefront café is eclectic. There is miso soup and mushroom quiche. Salads are topped with tofu and crab stick. Sandwiches are stuffed not only with tuna fish and egg salad, but also panko-breaded tilapia and Japanese pork cutlet. Katsu-don is a one-meal wonder of meat, rice and egg. Lovely garden patio.
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