Classic American-style diner food is the star at Big Egg. While most days, the hours are a reasonable 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., an around-the-clock schedule is observed on Fridays and Saturdays, making it the ideal spot for sobering up after last call at nearby bars and clubs.
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.
Connected to a house, Tazumal feels homey and relaxed. Service is sit-down, and the one doing the serving is the sweet, matronly proprietor. The main draw is the simple Salvadoran food, punctuated by freshly made pupusas, tamales, and stews. Inexpensive, soul-satisfying, and filling, the fare feels like what it is: home cooking.
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.
Some of the city's top players belt out a soundtrack of classic blues and R&B from their perch tucked away in the corner of this neighborhood bar in one of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
A little cramped, occasionally noisy, and quite possibly the city's smallest restaurant, this tiny French bistro still manages to turn out superlative crepes, earthy pâtés, and one of the best Croque Monsieur sandwiches this side of the Seine.
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.
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.
Since its relocation to palatial digs in Ohio City, Crop Bistro has traded its coziness for in-your-face fabulousness. But despite the soaring space, chef Steve Schimoler's menu remains as enticing and intimate as ever, filled with impeccable ingredients, intense flavors, and innovative techniques that place Crop among the best spots in the region. Cleverly conceived cocktails and a comprehensive wine list just add to 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. $$$
Another changing of the guard has placed this convenient café inside the West Side Market in good hands. Tom Szoradi, veteran chef and owner of the long-running Juniper Grille, has elevated the quality, consistency, and creativity of this breakfast-and-lunch mainstay. Breakfasts are upscale versions of diner classics; sandwiches consist of house-roasted meats atop artisan-baked breads; and fun starters like sausage-studded Hanky Pankies (cheesy fondue) and tempura-fried shitakes kick-start the meal.
Not since Symon and Herschman ran dueling bistros across the street from one another has this end of Professor been so lively. Press is a "wine bar" in name alone as the breadth and quality of the food here bares little in common with what typically passes as grub at others in the genre. Prosciutto-wrapped monkfish, deftly grilled steak, and a tasty crab cake sandwich prove the range of the chef's talents. At eight selections, the wine-on-tap list is one of the longest in town.
An offshoot of the popular Lakewood Village Tavern, it was important to the owners that the kitchen offer the same sort of homey, affordable fare. Daily specials like mac and cheese and meatloaf are sold at ridiculously low prices. Saturday is steak night. Rounding out the menu are half-pound burgers, deli sandwiches and wraps, and a 21-piece shrimp dinner.
Colorful, comfy, and family friendly, this neighborhood cafe is known for its homey breakfasts and Sunday brunch, as well as its afternoon lineup of soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Free wi-fi access and a cozy lounge area make it a good choice for catching up on e-mail while sipping a cup of freshly brewed joe.
Though this Polish deli and restaurant looks and feels like it has always been here, the Slavic Village shop opened in 2008. The front portion is devoted to the deli, with wooden shelving and coolers laden with smoked meats, pastries, and imported foodstuffs from Eastern Europe. A spare but elegant dining room in the rear of the shop dishes up hearty, homey comfort foods like pierogies, potato pancakes, stuffed cabbage, pork schnitzel, and cabbage and noodles. A buffet, during busy times, is a great bargain, offering an all-you-can-eat experience for $6.99.
Mexican homecooking can be made palatable to the American masses yearning to breathe fire. The enchiladas, burritos, mole, and hand-clapped tacos translate across the brick city, but each dining room reflects a different neighborhood.
For years, chef Roberto Rodriguez has run a popular Mexican foods stand at the West Side Market. Now he has expanded into a restaurant in a slim Ohio City storefront. The 25-seat eatery serves contemporary Mexican cuisine like chicken mole tamales, jalapeno-dough empanadas, fish tacos, and chipotle honey glazed pork chops. A display cooler stocks many of the prepared foods sold at the market. BYOB is OK.
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