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.
For almost 50 years, this Central European polka palace has been dishing out family-style fare at wallet-friendly prices. The all-inclusive dinners include chicken soup, salad, bread and butter, Wiener schnitzel, roast pork, smoked kielbasa, sauerkraut, potatoes, veggies, coffee and dessert. Or, order from the menu's listing of numerous veal, pork and chicken dishes. Live music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.
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.
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.
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 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.
Prestis is bright, contemporary, and inviting, and, with two walls of tall windows, it offers some of the best people-watching in Little Italy. Fresh foods include bruschetta, stromboli, pepperoni bread, and frittatas, as well as sweets like cannoli, pignoli, biscotti, and strudel. After your meal, pick up a loaf of warm Italian bread to take home.
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.
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.
Like a Japanese take on tapas, this izakaya-style restaurant on Shaker Square combines an enticing menu of creative, contemporary small plates and sushi with a big collection of cocktails, sake, and imported beer. Dont miss the Sasa fries, an Asian-accented riff on twice-fried frites that just may be the most addictive bar nosh in town.
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.
Provenance and Provenance Café opened in the Cleveland Museum of Art, plugging a gaping hole at that institution. Provenance is a 75-seat fine-dining restaurant, while Provenance Café is a sporty quick-service option. Run mutually by Doug Katz and Bon Appétit Management, both offer diners completely different but equally satisfying experiences.
The former Baricelli Inn has been spruced up by new owner and hospitality pro Scott Kuhn, with a streamlined decor, a handsome bar and lounge, and a delightful menu of seasonal American dishes crafted with an eye toward local sourcing. Sunday brunch is a popular draw, as is the Wednesday-night prix fixe menu. In summer, the secluded patio is a delight.
The Shibley family launched their Greater Cleveland burger empire in 1981 with the motto, If you crave it and we have it, well be glad to make it for you. The restaurants now number six, and the Shaker Heights location is one of the nicest. Juicy gourmet burgers dominate the menu, although hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and omelets are available too. A large breakfast menu, available all day, includes eggs, pancakes, corned-beef hash, and oatmeal.
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.
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.
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.
This attractive Larchmere Boulevard space is operated by the folks behind Angie's Soul Café and Zanzibar Soul Fusion. Here, the focus is on Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by the Big Easy: Think authentically prepared gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, and étouffée. The seafood is fresh, the sauces vivacious, the portions robust, and the prices right where they should be.
Rightly praised for its gigantic stuffed and toasted grilled cheese sandwiches, this home-grown phenomenon fills bellies and buoys spirits. Fillings range from the austere to the ridiculous, such as the pair of cheese pierogies inside the Parmageddon. Wicked beer list, kitsch-filled dining room, and rockin' tunes create a festive atmosphere.
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.
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.
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