Page 3 of 7
"Abundance" is the key word at Brasa Grill, Cleveland's first (and so far, only) Brazilian-style churrascaria. Even before the gauchos start swooping in with 16 types of skewered meats, you will be tempted by a vast lineup of impeccably presented and impressively fresh starters: marinated green beans, hearts of palm, plush composed salads, pastas, shrimp, mussels, olives, cheeses, and even sushi. It's such a treat that some diners come for the salad bar and skip the meat entirely. If that doesn't earn Best Of cred, what will?
1300 West Ninth St., 216-575-0699, brasagrillsteakhouse.com
Staff Pick: Kan Zaman
Best Coffee Shop & Best Tasting Coffee
Phoenix has been keeping Clevelanders caffeinated for more than 20 years, relying on great quality, personalized service, and quirky promotions to maintain its standing as the top java provider. These days, the magic comes pouring out of four "coffee sanctuaries" around town: organically evolving retail locations where well-trained baristas turn freshly roasted beans into rich, silky drinks. Phoenix's empire also includes a commercial roastery, a mail-order business, and a growing list of wholesale accounts: All are part of what CEO Sarah Wilson-Jones calls a mission of championing great coffee and making culture and community in the process.
Various locations including the flagship café at 2287 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-8227,
Staff Picks: Best Coffee Shop: Gypsy Beans & Baking Co.; Best Tasting Coffee: Phoenix Coffee
At this Tremont anchor, chef-owner Heather Haviland serves up the day's most important meal in style. How about a sandwich on housemade bread, loaded up with farm-fresh eggs and melty cheese? For lighter appetites, maybe a blueberry corn muffin with a steamy cuppa joe? On weekends, the offerings go grand: everything from housemade granola to waffles, pancakes, omelets, and curried tofu. That it's all served up in a space as cozy as your favorite bathrobe just adds to the joy.
777 Starkweather, 216-622-7773,
Staff Pick: Carnegie Kitchen
You'll find more than great music at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern — and we're not just talking about Saturday-morning punk yoga. The kitchen composes a mighty Sunday brunch, full of homemade dishes crafted from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. That includes buttermilk biscuits made from scratch and smothered in homemade sausage gravy, buckwheat pancakes served with Ohio maple syrup and locally smoked bacon, and smoked salmon and latkes topped with a local poached egg from a free-range flock of happy chickens.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com
Staff Pick: The Beachland
Best Patio Drinking
Long before the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood was cool, there was a delightful little patio on West 76th Street, tucked behind a red brick space formerly known as Snickers. Today, that space is Reddstone. And while Reddstone and its environs have become major hotspots, the little patio behind it remains as delightful as ever. That goes double when you have a refreshing beverage in your hand: a crisp wine, a sturdy craft beer, or something from co-owner Tommy Kneeland's excellent list of handcrafted cocktails. The blueberry-basil lemonade is a case in point: Sipped beneath the tall trees and twinkly lights on a warm spring evening, it's as fun and festive a getaway as you'll find in the 216.
1261 West 76th St., 216-651-6969, reddstonecleveland.com
Staff Pick: The South Side
Best Ice Cream Parlor
Jeffrey Moreau's 1920s-style ice cream parlor at Gordon Square is as sweet as they come, sprinkled with vintage furnishings, historic Cleveland prints, and cheerful soda jerks in crisp white shirts and ties. But it's the edibles that matter, and this place is wall-to-wall with ice cream, shakes, sodas, and malts — with crunchy popcorn and gourmet chocolates tossed in for good measure. And everything from the ice cream to the marble-slab fudge is made in house.
6800 Detroit Ave., 216-651-6800,
Staff Pick: Sweet Moses