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Sure, the far-west 'burbs don't offer the same quantity of fine restaurants that you'll find in the city, but that doesn't mean you can't score a great meal.
87 West at Crocker Park (287 Crocker Pk., Westlake, 440-250-2334, 87west2.com) is a great place to kick off a night on the town. Despite the mall setting, the atmosphere is surprisingly urbane, with floor-to-ceiling windows and great wine by the glass. Share a wild mushroom flatbread topped with wild mushrooms, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, roasted garlic aioli and arugula.
’Stino da Napoli (19070 Old Detroit Rd,, Rocky River, 440-3314-3944, stinodanapoli.com) has been quietly turning out top-notch Italian fare for years. Try the gnocchi alla Napoletana, house-made potato dumplings served in a light tomato sauce with mozzarella, ricotta and Parmigianino. It will forever spoil all other versions of gnocchi.
Steak lovers on the far west side lucked out when Strip, a Steak House (36840 Detroit Rd., Avon, 440-934-9900, stripsteakhouse.com) opened up in an old barn. While unconventional to say the least, meaty chops like the 22-ounce, bone-in rib eye will make a fan out of anybody.
If romance is on your mind, Nemo Grille (36976 Detroit Rd., Avon, 440-934-0061, nemogrille.com) makes for a great date night. Housed in an 1850s farmhouse, the charming spot also happens to serve exquisite food, like the fat seared diver scallops, always seasonally prepared.
Decidedly less upscale, but no less adored, Bubba’s Q (820 Center Rd., Avon, 440-937-7859, bubbasqdining.com) is the best Westside spot for BBQ. Owner and former Cleveland Browns player Al “Bubba” Baker takes his food seriously, turning out gems like slow-smoked ribs, pulled pork and smoked brisket from his beefy wood smokers.
The namesake falls in this picture-perfect little village always warrants a visit. So too do a number of reliable old (and new) haunts that turn out reliably satisfying fare in a variety of settings.
There's something special about the way Burntwood Tavern (504 E. Washington St., 440-318-1560, burntwoodtavern.com) makes diners feel. Maybe it's the rustic décor, or perhaps it's casual but satisfying grub like the dry-rubbed and smoked pork "wings," a tasty twist on the classic.
As cherished as the namesake falls, Rick’s Café (86 N. Main St., 440-247-7666, rickscafeandcatering.com) is proof that fancy doesn't rule the roost in this town. While the tender baby back ribs are the stuff of legends, we prefer the Jerk-spiced burger with banana ketchup, a uniquely flavored handful.
Gamekeeper’s Tavern (87 West St., 440-247-7744, gamekeepers.com) has been around forever – and for good reason. Enjoying a fireside meal of venison and veal meatballs with house-made marinara and Romano cheese is the epitome of comfort in winter, while the expansive patio makes summer all the more enjoyable.
Dave’s Cosmic Subs (9 River St., 440-247-9117, davescosmicsubs.com) fans make a pilgrimage to the Chagrin Falls spot that started it all. Here you'll find rock and roll memorabilia and what many say is the best version of the Original Dave’s Cosmic Sub, loaded with pepperoni, Genoa salami, prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, onions, fresh garlic, herbs, provolone and Dave’s “cosmic” sauce.
Dessert? Duh. Hit Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream (67 North Main St., 440-247-2064, jenis.com), one of only a handful of scoop shops dedicated to serving some of the best ice cream on the planet. Pistachio and honey, salty caramel, or whiskey and pecans, there is no wrong move here.
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