A laid-back vibe, a killer bar, and an ambitious kitchen cooking up everything from burgers to braised lamb make this friendly East Side gastropub a worthwhile find.
Well-prepared fresh seafood is the specialty at this beautifully renovated space in the Warehouse District. Don't miss Blue Point chowder or the grouper over lobster-mashed potatoes.
At Aureole in New York, chef Dante Boccuzzi snagged Michelin stars two years running. Back home in Cleveland, he has taken over the former Lockkeepers and injected it with a more casual sensibility. Working as he has in Italy, France and Asia, Boccuzzi incorporates elements of these cuisines into boldly flavored dishes like Thai-style mussels, house-made cavatelli and pomegranate-glazed duck. Full bar and wine list.
"Gastropubs" are where ambitious cuisine collides with informality and kick-ass beer. To see what one looks, feels, and tastes like, head to Deagan’s in the heart of Lakewood. It's a food-lover’s pub, where the chef-driven fare is good enough to earn a spot at a so-called fancy restaurant.
Elegant, intimate, and friendly, this staple of the Hudson dining scene is a winner. Tapas-like small plates and not-so-small plates make up the menu; but despite the wine-bar motif and an occasional Asian accent, the fare owes much to the classic French bistro, with the depth of flavor that only made-from-scratch cooking can impart.
Chef-owner Rocco Whalen's well-appointed bistro is one of the best in town, with a seasonal menu of smart, contemporary fare, spiced up with Asian and Mediterranean accents.
The eclectic, contemporary menu at this Tremont fixture is a good match for its shabby-chic decor; and somehow, dishes like bouillabaisse, seared duck breast, and sausage-and-goat-cheese rigatoni taste better when devoured 'neath the light of candles and lava lamps. Friendly staffers and a full bar are other reasons to pad on into this neighborhood gem.
Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget.
Ken Stewart's newest endeavor is a top-notch restaurant disguised as a fanciful homage to rural rusticity. Fish and seafood are the stars of the contemporary menu, and while the prices are as up-to-date as the preparations, generous portions, imaginative decor, and polished service make a meal here seem like a value. Impressive wine list.
Artful, ambitious, and urbane, this Ohio City bistro disproves the notion that Clevelanders are strictly a steak-and-taters crowd. At dinner, a tightly composed "progressive American" menu treads fearlessly from braised pork belly to eggplant flan and beyond, always focused on seasonal, sustainable, locally grown foods and always playing to an enthusiastic audience.
Sophisticated but fun-loving, beautiful but sassy, Michael and Liz Symon's Lola is the hottest spot in town, with a tightly crafted menu of contemporary American fare, rife with elegant and amusing touches. Depending on the season, offerings might include beef-cheek pierogies or smoked Berkshire pork. And leave room for dessert: Lola turns out some of the most creative sweets in town. Notable wine list.
Whether it's authentic Neapolitan pizza, tangy house-cured salumi, or luscious braised pork cheeks, count on Cleveland celebrity-chef Michael Symon and his staff to do it right at this sassy, sexy little boîte in trendy Tremont. For luxe on a budget, grab a seat at the bar and check out the daily happy-hour specials.
Owner Maureen Schneider has carved a warm and cozy niche out of a former 1920s tavern near the Cuyahoga River. The eclectic dinner menu, posted on blackboards, changes often and blends hearty fare, like lamb and duck, with Californian and Pacific Rim accents; lunch includes a selection of sophisticated noshes, as well as soups, salads and sandwiches.
Strip-plaza setting notwithstanding, this handsome bistro has grown into Mentor's "go-to" spot for casually upscale dining, with an eclectic menu that ranges from Kobe burgers and signature crab cakes to pastas and parmigianas. For those who like lighter fare, a selection of stone-oven-baked pizzas fill the bill; for those who like drinking, the on-site wine shop provides 700 or so choices by the bottle, priced at retail plus a $5 corking fee.
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
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