Imported from Buffalo, the Chocolate Bar is part nightclub, part restaurant. By day, the airy space bustles with lunchtime activity, with diners digging into affordable salads, sandwiches, and entrées. At night, ladies (and the men who love them) pair chocolate martinis with decadent desserts. While chocolate finds its way into all manner of menu items, it's wise to stick to those that come with whipped cream or alcohol.
Touch’s DJs spin the freshest cuts in town. They’ll also play stuff you’ve heard, but the DJs here pride themselves on the funk, soul, indie rock, and dance remixes that never hit the Top 40.
This mellow East Fourth St. bar packs no shortage of different styles on its stage — everything from reggae and blues to jazz and R&B. On weekends, DJs take over for the late shift.
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.
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.
This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike.
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.
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.
Exceptional, seasonal and extravagant ingredients produce big results in small packages. Three-, four- and five-course prix fixe menus available.
Chef/owner Zack Bruell has netted nearly all the fish in the sea to craft his Asian-tweaked oceanic menu. Impeccably fresh fish is served raw, poached, deep-fried, grilled, roasted, seared and sautéed. Stellar sushi courtesy of in-house sushi chef. Many wonderful non-fish selections as well.
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar.
Zdenko Zovkic has given the usual staid steakhouse scene a smart, contemporary twist, turning this high-profile restaurant into a svelte, sexy destination. While the steaks, all USDA prime, are the real stars, the lengthy menu goes well beyond to include luxurious fish and seafood alternatives. Meantime, seats in XO's uncluttered lounge are prime space for sampling the neighborhood's urbane vibe.
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