Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, youre likely to enjoy the elegant, 1950s-style decor and the big menu of well-prepared southern Italian standards served in oversized portions just right for sharing. Private parties, banquets, and corporate events are other house specialties.
Taking a page from the Big Apple playbook, this pretty little bakeshop is all about cupcakes, in dozens of flavors and garnished with a superlative buttercream frosting. Served on a cupcake-sized plate, a cup of tea on the side, they may well be the sweetest snack in town.
This little gem of an ice-cream parlor and candy store couldn't be sweeter. Done up in cotton-candy colors, with an Alice in Wonderland tea-party theme, Malley's makes jumbo sundaes, ice cream sodas, milkshakes, parfaits, and special treats like strawberry shortcakes with generous scoops of ice cream, real whipped cream, and homemade sauces. Long hours ensure you can always get your daily ice-cream fix.
Mallorca, with its large portions of classic Spanish dishes and formal, friendly service, has developed a devoted following. Best bets include paella Valenciana a generous portion of shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, half-lobster tail, chicken, and chorizo sausage in a saffron-flavored seafood broth.
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
Spanish-speaking waiters provide the sense of romance, and huge portions of paella, steaks, and seafood contribute to the sense of value, making a trip to Marbella an entertaining culinary adventure. Big Patio; Large international wine list.
This dim cantina hosts blues and rock bands during and after dinner. Mexican decor includes pottery and photos of Pancho Villa with his motorcycle.
This smartly appointed eatery is a contemporary cafeteria, offering breakfast and lunches; mid-day offerings include freshly made burgers, pizza, soups, salads, and panini. A project of environmentally attuned Bon Appetit Management Co., the cafe makes a fine addition to the weekday restaurant scene, while practicing a high degree of environmental awareness.
Although it has the sleek brass, glass, and polished-wood look of a chain restaurant, this charming pub is locally owned and operated. The large menu goes well beyond colcannon and boxty to embrace quiche, gyros, and even burgers; no matter what you pick, the warm, custardy bread pudding makes a sweet ending. Irish brews on draft.
Sleek and handsome, this putatively Irish pub (younger sib to the Twinsburg original) offers an eclectic menu of lunch and dinner fare, ranging from boxty and Irish stew to quiche, gyros, and penne primavera. Despite a busy bar scene, speedy service and a no-smoking policy make this a family-friendly destination.
Euro-techno charm and nearly 100 different beers (along with martinis and a small wine list) make this the destination of choice for savvy suds fans; and for those who aren't so savvy, the annotated beer list is as educational as it is intoxicating. To go with, try Italian fare from next door's Bar Cento.
Trips to the family-owned Mapleside Farms have been a tradition in Northeast Ohio since 1927. Now new owners have updated the restaurant and renamed it Melrose Grille. The barn-chic bistro boasts homestyle classics like meatloaf, pork chops, and barbecue, while a new lounge and wine loft give younger neighbors a reason to visit the spectacular grounds.
Michoacan state eateries celebrate the simple pleasures of mole poblano, Swiss enchiladas with chicken and green sauce, and pork ribs with tomatillo sauce. The west side location is a classic taqueria (read: diner) serving a crowd that grew up eating the stuff.
Probably the only restaurant in the region to have an X-Wing fighter stationed in the parking lot, Mike's Place is full of weird decor and wacky humor. Nonetheless, the inexpensive food huge portions of casual fare thrown together with wild abandon is seriously tasty, ranging from tall homemade biscuits to Mike's award-winning barbecue. Large beer list.
Mister Brisket (a.k.a. Sanford Herskovitz) has expanded his specialty butcher shop to include a carryout sandwich counter, featuring everything from barbecued beef to rich Romanian pastrami. But the real draw is the unconventional corned beef, baked in a convection oven, rather than boiled, as is done in most delis. Does it make a difference? Try it, then decide for yourself.
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