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Casual, comfortable, and beautifully appointed, this Mexican bar and grill is an inexpensive stop for after-work unwinding or for grabbing a bite before downtown entertainment. While the food isn't always as interesting as the decor, it partners up perfectly with the vast tequila collection, featuring nearly 100 brands served straight up, in flights, or as part of 30 or so oversize cocktails.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
House of Blues is the place to see megawatt artists on their way up (or down) the charts. The Music Hall holds more than 1,000, while the more intimate Cambridge Room hosts local bands and national acts still cultivating their following.
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.
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.
Like any good Fellini flick, this production is loaded with fantastic scenery. If that scenery is the journey, then the food must be the destination. Spanish, Moroccan, Turkish, Italian and Greek items combine in harmonious fashion. Think Italian wedding soup, wood-fired Turkish kebabs and Moroccan chicken and couscous. Enjoy the namesake film from a wrought-iron balcony as it is projected onto a large interior wall.
The South Side doesn’t quite overload all the senses, but it stimulates them with exposed brick walls, a winding granite bar, local artwork that changes monthly, and four big plasma screens equipped with surround sound. After the kitchen closes, an upscale-casual crowd gather in the bar.
Channeling the spirit of a European wine bar, this funky little spot in Ohio City makes a tasty backdrop for a small but tempting menu of thin-crusted pizzas, house-cured meats, handmade pastas, and some of the best twice-fried, Belgian-style fries you'll ever find on a Cleveland tabletop. To go with, the annotated wine list offers 100 selections, while next door's Bier Markt provides dozens of imported brews.
Chinato makes diners feel special with redefined Italian dishes served in a contemporary setting. Start with glistening crudo or a bowl of unabashedly salty seafood fritto misto. Chinato's pastas are lush, dreamy and (fortunately) available in half portions. Entrées include buttery skate wing, Amarone-braised beef and brilliant porchetta.
This being Zack Bruell's fifth Cleveland restaurant, diners now know they can expect high-caliber service, an interior pulled from the pages of Architectural Digest, and a menu the size of Atlas Shrugged. What Bruell calls "modern French-American" might just as well be billed New Mediterranean, with nods to Morocco, France and Italy. In the end, the food is characteristically Bruellian: tidy stacks of meat and veg resting in an opulent sauce, diamond-cut by the acidity of lemon.
Fahrenheit
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.
Noisy and fun-loving, this 100-seat restaurant is part of the Corner Alley complex, a high-energy hangout featuring 16 lanes of bowling and a fashionable martini bar. With cheese here, bacon there, and deep-fried goodness nearly everywhere, spa cuisine this is not. But thanks to zesty flavors and often-imaginative preparation, the offerings still beat the standard bowling-alley lineup by a long shot.
Cobblestone roads lead to the best beers around. The tasting room provides a bird's-eye view of the shiny steel tanks and antique bar that Eliot Ness once bellied up to. The cellar bar is less bright, but even more atmospheric.
The two-story guitar outside the Hard Rock is a beacon for music lovers, who pack the place every weekend to feast on mammoth burgers and music videos. The dining area is sometimes cleared for concerts, which typically feature rockers on the rise.
Riding high from the success of two popular food trucks — not to mention a Food Network reality show appearance — Chris Hodgson landed his first bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Teaming up with the experienced Scott Kuhn, Hodge delivers exciting, approachable dishes with broad appeal. Who can resist lobster corn dogs, flaky goat-cheese tarts, and light-as-air gnudi? For the mains, dig into a pasta version of French onion soup, pitch-perfect duck breast, and luxurious braised lamb shank.
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