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Academy Tavern
Like a well-worn couch, this vintage corner tavern may show its age, but its comfort is undeniable. For proof, just look at the diverse clientele, chowing down on big portions of hearty, inexpensive food. While the burgers are always a good bet, the eclectic offerings include everything from ham & eggs to veal Parmesan, and chicken paprikash to black-eyed peas.
Falafel Café
Every student body needs a place like this small Middle Eastern café near the CWRU campus, where the big menu ranges from fries and burgers to falafel and spinach pies, and the freshly made food is both satisfying and cheap.
If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you haven’t been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandra’s voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its name’s translation: The Kiss.
Trained in Italy’s Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list.
Don’t let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonna’s kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian — pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan — with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
Like a Japanese take on tapas, this izakaya-style restaurant on Shaker Square combines an enticing menu of creative, contemporary small plates and sushi with a big collection of cocktails, sake, and imported beer. Don’t miss the Sasa fries, an Asian-accented riff on twice-fried frites that just may be the most addictive bar nosh in town.
A happy alliance of modern architecture and contemporary cuisine, Table 45 offers an enticing collection of global fare that blends sophistication with unpretentious appeal. The kitchen may borrow freely from Indian, Mediterranean, and South American pantries, but the clear, focused flavors are all its own.
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