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Only in Cleveland could you find a functional bowling alley that doubles as an upscale restaurant and martini-friendly bar.
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.
Commuters who missed the upscale breakfast-and-lunch options at Juniper Grille can take comfort in Carnegie Kitchen, which seems to have picked up where that diner left off. Chef-owner Jeff Uniatowski, formerly of Mise and House of Blue, crafts a value-driven menu with broad appeal. Contemporary versions of diner classics like steak and eggs, corned beef hash and bagels and lox give way to chopped salads, mile-high Reubens, and grilled-salmon sandwiches.
Downtown breakfast spots are rare, and handsome downtown breakfast spots with free parking are rarer still. But that's what you'll find at Carnegie Kitchen — along with a value-driven menu with broad appeal.
Castaldi's
Weekends, after the dinner crowd thins out, and this upscale Italian restaurant becomes a hotbed for hip, bluesy jazz.
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.
The main attraction at this downtown bar and grill is the 40 beers on tap — always fresh, always rotating. To go with, pick the fresh, hand-formed burgers on a pretzel bun. The casual atmosphere includes plenty of TVs tuned to sports, making it just right for a Gateway-district beer break.
Comfy, cozy, and rich with vintage architectural detail, Civilization makes an ideal spot for reading, web-surfing, or just lingering with agreeable companions over a smooth cappuccino, a fresh muffin, or lunchtime soups and sandwiches.
Quickly becoming downtowners' favorite lunch stop, Josh Kabat's casual sandwich shop features almost a dozen meaty, Cleveland-themed creations. The Terminal, for example, combines Black Forest ham, brie, mustard and apricot jam in a soft 8-inch sub bun. Dining is mainly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who can't wait to dig in.
In the center of Downtown Cleveland's nightlife, the upscale-casual is a relaxed spot for sharply-dressed diners to enjoy microbrews, thick steaks, and live jazz on weekends.
Besides stocking such essentials as pet food and toothpaste, this urbane market includes a big wine department, a selection of food-fashionable gifts, and a well-stocked deli overseen by an in-house chef. Eat-in/carry-out options range from mac & cheese to freshly prepared sushi. For a final taste of something sweet, grab an oversized German-chocolate brownie.
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.
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