Another step in restaurateur Fady Chamoun's campaign to blanket the Midwest in hummus and fool medames, the Hudson Aladdin's is a good-looking monument to the appeal of all things healthful, with plenty of vegan/vegetarian options, a long list of freshly squeezed juices and fruit smoothies and a small selection of beer and wine too.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Ohio countryside, this rambling lodge offers a lovely backdrop for Executive Chef Brandt Evans' hearty American fare. While entrées like short ribs and mac 'n' cheese may sound homey, count on Evans to update them with luxury ingredients and season them with culinary magic.
Nestled into a rustic, rambling structure on the Mario's International Spas' campus, The Cabin offers an enticing menu of mostly Mediterranean fare, featuring wood-fired pizzas, plush pastas, and well-executed seafood, chops, and steaks.
This snug, suburban oasis features a casually upscale vibe, a gregarious Roman chef and an expansive, entrancing menu of Italian eats, with options ranging from savory antipasti platters, seafood, and strip steaks to gnocchi, lasagna, and homemade pappardelle with wild-boar Bolognese. Assembled from first-rate ingredients and served with grace in a gorgeous dining room, Café Toscano's food hits all the right chords.
This neighborhood eatery and tavern may be far removed from the cutting edge; still, it draws big crowds, hungry for ample helpings of well-prepared ribs, chicken, salads, sandwiches, and chops. In season, a pretty outdoor patio in the namesake courtyard makes a popular lunch and dinner retreat.
Hibachi-table preparations of steak and seafood are the stars of this casual Japanese restaurant's menu, although the well-made sushi also earns its props. And a bucolic outdoor patio, overlooking a wooded ravine, is a warm-weather treat.
The architecture of downtown Hudson may be the epitome of preppy, but tripping through the doorway into Dave's is like waking up back at Kent State circa 1969. Yet even without the psychedelic decor, we would gladly stage a love-in here, just to savor Dave's oversized subs, stuffed with fresh ingredients and wrapped in the best crisp-crusted rolls in the region.
Star chef Dante Boccuzzi has taking over the former VegiTerranean space. The lovely view over the Cuyahoga Valley remains the same, but everything else is different -- from the eccentric rock & roll decor to the seriously delicious menu of modern, seasonal meats, pastas, and seafood. (Vegans and vegetarians are not forgotten.) A snazzy bar and a lovely three-season patio add to the energetic vibe.
Cleveland's own Hospitality Restaurants scores again with this Italian-accented steakhouse, where the menu includes everything from rib, sirloin, and strip steaks to salmon, spicy veal meatballs, and Boursin-stuffed Sicilian peppers. An extensive wine list and professional service are additional reasons to visit.
One part vacation-town bar and one part homestyle restaurant, Fisher's is a favorite stop for brewskies and burgers (or salads and ice cream) after biking or hiking on the nearby Towpath Trail. In warm weather, seats on the shaded patio become prime real estate.
Operated by chef Shawn Monday (One Red Door), Flip Side builds its gourmet burgers from all-natural, grass-fed Ohio beef, a welcome change from the corn-fed versions everywhere else. Nearly a dozen different models are available, plus the expected crunchy sides like onion rings, french fries, and housemade potato chips. Great milkshakes and craft beers round out this urban saloon-style eatery.
Theres something for everyone at this oddball crossroads tavern, from grilled bologna and pizza to Kobe beef and lobster. The charm factor gets a further twist from boxes, racks and countertops crammed with value-priced wine; coolers stuffed with imported beer; and a jukebox replete with tunes ranging from classic rock to show tunes.
Baker and proprietor John MacMillan left a corporate job to open this bakery. Now he's up to his elbows in dough and couldn't be happier. Crisp baguettes, dense loaves made with organic flours, tender sweet rolls, berry-filled muffins, and old-fashioned cookies come rolling out of John's ovens. Enjoy them at an indoor table with a cup of coffee or tea; better yet, in summer, eat your snack on the breezy porch.
Ken Stewart's newest endeavor is a top-notch restaurant disguised as a fanciful homage to rural rusticity. Fish and seafood are the stars of the contemporary menu, and while the prices are as up-to-date as the preparations, generous portions, imaginative decor, and polished service make a meal here seem like a value. Impressive wine list.
One of Akron's top restaurants, clubby Ken Stewart's serves a large menu of seafood (the house specialty), steaks, chops, chicken and pastas, as well as dozens of daily specials. Prices can be high, particularly on specials; portions are massive; service is polished; and preparation is solid, if not always au courant. Impressively large wine list.
This classy-looking Mexican eatery complete with handsome bar and first-rate tequila selection features well-organized lunch and dinner menus encompassing all the usual crowd-pleasers, including burritos, tacos, and fajitas. But in our book, the savory chicken in mole sauce steals the show.
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.
Upscale, casual dining emphasizing fresh, seasonal foods in pizzas, pastas and seafood. An extensive wine and cocktail list is available for the grownups; a kids' menu features smaller portions for little stomachs.
The atmosphere at this upscale Chinese restaurant is relaxed and friendly, and the refined cuisine goes far beyond won ton soup and egg rolls. Imaginative preparations include dishes like ginger-spiced sea bass, scallion-studded strip steak, and lamb served with pineapple-piqued fried rice, although classics like egg-drop soup and mu shu pork are also on hand.
Launched by Wooster chef-restaurateur Mike Mariola, the Rail is one of the most attractive adaptations of the gourmet burger bar to hit Northeast Ohio. Mariola's meat methodology consists of using local, grain-fed beef for his meaty half-pounders. Pair them with crunchy starters and sides, great craft beers, creamy hand-dipped milkshakes, and a trio of salads.
This handsome dining room earns praise for quality, execution, and value, if not ground-breaking originality. Contemporary American in spirit, the approachable menu marries shareable starters, bountiful salads, and crowd-pleasing sandwiches with choice steaks, pastas, and seafood. Full bar and patio with fire pit.
Like a modern-day roadhouse, noisy, energetic Russo's features a wildly eclectic repertoire of Cajun, Italian, Asian and southwestern-influenced dishes. To really feel part of the action, grab a seat at the bar surrounding the open kitchen, and watch the culinary magic unfold.
Nestled on the edge of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this lovingly built, family-owned and -operated winery, wine bar, and crafts gallery offers a small lineup of paninis and simple noshes to accompany the sweet Ohio wines. No one claims it's gourmet fare, but the rustic setting and pastoral views make it well worth a visit.
Smartly designed and beautifully appointed, this suburban winery and wine bar features a friendly vibe, a crackling fire, live music, and acres of fabulous gardens. To drink, find an assortment of craft-brewed beer and ThornCreeks own wines; to eat, the simple but well-assembled fare includes ample cheese plates, savory olive samplers, focaccia pizzas, and indulgent desserts.
Cozy and urbane, this contemporary Italian American restaurant and wine bar offers everything from pizza and pasta to fresh seafood and steak. Good bets include pan-roasted mussels, zesty grilled salmon, and the savoriest version of Italian wedding soup this side of Nonna's kitchen.
Established in 1953 as a rural roadhouse, Whitey's present-day specialties are booze, burgers, and superlative chili. The cozy atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, although on weekends, long waits for a table are to be expected.
One of several Lizards roaming Northeast Ohio, the Peninsula link in this homegrown chain of casual sports bars is our favorite, especially for the building's pre-reptilian history as a small-town roadhouse and 1950s-style nightclub. Besides the ambiance of slightly faded glory, we also enjoy the casual menu of reliably prepared foods, which include great wings, good burgers and hearty, well-dressed salads.
One of many area outposts for this locally based tavern chain, the Independence Winking Lizard offers the typical combo of sports-themed decor, casual noshes including the better-than-average wings, burgers, wraps and big salads and a killer collection of suds. Full bar.
Noisy, friendly, and relaxed, the Lizard is one of Gateway's sure bets for juicy burgers, imaginative sandwiches, and overflowing salad bowls. The huge international beer list doesn't hurt either.
The Hudson YT offers the same big menu of freshly ground sirloin burgers, cheese-covered fried potatoes, specialty sandwiches, and "anytime" breakfasts as the other Northeast Ohio locations, in the same casual Victorian atmosphere. The wide selection makes it great for family meals with the kids.
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