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.
A little bit Greek, a little bit Middle Eastern and perhaps even slightly northern Indian, the names, ingredients and flavor notes of Anatolia's authentic Turkish cuisine will strike familiar chords for veteran tabletop travelers. "Don't-miss" dishes include sleek and smoky baba ghannouj, lamb-and-beef doner kebab and its yogurt-topped sibling, iskender. To drink, splurge on a bottle of Kalecik Karasi, a full-bodied red from Turkey's most prestigious vineyard.
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.
Still our pick for one of the best dinner values in town, Brennan's manages to combine the vibe of a well-worn bar with the quality of a contemporary bistro. While the kitchen does right by burgers, steaks, and sandwiches, the real thrills are the daily specials full-meal deals ranging from porkchops, fresh fish, chicken and pasta, pegged at $22 or less.
True to its name, the Cabin looks like a cabin inside and out. Lounge acts play in the bar, where couples cut a rug after the dinner crowd thins out.
Neighbors have thanked owners Marc and Ruth Levine for "not being another wing-and-beer joint," while others appreciate them for not being too upscale. Bistro 185 takes the glorious middle road, offering hearty made-from-scratch comfort dishes at blue-collar prices.
L'Albatros seduces diners with a roster of classic brasserie gems like escargot, roasted cod, and an outstanding selection of cheeses. But since this is a Zack Bruell restaurant, guests can count on more than a few contemporary menu twists, all served up in a series of intimate dining spaces and, in season, one of the region's loveliest secluded patios.
After 25 years in Little Italy, Paul Minnillo has moved to the suburbs with this contemporary restaurant serving modern regional Italian cuisine. The far-ranging menu includes small-plate-style antipasti and creative greens, as well as silken pastas and hearty entrées. A wood-fired pizza oven turns out killer Neapolitan-style pies. A deep Italian wine list and a patio round out this East Side gem.
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.
A family-friendly alternative to Madison Village's youthful bar scene, Sullivan's offers a quaint atmosphere, a well-stocked bar, and a small menu of salads, sandwiches, and such Irish standards as boxty and shepherd's pie for dinner and Saturday lunch. Frequent Celtic musical performances also help liven up the scene.
What this jewel box of a bistro lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style, thanks to an umami-filled contemporary Asian menu. There are nods to Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine, with stellar ingredients buoyed by complementary flavors and spices. Sushi and seafood shine, as do heartier meats like pork belly and duck. Vegetarians can even dine well on crispy tofu and pad Thai.
A laid-back vibe, a killer bar, and an ambitious kitchen cooking up everything from burgers to braised lamb make this friendly East Side gastropub a worthwhile find.
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.
Stampede over to Harry Buffalo when you need a fix of low-fat bison steaks, ribs, or burgers: This homegrown chain, with six area locations, is the largest purchaser of buffalo meat in Ohio. Besides bison, the large menu includes beef, salads, pastas, and chicken. The video games and a big list of imported, domestic, and microbrewed beers are just what urban cowboys need after a long week on the trail.
Stepping into this cozy neighborhood ristorante with its wooden bar, linoleum floors, and menu of pizza, pasta, and assorted parmigianas, cacciatores, and marsalas is like traveling back in time to the days when Italian restaurateurs baked their own breads, made their own pastas, and served it all in charming, intimate spaces. Almost everything on the full-meal deal menu is delish. But when it comes to fried calamari and baked lasagna, Brunos scores among the very best.
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