Probably the only restaurant in the region to have an X-Wing fighter stationed in the parking lot, Mike's Place is full of weird decor and wacky humor. Nonetheless, the inexpensive food huge portions of casual fare thrown together with wild abandon is seriously tasty, ranging from tall homemade biscuits to Mike's award-winning barbecue. Large beer list.
Part of an international group, Cleveland's Morton's does the expected fine job with slabs of beef. Steak choices include porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip; prime rib, lamb, chicken, and seafood also put in appearances. Atmosphere is comfortingly retro, with dim lighting, cozy banquettes, and Ol' Blue Eyes singing in the background.
When it comes to freshly made Middle Eastern foods, Nate's is great. Especially beloved for its thick, smooth hummus with a texture like whipped butter, Nate's also makes smoky baba ghannouj, crisp fried kibbeh, and tender, plump meat or spinach pies. If your tastes run to more traditional deli fare, try a king-sized corned-beef or pastrami sandwich. Service is casual and friendly, and the place has the feel of a neighborhood cornerstone.
A laid-back alternative to the Warehouse District's pricey haute spots, this nautically themed tavern specializes in fish, seafood, and plenty of beer, in bottles and on tap. One of downtown's best happy hours.
The city’s best jazz club books headliners from every corner of the genre. The dining room where acts perform — you can have dinner while you listen — was recently redesigned for even better sound and sightlines.
This beefy, barn-style restaurant, formerly a Hoggy's, can accommodate 450 people. Fortunately, chef and owner Demetrios Atheneos knows how to win over diners with his impressive gastropub fare. The massive menu features tacos and flatbreads, snacks and starters, sandwiches and entrees. Fried chicken livers, spicy shrimp tacos, fried walleye dinner and ale-steamed mussels frites are all standouts, as is the impressive craft beer list.
The ornamental leprechauns may be suspect, but the rest of the Old Angle is more Dublin than Dublin. Folk and blues musicians play solo by the fireplace hearth at the end of the bar.
An extensive collection of well-priced cocktails and wine is the major draw at this good-looking martini bar. But when the kitchens on its game, the concise menu of modern American and Mediterranean fare earns its props too.
Cleveland's version of a theater-district deli, this Playhouse Square staple has been entertaining arts lovers and downtown lunchers for more than 100 years, with a cast of soups, salads, steaks, chicken, and stacked-up sandwiches, many like the W.C. Fields and Fanny Brice named in honor of old-time stage stars. Dinner hours vary with the theaters' schedules; calling ahead is always a smart move.
Known more for its ribs than its rock, Pacers features DJs on the weekends. A mammoth TV and lots of booths make it a good place to watch sports.
Some of the city's top players belt out a soundtrack of classic blues and R&B from their perch tucked away in the corner of this neighborhood bar in one of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods.
A taste of Vegas in downtown Cleveland, this sprawling complex boasts four distinct vibes: pumping house music in the martini bar, national comedians in the Hilarities theater, an open kitchen and piled portions in the bright restaurant, and sequined performers in original revues at the cabaret.
Cozy and retro, this former workingman’s watering hole serves up food, booze, and a bowling machine along with the live music. You’ll find locals laying down everything from lounge and jazz to folk and bluegrass.
Provenance and Provenance Café opened in the Cleveland Museum of Art, plugging a gaping hole at that institution. Provenance is a 75-seat fine-dining restaurant, while Provenance Café is a sporty quick-service option. Run mutually by Doug Katz and Bon Appétit Management, both offer diners completely different but equally satisfying experiences.
Casual and unpretentious, the Pufferbelly has been bringing new travelers to Kent's landmark 1875 train station for more than two decades. The all-encompassing menu includes something for everyone, with varying degrees of success. But even if the restaurant can't claim to offer destination dining, as an occasional layover on life's travels, it generally fills the bill.
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar.
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.
Town and gown unite behind the swinging doors of this venerable tavern, where the burgers sizzle, the French fries rock and the beer list goes on and on.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
For over 30 years, Ricks has served as the kitchen away from home for hungry Chagrin Falls residents. Unfussy and satisfying, the hearty American fare includes homemade soups, fresh salads, great burgers and now-famous barbecue ribs and chicken. Full bar and small patio.
Formerly the Akron Scorcher's and the Tap House, the sport-and-rock-themed Ripper Owens' Tap House now has the former Judas Priest singer as a partner. When he's not on the road, he makes appearances.
This dim watering hole is the quintessential neighborhood bar, but with one important twist: The homemade grub is several cuts above the competition. Especially noteworthy are the boffo burgers freshly ground, hand-formed giants, done to order and served with style and the plump pierogies, smothered with grilled onions and sour cream. Full bar, live music on weekends.
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