Zanzibar brings back soul to Shaker Square with a menu of upscale soul-fusion cuisine. Owner Akin Affrica, whose family runs Angie's Soul Café, has not only spiffed up the notion of a soul food restaurant, he has spiffed up the notion of soul food. Expect shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all served up in a tasteful setting.
A tried-and-true combo of handsome surroundings and familiar fare makes this snug Chagrin Falls tavern a popular neighborhood spot.
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.
While real pubs are woven into the fabric of a neighborhood, youll find Claddagh (part of a national chain) adrift in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by a shopping mecca. Once you're inside, though, evocative decor, friendly service and a multipage menu of well-prepared dishes, including a standout version of fish n chips, help soften the blow. Nor does it hurt that the full bar carries a solid selection of draft beers as well as every Irish whiskey available in the U.S.
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.
Although the kitchen at this Caribbean-themed restaurant (part of the Darden Restaurants chain) tends to keep the heat turned down, much of the food such as pressed Cuban sandwiches, butterflied coconut prawns, pan-seared pork tenderloin in a rummy demiglace is flavorful and attentively prepared. Still, the real draw is the bustling bar scene, fueled by shooters, beer, and boozy, fruity, and frozen concoctions designed to make every night feel like a week at the beach.
Casual, cozy, and with a splendid secluded patio for warm-weather dining, this upscale tavern offers everything from burgers and ribs to filet mignon and veal medallions. The surrounding countryside is charming, and getting there on the winding Geauga County roads is almost half the fun.
Clean, casual and family-friendly, this gourmet pizza parlor (part of a large, California-based chain) is the best bet for dining with the little ones while at Legacy Village.
A clean, casual Lebanese-American eatery across from the Cleveland Clinic, Cedarland has a large menu of Middle Eastern standards, including shishtawook, baked fish, and falafel. Lots of choices for vegetarians. There's a small imported-foods market too.
Despite its bright new decor, Corky & Lenny's remains that most venerable of urban eating establishments: a good Jewish deli. From garlicky dills waiting at each table to the fizzy chocolate phosphates, all the traditional noshes are on hand. Corned beef is lean and flavorful, latkes are fat and tender, and the creamy cheesecake may be the best in town.
A visit to Jim Anagnostos's shiny silver diner is a nostalgic trip back through time, to the days of all-American meals like meatloaf and gravy, liver and onions, and classic chili.
Except for the Saturday-only prime rib dinner, there is nothing fancy about this comfy little restaurant and bar. But Fisher's is still immensely popular with area workers for its big sandwiches and salads, as well as homemade soups and desserts. After 5 p.m., entrées like ribs, New York strip steak, and fettuccine Alfredo are also available. If you can, get a table on the charming enclosed sunporch. Or, in warm weather, eat on the shaded deck.
If you think everything fades after three decades, check out this mainstay of the East Side dining scene, where the seasonal menu of well-crafted cuisine remains reliably, vibrantly up-to-date. Summer lunches on the shady, tree-lined patio are a high point of the season; in the winter, several fireplaces make for cozy indoor dining.
HPP's Beachwood location is big, manly and urbane, with all the trappings of an upscale midwestern steakhouse. Happily, the food shrimp cocktails, Kobe beef burgers and of course, thick, juicy steaks is as satisfying as the setting, and the place is as popular for after-work unwinding as it is for weekend splurges.
Yes, its part of a national group of Nashville-based restaurants. But J. Alexanders still gets the nod for intelligently conceived and well-prepared food, served in a gimmick-free atmosphere. Prices are right, portions are huge, and the slowly roasted prime rib is probably Clevelands finest.
This attractive Larchmere Boulevard space is operated by the folks behind Angie's Soul Café and Zanzibar Soul Fusion. Here, the focus is on Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by the Big Easy: Think authentically prepared gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, and étouffée. The seafood is fresh, the sauces vivacious, the portions robust, and the prices right where they should be.
If you sent the Lee Road diner cars through some sort of magical car wash, what would come out the other end is the Katz Club Diner. The chrome is brighter, the glass clearer, and the linens crisper. On the menu are comfort foods like eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, chicken a la King, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes – all cooked the "Doug Katz Way." In the morning, a well-tended coffee bar dispatches cups of locally roasted java and fresh-baked pastries.
Owner, namesake, and painstaking chef Marta Runza works magic on her Eastern-European repertoire, turning out succulent, slow-cooked sauerbraten, ephemeral Czech dumplings, and the best roast duck of any nationality in town. And while the tiny dining room and bar are no more glam than Granny's rec room, the friendly Old World charm is priceless. Try the bar's unusual Czech specialties.
Rightly praised for its gigantic stuffed and toasted grilled cheese sandwiches, this home-grown phenomenon fills bellies and buoys spirits. Fillings range from the austere to the ridiculous, such as the pair of cheese pierogies inside the Parmageddon. Wicked beer list, kitsch-filled dining room, and rockin' tunes create a festive atmosphere.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For years, this breathtakingly beautiful French Norman space has been reserved for private functions. With the unveiling of Rockefeller's, guests now can dine in an extravagant room built for a tycoon. Seasonal American with the occasional Asian kick, the dishes are creative but restrained and always delicious. Lounge seating with a complementary menu gives late-night noshers a tasteful place to roost.
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