Always energetic and occasionally riveting rustic Mediterranean and American cuisine leads the way at this chef-driven bistro in Kent. Above-average desserts, too, from an in-house pastry chef.
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.
A suburban outpost of the Cleveland Heights original, Aurora's Café Tandoor serves precisely prepared Northern Indian food in an attractive setting. Among our favorites are the restaurant's unusual cashew-and-pistachio-crusted naan, warm from the tandoori oven, and the unusually good kheer.
Big, crisp, creative salads and reduced-cholesterol omelets make this bright, airy restaurant a hit with both area cube farmers and health-conscious hipsters. Meanwhile, sloths, slackers, and the rest of us can dine just fine from the menu's collection of burgers, hot dogs, and deli treats.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
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.
Every town needs a good family-owned and operated deli with offerings that range from corned beef and burgers to hot dogs and pulled pork; in Hudson, Deli on Rye is it. A long list of classic deli combos many named after surrounding communities adds to the fun, especially when paired with a cold beer.
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.
It's easy to imagine a gaggle of heavy-set, cigar-chomping underworld figures hunkered over dry martinis and enormous steaks at this downtown Akron institution, but even today's suburbanite will enjoy the juicy steaks, chops, and seafood that make up Diamond Grille's simple, timeless menu.
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.
The plastic and neon of the Montrose shopping district are two miles and several decades removed from this little roadhouse. But while the Alley's big menu of sandwiches, pizza and salads seems soothingly unfashionable, execution is above average, the car-themed decor is charming, and the attitude is hip.
Blink your eyes as you zip through town, and you're likely to miss this little Italian restaurant and that would be a shame, because the selection is broad, the preparations are sophisticated, and the prices are reasonable. For dessert, don't miss the mascarpone-dense, barely sweetened, homemade tiramisu.
Short-order cooks toil inside this tiny vintage dining car, slapping around savory sirloin burgers and ladling up the best chili-and-cheese-drenched "Bubba Fries" in town. Other options include salads (even tough guys need their greens), soups, and juicy chicken sandwiches. The diner does brisk business for breakfast and lunch; hungry road warriors, or their Walter Mitty doppelgängers, can also catch an early dinner here on Fridays before 7 p.m.
This old-fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter not only provides casual fare in a family-friendly setting, but also serves as sheltered employment for clients of the Hattie Larlham agency. The vintage fixtures were salvaged from the former Saywell's Drug Store, a Main Street mainstay for almost seven decades.
Comfy, cozy, and family-friendly, Hudson's is a classic neighborhood restaurant, serving reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, as well as libations from the full bar. While the owners' culinary chops are apparent in creations like Jamaican-spiced pork loin or bourbon-glazed salmon, the menu is far more homey than haute, with enough burgers, chicken, and meatloaf to satisfy even the least adventurous eater.
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.
Dimly lit, slightly scruffy and immensely popular with the locals, circa-1949 Luigi's is the epitome of old-style pizza parlors, complete with Chianti in straw-covered bottles. (It is also alleged to be the inspiration for "Montoni's" in Tom Batiuk's Funky Winkerbean.) Personal faves include the cheese-smothered tossed salad, the ultra-gooey lasagna and of course, the prize-winning pizza, loaded with zesty toppings.
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.
Finally, a proper British tearoom, free of Victorian fuss or clutter, where even manly men can feel welcome. Despite the frivolous name, Mrs. Ticklemore is serious about her top-grade teas, indulgent pastries, and delicious little savories, making the fare at this tearoom as good-tasting as it is refreshing to the spirit.
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.
Cantilevered over the mighty Cuyahoga River, this upscale Italian restaurant offers a spectacular view and an impressive dinner menu of imaginative seasonal cuisine, created under the direction of acclaimed Akron chef Roger Thomas.
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.
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.
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.
This is what happens when you mix devotion to mindful living with a straight-out passion for delicious food: You get deceptively simple and savory entrées like slow-roasted pork shoulder or braised breast of free-range chicken inspired by seasonal, regional and often organic ingredients, and an artfully rustic ambiance that underscores the handcrafted quality of the cuisine. Yes, it is a long ride to Wooster. But it's worth it.
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