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.
Aficionados of authentic Neapolitan-style pizza have been claiming this pizzeria serves the best pie in town. That is not a surprise considering that the pizzaioli uses time-tested ingredients, techniques, and equipment, including a 950-degree wood-burning oven. The menu is largely confined to pizza, but does include starters, salads, and desserts.
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.
This is the spot where Dave Lombardy actor, playwright, and hungry guy launched his Cosmic Sub empire way back in 1997. Now he has branches all around the region, where he and his crew create nearly three dozen types of mouthwatering subs, stuffed with the finest ingredients (including vegetarian options), bundled up in the region's best buns, and served in a space as colorful as your favorite tie-dyed T-shirt.
If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you havent been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandras voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its names translation: The Kiss.
Dont let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonnas kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
If you crave it, chances are that Freshlys serves it, from a big menu of tasty international noshes including corned beef, pastrami, gyros, pizza, salads, pasta, and wings. Service is mostly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who just hafta have it now.
Flavors are mainly mild and ingredients mostly familiar at this pretty Thai restaurant on Lander Circle, making Peppermint a stress-free destination for both daring diners and their more timid next of kin. Among the many options, find plenty of noodle and rice dishes, as well as seafood, curries, and vegetarian treats. A small kids menu expands the family friendly theme.
Happy Hour: Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
$2 beers, $3 cocktails, $4 house wine, $5 martinis
$3.95 bar apps, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. (bar area only)
Second location: 8158 Broadview Road, Broadview Heights, 440.526.5454
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 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.
Boasting one of the very few wood-burning ovens in town, Vero turns out some of the most authentic Neapolitan-style pizza around. Owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer inherited the oven — and the space — from the previous tenant, La Gelateria. The gelato is the same, but the pizza is much improved. An airy, chewy edge blistered with char gives way to a thin, crisp inner crust supporting a few choice ingredients. These pies are meant to be enjoyed fresh from the oven.
A tried-and-true combo of handsome surroundings and familiar fare makes this snug Chagrin Falls tavern a popular neighborhood spot.
Little Hunan Solon is operated by some of the same people responsible for the excellent Hunan by the Falls, and it offers much the same menu of meticulously prepared Asian foods served in a serenely contemporary space. "Can't-miss" choices include Sichuan sesame noodles in a thick sesame-peanut sauce, Hunan-style dry-roasted green beans with garlic and remarkably luscious walnut prawns.
This sleek restaurant specializes in authentic Moroccan cuisine. Naturally, there are numerous couscous and tajine dishes, plus a festive Berber stew featuring prawns, scallops, and mussels.
The shelves of this fine Italian market groan beneath a vast collection of meats, cheeses, oils, sauces, breads, pastries and pastas. Meantime, customers waistbands groan beneath the delicious onslaught of Galluccis prepared carryout foods, including subs, salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan and especially authentic Italian-style pizza, available by the pie or by the giant rectangular slice.
This colorful Mexican restaurant produces what may be the city's best mole, that thick, mahogany-colored sauce of tomatoes, peppers, chocolate, ground nuts, raisins, and spices. The rest of the kitchen's output isn't bad either, with virtually everything made from scratch.
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.
A cool vibe and a sizzling menu of attentively prepared American fare have turned Doug and Karen Katz's bistro into one of the city's top restaurants. "Classical simplicity" is the watchword here, and when those classical techniques are applied to first-rate ingredients, the results are often nothing less than astonishing. Interesting list of food-friendly wines.
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.
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