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.
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.
Channeling the spirit of a European wine bar, this funky little spot in Ohio City makes a tasty backdrop for a small but tempting menu of thin-crusted pizzas, house-cured meats, handmade pastas, and some of the best twice-fried, Belgian-style fries you'll ever find on a Cleveland tabletop. To go with, the annotated wine list offers 100 selections, while next door's Bier Markt provides dozens of imported brews.
During daylight hours, this anchor of the Warehouse District party scene masquerades as a simple bar and restaurant. But on any weekend, the place becomes a holding pen for a unique cross section of clubbers, from gel-headed fratsters to hip-hoppers to suited execs.
This Tremont taqueria puts the power of the pen in the diner's hand. Guests design their own tacos from a list of some 30 components — from shell to filling to salsa to toppings. The best part: They are all just $3 each. This blissfully informal approach is a great fit for the unpretentious food. In addition to the tacos, the menu features a few starters and sides, not to mention a landslide of tequilas and margaritas. The delightful patio makes a perfect perch to enjoy them.
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.
Owner, chef, host, server, bartender, and busser: Junior Battiste really does it all. As a result, dining in this teensy Cajun restaurant can be an adventure, marked by warmth, whimsy, and occasionally slow service. Still, those who value style and substance over speed won't be disappointed: Junior's made-from-scratch cookin' is some of the best in town.
Casually upscale and unselfconsciously cool, this neighborhood bistro is home to delicious gourmet pizzas, an intriguing collection of fish and seafood dishes, and a dashing wine list containing one of the regions largest assortment of half-bottles.
This warm sports bar hosts live rock and blues when major games aren't commanding attention.
Part of an international chain of teppanyaki restaurants, Benihana has long been a Cleveland fave for communal dining around hibachi tables, where knife-wielding chefs provide dinner and a show. Thanks to a lengthy remodeling, a sushi bar now joins the scene; while the sushi offerings aren't particularly imaginative, they are fresh and tasty.
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.
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.
The club's logo -- a porker in a tie -- says it all. Down and dirty, but still kind of chic, the large, open Pig caters to an older, rock-oriented crowd, with cover bands. Never a cover.
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.
Well-prepared fresh seafood is the specialty at this beautifully renovated space in the Warehouse District. Don't miss Blue Point chowder or the grouper over lobster-mashed potatoes.
If anyone is worried about the state of the economy, you would never know it by the festive crowd of well-dressed hipsters mixing it up inside Ohio's first Brazilian churrascaria. The house specialty is an endless parade of fresh-off-the-grill meats, carved tableside by a crew of peripatetic "gauchos." A meticulously maintained buffet offers salads and more, while elegant, a la carte desserts are worth saving room for.
Reasonably priced, family-friendly dining inside an upscale, Disneyesque facsimile of ancient Roman ruins is this Columbus-based restaurant's claim to fame. The menu focuses on pasta, pizza, or wood-grilled meats; for dessert, the partially caramelized cheesecake, in a pool of crème anglaise, tastes like more.
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.
Casual, inexpensive, and family-friendly, this little brewpub dishes up a big assortment of smoked and barbecued meats, along with homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrées. Pulled pork is a particular fave for a change of pace, try it in the barbecued spaghetti! Rotating selection of 24 beers on draft.
The vast open dining room and mechanical service can make a meal here seem sort of hectic. On the upside, however, well-prepared entrées, such as rack of lamb and lasagna Bolognese, are both tasty and sensibly priced. Part of a Columbus-based chain.
Brothers has grown away from its funky blues-club vibe of days past. Now it features three rooms: a restaurant/tavern, a wine bar that specializes in acoustic sounds, and the roomy Music Hall, which hosts rock, blues, jazz, and reggae acts.
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.
Former Browns player Al Bubba Baker has discovered life beyond the gridiron and its dry-rubbed, slow-smoked, and slathered with homemade BBQ sauce. While Bubbas St. Louis-style ribs are meaty monsters, his boneless baby-back rib steak is one for the record books, deboned by a secret process and tender enough to cut with a fork.
Part of a national chain that attempts to recreate the experience of a boisterous Italian wedding circa 1950, Buca di Beppo is crowded, noisy, and fun. The wall-posted menu includes gargantuan appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, veal, and chicken dishes made for sharing. The food is good, even if it is overshadowed by sheer portion size.
Part of a national chain that attempts to recreate the experience of a boisterous Italian wedding circa 1950, Buca di Beppo is crowded, noisy and fun. The wall-posted menu includes gargantuan appetizers, salads, pizza, pasta, veal, and chicken dishes made for sharing. The food is good, even if it is overshadowed by sheer portion size.
The name says it all at this casual, colorful tavern, where a frosty brew and a half-pound burger will fill you up without emptying your wallet. Beyond the signature patties, served on slabs of garlic-parmesan bread, find a lineup of appropriately tempting bar noshes, including wings, ribs, fries and dogs. And while dessert is rarely a strong suit for taverns, you've got to try the frozen limoncello.
A tried-and-true combo of handsome surroundings and familiar fare makes this snug Chagrin Falls tavern a popular neighborhood spot.
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