Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, youre likely to enjoy the elegant, 1950s-style decor and the big menu of well-prepared southern Italian standards served in oversized portions just right for sharing. Private parties, banquets, and corporate events are other house specialties.
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
We've seen hallways bigger than this tiny Italian restaurant, but the intimate ambiance and robust food are ample compensation for the lack of elbow room. The small menu has the usual pasta, chicken, and veal dishes, all well-prepared and flavorful. And the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are notable for their crisp, almost wafer-thin crusts. Impressive all-Italian wine list.
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.
Trained in Italys Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list.
Located on the second floor of Asian Town Center, this Korean restaurant is bright, modern, and roomy. Meals begin with cups of nutty barley tea and a huge spread of panchan: pungent side dishes that range from fiery kimchi to steamed broccoli. Miega prepares its flavorful kalbi and bulgogi atop a tabletop hot plate. The galbi dolsot bibimbap — rice, beef, veggies, and a fried egg served in a sizzling earthenware bowl — is one of the best in the city.
Mister Brisket (a.k.a. Sanford Herskovitz) has expanded his specialty butcher shop to include a carryout sandwich counter, featuring everything from barbecued beef to rich Romanian pastrami. But the real draw is the unconventional corned beef, baked in a convection oven, rather than boiled, as is done in most delis. Does it make a difference? Try it, then decide for yourself.
Strip-plaza setting notwithstanding, this handsome bistro has grown into Mentor's "go-to" spot for casually upscale dining, with an eclectic menu that ranges from Kobe burgers and signature crab cakes to pastas and parmigianas. For those who like lighter fare, a selection of stone-oven-baked pizzas fill the bill; for those who like drinking, the on-site wine shop provides 700 or so choices by the bottle, priced at retail plus a $5 corking fee.
Svelte and sophisticated, Moxie is where you take your business partners to impress them with your good taste. The seasonal American foods, including grilled fish, savory meats, and bountiful salads, are artfully presented by professional servers.
Owner Billy Dagg is a retired Cleveland firefighter, and his cheerful Irish pub is a second home for many of the city's finest, who flock here for the shepherd's pie, big slabs of char-broiled prime rib and the expansive international beer collection. Happily, even those of us who don't carry a badge are made to feel welcome, and if you don't leave here well-fed, that's no one's fault but your own.
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