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.
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.
Besides stocking such essentials as pet food and toothpaste, this urbane market includes a big wine department, a selection of food-fashionable gifts, and a well-stocked deli overseen by an in-house chef. Eat-in/carry-out options range from mac & cheese to freshly prepared sushi. For a final taste of something sweet, grab an oversized German-chocolate brownie.
At Aureole in New York, chef Dante Boccuzzi snagged Michelin stars two years running. Back home in Cleveland, he has taken over the former Lockkeepers and injected it with a more casual sensibility. Working as he has in Italy, France and Asia, Boccuzzi incorporates elements of these cuisines into boldly flavored dishes like Thai-style mussels, house-made cavatelli and pomegranate-glazed duck. Full bar and wine list.
Chef-owner Rocco Whalen's well-appointed bistro is one of the best in town, with a seasonal menu of smart, contemporary fare, spiced up with Asian and Mediterranean accents.
This Irish bar in the heart of downtown features live music most weekends — primarily singer-songwriters and Irish acts. But it’s best known for having Guinness on tap and throwing one hell of a St. Paddy’s Day party.
Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget.
Cobblestone roads lead to the best beers around. The tasting room provides a bird's-eye view of the shiny steel tanks and antique bar that Eliot Ness once bellied up to. The cellar bar is less bright, but even more atmospheric.
Ohio's first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) restaurant has drawn national kudos for both its design and its New American menu of locally sourced foods. Chef Jonathon Sawyer has a gift for making chef-driven fare seem both approachable and casual.
A devastating fire put Grumpy’s out of commission for two years, but owner Kathy Owad has resurrected the beloved Tremont café in a cozy new space. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late-night weekend dining, Grumpy’s pretty much has you covered morning, noon and night. Expect hearty plates of reasonably priced, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food served with cheerfulness.
The two-story guitar outside the Hard Rock is a beacon for music lovers, who pack the place every weekend to feast on mammoth burgers and music videos. The dining area is sometimes cleared for concerts, which typically feature rockers on the rise.
About as fancy as it gets at John Q's is a 16-ounce strip steak with a coating of cognac mustard and cracked black peppercorns. Other beef entrées porterhouse, filet mignon, rib steak, and prime rib are presented unadorned, all the better for you to enjoy their grilled flavor. The sprawling restaurant includes several romantic, curtained booths; ask for one when you make reservations.
Dark, intimate, and timelessly elegant, this manly little jewel box of a restaurant is the sort of place you suggest when you want to impress the boss, wow a date, or just remind yourself why you work so damn hard. The menu is crammed with upscale Italian specialties, including some stunning risottos and one of the city's finest long-boned veal chops; at lunch, though pssst the char-grilled burger is out of this world.
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Go to this opulent Warehouse District restaurant and find out. The kitchen's heady creations are nearly as grand as the room itself, with bold flavors, savory ingredients, and a pleasantly upscale Italian accent. Hey, at least our dreams of the good life are free.
Cozy and candlelit, this club uses gourmet music to attract a mellow crowd.
Located in the Asian Plaza a three-floor complex of professional offices, gift shops, herb stores, and Asian food markets Li Wah offers an assortment of traditional dim sum as well as a large menu of fresh seafood and authentic Hong Kong-style cuisine. Dim sum is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Artful, ambitious, and urbane, this Ohio City bistro disproves the notion that Clevelanders are strictly a steak-and-taters crowd. At dinner, a tightly composed "progressive American" menu treads fearlessly from braised pork belly to eggplant flan and beyond, always focused on seasonal, sustainable, locally grown foods and always playing to an enthusiastic audience.
Yup, it's a little bar all right: dim and a tad dingy. But that said, it's worth seeking out for its first-rate burgers, juicy ribs, freshly cut French fries, and a daily "comfort food" special like chicken Parmesan over penne pasta.
Mallorca, with its large portions of classic Spanish dishes and formal, friendly service, has developed a devoted following. Best bets include paella Valenciana a generous portion of shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, half-lobster tail, chicken, and chorizo sausage in a saffron-flavored seafood broth.
This smartly appointed eatery is a contemporary cafeteria, offering breakfast and lunches; mid-day offerings include freshly made burgers, pizza, soups, salads, and panini. A project of environmentally attuned Bon Appetit Management Co., the cafe makes a fine addition to the weekday restaurant scene, while practicing a high degree of environmental awareness.
Euro-techno charm and nearly 100 different beers (along with martinis and a small wine list) make this the destination of choice for savvy suds fans; and for those who aren't so savvy, the annotated beer list is as educational as it is intoxicating. To go with, try Italian fare from next door's Bar Cento.
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
Part of an international group, Cleveland's Morton's does the expected fine job with slabs of beef. Steak choices include porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip; prime rib, lamb, chicken, and seafood also put in appearances. Atmosphere is comfortingly retro, with dim lighting, cozy banquettes, and Ol' Blue Eyes singing in the background.
Fun and funky, downtown's only Japanese-style ramen house offers an array of noodle bowls ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Creative sides and add-ons allow slurpers to customize their bowls in almost endless ways, while a tight selection of cold sake, beer, wine, and creative cocktails adds to the merriment.
A stone's throw from West Sixth and a few steps below the pavement, an after-dinner martini crowd gathers at this candlelit Italian restaurant's bar.
Under the guidance of well-seasoned chef Brett Montgomery, this 20-year-old restaurant in the downtown Renaissance Hotel seems reinvigorated. Much of that comes from Montgomery's decision to highlight local products on his Med-American menu, an urge that extends from precisely prepared dinner entries like Lake Erie walleye and Ohio City Pasta pierogi to the cheeses, sausages, and even the maple syrup on the groaning breakfast buffet.
Neat, tidy, and friendly, this multicultural restaurant in the heart of Asia Town serves an enormous variety of authentic Asian eats, most with an emphasis on seafood. Ingredients are fresh, flavors are nuanced and masterfully balanced, and prices are notable values, particularly during the bustling lunch hours.
The South Side doesn’t quite overload all the senses, but it stimulates them with exposed brick walls, a winding granite bar, local artwork that changes monthly, and four big plasma screens equipped with surround sound. After the kitchen closes, an upscale-casual crowd gather in the bar.
A smartly appointed alternative to the food court that sits below, this handsome downtown restaurant serves a solid assortment of salads, sandwiches, seafood, and pasta, with speedy service designed to get you back to your desk, or into your theater seat, with time to spare.
A welcome alternative to fast-food lunches, this funky downtown noodle house and juice bar combines fresh flavors and speedy counter service with a casual college-town vibe, for a dining "experience" as unique as it is inexpensive. That's probably why the lines are sometimes out the door. Go, and feel good.
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