Like a well-worn couch, this vintage corner tavern may show its age, but its comfort is undeniable. For proof, just look at the diverse clientele, chowing down on big portions of hearty, inexpensive food. While the burgers are always a good bet, the eclectic offerings include everything from ham & eggs to veal Parmesan, and chicken paprikash to black-eyed peas.
In a neighborhood where you can't swing a pizza box without hitting an Italian restaurant, this is one of the best, with generous servings of thoughtfully prepared foods, at reasonable prices. Specialties include angel-hair pasta loaded with plump, intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and chopped kalamata olives, tossed with garlic and olive oil.
If you miss Mom's cooking, this is the place to get your fix. Big Al's has all the comforting favorites, like thick, steaming soups, housemade mashed potatoes with gravy, open-faced roast beef sandwiches and chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is served until the diner's late-afternoon closing time.
A clean, casual Lebanese-American eatery across from the Cleveland Clinic, Cedarland has a large menu of Middle Eastern standards, including shishtawook, baked fish, and falafel. Lots of choices for vegetarians. There's a small imported-foods market too.
This new incarnation of Club Isabella sparkles in every way, from the gorgeous setting to the original and eclectic cuisine from chef-owner Fabio Mota. Among the seafood-centric options: buttery frogs legs, fried sweet and spicy cuttlefish, crab-rich pasta, monkfish in smoky bacon-studded cream sauce, and scallops with braised pork belly.
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.
Behind the doors of Empress Taytu awaits an exotic culinary adventure of the first order. The restaurant serves authentic Ethiopian foods, including beef, lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes cooked with a variety of spices and herbs.
Every student body needs a place like this small Middle Eastern café near the CWRU campus, where the big menu ranges from fries and burgers to falafel and spinach pies, and the freshly made food is both satisfying and cheap.
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.
Established in 1918, Guarino's is one of Cleveland's oldest restaurants and is still a family operation. While the decor tends toward Victoriana, the kitchen's pasta, veal and seafood dishes are all Italian.
While small and cramped, the Flame is reliably consistent at delivering delicious and reasonably priced Indian fare. The sizable menu contains both dependable favorites and opportunities for adventure, like the matchless goat curry. A thriving lunch buffet attracts Indian food fans like moths to a, well, flame.
This attractive Larchmere Boulevard space is operated by the folks behind Angie's Soul Café and Zanzibar Soul Fusion. Here, the focus is on Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by the Big Easy: Think authentically prepared gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, and étouffée. The seafood is fresh, the sauces vivacious, the portions robust, and the prices right where they should be.
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?
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.
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.
Long known as Shticks, this East Side bastion of healthy eating has stepped ever so slightly away from exclusively vegetarian offerings. Its falafel sandwiches, pita melts, veggie wraps, turkey bacon BLTs, and soups are tasty and nutritious, and you dont have to be a member of the university community to feel welcome.
Pho 99 is located inside the Asian Town Center in Asiatown. The bright and spare restaurant seats about 40 and sticks mostly to well-made versions of the Vietnamese national dish, pho. The small menu also offers crispy fried spring rolls, fresh summer rolls, and a few other items.
Prestis is bright, contemporary, and inviting, and, with two walls of tall windows, it offers some of the best people-watching in Little Italy. Fresh foods include bruschetta, stromboli, pepperoni bread, and frittatas, as well as sweets like cannoli, pignoli, biscotti, and strudel. After your meal, pick up a loaf of warm Italian bread to take home.
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.
For almost 50 years, this Central European polka palace has been dishing out family-style fare at wallet-friendly prices. The all-inclusive dinners include chicken soup, salad, bread and butter, Wiener schnitzel, roast pork, smoked kielbasa, sauerkraut, potatoes, veggies, coffee and dessert. Or, order from the menu's listing of numerous veal, pork and chicken dishes. Live music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.
A happy alliance of modern architecture and contemporary cuisine, Table 45 offers an enticing collection of global fare that blends sophistication with unpretentious appeal. The kitchen may borrow freely from Indian, Mediterranean, and South American pantries, but the clear, focused flavors are all its own.
College students and folk fans flock here for hot mocha latte and live music from one-man bands to acoustic jams and unplugged hams.
Comfortable and casual, the Trattoria dishes up big helpings of tasty Italian food at reasonable prices. Savory nine-inch specialty pizzas include one topped with sautéed spinach, prosciutto, black olives, feta cheese, and mozzarella. Dense homemade potato gnocchi are served with butter, Romano cheese, and a rich tomato-basil sauce.
The former Baricelli Inn has been spruced up by new owner and hospitality pro Scott Kuhn, with a streamlined decor, a handsome bar and lounge, and a delightful menu of seasonal American dishes crafted with an eye toward local sourcing. Sunday brunch is a popular draw, as is the Wednesday-night prix fixe menu. In summer, the secluded patio is a delight.
The Shibley family launched their Greater Cleveland burger empire in 1981 with the motto, If you crave it and we have it, well be glad to make it for you. The restaurants now number six, and the Shaker Heights location is one of the nicest. Juicy gourmet burgers dominate the menu, although hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and omelets are available too. A large breakfast menu, available all day, includes eggs, pancakes, corned-beef hash, and oatmeal.
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.
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