There are pizzas. And then there are Angelos pizzas: plump, fragrant works of art, from the thick provolone topping all the way down to the rich, yeasty crust. The chicken club is good, the veggie is great and the creamy, cheesy seafood pizza, topped with lobster cream, shrimp, crabmeat and fresh spinach, is the stuff of which our dreams are made. Salads, sandwiches, wings, a few pasta platters and a worthwhile beer list round out the menu at this good-looking spot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 menus nothing fancy, composed mostly of pasta, a few sandwiches, a simple pizza, and some pastries. And while the surroundings are clean and comfy, the amenities are homey at best. But when you and a bud each can snare an ample portion of spaghetti with homemade meatballs and share a freshly stuffed cannoli, and still get change from a $20, thats what we call a bargain. Beer and wine are available.
Live oldies, rock, and blues invigorate the weekend crowds at Under C's Lounge, the spacious basement club adjoining Carrie Cerino's Italian restaurant.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
If youthful and edgy are what it takes to toss your trenne, this snug little restaurant at the far end of a Parma strip plaza may not be your kind of place. But if good-tasting Italian fare, brought forth in large portions at reasonable prices, is what makes your Alfredo creamy, look no further than the dimly lit Corleones.
Casually upscale yet family-friendly, this good-looking reincarnation of Hudson's old Red Tomato offers everything from pizza and pasta to filet mignon.
A fine choice for families, this bright, contemporary pizza parlor offers freshly made pies, wholesome salads and a concise selection of beer and wine, including eight microbrews on draft. Friendly staffers take small fry in stride, and while Mom and Dad unwind, the kiddies can safely watch the chefs at work from behind a glass partition.
Too often, Italian joints go heavy on the comfort and light on the quality. Not so here where owner Eddie Cerino approaches traditional Italian food less like a grandmother and more like a chef. The result is food that looks familiar but tastes modern. And thanks to half orders of salad and pasta, diners have control over portion size and price. $$$
One of Ohio's largest family-owned wineries, Ferrante's is located along the southern shores of Lake Erie. The winery offers award-winning wines, charm, and hospitality next to the two cozy fireplaces in the full-service Italian restaurant.
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.
Blink your eyes as you zip through town, and you're likely to miss this little Italian restaurant and that would be a shame, because the selection is broad, the preparations are sophisticated, and the prices are reasonable. For dessert, don't miss the mascarpone-dense, barely sweetened, homemade tiramisu.
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.
If you weren't born into an Italian family, dining at this unpretentious Solon restaurant could be the next best thing. Chef-owner Jimmy Daddano makes all his sauces from traditional recipes: Yeasty garlic rolls, slathered with butter and cheese, arrive fresh from the oven, and Jimmy's mom makes the homemade desserts from scratch.
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.
Dimly lit, slightly scruffy and immensely popular with the locals, circa-1949 Luigi's is the epitome of old-style pizza parlors, complete with Chianti in straw-covered bottles. (It is also alleged to be the inspiration for "Montoni's" in Tom Batiuk's Funky Winkerbean.) Personal faves include the cheese-smothered tossed salad, the ultra-gooey lasagna and of course, the prize-winning pizza, loaded with zesty toppings.
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?
Our pick for one of the best "casual eats" values in town, this nicely appointed osteria inside Whole Foods Market offers sit-down dining, friendly service, and a small but appealing menu of freshly prepped Italian fare at prices you'd be hard-pressed to match at home. Drinkers can choose from an inexpensive beer and wine list or buy a bottle at retail, which staffers will uncork and pour for free.
Cantilevered over the mighty Cuyahoga River, this upscale Italian restaurant offers a spectacular view and an impressive dinner menu of imaginative seasonal cuisine, created under the direction of acclaimed Akron chef Roger Thomas.
A popular lunch stop for downtowns white-collar crew, Porcellis serves a simple but sophisticated menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastas, including gnocchi with pesto cream and penne with chicken, spinach, and walnuts. Prices are reasonable, particularly by downtown standards, and speedy service will get you back to the office before Scrooge even knows youve ducked out.
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.
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