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.
Ignoring a restaurant because it resides in a hotel is not only unfair it's unwise, as evidenced by this contemporary American gem. Upending stereotypes at every turn, Amp relies on locally grown ingredients to fashion its modern, seasonal, and delightful dishes. Divided into sections for sharing, small plates, entrées, and sides, the affordable menu is ideal for guests who come and go at all hours of the day.
After 25 years in Little Italy, Paul Minnillo has moved to the suburbs with this contemporary restaurant serving modern regional Italian cuisine. The far-ranging menu includes small-plate-style antipasti and creative greens, as well as silken pastas and hearty entrées. A wood-fired pizza oven turns out killer Neapolitan-style pies. A deep Italian wine list and a patio round out this East Side gem.
L'Albatros seduces diners with a roster of classic brasserie gems like escargot, roasted cod, and an outstanding selection of cheeses. But since this is a Zack Bruell restaurant, guests can count on more than a few contemporary menu twists, all served up in a series of intimate dining spaces and, in season, one of the region's loveliest secluded patios.
Sophisticated but fun-loving, beautiful but sassy, Michael and Liz Symon's Lola is the hottest spot in town, with a tightly crafted menu of contemporary American fare, rife with elegant and amusing touches. Depending on the season, offerings might include beef-cheek pierogies or smoked Berkshire pork. And leave room for dessert: Lola turns out some of the most creative sweets in town. Notable wine list.
This mellow East Fourth St. bar packs no shortage of different styles on its stage — everything from reggae and blues to jazz and R&B. On weekends, DJs take over for the late shift.
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.
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.
When it comes to value, this neighborhood bistro delivers, with a well-crafted array of contemporary preparations think dishes like sautéed mango shrimp or pan-seared duck breast with strawberry vinaigrette at moderate prices. Smart selection of martinis and wine.
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.
Luscious slabs of beef and creative, indulgent salads, sides and desserts make this modern American steakhouse a prime location for well-heeled meat-eaters. A well-organized wine list, gracious service and contemporary rustic decor with a Napa-like sophistication complete the regions best steakhouse.
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.
Touch’s DJs spin the freshest cuts in town. They’ll also play stuff you’ve heard, but the DJs here pride themselves on the funk, soul, indie rock, and dance remixes that never hit the Top 40.
Zdenko Zovkic has given the usual staid steakhouse scene a smart, contemporary twist, turning this high-profile restaurant into a svelte, sexy destination. While the steaks, all USDA prime, are the real stars, the lengthy menu goes well beyond to include luxurious fish and seafood alternatives. Meantime, seats in XO's uncluttered lounge are prime space for sampling the neighborhood's urbane vibe.
Imported from Buffalo, the Chocolate Bar is part nightclub, part restaurant. By day, the airy space bustles with lunchtime activity, with diners digging into affordable salads, sandwiches, and entrées. At night, ladies (and the men who love them) pair chocolate martinis with decadent desserts. While chocolate finds its way into all manner of menu items, it's wise to stick to those that come with whipped cream or alcohol.
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.
Nestled into a rustic, rambling structure on the Mario's International Spas' campus, The Cabin offers an enticing menu of mostly Mediterranean fare, featuring wood-fired pizzas, plush pastas, and well-executed seafood, chops, and steaks.
"Gastropubs" are where ambitious cuisine collides with informality and kick-ass beer. To see what one looks, feels, and tastes like, head to Deagan’s in the heart of Lakewood. It's a food-lover’s pub, where the chef-driven fare is good enough to earn a spot at a so-called fancy restaurant.
Elegant, intimate, and friendly, this staple of the Hudson dining scene is a winner. Tapas-like small plates and not-so-small plates make up the menu; but despite the wine-bar motif and an occasional Asian accent, the fare owes much to the classic French bistro, with the depth of flavor that only made-from-scratch cooking can impart.
This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike.
The eclectic, contemporary menu at this Tremont fixture is a good match for its shabby-chic decor; and somehow, dishes like bouillabaisse, seared duck breast, and sausage-and-goat-cheese rigatoni taste better when devoured 'neath the light of candles and lava lamps. Friendly staffers and a full bar are other reasons to pad on into this neighborhood gem.
Ken Stewart's newest endeavor is a top-notch restaurant disguised as a fanciful homage to rural rusticity. Fish and seafood are the stars of the contemporary menu, and while the prices are as up-to-date as the preparations, generous portions, imaginative decor, and polished service make a meal here seem like a value. Impressive wine list.
Set a few steps below street level (in the former Utrecht Art Supplies space), Bodega greets guests with a sleek waterfall, handsome wood floors and shimmering linens, and offers top-flight beers and a staggering amount of martinis and wines. The kitchen turns out cold tapas like stuffed grape leaves, scallop ceviche and beef carpaccio, and hot plates like bruschetta, paella and mussels in saffron. “I love Miami,” says owner Said Ouaddaadaa. ”I thought, why not bring Miami to Cleveland?”
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.
Whether it's authentic Neapolitan pizza, tangy house-cured salumi, or luscious braised pork cheeks, count on Cleveland celebrity-chef Michael Symon and his staff to do it right at this sassy, sexy little boîte in trendy Tremont. For luxe on a budget, grab a seat at the bar and check out the daily happy-hour specials.
Owner Maureen Schneider has carved a warm and cozy niche out of a former 1920s tavern near the Cuyahoga River. The eclectic dinner menu, posted on blackboards, changes often and blends hearty fare, like lamb and duck, with Californian and Pacific Rim accents; lunch includes a selection of sophisticated noshes, as well as soups, salads and sandwiches.
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.
Exceptional, seasonal and extravagant ingredients produce big results in small packages. Three-, four- and five-course prix fixe menus available.
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