A cool vibe and a sizzling menu of attentively prepared American fare have turned Doug and Karen Katz's bistro into one of the city's top restaurants. "Classical simplicity" is the watchword here, and when those classical techniques are applied to first-rate ingredients, the results are often nothing less than astonishing. Interesting list of food-friendly wines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
When Michael Symon set out to craft Cleveland's best burger, he didn't take the task lightly. Built with beef supplied by legendary New York purveyor Pat LaFrieda, the burgers explode with beefy goodness. Other B's include brats, beer, and bad-ass milkshakes. Tack on orders of rosemary-scented Lola fries, golden onion rings, or blazing-hot Sriracha wings.
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.
Adjacent to Arts Collinwood, this corner storefront is a multimedia café hosting art openings, jazz recitals, and the Waterloo film series, as well as serving a light menu of savories and sweets. Wine, beer and cocktails are served, and patio seating is available.
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.
The city's ultimate Italian sweet shop, Corbo's bakes nearly two dozen different types of cookies every day. Seven-layer cookies, cookies coated with toasted pine nuts, cookies stuffed with apricot filling, cannoli and four or five types of biscotti are just a few of its delicious offerings. The bakery opens early and stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays, making this a sweet destination for coffee and cookies after a stroll through Little Italy.
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.
If you think Fat Cats is cool, you'll definitely love Felice. Run by the same restaurateur, this cozy eatery is tucked inside a restored Craftsman-style home on the Shaker-Cleveland border. Awaiting diners is unfussy and affordable Mediterranean fare, much of it with a decidedly Spanish flair. There's chorizo-spiked mussels, lamb sliders, skirt steak chimichurri and garlicky seafood stew. Full bar, wine and beer. Outdoor patio.
The menu at this sunny storefront café is eclectic. There is miso soup and mushroom quiche. Salads are topped with tofu and crab stick. Sandwiches are stuffed not only with tuna fish and egg salad, but also panko-breaded tilapia and Japanese pork cutlet. Katsu-don is a one-meal wonder of meat, rice and egg. Lovely garden patio.
Grotto specializes in Italian wines and tapas-style dishes. The focal point is a 1,000-bottle stone-and-brick wine cellar. The menu offers options for small and larger appetites, with items like antipasto plates, osso buco sliders, calamari, and grilled shrimp. In addition to a few soups and salads, the heartier fare includes pizzas and pastas.
Over the years, this vintage tavern has gone from a shabby little shot-and-a-beer joint to a welcoming destination, with a long, eclectic menu ranging from spicy noodle yakitori to burgers and fries, an impressive beer collection, and one of the best-priced wine lists in the region.
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.
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