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A classic Cleveland "old-man" bar with a totally modern vibe, this well-run tavern offers a full bar and plenty of tasty noshes, ranging from roasted red pepper hummus to a humongous burger. Nightly happy hours help make this a popular destination.
This Tremont taqueria puts the power of the pen in the diner's hand. Guests design their own tacos from a list of some 30 components — from shell to filling to salsa to toppings. The best part: They are all just $3 each. This blissfully informal approach is a great fit for the unpretentious food. In addition to the tacos, the menu features a few starters and sides, not to mention a landslide of tequilas and margaritas. The delightful patio makes a perfect perch to enjoy them.
A hip hangout near the Gordon Square Arts District, this noisy wine bar offers grape-friendly snacks, starters, and sharable items. Instead of full-size entrees, diners can expect meat-and-cheese boards, Mediterranean flatbreads, and a host of creative tapas-size dishes. Some 150 wines are sold by the bottle, all priced just $12 over retail; good deals on glass pours, too. $$$
Classic American-style diner food is the star at Big Egg. While most days, the hours are a reasonable 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., an around-the-clock schedule is observed on Fridays and Saturdays, making it the ideal spot for sobering up after last call at nearby bars and clubs.
Besides offering the usual takeout options, this storefront pizza palace supplies the eats for Hotz Café, next door’s vintage tavern, thereby solving the problem of how to entertain your buds when the apartment’s a mess and the beer is all gone. For a touch of class, a buttery half-head of roasted garlic sits in the center of all the thick-crusted specialty pizzas. Ribs, chicken and salads are available too, along with bar noshes like fried pickles and wings.
The menu at chef Nate Williams' Ohio City sandwich shop is as crisp as an album's track list. Just eight giant sammies: no soups, no sides, no desserts. All the meats are marinated, brined, and roasted in-house, and the drippings from each are reserved for use as gravy. Most of the sandwiches are modeled after classic American varieties and can be had drenched in jus or topped with chips for crunch. Best of all, the shop stays open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Mainly carryout.
Award-winning pastry chef Courtney Bonning branches out into the savory world at this cute-as-a-cupcake café. Like a big-city patisserie, the café is intimate, elegant, and attractive enough to warrant a visit every day. In addition to the delectable sweets, the café dishes up breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. Quiche of the day, meat-filled Cornish pasties, and a killer Ohio beef burger are just a few of the offerings.
Brothers has grown away from its funky blues-club vibe of days past. Now it features three rooms: a restaurant/tavern, a wine bar that specializes in acoustic sounds, and the roomy Music Hall, which hosts rock, blues, jazz, and reggae acts.
Bruno's Ristorante
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, Bruno’s scores among the very best.
The menu’s 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, that’s what we call a bargain. Beer and wine are available.
No pricey destination restaurant, Clifton attracts crowds with simple, appealing American fare, much of it served in large, sharable portions, along with craft beers, creative martinis, and fine wines.
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