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Wild, woodsy aromas suffuse this friendly little restaurant, where hickory smoking, slow cooking, and mesquite grilling are the order of the day. Nearly everything, from the thick, sweet, and peppery BBQ sauce to the delicate biscuits in the strawberry shortcake, is made fresh and in-house. And for a real taste of the ol' West, be sure to try the zesty Smokin' Beans.
Bahama Breeze
Although the kitchen at this Caribbean-themed restaurant (part of the Darden Restaurants chain) tends to keep the heat turned down, much of the food — such as pressed Cuban sandwiches, butterflied coconut prawns, pan-seared pork tenderloin in a rummy demiglace — is flavorful and attentively prepared. Still, the real draw is the bustling bar scene, fueled by shooters, beer, and boozy, fruity, and frozen concoctions designed to make every night feel like a week at the beach.
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.
Bass Lake Taverne
Casual, cozy, and with a splendid secluded patio for warm-weather dining, this upscale tavern offers everything from burgers and ribs to filet mignon and veal medallions. The surrounding countryside is charming, and getting there on the winding Geauga County roads is almost half the fun.
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 region’s largest assortment of half-bottles.
Part of an international chain of teppanyaki restaurants, Benihana has long been a Cleveland fave for communal dining around hibachi tables, where knife-wielding chefs provide dinner and a show. Thanks to a lengthy remodeling, a sushi bar now joins the scene; while the sushi offerings aren't particularly imaginative, they are fresh and tasty.
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.
Clean, casual and family-friendly, this gourmet pizza parlor (part of a large, California-based chain) is the best bet for dining with the little ones while at Legacy Village.
Ferrante Winery & Ristorante
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.

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.
Guarino's
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.
Gusto! Ristorante Italiano
Romantic and very Italian, this intimate little restaurant features an enticing menu of well-prepared regional specialties, mostly from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Best of all, the hands-on owners make everyone feel like part of la famiglia.
HPP's Beachwood location is big, manly and urbane, with all the trappings of an upscale midwestern steakhouse. Happily, the food — shrimp cocktails, Kobe beef burgers and of course, thick, juicy steaks — is as satisfying as the setting, and the place is as popular for after-work unwinding as it is for weekend splurges.
If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you haven’t been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandra’s voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its name’s translation: The Kiss.
Yes, it’s part of a national group of Nashville-based restaurants. But J. Alexander’s still gets the nod for intelligently conceived and well-prepared food, served in a gimmick-free atmosphere. Prices are right, portions are huge, and the slowly roasted prime rib is probably Cleveland’s finest.
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