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.
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.
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 regions 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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, its part of a national group of Nashville-based restaurants. But J. Alexanders 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 Clevelands finest.
This attractive Larchmere Boulevard space is operated by the folks behind Angie's Soul Café and Zanzibar Soul Fusion. Here, the focus is on Cajun and Creole dishes inspired by the Big Easy: Think authentically prepared gumbo, jambalaya, BBQ shrimp, and étouffée. The seafood is fresh, the sauces vivacious, the portions robust, and the prices right where they should be.
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.
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.
We've seen hallways bigger than this tiny Italian restaurant, but the intimate ambiance and robust food are ample compensation for the lack of elbow room. The small menu has the usual pasta, chicken, and veal dishes, all well-prepared and flavorful. And the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are notable for their crisp, almost wafer-thin crusts. Impressive all-Italian wine list.
Trained in Italys Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list.
Casual, comfortable and completely unpretentious, this popular Japanese restaurant serves some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, featuring quality ingredients, plenty of variety and wallet-friendly prices. An assortment of tempura, yakitori and teriyaki dishes serves as counterpoint.
A second, smaller outpost for this popular Cleveland Hts. restaurant, Pacific East offers some of the regions freshest, most generously apportioned sushi, along with tempura, teriyaki, agemono, and noodle dishes.
For years, this breathtakingly beautiful French Norman space has been reserved for private functions. With the unveiling of Rockefeller's, guests now can dine in an extravagant room built for a tycoon. Seasonal American with the occasional Asian kick, the dishes are creative but restrained and always delicious. Lounge seating with a complementary menu gives late-night noshers a tasteful place to roost.
As cozy as a colonial tavern, this well-appointed dining room in the middle of secluded Gates Mills features an eclectic lineup of Italian standards, along with an assortment of sandwiches, burgers, chops, and a popular chicken pot pie. While not every dish is as magical as the setting, Saras makes a convenient, non-chain-linked alternative for suburban East Siders.
Like a Japanese take on tapas, this izakaya-style restaurant on Shaker Square combines an enticing menu of creative, contemporary small plates and sushi with a big collection of cocktails, sake, and imported beer. Dont miss the Sasa fries, an Asian-accented riff on twice-fried frites that just may be the most addictive bar nosh in town.
An excellent variety of maki and nigiri sushi is the star of the show here ordered à la carte or in combinations as either appetizers or entrées. Beyond sushi, diners can also select items from a large menu of steaks, seafood, poultry, noodle, and vegetarian dishes. Charming servers in traditional kimonos add a decorative touch.
Vibrant, youthful, and energetic, this dramatically designed club, sushi bar and restaurant brings a bit of Warehouse District buzz to the eastern suburbs. Sushi is a best bet, but lengthy lunch and dinner menus feature contemporary treatments of seafood, steaks, and chops, often with an Asian twist. Wine and martini lists; full bar.
Close your eyes, and you can almost hear the roar of the surf from your seat inside this Florida-style seafood house, an East Side institution, where the crabcakes are sweet and crunchy, and the puffy-battered scrod and scallops seem lighter than an Atlantic breeze. Beer and wine; small selection of liquor.
John and Stephanie Sutters casual country restaurant is the veal deal, with nearly every imaginable permutation on breaded and sautéed schnitzel, served with white bread, salads and wickedly greasy homemade potato pancakes. If you ever crave a well-executed little taste of home, this is the spot for you.
A happy alliance of modern architecture and contemporary cuisine, Table 45 offers an enticing collection of global fare that blends sophistication with unpretentious appeal. The kitchen may borrow freely from Indian, Mediterranean, and South American pantries, but the clear, focused flavors are all its own.
This polished Mediterranean bistro is a welcome addition to a street known more for its pubs than posh eateries. An easygoing vibe belies the level of talent in the kitchen and prowess on the plate. Elegantly composed dishes sing with clear flavor, purpose and direction. In the chefs hands, items like seared scallops and rack of lamb are at once familiar and original. Consider the prix fixe menu, which includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert and two glasses of wine for $45.
Back in the day, when the Coliseum hosted sports teams and superstars, the Taverne was the go-to spot for pre- and post-show drinks and vittles. New owners have revived the historic restaurant with hopes of restoring the glory days. A fresh menu of contemporary chef-driven fare, much of it prepared with local bounty from area farms, is drawing new blood to this old haunt. Snack on deviled local eggs, beer-steamed mussels, and Korean sliders before moving on to oxtail ravioli, grilled scallops, or an egg-topped burger.
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