Terry Tarantino, the Little Italy native and charismatic restaurateur behind La Dolce Vita and La Strada, doesn't have all that much free time given the demands of the industry. That's why when he does get the occasional spare minute to grab a bite or drink out, he sticks to places that never let him down.
"Dante in Tremont is my favorite spot to eat Italian," he says. "I appreciate Dante as a humble, talented chef, but someone who is also a great friend."
For great food and wine, polished service and an exquisite setting, Tarantino makes a bee line for Giovanni's Ristorante in Beachwood. "There is also an icon host to boot: Carl Q," Tarantino says, referring to owner and industry legend Carl Quagliata.
To satisfy his ever-present pizza cravings, Tarantino heads to Crostatas Rustic Pizza in Highland Heights. "They do pizza the real Neapolitan way," he says.
When Tarantino is looking for a little "Campari and camaraderie," he simply crosses the street and enters Maxi's Bistro in Little Italy. Another top spot for the boss is Town Hall in Ohio City, where Terry enjoys the smoothies, healthy appetizers, and what he believes are some of the best bartenders in town.
It's not always easy to keep a low profile when you're such a high-profile guy, but Tarantino manages to do just that right on E. 4th Street at Lola. "It's a pretty bar that can be a good hideout."