February 15, 2019

21 Essential Downtown Cleveland Restaurants Everyone Should Have Tried By Now

We've focused on the restaurants of the East Side and the West Side. We've done Ohio City and Tremont. We've even branched out further, to Lakewood and Cleveland Heights. And now, it's time to dive into the heart of it all. These are the 21 essential Downtown restaurants that you should absolutely have tried by now.

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 Il Venetian
100 St. Clair Ave. NE., Cleveland
From the team behind Marble Room, and the fabulous Lockkeepers in Valley View, Il Venetian opened to rave reviews in 2018. While the city in general is full of Italian restaurants, downtown doesn’t have a ton of them. Now, there’s a new option, and it’s up there for the best Italian in town, with a creative menu and beautiful decor.
Photo via Il Venetian/Facebook

Il Venetian

100 St. Clair Ave. NE., Cleveland

From the team behind Marble Room, and the fabulous Lockkeepers in Valley View, Il Venetian opened to rave reviews in 2018. While the city in general is full of Italian restaurants, downtown doesn’t have a ton of them. Now, there’s a new option, and it’s up there for the best Italian in town, with a creative menu and beautiful decor.

Photo via Il Venetian/Facebook
 Mabel’s BBQ
2050 East Fourth St., Cleveland
Michael Symon knows meat. In fact, he wrote the book on it when "Carnivore" came out a few years back. So if anybody could lend credence to the concept of Cleveland-style barbecue, it's Symon, who also happens to be a great student of all regional forms of barbecue. Thanks to the low-and-slow 'cue at this East Fourth Street hotspot, Cleveland finally has earned its way onto the national barbecue scene.
Photo via Scene Archives

Mabel’s BBQ

2050 East Fourth St., Cleveland

Michael Symon knows meat. In fact, he wrote the book on it when "Carnivore" came out a few years back. So if anybody could lend credence to the concept of Cleveland-style barbecue, it's Symon, who also happens to be a great student of all regional forms of barbecue. Thanks to the low-and-slow 'cue at this East Fourth Street hotspot, Cleveland finally has earned its way onto the national barbecue scene.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Pura Vida
170 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with sparse decor, an urbane vibe and rustically-refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish, including plenty of vegan options. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. 
Photo via @Pura_Vida_By_Brandt/Instagram

Pura Vida

170 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with sparse decor, an urbane vibe and rustically-refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish, including plenty of vegan options. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement.

Photo via @Pura_Vida_By_Brandt/Instagram
 Urban Farmer
1325 East Sixth St., Cleveland
At this downtown steakhouse, located in the Westin, step into a bar with exposed brick, leather couches and reclaimed wood. Move over to the restaurant, and you’ll see a mixture of hip and fancy with more reclaimed wood, chalkboards, colorful rugs and booths with a yellow leather backing. Also, the steak is delicious and the whiskey list is long.
Photo via Urban Farmer Cleveland/Facebook

Urban Farmer

1325 East Sixth St., Cleveland

At this downtown steakhouse, located in the Westin, step into a bar with exposed brick, leather couches and reclaimed wood. Move over to the restaurant, and you’ll see a mixture of hip and fancy with more reclaimed wood, chalkboards, colorful rugs and booths with a yellow leather backing. Also, the steak is delicious and the whiskey list is long.

Photo via Urban Farmer Cleveland/Facebook
 Saigon
2061 East Fourth St., Cleveland
Nestled into a relatively small storefront on downtown's bustling East Fourth Street, the room is cozy, comfy, and contemporary. The best bets here are the meal-sized phos — fragrant beef-broth soups featuring rice noodles and several different styles of beef. On the side, an array of condiments — Asian basil, fresh lime wedges and bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, earthy hoisin sauce, and peppery sriracha — allows diners to customize the dish to their preference. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Saigon

2061 East Fourth St., Cleveland

Nestled into a relatively small storefront on downtown's bustling East Fourth Street, the room is cozy, comfy, and contemporary. The best bets here are the meal-sized phos — fragrant beef-broth soups featuring rice noodles and several different styles of beef. On the side, an array of condiments — Asian basil, fresh lime wedges and bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, earthy hoisin sauce, and peppery sriracha — allows diners to customize the dish to their preference.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Red, the Steakhouse
417 Prospect Ave. E., Cleveland
Luscious slabs of beef and creative, indulgent salads, sides and desserts make this modern American steakhouse a prime location for well-heeled meat-eaters. A well-organized wine list, gracious service and contemporary rustic decor with a Napa-like sophistication complete one of the best steakhouses in the midwest.
Photo via Scene Archives

Red, the Steakhouse

417 Prospect Ave. E., Cleveland

Luscious slabs of beef and creative, indulgent salads, sides and desserts make this modern American steakhouse a prime location for well-heeled meat-eaters. A well-organized wine list, gracious service and contemporary rustic decor with a Napa-like sophistication complete one of the best steakhouses in the midwest.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Adega
2017 East Ninth St., Cleveland
The modern, sleek decor and stunning wine cellar located in the middle of the restaurant makes Adega one of the coolest designed places in town at this modern Mediterranean joint. Located at the Metropolitan hotel/the Nine, downtown’s swankiest residence, makes it not just beautiful decor, but the scene is worth checking out as well and the food is always creative.
Photo via Scene Archives

Adega

2017 East Ninth St., Cleveland

The modern, sleek decor and stunning wine cellar located in the middle of the restaurant makes Adega one of the coolest designed places in town at this modern Mediterranean joint. Located at the Metropolitan hotel/the Nine, downtown’s swankiest residence, makes it not just beautiful decor, but the scene is worth checking out as well and the food is always creative.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Pho Thang Cafe
815 Superior Ave. East, Cleveland
Pho Thang’s pho is delicious, with 10 varieties ranging from lean to a combination bowl with round steak, brisket, tripe and meatballs. Chicken varieties are there, too. Soups come in only one size and are served with usual accompaniments of bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno and lime. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Pho Thang Cafe

815 Superior Ave. East, Cleveland

Pho Thang’s pho is delicious, with 10 varieties ranging from lean to a combination bowl with round steak, brisket, tripe and meatballs. Chicken varieties are there, too. Soups come in only one size and are served with usual accompaniments of bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno and lime.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Otani Noodle
234 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
Otani Noodle, from the same owners of long-standing Mayfield Heights hibachi restaurant Otani, opened their second location, this time in the heart of Downtown in addition to their University Circle home, and if you haven’t been yet, you’re missing out. The tonkotsu broth they use for their ramen is delectable.
Photo via Scene Archives

Otani Noodle

234 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Otani Noodle, from the same owners of long-standing Mayfield Heights hibachi restaurant Otani, opened their second location, this time in the heart of Downtown in addition to their University Circle home, and if you haven’t been yet, you’re missing out. The tonkotsu broth they use for their ramen is delectable.

Photo via Scene Archives
 The Marble Room
623 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
Newly opened in the old National City Bank building, it’d be hard to find a more beautiful restaurant in town then the swanky Marble Room. The name says it all - the beautiful marble columns and intricately designed molding is absolutely stunning. And the steak and seafood are up there for the best in town. Get the ribeye and thank us later.
Photo via Scene Archives

The Marble Room

623 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Newly opened in the old National City Bank building, it’d be hard to find a more beautiful restaurant in town then the swanky Marble Room. The name says it all - the beautiful marble columns and intricately designed molding is absolutely stunning. And the steak and seafood are up there for the best in town. Get the ribeye and thank us later.

Photo via Scene Archives