September 14, 2018

23 Must-Try Restaurants on Cleveland's West Side

While we are united as one city, there's definitely a divide between the west side and the east side of town. Each side boasts some fantastic food, of differing ethnicities, price points, and cuisines. But this week we're letting you in on the 23 essential spots to check out on the west side of Cleveland. We took into account anything west of downtown, but not too far deep into the suburbs. (Yes, we know Lakewood isn't Cleveland.) Bon appétit.

While we are united as one city, there's definitely a divide between the west side and the east side of town. Each side boasts some fantastic food, of differing ethnicities, price points, and cuisines. But this week we're letting you in on the 23 essential spots to check out on the west side of Cleveland. We took into account anything west of downtown, but not too far deep into the suburbs. (Yes, we know Lakewood isn't Cleveland.) Bon appétit.

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 Angelo’s
13715 Madison Ave., Lakewood
For the best pizza on the west side, and arguably all of Northeast Ohio, Angelo’s on Madison is the spot. Whether you stay traditional, and stick to the normal pepperoni or cheese, or get crazy with a Philly cheese steak or baked potato pizza, you really can’t go wrong.
Photo via @E.ScruggsJR/Instagram

Angelo’s

13715 Madison Ave., Lakewood

For the best pizza on the west side, and arguably all of Northeast Ohio, Angelo’s on Madison is the spot. Whether you stay traditional, and stick to the normal pepperoni or cheese, or get crazy with a Philly cheese steak or baked potato pizza, you really can’t go wrong.

Photo via @E.ScruggsJR/Instagram
 The Plum Cafe and Kitchen
4133 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
The Plum Cafe and Kitchen opened in 2016 and is known for its “new Cleveland” aesthetic consisting of subway tile backsplash and brick walls. Sharing a bunch of small plates is the way to go here, and with this eclectic menu, you’ll be able to taste different cuisines from all over.
Photo by Emmanuel Wallace

The Plum Cafe and Kitchen

4133 Lorain Ave., Cleveland

The Plum Cafe and Kitchen opened in 2016 and is known for its “new Cleveland” aesthetic consisting of subway tile backsplash and brick walls. Sharing a bunch of small plates is the way to go here, and with this eclectic menu, you’ll be able to taste different cuisines from all over.

Photo by Emmanuel Wallace
 Barrocco Grill
12906 Madison Ave., Lakewood
If you’ve never had an arepa before, you need to head to Barrocco ASAP. Arepas, which hail from Colombia and Venezuela, are grilled white tortilla’s stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The ‘La Gringa’, stuffed with braised beef, feta cheese, avocado, chimichurri, greens and mozzarella, and the ‘Buffalo Chicken’ arepa are two of our absolute favorites. Barrocco also has fantastic live Latin music three nights a week. 
Photo via @BarroccoGrill/Instagram

Barrocco Grill

12906 Madison Ave., Lakewood

If you’ve never had an arepa before, you need to head to Barrocco ASAP. Arepas, which hail from Colombia and Venezuela, are grilled white tortilla’s stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The ‘La Gringa’, stuffed with braised beef, feta cheese, avocado, chimichurri, greens and mozzarella, and the ‘Buffalo Chicken’ arepa are two of our absolute favorites. Barrocco also has fantastic live Latin music three nights a week.

Photo via @BarroccoGrill/Instagram
 Dante
2247 Professor Ave., Cleveland
Native Clevelander Dante Boccuzzi worked his way around the globe, with stints in London, Milan, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York. But he’s been settled in Tremont since 2010 and his contemporary bistro borrows from Italian, American and Asian cuisines. Still, no meal is complete without a sample of the chef's killer pasta, polenta or risotto, all available by the taste. Head to Dante’s Next Door for weekend brunch and to Coda, his music club, for great live music.
Photo via Dante/Facebook

Dante

2247 Professor Ave., Cleveland

Native Clevelander Dante Boccuzzi worked his way around the globe, with stints in London, Milan, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York. But he’s been settled in Tremont since 2010 and his contemporary bistro borrows from Italian, American and Asian cuisines. Still, no meal is complete without a sample of the chef's killer pasta, polenta or risotto, all available by the taste. Head to Dante’s Next Door for weekend brunch and to Coda, his music club, for great live music.

Photo via Dante/Facebook
 Town Hall
1909 West 25th St., Cleveland
The popular West 25th bar and restaurant, which recently announced plans to open in Columbus' Short North neighborhood, has been the place to see and be seen ever since it opened in 2013. The GMO-free menu is also one of the more vegan/vegetarian friendly places in town.
Photo via Scene Archives

Town Hall

1909 West 25th St., Cleveland

The popular West 25th bar and restaurant, which recently announced plans to open in Columbus' Short North neighborhood, has been the place to see and be seen ever since it opened in 2013. The GMO-free menu is also one of the more vegan/vegetarian friendly places in town.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Sokolowski’s University Inn
1201 University Rd., Cleveland
The Sokolowski family has run this notable restaurant since 1923, making it the oldest family-owned restaurant in the city. Line up at the counter, select staples like pierogies and paprikash and their reuben, and you won’t be disappointed. Sokolowski’s was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate," selected by Michael Symon. 
Photo via Sokolowski’s University Inn/Facebook

Sokolowski’s University Inn

1201 University Rd., Cleveland

The Sokolowski family has run this notable restaurant since 1923, making it the oldest family-owned restaurant in the city. Line up at the counter, select staples like pierogies and paprikash and their reuben, and you won’t be disappointed. Sokolowski’s was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate," selected by Michael Symon.

Photo via Sokolowski’s University Inn/Facebook
 Salt
17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
"Nobody orders small plates in Cleveland." Since the birth of the turnip, that has been the conventional wisdom in these parts. Of course, at her whip-smart Lakewood bistro Salt, chef Jill Vedaa continues to upend that old saw by composing exceptional dishes that focus on a single theme. In place of a meat-and-three, diners zero in on carrots three ways, or earthy beets blasted with sparkle, or a savory lamb ragu over a few supple gnocchi. Mix and match your way to the perfect meal; variety, after all, is the spice of life.
Photo via @LBoeNeedham/Instagram

Salt

17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

"Nobody orders small plates in Cleveland." Since the birth of the turnip, that has been the conventional wisdom in these parts. Of course, at her whip-smart Lakewood bistro Salt, chef Jill Vedaa continues to upend that old saw by composing exceptional dishes that focus on a single theme. In place of a meat-and-three, diners zero in on carrots three ways, or earthy beets blasted with sparkle, or a savory lamb ragu over a few supple gnocchi. Mix and match your way to the perfect meal; variety, after all, is the spice of life.

Photo via @LBoeNeedham/Instagram
 El Rinconcito Chapin
3330 Broadview Rd., Cleveland
The Guatemalan eatery, owned by Engel Godinez, had briefly wowed diners at its original spot a couple of miles away on Pearl Road before rolling down the shutters in advance of the big move. Attracted by the promise of soul-satisfying pupusas, adventurous customers who expanded their comfort zones left as newly minted fans of a much broader, compelling cuisine. And if they happened to land on the garnachas, they likely became Rinconcito groupies for life.
Photo by Doug Trattner

El Rinconcito Chapin

3330 Broadview Rd., Cleveland

The Guatemalan eatery, owned by Engel Godinez, had briefly wowed diners at its original spot a couple of miles away on Pearl Road before rolling down the shutters in advance of the big move. Attracted by the promise of soul-satisfying pupusas, adventurous customers who expanded their comfort zones left as newly minted fans of a much broader, compelling cuisine. And if they happened to land on the garnachas, they likely became Rinconcito groupies for life.

Photo by Doug Trattner
 Parallax
2179 W. 11th St., Cleveland
Longtime Cleveland chef Zach Bruell’s salon restaurant is as chic as can be, with precise but unpretentious fare that finds its heart in classical technique and its soul in contemporary artistry. Options include excellent sushi, plenty of seafood and such bistro standards as duck confit and grilled hanger steak. There’s really something for everyone here, as it has one of the most eclectic and extensive menus in town.
Photo via Parallax Restaurant/Facebook

Parallax

2179 W. 11th St., Cleveland

Longtime Cleveland chef Zach Bruell’s salon restaurant is as chic as can be, with precise but unpretentious fare that finds its heart in classical technique and its soul in contemporary artistry. Options include excellent sushi, plenty of seafood and such bistro standards as duck confit and grilled hanger steak. There’s really something for everyone here, as it has one of the most eclectic and extensive menus in town.

Photo via Parallax Restaurant/Facebook
 Momocho
1835 Fulton Ave., Cleveland
Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.
Photo via Scene Archives

Momocho

1835 Fulton Ave., Cleveland

Clever cuisine, playful decor, and intimate surroundings make this "modern Mexican" eatery like nothing else in town. Don't come around looking for refried beans and rice; luscious lamb "adobo" and avocado-leaf-crusted tuna are more Momocho's style. Factor in the fruit-infused margaritas, chilada-style beers, and the smart array of tequilas, and even the fiercest bandito would happily pull up a chair.

Photo via Scene Archives