November 04, 2021

40 Restaurants and Bars to Take Out-of-Towners That Show The Real Cleveland

If you're looking for the places where everyday Clevelanders eat and drink (or to take out-of-towners to show them the real Cleveland), look no further than these 40 establishments. From the heart of the city to the near East and West sides, we think these places really get to the heart of what Clevelanders like.

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 Szechuan Gourmet
1735 East 36th St., Cleveland 
When it comes to authentic Chinese food, this is the place in Cleveland. The best Chinese restaurant in town, bar none, boasts dishes that are out of this world. Try the three pepper chicken for some spice, the mapo tofu with pork, the cumin beef, the chili cucumber, and you’ll leave with a belly full and a smile on your face for how delicious this food really is.
Photo via @Dorjans/Instagram

Szechuan Gourmet

1735 East 36th St., Cleveland

When it comes to authentic Chinese food, this is the place in Cleveland. The best Chinese restaurant in town, bar none, boasts dishes that are out of this world. Try the three pepper chicken for some spice, the mapo tofu with pork, the cumin beef, the chili cucumber, and you’ll leave with a belly full and a smile on your face for how delicious this food really is.

Photo via @Dorjans/Instagram
 Superior Pho
3030 Superior Ave., Cleveland 
Because pho is an essential part of a balanced diet, not to mention one's sanity, noodle shops like this one hold a very important place in our lives. Winter or summer, a bowl of pho is more than food; it's a restorative elixir that sets us on a brighter path. Crispy spring rolls, citrusy cabbage salad, and meaty banh mi sammies also make us happy, so it's a good thing that the versions served at this perfectly acceptable dining room are as delicious as the noodle soup.
Photo via Scene Archives

Superior Pho

3030 Superior Ave., Cleveland

Because pho is an essential part of a balanced diet, not to mention one's sanity, noodle shops like this one hold a very important place in our lives. Winter or summer, a bowl of pho is more than food; it's a restorative elixir that sets us on a brighter path. Crispy spring rolls, citrusy cabbage salad, and meaty banh mi sammies also make us happy, so it's a good thing that the versions served at this perfectly acceptable dining room are as delicious as the noodle soup.

Photo via Scene Archives
Tina’s
5400 Herman Ave., Cleveland
There's no better date than embarrassing yourself with some karaoke. And Tina’s Nite Club in the Detroit Shoreway is a quintessential Cleveland dive bar with the most fun karaoke in town. Karaoke is for paying customers only, but the drinks are more than reasonable.
Photo via @XOXOGarbageGirl/Instagram

Tina’s

5400 Herman Ave., Cleveland

There's no better date than embarrassing yourself with some karaoke. And Tina’s Nite Club in the Detroit Shoreway is a quintessential Cleveland dive bar with the most fun karaoke in town. Karaoke is for paying customers only, but the drinks are more than reasonable.

Photo via @XOXOGarbageGirl/Instagram
 Parkview Nite Club
1261 West 58th St., Cleveland
Layers of mystery lie just beneath the surface of this rustic, aggressively unpretentious corner bar on Cleveland's near West Side. Start with the decorative motif: How can the Rat Pack poster mingle with the framed Three Stooges photo? If this is the Parkview, where is the park -- or the view? How can a bar tout its live blues bands, even as it advertises the birthday of a regular patron named "Disco Dicky"? Most of all, how has a bar with wood paneling on walls, floor, and ceiling managed to keep from burning down this long? These are matters that require intense study from the barstool and a thorough interrogation of the help. 
Photo via @TheTavernCompany/Instagram

Parkview Nite Club

1261 West 58th St., Cleveland

Layers of mystery lie just beneath the surface of this rustic, aggressively unpretentious corner bar on Cleveland's near West Side. Start with the decorative motif: How can the Rat Pack poster mingle with the framed Three Stooges photo? If this is the Parkview, where is the park -- or the view? How can a bar tout its live blues bands, even as it advertises the birthday of a regular patron named "Disco Dicky"? Most of all, how has a bar with wood paneling on walls, floor, and ceiling managed to keep from burning down this long? These are matters that require intense study from the barstool and a thorough interrogation of the help.

Photo via @TheTavernCompany/Instagram
 Lucky’s Cafe
777 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland
Lucky’s Cafe has won Scene’s best of brunch award so many times, we can’t keep count. Chef and Owner Heather Haviland’s Tremont cafe has also been featured on the Food Network multiple times, with Chef Michael Symon calling their biscuits and gravy the “best thing he ever ate,” and also on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Photo via @LuckysCafe/Instagram

Lucky’s Cafe

777 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland

Lucky’s Cafe has won Scene’s best of brunch award so many times, we can’t keep count. Chef and Owner Heather Haviland’s Tremont cafe has also been featured on the Food Network multiple times, with Chef Michael Symon calling their biscuits and gravy the “best thing he ever ate,” and also on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Photo via @LuckysCafe/Instagram
 Slyman’s
3106 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland
16 tons and what do you get? The best corned beef sandwich in Cleveland. They still slice every sandwich to order, and every sandwich still towers above much of the competition. Amaze your friends by ordering in Slymaneze: a “natural” means plain; “original” comes with mustard; and “Smurf” buys you one with Swiss and mustard (which ain’t kosher, by the way).
Photo via Scene Archives

Slyman’s

3106 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland

16 tons and what do you get? The best corned beef sandwich in Cleveland. They still slice every sandwich to order, and every sandwich still towers above much of the competition. Amaze your friends by ordering in Slymaneze: a “natural” means plain; “original” comes with mustard; and “Smurf” buys you one with Swiss and mustard (which ain’t kosher, by the way).

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, making it quintessential Cleveland. 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, making it quintessential Cleveland. 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
 Mama Santa’s
12301 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland
Mama Santa’s has been serving up pies at the same Little Italy location since 1961. With its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats, there’s no need to change much. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
Photo via Mama Santa’s Pizzeria/Facebook

Mama Santa’s

12301 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland

Mama Santa’s has been serving up pies at the same Little Italy location since 1961. With its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats, there’s no need to change much. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?

Photo via Mama Santa’s Pizzeria/Facebook
 Johnny’s Little Bar
614 Frankfort Ave., Cleveland
Right around the corner from the popular Warehouse district white tablecloth Italian joint Johnny’s, you’ll find Johnny’s Little Bar, an iconic Cleveland spot. The bar boasts a "world famous" burger, giving the traditional Italian menu at the main restaurant a run for its money. And the people watching is outstanding here.
Photo via Scene Archives

Johnny’s Little Bar

614 Frankfort Ave., Cleveland

Right around the corner from the popular Warehouse district white tablecloth Italian joint Johnny’s, you’ll find Johnny’s Little Bar, an iconic Cleveland spot. The bar boasts a "world famous" burger, giving the traditional Italian menu at the main restaurant a run for its money. And the people watching is outstanding here.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Merry Arts Pub and Grill
15607 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
Since 1932, Merry Arts has served up food and drinks to the Lakewood community. It opened during the Great Depression, and if it could make it through that, well, we have a feeling it won’t be going anywhere any time soon, especially with how beloved Taco Tuesday’s are. 
Photo via Merry Arts Pub and Grill/Facebook

Merry Arts Pub and Grill

15607 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

Since 1932, Merry Arts has served up food and drinks to the Lakewood community. It opened during the Great Depression, and if it could make it through that, well, we have a feeling it won’t be going anywhere any time soon, especially with how beloved Taco Tuesday’s are.

Photo via Merry Arts Pub and Grill/Facebook