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Cleveland's version of a theater-district deli, this Playhouse Square staple has been entertaining arts lovers and downtown lunchers for more than 100 years, with a cast of soups, salads, steaks, chicken, and stacked-up sandwiches, many — like the W.C. Fields and Fanny Brice — named in honor of old-time stage stars. Dinner hours vary with the theaters' schedules; calling ahead is always a smart move.
Short for Southern hospitality, SoHo serves fresh takes on Low Country, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. On the snappy and cohesive menu are classic Southern staples like shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all dressed up for a more demanding modern audience. Even the cocktails scream Deep South, with bourbon, rye and moonshine-fueled bevies going down like sweet tea on a sticky summer day.
Some of the city's top players belt out a soundtrack of classic blues and R&B from their perch tucked away in the corner of this neighborhood bar in one of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
Luxe flourishes turn up around every bend in this beautiful pub, from the hand-laid cobblestone parking lot to the hand-rubbed walnut woodwork. In contrast, the menu is as straightforward as it comes: Burgers, meatloaf, pasta and steak, served alongside the indoor bocce court. 21 and over only.
Heading into its fourth decade, this charming Ohio City café remains a reliable, if non-trendy, refuge for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch, best enjoyed in the airy garden room, a mug of cinnamon-scented coffee at hand. While gourmet burgers are the specialty of the house, other options abound, including salads, wraps, steaks, and pastas.
A smartly appointed alternative to the food court that sits below, this handsome downtown restaurant serves a solid assortment of salads, sandwiches, seafood, and pasta, with speedy service designed to get you back to your desk, or into your theater seat, with time to spare.
When it comes to freshly made Middle Eastern foods, Nate's is great. Especially beloved for its thick, smooth hummus with a texture like whipped butter, Nate's also makes smoky baba ghannouj, crisp fried kibbeh, and tender, plump meat or spinach pies. If your tastes run to more traditional deli fare, try a king-sized corned-beef or pastrami sandwich. Service is casual and friendly, and the place has the feel of a neighborhood cornerstone.
Cops, lawyers, secretaries, hipsters, football fans, and neighborhood residents — sooner or later, everyone ends up at Karl’s, for the good food, well-stocked bar, and unpretentious vibe. A one-pound corned-beef sandwich is the house specialty; other good bets include the Friday-night fish fry and the well-dressed Snuggery Burger.
Eclectic and affordable pub-style comfort food is the name of the game at XYZ, with great burgers, corned beef and chicken sandies filling the bill. Don't miss the housemade chips and the killer chicken and waffles. More than 70 varieties of whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and rye and a smashing craft beer list make this lively American pub a true neighborhood gem.
The South Side doesn’t quite overload all the senses, but it stimulates them with exposed brick walls, a winding granite bar, local artwork that changes monthly, and four big plasma screens equipped with surround sound. After the kitchen closes, an upscale-casual crowd gather in the bar.
Riding high from the success of two popular food trucks — not to mention a Food Network reality show appearance — Chris Hodgson landed his first bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Teaming up with the experienced Scott Kuhn, Hodge delivers exciting, approachable dishes with broad appeal. Who can resist lobster corn dogs, flaky goat-cheese tarts, and light-as-air gnudi? For the mains, dig into a pasta version of French onion soup, pitch-perfect duck breast, and luxurious braised lamb shank.
A taste of Vegas in downtown Cleveland, this sprawling complex boasts four distinct vibes: pumping house music in the martini bar, national comedians in the Hilarities theater, an open kitchen and piled portions in the bright restaurant, and sequined performers in original revues at the cabaret.
Noisy and fun-loving, this 100-seat restaurant is part of the Corner Alley complex, a high-energy hangout featuring 16 lanes of bowling and a fashionable martini bar. With cheese here, bacon there, and deep-fried goodness nearly everywhere, spa cuisine this is not. But thanks to zesty flavors and often-imaginative preparation, the offerings still beat the standard bowling-alley lineup by a long shot.
Saving students and staff from another semester of sloppy joes and shepherd's pie, this sharp bistro on the CSU campus looks, feels and tastes like an independent restaurant. Featuring locally sourced ingredients, the ambitious breakfast and lunch menus tempt both coeds and the community at large at weekday breakfasts and lunches. Attractive sheltered patio.
An offshoot of the popular Lakewood Village Tavern, it was important to the owners that the kitchen offer the same sort of homey, affordable fare. Daily specials like mac and cheese and meatloaf are sold at ridiculously low prices. Saturday is steak night. Rounding out the menu are half-pound burgers, deli sandwiches and wraps, and a 21-piece shrimp dinner.
An Irish bar on steroids, the Harp isn’t just your corner joint with a few shamrocks on the wall. It boasts a large Irish-influenced menu and a spacious patio with a view of the lake. The music’s as likely to be rootsy rock or blues as Irish.
Commuters who missed the upscale breakfast-and-lunch options at Juniper Grille can take comfort in Carnegie Kitchen, which seems to have picked up where that diner left off. Chef-owner Jeff Uniatowski, formerly of Mise and House of Blue, crafts a value-driven menu with broad appeal. Contemporary versions of diner classics like steak and eggs, corned beef hash and bagels and lox give way to chopped salads, mile-high Reubens, and grilled-salmon sandwiches.
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