Italian Restaurants in Northeast Ohio You Should Try
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Photo via Dan M., Yelp
Aficionados of authentic Neapolitan-style pizza have been claiming this pizzeria serves the best pie in town. That is not a surprise considering that the pizzaioli uses time-tested ingredients, techniques, and equipment, including a 950-degree wood-burning oven. The menu is largely confined to pizza, but does include starters, salads, and desserts.
558 Bishop Rd., Highland Hts., 440-449-7800. $$
Photo via Bruno's Ristorante, Facebook
Stepping into this cozy neighborhood ristorante – with its wooden bar, linoleum floors, and menu of pizza, pasta, and assorted parmigianas, cacciatores, and marsalas – is like traveling back in time to the days when Italian restaurateurs baked their own breads, made their own pastas, and served it all in charming, intimate spaces. Almost everything on the "full-meal deal" menu is delish. But when it comes to fried calamari and baked lasagna, Bruno's scores among the very best.
2644 W. 41st St., 216-961-7087. $$$
Photo via Carrie Cerino's Ristorante, Facebook
This venerable Italian restaurant features hearty Northern Italian fare, with an expansive menu of made-from-scratch pastas, sauces, breads, and desserts.
8922 Ridge Rd., N. Royalton, 440-237-3434. $$$
Photo via Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino, Facebook
Too often, Italian joints go heavy on the comfort and light on the quality. Not so here where owner Eddie Cerino approaches traditional Italian food less like a grandmother and more like a chef. And thanks to half orders of salad and pasta, diners have control over portion size and price. The same goes for Cerino's Lakewood outpost, which is cozy, busy, and slings a perfect menu of Italian favorites that don't skimp on quality.
7305 Broadview Rd., Seven Hills, 216-236-6007. $$-$$$
Photo via Flour, Facebook
After 25 years in Little Italy, Paul Minnillo has moved to the suburbs with this contemporary restaurant serving modern regional Italian cuisine. The far-ranging menu includes small-plate-style antipasti and creative greens, as well as silken pastas and hearty entrées. A wood-fired pizza oven turns out killer Neapolitan-style pies. A deep Italian wine list and a patio round out this East Side gem.
34205 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills, 216-464-3700. $$$
Photo via Lesley Balla, Instagram
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. 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?
12305 Mayfield Rd., 216-421-2159. $-$$
Photo via D.C. Pasta Co., Facebook
Chef Dante Boccuzzi's third Cleveland restaurant, D.C. makes high-quality, house-made pastas fun and affordable. Sold by portion size – taste, appetizer, or main – the various combinations can be mixed and matched to create a wide-ranging feast. The rest of the menu is equally accessible, with sections for cured meats, Italian cheeses, marinated veggies, meatballs, entrées – even olives. Top it all off with 25 bottles of Italian wine priced south of $25 and you have the makings of an affordable Italian banquet.
12214 Pearl Rd., Strongsville, 440-238-8500. $$-$$$
Photo via Jessica Hurd, Instagram
A fine choice for families, this bright, contemporary pizza parlor offers freshly made pies, wholesome salads and a concise selection of beer and wine, including eight microbrews on draft. Friendly staffers take small fry in stride, and while Mom and Dad unwind, the kiddies can safely watch the chefs at work from behind a glass partition.
2194 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-321-7355. $$
Photo via Maxi's, Facebook
Like an old friend, Maxi's is always there when you need her. For 15 years, this romantic Little Italy gem has been keeping neighbors and visitors happy the easy way: by dishing up consistently delicious plates of soul satisfying Italian foods, namely pastas, pizza and veal-based entrees. Dim, slim and sexy, Maxi's is always the right choice for date night.
12113 Mayfield Rd. 216-421-1500. $$-$$$
Photo via Trentina, Facebook
James Beard-nominated chef Jonathon Sawyer's new Italian restaurant brings sparkling life back to the old Sergio's space in University Circle. The attractive 35-seat restaurant is an ideal setting for the northern Italian-inspired foods that Sawyer and chef Matt Danko are creating. Diners can look forward to creative cocktails, fresh pastas, adventurous tasting menus, and al fresco dining on the restaurant's picturesque front patio.
1902 Ford Dr., 216-421-2900. $$$$