November 16, 2018

The 23 Best Restaurants on Cleveland's East Side

You knew we couldn't do a west side restaurant slideshow without following it up with one about the east side. With an eclectic mix of food, from Ethiopian and Vietnamese to pizza, French and sushi, you can seriously find any sort of cuisine on Cleveland's east side. So, here are the 23 restaurants you absolutely have to check out at some point in the near future. (By the way, we considered everything east of Downtown as the East Side.)

You knew we couldn't do a west side restaurant slideshow without following it up with one about the east side. With an eclectic mix of food, from Ethiopian and Vietnamese to pizza, French and sushi, you can seriously find any sort of cuisine on Cleveland's east side. So, here are the 23 restaurants you absolutely have to check out at some point in the near future. (By the way, we considered everything east of Downtown as the east side.)

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 Umami
42 North Main St., Chagrin Falls
A decade ago we stumbled into an impossibly small bistro in Chagrin Falls, where we were blown away by the progressive Pan-Asian fare emanating from the equally small kitchen. True to its billing, Umami trafficked in foods redolent of racy flavors like tamari, dashi, ponzu, ginger and galangal. Back then, the swank but conservative village was awash in burgers, meatballs, steaks and ribs, and dishes such as seared albacore with ponzu sauce, coconut curry-spiked mussels and wasabi-crusted halibut proved a refreshing, even exciting, departure. The decade may have changed, but Umami thankfully has not.
Photo via Scene Archives

Umami

42 North Main St., Chagrin Falls

A decade ago we stumbled into an impossibly small bistro in Chagrin Falls, where we were blown away by the progressive Pan-Asian fare emanating from the equally small kitchen. True to its billing, Umami trafficked in foods redolent of racy flavors like tamari, dashi, ponzu, ginger and galangal. Back then, the swank but conservative village was awash in burgers, meatballs, steaks and ribs, and dishes such as seared albacore with ponzu sauce, coconut curry-spiked mussels and wasabi-crusted halibut proved a refreshing, even exciting, departure. The decade may have changed, but Umami thankfully has not.

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

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
 Zoma
2240 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights
Despite what that one guy on Yelp said about the "bread," we're slightly obsessed with Zoma. We love the communal atmosphere of the experience, where diners sit around a platter of colorful, savory stews, pinching off bites with stretchy injera. Rare is the place that hungry vegetarians and omnivores can so peaceably coexist thanks to items starring chopped greens, chickpeas, lentils, beef and chicken. The housemade Ethiopian hot sauce, fueled by an exotic berbere spice blend, is righteous.
Photo via Zoma/Facebook

Zoma

2240 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights

Despite what that one guy on Yelp said about the "bread," we're slightly obsessed with Zoma. We love the communal atmosphere of the experience, where diners sit around a platter of colorful, savory stews, pinching off bites with stretchy injera. Rare is the place that hungry vegetarians and omnivores can so peaceably coexist thanks to items starring chopped greens, chickpeas, lentils, beef and chicken. The housemade Ethiopian hot sauce, fueled by an exotic berbere spice blend, is righteous.

Photo via Zoma/Facebook
 Vero Pizza
12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights
It might just be pizza to us, but to owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer, it's a way of life. First you make the dough, then you stoke the fire, and finally you feed the neighborhood. There's only so much of that naturally leavened dough to go around, so admiring diners know to get here early to secure one or three of those fly pies. They exit the wood-burner with a textbook puffy, chewy, tender crust spotted like a leopard with slightly bitter bits of char.
Photo via @VeroPizza/Instagram

Vero Pizza

12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights

It might just be pizza to us, but to owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer, it's a way of life. First you make the dough, then you stoke the fire, and finally you feed the neighborhood. There's only so much of that naturally leavened dough to go around, so admiring diners know to get here early to secure one or three of those fly pies. They exit the wood-burner with a textbook puffy, chewy, tender crust spotted like a leopard with slightly bitter bits of char.

Photo via @VeroPizza/Instagram
 Trentina
1903 Ford Dr., Cleveland 
Head to University Circle, in the beautiful old Sergio’s space, and you’ll find James Beard Award Winner Jonathon Sawyer’s Northern Italian gem of a restaurant. They originally opened back in 2014 with a tasting menu and then expanded to include a la carte options as well, and if you haven’t been there yet, well, you better get to one of the most creative restaurants in town.
Photo by Emanuel Wallace

Trentina

1903 Ford Dr., Cleveland

Head to University Circle, in the beautiful old Sergio’s space, and you’ll find James Beard Award Winner Jonathon Sawyer’s Northern Italian gem of a restaurant. They originally opened back in 2014 with a tasting menu and then expanded to include a la carte options as well, and if you haven’t been there yet, well, you better get to one of the most creative restaurants in town.

Photo by Emanuel Wallace
 Tommy’s Restaurant
1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights
Known for their vegetarian and healthy options, this Coventry Road staple has been serving up Clevelanders since 1972. While they had vegetarian and vegan options before those became popular, they have more than just healthy options. The thick-cut french fries are some of the best in town and their milkshakes, especially black cherry, is a must try.
Photo via Tommy’s Restaurant/Facebook

Tommy’s Restaurant

1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights

Known for their vegetarian and healthy options, this Coventry Road staple has been serving up Clevelanders since 1972. While they had vegetarian and vegan options before those became popular, they have more than just healthy options. The thick-cut french fries are some of the best in town and their milkshakes, especially black cherry, is a must try.

Photo via Tommy’s Restaurant/Facebook
 Szechuan Gourmet
1735 East 36th St., Cleveland 
When it comes to authentic Chinese food, this is the place. 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. 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
 Red, the Steakhouse
3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood
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 the region’s best steakhouse.
Photo via @RedSteakhouse/Instagram

Red, the Steakhouse

3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood

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 the region’s best steakhouse.

Photo via @RedSteakhouse/Instagram
 Pacific East
1763 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights
Casual, comfortable and completely unpretentious, this popular Japanese restaurant serves some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, featuring quality ingredients, plenty of variety and wallet-friendly prices. An assortment of tempura, yakitori and teriyaki dishes serves as counterpoint.
Photo via @XiaoBaiBai1024/Instagram

Pacific East

1763 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights

Casual, comfortable and completely unpretentious, this popular Japanese restaurant serves some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, featuring quality ingredients, plenty of variety and wallet-friendly prices. An assortment of tempura, yakitori and teriyaki dishes serves as counterpoint.

Photo via @XiaoBaiBai1024/Instagram