The 25 Hottest Restaurants In Cleveland Right Now, According to Us
The Cleveland restaurant scene is booming right now. With new restaurant openings, menu and concept changes and expansions all over the city and reservations hard to get on most nights, there are a ton of restaurants just on fire right now. These are the hottest tickets in town at the moment.
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1430 West 28th St., Cleveland
Walk into Amba and it's clear you have the makings of another one-of-a-kind experience from chef Doug Katz. The building is divided into two connected but distinct spaces, the main Amba dining room and the smaller Bar Amba. As at Zhug in Cleveland Heights, the aim is to foster an energetic, lively and informal atmosphere where diners can feel comfortable standing, talking and visiting with nearby tables. Also reminiscent of Zhug, the menu at Amba is loaded with small plates built for sharing. There are two dozen items that range from small, zesty condiments to composed meat and fish dishes. Many of these “Indian-inspired” street foods have a clear through line all the way back to the tandoor oven at Fire. There are options for vegans, gluten-free diners, seafood- and meat-eaters.
3900 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
There is a silver lining to the 2019 closure of Jack Flaps, a popular breakfast diner in Ohio City. Chef Karen Small took the space over and finally opened a diner of her own after much anticipation. The bustling cafe serves breakfast-all-day and lunch items until the early afternoon. Small, who is also in the process of a new concept at the recently closed Flying Fig (2523 Market Ave.,) in the same neighborhood was motivated to grab the space because of what she believes is a gap in the marketplace. Juneberry features an all-day breakfast and lunch menu largely inspired by the chef’s decade spent living outside of Athens, Ohio.
1948 West 25th St., Cleveland
It’s been 17 and 15 years, respectively, since McNulty and co-founder Mark Priemer opened Bier Markt and Bar Cento in Ohio City. This past October, the partners announced that they were closing both venues to make way for something new. This June, they introduced the neighborhood to Bright Side, a bar forward concept. In the kitchen will be the powerhouse tag team of chef-partners Andrew Bower and Steve Schimoler, who marks his return to Ohio City. Together, the chefs have crafted an entirely new menu of creative comfort food made with healthy, local ingredients. To drink there are 16 craft beers (12 from Market Garden, four rotating locals), cocktails and a Champagne-heavy wine list with other global gems.
5010 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
For nearly two and half years, we have been following the progress of Vincent Morelli as he has endeavored to open Cent's Pizza on the western edge of Ohio City. The ambitious project required a total renovation of the former PM Security building on Lorain (5010 Lorain Ave.) by the landlord. Like many projects, this one was stalled by the events of last year. Now, one year into the opening of Cent’s, Morelli has quickly established Cent’s as one of the best pizza joints in town with a loyal following.
740 W. Superior Ave., Cleveland
Since opening his first Sauce Boiling Seafood Express restaurant in 2019, Kyler Smith has gone on to open four more locations in Ohio, with more on the way. In February, Smith opened Filter in the former Take 5 Rhthym and Jazz space in the Perry–Payne Building and the changes are dramatic, to say the least. Sporting a lounge-like atmosphere, with shimmering fabric panels, a DJ booth and lengthy bar, the 120-seat restaurant and bar is already attracting a ton of attention.
The menu is under the control of chef Jarrett Mines, whose client roster as a private chef includes top players from the Cleveland Browns. Diners can look forward to American fare like pasta, fish, lamb chops and steak.
7272 Lakeshore Blvd., Mentor
Veteran chef Zachary Bond opened this spot in Mentor in 2021 and quickly turned it into one of the better breakfast and lunch spots in town. You might call The Spot a “gastro-diner,” a place that melds the come-as-you-are comforts of the neighborhood hash house with a gently elevated menu grounded by local ingredients and solid technique. In addition to all the classics, The Spot serves up items like breakfast sandwiches, eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, three-egg omelets and platters containing eggs, meat, home fries and toast – Bond also whips up avocado toast, eggs in purgatory and a half dozen skillets starring redskin potatoes with various toppings. Those are joined by specialties like steak and eggs and country-fried chicken and waffles with black pepper gravy, creme brulee french toast and tiramisu pancakes.
1220 Huron Rd.., Cleveland
After sitting empty for close to two years, the former Puente Viejo space on Huron Road in Playhouse Square has new life. Fittingly, the new tenant is another Mexican restaurant, which is called 1942 Tacos and Tequila. The original Rochester location appears to be very favorably reviewed since opening in 2021. The Cleveland location has the same menu, a selection of tacos, street corn, margaritas and other authentic Mexican dishes.
2017 East Ninth St., Cleveland
Azure Sun Lounge was put to bed to make way for the Garden of Eden, a splashy new rooftop oasis at the Metropolitan at the 9. The 12th-floor height immerses guests in the surrounding skyline as opposed to hovering above it. Easygoing happy hours and early dinners will give way to a DJ-fueled lounge vibe in the evenings.
2071 East 4th St., Cleveland
Since taking over the former Zocalo spot on East 4th Street, Alex Martinez and his team have been busy transforming the 14-year-old, two-level restaurant into something a bit more current. Martinez and his partnership group operate numerous Northeast Ohio restaurants, including Tres Potrillos, Jalapenos, El Palenque, Fiesta Habaneros, Tito’s Mexican Grill, Tacologist and Blue Habanero. In the entrée department, there are traditional platters like fajitas, burritos and chimichangas mixed with house specialties such as seafood-stuffed chile rellenos and carne asada. To drink, there are cocktails like Palomas, Mojitos and Mexican Mules, signature margaritas made with fresh-squeezed fruit juices, and an all-Mexican draft beer list.
1085 Old River Rd., Cleveland
Thirsty Dog Brewing in the Flats closed over winter and was taken over by Rum Runners, a name that doubtless conjures memories. Rum Runners, along with places like River's Edge, Fagan's, D'Poo's on the River and Peabody's Down Under, was a staple attraction during the Flats' halcyon days in the 1980s and 1990s. After a beach-themed makeover, the 7,000-square-foot space opened Memorial Day weekend. There will be live music on weekends on the indoor “Endless Summer” stage, plus live music on the front patio down the road. To drink, there are plenty of rum-fueled drinks, mojitos, margaritas, frozen pina coladas and 20-ounce tiki "fishbowls." There’s also a full menu which includes burgers, flatbreads, sandwiches and more.