The Best Restaurants to Take Out-of-Towners to in Cleveland
When you've got visitors, you want to show them the best of Cleveland. From iconic mainstays to new additions, we've got you covered on where to take family and friends to enjoy a taste of the best the North Coast has to offer as we gather for food and fun.
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5417 Detroit Ave., Cleveland
Astoria manages to put a smile on our faces morning, day or night. The retail market keeps our pantry flush with gourmet foods like imported cheeses, cured meats, olives and wine. The large bar is an ideal place to meet up with a friend over cocktails, glasses of wine and a fully loaded meat and cheese platter. The animated dining room is where we land for full meals of tender wine-poached octopus, veal and ricotta meatballs, pizzas, and grilled lamb chops. The restaurant is so consistent, it flies under the radar these days but still holding its own amongst the best in town.
3900 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
Juneberry Table is a showcase for chef Karen Small’s unfussy style of cooking. In this sun-splashed Ohio City diner, breakfast and lunch plates star humble Appalachian ingredients like buckwheat, sorghum, cornmeal, fruit preserves, fermented veggies and cured meats. Don’t skip the exemplary chicken and waffles — local chicken is pickle-brined, dredged in panko and fried to the perfect chestnut brown before joining the Ohio cornmeal waffles. To dress it up, there’s Ohio maple syrup and earthy-sweet sorghum butter.
12706 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland and 17 East Orange St., Chagrin Falls
Going on eight years strong in Larchmere and already dazzling out in Chagrin, Batuqui already feels like a natural part of the dining scene's fabric. With authentic Brazilian dishes like Feijoada and Moqueca Baiana, it's a place natives of the South American country have called one of the best in the U.S. Whichever location you pick — they are both intimate and built for the sort of warm, festive family and friends dinners you dream of — know you'll be diving into a Cleveland favorite.
2058 East 4th St., Cleveland
Lola was a tough act to follow, but the crew at Cordelia on East 4th has more than risen to the occasion. In the kitchen, chef Vinnie Cimino reminds diners that eating out can still be daring and delicious. What's coming out of that kitchen is a sort of upscaled Midwest grandma fare, with dazzling snacks, toasts, and a signature smash burger, which is actually a pull-apart, four-slider affair with an epic griddle-melted cheese skirt that sets it apart. The buzzy yet approachable restaurant has already become a star on a street that has seen more than a few.
12413 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights
Doug Katz created a new gravitational center for the east side of town when he opened Zhug, attracting diners with such force that many get turned away. If your idea of Middle Eastern food consists largely of tightly wrapped falafel sandwiches, shawarma carved from a twirling spit and grilled beef shish-kabob on a bed of rice, Zhug will expand your culinary horizons in a million little ways. With its dazzling small plates, meticulously crafted cocktails and ripped-from-Tel Aviv-vibe, this cosmopolitan eatery upends every Cleveland dining convention.
2175 Cornell Rd., Cleveland
This modern brasserie opened in Little Italy in the former Club Isabella space in early 2023. Wolf Pack Chorus is the rare white-tablecloth restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The compelling, chefy menu benefits from not sticking to the typical Little Italy fare of veal parmesan and chicken picatta. Chef-owner Chris Wolf owes allegiance to no single country or cuisine on the menu, which means you'll find dishes that feel right at home in the neighborhood (sweet lobster in pappardelle) and ones a world away (Nashville-style duck confit). It's a boisterous space built by a boisterous chef, and we couldn't love it more.
2912 Church Ave., Cleveland
For a demonstration on the transformative powers of real-fire cooking, reserve a table at tiny Alea in Ohio City. In place of the typical back bar of booze bottles sits a wood-burning cooking suite that fills the room with the irresistible charm of a backwoods chalet. Alea is not the first Cleveland restaurant to employ a wood-burning cooking suite, but with a sharply fine-tuned menu of seasonal Mediterranean dishes, diners have been drawn back time and time again for smart execution and a kiss of smoke.
1303 West 56th St., Cleveland
Il Rione might be "just a neighborhood pizza parlor," but it elevates the genre, as its droves of fans will testify to. While the menu is spare, the New York/New Jersey-style pizza exiting the open kitchen is amazing, with the clam pie taking the cake (in our opinion). Diners can choose from a half-dozen predesigned pies or can build their own from the crust up. The team recently announced they’d be taking over the pizza at Edison’s, much to the delight of loyal fans of both establishments.
1455 West 29th St., Cleveland
Much like many others on this list, Larder is in that transition phase from relatively new kid on the block to well established staple. When it opened in 2019, it took the Cleveland food scene by storm, with Chef Jeremy Umansky and partner Kenny Scott’s koji techniques and modern spin on traditional Jewish delicatessen food. Along with Umansky’s wife Allie La Valle-Umansky, who knocks the bakery offerings out of the park, the trio consistently serve up not just the best deli food in Cleveland, but arguably some the best food around regardless of style. If you’ve had anything from the fried chicken sandwich and the pastrami to the house made sodas and chocolate babka, you’ll know what we’re talking about.