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Dining listings

Amp 150 4277 W. 150th St. (inside the Airport Marriott), 216-706-8787. Ignoring a restaurant because it resides in a hotel is not only unfair – it's unwise, as evidenced by this contemporary American gem. Upending stereotypes at every turn, Amp relies on locally grown ingredients to fashion its modern, seasonal, and delightful dishes. Divided into sections for sharing, small plates, entrées, and sides, the affordable menu is ideal for guests who come and go at all hours of the day. $$$

B Spot 28699 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-292-5567. When Michael Symon set out to craft Cleveland's best burger, he didn't take the task lightly. Built with beef supplied by legendary New York purveyor Pat LaFrieda, the burgers explode with beefy goodness. Other B's include brats, beer, and bad-ass milkshakes. Tack on orders of rosemary-scented Lola fries, golden onion rings, or blazing-hot Sriracha wings. $$

Blue Point Grille 700 W. St. Clair Ave., 216-875-STAR. Well-prepared fresh seafood is the specialty at this beautifully renovated space in the Warehouse District. Don't miss Blue Point chowder or the grouper over lobster-mashed potatoes. $$$$

Chinato 2079 E. 4th St., 216-298-9080. Chinato makes diners feel special with redefined Italian dishes served in a contemporary setting. Start with glistening crudo or a bowl of unabashedly salty seafood fritto misto. Chinato's pastas are lush, dreamy and (fortunately) available in half portions. Entrées include buttery skate wing, Amarone-braised beef and brilliant porchetta. $$$

Cowell & Hubbard 1305 Euclid Ave., 216-479-0555. This being Zack Bruell's fifth Cleveland restaurant, diners now know they can expect high-caliber service, an interior pulled from the pages of Architectural Digest, and a menu the size of Atlas Shrugged. What Bruell calls "modern French-American" might just as well be billed New Mediterranean, with nods to Morocco, France and Italy. In the end, the food is characteristically Bruellian: tidy stacks of meat and veg resting in an opulent sauce, diamond-cut by the acidity of lemon. $$$

Dante 2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1200. Native Clevelander Dante Boccuzzi has worked his way around the globe, with stints in London, Milan, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York. Now settled in Tremont, his contemporary bistro borrows from Italian, American and Asian cuisines. Still, no meal is complete without a sample of the chef's killer pasta, polenta or risotto, all available by the taste. $$$-$$$$

1890 420 Superior Ave., 216-776-4576. This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike. $-$$

Empress Taytu 6125 St. Clair Ave., 216-391-9400. Behind the doors of Empress Taytu awaits an exotic culinary adventure of the first order. The restaurant serves authentic Ethiopian foods, including beef, lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes cooked with a variety of spices and herbs. $$-$$$

Fahrenheit 2417 Professor Ave. 216-781-8858 Fahrenheit opened in Tremont back in 2002, making chef Rocco Whalen one of the earlier culinary pioneers of that neighborhood. That the restaurant has continued to thrive in what has become an exceedingly fierce marketplace is a testament to its quality and broad appeal. Whalen's brassy American cuisine delivers in terms of ingredients, preparation and presentation, making it a destination for diners from as far afield as both coasts. Vietnamese chicken spring rolls, Kobe beef short ribs, coffee-crusted pork tenderloin and dreamy pizza pies are some of the reasons guests continue to flock here, but more than anything it's Whalen's passion for his food, his neighborhood, and his city that warms the cockles. $$$-$$$$

Fat Cats 2061 W. 10th St., 216-579-0200. The eclectic, contemporary menu at this Tremont fixture is a good match for its shabby-chic decor; and somehow, dishes like bouillabaisse, seared duck breast, and sausage-and-goat-cheese rigatoni taste better when devoured 'neath the light of candles and lava lamps. Friendly staffers and a full bar are other reasons to pad on into this neighborhood gem. $$-$$$

Fire Food & Drink 3220 Shaker Square 216-921-3473. You know those women who never seem to age? That's how we feel about Fire, Doug Katz's 13-year-old bistro that looks as if it opened just yesterday. The industrial chic dining room, the baby-smooth concrete bar, the open kitchen, the snappy linens... the place defines "timeless appeal." The American menu is both static and dynamic, filled with popular signature dishes that receive quarterly seasonal tweaks, augmented by daily features, built from market fresh ingredients. We're not quite sure how a tandoor oven works, but we do know that everything that comes out of it tastes like gold. $$$-$$$$

Flying Fig 2523 Market Ave., 216-241-4243. Chef-owner Karen Small stocks her larder with simple, homegrown ingredients, then coaxes them into precise assemblages of soaring flavor at this hip, youthful, and energetic bistro in the heart of Ohio City. And as any trendinista will tell you, the Fig's happy hours are among the best in the city for unwinding on a budget. $$$-$$$$

Great Lakes Brewing Company 2516 Market Ave., 216-771-4404. A true Cleveland original, this award-winning brewery features contemporary pub fare that's as good-tasting and as authentic as its historic space. Outstanding craft-brewed beers on tap. $$$

Greenhouse Tavern 2038 East Fourth St. 216-393-4302. Besides Michael Symon, there might be no Cleveland chef who has done more to attract positive national attention than Jonathon Sawyer. In addition to Greenhouse Tavern's selection as one of the "Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the U.S." by Bon Appetit, Sawyer also snagged a spot in Food & Wine's 2010 class of "Best New Chefs." And the accolades haven't stopped coming, all further bolstering Cleveland as a major foodie town while increasing local culinary tourism. Genial, passionate and wickedly creative in the kitchen, Sawyer makes an ideal ambassador for our food scene. At the restaurant, diners are treated to a rare combination of haute and familiar, where dishes like beef tartar, foie gras-steamed clams and aged Ohio lamb are dished up in a modern tavern setting. And where else in town can an adventurous diner tuck into a roasted pig face, a delicious dish that belies its ghoulish visage. $$-$$$$

Grumpy's Cafe 2621 W. 14th St. 216-241-5025. A devastating fire once put Grumpy's out of commission for two years, but owner Kathy Owad resurrected the beloved Tremont café in a cozy new space that now has lines spilling out the doors every weekend. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late-night weekend dining, Grumpy's pretty much has you covered morning, noon and night. Expect hearty plates of reasonably priced, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food served with cheerfulness. $-$$

Happy Dog 5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474. Fries, tater tots, and custom-made hot dogs with a choice of 50 toppings form the core of the Happy Dog menu. But when taken in combination with a rockin' vibe, plenty of live music, and an impressive roundup of beers (including more than 20 on tap), it makes this little bar one of the biggest draws in town. And east siders are in on the game now too, with the opening of the Happy Dog (boasting all the same great food and booze) in the old Euclid Tavern spot in University Circle. $-$$

Johnny's Bar 3164 Fulton Rd., 216-281-0055. Dark, intimate, and timelessly elegant, this manly little jewel box of a restaurant is the sort of place you suggest when you want to impress the boss, wow a date, or just remind yourself why you work so damn hard. The menu is crammed with upscale Italian specialties, including some stunning risottos and one of the city's finest long-boned veal chops; at lunch, though – pssst – the char-grilled burger is out of this world. $$$-$$$$

Johnny's Downtown 1406 W. 6th St., 216-623-0055. How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Go to this opulent Warehouse District restaurant and find out. The kitchen's heady creations are nearly as grand as the room itself, with bold flavors, savory ingredients, and a pleasantly upscale Italian accent. Hey, at least our dreams of the good life are free. $$$-$$$$

Lola 2058 East Fourth St. 216-621-5652. Initially, it's the name. After all, "Michael Symon" is why you have dinner reservations in Cleveland in the first place. Then you turn the corner and see East Fourth Street for the first time and think, "This is pretty cool." The expanse of glass that fronts Lola offers a few glimpses of what's to come: bustling bar, radiant bartop, massive wall of wine. Once fully inside, the room comes into view – the dramatically lit 15-foot coffered ceiling, the one-of-a-kind chandeliers, the titanic open kitchen manned by a small cadre of cooks and chefs. Apps come – pearly oysters perhaps, or the now-famous beef cheek pierogies – and you crack a small smile. A brave soul at the table orders the grilled veal heart and you force down a small bite. And then a larger one. You've had halibut before, but it's never managed to taste like this. Another bottle of pinot? Yes, please. You can't possibly make room for dessert, but then you do, along with a few nibbles of ripe cheese, an after-dinner bourbon. It can't be 10:30 p.m., can it? $$$-$$$$

Lucky's Café 777 Starkweather Ave., 216-622-7773. This cozy little café offers simple all-day breakfasts, a roundup of lunchtime sandwiches, and bounteous weekend brunches, including several options just right for the meat-free crowd. Regardless of the time, don't overlook owner Heather Haviland's well-stocked pastry counter, filled with imaginative muffins, scintillating scones, and brightly frosted cupcakes, among other sweet delights. $$

Melt Bar and Grilled 13463 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-965-0988. Rightly praised for its gigantic stuffed and toasted grilled cheese sandwiches, this home-grown phenomenon fills bellies and buoys spirits. Fillings range from the austere to the ridiculous, such as the pair of cheese pierogies inside the Parmageddon. Wicked beer list, kitsch-filled dining room, and rockin' tunes create a festive atmosphere. $$

Michaelangelo's 2198 Murray Hill Rd., 216-721-0300. Trained in Italy's Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list. $$$

Momocho 1835 Fulton Rd. 216-694-2122. When Momocho chef-owner Eric Williams introduced Cleveland diners to "Mod Mex," he did so only after years of running kitchens at Johnny Mango and Lopez. His creative takes on regional Mexican cuisine work because they are grounded in history, familiarity and respect for ingredients. Thus, Momocho's smoked trout and bacon guacamole is both classic and modern – and always delicioso. Flavor-seeking diners flock here for roll-your-own beer-braised goat taquitos, crab and smoked trout chilaquiles, and pepita-crusted trout. "Quality and consistency are the keys to our success," says Williams. An unbending edict if ever there was one.1835 Fulton Rd. $$-$$$

Moxie 3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216-831-5599. Svelte and sophisticated, Moxie is where you take your business partners to impress them with your good taste. The seasonal American foods, including grilled fish, savory meats, and bountiful salads, are artfully presented by professional servers. $$$-$$$$

Parallax 2179 W. 11th St., 216-583-9999. Longtime Cleveland chef Zach Bruell's salon is as chic as can be, with precise but unpretentious fare that finds its heart in classical technique and its soul in contemporary artistry. Options include excellent sushi, plenty of seafood and such bistro standards as juicy grilled chicken with tarragon-scented pommes frites. $$$

Pier W 12700 Lake Ave., Lakewood, 216-228-2250. A landmark dining room overlooking Lake Erie, Pier W combines a sophisticated, contemporary interior with worldly cuisine focused on fish and seafood. (Check out the fine bouillabaisse, for instance, a house signature.) Factor in its jaw-dropping view of the downtown skyline, and its no wonder that Pier W is one of the city's most beloved restaurants. $$$

Pura Vida 170 Euclid Ave., 216-987-0100. Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients.A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar. $$$

Red, the Steakhouse 3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216-831-2252. 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 with a second location also downtown near East Fourth. $$$$

Ristorante Giovanni's 25550 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood, 216-831-8625. One of the last remaining grande dames of the region's formal dining scene, this elegant Italian restaurant offers impeccable appointments, attentive service and a luxurious menu of steaks, veal chops, seafood and pasta. Yes, it is expensive. But the chance to put on a suit and feel like a grown-up? Priceless. $$$$

Table 45 9801 Carnegie Ave. (Intercontinental Hotel) 216-707-4045. A happy alliance of modern architecture and contemporary cuisine, Table 45 offers an enticing collection of global fare that blends sophistication with unpretentious appeal. The kitchen may borrow freely from Indian, Mediterranean, and South American pantries, but the clear, focused flavors are all its own. $$$

Tommy's 1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-321-7757. Hippie or hipster, young or old, meathead or vegan, Clevelanders have been flocking to this culinary landmark since 1972, hungry for the big assortment of creative and unusual sandwiches, soups and salads. After a healthy hummus-stuffed ripe tomato or a grilled-cheese sandwich with veggies, sunflower seeds and sesame sauce, be sure to splurge on a creamy, old-fashioned malt or milkshake. $$

Touch Supper Club 2710 Lorain Ave., 216-631-5200. Big flavors and small prices distinguish the menu at this Ohio City restaurant, bar, and dance club, where the menu glides easily between contemporary comfort fare (think short ribs or macaroni & cheese) and upscale bar noshes (don't miss the egg-topped burger). Adding to the sense of value, count tasteful amenities, a trendy vibe, and friendly, attentive servers. Afterward, burn off the calories in the downstairs dance club. $$


Bascule Bridge Grille 1006 Bridge St., Ashtabula, 440-964-0301. When it comes to picturesque settings, this relative newcomer steals the show. Located on Bridge Street in the heart of the historic Ashtabula Harbor, the bistro is right by the architecturally compelling Bascule Bridge. Diners will find the same level of attention placed in the food, a seasonal roundup of farm-to-table starters, salads and mains. Start with crab cakes, move on to chorizo-spiked mussels, and round off your meal with a hearty Berkshire Pork Chop. $$-$$$

Battise & Dupree Cajun Grill 1992 Warrensville Center Rd. 216-381-3341. Owner, chef, host, server, bartender, and busser: Junior Battiste really does it all. As a result, dining in this teensy Cajun restaurant can be an adventure, marked by warmth, whimsy, and occasionally slow service. Still, those who value style and substance over speed won't be disappointed: Junior's made-from-scratch cookin' is some of the best in town. $$

Big Al's Diner 12600 Larchmere Blvd., 216-791-8550. If you miss Mom's cooking, this is the place to get your fix. Big Al's has all the comforting favorites, like thick, steaming soups, housemade mashed potatoes with gravy, open-faced roast beef sandwiches and chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is served until the diner's late-afternoon closing time. $-$$


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