Sergio's in University Circle
When it opened in a University Circle carriage house in 1995, Sergio's had the feel of a smart, contemporary, urban townhouse. All these years later, it still does. As one of the few truly exceptional dining choices in University Circle, Sergio's is a natural destination for those off to enjoy the symphony, museums, and conservatories. But lest you think this place is stuffy, swing by on a hot summer eve to knock back Caipirinhas with a side of jazz. Sergio Abramof's Mediterranean-themed seafood is as elegant and tasteful as the room around it, with shrimp, halibut, and scallops appearing in various guises. "The food I create is delicious, authentic, and a true reflection of my personality," says Abramof. "This is why our customers, our friends, have supported us for so many years."
1903 Ford Dr., 216-231-1234,
Besides Michael Symon, there may 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 personally snagged a spot in Food & Wine's 2010 class of "Best New Chefs." The accolades further bolster Cleveland as a major foodie town while increasing local culinary tourism. Affable, humble, passionate, and wickedly skilled, 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 foie gras-steamed clams and aged Ohio rib-eye are dished up in a modern tavern setting. And where else in town can an adventurous diner tuck into a full-on roasted pig face, a delicious dish that belies its ghoulish visage?
2038 East Fourth St., 216-393-4302, thegreenhousetavern.com
When Momocho chef-owner Eric Williams introduced Cleveland diners to "modern Mexican," 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 at once 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., 216-694-2122,