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Cleveland Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


crispy
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I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who voted for The Leopard in

Northern Ohio Live's "Best Restaurants" issue we are very appretiative. It is an honor to win five awards (best French, most romantic, best ambiance, best hotel dining and best wine list)

especially since it's a readers poll, meaning our customers took the time to vote.

We are humbled.

hmsiegel,

We would love to have you hang out for a day with us. You will be surprised by the simplicity to our system and the complecity of our process. PM me so we can work out the details.

Matthew Mathlage

Edited by mmmathlage (log)
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  • 1 month later...

My partner and I are heading to Cleveland for a Kenley Players reunion. we'll be arriving Friday evening, staying through Sunday.

I'd like some recommendations for restaurants near the Cleveland Downtown Marriott, preferably within walking distance of the hotel. Of course, if there is a place that we can't miss, I'll certainly drive, although after eight hours in the car, I'd like to walk, if possible.

We're very open to all different cuisines, and we'd like to have a drink before dinner. I'm not al all familiar with the area, this will be my first trip to Cleveland, so I don't know anything about the restaurant scene. As far as budget, we live in the metro New York area, so if entree prices are around 30.00 or lower, that would be great. Also, we love off the beaten path places, so don't hold back on your favorites!

If there are any e-gulleters attending the reunion, please let me know, I'll introduce myself at the cocktail party Friday night!

TIA

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Sharkey --

PM me -- I may be just the person you want to talk to. I have a couple of good connections here in Cleveland (both in restaurants and theatre) and would be happy to make some recommendations.

I'd love to chat.

Laurie

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Sharkey --

PM me -- I may be just the person you want to talk to.  I have a couple of good connections here in Cleveland (both in restaurants and theatre) and would be happy to make some recommendations. 

I'd love to chat.

Laurie

Must you keep recommendations for good places a secret? :biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronnie (and all) --

I'll begin comprising my list this evening for you.  :rolleyes:

Laurie

Awesome! Thank you. I have a sneaking suspicion that a trip to Cleveland is on the horizon for me. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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There are really NO good restaurants within walking distance of that hotel and it's not a very nice area for walking. Not unsafe, but not pedestrian-friendly - W. 150th, the street it's on, is very heavy with traffic and there are mostly fast food and bad chain places there like Denny's. I would not eat anywhere around there if I were you, including "Somer's" which is awful.

However, you're a short drive from a lot of decent places. In non-rush hour traffic, you're only about 15 minutes from downtown via I-71 north. If you continue north on W. 150th, you'll shortly be in Lakewood where there are several good places to eat.

For inexpensive, good and healthy Lebanese, I recommend Aladdin's in Lakewood (www.aladdinseatery.com). Take W. 150th northbound into lakewood (about 5 minutes). You'll cross I-90 at the cleveland-lakewood border, keep going north until you get to Detroit road (you'll pass Madison where there's a 5th Third bank and a BP, next light is Detroit, turn right. Aladdin's is on your left within a couple of blocks, I can't remember the cross street but there's plenty of street parking and the first hour is free on the meters, or there's a small parking lot in back.

Pepper's in lakewood has very good pizza. Their other food is so-so but the pizza is excellent. It's a very small joint on the S side of the street diagonally across from Baker Motors, also on Detroit. If you keep proceeding East on Detroit from W. 150th, you'll be there in about 10 minutes. There is a lot of stop and go traffic on Detroit due to lots of stop lights. I think it's right after Cove but look for Baker Moters as your anchor, and then there's free street parking all around.

the Borderline Cafe is one of my fave places in the city for breakfast. If you get there late morning there's always a line but it's worth the wait. It's also on Detroit, but west of W. 150th (which is called Warren Road in Lakewood by the way). Turn L at Detroit and keep going for about 10-15 minutes. When you get to Riverside, look for a place to park on the street, it's in the plaza on the N side of Detroit just after Riverside. Around the Corner is a bar also in this strip, just "around the corner" from the Borderline - they have the best wings in Lakewood and a large, decent bar menu. Gets crowded with youngsters in the later hours.

The Rush Inn has a pretty good bar menu, it's on Detroit across from the Beck Center for the Arts. It's W of Warren/150th, not as far as the Borderline, on the S side of the street.

Ferris' Steak House is on Detroit but well into the Cleveland area, as opposed to Lakewood. It's sort of stuck in the middle of nowhere but is a very good, unassuming steak place, the kind where they still give you a basket of crackers with dinner and/or a simple iceberg salad w/meal. Steaks are excellent.

If you're up to going downtown, there are lots of more upscale places to eat with good food. PM me if you'd like downtown suggestions, I know my post is getting long so I'll quit while I'm ahead.

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  • 7 months later...

Greetings, I am white lotus from the PNW (Pacific NW) forum soon to be visiting Cleveland for the next month. I am looking forward to trying a Michael Syman restaurant at least once but would be just as happy to not have lay out great sums as my budget will be covering many meals. Where does one get good bread? Any good local cheese? What is the ethnic scene like? What are the classic comfort food joints? Are there any good vegetarian places? The only food that I am not fond of is seafood and offal. I am also not much of a drinker of wine or cocktails. Good food makes me happy. Good food keeps home-sickness away. Thankyou ahead of time for sharing your knowledge with a stranger in this strange land. Sincerely, white lotus :rolleyes:

Edited by white lotus (log)
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Hey white lotus, hope you enjoy your trip to Cleveland, I don't live there anymore but I grew up there and I've only been gone about a year and still love that city.

I know there are tons of knowledgeable (and current) Clevelanders on this board that will have lots of suggestions for your trip but seeing your post on the front page I couldn't resist making some suggestions of my own.

My biggest suggestion would be to visit the Ohio City neighborhood, just west of downtown across the river. You can see the awesome West Side Market for a wide selection of food (and it's cheap) if you want to do your own cooking or if just enjoy looking and old-style market in a great old building. It's also got some stalls selling cooked food that you can eat there - try a roll from Frank's Bratwurst.

If you'd rather get some food from someone else's kitchen there's a bunch of places around there as well, all within walking distance from the market and from public transportation if you don't have a car (RTA red line West 25th stop). Some I would suggest:

Phnom Pehn (Cambodian/Vietnamese)

1929 W25th Cleveland, Oh 44113

Great Lakes Brewery (local beer, American/pub food)

2516 Market Ave

Nate's Deli (middle eastern)

1923 W. 25th St.

Johnny Mango (Caribbean/etc)

3120 Bridge Ave

Heck's Cafe (burgers)

2927 Bridge Ave.

Have fun!

peace

Dan

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This recent thread has several suggestions.

Here's a long-running thread I found on Cleveland Asian restaurants just paging through the Heartland thread index a few pages.

Here's a thread from last year where Michael Ruhlmann solicited opinions on Cleveland's Best Restaurants

About a year ago, Hungry Magazine did a nice rundown of Cleveland restaurants.

I haven't lived in Cleveland for many years now, and my visits back are usually brief and I haven't had many chances to explore any place I've learned about from those threads, but I'm going to try harder next time I'm back in town.

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For casual/on-the-go eating - Mr. Brisket is both a full service butcher, and a lunchtime deli counter making some of the best pastrami I've ever eaten and fresh, off the bone turkey sandwiches that take me back to my childhood (before Subway and Quizno). South Taylor Road just south of the intersection with Cedar Road. Website

The best corned beef sandwich in town is Slyman's, which is on St. Clair Ave in the 30s.

The falafel stand at the West Side Market is awesome - get a sandwich, then go up to the balcony to eat and watch the action below!

The best local source to purchase cheese is The Baricelli Inn in Little Italy.

My current favorite bread/dessert bakery is Appetite on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst. The baker, Bennett Davis, used to be the pastry chef at Moxie. Koko Bakery 3710 Payne Ave, has a wall of Shanghai bakery cases, plus rice plates and bubble teas, and other yummy baked goods.

There is a huge ethnic scene here. I recommend that you pick up the latest edition of Laura Taxel's "Cleveland Ethnic Eats" as a get-started primer.

Also - Lolita, Light Bistro and Flying Fig all have awesome happy hours, with discounted food and drink that should help extend your budget.

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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As far as bread, the only good bread I've found is at a couple restaurants: Moxie (warning: loud) and Light Bistro. Over all, Moxie is the best contemporary American restaurant in the area but since so many good restaurants don't follow through with bread and dessert Moxie stands out even more in those areas. I think Light Bistro may be also be on the same level as Moxie. They're new but I've been very impressed with my limited exposure. fire food and drink is one more contemporary American restaurant worth visiting. Their pork chop is fantastic - even better than Moxie's. ZOMG!!! I just went to their website so I could find the description of a fabulous salad that I waned to recommend and I see that they have a completely new menu posted. Don't worry, that pork chop isn't going anywhere. They have a chicken sausage appetizer and I know already that it will be amazing. Chef Katz hired Tom Kazubowski who has brought a lot of great, fresh ideas to the restaurant and particularly in the area of charcuterie. fire and Light may be a dollar or two less expensive than Lola but Moxie is probably about the same.

There are some great ethnic restaurants. El Tango has amazing Mexican and other Latin American food. I knew that I had to take them seriously when I tasted the vegetable sides. Potatoes, cabbage, cole slaw... nothing is an afterthought. Every thing is bursting with flavor. It's hard to choose a highlight but all the soups are phenomenal. There's also a quesadilla, a beef dish and a pork dish. And of course, the pork tacos. Portions are big, BYOB, sometimes understaffed.

Shanti's kitchen has equally phenomenal Caribbean food. Curried, jerked, stewed... lamb, goat, chicken. Call ahead for fish but definitely choose the snapper or tilapia over the shrimp. And again, sides are just as good as entrees. Great spinach and great cabbage. Mostly takeout business.

Siam Cafe has a misleading name. Their specialty is Chinese food and they also have some of the best Vietnamese food in the area. The menu is so extensive that I haven't even explored much of the Thai food. My Vietnamese favorites are the crepe and the bun bo hue (spicy soup). The brisket in the bun bo hue is as flavorful as any meat at any restaurant in the city. My favorites from the Chinese menu are too numerous even to mention. The other day I had salt baked shrimp with live shrimp. Beef noodle soup. Fried tofu. Ong choi with bean curd. Curried beef stew.

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My current favorite bread/dessert bakery is Appetite on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst.  The baker, Bennett Davis, used to be the pastry chef at Moxie.

Is this new? What is it close to on Mayfield?

Anything in particular you recommend?

Is it an actual restaurant or more like a take out?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I just back from dinner at fire and it was very clear that I didn't praise them highly enough in my previous post. I had a fantastic chicken sausage as an appetizer. Then a fantastic frisee salad with braised Berkshire pork belly, hard boiled quail egg and sauce gribiche. Then I had a fantastic walleye. Dessert was chocolate cake with fudge sauce, ginger ice cream and a ginger chocolate truffle. It was intensely chocolate-y. The ginger ice cream was fantastic too. If I return and I'm not in the mood for chocolate drenched in fudge with a side of chocolate then I think I'd like just a scoop of this ice cream.

The meal was phenomenal from beginning to end. It was hard choosing. I'm looking forward to all the dishes that I had to pass over tonight. My friend really enjoyed his chocolate bread pudding. Every single dish was tempting.

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Oh my, Oh my :biggrin: ... What wonderful information! ...and a response from ToraChris as well. I am such a fan of yours. Many thanks to you all... If any of you think of anymore ideas, I would love to hear them. It looks as though I'll need to get to a good late night book store as soon as I get there. I had a sense that there must be more to Cleveland than I originally thought.

I am currently mapquesting and putting little colored dots on my AAA Cleveland map. What a great beginning to getting oriented ( :cool: such an antiquated, double entendre, possibly politically incorrect in my case but charming word to describe my current process) to Cleveland.

Even though I am non-drinker of wine & coctails, I do love happy hours. I get hungry at odd hours. The better establishments here in the NW have gotten wonderfully creative but every now & then I do order Shirley Temples for nostalgia's sake. The PNW (Pacific NW) folks here gets together frequently for happy hour and I shall be missing them greatly as I explore what Cleveland has to offer.

OMG Stuart_s, the frissee salad w/pork belly, the Chocolate bread pudding & the chocolate ginger, ginger dessert sounds as if it would make a great first meal there. Note to self to go to "fire" soon. Another note to self, make prefered Happy hour list of places with exceptional food. Anyone out there who is an expert?

Another final question, besides the big book stores, where else can you find great food & cookbook selections? My Michael Ruhland collection not very current. What other better diversions can one have than food and cookbooks! :rolleyes:

Even though my body is en route to Cleveland, my mind is already there. Appreciation to you all (danf, gremuska, NancyH, Stuart_s) for the information. Let's please continue the conversation. Sincerely, wl

Edited by white lotus (log)
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white lotus,

sorry I really didn't give any places I just responded to Nancy...

I am sort of more a whole in the wall/cheap eats kind of girl and will leave the fine dining comments to the others on the board,

I can help with bookstores though. I love bookstores and spend many hours in them.

Do you know where in Cleveland you will be staying? East side? West side? downtown?

This will help us guide you to more specific places.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Torakris, oh please don't appologize. Me too,I love hole in the wall/cheap places as well. My first couple of days will in the downtown area and then I am being hosted in Cleveland Heights. I will be renting a car which hopefully has a GPS so transportion should not be a problem. I have invitations from many kind people who are friends but I am not oriented yet as to where everything is on my AAA map. I just found out that there are a couple of Half Price Books in Cleveland. Yay...! :rolleyes: I love visiting book stores. So what are your favorite bookstores?

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Torakris, oh please don't appologize.  Me too,I love hole in the wall/cheap places as well.  My first couple of days will in the downtown area and then I am being hosted in Cleveland Heights. I will be renting a car which hopefully has a GPS so transportion should not be a problem.  I have invitations from many kind people who are friends but I am not oriented yet as to where everything is on my AAA map. I just found out that there are a couple of Half Price Books in Cleveland.  Yay...!  :rolleyes: I love visiting book stores. So what are your favorite bookstores?

I was born and raised in Cleveland Heights! :biggrin:

Half Price Books is just a couple miles down Mayfield Rd in the Golden Gate Shopping Center and is my home away from home. In the same shopping center is World Market a nice store that I often go to for various kitchen goods and International type foods.

I also love http://www.josephbeth.com/, I could live in this place! It is too expensive to actually buy anything but I look and then go home and order from Amazon... :blink: It is located in Legacy Village, it is overpriced shopping at its best but it is worth a visit at least once. It is also home to one of the the best "regular chain supermarkets" on the East side, Giant Eagle. There is another Giant Eagle on Mayfield Rd, but the Legacy one is so much better. Also in Legacy is La Gelateria, I have never had better gelato! I actually prefer their older location though down at Cedar-Fairmount, I don't know why I just think it tastes better.

Cedar -Fairmount also has two restaurants I really enjoy, the Mad Greek (Greek and Indian) and Aladdin's Eatery.

I need to run now but I will be back tomorrow with more. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My current favorite bread/dessert bakery is Appetite on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst.  The baker, Bennett Davis, used to be the pastry chef at Moxie.

Is this new? What is it close to on Mayfield?

Anything in particular you recommend?

Is it an actual restaurant or more like a take out?

Appetite is in the former Broadway Bagels on Mayfield Road near Richmond. Ironically, they make all of their own bread - except the bagels! All of their salads (and they have a case full of different kinds) are made fresh from scratch as are their soups. You can eat in or take out, just as before when it was the bagel store. They have breakfast, lunch, early dinner (they close by 7pm), snacks and catering. One other important improvement - the Davis's scubbed it down and cleaned it up (the bagel store had, um, sort of gotten away from good housekeeping for a while).

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Even though I am non-drinker of wine & coctails, I do love happy hours.  I get hungry at odd hours.  The better establishments here in the NW have gotten wonderfully creative but every now & then I do order Shirley Temples for nostalgia's sake.  The PNW (Pacific NW) folks here gets together frequently for happy hour and I shall be missing them greatly as I explore what Cleveland has to offer. 

OMG Stuart_s, the frissee salad w/pork belly, the Chocolate bread pudding & the chocolate ginger, ginger dessert sounds as if it would make a great first meal there.  Note to self to go to "fire" soon.  Another note to self, make prefered Happy hour list of places with exceptional food.  Anyone out there who is an expert?

I'm not an expert - but you must go to Lolita for the Happy Hour foods - their American Kobe Burger that is the best burger I ever had in my life, and the other Happy Hour choices are all worth trying. Happy Hour is in the afternoon (I think 4:30-6:30pm), then again late (I want to say after 10pm - call them to be sure).

Unfortunately, for "odd hour" eating in Cleveland, you may find yourself limited to Temont and Chinatown. The good news is that all of the late night places in Chinatown are pretty good to excellent - Bo Loong, Li Wah, C&Y Restaurant, New Wong's Noodle Shop. I know that Lolita is open pretty late, but I'm not sure who else is open late in Tremont.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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White Lotus - also, given that you'll be in Cleveland Hts - there are two good "greasy spoon"-like places on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst - Eat at Joes and Jason's Diner (the latter is for sale, so I don't know how long they'll be around) - the former is breakfast and lunch only, the latter is breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I haven't been in a long time, but I had a great meal at the Hunan on Coventry; prices are fair and quality is very high. Another great bet for Chinese is Sun Luck Garden on South Taylor - the proprietor, Annie, is a wonderful lady who is doing great East Meets West type cuisine that is exquisitely good, at very moderate prices in a very casual environment.

And speaking of Gelato - Dominic Cerino has been experimenting with making Gelato with Kathy Breychak's Blue Eggs - I am told it is heavenly, but he hasn't been able to make enough of it yet to have any for sale after the staff finishes with, um, quality control. Yes - you must get to Carrie Cerino's for Copper River Salmon and Blue Egg Ravioli or Carbonara!

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Greetings, I am white lotus from the PNW (Pacific NW) forum soon to be visiting Cleveland for the next month.  I am looking forward to trying a Michael Syman restaurant at least once but would be just as happy to not have lay out great sums as my budget will be covering many meals.  Where does one get good bread?  Any good local cheese?  What is the ethnic scene like?  What are the classic comfort food joints?  Are there any good vegetarian places?  The only food that I am not fond of is seafood and offal.  I am also not much of a drinker of wine or cocktails. Good food makes me happy. Good food keeps home-sickness away.  Thankyou ahead of time for sharing your knowledge with a stranger in this strange land.  Sincerely, white lotus  :rolleyes:

You've had many good suggestions already. I too suggest happy hour at Lolita. Lunch at Lola is another option to keep things inexpensive but still try Michael Symon's great food - I highly recommend the bologna sandwich. I think Michelle's bread at the West Side market is awesome as she doesn't use trans fats and knows what's in everything. I like getting most of my cheeses from the small Mediterranean/Greek market inside the west side market - it's one of the only places I can get some greek imported cheeses but they have several other kinds as well, and a great olive selection.

I also recommend Slyman's for good and inexpensive corned beef, it's really the best in the city - they're open for lunch only.

I'm not as familiar with the E side but it sounds like you got a lot of good suggestions. I also suggest the Little Bar and Grill for a burger - they are owned by the same people who own Johnny's, which is a very nice place downtown (but $$$). The Little Bar is is the alley that runs next to Johnny's, off W. 9th street. Their burgers are made from scraps of steak at Johnny's and are very tasty.

If you're willing to venture slightly west of downtown, the Borderline Cafe in Lakewood (about a 15 minute drive) has great breakfast.

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To continue... :biggrin:

No matter where in Cleveland Heights you are you will be close to Coventry Rd. The main shopping strip runs between Euclid Heights Blvd and Mayfield and there are quite a few restaurants worth trying. My favorite Japanese in Cleveland is Pacific East right on the Mayfield Corner, I go there a couple times for lunch when I am in town and get either the sushi or maki (roll) set. Great food for the price! Hunan on Coventry has long been my favorite for Chinese. Mint Cafe (Thai) is supposedly quite good but it is new and I never did make it last summer, I will be there this year though. For some cheap filling food stop by Grum's Subs and Winking Lizard Tavern.

For great Thai take out stop by Bangkok Thai on Warrensville Road just north of the Cedar Rd intersection. There are a couple tables to eat in but I have never seen anyone sitting there except waiting for their food. It is just seconds away from the new Whole Foods Market on the Warrensville-Cedar corner. I really love their tofu-green bean stirfry, in fact I love it so much I rarely order anything else. :blink:

While you are up at Cedar Center check out Anatolia Cafe for some great Turkish food.

Moving back down to Mayfield Rd, if you are looking for some nice take-out Italian or need a quick meal at home you must stop at Alesci's. It is an Italian grocery store and while I feel the variety of the actual groceries has gone down in the past couple years, their prepared foods/deli is worth checking out. I love their subs and growing up Friday nights were always pizza night with the freshly made pizza dough and sauce from Alesci's which we assembled at home.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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