From what I am led to believe about Sokolowski's University Inn it may fit the bill for your friend. I have not eaten there so cannot speak from experience, but it's a place I want to try. Its located in the Tremont area and is a reasonable cab ride from downtown. You probably want to let folks know what area your friend will be staying in, since I just assumed you were talking downtown, which makes the most sense.
Parma Pierogi may be another spot to try, but that will probably require a car to get to from downtown.
cleveland has had its own hosted food website for many years so go to cleveland.com and post for more tips. i'd suggest a visit to the westside market. a working persons market with lots of cheap ethnic food. pizza bagels! wacky pierogies!
nearby is GREAT LAKES BREWERY for fine local color, great beers, try the lake erie walleye/perch bites appetizer. HECK'S also nearby is a pretty old pub with good burgers, as is LOZADO'S for puerto rican food. try RUTHIE & MOE'S diner downtown for breakfast. yes, maybe SOKOLOWSKI'S too. if you go there tip the piano player, have a bottle of the house green apple soda and check out the view out back. ps--go to SHOOTER'S in the flats if you catch great weather.
Try Phnom Penh (on West 25th Street, near the West Side Market)for amazing Pan-Asian cuisine, and don't order it spicey unless you really mean it!! Almost next door is Nates -- very cheap and good Middle Eastern food -- but only for lunch. There is a whole neighborhood full of good and reasonably cheap Asian restaurants (St. Clair-Superior neighborhood -- E. 30th to E. 55th). There is a new Peruvian place downtown, but I haven't been yet. Plenty of Italian fare in Little Italy, but generally not cheap. By the way, Ruthie & Moe's is unfortunately long gone.
Cleveland has some great, inexpensive places, especially if you like foreign food. I agree that Phnom Penh on W. 25th is fabulous and cheap Cambodian food. I also agree that you don't want to order anything spicy unless you really like it hot. I enjoy fairly hot food and always order everything mild there (as opposed to most other places where I order it spicy.) Anatolia Cafe at Cedar Centar in South Euclid is also very moderate and serves Turkish food. Delicious, and the staff is very friendly and efficient. Both of these places serve wonderful tasting food in large portions and for about $15 per person.
A third place I would recommend is in Richmond Heights, called Hunan East. Although it looks like a typical storefront Chinese restaurant, they have a menu written in Manderin only (although there is a picture book showing many of the dishes, so Americans can order from it)with Chinese dishes that you may never have seen or tasted. The owner is from Shanghai, so the cooking is different from the normal Cantonese or Sczechian. HUGE portions, super fast service and a bill for two around $25! Outstanding!!
Some other good choices would be Minn Ahn, a Vietnamese restaurant on Detroit Blvd., and Alladin's (many locations) which has Middle Eastern food or Tazzas (also Middle eastern)or Tommy's (Coventry Rd).
Lastly , good reasonable Cajun food can be found at Fat Fish Blue (downtown near Public Square)and great burgers can be found at a local chain, Yours Truly. Thses are really great burgers and again, very reasonable prices.
I agree wiih many of the ethnic eats suggestions especially the one for Anatola!
For middddle eastern I would rather see yyour friend go to Nate's on W.25th or Cedarlands across from the Clevelnd Clinic on Euclid. These two places are far better food, imo.
Also, Superior Pho on Superior iis AMAZING pho.
I will second Luckygirls recs. Anatolia's (near east suburb)turkish food will bring you to your knees-esp if you order any dish with the homemade yogart. it is very reasonably priced but slightly more than a typical "cheap eats" recommendations. I vote for cedarland (best hummuos and Tabouli IMO) and nates (both in Cleveland) over alladans (local chain) for middle eastern. And Superior Pho (near downtown) has the best Pho and Banh MI sandwich. Sokoloskis is a must for eastern european. I would get the stuffed cabage and mashed potatoes with a polish beer to totally immerse yourself. for inexpensive mexican try Mi Pueblo -probably the university circle (eastside cleveland)location will be most convienient. free chips and fresh salsas, and a huge menu with conventional as well as more authentic dishes. I like Korea House for a really interesting
Korean food expereince. it is just east of downtown. Siam Cafe (also just east of downtown)is amazing IF you avoid the typical americanized dishes. I also agree about Phenom Pehn-2 locations, probably the Ohio City location is closest (just w. of downtown) . Hey I just realized we are responding to a post from 2003. Hope someone out there is interested in this info!
That's funny that the original request was from 2003, but I'm sure that the information will be useful to anyone looking for cheap eats currently. I have never been to Anatolia's, but after reading the stellar recommendations, I am determined to try it. Is it in the Cedar Center shopping plaza, and if so, on the north or south side of Cedar? Any particular recommendations for things to order?
anatolia is on the north side of cedar. I believe it is in the center that has the nearest intersection of warrensville center rd. Oddly the apps, while quite good are not the standouts of the menu IMO. Any of the lamb and chicken dishes in yogart are killer. The housemade gyro meat (they call it something else though, I think) is actually amazing. the turkish tea is wonderful too. I am not a big dessert person, but they are nice as well. I really cannot explain how good the yogart dishes are. start with those. I have to say these are not dirt cheap eats, but prices are reasonable nonetheless. This place and Pacific East in CH (moderate prices, great sushi!) are the places I miss most since moving into town.