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What restaurant in Cleveland OH shouldn't be missed for a great dinner?

  • c

Saturday night, not too saucy and not a chain please....

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  1. First of all, I feel bad leaving out some excellent casual, ethnic restaurants but I get the feeling that you're interested in upscale contemporary American. Please correct me if that's not the case. I'm sure we can all provide many wonderful suggestions in any other direction you had in mind.

    fire food and drink (http://firefoodanddrink.com/). It's in Cleveland but right at the very Eastern edge. It's on a charming, historic square in a beautiful space. I like the chicken liver appetizer and the pork chop entree.

    Parker's (http://parkersrestaurant.com/) is one restaurant that regularly brings national acclaim to Cleveland. Parker Bosley is a sustainable, local, seasonal, ingredient food pioneer for our region. They're closing at the end of 2006. The last time the Cleveland Chowhound team fielded a similar thread, the inquiring chowhound ended up at Parker's and gave a glowing report (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...). For me, I think the vegetables steal the show at Parker's. Unbelievable.

    Cleveland is very excited about Lola (http://www.lolabistro.com - under construction) right now. It's recent re-opening was long overdue. In the short time that it's been open I've been able to sample several fantastic things. Grouper. Squab. Veal cheek ravioli appetizer. Lamb sausage appetizer which appears occasionally as a special "charcuterie of the day." I'd take a gamble on the charcuterie no matter what it is.

    Moxie (http://www.moxietherestaurant.com/) isn't in the city of Cleveland. It's about 5 mi east (12 mi from downtown) but it's definitely worth the trip. Try the baked hot chocolate dessert. The website has a flash intro search engine invisibility cloak, flash interstitials, counter-intuitive flash navigation, pdf menus and it makes noise so turn down your speakers if you're at work.

    Don't leave reservations for the last minute at any of these places. fire and Moxie are popular. Parker's is closing. Lola is hot enough that I'd recommend calling ahead even for weekday reservations.

    1. I second the recommendation for Lola!

      1. I also recommend Lola. If you can't get a reservation there, try it's "little sister" Lolita (just a short cab ride from Downtown Cleveland in Tremont.)

        1. Lolita is a great restaurant with a super variety or exotic and experimental dishes. Everything we ordered was a delicious surprise.


          I disagree about Parkers. I thought it was overpriced and overrated. The waiter was great. But the food was average.

          Lola's was also not great, at least the appetizers. The lobster corn dog was like a fried brick and the onion soup was a heavy, sour,red paste. My husband's pork on polenta was great. And the service is also really good.

          In all honesty, the Skyline Chili was a better Cleveland meal than Parkers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zaft

            skyline chili is a cincinnati-based chain served cincinatti-style chili - not what i'd call a cleveland experience.

          2. I haven't been to Cleveland for quite a while but I have great memories of Johnny's Bar on Fulton, "how were your gnocci?" the chef asked (spinach gnocci with shrimp and cream sauce), they were fabulous.

            1 Reply
            1. re: steinpilz

              i havent been in quite awhile either but i still hear good things and i would highly rec JOHNNYS BAR ON FULTON in the ohio city nabe as a quintessential cleveland experience. very cool clubby place. bring your appetite.

              FIRE as mentioned is another nice one. i'd just add they make great use of a tandoori oven. it's in beautiful shaker square.

              no one mentioned BARICELLI INN in little italy? its one of the best restos in the city. despite the nabe its in, the approach is french. they are noted cheese mongers so for sure have a cheese course.

              please do report back!

            2. The few times i visited Cleveland, I loved eating at the Cleveland Grill. Its great for dinner and burnch on Sunday.

              1. I ate at Lola for the first time on Thursday night, and all four of us LOVED it. We are not usually dessert people, but very glad that we decided to indulge... very creative and delicious!

                and of course, I will always love the Flying Fig

                1. Jimmy O'Neil's on Lee Rd., just south of Cedar Rd., has excellent food, not the usual "pub grub". Not to be missed is their signature dessert, Beet Cake, a scrumptious warm chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache, served with homemade whipped cream!

                  1. I would recommend Momocho in Ohio City. I have been there a couple times recently, it has been great.

                    Though out in Westlake, Moose Head Saloon is great for a casual pub dinner. Very small, so call ahead.

                    1. Lola and Lolita are great.

                      Don't get suckered into thinking Red the Steakhouse or Moxie are among the best in Cleveland. The food is what you might expect (quality ingredients, nice preparation), but the overall experience is disappointing and so unnecessarily PRETENTIOUS. This restaurant (it's really just one restaurant with separate rooms) seems stuck in the early nineties. I left feeling very turned off and regreting that I'd spent so much money in such an unenjoyable dining experience in the suburbs.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: lauraab

                        i'm curious as to why you think moxie is pretentious. my main complaint is that they really pack the place out on weekends to the detriment of a comfortable dining experience, but that's easily avoided by not going on a friday or saturday. i've always found the food to be superb.

                        1. re: wleatherette

                          It's like TGIFriday's dressed up, isn't it?

                          1. re: justink

                            uh... no.

                            you mean that moxie is like tgifriday's dressed up? that's absurd. why? because it's (shudder) in the suburbs and not tremont or ohio city? moxie is a locally-owned fine-dining restaurant that serves generally outstanding food with unique and/or local producers contributing to the ingredients and a wonderful wine list. how is that like a noxious chain purveying jack daniels-grilled riblets?

                      2. I'm a Cleveland native but now living in NYC and I can't say enough about Battuto in Little Italy. The food is delicious, the owners are first class, and the experience is second to none. This is a sure thing for a great dinner.

                        1. If you like good beer as well, Great Lakes Brewing has upscale food and very, very good beer.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: duncanfj

                            Great Lakes recently lost their "upscale" chef and hasn't replaced him, so the food it so-so. Best bet is to have a beer at Great Lakes, then go across the street to Flying Fig for dinner!

                            1. re: NancyH

                              I ate there soon after the most-recent chef left, and had some really good short ribs (which replaced the pork belly on the menu). I've had some bad meals at GLBC, too, though, so it's not highly recommended for food (even the burger isn't consistent).

                          2. FIRE in the house! Wow, what a place and meal. ( http://firefoodanddrink.com ) My stuck up friend from Strongsville had never even heard of this place, but he is now planning on taking his girlfriend there...this weekend. Plenty of old charm in Shaker Heights area. Valet was nowehere to be found for me and the 5 cars behind me but that was a blip on the screen in the overall experience at Fire. First of all I was VERY surprised to see a great Argentinian Malbec wine on the list called Catena, Mendoza region of Argentina 2004. $40 a bottle. Big value. Bigger delivery! The winter green salad was incredible, a real explosion of sweet and sour flavors (winter greens, citrus, pistachio,crusted lake erie goat cheese, and pistachio vinaigreete. My frend ordered the "tandoor roasted ribeye with confit potato coins, braised swiss chard, smoke portabella mushrooms and horseradish jus, I ordered the tandoor roasted organic pork chop (jerusalem artichokes, cognac soaked prunes, vanilla-sweet potato puree, hazelnuts and pork jus). No dessert. We polished this fine meal off with an '04 Simi cabernet, Alexander Valley, just $50 dlls and well worth it. Very pleased needless to say.