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Just moved to Cleveland...where are the good eats?

We love eating out and there seems to be a plethora of restaurants in the Cleveland area....so I guess I will try to narrow down my request a bit. First, who makes the best pizza on the North Coast? And what are some interesting restaurants to try around the West side of Cleveland? Heck, if somebody has a restaurant that is "to die for" anywhere in Cleveland....lay it on me! Thanks for all your help!

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  1. I've recommended fire, Moxie, Dante, El Tango, Siam Cafe and Pacific East(for Malaysian and sushi) enough in the past that I'll just list them here without further elaboration. Don't let that deter you. It's worth searching the Chow archives. You'll get phenomenal food at every one of these restaurants.

    I'll add Bar Cento. The atmosphere is very informal and the food is very simple and appropriately inexpensive but the restaurant doesn't cut corners on quality. Food is impeccably sourced and conscientiously prepared. The menu changes frequently in response to food availability but the last time that I was there I had a braised lamb dish that was fantastic. They have a different lamb appetizer that's incredible. The main attraction is probably the pizza though. It's thin style with moderate toppings that don't overwhelm the crust. I guess that's called traditional Neapolitan. For other styles of pizza I'll defer to more knowledgeable hounds.

    I've been to ML the Restaurant three times now and each visit has been fantastic. Even at my favorite restaurants, I'll have an underwhelming meal more than once in three visits so I'm very excited about ML.

    And I've only been to Sapore once but I have a great feeling about them. The chef seems dedicated to sourcing quality ingredients. Sapore is affiliated with the Loretta Pagannini School of Cooking. Eating the meal I was angry at all the chefs with fancy credentials who've served me mediocre food. They've obviously been taught how to do it right. Anyway, call the school for information and reservations. The restaurant is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Bar Cento
    1948 West 25th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113

    6 Replies
    1. re: stuart

      Here's ML's record in the Chow Places database. (I hope. Adding places doesn't seem to be working normally.)

      ML the restaurant
      cleveland, OH, cleveland, OH

      1. re: stuart

        The system doesn't tell you whether a place has been attached to a post.

        ML the restaurant
        cleveland, OH, cleveland, OH

        cleveland, OH, cleveland, OH

        1. re: stuart

          Thank you for the info Stuart! I am definitely starting my list with your suggestions. I am intrigued by ML...you definitely piqued my interest. And I want to try the lamb dish at Bar Cento. (I love lamb!) The pizza sounds like how I like it. The crust has to be aaawwwffffuuuullllyy good and I do like it thin. If you are ever in Columbus...the one pizza that I really loved was HoundDog's on High Street just north of OSU campus. Their prices were moderate (heck, it's a college pizza and bar place) and the ambiance is pure college campus funk....lol...but we did like their pizza!

          1. re: Tam847

            This is almost too insane to be real.......HoundDog redefines awful, processed, cheap pizza......to call it the 'best' in a city with so many options is amazing. If one is looking for a good pie in Columbus, the first word is Marcellas, followed closely by Bexley Pizza Plus. If you're looking for a good pie near campus, it is tough to beat Adriatticos or Catfish Biffs.

            1. re: uhockey

              ah, to each his own. Had Adriatticos...it is good...Haven't had the fortune of trying Marcellas or Bexley Pizza Plus...but you must have had a bad pizza at HoundDog...or when DID you have it? Maybe they changed since you had it. Love the crust....and the taco pizza was great.

              1. re: Tam847

                Hounddog is quite widely considered to be "junk/college" pizza....even the students don't hype the place much compared to Catfish Biffs or Adriatticos (or even Donatos.)

                I last had it in 03......admittedly it may have changed, but with designer options like Marcellas and BPP, plus Adriatticos and the Union pizza available, I see no need to.

        2. Here there. I just joined today. I live in Lakewood. Actually the best pizza in town is the winner of a Food Network Pizza Challenge. It happens to be on the West side and If I recall it's a privately owned Sports Bar... I will try and see if I can relocate the name and post it later.

          What do you like to eat? single location high end, quality chains, European, Chains or certain ethic foods. It's easy to post restaurants at a whim. It helps to know what you're looking for.

          Being new here you may or may not know that we are home to the newest Iron Chef: Michael Symon, owner of LOLA, which originated in Tremont, but is now downtown next to the House of Blues. Great guy, lives down the street from my sister ( but I am not sure for how much longer LOL!)

          The great thing about being in Cleveland (really!) is that there is a great deal of Ethinic cuisines and not just around the University Areas. You can find just about everything you can find on either coast AND the Chef's Garden is here in Ohio too.

          You may want to start at Borders books and pick up a current copy of "Cleveland Ethnic Eats" by Laura Taxel. It was a great book to have when we first moved here from San Diego. It has all the little hidden Ethinic dining gems you may not hear about from friends or coworkers.

          Cleveland does have a Little Italy and a small Chinatown, but we have a multitude of cusines from the nearby regions.

          There is also a Slow Food convivium here if you are interested in the slow food movement( and I am not referring to the service you will find at most fo the local Popeye's chicken stores! LOL!)

          Let me know!

          Welcome and Happy New Year!

          15 Replies
          1. re: GoddessofEatin

            Thank you Goddess! One of my "problems" is that I LOVE diversity of cuisine. I am open to trying new tastes and flavors. We moved here from Columbus (chain restaurant MECCA and I am THRILLED at coming to a world of ethnic choices here!) I always told my husband that Columbus was "vanilla" and Cleveland was "spumoni" LOL. My husband is not thrilled with pasta...but I told him that Olive Garden does not begin to display the variety of cuisines in Italy...(We've lived in Vanilla land too long! :P ). I am aware that the new Iron Chef is from Cleveland and I hope we can get to his place soon. We are hoping to settle in the Lakewood area (we are temporarily with my father in Sagamore Hills) But I want to get back to "The City"...it's kind of a full circle for my husband and I. We married when we lived in Lakewood and after 33 years....we're baaaaccckkk!!!! And I am so excited! I look forward to hearing what this Pizza haven is! Thank you for your input! You and Stuart have given me good places to start with!

            1. re: Tam847

              is it player's on madison?

              anyway on the cleveland.com food and wine forum there was just a discussion on pizza and people seem to like capri, vincenza's, marotta's. some geraci's. obviously different folks like different pizza but there are some names to start with.

              fire, moxie, lolita/lola, fahrenheit, siam cafe, pacific east were some of my favorites when i lived there. have heard great things about anatolia and antalya red square. 2 turkish places that have opened since. also light bistro, paladar and momocho. you have to go to the velvet tango room for cocktails. mr. brisket for meat and great sandwiches. on the rise has the best bread. cleveland is a GREAT foodie city. enjoy.

              1. re: AMFM

                Great list! Thanks! My husband just asked me about any good chinese. Is the Pacific East pan asian? And I think we had a Siam cafe down in columbus...I don't know if they are related or not. What kind of cuisines do fire, moxie, lolita/lola (isn't that the new Iron chef's place?) and fahrenheit have? Mixed? You have given me such an awesome list? I can tell I will be taste testing for quite awhile! lol

                1. re: Tam847

                  Almost all the places listed have websites with their menus posted so you can get an idea of what they serve. Try googling the name plus "cleveland" and you'll probably get their site.

                  And yes, Lola and Lolita are two places owned/run by Michael Symon, they are both great and different dining experiences. Lola is downtown, Lolita is in Tremont.

              2. re: Tam847

                Oh geez. you're from here...Well the place I am sure has changed. Yes, I too LOVE ethnic cuisines. My spouse and I went to and met at OSU so I can relate to some background...don't know Hound Dog's..must be after or before I was there(1988-1992) but I lived at home in Bexley with my mom, so I pretty much ate Rubino's Pizza in Bexley. I too love thin crust. not crazy about most local places And I have 4 kiddos so we have been trying to perfect our own crust.

                Lakewood has many great aspects. We call it mini- Berkely as we are both SoCal transplants.
                Lots of People like Angelo's pizza on Madison. Not me I find their sauce way too sweet.
                If you can get Italian Creations to make you a single pizza they are terrific. I know the owner and he catered a friend's wedding. Nice and thin.
                Peppers on Detroit is also a little Italian place and has pretty decent pizza. one thing we HATE is a sweet sauce and overly thick crust( Unless your in Detroit and eating Pizza Papalis, but I digress.)

                Stupid here but for chain pizzas I will eat Donato's thin crust. I like the flavor of their crust, sauce and their use of veggies above all chains..Lakewood is getting more chains ( We needed them to stimulate the economy)

                Do you like Middle Eastern? We have several good places. La Pita Express on Detroit has really great home made Lebanese, but seating is minimal, it's more take out. Aladdin's is a local chain that is not as good as La Shish in Detroit , but pretty decent quality across the boards. they have many locations around Cleveland. There are also some independantly Middle Eastern owned places in the surrounding area. We have great Indian place called India Garden which is located near the Beck Center for the Arts. It is pretty much Northern cuisine.
                As for a great hole in the wall there is the Coffee Pot Restuarant on Madison with THE BEST Home Fries at Breakfast.

                The Restaurants mentioned by the other poster I hear are great. Fire I know the most about. It has 2 locations one in Shaker and 1 THINK in Westlake, but don't quote me.

                I used to be a chef in Columbus in my life before "marriage and diapers". I apprenticed under Harmut Handke, Jack Cory and Brian Henshaw before returning to OSU to switch careers. I really love to cook an experient at home with my kids a lot, although these days I wind up eating out at many places I would rather not! Cannot drag me into Burger King or McDonald's though, still have some standards LOL!

                Hope some of this helps...

                When do you plan on moving to Lakewood?

                Ps, Do you remember BG Salvi's? Only dumb recipe I want is for the PastaSalvi! It was located right next to Handke's on High Street in the Brewery District

                1. re: GoddessofEatin

                  In Lakewood, 3 Birds is a real gem. Pepper's has great pizza and Melt is a to-die-for, not to be missed grilled cheese restaurant.

                  I second the recommendation for Capri pizza, which is only about 15 mins from Lakewood.

                  There are a lot of good restaurants in Tremont, which is considered the "west side" but really it's like going downtown. Lots of great food, but only if you feel like driving a bit - again, maybe 15 mins.

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    Thanks rockandroller! My family just put on a big happy smile when I mentioned MELT...we are grilled cheese freaks! lol... What kind of restaurant is 3 Birds?

                    1. re: Tam847

                      3 birds is great, beautiful patio when the weather gets better.


                      oh, and Melt's site is www.meltbarandgrilled.com

                      1. re: Tam847

                        Grilled-cheese-freaky enough to drive to Akron? Cleveland Magazine reports that The Lime Spider is being reopened as The Lockview. They're 86'ing the live music and debuting a menu centered around gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

                        Their MySpace page proudly claims that they have the best grilled cheese sandwiches South of the Mississippi.


                        1. re: stuart

                          they've got their work cut out for them. i finally tried melt last time i was in town, and it's superb. i can't imagine any other version of the humble g.c. being better.

                          1. re: wleatherette

                            I have to agree about Melt. I sort of rolled my eyes everytime I heard someone post or talk about this place. I mean really people, grilled cheese? But the darn place is awesome..I had the chorizo one. I have not had a chance to make it back as I rarely stray out into the burbs...but I will make it back.

                            1. re: lyn

                              You guys are selling me on this "Melt" restaurant! My husband and I are busy trying to land jobs here in Cleveland...and guess where I have decided to celebrate my first job in Cleveland!!! MELT!!!! Thanks so much! I am so excited about living here and trying all the fantastic repasts that are at my disposal here! Awesome! and Thank you so much to all who have, and who continue to, provide new and old places in Cleveland to try!

                              1. re: Tam847

                                You should also check out the cleveland forum on trip advisor for suggestions, as well as urbanohio, cool cleveland, etc. I hope you enjoy Melt - the Wake & Bacon is the best on the menu IMO.

                    2. re: GoddessofEatin

                      You apprenticed under Harmut Handke? I am impressed! What restaurants did Jack Cory and Brian Henshaw (this name's familiar) serve? Glad you are keeping your standards! lol Oh, and thank you for the middle eastern and Indian referrals....we used to go to an Indian Restaurant (can't remember the name...I think it was northern cuisine) off of Sawmill Rd north of the outerbelt that was really good...the naan...yum! Also, never got to it but there was a Brazilian restaurant that moved into the area much like the Churrascaria style restaurant Fogo De Chao that I have heard about in Chicago. But I heard it wasn't anywhere as good...have any such places come into Cleveland? (I am asking alot of questions aren't I?) Sorry...just so excited to be starting a new life here in Cleveland!
                      And I can't wait to move into Lakewood (we are staying with my Dad until we can get settled) I anticipate moving by the beginning of February...CAN'T WAIT! Do you know of areas where we should avoid moving to in Lakewood? We are looking for fairly inexpensive digs for now...we are rebuilding our lives and we see doubles for rent around $500-$650 which seem REALLY reasonable. We also have two dogs that we can't live without so we need to find some place that will allow our babies.....
                      I want to try the "hole in the wall"...those places have the best American fare sometimes. Did you watch Alton Brown's series where he travelled up the Mississippi River? Fascinating and how I wish I could do that...someday I will! ....How long has it been since you lived in Columbus? There are interesting restaurants there, don't get me wrong..but it seems like such a battle for them with all the louzy chains that DRENCH that city.
                      I remember BG's...they even had a restaurant on the eastside off of Gender?...south of Reynoldsburg ...they closed...went to a chinese restaurant....opened AGAIN...about 4 months...and closed forever.
                      I searched around and found this recipe for the Pasta Salvi...let me know if it's close to what you're looking for:
                      Pasta Salvi (like BG Salvi's)

                      12 oz noodles (preferably Amish-style), uncooked
                      1 (12-oz jar) Alfredo sauce or white sauce
                      salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
                      vegetable oil for deep frying
                      bread crumbs (preferably Panko Japanese-style)

                      Prepare noodles as directed on package; drain.

                      Mix cooked noodles with Alfredo sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

                      Spread evenly in an 8x8-inch square dish and refrigerate till quite firm.

                      TO COOK:
                      Heat oil for deep frying. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish.

                      Cut the firm noodle mixture into 2-inch squares and roll each square in the bread crumbs.

                      Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain and serve warm.

                      Servings: 12

                      1. re: Tam847

                        re: your question about where to live in Lakewood, we have to keep the talk food-focused or chowhound will delete the posts, unfortunately, so here's a creative way of suggesting things:

                        I wouldn't live in the area near Clifton Diner/Twist which is W. 117th area. (Clifton diner does have good breakfast btw) I would live west of Melt, which is at W 150th & Detroit and all the way to the very west end, where Borderline Cafe serves up some of my fave breakfast in town (cash only, on detroit in the little strip with the bars Riverwood Cafe, West End and Around the Corner) right before you get to rocky river.

                        Also check out urban ohio's site for non-food related talk. www.urbanohio.com, you'll find me often in >ohio discussion>restaurants & entertainment

                2. Tam - I'll put in 2 cents for Carrie Cerino's in North Royalton - house-made pasta, sauces, breads, salumi and dressings; organic and sustainable products and the amazing, first friday of the month only Blue Egg Ravioli. http://www.carriecerinos.com/main/mai...

                  Also - the only fire that Stuart was talking about is the one at Shaker Square, owned by Chef Doug Katz. It is a wonderful place to dine.

                  For Chinese, you should explore Chinatown. It is east of downtown in the 20s and 30s and bounded by Superior and St. Clair. Siam Cafe is run by a chef who is of Chinese ancestry, but who was raised in Vietnam. As a result, his menu is very eclectic (and very good). We have several dim sum houses, which also do Cantonese style roast meats and full menus of both Americanized and authentic Chinese foods - Li Wah, C&Y Restaurant, Bo Loong, Tom's Seafood and apparently a new place I just learned about - "Wonton" just opened in Chinatown by E33 and Payne (just east of Dave's supermarket).

                  You should check out the chat at the Cleveland.com Food & Wine Forum: http://www.cleveland.com/forums/food. And Laura Taxel's book is also a great resource.

                  In addition, I don't know if anyone mentioned Light Bistro in Ohio City, but Chef Matt Matthlage is a great Chef also focused on local, sustainable and imaginitive cuisine.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NancyH

                    Thanks Nancy! You gave me plenty of choices to check out. Everyone has been so great giving me advice and sites to check out. Thank you to all....I am getting such a warm reception by Cleveland! So awesome. Glad I left Columbus! I will definitely look up Laura Taxel's book too!

                  2. I would recommend Danny Boy's on Lake Road in Rocky River. They have great pizza and also have other dishes including pasta, wings, calzones, salads, and subs.


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: pak1789

                      Thanks! I looked at their website and I definitely want to try them out! You can't go wrong with someone who plays Ol' Blue Eyes and Tony Bennet! Sounds like a place where more than the tummy gets sated! lol

                      1. re: Tam847

                        By the way, I should mention that Danny Boy's is very small and often very crowded. Try to go during an off-peak time if you don't want to wait. Like a late-lunch-early dinner around 4:00 or so. I went with my parents this past summer when I was in town. (I no longer live in Cleveland but visit the folks at least twice a year.) It was a weeknight, a Wednesday or Thursday maybe, around 6:00, and we had to wait at least 15-20 minutes for a table. They also do take-out. Years ago (1995-1997) I lived in the apartment complex right behind them and used to walk across the parking lot to get pizza to take home.

                        1. re: pak1789

                          thanks for the info! 15-20 minutes isn't bad at all...I've waited longer for food that wasn't that great! lol...I hope it's not TOO good...'cause if I can walk across the street....hmmmm...I will be in trouble!!! :P

                      2. re: pak1789

                        Agree with Danny Boy's. Food is excellent, portions quite large, but also very crowded. It is a place that you want to hit for a late dinner, after 7 pm. Theya lso do a large carry out business. The grocery store next door- the Lake Rd. Market - is also a must stop.

                        Also, the goat stew at Loxedos down by the West Side Market is also quite good.

                        1. re: jlawrence01

                          I would like to try the goat stew. Had a co-worker in Columbus bring in a Somalian dish that was made with goat and it was rather yummy! Thank you for the suggestions!

                        1. I think ethnic chow (except good Cuban and BBQ...don't fight me, people) is where Cleveland really shines but Bar Centro, Tremont Tap House,Melt, Beer Engine are a few non ethnic places that come to mind that are terrific. Just about every place in Tremont is terrific from the humble Sokolowski's for Polish food to Lolita's, Parallax, and Fahrenheit (on the mid to higher ends). Lucky's Cafe has the best brunch. I agree about getting the Ethnic Eats book- it is a must. About AsiaTown-this is an awesome website (I hope CH will let me post it) that has pdf's of menus which is nice as many of these places do not have menus: http://www.asiatowncleveland dot com/dining.asp. My personal favorite is Siam, with Bo Loong as a close second. For dim sum Tom's Seafood, Bo Loong and Lil Wah . C&Y can be a hit or miss. Welcome and enjoy!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lyn

                            Lyn - thank you for pointing me to this website! I've lived in CLE for 12 years and didn't know it existed!

                            1. re: NancyH

                              the AsiaTown website is brand NEW! spread the word. I can pimp this area anytime

                            2. re: lyn

                              Lyn! Thank you! My list is growing and growing! :) Thank you for the website too! I have been REALLY hungry for a good asian meal!

                            3. Hi,

                              I lived in Cleveland for 5 years (my sister still lives in Parma) - and we were always running around on the weekends checking out interesting places to eat (Del Donahue on WKYC used to feature intersting eating spots) - lets see if I can remember a few...

                              For the best pizza, you have to go to Little Italy (near University Circle) - Mama Santa's stands out from the rest. While you are in Little Italy check out Presti's Bakery.

                              Downtown, east of 9th street there is a great little diner, the Diner on East 55th Street Diner. Great food, very clean.

                              The Blue Point Grille in the warehouse district is nice. Also Cleveland Chop House.

                              For Mexican food, I always liked Luchita's - they have several locations but I think the original one is on W.117th.

                              There was a cool restaurant called Heck's that has great brunch and fantastic hamburgers. www.heckscafe.com

                              Charlie's Doghouse Diner in Parma www.charliesdoghousediner.com

                              In Rocky River, Max's Diner (on Detroit Ave) has great food. And a dessert case that will make you drool a puddle.

                              Worth the drive: George's Dinner Bell Diner in Painesville.

                              I also saw a feature on Covered Bridge Pizza in Andover - a pizza place built inside a real wooden covered bridge. Never went there but it sounds really cool.

                              I'll have to think of a few more places and give you another reply, but this should get you started.

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: CodysMom

                                these are what i've heard since i too moved away but i've heard that C&Ys dim sum has gotten really good with new owners/managers (something?) lately and that unfortunately mama santa's pizza has gone downhill. worth a try but not necessarily what it used to be.

                                oh and just a random aside - i used to be a total sucker for gilly's (used to be presti's but changed) donuts in little italy. insanely good and rich. and i'm not a donut person. but it's been about 3 years - and things do change. but if you like donuts i'd vote it's worth a try - they're only open evening - all night - to morning. truly it's a cops hanging out in the donut shop place.

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  We had excellent Dim Sum twice in December at C&Y. Also - Mama Santa's pizza is nothing special. The best all around pizza in town right now, in my opinion, is at Lolita. The photos below are Lolita pizzas!

                                  1. re: NancyH

                                    Oh my goodness! I just checked out the photos... Definitely putting that on my list. I just started a new job!!! YAY! So, soon I will be treating myself to some Cleveland delights! Just a question....I drive by a place on Rockside called Mavis Winkles'/an Irish Pub.....checked out their website....and they look intriguing...I was told they took over the Cooker's old restaurant space. Any word on how their food is?

                                    1. re: Tam847

                                      When Mavis Winkle's first opened in Twinsburg, I enjoyed a couple of meals there. I have not liked any of the food I've had at the Rockside location, and I haven't been back to Twinsburg to see if it is still any good.

                                      Unfortunately, there are not a lot of great choices on Rockside near 77 - mostly chains. Probably the best food in that area is at Corleone's, on Broadview Road just north of Rockside (after Rockside has changed to Snow Road, as you go west of I-77).

                                      1. re: NancyH

                                        If you head up Canal Road from Rockside until you hit Granger Riad (Route 17), at least during the day, you'll find a great little cafe in the valley called Gourmand's. They have huge, delicious sandwiches, yummy chips to go with, great coffee and tea and some interesting wines for sale. I used to work in Valley View and it was my go-to lunch stop. There's also a Yours Truly now in the Thornburg Station complex where Parkside Diner used to be. It's nothing wildly awesome, but it's non-chain (or at least local chain) comfort food.

                                  2. re: AMFM

                                    i hate to say it, but i think that gilly's has closed. i've looked for it the last few times i've been back, and it seems to be gone. like you, i'm not a huge donut person but those were spectacular.

                                    1. re: wleatherette

                                      I think they are closed as well. And I agree with Nancy - Mama Santa's pizza is really nothing to write home about. It's ok but certainly not something I'd go out of my way for. Capri has the best pizza in town IMO, they are on the SW side of town in middleburg heights.

                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                        i'm a geraci's loyalist, although eating in gets you a better pie than doing take-out. that inconsistency can be annoying.

                                        1. re: wleatherette

                                          i loved geraci's too but not everyone does. we could walk which was nice but it's a great eat in place. some other nice dishes and the yummy fried dough for dessert. no credit cards though.

                                          that's a bummer gilly's closed. they were such a UH institution. but people never talked about them (which i couldn't believe). yummy memories though!

                                          marotta's is really good too.
                                          i had good pizza at mama santa's when we first moved (had heard all about it) in 2001 - but it did seem to be slipping even before we left in 2005.

                                      2. re: wleatherette

                                        All I can say wleathertte is a big fat DARN on the donuts! I miss the old fashioned small bakery made donuts! Those krispie creme's and dunkin' donuts...just don't cut it like the old fashioned ones! Sorry I missed out! And I REALLY don't like Tim Horton's (don't know if those are around here..) Yuck..

                                        1. re: Tam847

                                          We don't have Tim Horton's here. In addition to Duncan's and KK we have a local chain called Amy Joy. I honestly don't think any of them are that good. If I get dougnuts, which isn't often, I just get Duncan's as they're closest to where I live. And there are NO doughnut shops downtown and only a couple of bakeries so getting doughnuts downtown is tough.

                                      3. re: AMFM

                                        Upon reflection, I'd have to agree that there is better pizza to be had than Mama Santa's - I live in Indianapolis now and Sal's Pizza and Bazbeaux are far better than any pizza I had in Cleveland. My Italian brother in law was very impressed with both. But enough about Indy...

                                        There was a place in Little Italy La Dolce Vita - is that still there? And if Presti's is gone, then how come they still have a web site? www.prestisbakery.com - and they also answer the phone. They are very much still in business (and have been since 1903).

                                        There was a dinky little place called Presti's donuts but that is NOT the place I am talking about.

                                        There is another good little bakery in Berea, near BW Campus but don't remember the name...I'll give my sister a call and find out.

                                          1. re: CodysMom

                                            right. we were talking about presti's donuts. they changed their name to gilly's because of the confusion. no one was talking about presti's bakery. it was okay. never found it to be anything special. but the donuts....
                                            and la dolce vita is still there. also just okay.

                                      4. re: CodysMom

                                        Great suggestions, CodysMom! My list is getting longer and longer! And thanks for the websites...I am bookmarking them in my "to do" folder! :)

                                      5. Welcome!

                                        If you move to the 'Wood, you must try El Tango. They are on our speed dial for our 'go to' place for food to-go. Three Birds is great too, plue the patio is lovely in the summer. I didn't see this mentioned in previous posts, but if you looking for some great bar food, you can't beat The Beer Engine on Madison Ave. The sliders are awesome and the potato chips are homemade, served warm with salt and rosemary--mmmmmm. Plus a great selection of brews and a cider on tap (which I love) AND a nice patio to enjoy in the summer.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: PartyGirl43

                                          Cider? Yummmmm! The Beer Engine room? ...goin' on my list! Thanks! And Three Birds is becoming a priority like Melt...Too many people have listed it in their must try's....Thanks!

                                        2. Lolita on West side (Treemont)

                                          For downtown and EAST side...

                                          Lola downtown is, to me, easily the best restaurant in the city.

                                          I *love* Marotta's in Cleveland Heights -- moderately priced Italian.

                                          I would also strongly suggest Savara on Shaker Square (modern Brazilian, moderately expensive)

                                          I basically grew up at Hunan on Coventry so I don't know how much the food three is just pure comfort food to me, or if it really is as good as I think it is, but I love it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: whiner

                                            Appreciate the tips whiner! I am intrigued by the Savara!

                                          2. Minority Report:

                                            Cleveland does have some good restaurants, but plenty of the places listed above would just be considered OK in other cities. Perhaps that is why the Zagat listings are so limited. The good news is that the better restaurants are not nearly as expensive as in other cities. As a picky chowhounder, who is only on his 5th year here, here is a short list of favs:

                                            1. Lola (downtown) and Lolita (Tremont) - WORLD CLASS!!! wish they rented rooms....
                                            Above are clearly head and shoulders over everything else in town in my opinion

                                            Just about every other restaruant in Tremont is worth a try: Paralallax, Fahrenheit, serve excellent meals generally and are lively places.

                                            New American - Fire has interesting, well prepared entrees and is within striking range of Severance Hall, I have found Moxie to be uneven and often only fair

                                            Sushi - not quite as fresh as on the coasts or even Chicago but I like Sushi Rock (either downtown or ultra hip branch in Beachwood) - If you are out that way try undiscovered Akira Hibachi & Sushi in Solon, run by ex New Yorkers in strip mall between Mustard Seed Market and Borders

                                            Thai - Thai Fun in Tremont and Mint on Coventry (new branch in Pepper Pike Peppermint ) are excellent and highly recommended. Others mentioned just OK in my book

                                            Momocho - very good Mex heartland food

                                            Paladar - nuevo latino in Woodmere, new and unknown but always packed

                                            Chinese - Hunan on Coventry is pretty good, rest are mediocre at best, save your dim sum appetite for NYC or SF

                                            Cheap mid eastern - Aladdins (multiple locations), Taza is minimally upscale by same owners, also - don't miss the felafel stand in Westside market (all the way in the back near the REAL fishmonger)
                                            I've also had good meals at Sergio's, Sergio's Sarava, and flying fig

                                            Pizza - not in this city if you're from out of town and like really good pizza I've been disappointed with Mama Sante's and Geraci's among others. Thought Angelo's on west side was decent for heavy cheesy thick crust style pizza

                                            Suggest that you avoid:

                                            Little Italy


                                            Seafood restaurants - some famous ones are truly bad , the rest quite mediocre,

                                            Dismiss the Zagat ratings for Cleveland, as they have nothing to do with reality- e.g. Bluepoint Grille probably would get an 18 in most cities.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: atievsky

                                              most locals would tell you that little italy doesn't have good food. except baricelli inn which doesn't really count.
                                              all the local foodies i know agree that the indian isn't the best - but if you live there you might eventually want it - and i've heard udipi isn't bad. never made it. saffron patch was the best we got to but i always thought it was overpriced and mediocre but in 4 years there it's not like i didn't want indian.
                                              where are the famous seafood restaurants in cleveland? not something it's known for.
                                              so i don't think you have to be so negative. i've lived a number of places and cleveland is a good food town.
                                              believe me i live in a way worse food town (nice place otherwise though) now and i miss it.

                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                I agree. Unless you've really TRIED all the places listed, dismissing them as all bad is negative for no good reason. Have you even been to Capri pizza? Or had Luigi's in Akron? Or the pizzas at Lolita? Or Bar Cento?

                                                and the falafel stand in the WSM is Maha's. They also have a branch in Strongsville. Also the cuban sandwich at Leolai bakery just down the street is excellent.

                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                  Well, I've been to all the places I listed above and more that I didn't list, many of them on several occasions. Wouldn't put Lolita in the category of a pizza parlor, but don't doubt that their pizza is excellent and authentic, since everything I've had there is fabulous. I was referring to Bluepoint Grille as the famous seafooder (26 Zagat with accolades) which I think is mediocre at best, similarly Blakes and Mitchell's).
                                                  Looking forward to trying Bar Centro. Would really like to have a small authentic Italian such as in NYC: Perbacco, 'Inoteca, Crispo, etc in this town.

                                                  With respect to comments below, the Chinese restaurant situation is pretty dismal in this town, but the 3 Thai restaurants are excellent in my book (Thai Fun, Mint, Peppermint).

                                                  Good news is that the foodie situation here in Cleveland continues to improve with intriguing restaurant openings at regular intervals.Not to mention the new Whole Foods.

                                                  Has anyone been to the redone Lockkeepers Inn in Valley View?

                                                  1. re: atievsky

                                                    I've heard great things about Dante's but that's really more of "special occasion" in our price point so we haven't been there.

                                                    1. re: atievsky

                                                      Lockkeepers became Dante. I've been several times. I'm usually satisfied when I order from the menu but I've always been amazed when I've ordered the chef's tasting menu. I've done it several times and it's always been fantastic.

                                                      Have you tried the Chinese food at Siam Cafe? Much of it is fantastic.

                                                      1. re: atievsky

                                                        i think you'll find that many places "renowned" are done so by the likes of "insert city name here" magazine. they have their place for some interesting finds and orienting you to a new city - always get them when i move. but they don't tend to be accurate on a true foodie scene. don't know if it's a sponsorship thing or just an "appeal to the masses" thing. none of the true foodies i know in cleveland (and there are TONS) like any of those chain seafood places. they'd go to one of the other top places. i never had moxie be less than good - and sometimes great. and fire was fantastic.

                                                        oh and i don't not understand about some wishes but every once in awhile you have to remember that cleveland is not nearly the size or type of city as NY. so for what it is, it is a great foodie town.

                                                  2. re: atievsky

                                                    hunan on coventry is a decent neighborhood joint, but far from the best on offer. imho, much better classic americanized chinese fare can be had at sun luck garden, peking gourmet, ho wah, and hunan by the falls to name just a few places. and have you tried siam cafe? it's one of the places that i look forward to visiting whenever i'm back in town from nyc.

                                                    1. re: wleatherette

                                                      And don't forget Mint, which I only recently visited (on Coventry) because I rarely get over to that neck of the woods. I think their food is excellent.

                                                  3. There's an article in today's Chicago Tribune about how Cleveland is getting national attention as a hot new dining city:


                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                                      In truth the article is mostly hype all about Michael Symon with a few sentences about Dante. Hopefully, it will grab the attention of some hot young Chicago chefs who would like to be super stars in a smaller, more liveable city with lower overhead.

                                                      1. re: atievsky

                                                        symon/lola/lolita actually take up much less space in the article than i was expecting.

                                                    2. One place that hasn't been mentioned yet is Bistro185. I've had a few great meals there; my favorites have been the pork shanks and the chicken paprikash. The gravlax appetizer with potato pancakes is really great. The gravlax is made by the owner in-house. Good beer and wine selection. I found the web site at www.bistro185.com , It is located off of interstate 90 on the east side. Has anyone else had a chance to try it? -george

                                                      1. There have been a lot of posts in here, and you'll forgive me (I hope) for mostly skimming them. I saw a bit about Asia Town, and did not notice anyone specifically mention Siam Cafe. I just ate there last week, for the first time in a couple years and was blown away by how good it was. Do not be put off by the former Red Barn exterior. Stop in, study the encyclopedic menu and pick something you've never had before. Ask the Vietnamese kids at the next table what they like. Just beware, the place is packed on weekend nights, but that seems to be for good reason.

                                                        Also, I'll add my voice to the growing chorus for Vincenza's for best pizza. The downer is that the place is only open weekdays, but it is the finest NY-style thin 'za in town, by a damn sight.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: LeslieB

                                                          you will be pleased to know Siam was mentioned (it's my fave) I do try the new places as they come along but so far,Siam is tops.I actually think the Chinese items are the best. But it is all good. Bar Centro is my favorite pizza now

                                                        2. For Pizza or Veal Parm, Frankies Italian Cuisine in North Olmsted. All made on site, YUM! Dine in or carry out.
                                                          For Corned Beef go try Slimans. Piled a mile high and oh so good.
                                                          I would give Bluepoint a try. Really good Calamari, steaks and sinful desserts.
                                                          Welcome and enjoy your dining excursions!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: clscherf

                                                            Frankies has never impressed me. For Italian, my go-to places are Carrie Cerino's, Corleone's, Bar Cento, Arrabiata's and Vito's in Aurora.

                                                            Slyman's makes the best corned beef - but Mr. Brisket's pastrami is sublime!

                                                            1. re: NancyH

                                                              Conte's restaurant in Brookpark serves some of the most authentic Italian I've had. It's run by a very nice couple from Italy. Small place. Only thing is that they only have a license for beer, no wine.