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Jan 3, 2008 04:35 AM

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 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 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 we did like their pizza!

          1. re: Tam847

            This is almost too insane to be real.......HoundDog redefines awful, processed, cheap 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 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"'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 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

                      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., 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.

                  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 Food & Wine Forum: 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!