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May 9, 2008 02:39 PM

Reccomendations around the Cleveland MoA?

Hi, all!

My family just sprung going to the Austrian Armory exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art next weekend on me, and then suggested that we really ought to go try Lola while we're up there.

I decided to call to see what the reservation picture at Lola on a Saturday looked like, and the monkey wrench of hard reality was brought sharply down on my neck. :D

So, I thought I would ask for suggestions or reccomendations for places to go after a nice day of walking around the museum. It doesn't have to be a fine dining, but I'm hoping for a really nice experience to cap off a day out with my family.

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  1. Sadly, next weekend coincides with CWRU graduation weekend. All of the undergrads and professional/grad schools and their families will be in town. I imagine this might make it a little difficult to get a reservation on a Saturday night. I would check out to see availability. Suggestions really depend on what kind food you're looking for. I know I have to be a little cautious when selecting food destinations for my family.

    Restaurants I might try (and you may have to make a lot of phone calls)
    Fire Food and Drink (Shaker Square)
    Sergios (Brazilian Restaurant in University Circle) -very close to the museum
    Lolita (also Michael Symon, less formal and less expensive-- small plates, mediterranean) --in Tremont
    Flying Fig (W. 25th, Ohio City)

    Good Luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: rubies

      Thank you!

      I tried Lolita, actually, first off. Their first open table on that Saturday is at midnight. :D

      I'll try reaching out to Flying Fig and Sergios - the person I talked to at Lolita mentioned them, too.

      1. re: BZArcher

        if you have little ones & want to keep it simple i might throw in a suggestion for pizza at MAMA SANTAS. that way you and your family could also get in a stroll around little italy, which is very near the art museum. if you do something like that save room for dessert along the walk -- have fun!

        ps -- if you come to town early or are staying overnight don't forget to squeeze in a visit to the west side market.

        1. re: mrnyc

          Thanks! The youngest is 18, but y'know, pizza. :D

    2. Since you considered Lola, I'll assume you're okay with upscale contemporary American food and also that you're willing to drive a moderate distance.

      Moxie has the best salads, fish entrees, soups and desserts in the area and generally it's one of the area's best restaurants. It's in a suburban office mall so it lacks a certain urban energy but it looks fine inside and the food is fantastic. There's an artichoke salad that's new to the menu. I highly recommend it. 23 min from the Museum of Art.

      And as an alternative to Lolita, I would recommend Bar Cento. Like Lolita, they have Neapolitan style pizza. Fries come with excellent flavored mayos. They also have a menu of simple, locally sourced, Italian wine bar style food and a small collection of Belgian bar style food in deference to their neighbor, McNulty's Bier Markt. (17 minutes from the Museum of art.)

      fire food and drink's Spring menu just debuted and it looks great. I was very happy with my halibut/potato/morel entree and my strawberry-rhubarb crisp dessert. The pork chop is the best pork chop you'll ever have and as good as any entree in the region. Shaker Square is a beautiful old neighborhood with great character. Overall, fire is one of the best restaurants in the area. (6 minutes from the museum of art.)

      The pictures attached are 1)Bar Cento's fries, 2)Moxie's artichoke salad, 3) fire's rhubarb, strawberry crisp and 4) fire's halibut with morels, potato and other stuff.

      Fire Food & Drink
      13220 Shaker Square, Cleveland, OH 44120

      10 Replies
      1. re: stuart

        Fire Food and Drink is looking really good, and they seem to have some tables Saturday, so I think I'm gonna suggest that and see how it goes over. :D

        Thanks to all!

        1. re: BZArcher

          fire is great! and in a cute area too.

          1. re: AMFM

            Another rec. for fire. Or you could try Balaton, it's a great hungarian place also on shaker square like fire is.

          2. re: BZArcher

            fire is excellent. you really can't go wrong there. other options in the cleveland heights/shaker heights area: mint cafe (thai food- relatively casual); pacific east (japanese/sushi/sometimes malaysian- also casual); sergio's sarava (also on shaker square by fire- good, but not as good as fire or mint or pacific east); marotta's on lee (good pizza/italian--does NOT take reservations, but you can wait at the wine bar or brennan's colony, another bar, a couple doors down and they will call you when your table is ready); boulevard blue on larchmere. fire is still my top choice among these, though mint cafe and pacific east are two of my favorite places in cleveland. have fun!

            1. re: LizR

              mint wasn't open when we left but pacific east was always nice and coventry was a nice area to wander. liked marotta's (and actually the divey colony too!) as well. cleveland has fabulous neighborhood places.

              agree i still like fire the best - definitely the fine dining option but there a lot of good choices in cleveland.

              1. re: AMFM

                i have also recently left cleveland and really miss the great neighborhood spots. we were regulars at the colony (who isn't?) and cannot find anything comparable, whatsoever, in memphis, where we live now.

                1. re: LizR

                  i love a good neighborhod joint, but brennan's colony was one of my worst cle experiences. some family friends swear by it, but a pal and i were treated very poorly on our first and only visit. of course frequent customers are going to be given preferential treatment, and it's a bar not the ritz, but the staff really made us feel unwelcome.

                  1. re: wleatherette

                    that's a bummer. we weren't regulars enough to be "regulars" but i could go with a kid and get decent food AND my non-foodie hubby get bar food. good mix in my book. sorry they were rude. it was always a bit smoky in places but should be fixed by now. at least there are other great places in cleveland.
                    we have a few in richmond but nothing like we did...

                    1. re: wleatherette

                      That's too bad. I never had a bad experience there, regular or not. It's usually packed. Great place to bring kids. Not smoky anymore b/c of the smoking ban in restaurants and bars.

                      1. re: LizR

                        yeah, had nothing to do with smokiness. i used to be a smoker, anyway, so i'm acutally pretty tolerant of that. we were told we couldn't eat at the bar, and then our waiter was a complete jerk. when we made a futile attempt to get another round of drinks at one point, he actually said, "in a minute. i'm busy." anyway, like i said, i know people who adore this place so i guess we just hit it on a really off night.

          3. I agree with the myriad of possibilities in little Italy if you have kids, but Lemon Grass in Coventry is very good, if you are adventurous.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kelli2006

              Lemon Grass at least was in CedarLee, Mint I believe is the Thai place in Coventry. Mekong also is in CedarLee area. Has this changed?

            2. So, as it turned out, the only thing open at the Museum was the Arms and Armor exhibit, so we were through in about two and a half hours, and the reservation at Fire for 6 wasn't gonna work so well at 4:30. :D

              We decided to walk around and were able to get in over at Sergio's in University Circle, and had a fantastic meal. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations - with luck, we'll be going up there some more soon and we'll keep trying them out!

              1 Reply
              1. re: BZArcher

                I hope you were able to sit outside - Sergio's is a lovely place to do so! Glad you enjoyed it.