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Sep 15, 2008 10:00 AM

Best special occasion restaurant in Cleveland?

Where would you go for a really special occasion? I have been to most of the biggies in town, but for my 30th birthday I want to hear chowhounder's personal favorites. I was just at Lola again recently, so I'd like to go somewhere else. Sincere thanks!

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  1. Red the steakhouse in Beachwood gets rave reviews. Blue Canyon is also impressive. But I would say Dante in Valley View (in the old Lockkeepers space) is really special.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      And right next door is Moxie, the best restaurant in Northeastern Ohio. Eveything's good but I would particularly recommend one of their several fish dishes. Also get the soup. Whatever it is; it changes frequently.

      As an alternative consider fire. fire has a slightly more charming atmosphere, nestled as it is in the historic Shaker Square neighborhood. Again, everything's good but the pork chop steals the show. Also consider the ribeye. It's fantastic, too. For dessert, I recommend the blueberry crisp (crumble? buckle? blueberry something). The fettuccine (shrimp, capers, olives, anchovies) I had a few days ago was great but the pork chop and ribeye are fire staples.

      1. re: stuart

        Also, I've got pictures of the ribeye and the blueberry crisp in my gallery.

        And, I wanted to add Sapore to my list of suggestions. They're only open on Friday and Saturday's and it's a little bit of a drive so I've only been there a few times but I've been very impressed. It's not as hip as Moxie or Lola or as charming as fire, but the food makes up for it.

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

        Moxie Restaurant
        3355 Richmond Road, Beachwood, OH 44122

        cleveland, OH, cleveland, OH

        1. re: stuart

          I agree with you and have been meaning to try Sapore. Any insight on Light Bistro and Dante's?

          1. re: kathrynanne

            Light Bistro is in the old Parker's space. Chef Matt Mathlage is a genuine talent. He was at The Leopard in Aurora when they won their four-diamond rating. A really gifted chef, and underrated IMO.

            Dante is a charmer, and he can certainly cook. It's a somewhat larger restaurant, so if you go there make sure to let them know that it's a special occasion. They'll treat you right.

            I would second the recommendations of Red, Moxie, and Fire (haven't been to Sapore). I'll give a qualified nod to Blue Canyon. Their special dinners (beer tastings, wine tastings) are extraordinary. The regular service is hit-or-miss.

            Others that haven't been mentioned:

            Parallax in Tremont. A bit crowded on the weekends, so not a good choice if your looking for a quiet romantic evening. The food is outstanding - especially the seafood.

            Table 45 at the Intercontinental. Zach Bruell's other restaurant. They got off to a rough start, and I haven't been back since the early days. People I trust say that they've gotten their act together now. It's an elegant space, and there are some beautiful semi-private rooms.

            Michael Symon's other restaurant, Lolita. It's not as "fancy" as Lola, but it's a very special place. Overall it's my favorite spot in Cleveland.

    2. I haver wondered why One Walnut is never mentioned a for a special occasion dinner. I have had 2 meals there the food and service was outstanding on both occasions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kelli2006

        I think the food is great, but the atmosphere is too stuffy for my taste. I felt like I was eating in a library. It seemed the only younger people (ie under 30) there were with elderly relatives. The chef or owner also owns Luxe which has a more diverse, lively crowd.

      2. hey everyone -- how is TABLE 45? looks good? it would be a special occasion wildcard at least, no?

        4 Replies
        1. re: mrnyc

          It's supposed to be great but the location is very awkward, particularly with the Euclid Corridor construction project, so it's not easily accessible. But I do think they offer free valet if you can actually find/get to the entrance.

          1. re: mrnyc

            Menu looks VERY solid all the way from the apps to the dessert courses and Sweet Potato Crostata, Sweetbreads, and Procuitto and dried figs sound like an ideal 3 course.

            1. re: mrnyc

              Table 45 is great. I do not consider it that complicated to get to, just use non Euclid streets to get there. It is not really my ideal setting though since I usually like to walk around after dinner and since it is surrouded by the clinic it is not that condusive to strolling around.

              1. re: lyn

                Hmmmm, perhaps its the doctor in me, but I find/found strolling around CC quite pleasant. :-) The glass tunnels are something EVERY hospital should have.

            2. I second the vote for Moxie...their meals are fantastic from beginning to end and the place is almost always busy. The Baked Hot Chocolate dessert is out of this world. Would also suggest the duck breast with peaches. Another personal favorite is Three Birds in Lakewood..always inventive and fun.