The "Full Cleveland" Where?
In town for one Monday evening and Tuesday morning in June. I want The Full Cleveland; that is not the best restaurants for dinner and breakfast, but the ones that are the "most Cleveland" whatever that is. Unique to Cleveland? Classic Cleveland? Down home Cleveland? Dive Cleveland style? Food only found in Cleveland? I dunno, but maybe a native can help me out here. I want to experience Cleveland, not something I can find anywhere else. Thank you very much for any ideas!
So many choices, it would be hard to say where to start. I would only go to Sokolowski's, mentioned by another poster, for the atmosphere, which is really very Cleveland. I think the food is awful.
Michael Symon is Cleveland's own Iron Chef and he puts a local spin on many things at his restaurants, including the upscale Lola downtown, Lolita in the Tremont neighborhood, and his burger/brat type information restaurants B spot (east side) and Bar Symon (far west side). I would recommend any of his restaurants.
I think Sterle's Slovenian House is also pretty "classic" Cleveland, as is Steve's Lunch/Steve's Hot Dogs. Lucky's in Tremont is also unique Cleveland but wait times can be long. But the food is great (weekend brunch).
I'd also recommend Zach Bruell's restaurants. Chinato downtown (Italian), Parallax in Tremont, table 45 near the cleveland clinic complex and L'Albatross (French), they are some of the tastiest restaurants in town and Zach is a local jewel.
Exactly what I wanted! Thanks. We don't have a Sokolowskis or Sterle's or Luckys etc. in Portland, Oregon and although we can't eat in them all, we'll walk in and see them for sure. They look like Cleveland only places. I'll look at the recommendations for the best restaurants named, since my friend and I do not like to waste a meal on average food! So very much appreciated.
I was going to recommend some of the same things others have mentioned. Sokolowski's has a great atmosphere and I personally like the food, as well. Slyman's is another great recommendation. I'd also recommend Great Lakes Brewing Company, particularly if you're a beer drinker. The good at the restaurant is OK-to-good, but the beers are amazing and definitely "Cleveland." (I know you can get some bottled in other cities now, but they have brews there you can't get elsewhere.) Depending on how much time and patience you have and on whether you'll have a car, Melt could be another great option.
Melt Bar & Grilled
14718 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107
3106 Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114
Sokolowski's University Inn
1201 University Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113