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Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

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Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby diminishingskills » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:04 pm

Had lunch with Swerb and Papa Cass at Melt today (I am STILL full, nine hours later -- that was one huge sandwich), and somewhere in there we discussed the top five restaurants in the Cleveland area. There are different ways to look at it: the five places with the best food, the five best overall dining experiences, the five places that are the most distinctly "Cleveland"; or maybe some combination of the above.

So the question is: by whatever criteria you want to use -- what are your top five? No "right" or "wrong" answers, just the five restaurants you put at the top of the heap. If it's the Parma White Castle, so be it.

Mine:

1. Lola -- There's a reason Michael Symon is getting tons of publicity these days -- his food is amazing.

2. Mallorca -- if I had to pick my last meal, their paella might be it.

3. Melt -- best sandwiches in town, love the touches like the menus being printed on the back of album covers.

4. Sans Souci -- have to admit that I haven't been there in a couple of years, but their food has always been terrific.

5. Chop House -- steak is a personal thing, and this happens to be where I've had some that I've enjoyed the most.

Can't believe that I didn't get an Italian place on the list; probably because there are so many to choose from.

I know that for the Cleveland Experience, Sokolowski's has to be on this list, but ... I have to admit that I've never eaten there.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Ziner » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:48 pm

Not a huge fan of fancy schmancy dining. I'm all about the normal places

1. Mamma Santa's - lived in Little Italy, will always hold a spot in my heart.

2. Great Lakes Brewery - the food is ok, the Beer more than makes up for it

3. Dave's Cosmic Subs - one of my first stops for lunch when I get back to Cleveland

4. Cleveland Chop House - love the steaks

5. El Rodeo (Mayfield Heights) - have had Mexican all over the country they have a few dishes that top anywhere else I have ever had

Honorable Mention - Panini's E. 9th on game day for atmosphere, La Dolce Vita, Presti's Donuts (Gilly's?? Now closed), Hunan Coventry.

DS, I lived in Cleveland for 7 years and I have never been to Sokolowski's :bag: or Slyman's :bag: :bag:
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:54 am

1. Giovanni's - Beachwood
2. Lola - East 4th
3. Mortons - East 2nd
4. Blue Point - St Clair
5. Pier W - Lakewood

Honorable mention to XO, Trattoria, Jimmy Dadonnas, Sushi Rock. That's best restaurants.

Almost gotta do a separate five for the places with the best character/fatty foods ...

1. Melt
2. Corky & Lennys
3. Sokolowskis
4. Great Lakes Brewery
5. John Q's
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:30 am

Was just thinkingthe other day that this topic would make for a great "bracket"??? We could have the regions being eastside, westside, southside & downtown with maybe half of each region being formal vs casual???

My faves (today) are:

Red
Lola
Silvestro's
Trattoria's
Sushi Rock

Really like HOB before a concert to
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:51 am

I forgot about Red. Im going to put that in my Top 5 and bump Blue Point to honorable mention.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Larvell Blanks » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:00 am

I'll add 5 that haven't been mentioned yet

One Walnut
Baricelli Inn
Blue Canyon
The Cabin Club
Three Birds

honorable mention
Ken Stewart's Grille
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:14 am

Good list Larvell. Blue Canyon is right down the street from my house, Three Birds right down the street from my office. Another couple favorites of mine, and deserving of honorable mention.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby 4thQtrGlory » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:34 pm

1. Flemmings Steakhouse
2. Quaker Steak and Lube
3. Davatinos
4. Casa de Angelo
5. Hilton Hotel breakfast

Other then #1, Its not too fancy after that. I havent experienced a lot of "downtown" restaurants so i had to reach on a couple.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:54 pm

Swerb wrote:I forgot about Red. Im going to put that in my Top 5 and bump Blue Point to honorable mention.


My B-I-L is the GM for Red & Moxie so I better put it #1...couldn't believe it made Playboy's list of top 10 steakhouses in America!!! Good for them
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:16 pm

waborat wrote:
Swerb wrote:I forgot about Red. Im going to put that in my Top 5 and bump Blue Point to honorable mention.


My B-I-L is the GM for Red & Moxie so I better put it #1...couldn't believe it made Playboy's list of top 10 steakhouses in America!!! Good for them

No way ... pretty cool Rob. Moxie was my lunch hangout back when my office was in Beachwood. Love that place.

Was at Red for the first time ever on NY Eve, and was blown away. One of the best steaks I've ever eaten. Right up there with Mortons downtown and El Gaucho in Aruba.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Cease » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:34 pm

Here a bizarro mash up of my top five under increasingly less formal circumstances...

1. Osteria di Valerio
2. Fat Cat's
3. Southside Bar
4. Bruno's Ristorante
5. Loco Leprechaun
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby General » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:44 pm

Granted I haven't lived there for 8 years but here is my "old school" faves...

1. Hyde Park (Coventry)
2. Inn the Woods
3. Fat Cat's
4. Johnnys
5. Dino's (Collinwood)

Honorables; Mamma Santa, DeMarco's, The Cabin, Grandes, The Academy (Fish Fry)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby HoodooMan » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:11 pm

This has to be two separate lists. One for more expensive, really great restaurants that at least I can't afford to go to very regularly, and one for great, cheap food.

List 1:

1) Momocho
2) Light Bistro
3) Parallax
4) Lola
5) Flying Fig

(Little Italy spots Valerio's & Baricelli just miss the cut)

List 2:

1) Bar Cento
2) Mamma Santa's
3) Melt
4) Heck's
5) Luxe

(Bubba's Q & Danny Boys just miss the cut)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby mswerb » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:35 pm

A lot of these places that have been named are customers of my workplace.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:13 am

mswerb wrote:A lot of these places that have been named are customers of my workplace.



Euclid Fish?
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby stretch51 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:26 am

I could do a list of Akron Restaurants, but not Cleveland as much.

(and, no, dumpster diving in Canal Park, isn't one of them!)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby mswerb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:59 pm

waborat wrote:
mswerb wrote:A lot of these places that have been named are customers of my workplace.



Euclid Fish?


Morgan Services, a linen rental company.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby mswerb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:01 pm

stretch51 wrote:I could do a list of Akron Restaurants, but not Cleveland as much.

(and, no, dumpster diving in Canal Park, isn't one of them!)


Dude, I was at those dumpsters today, behind Bricco.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:10 am

mswerb wrote:
waborat wrote:
mswerb wrote:A lot of these places that have been named are customers of my workplace.



Euclid Fish?


Morgan Services, a linen rental company.


Ah, nice


BTW, I forgot about one of my faves and will have to kick one of mine out...Love Sterle's on East 55th for great Slovenian food...they've got some of the best weiner schnitzel I've ever had (and polka)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby FUDU » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:03 am

The Cleveland Grill (W117th in Cleveland) is a must on this list.

Everybody I know that has ever eaten there says it is one of the top 3 meals in their entire life, I probably know 9-12 people that have frequented the joint.

Brasa should get honorable mention based on the meats alone.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby jack_tors » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:38 pm

A lot of these have been mentioned but I will throw my list up there as well. I enjoy dining anywhere from a 5 star restaurant to a greasy spoon so it is a varied list.

1) Sokolowski's University Inn- My favorite place to eat and a staple before Indians games

2.)One Walnut- Marlin Kaplan's great restaurant

3.)Crop- Great Place on West 6th

4.)Light Bistro- By the West Side Market, a couple of doors down from Heisman's birth place. Great restaurant.

5.)Johnny's Little Bar- Phenomenal hamburgers, great place before Cavs or Monster's games.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:23 pm

I gotta get to One Walnut ... never been there.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby diminishingskills » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:23 pm

Just an idea, but maybe every month or two, we oughta pick one of these restaurants and meet up to try them out. Maybe get together on a weeknight that works for the greatest # of people. May not work too well for the Lolas of the world (although I'm sure they have their slow periods too), but it's be a good way to get a taste of what the city has to offer.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:50 pm

Swerb wrote:I gotta get to One Walnut ... never been there.


Great Calamari, very good restaurant, used to love to smoke cigars there...another one of many that my wife's sister has worked at in town
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby FUDU » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:02 pm

I just found out the Cleveland Grille closed on Jan 1,2009. That is shocking news.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Ziner » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:26 pm

FUDU wrote:I just found out the Cleveland Grille closed on Jan 1,2009. That is shocking news.


Speaking of which did anyone read that article on Cleveland.com about Swingos closing and not refunding gift certificates, thats some shady shit. Nothing like closing right after you sold how much in xmas gift cards... assholes.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Larvell Blanks » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:09 am

Ziner wrote:
FUDU wrote:I just found out the Cleveland Grille closed on Jan 1,2009. That is shocking news.


Speaking of which did anyone read that article on Cleveland.com about Swingos closing and not refunding gift certificates, thats some shady shit. Nothing like closing right after you sold how much in xmas gift cards... assholes.


Someone stepped up
Maria's Italian Restaurant (also known as Maria's Roman Room) in Lakewood will accept those cards through Thursday, April 30, says owner Gwen Hoertz.

"I really feel for both the Swingoses and the customers," says Hoertz, who, along with her husband, Roy, bought Maria's last June. "It's bad enough to see the Swingoses out of business - they've been a landmark there on the Gold Coast just like Maria's has been a landmark here on West 118th and Detroit - let alone seeing their customers being out their money. Times are tight."

Guests can use one gift certificate per table per visit, Hoertz says, and the card must have been purchased directly from Swingos, not a discounter such as Restaurant.com. "A couple probably couldn't spend $150 here, so if they want, they could bring a bigger party," she says.

Ultimately, the offer could be a win-win.

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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby FUDU » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:06 pm

What are the top 5 Mexican ones in town, as close to downtown or the west side as possible?
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:43 pm

FUDU wrote:What are the top 5 Mexican ones in town, as close to downtown or the west side as possible?


Don't even know if some of these are still open anymore because I don't get over to the west side as much as I used to? Plus I don't even know if they are as good as they once were? But my faves for most authentic over the years are the following

1. Cozumel (on Broadview Rd)
2. Lopez & Gonzales (on Lee Rd)....my sister-in-law used to work here but I think they've dropped the "Gonzales" part since
3. Mi Pueblo (on Euclid Ave)
4. El Patron (in Chardon)
5. Nuevo Acapulco (on Lorain)

The Flying Burrito )in Madison) used to be the shit when they first opened in the late 80's/early 90's, but I haven't been there in a long time because of terrible service & food probably 8 years ago

Also, a lot of people like the Luchita's chain here, but I've only been to the Mentor one and it was complete crap (service, food, drinks, etc)...it's one of only 2 times where me & my wife refused to pay our bill and walked out

I've got a friend who swears by El Charrito in Wickliffe, but I've never been there
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby fundamentals » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:09 pm

waborat,

FWIW, I realize you might have to take an overnight pack mule but if you travel to Ashtabula, there are two good Mexican choices: Los Compadres and El Puente.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Larvell Blanks » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:17 pm

The Flying Burrito )in Madison) used to be the shit when they first opened in the late 80's/early 90's, but I haven't been there in a long time because of terrible service & food probably 8 years ago


always ate at the Burrito after playing our first game in the Madison 4th of July softball tournament. Of course it would come back to haunt me by our second game in the evening. Still, good stuff
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby waborat » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:37 pm

fundamentals wrote:waborat,

FWIW, I realize you might have to take an overnight pack mule but if you travel to Ashtabula, there are two good Mexican choices: Los Compadres and El Puente.


The only 2 times that I stop in the whole county of Ashtabula is to either go to the wineries in Geneva or to get gas at the Flying J on our way out east

With that said, I'm always on the lookout for some bueno comida...I'll have to look em up, thx Funds :thumb up:
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby View from 171 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:39 pm

One of the best mexican joints on the west side. Lachita's on W.117 (just south of I-90). Not only is the food top notch but the margarita's aren't so bad either!
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby FUDU » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:34 am

I love margaritas, but so does everybody else when I do them b/c articles of clothing often get removed by myself.

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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Toxicadam » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:47 am

Is the quality at Blue Pointe still good? I haven't eaten there in about 5 years.

I'll have to try Lola. Thanks for the thread.

Ken Stewart's in Akron is great. I'll be eating there for my anniversary in a month.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Fire Marshall Bill » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:30 pm

1. Johnny's Bistro
2. Johnny's Bistro
3. Blue Point
4. Sans Souci
5. Johnny's Bistro

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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby No Mistake » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:35 pm

So after all this talk about Melt over in Lakewood I had to go out there and try it. So I went out there on Sunday and it was just as good as all you guys said it was. I had the reuben melt and I would eat another one in a second. Great place and I will definitely be back there very soon after college is done and it's summer time. Thanks for the recommendation!
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby swerb » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:02 pm

No Mistake wrote:So after all this talk about Melt over in Lakewood I had to go out there and try it. So I went out there on Sunday and it was just as good as all you guys said it was. I had the reuben melt and I would eat another one in a second. Great place and I will definitely be back there very soon after college is done and it's summer time. Thanks for the recommendation!

Reuben Melt is bad ass. Sandwich of the month, I've been angling to have them make it a permanent menu item.

And as good as the sandwiches are, the fresh cut fries (with that great seasoning) and homemade cole slaw topped with pickle slices are the perfect compliment.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby No Mistake » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:08 pm

AHHHHH! I forgot about the cole slaw! I could eat it all day, it was perfect.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Damage » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:35 pm

1. Osteria
2. Johnny's Downtown
3. Lola/Lolita
4. Parralax
5. Mallorca

I live on W. 9th so I'm quite close to all these places.

Question. Is Sokolowski's really that good? My gf lives like 15 seconds from there and I always pass it going to her place. She's never been either, which is weird, since she's lived in Tremont for over a year.
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Damage » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:37 pm

Larvell Blanks wrote:I'll add 5 that haven't been mentioned yet

One Walnut
Baricelli Inn
Blue Canyon
The Cabin Club
Three Birds

honorable mention
Ken Stewart's Grille


Well someone's Italina ;)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby Damage » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:40 pm

FUDU wrote:What are the top 5 Mexican ones in town, as close to downtown or the west side as possible?

Momocho, Momocho, Momocho. Eric the owner is coo as hell (also owns Lopez, which is another sweet Mexican place. Go Friday, Margarita specials are really good)
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Re: Top Five Cleveland Restaurants

Unread postby OpusTPenguin » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:31 am

Damage wrote:1. Osteria
2. Johnny's Downtown
3. Lola/Lolita
4. Parralax
5. Mallorca

I live on W. 9th so I'm quite close to all these places.

Question. Is Sokolowski's really that good? My gf lives like 15 seconds from there and I always pass it going to her place. She's never been either, which is weird, since she's lived in Tremont for over a year.


Sokolowski's isn't high end food. It is really good ethnic food - as long as your ethnicity is eastern european.
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