Most of us are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to eating. But Cleveland’s burgeoning foodie scene has started to shake things up! Here are 11 restaurants in Cleveland to try for something a little bit new and a little bit quirky. The one thing these unique restaurants have in common is that they’re all a whole lot of good food and good fun!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
How do you like your fish? Seared? Raw? Cured? Flown in fresh from the famous fish markets of Tokyo? Dante's most unique dining venture is Ginko, the best sushi restaurant in Cleveland, and possibly in the Midwest. If fish isn't your thing, try a Japanese-style DIY hotpot that will warm you on the coldest days. As an added bonus, you can watch the expert chefs prepare your meal right in front of your eyes.
Address: 2247 Professor Ave B, Cleveland, OH 44113
2. Pier W
First of all, the food is amazing. Fresh ingredients perfectly combined to create amazing flavors. Then there's the setting: perched on the cliffs overlooking Lake Erie and the Cleveland Skyline.
Address: 12700 Lake Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107
3. Sterle's Country House
Sterle's Slovenian Country House is full of life and absolutely delicious food. The portions are so big you'd regret eating them if they weren't so amazing. There's polka nights, beer aplenty, and all the dirndls you could want. It's changed hands three times and has been kept alive by passionate Clevelanders since 1954.
Address: 1401 E 55th St,
Cleveland, OH 44103
4. The Greenhouse Tavern
From elegant dishes of clams and foie gras to late night greasy cravings like fries and chicken wings, Greenhouse has you covered. Its nose-to-tail philosophy guarantees that there's always something interesting on the menu (pigs tails, anyone?). All ingredients are as local and fresh as possible. There's not a wrong thing to order here. For a really unforgettable experience, try the roasted pig head.
Address: 2038 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115
5. Forage Public House
Forage uses all local produce and is dedicated to supporting local Ohio farmers. Much of their menu is seasonal, so it's always changing and evolving. They serve everything from tacos to oysters to killer cocktails made with artisan liquor. Their poutine is some of the best you'll find south of the border. Forage wants you to know where your food comes from and how it's produced. Promoting local business and industry transparency has never been so tasty.
Address: 14600 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107
6. The Standard
This is one place that really lives up to its name. This place really is the standard: reinvented family favorites like mac'n'cheese, a great wine selection, and some of the best burgers in town. The atmosphere is friendly and fun: eating here feels like eating at your best friend's place. Press your face against the window outside as you peer right into the kitchen to see your food being prepared.
Address: 779 E 185th St, North Collinwood, OH 44119
7. Wonton Gourmet and BBQ
Just a few blocks from Superior Pho, this is a down-to-earth Cantonese eatery with an absolutely giant menu. There are no airs of fine dining here - the food speaks for itself. Their wonton soup is hearty and warming. It's relatively cheap, and portion sizes are big enough to feed two or three people. This is a humble restaurant, but one of the best of its kind in Cleveland.
Address: 3211 Payne Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
8. Soho Kitchen and Bar
This Ohio City restaurant is based around two fundamentals of Southern cuisine: chicken and whiskey. They have three different kinds of fried chicken on the menu: morning, evening and late night. They have complementary biscuits which are amazing, and some of the best brunching in Ohio City, which is quite a feat! They might have the answer to the meaning of life somewhere in there, too.
Address: 1889 W 25th St, Ohio City, OH 44113
9. Barrio Tacos
If you haven't been to Barrio yet, then what are you waiting for? Serving up loaded - and we mean LOADED - build-your-own tacos for years now, Barrio is a Cleveland staple. Many places lose their charm and quality when they expand, but Barrio has only continued to impress across three restaurant locations, Progressive Field, and three food trucks. If building your own seems daunting, you just can't decide, or you realize you always order the same thing, try a chef's recommendation. Just make sure you don't fill up on their amazing chips and salsa first! There are loads of vegetarian and vegan options, too.
Address: 15527 Madison Av, Lakewood, OH 44107
10. Le Petit Triangle Cafe
Cleveland doesn't exactly scream "French cuisine". But Le Petit Triangle is tossing that stereotype out the window with absolutely quality French food in an authentic setting. Sit outside and watch the world go by with ennui as you sip a coffee, or savor a silky chocolate-stuffed crepe. This is easily the best French cafe in Cleveland. Transport yourself across the world for an hour or so - it's a whole lot cheaper than flying!
Address: 1881 Fulton Rd, Ohio City, OH 44113
For the culinarily curious, Trentina is an absolute must. It combines traditional Italian cooking methods and regional recipes with local Northeastern Ohioan ingredients. Some of the food is even foraged from the Cuyahoga Valley, and the butter, cheese and yoghurt are made on site. There's also an on-site food lab, dedicated to finding new ways to eat and prepare foods. For something totally new and surprising, try the Menu Bianco.
Address: 1903 Ford Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106
Which restaurants do you think stand out in the Cleveland food scene? Where do you take someone to impress them, or to treat yourself?