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Whether you are on vacation in or live there, Cleveland OH is more than the sum of its shipping heritage and transportation-based past. The citizens, after all, elected the United States’ first African-American Mayor in 1967, Carl Stokes. In modern times, the City wisely diversified its economy and its cultural offerings.
Cleveland encourages community involvement. There are winter adventures, local parks – part of what is known as the “Emerald Ring,” summer bathing, and art and cultural events. Indeed, there is a lot to do and see in the City. It is home to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. While the 1930 industrial architectural symbol, the Terminal Tower remains, it has been joined by more modern representations, including the BP Tower (1985) and the Key Tower (1991).
Today, the City has many celebrated restaurants - many of them operated by award-winning chefs. To help you choose where to go, day or night, we are providing a list of what many consider to be the best places to eat in Cleveland, OH. We apologize in advance if we have left any of your favorites off the list. With so many from which to choose, it is impossible to keep everyone satisfied.
Our Best Places: Bon Appetit
Cleveland is home to a multitude of world-renowned chefs. Michael Symon, Jonathan Sawyer Brandon Chrostowski, Ben Bebenroth, Michael Nowak, and several others are the driving force behind an extraordinary food culture that continues to grow exponentially.
Slyman’s Deli: In the search for Cleveland’s perfect corn beef, many turn up at Slyman’s. For around half-a-century, it has been catering to those looking for the best corn beef sandwich in the city.
Momocho: A modern Mexican restaurant established by Chef Eric traditional and modern for guacamole, salsa, and tamales, to name a few.
The Cleveland Bagel Co: This bagel company has several bagel stores in Cleveland, OH. Its products are also available throughout the city. Depending upon the day, you can thrill to a Cleveland-style bagel that is plain, everything, rosemary sea salt or cinnamon cranberry. They also offer a small selection of schmears, including Brie Honey Walnut, Cheddar Chive, Chorizo Chipotle, and Thyme Black Pepper Horseradish.
The Plum: Open since 2015, this restaurant consistently serves up great but unique offerings in a stylish setting. For instance, the Fried Brussel Sprouts utilize dried cranberry, apple bread crumb, white anchovy, Caesar dressing. Small twists enliven traditional dishes.
The Flying Fig: Open since 1999, this small eatery and bar has helped to create the movement in Cleveland towards embracing and sourcing local ingredients. Its founder, Karen Small, is famous for its brunch where you can enjoy some of its delectable desserts e.g., carrot cake, as well as comfort food such as biscuits and gravy and bacon or sausage. Many come to get their fix of the Double Crusted Local Apple Crisp with Mitchell’s caramel and sea salt ice cream.
Edwins: Founded by Chef Brandon Chrostowski, Edwin’s is known not only for its fine French cuisines such as salad nicoise, charcuterie, and cruises de grenouille au beurre d’escargot but also for its humanitarian approach. It teaches formerly incarcerated individuals how to handle every stage of the restaurant business. Many visitors come for the desserts and feast on citron soufflé crème brûlée and the pyramide du chocolate.
La Plaza Taqueria: Once a Latin grocery with a small counter providing tacos and other Mexican favorites to those-in-the-know, La Plaza Taqueria now divides the space equally to grocery shoppers and Mexican food fans. But never fear, it still serves up some of the very best tacos, tortas, and tamales in Cleveland.
Empress Taytu: This Ethiopian restaurant offers meat, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. You can enjoy such items as Sambusa, Misir, and/or Dorowat (chicken) in the restaurant or as take-out. They also serve Kitfo, an Ethiopian favorite, as well as Taytu Cake.
Good Company: From Heatmap comes Good Company. Like its relative – Plum, it offers good food. However, this is a more relaxed atmosphere. It combines the concept of a neighborhood bar with a casual grill. The blend produces fine brews together with potato skins, wings, and other pub grub. Theme nights are another feature locals enjoy.
Lola Bistro: This is the flagship restaurant of American Chef and restaurant extraordinaire Michael Symon. Born in Cleveland OH, Symon created the elegant Lola Bistro with its offerings of share plates, small plates and big plates containing a variety of delectable food, including roasted chicken and Paella. Of course, it is impossible to ignore its fabulous desserts. How can you resist Not Your Bubbe's Kugel or Figgy Pudding.
Spice Kitchen + Bar: Chef Ben Bebenroth has taken locally sourced and fresh to an entirely new level. He raises the ingredients used in his mushroom beignets, braised butternut squash, Chef Inspired Omelet, and for his “Whole Beast Feast” on his 13-acre farm in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Marotta's: For romantic rustic Italian food, people go to Marotta’s. Mouthwatering homemade pizza and pasta are an integral part of the menu.
Red Downtown: If steak is what you crave – good steak, maybe even the PERFECT steak, this is the restaurant for you. However, be prepared to pay for it or any other dish you may order, including their seafood dishes.
Lucky's Café Tremont: Since a visit by Guy Fieri for his program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, more than locals have found their way to this daytime café. Try their popular cheddar scallion biscuits along with scrambled eggs. Locals consider it the ideal place for brunch, lunch, or a coffee break.
The Black Pig: Chef Michael Nowak has created a meat-focused menu pairing favorites such as ribs and pork belly. Seasonal and local ingredients play a significant role in all the European-inspired dishes.
Eating Well in Cleveland OH
Cleveland OH is a city overflowing with wonderful, lip-smacking food. The number of chefs who have opened or continue to run restaurants here is astounding to anyone who is not from this city. From Mexican and Asian cuisine to Italian and American, from casual to fine dining, from meat-focused to vegan, the city boasts it all, as well as everything in between. You could easily spend every day of a year without eating in the same place twice. What more could the average American or a Foodie as for?