Cleveland Restaurant Scene and Dining Guide...
Dining Guide...
We don’t have to brag about our restaurants. The food networks and James Beard Foundation have been doing it for years. Make sure to pack your appetite.  Cleveland has become a city known for its great restaurants, world renowned and hometown chefs. Please enjoy Cleveland's most comprehensive dining guide.

Cleveland Restaurant Scene...

MichaelSymon.jpgCleveland is home to many famous chefs and restaurateurs.  That meat-centric bald guy with the infectious laugh on ABC's The Chew? That's our guy - Cleveland's own Super Chef Michael Symon.

Since winning Iron Chef America in 2007, Symon has become a regular on TV cooking shows and opened a string of restaurants.

In addition to his signature East Fourth Street restaurant Lola, Symon runs Lolita in Tremont and B Spot Burger locations in Woodmere, Strongsville, Westlake and Downtown Cleveland (inside the Horseshoe Casino).

JonathanSawyer.jpgJonathan Sawyer grows herbs on his downtown restaurant's rooftop. He rides his bike to work. He composts and recycles kitchen and dining room scraps up the wazoo. He's Jonathan Sawyer, Cleveland's greenest of green chefs.

Sawyer's first restaurant, The Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th Street, was also the first LEED-certified restaurant in Ohio.  Sawyer also wields his eco wand at Noodlecat (Public Square and West Side Market),  Sawyer's Street Frites at FirstEnergy Stadium and SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe at Quicken Loans Arena.

RoccoWhalen.jpgRocco Whalen uses the word "love" frequently on the menu at Fahrenheit, Chef Rocco Whalen's restaurant in Tremont. Food equals love, and love reminds him of his late mom Rosie, the cooking whiz who set him on the path to a culinary career.

Check out Whalen's other food/love options through his food truck, Short Rib 1; Rocco & Rosie's at Horseshoe Casino; and stands at FirstEnergy Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena.

ChrisHodgson.jpgFood fans across the country got to know Chris Hodgson as he logged 3,500 miles in his Hodge Podge food truck on Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race." With the help of his girlfriend (now wife) and sister, Hodgson won second place in 2011 thanks to his whimsical menu and boy-next-door charm.

In 2012, he joined partner Chef Scott Kuhn to open his first restaurant without an odometer, Hodge's in Gateway.  Upscale, but playful, the restaurant serves drinks in Mason jars and corndogs filled with lobster. (Our fave? The PBLT...try it.)

BrandtEvans.jpgBrandt Evans calls the food at his Pura Vida restaurant "aggressively creative." That doesn't mean the goat cheese will jump off the plate and kick you. It does mean you might find duck confit on your nachos.

He opened Pura Vida in a long-vacant May Company storefront on Public Square. He's part of a group of local chefs pumping business and life back into downtown Cleveland.  At Pura Vida, rebirth is literal.  The restaurant's sleek, bright, minimalist décor incorporates reclaimed wood and steel from area buildings.  Pura Vida means "pure life."  The menus are full of fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Dinner features an "urban picnic" concept of lighter, tapas-style choices.  Evans knows this is the Midwest, though, and promises you won't leave hungry.

DougKatz.jpgFoodies know fire food & drink executive chef Doug Katz as "the Alice Waters of Cleveland." Fresh? Always. And, local whenever possible. Lucky for Katz there's a farmer's market right outside the restaurant's front door in Shaker Square.

In 2012, 11 years after opening fire, Katz teamed up with the Cleveland Museum of Art to overhaul the museum's food options. Provenance restaurant, café and catering follows fire's lead by offering fresh, seasonal and local food.  Most recently, the chef opened The Katz Club Diner in a restored metal diner in Cleveland Heights.

From his re-use of historic buildings to his support for thoughtful fishing and farming practices, Katz bleeds sustainability. The Entrepreneuars for Sustainability group even recognized his efforts in 2011, naming him a "Champion for Sustainability."  Somebody make that guy a cape from local arugula leaves.

ZackBruell.jpgBack in the 1980s, Cleveland's restaurant scene was, let's just say, short on pizzazz and sophistication. Then came Zack Bruell.  The godfather of fusion cuisine in these parts, Bruell gave us meat and potatoes, but in a new-fangled way.

Since those early days, he's introduced one winner after another.  And, lately, he's on a hot streak. When Bruell opened Table 45 inside the Intercontinental Hotel & Conference Center in Midtown in 2007, Esquire magazine dubbed it "one of the most strikingly modern in America."  Two years later, he made the "Best New Restaurants" list again with L'Albatros, a brasserie-style gem in University Circle.

Bruell also operates Parallax (Asian inspired) in Tremont, Chinato (Italian) on East 4th Street, Cowell & Hubbard (French) and Dynomite Burgers in PlayhouseSquare.  And, he recently opened a casual, self-serve restaurant called Kafeteria off Public Square.

SteveSchimoler.jpgChef Steve Schimoler runs one of the most striking restaurants in Cleveland, Crop Bistro & Bar in Ohio City. And, he's planting the seeds for a few more.

Crop diners eat under the soaring, ornate ceiling of an historic bank lobby.  Schimoler picked another old bank for a more casual, music-centric version of his restaurant.  He opened Crop Bistro & Bar, originally in the Warehouse District, in 2007. Crop was initially imagined as a test kitchen (the name is an acronym for Customized Restaurant Operations Platform) for Schimoler's various food research and development businesses.

Stop by Crop on a Friday night and you just might catch Schimoler, a drummer and musician, performing with his band.  Can you guess the name? Cream of the Crop.

DanteBoccuzzi.jpgSome chefs pair food with wine. Dante Boccuzzi pairs food with rock ‘n' roll. Every career high for this Michelin-star chef comes with a musical counterpart.

At Ginko in Tremont, Boccuzzi flexes some of the sushi skills he learned under Japanese master Nobu Yuki Matsuhisa.  At Dante, also in Tremont, guests can go big or small, from a multi-course chef's menu to inexpensive small tastings of pasta or risotto.

Boccuzzi also operates dba in Akron and the D.C. Pasta Company in Strongsville. He plans to open a casual Italian spot, Dante Next Door, in Tremont in 2014.

MattFish.jpgA little bit gourmet, a little bit rock & roll--Chef Matt Fish caters to the funky, friendly, and unpretentious at Cleveland favorite Melt Bar and Grilled.

A professional chef for more than 20 years and grilled cheese fan for life, Fish first opened Melt in Lakewood in 2006 to establish an eatery that specialized in craft beer while offering unique spins on America’s favorite sandwich. Signature dishes include the Parmageddon, filled with cheddar, sauteed onion, vodka kraut, and potato pierogis, and The Dude Abides, which comes stuffed with provolone and romano, homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella, basil marinara, and roasted garlic. Ten years later, Fish’s Goliath-sized innovations are what keep everyone coming back for more. The restaurant, now open in eight locations, has even branched out to Columbus.

Anita Kokish
Anita Kokish
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