We’ve all got our favorite Cleveland restaurants. The reliable standbys we revisit again and again, favorite orders memorized. In a culinary landscape studded with glittering dining experiences, it can be easy to miss the hidden gems that will blow you away with their creativity and craft. Here are just a few such highlights of The Land’s lineup, and a few more that could be new favorites in the making.
Chef Doug Katz’s new (former ghost kitchen) beauty will add some excitement to your camera roll—and joy to your taste buds with perfectly prepared Indian-inspired dishes and dark stylish decor. The Hingetown hotspot has quickly become a top Cleveland contender. (Look for the tiger mural.)
Owners Morgan Yagi and Ryan Britton recently debuted Bartleby, a modern-day American supper club helmed by chef Matt DePante that is more than worthy of its breathtaking venue in the historic United Bank Building near the iconic West Side Market.Grab a selfie with a cute indoor tree or the adorable quirky wallpaper.
Sam McNulty and friends gave new life to the former Bier Markt/Bar Cento Ohio City space with a posh refresh that includes the new downstairs club, Bird of Paradise. The menu features New American comfort food sourced from Northeast Ohio farms. Don’t worry:. They kept the Sunnyside Pizza and famous Pommes Frites.
The wood-fired pizza joint serves us up unique retro-inspired décor and a rustic patio in the Detroit Shoreway. Try the fresh-baked Wonder Bread with house butter at this Ohio City must-visit. Don’t miss the DJ, special events and quirky goods for sale.
After recently taking over the former iconic Lola’s Bistro spot on East 4th Street, Cordelia brings us “modern grandma” vibes. Try the Pimento Cheese and Crackers and the Fried Chicken—you’ll thank me later. Chef Vinnie Cimino leads the team on recipes inspired by local farmers’ bounty and heritage-rich recipes reimaged.
The acclaimed restaurant is known for providing formerly incarcerated people a second chance and training them for culinary career pathways, but just as inspiring are its French plates and wine list. Insiders also love the bakery, butcher shop and second outpost, Edwin’s too.
Cooked up by Zdenko Zovkic (formerly of XO Prime Steaks), the tri-level Asian fusion spot overlooks the Cuyahoga riverfront from the Flats East Bank. The showstopping margarita flight on the Sunday brunch menu (checkout the buffet, too) and the fresh sushi, fancy modern upstairs dining space and killer roof are literal perfection.
Juneberry Table is Karen Small’s answer to the modern breakfast joint. Charming, fresh and inviting, the former Flying Fig owner’s newish venture showcases a menu including delicious Bourbon Apple Pancakes with candied walnuts and the Juneberry Breakfast (eggs and cheesy bacon potatoes) at this small sunny Ohio City breakfast and lunch spot.
Sophisticated small plates are the jam at Salt+, an intimate neighborhood spot in Lakewood. Chef Jill Vedaa’s thoughtfully composed small plates are wildly grand in flavor and texture, while Jessica Parkison’s cocktail menu is playful and ever-evolving. Seasonality and local flavors are respected, and these hands-on owners support small farms and producers.
Fun to say; even more fun to eat! Zhug was named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in 2020. (No big deal.) Chef Douglas Katz (also of Amba from this list) artfully embellishes the area’s Middle Eastern food offerings. Specialties like labneh, lutenitsa, muhamara and moussaka roll off the tongue and also make for a memorable dining experience.
COMING SOON – Restaurants opening in Fall/Winter 2022
Soon hungry pizza-seekers will finally get to visit the permanent location of the fabulous (former virtual food hall pop-up from Spice Hospitality Group) Boom's Pizza. Born during the pandemic, and put on hiatus, the “welcome back” will give Boom's a home in the heart of Lakewood. Chefs Ben Bebenroth and Jonathan Bennett’s New York/Neapolitan style pies will wow you, for sure.
Jill Vedaa and Jessica Parkison (the duo behind Salt+) team up again in a new Gordon Square (former location of Spice) venture to unveil elevated Spanish tapas (and wine, sherry, paella and more), with a new concept named after Vedaa’s mother. Their new Spanish fare is a must-try for us.
Muze Gastropub, Eat Me Pizza, and Trellis Rooftop Bar
The three new spots are part of the first phase (the Fieldhouse area) of the new Studio West 117 district in Lakewood. The concept is new and pretty cool, if you ask me, with the goal of becoming the hub of the LGBTQ+ entertainment, dining and nightlife scene in Cleveland.
Pearl Street Wine Market & Cafe
Farm-to-table champion chef Karen Small (owner of the former Flying Fig) teamed up with Jill Davis (who owns Toast Wine Bar) to give new life to the former Flying Fig Ohio City space with a combination bottle shop and bistro that's focused on wines and seasonal, unique snacks and plates. Checkout the monthly wine club if you live nearby.
If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, soon you’ll be able to try Michael Schwartz’s Van Aken concept, with Chicago roots by the same name. Try a single, double or (dare you!) a triple burger. Or for our vegetarian inclined pals, enjoy the delectable veggie burger. And yes—they got milkshakes, boozy or reg.