Cleveland’s culinary scene blends influences from the more than 100 diverse ethnicities found throughout the city with traditional cooking techniques as well as modern twists. Nationally recognized and award-winning chefs create deliciously memorable experiences that bring visitors back for seconds.
New and Noteworthy
- Acclaimed chef Doug Katz’s Indian fusion ghost kitchen, Amba, became a permanent restaurant in May 2022. Adjoining Amba is A Bar, where visitors can enjoy cocktails in a casual, lounge-style atmosphere.
- Breakfast is on the menu with the April 2022 opening of Juneberry Table, a contemporary urban diner by acclaimed chef Karen Small. The all-day breakfast and lunch menu is influenced by Appalachian classics like greens, cured meats and preserves.
- Located in the Flats East Bank, the new waterfront restaurant Jade opened in April 2022 and features Asian fusion cuisine and three levels of dining spaces, including a rooftop bar and lounge.
- The fast-casual Afro-Caribbean eatery YumVillage opened in February 2022 and celebrates the chef/owner’s Jamaican and Nigerian heritage and his mission to bring affordable chef-prepared meals to the local community. Menu highlights include jerk chicken, jollof rice and plantains, as well as lesser-known specialties like maafe, a hot peanut stew from West Africa.
- Japanese fusion restaurant Goma opened in July 2021 and builds on chef Dante Boccuzzi ‘s experience as executive chef at Nobu/Milan. An extensive selection of sushi rolls and shareable plates along with a full sake menu and sake-infused cocktails are highlights.
- The aroma of freshly popped popcorn, a box office-style host stand and servers dressed in theater usher uniforms welcome guests to the Haunted House Restaurant, which opened in July 2021. The restaurant is inspired by classic horror films, and Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson helped create a menu of urban eclectic American dishes, including a “brinner” menu with breakfast-for-dinner-style plates
- Located at the Kimpton Schofield Hotel, Betts serves classic American dishes with an emphasis on freshness and whole foods in a colorful, casual dining space. Opened in August 2020, the restaurant serves all meals and offers grab-and-go coolers with fresh sandwiches, healthy snacks, craft beer and wine. Lucky guests will be seated at a table with a Bubbles Bell for on-demand sparkling wine service.
- The new International Restaurant Passport highlights the rich cultures and heritages that make up Cleveland’s diverse population. The digital passport offers exclusive deals at 17 of the city’s international eateries.
- Cleveland native and James Beard Award-winner chef Michael Symon brought Cleveland’s food scene to the national spotlight. Today, Symon continues to operate B Spot Burger and Mabel’s BBQ.
- Chef Zack Bruell is known for his fusion cuisine and his ability to cook a wide variety of styles. His restaurant portfolio includes L’Albatros, Japanese restaurant Parallax and American restaurant Table 45.
- James Beard-nominated and acclaimed chef Doug Katz showcases his expertise in ethnic cuisine with his latest concept, Zhug. Named one of Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants in America, 2020”, Zhug features Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sharables and small plates. Katz also delights foodies with two ghost kitchen concepts, including Amba, featuring Indian-themed dishes, and the South American-inspired concept Chimi.
- Chef Karen Small at The Flying Fig was a local pioneer of creative, farm-to-table cuisine when the restaurant opened in 1999. The focus on supporting small family farms and local food artisans while creating critically acclaimed menus that evolve seasonally remains strong.
- Two-time James Beard semifinalist chef Jill Vedaa brought specialty small plates back to the forefront of the Cleveland food scene with her nationally recognized restaurant, Salt+. Featuring locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients, Vedaa focuses on vegetable, meat and fish small plates, rounded out by expertly crafted cocktails and curated wines.
- Known for his innovative work in foraging and fermentation, Jeremy Umansky opened Larder Delicatessen and Bakery – a James Beard semi-finalist – in the historic Ohio City firehouse. This modern-day version of an old-world delicatessen offers house-made breads, pastries, koji-cured pastrami, root beer fermented in-house and locally sourced dairy, eggs and produce.
- Miami-based James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz brings his electric and spicy flare to Cleveland with Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. The 65-seat neighborhood bistro serves up a globally inspired, seasonal menu offering dishes like classic deviled eggs and house-smoked bacon cheddar burger to more adventurous plates, such as crispy pig ears and wood roasted octopus.
Quintessential Cleveland Food
- Located in the Ohio City neighborhood is the more than 100-year-old West Side Market, one of the first indoor public markets in the country. Visitors can put their taste buds to the test by trying food like pierogi and falafel from one of the nearly 100 vendors, some of whom can trace their roots back to the inception of the market.
- Since 1964, Slyman’s has caught the attention of presidents and celebrities with the best and biggest corned beef sandwiches in Downtown Cleveland.
- A Cleveland-creation, a Polish Boy consists of a link of kielbasa placed in a bun and covered with French fries, coleslaw and barbecue sauce or hot sauce. For a taste of this unusual, yet oh-so-good native sandwich, visitors can stop by numerous spots around town, including Hot Sauce Williams (the granddaddy of Cleveland barbeque for more than 50 years), Seti’s Polish Boy food truck in the Ohio City neighborhood, Al & B's Barbecue, Beckham’s B&M Bar-B-Que and Banter Beer and Wine.
- With multiple locations in Northeast Ohio, Melt Bar and Grilled features a menu with 20 different gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches like the pierogi-filled “Parmageddon.”
- For a casual dining atmosphere, visitors can head to the Ohio City neighborhood and choose from pizza and house made pasta at Bar Cento, Mod-Mex cuisine at Momocho, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine at Alea, global cuisine at Johnny Mango or a sweet treat at Mitchell’s Ice Cream.
- In the Tremont neighborhood, guests can enjoy a range of different meals from a delicious brunch at Lucky’s Cafe or Grumpy’s Café to fine dining at establishments like Dante, and Fahrenheit or dinner and drinks at Prosperity Social Club and the New Orleans-style Bourbon Street Barrel Room.
- If visitors are craving Italian cuisine, then Little Italy on Cleveland’s east side is the place to go. Visitors can dive into traditional pizza and spaghetti at Mama Santa’s or enjoy reinvented Italian favorites at Nora and Mia Bella. Plus, visitors need to save room for gelato or cannoli at Presti’s Bakery.
- For an eclectic mix of food, art and theater, visitors can venture to Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and feel like they’ve traveled the world by sampling cuisines from Italy at Il Rione Pizzeria, Asia at Ninja City and the Mediterranean at Astoria Café & Market. For a sweet treat, visitors can complete their journey at Brewnuts to enjoy doughnuts, beer and the delicious combination of doughnuts made with beer!