41 Essential Suburban Cleveland Restaurants You Should Have Tried By Now

The Fairmount

2448 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights

Located in the Cedar Hill neighborhood, the Fairmount takes pub food to the next level. With a warm and lively atmosphere and one of the best patios in town, you’re missing out if you haven’t been. The rosemary bacon fries, lobster mac and cheese and brisket banh mi are some of our favorites.

Photo via @TheFairmountCle/Instagram
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Aldo’s

8459 Memphis Ave., Cleveland

This place is so old school, they don’t even have a website. But it doesn’t matter, because the food is so good. This hidden gem, that only contains about 12 tables total, is located in Old Brooklyn. Start with the hot peppers and calamari and finish up with the linguini.

Photo via Aldo’s Restaurant/Facebook
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Balaton

13133 Shaker Square, Cleveland

Talk about underappreciated. When Balaton opened a half-century ago on Buckeye Road, the primary language spoken in the dining room was Hungarian. But word of the modest restaurant’s remarkable goulash, Weiner schnitzel, and paprikash wriggled out, at first to the immediate neighborhood, and later to the city and region as a whole. Come to the lovely restaurant at Shaker Square, where Balaton has now resided for 20 years, and you won’t be awash in Old World shtick.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Sarita a Restaurant

14523 Madison Ave., Lakewood

The goal of Sarita, according to their website, is to serve healthy, new American cuisine from all backgrounds and cultures to an atmosphere of good friends and family and one trip to the restaurant shows that they certainly accomplish this goal. The food is great – the cast-iron cornbread and Navajo fry bread are both must-orders – but we also really love the relaxed yet hip atmosphere of this spot.

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Bangkok Thai

5359 Mayfield Rd., Lyndhurst

A strip mall in Lyndhurst isn’t where you’d expect to find some of the best Thai food in town, but prepare to have your expectations blown by this place. They really do everything well, but we especially enjoy the crazy noodles. And if you like some spice, we highly recommend spicing up your food here.

Photo via Bangkok Thai/Facebook
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Cabin Club

30651 Detroit Rd., Westlake

Big, juicy steaks, an annotated wine list, and friendly waitresses make this the place for expense-account types to unwind after work or to entertain on the weekends. Excellent choices include the Cabin Club strip steak, the center-cut rib-eye, a behemoth porterhouse, and a buttery filet mignon. A few seafood and poultry items are also available.

Photo via Cabin Club/Facebook
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Boss ChickNBeer

120 Front St., Berea

What started with the Boca Loca Burrito food truck expanded to a popular, full-scale burrito joint, and now are expanding with this chicken and beer spot in Berea. The chicken is crispy, hot and delicious, and you can pair it with a wide variety of mostly Cleveland beers that are in a can and on draught.

Photo via Boss ChickNBeer/Facebook
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Blu, the Restaurant

3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood

Svelte and sophisticated, Blu, formerly Moxie, is where you take your significant other to impress them with your good taste. The heavily seafood menu has recently been updated and is artfully presented by professional servers. Finish your meal with the baked hot chocolate and you are guaranteed to leave happy.

Photo via Blu, The Restaurant/Facebook
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Shuhei

23360 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood

An excellent variety of maki and nigiri sushi is the star of the show here — ordered à la carte or in combinations as either appetizers or entrées. Beyond sushi, diners can also select items from a large menu of steaks, seafood, poultry, noodle, and vegetarian dishes. Charming servers in traditional kimonos add a decorative touch.

Photo via Shuhei/Facebook
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Strip Steakhouse

36840 Detroit Rd., Avon

Housed in a 160-year-old Pennsylvania Dutch barn, this steak house is anything but old-fashioned. Owner Ron Larson spiffed up the interior in ways that will pleasantly surprise diners expecting doilies and drapes. The two-story barn features a first-floor lounge with open kitchen and a spacious loft dining room. First-rate steaks and chops share the menu with less conventional steakhouse fare, like smoked chicken, pasta Bolognese and horseradish-crusted grouper.

Photo via @Stripsteakhouse/Instagram
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Cru Uncorked

34300 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills

Maybe the fanciest joint in town, this Moreland Hills French fine dining restaurant is truly one of a kind in the region. If it wasn’t for the table settings, it would be easy to forget that you were touring a public restaurant and not the private home of the wealthiest family on the street — a street that also happened to be located in the ritziest zip code in town. The actual building looks like it was plucked from the Normandy countryside.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Crumb and Spigot

16783 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls

This tavern located basically out in the cut in an unassuming strip mall is worth the trip out to far Chagrin Falls. Crumb and Spigot does a great job of seeming like any old tavern but it’s far from that. Highlights of the eccentric menu include a beer board featuring house-made jerky, their take on a sloppy joe, and their wood-fired pizzas.

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D’Agnese’s

1100 West Royalton Rd., Broadview Heights

Head out to Broadview Heights and you won’t be disappointed. Italian food lovers swear by this place and it’s easy to see why. The Shrimp D’Agnese’s and the eggplant parmesan are real standouts here.

Photo via @JMVranic/Instagram
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Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar

14810 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

Deagan’s has some of the best burgers in town, their fries are on point and almost everything on the menu is shareable. So if you’re one of those people that can never decide what to order, head to Deagan’s with some friends, order all the appetizers and small plates, and you get to sample most of the menu. The corn fritters and buttermilk fried chicken skins are some of our favorites.

Photo via @DeagansKitchenAndBar/Instagram
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Edwin’s Leadership and Restaurant Institute

13101 Shaker Square., Cleveland

In 2013, Brandon Chrostowski opened Edwins Leadership and Restaurant at Shaker Square. Not only is the French bistro one of the finest restaurants in town, they’re also a non-profit organization that hires and trains convicted felons to work in their restaurant. Chrostowski started Edwins with the belief that, “every human being regardless of their past has the right to a fair and equal future”. Everything on the menu is superb, but we’re big fans of the burger that’s prepared table-side, and the duck is also delectable.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Flour

34205 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills

Is it just us or does Flour get better and buzzier over time? We’ve been fans of the Italian restaurant since the start, lured out to suburbia by the four skilled hands belonging to Paul Minnillo and Matt Mytro. This tag team of tagliatelle put the panache back in pasta, elevating the genre from dependable gut-buster to captivating, elegant cuisine. The perfect pairings of noodles and sauce, like rigatoni with lamb neck gravy, are memorable to the very last bite.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Geraci’s Restaurant

2266 Warrensville Center Rd., University Heights, 29425 Chagrin Blvd., Pepper Pike and 6687 Wilson Mills Blvd., Mayfield Village

The thick-cut pepperoni (we recommend ordering double-pepperoni) on their pizzas are the stars of the show at this mom and pop Italian restaurant that’s been a family business for over 60 years, opening in 1956.. Don’t let that stop you from exploring the rest of the traditional Italian menu, with other staples like spaghetti and homemade meat sauce and eggplant parmesan. Now, you can try their delicious offerings at three locations, one in Pepper Pike and one in Mayfield Heights in addition to their original home in University Heights.

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Giovanni’s Ristorante

25550 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood

One of the last remaining grande dames of the region’s formal dining scene, this elegant Italian restaurant offers impeccable appointments, attentive service and a luxurious menu of steaks, veal chops, seafood and pasta. Yes, it is expensive. But the chance to put on a suit and feel like a grown-up and have pasta prepared table-side? Priceless. The bolognese is a must have.

Photo via Giovanni’s Ristorante/Facebook
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Salt +

17625 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

::Nobody orders small plates in Cleveland.:: Since the birth of the turnip, that has been the conventional wisdom in these parts. Of course, at her whip-smart Lakewood bistro Salt, chef Jill Vedaa continues to upend that old saw by composing exceptional dishes that focus on a single theme. In place of a meat-and-three, diners zero in on carrots three ways, or earthy beets blasted with sparkle, or a savory lamb ragu over a few supple gnocchi. Mix and match your way to the perfect meal; variety, after all, is the spice of life.

Photo via @LBoeNeedham/Instagram
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Tartine Bistro

19110 Detroit Rd., Rocky River

Tartine Bistro boasts a masterful arrangement of setting, mood, food and drink to recreate the unfeigned quintessence of a charming french bistro. Plus, there’s really good pizza! A small kitchen puts out not only small plates, but also sandwiches (tartines), right-sized entrées, and classic desserts.

Photo via Tartine Bistro/Facebook
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Irie Jamaican Kitchen

621 E. 185th St., Euclid

This beloved Jamaican spot, which recently opened a second location in Old Brooklyn in addition to their original Euclid location, achieves an ideal balance between authentic and unique when it comes to their tasty cuisine. Irie offers diners heaping plates of fiery jerk chicken, supple braised oxtails and sweet shrimp curry alongside the customary warm cabbage slaw, rice and beans and much more.

Photo via Scene Archives
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La Campagna

27337 Detroit Rd., Westlake

It’s hard to recommend just one dish on this ever-changing menu of Italian cuisine because the menu changes so often on the whim of chef/owner Carmella Fragassi and what she finds fresh at the market. Seasonal and local is the theme here at this authentic Westlake restaurant that is so authentic, you might think you’re in Italy if you didn’t know any better.

Photo via La Campagna/Facebook
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Lockkeepers

8001 Rockside Rd., Valley View

Owned by Milennia Hospitality Group, the same owners of the beloved Marble Room and Il Venetian, the recently redesigned Lockkeepers is one of the best Italian spots in town. Located in a beautiful setting on the historic Erie Canal and Cuyahoga River, the picturesque setting is hardly the only star of the show here. The veal chop parmigiano, sausage-stuffed peppers and seafood fra diavolo pasta are all to die for.

Photo via Lockkeepers/Facebook
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Lox, Stock and Brisket

3441 Tuttle Rd., Shaker Heights

After 12 years of working for celebrity chef Tom Coliccho, including recently being the “top chef” at the $10 million dollar Vegas restaurant Heritage Steak, chef Anthony Zappola quietly returned home to open a Jewish deli in a strip mall. Lox, Stock and Brisket is modeled after the great Jewish delicatessens that once thrived in this area but it’s geared to today’s fast-paced lifestyle, with ordering sandwiches at the counter, a few other items like Matzo ball soup, and not much else except delicious food.

Photo by Emanuel Wallace
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ML Tavern

34105 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills

With Hyde Park being around so long, it’s almost an afterthought in the Cleveland steakhouse scene, but that shouldn’t be the case with ML Tavern from the Hyde Park Restaurant Group. While not a traditional steakhouse, the thick cut steaks, and especially the rib eye, are totally on point at this beautifully decorated Moreland Hills joint that will make you feel like you’re sitting in a Ralph Lauren advertisement and are dining after you’ve finished riding your horse.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Ohio Pie Co.

1315 ½ Pearl Rd., Brunswick

If you’re looking for the original Ohio-style pizza, look no further than this Brunswick joint. The thick-cut, well done pepperoni is out of this world.

Photo via Ohio Pie Co./Facebook
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Barroco

12906 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 287 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake and 3941 Erie St. 2nd Level, Willoughby

If you’ve never had an arepa before, you need to head to Barroco ASAP. Arepas, which hail from Colombia and Venezuela, are grilled white tortilla’s stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The ‘La Gringa’, stuffed with braised beef, feta cheese, avocado, chimichurri, greens and mozzarella, and the ‘Buffalo Chicken’ arepa are two of our absolute favorites. Barrocco also has fantastic live Latin music three nights a week.

Photo via Barroco/Facebook
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Thyme 2 and Thyme X Table

113 West Smith St., Medina and 583 Dover Center Rd., Bay Village

Chef-owner John Kolar’s Thyme and Thyme2 offer two distinct environments but one consistent aspect applies to both restaurants – delicious food. On menus you’ll find contemporary, upscale preparations of fish, seafood, and meats and there’s also wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and wings. No matter which you choose, count on Kolar to deliver the goods.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Scorpacciata Pizza Co.

3441 Tuttle Rd., Shaker Heights

Possibly the best New York slice in town can be found in the Van Aken Food Hall in Shaker Heights. What started off as a pop-up pizza place at Scorpacciata’s pasta turned into its own stand that has up to 3 hour waits on the weekend, and yes, it’s well worth it.

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Zoma

2240 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights

Despite what that one guy on Yelp said about the ::bread,:: we’re slightly obsessed with Zoma. We love the communal atmosphere of the experience, where diners sit around a platter of colorful, savory stews, pinching off bites with stretchy injera. Rare is the place that hungry vegetarians and omnivores can so peaceably coexist thanks to items starring chopped greens, chickpeas, lentils, beef and chicken. The housemade Ethiopian hot sauce, fueled by an exotic berbere spice blend, is righteous.

Photo via Zoma/Facebook
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Red, the Steakhouse

200 Park Ave., Orange

Luscious slabs of beef and creative, indulgent salads, sides and desserts make this modern American steakhouse a prime location for well-heeled meat-eaters. A well-organized wine list, gracious service and contemporary rustic decor with a Napa-like sophistication complete one of the best steakhouses in the midwest.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Vero Pizza

12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights

It might just be pizza to us, but to owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer, it’s a way of life. First you make the dough, then you stoke the fire, and finally you feed the neighborhood. There’s only so much of that naturally leavened dough to go around, so admiring diners know to get here early to secure one or three of those fly pies. They exit the wood-burner with a textbook puffy, chewy, tender crust spotted like a leopard with slightly bitter bits of char.

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Boiling Seafood Crawfish

2201 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights

The seafood-in-a-bag trend rolled into town with a bang, with three spots devoted to the concept opening in a few short years. You don’t have to explain why to the diners who crowd this small, boisterous storefront by the Cedar Lee Theatre. Digging your hands deep into a bag of spicy, saucy steamed seafood might be the most fun one can legally have in a restaurant.

Photo via @BoilingSeafood/Instagram
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Tommy’s Restaurant

1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights

Known for their vegetarian and healthy options, this Coventry Road staple has been serving up Clevelanders since 1972. While they had vegetarian and vegan options before those became popular, they have more than just healthy options. The thick-cut french fries are some of the best in town and their milkshakes, especially black cherry, is a must try.

Photo via Tommy’s Restaurant/Facebook
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Umami

42 North Main St., Chagrin Falls

What this jewel box of a bistro lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style, thanks to an umami-filled contemporary Asian menu. There are nods to Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine, with stellar ingredients buoyed by complementary flavors and spices. Sushi and seafood shine, as do heartier meats like pork belly and duck. Vegetarians can even dine well on crispy tofu and pad Thai.

Photo via Scene Archives
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The Last Page

100 Park Ave. Ste. 128, Orange Village

Within a tsunami of fast-casual monotony, The Last Page at Pinecrest is a welcome detour. This modern-day supper club offers an immersive, upscale experience, from the luxuriously appointed waiting area to the grand bar in the rear of the drama-filled dining room. A lengthy menu avoids categorization of any kind, presenting instead a blitz of 25 appealing items that lean on various cultures and cuisines.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Taki’s Greek Kitchen

377 Lear Rd., Avon Lake

You’ll have to drive out to Avon Lake to chase down the best contemporary Greek food in the region. That’s where chef Peter ::Taki:: Diamantis works his magic, at a sharp little bistro called Taki’s Greek Kitchen. From dips to dessert, Diamantis treats his ingredients with the care and attention they deserve, resulting in dishes that are bright, clean, fresh and bursting with life.

Photo via Taki’s/Facebook
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Aurelia

16 North Main St., Chagrin Falls

Chef-owner James Balchak spent nearly six months converting the North Main Diner, formerly Dink’s, from a dowdy luncheonette to a smart little supper club with a bangin’ brunch. Energy from the buzzy bar scene boosts the mood and spirit of the entire space, ensuring that the atmosphere never dips to melancholy. This farm-to-table restaurant which focuses exclusively on the freshest ingredients around has found its footing after testing some things out and figuring out what worked and what didn’t.

Photo via Scene Archives
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Sara’s Place by Gavi’s Restaurant

1501 Chagrin River Rd., Gates Mills

As cozy as a colonial tavern, this well-appointed dining room in the middle of secluded Gates Mills features an eclectic lineup of Italian standards, along with an assortment of sandwiches, burgers, chops, and a popular chicken pot pie. The Italian fare is highly recommended.

Photo via @Saras_Place/Instagram
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Anatolia Cafe

2270 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights

A little bit Greek, a little bit Middle Eastern and perhaps even slightly northern Indian, the names, ingredients and flavor notes of Anatolia’s authentic Turkish cuisine will strike familiar chords for veteran tabletop travelers. ::Don’t-miss:: dishes include sleek and smoky baba ghannouj and the lamb-and-beef doner kebab.

Photo via Anatolia Cafe/Facebook
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