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My Perfect Meal, My Favorite Neighborhood: A Tasting Menu of Our Favorite Bites in Cleveland’s Best Dining Districts

LAKEWOOD

Long the burger and chicken wing capital of the region, Lakewood has blossomed into bona fide 'ville de vittles.

You can never go wrong with happy hour at Pier W (12700 Lake Ave., 216-228-2250, selectrestaurants.com/pier), which also happens to offers some of the best views of Lake Erie in Cleveland. Try the braised Angus beef short rib pierogies with jus. The pillowy pockets are sure to warm your soul.

Keep the warming trend going with a pitstop at Humble Wine Bar (15400 Detroit Ave., 216-767-5977, humblewinebar.com), where the pizza oven takes center stage. The spicy sopressata pie comes topped with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella on a toothsome crust.

If you can score a seat, a visit to Melt Bar and Grilled (14718 Detroit Ave., 216-226-3699, meltbarandgrilled.com) is well worth your time. While busy as ever, it's worth it to check out the location that started it all. The chorizo and potato grilled cheese sandwich is more than worth the wait.

Can't pull the trigger on just one entrée? Head over to Deagan’s Kitchen and Bar (14810 Detroit Ave., 216-767-5775, deagans.com), a gastropub with an array of savory small plates. The shaved Brussels sprouts with bacon, walnuts and smoked blue cheese is downright dreamy.

If it’s spice you seek, India Garden (18405 Detroit Road, 216-221-0676, indiagardencleveland.com) will set you straight. The vegetarian-friendly malai kofta, with a side order of garlic naan, is the Indian equivalent of comfort food. Vegan, organic and local are the calling cards of the cozy The Root Café (15118 Detroit Ave., 216-226-4401, theroot-cafe.com). Cap off the night with a tasty molasses cookie paired with a cup of fragrant coffee.

TREMONT

Tremont was ground center for the dining revolution that has since unfolded across Northeast Ohio. In the years since Lola and Fat Cats opened their doors to a wary public, the neighborhood continues to offer some of the city's best eats.

Lola, which is now downtown, has been replaced by Lolita (900 Literary Rd., 216-771-5652, lolabistro.com), a swap locals are more than happy to accept. Kick off your feast with a half order of the famous mac and cheese, enriched with goat cheese, chicken and rosemary.

Fat Cats (2061 W. 10th St., 216-579-0200), a neighborhood pioneer, feels as fresh today as it did when it opened all those years ago. Combine views of the downtown skyline with Korean-style barbecued ribs with fries and cabbage salad.

As one of Cleveland's premiere chefs, Dante Boccuzzi will treat you right at his eponymous restaurant, Dante (2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1200, restaurantdante.us). Dine inside a bank vault – or better yet, right inside the kitchen. Either way, load up on some of the city's best pasta, polenta and risotto.

Off the beaten Tremont path, Tremont Taphouse (2572 Scranton Rd., 216-298-4451, tremonttaphouse.com) pairs killer suds with great gastro fare. You won't regret ordering the beer-steamed mussels and fries, tossed with blue cheese, bacon, shallots and garlic.

Contemporary Asian is the bill of fare at Bac (2661 W. 14th St., 216-938-8960, bactremont.com). We're not exactly sure what cuisine fried ice cream falls under, but that doesn’t stop us from ordering for dessert.

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