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Your Indispensable Guide to Dining in Every Cleveland Neighborhood

Eats by streets

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What to eat? When to eat? Where to eat? These are the questions that, like ticks on a clock, propel us through our gluttonous days. To answer one without the others is an exercise in futility, because Italian in Ohio City at Breakfast makes about as much sense as Delicatessen in Westlake at Ever.

Here, then, is a helpful guide to Meals by Occasion by Neighborhood, so you never again have to wander the streets of Tremont in search of a date-friendly wine bar.

Cleveland Heights

When it comes to dining diversity, Cleveland Heights is all over the map – both literally and culinarily speaking. There's Chinese on Coventry, pizza in Cedar-Fairmount and Turkish on Lee.

Got an early business meeting planned? Check out the roomy new Phoenix Coffee (1793 Coventry Rd., 216-932-5282, phoenixcoffee.com) on Coventry, which relocated down the road into a prized corner spot. Cleveland's favorite coffee never looked better.

If you want to have breakfast in 1969, step into Irv's Sandwich Shop (2164 S. Taylor Rd., 216-321-6812), a toothpick of a diner that serves up delicious, fast and cheap meals at one long counter. Grab a wobbly stool and enjoy over-stuffed omelets and home fries, pancakes and bacon, and breakfast sammies to go.

Most folks know of On the Rise (3471 Fairmount Blvd., 216-320-9923, ontheriseartisanbreads.com) for its artisan baked breads and pastries. But come lunchtime, the line out the door is for sandwiches, not scones. Matchless banh mis, grass-fed corned beef, and even house-made burrata sandwiches are calling your name.

Look at you out on a hot date. If you want to score some points in the what-a-pleasant-surprise category, take your companion for a pre-dinner cocktail at Gigi's on Fairmount (3477 Fairmount Blvd., 216-291-7237, gigisonfairmount.com). What this glitzy newcomer lacks in roominess it more than makes up for in romance. Drink wine and nibble charcuterie and cheese by candlelight.

Self-serve yogurt shops are all the rage come dessert time, but the good folks at Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt (1767 Coventry Rd., piccadillyartisanyogurt.com) do it right, using milk and cream from local, grass-fed cows, and organic sugar and fruit.

Asiatown

While we rightfully think of Asiatown as the epicenter of exotic eats, there's much more to enjoy here than just noodles, dumplings and rice.

Sure, Slyman's (3106 St. Clair Ave., 216-621-3760, slymans.com) is the king of corned beef, but show up a few hours earlier and you'll find the place lousy with breakfast junkies. And why not? With house faves like corned beef hash and eggs, hotcakes and ham, and sausage-stuffed omelets, you'll be set until dinner.

If you're more of a drive-by breakfast guy, swing by Koko Bakery (3710 Payne Ave., 216-881-7600) to grab a baby soft bun from the self-serve display. Think of them as savory Asian donuts, filled with BBQ pork, curried beef, or even ham and eggs. Wash it all down with a cup of warm almond tea.

Ha Ahn (3030 Superior Ave., 216-664-1152) is a tiny restaurant tucked inside a nondescript building on the edge of town. But if you love Korean food, it's worth seeking out for a satisfying lunch. From the sizzling-hot Bi Bim Bop to the simmering bowls of veggie-laden tofu soup, all of it is fresh, delicious and reasonably priced.

Bright, modern and attractive, Han Chinese Kabob & Grill (3710 Payne Ave., 216-769-8745) doesn't look like most Chinese restaurants. Designed to appeal to a younger generation of Asian-born diners, the food here is culled from Northern regions, with charcoal-fired lamb kebobs, cold poached chicken, and crispy whole fried fish splayed across most dinner tables.

Little Italy / University Circle

In just a few short years, this neighborhood has revolutionized its food scene, adding great independent options that fill the void between fast and fancy. And it ain't done yet.

Now that Rising Star Coffee Roasters (2187 Murray Hill Rd., risingstarcoffee.com) has landed in Little Italy, early risers make a bee-line to the corner of Murray Hill and Edghill. There they find the same beans, equipment and expertise that they've come to rely on in Ohio City.

Lunch time is the right time to enter Ninja City (11311 Euclid Ave., 216-860-0510, ninjacity.com), a lively, streamlined spin-off of Bac Asian Bistro in Tremont. A checklist-style menu flush with inexpensive ramen, rice and noodle bowls, along with steam buns and banh mi sandwiches, makes this joint popular with budget-crunched diners.

If you're headed to nearby Severance Hall – or dinner elsewhere in the neighborhood – stop by the impossibly cute Coquette Patisserie (11607 Euclid Ave., 216-331-2841, coquettepatisserie.com) for a pre-dinner aperitif. Champagne is served by the glass, oysters served on the half shell, and savory nibbles like mini quiches, tarts and smörgåstårta presented with flair.

Across the street is another Ohio City import, Crop Kitchen (11460 Uptown Ave., 216-696-2767, cropkitchen.com), a more casual offshoot of Crop Bistro. Dinners here are built around sandwiches, sushi and a handful of nightly specials, all dished up in a dramatic but informal space.

Why go home when you can stroll over to ABC the Tavern (11434 Uptown Ave., 216-721-1511, abcthetavern.com) for a nightcap. While more toned-down than the original on W. 25th Street, this classic bar has all the right elixirs – and pub grub, should you need it – to wind down a hectic day.

Ohio City

Getting a great meal in Ohio City is about as difficult as getting baked in Denver. While development has slowed down of late (largely because there's no room left), the delicious remnants of the recent boom are everywhere.

With a lengthy list of certified organic teas – brewed right, served right – Cleveland Tea Revival (1434 W. 29th St., 216-795-5099, clevelandtearevival.com) coaxes folks into their days in classic #Hingetown style. Mornings here are peaceful, elegant and quietly invigorating.

Jack Flaps (3900 Lorain Ave., 216-961-5199, jack-flaps.com) is to breakfast what George Clinton is to jazz: things get a little funky up in here. This trim, tidy and ever-so-edgy storefront slides out sweet and savory day-starters like the signature buttermilk "jackflaps" or breakfast burritos crammed full of braised beef and eggs.

If it's lunchtime on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, queue up at Crepes de Luxe (1979 W. 25th St., 216-621-2479, crepesdeluxe.com) in the West Side Market for the best Parisian-style street crêpes in town. Sweet and savory options include banana, Nutella and powdered sugar or ham, egg, and gruyere.

You might know Orale (1834 W. 25th St., 216-862-3117, oralecmc.com) for its popular Mexican foods stand in the West Side Market, but it runs a great little Mexican restaurant down the road. A recent expansion has added a bar, making dinner here all the better.

It's late, you just tipped back a few pints at Platform Beer, and you're not quite ready to call it a night. No problem, just cross the street and grab a stool at Old Fashion Hot Dogs (4008 Lorain Ave., 216-631-4460) for a midnight snack. Nothing sets you straight better than a chili cheese dog with mustard – or three – before bedtime.

Detroit Shoreway

With arts and entertainment at its heart, Detroit Shoreway is a go-to destination that lights up the night. This high octane neighborhood boasts enough unique dining options to support its out-on-the-town hot spots.

Whether just starting your day or gathering for a leisurely afternoon rendezvous, Gypsy Bean & Bakery (6425 Detroit Ave., 216-939-9009) is more than a coffee shop; it's a neighborhood meeting place. Cleverly blended coffees are concocted alongside fresh pastries while oversized windows give a glimpse at one of the busiest corners in the city.

Cozy up at Toast (1365 W 65th St., 216-862-8974, toastcleveland.com) for a pre-dinner Prohibition-era cocktail or glass of wine from a selection that leaves room for the unconventional. The balance of a rustic-chic wine bar and warm atmosphere makes for a perfect setting to share small plates and small chat.

Continue your evening of artistic surprises with dinner at Spice Kitchen (5800 Detroit Ave., 216-961-9637, spicekitchenandbar.com), the perfect blend of stylish, friendly and refined. Serving up a rotating menu of seasonal fare, Spice dishes up seasonal offerings straight from the chef's own hoop house and farm.

Few after-dinner treats have as much sweet charm as a milkshake shared at the quaint '40s-inspired counter of Sweet Moses Soda Fountain (6800 Detroit Ave., 216-651-2202, sweetmosestreats.com). If your cravings lean more indulgent, sundaes built with house-churned ice cream are served up until close at this nod to Happy Days past.

It's getting late and you could really use a nightcap and some nibbles. Welcome to Battery Park's newest concept, CHA Pizza Kitchen (7524 Father Frascati Dr., 216-631-9242, chapizzabatterypark.com), which serves hand-crafted pizzas paired with wine clear up to midnight.

Tremont

When it comes to eats, Tremont's got range. From five-star sushi to five-napkin burgers, this historic food burg has all bases covered.

Not many record shops roast their own coffee beans in-house, but LOOP (2180 W 11th St., 216-298-5096) is anything but typical. This quirky, independent, art-driven coffee shop is a great place to ease into the day. Sip coffee, peruse the new and used vinyl, and nibble on a muffin in a cocoon of serenity.

Crust (1020 Kenilworth Ave., 216-583-0257, crusttremont.com) is rightly known for its hand-tossed pizzas, which are sold whole and by the slice. But it's the subs – built with just the right ratio of filling to fresh-baked bread – that keep us coming back for lunch. We're partial to the Eggplant Parm, with breaded eggplant, provolone and marinara.

Visit Press Wine Bar (2221 Professor Ave., 216-566-9463, presswinebar.com) during happy hour to sample wine on tap, if you have yet to do so. This lively wine bar usually has a nice little selection of reds and whites by the glass on tap, which stays fresh until the very end of the keg. Order some crispy calamari or some charcuterie if you're hungry.

If you like sushi and have not yet dined at Ginko (2247 Professor Ave., 216-274-1202, restaurantdante.us), it goes without saying that you don't know what you're missing. So we'll tell you: simply the finest sushi in town. Sit down for dinner and order the omakase tasting, which will unleash an avalanche of brilliance.

For at least 60 years, the Rowley Inn (1104 Rowley Ave., 216-795-5345, rowleyinn.com) has been buried deep in a working-class neighborhood, just a short sled ride from the Christmas Story House. It's a great place to go for an after-dinner brew and escape the "typical" Tremont crowds.

Lakewood

In recent years, Lakewood has managed to progress from a city of pubs to a bona fide dining destination. Eating one's way through this part of town never tasted better.

Take in the fresh morning aromas of Blackbird Bakery (1391 Sloane Ave., 216-712-6599, blackbirdbaking.com) while picking up hot coffee and sweet pastries like airy almond croissants made from scratch daily. While you're there, grab a loaf of their rosemary focaccia to enjoy later.

We recommend bypassing basic breakfast options in favor of the well-crafted Tex-Mex inspirations at Borderline Café (18510 Detroit Ave., 216-529-1949). But even for the traditionalist, this locally celebrated diner serves up a fine stack of hotcakes.

Meet a friend for lunch at the upbeat and curiously named Jammy Buggars (15625 Detroit Ave., 216-767-5922, jammybuggars.com). Creative revamps of uncomplicated but fun classics like the Caprese-based sandwich The Ex make for a something-for-everyone dining environment. An added bonus: a surprisingly crisp craft beer menu.

Swing by El Carnicero (16918 Detroit Ave., 216-226-3415, elcarnicerolakewood.com) for happy hour and add a little fuel to your 5 o'clock fire. Bring a group to best enjoy the full lineup of tacos and tamales filled with everything from wild boar to brisket while sipping on margaritas that blend sugar and spice and everything nice.

Don't get lost in the sea of burgers and bar food come dinner time. Treat yourself to the hearty, satisfying fare at Eddie Cerino's Casual Italian (14725 Detroit Ave., 440-799-4554, eddiecerinos.com), where modern takes on classic Italian dishes are delicious, approachable and affordable.

Downtown

These are heady times for downtown dining. After a few stagnant years, when East Fourth Street was the only exciting food game in town, center-city dining is back and better than ever.

Because there are few better lunch options than a steamy bowl of pho, downtown diners rejoiced when Pho Thang Café (815 Superior Ave. E., 216-291-7115), a new Vietnamese joint, opened in the Superior Building. The menu offers the usual lineup of appetizers, vermicelli dishes and rice plates, but the pho here is brilliant.

Every day is Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus Cleveland (1550 Chester Ave., 216-621-2337, hofbrauhauscleveland.com), making it the natural meeting place for a post-work gathering. When everybody is drinking German beer by the liter, things can (and do) get a little rowdy. Keep your belly full with a steady diet of huge Bavarian pretzels.

Keeping the beer theme going, move the dinner party to Butcher and the Brewer (2043 E. Fourth St., 216-331-0805, butcherandthebrewer.com), downtown's second-newest brewery. This urban beer hall is loud, the beer is good, and the food wide-ranging enough to satisfy the whole group. We're partial to the bacon-wrapped dates, pork rilletes, and smoked lamb ribs.

Built by bankers, Cleveland has no shortage of historic spaces that once stashed cash. Some you can even drink in, like the brand new Vault (2017 E. 9th St., 216-239-1200, metropolitancleveland.com), buried beneath the glitzy new Metropolitan at the 9 complex. After-dinner drinks here are of the pre-prohibition style, served up in a turn-of-the-century setting with jaw-dropping appeal.

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