Cleveland’s culinary scene has gone from up-and-coming to downright hot lately.
The national food press, including Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire and Playboy.com are taking notice. The publishers have given major praise to several Cleveland spots this year for best new restaurant, best steakhouse, best farm-to-table programs and great new neighborhood eateries.
With that said, it’s not always the award winners that are the most beloved restaurants. Take a look at some of the restaurants that locals in Cleveland call their favorites. Visit these six restaurants for a truly local culinary tour of the city.
Tommy’s is serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they’re doing it right. Their meat pies, corned beef, and toasted cheese are all local favorites. They’re also proud to offer tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers and other vegetarian options. You can bring the whole family to Tommy’s.
5. Superior Pho
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Undoubtedly the best place for Pho in Cleveland. Superior Pho is serving up an old family recipe, passed down from generation to generation. If Pho’s not your thing (if that’s possible) you must try the Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich. It’s roast pork, pate, and mayonnaise made in house, served with slices of cucumber, pickled carrots and daikons, and a kick of jalapenos. So good.
If you can’t find your favorite tequila at Momocho, you won’t be able to find it anywhere. Sipping something new is never an issue, and if you show up for happy hour you can even dine on half price taquitos. We recommend the Barriga, Chancho and Machaca (crispy pork belly, braised wild boar, and coffee + chile ancho braised beef brisket, respectively), but all of the options are great.
3. Empress Taytu Ethiopian
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There are not a lot of authentic Ethiopian restaurants in the Cleveland area, and Empress Taytu is certainly both. Locals and visitors to Cleveland equally fall in love with this delicious cuisine, so good that it’s highly recommended that you make a reservation – the word is out already. Start with some Sambusa or Ambasha. For mains, the Dorowat (chicken) is the house special, and the chicken and shimp tibs are also fantastic. If you dare, try your hand at the Gored-Gored – cubes of raw lean beef spiced with awaze sause, jalepeno peppers and cottage cheese. It packs a punch.
2. Chez Francois
Chez Francois features a creative French menu that soucres local ingredients. A fantastic wine list and great service help make this one of the best places to eat in Cleveland, with a menu that rotates throughout the seasons. Their center cut filets, pate maison, and roasted duck breast are all great options. If you love French food, this is the place to go in Cleveland.
1. Sokolowski’s University Inn
Cleveland’s oldest family run restaurant, Sokolowski’s University Inn was established in 1923 and has been a local favorite for decades. They specialize in Polish and Eastern European dishes, including indulgent favorites like Salisbury steak, stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash, and sauteed pierogi. Once you experience Sokolowski’s, you’re sure to be back for more. With food that tastes this good, it’s no wonder why this restaurant is so beloved.
I’m drooling just looking at this photo.