Often overlooked in favour of neighbouring Cleveland, Akron is an underrated hub of culture and dining in Northeast Ohio. The city excels in Midwest comfort cuisine, with increasing numbers of innovative menus popping up. Visit one of these top 10 restaurant picks for great food in Akron.
Mr. Zub’s Deli at the Matinee
Mr. Zub’s is a short order deli that specializes in quirky grilled sandwiches inspired by movie characters. The Uncle Rico, for example, features a tall pile of roast beef topped with tater tots and chive cream cheese, all served on a wheat bagel. In addition to the amazing selection of sandwiches, Mr. Zub’s is connected to the Matinee, a hip, dive bar with incredible drinks. It is open well into the night, making it a great late night stop for movie-goers.
3 Point is a sophisticated restaurant located in the heart of downtown Akron. The dishes are familiar but executed with finesse, signature dishes include grilled Mediterranean lamb chops, and a crab cake burger. 3 Point also boasts an extensive list of distinctive martinis, as well as a terrific dessert menu filled with tortes, pies and cheesecake.
Though Thai restaurants are aplenty, Cilantro Thai stands apart from the rest with its bold flavours and sophisticated atmosphere. Its menu is filled with authentic Central Thai dishes such as the green curry made with coconut milk, eggplant, and fragrant Thai basil. In addition to its selection of Thai food, Cilantro has unique fusion sushi rolls that riff on both Eastern and Western flavours. While the savory menu is extensive, Cilantro is especially known for its incredible desserts, such as custard sticky rice and delicate fried cheesecake.
Crave specializes in experimental flavor combinations. It has a huge menu filled with bold starters, large plates and incredible sandwiches. Popular dishes include steak skewers, brushed with a Guinness glaze and smoked Gouda fondue. Quirky light fixtures reflect its playful menu and contribute to the hip yet elegant atmosphere.
Diamond Grille is on every local’s top list; established in 1941, the place has become an old-school classic in the city. Its porterhouse consistently tops the list of best steaks in the area, as do the classic appetizers and sides like shrimp cocktail and fried hot peppers. Diamond Grille also has an extensive and fresh seafood selection; lobster, oysters, scallops, fish, a refreshing component in the Midwest.
The Lockview serves up traditional American fare in a hip space, emphasized by minimalist decoration, string lights and a chalkboard menu. The most popular items are its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, which feature bright flavours like Havarti dill cheese and sautéed artichoke hearts, garlic mashed potatoes with bourbon gravy, and sliced jalapenos with bleu cheese. Besides its incredible food, customers flood the Lockview for its extensive selection of craft beers, wines and refreshing cocktails.
Luigi’s Restaurant is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the city. Family owned since 1949, the place serves traditional dishes in a casual, friendly space. Its baked pastas, featuring homemade dough topped with bubbling marinara and gooey cheese, are absolutely incredible. Regulars also love the Midwest-style pizza, which comes with a pillow-thick crust, caramelized edges, and plentiful toppings.
The Midwest is not usually known for its Mexican cuisine, but Ranchero’s Taqueria is beloved for its authentic selection of home-cooked soups, platters and roasted meats. The restaurant itself is small and casual, with colourful panchos accenting its painted walls. The menu has incredible tacos with fillings ranging from cactus salad to al pastor and pork, as well as combinations with enchiladas, rice and beans.
Playing on traditional Japanese techniques and recipes, Sakura adds interesting twists with unexpected flavours and fresh seafood. Sakura has a tremendous selection of maki sushi, ranging from the familiar California and Spider rolls to specialties with spicy crawfish, deep-fried salmon, and pink seaweed. The sashimi platters are also great, made with fresh ice-packed fish cut into thick slabs. In addition to choosing from the maki, sashimi, and temaki, customers can order pre-fixed boxes containing selections of all three.
Swenson’s Drive-In is an Akron chain serving old school burgers, potato puffs and shakes right to its customers’ car windows. It’s best-known for its burgers, which have won multiple awards from different food shows and local media. In addition to classic shake flavours, Swenson’s has more unique options such as pineapple, key lime and peanut butter. With its unique drive-in style and inexpensive menu, Swenson’s is hands-down the cult favourite of locals and a must-visit for anyone visiting the area.
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