Lotus Thai House
Authentic Asian cuisine is not exactly a specialty in Cleveland, or in the greater Midwest for that matter, but the Lotus Thai House is the exception to the rule in Cleveland Heights. The interior is sparse with exposed wooden beams that criss-cross on the walls, dotted with Thai artwork and mandala designs. The Lotus offers traditional Thai meals like aromatic curries and stir-fries, as well as a twist on the Vietnamese pho called kuai tiao. Portions are generous and imported beers are available by the bottle.
1918 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 371-9575
Marotta’s, which opened in 2000, has flown largely under the radar as one of the best Italian restaurants in Cleveland. A husband-and-wife team, owners Brian and Alicia Marotta, have designed this spot with an air of classic Tuscany. The diamond-checkered floors lead to an elevated outdoor terrace contained by an exposed brick perimeter, across from a rustic brick oven in the kitchen. To accompany the antipasti is a list of over 300 wines, exclusively of Italian origin, and a happy hour from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM on weekdays.
2289 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 932-9264
Gigi’s on Fairmount
Gigi’s on Fairmount is a neighborhood favorite for locals south of the Cedar Lee district. Originally only an interior restaurant space, Gigi’s has expanded to include outdoor patio seating and a cocktail bar, ‘Gigi’s After Dark.’ The decor can only be described as chic, with low crystal chandeliers over modern table seating, and the walls that are a sleek black with neon yellow accents. The menu consists of a selection of homemade soups and salads, chef’s choice entrees that change daily, and Gigi’s renowned bruschetta boards. An extensive wine list is available, so trust the knowledgeable staff to make a recommendation.
3477 Fairmount Blvd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 291-7237
Black Box Fix
Chef and Cleveland native Eric Rogers opened Black Box Fix in March of this year, and its popularity continues to soar. After replacing another locals’ favorite, Sweetie Fry, this spot has made its name serving the best American comfort food in the Heights. All food comes in a signature black box, and Rogers infuses exotic flavors, mostly Asian and Creole, with American fare to create exciting new dishes like the ‘Hibachi Burger’ or the ‘OMG Philly Sandwich’ with blackened shrimp.
2307 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 383-8130
MoMo’s Kebab, a Moroccan restaurant that opened here recently is faced with some stiff culinary competition in the area, but has already proved a worthy addition to the neighborhood. The interior space is bright and exotic, with colorful stencil spire designs on the walls and luxurious couch seating by the windows. This spot is dine-in only to ensure that the food is as fresh as possible. Traditional Moroccan dishes such as aromatic lamb tagines and skewered kebabs over couscous are infused with Southern European flavors. Don’t miss the beautiful ceramic food containers with hand-crafted designs.
2199 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 932-3512
The Seafood Place Plus
The Seafood Place Plus puts the simplicity back in delicious comfort food. It is a casual diner setting that specializes in American soul food with a down-South Creole kick. Fresh fish suppers of all kinds and cooked all ways dominate the menu, in addition to barbeque platters, red beans and rice, and a plethora of other comfort food favorites. This is a wonderful family owned and operated restaurant with delicious food, and is the closest thing to Southern hospitality you’ll find in Cleveland.
13439 Cedar Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 320-1085
Although many consider Slyman’s to be the best corned beef spot in Cleveland, Mister Brisket, a humble butchery that doubles as a sandwich shop, stands to challenge that title. A simple blackboard menu behind the meat counter lists the sandwich selection, which includes corned beef, pastrami, and brisket entrees. Locals swear by the quality of the meat. Don’t miss the matzo ball soup, roasted beef brisket and potato knish side orders.
2156 S. Taylor Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 932-8620
Pacific East Japanese Restaurant
Pacific East Japanese Restaurant (or ‘Pac East’ to locals) is a rare find for Clevelanders as one of the few outstanding Asian restaurants in the area. This spot offers both Japanese and Malay cuisine, employing chefs from each respective origin and mastering both of them. An extensive sushi menu is available, made with only the freshest ingredients, in addition to other Japanese small plates. The Malay selection includes roti canai, unleavened bread cooked on a griddle and served with curry sauce, as well as coconut laksa.
1763 Coventry Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 320-2302
Luna Bakery Cafe
Started by pastry chef Bridget Thibeault, Luna Bakery Cafe is an excellent spot for light brunch fare and French pastries. The interior is large and the door is often left open which leads to outdoor patio seating, giving Luna a refreshing en pleine air vibe. Paninis, salads, and sweet and savory crepes make up the bulk of the menu, but the specialty at Luna is most definitely the desserts. In front of the marble counter top is a tantalizing pastry counter with French macarons, scones and cakes.
2482 Fairmount Blvd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 231-8585
Rib Cage Bar and Grill
The Rib Cage Bar and Grill specializes in slow-cooked barbeque and soul food dishes. Locally sourced meat is cured in the in-house smoker and marinated in mustard vinegar sauce, which gives it a heavenly smoky taste. The interior is a simple diner setting, with high vaulted ceilings and a full bar, which is well-stocked with craft beers. Weekday specials are also available, such as Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket Tacos for only $3.
2214 Lee Rd, Cleveland, OH, (216) 321-7427