My Cleveland Restaurants Bucket List

Friday, March 8, 2019

There are so many incredible restaurants in Cleveland - with more opening every day, it seems - that I decided it was high time I set up my very own Cleveland restaurants bucket list. I'll be working my way through it this year, or however long it takes, & I'll update you along the way... with the hopes of

Addy's Diner

Addy's, a family-owned legacy diner, has newly reopened in the 5th Street Arcades in downtown Cleveland, where Jack Flaps used to be. Their menu isn't available anywhere online, so I don't have a clue what's in store, but I'm a big fan of all things brunch, especially from diners.

Batuqui Cleveland

I've tried Batuqui's food, only once, at a fundraising event, but even that one small plate was good enough that it has stayed with me. This East-Side Brazilian restaurant is on the more expensive side, but for a menu of options you can't find anywhere else in the CLE - lookin' at you, bolinho de bacalhau & prato misto - it's probably pretty damn worth it.


Crepes & coffee? Yes, please! I stopped in for some caffeine during their first week in business, last summer, but I need to get back to get the full experience, including dining in their gloriously vintage-decorated dining room, where most of the collectibles that hang from the walls are also for sale. One tomato/basil/mozzarella crepe, plz.

El Carnicero

It's truly unconscionable that I've yet to visit either of Chef Eric Williams' popular Cleveland restaurants, & I'm desperate to try this one, in particular. That brunch menu, though! The tlayuda & the blue corn enchiladas, in particular, are calling my name - & I can already tell they'll be totally worth the trip to Lakewood.

Johnny Mango World Cafe & Bar

"Inspired by Mexico, Thailand and other faraway locales," this Ohio City spot features entrees from the world over, including a long list of "Meatless & Delicious" section. Their margaritas & cocktails are city-renowed, too, so it feels like this would be a great spot for a low-key celebration of sorts.

L'Albatros Brasserie

I'm willing to give French food a go for this popular East Side date spot, owned by Cleveland chef extraordinaire Zack Bruell & set in an old carriage house on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. They specialize in cheese & wine - yes, please - & their root vegetable cassoulet sounds right up my alley.

La Plaza Taqueria

I can't believe I've yet to visit the city's most beloved & authentic taco joint, which recently expanded its in-house menu & seating options. Owned by a Mexican immigrant who says Cleveland didn't have any real tacos in town when he began, La Plaza still remains tops among Clevelanders who want the real thing.

Larder Delicatessen & Bakery

There’s a new(ish) Jewishly inspired deli in town - one that's up for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant! While I’ll have to be careful of mushrooms here (the owner is an expert forager, & they end up in lots of his recipes), I'm dying to try... well, just about everything. Modern takes on Ashkenazi Jewish favorites? You had me at hello.

Le Petite Triangle Cafe

Another French eatery! This little spot in Ohio City is, indeed, little, seating only a few folks at a time. It has lower prices than L'Albatros & offers different options, slightly more casual - with a brunch people adore. The roasted chicken croissant with mango chutney & currants is giving me heart eyes.

Lola Bistro

RIP to Lolita, the companion restaurant that caught fire in 2015 - but why have I not yet made it to the original Lola, Michael Symon's flagship spot on East 4th St.? I confess that the meat-heavy menu is not necessarily of major appeal to me, but I still feel like this is one of those Cleveland restaurants that every Clevelander needs to try.

Lox Stock & Brisket

Another new take on a Jewish deli? I'm in. This one is on the East Side, owned by Chef Anthony Zappola, who worked for celebrity Chef Tom Collichio before returning to Cleveland just over a year ago. I'm very interested in the Lincoln Park & the Larry David & The Mirage &... fine, everything, really. L'chaim!

Marble Room Steak House & Raw Bar

You don't have to like steak or oysters to find something to love on the menu of this new-ish downtown hotspot. I've got my eye on their diver scallops, jumbo lump crab cakes, & curry coco shrimp roll - but I know my husband will be in it for the steak & oysters. Perfect pair! This is a higher-end spot, so it'll be a "celebrating something" kinda meal.

Mason's Creamery (Ramen)

I've enjoyed Mason's Creamery's ice cream in the summer months, but starting this winter, when the weather gets cold, this Ohio City biz transforms into a ramen shop! They're another eatery without an online menu, or even any hint about it, aside from "ramen," but... well, ramen alone is enough for me to want to check it out.


This is Chef Eric Williams other spot, a modern (read: Americanized, but extremely creative) take on Mexican cuisine, & one I remember hearing Clevelanders rave about long before I moved to town. I want to try the salsa fruta, all the many kinds of guac, the butternut squash flautas, the chorizo tostadas... yeah, I may need to visit this spot more than once, huh? Time to get on it!

Superior Pho

I've been to & love Number One Pho, just around the corner, but it's past time that I try its number-one competitor, Super Pho, just around the corner - you know, so I can make an informed decision (or perhaps my informed decision is that I love all Vietnamese food equally!) Once I've tried their bún bò xào, I'll be sure to report back.

Urban Farmer Steakhouse 

I'm not a steak gal, but this downtown spot is beloved by just about everyone who's ever eaten there, which means I've got to give it a try! They partner with local farms, ranches, & fisheries to be sure everything is locally sourced, high-end, creative, & delicious. I've got my eye on their squash pasta with veggie bolognese.


Located just down the road from my apartment, this upscale shabu restaurant has extremely limited seating &, from what I'm told, extremely delicious food. They specialize in Japanese nabemono (cook-it-yourself hotpot), yakitori (chicken skewers)& even a seven-course omakase-style tasting menu (where the chef chooses for you). Do I like any of these things? Look, I'm more than willing to find out.

Have you tired any of these places? What's on your must-try list?

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