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Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

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Anaheim, CA
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Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

Will be passing through Cleveland next month and plan to meet an old friend for dinner. Wondering if Mia Bella in Little Italy would be a good choice or should I consider somewhere else? I want it to be easy for both of us to find and don't want to feel rushed through dinner while we catch up on life. Thanks in advance for your insight.

Cleveland, OH
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1. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

Where will you both be coming from? It seems like you will not be staying in Cleveland, correct? Will you both have a car (and thus need to park)? Any particular price range or cuisine preferences?

Cleveland
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2. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

BoydChicks,

Parking is at a premium in Little Italy and you like would have to use valet parking at Mia Bella. It otherwise would be an excellent choice.

Where does your friend live as Greater Cleveland is not a small place and it's loaded with excellent Italian restaurants? Where are you coming from and where are you going and on what routes? What are your culinary preferences?

Here's a travel article that may assist you:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-s501/Cleveland…

Anaheim, CA
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3. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

I'll be passing through Cleveland, on my way to Detroit to fly home and staying downtown. She's driving from Medina.

Anaheim, CA
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4. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

We will both be driving and need parking. She is driving from Medina and I am driving through, staying downtown. Italian sounds good to me, casual and medium priced. Thanks

Edited: 7:39 pm, March 29, 2014
Anaheim, CA
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5. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

Wow, the travel article you posted gives such a great overview of the areas and available restaurants. Hard to pick for just one night. Seems like I should stick around for weeks :)

Cleveland
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6. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

Bruno's Ristorante is on the Cleveland A-List; see the Dining travel article.

Bruno's is on Cleveland's near west side so it would be convenient from both Medina and downtown Cleveland. It's a small restaurant with excellent food and very reasonable prices. It's in a slightly marginal neighborhood, but has free, guarded parking in a car wash immediately across the street.

cleveland.com/top-restaurants/…comments

Dante in the gentrified Tremont neighborhood also would be convenient. It's in a fun neighborhood across the Cuyahoga River, but closer to Medina than Little Italy. It's one of Cleveland's top-rated restaurants by TA reviewers with a strong Italian influence. Parking can be an issue in Tremont. Call and ask about parking and check the menu online to see if the prices are acceptable. If you bring a GPS, after dinner you could go to the unsigned Velvet Tango Room in Tremont. It's one of the best cocktail lounges in the U.S. Cocktails are about $15, but entertainment after 9 p.m. is free.

Corleone's Ristorante is an A-list restaurant in Parma, a west side suburb between Medina and downtown. I've never been there.

Lockkeeper's in Valley View also would be an excellent choice. It's convenient from Medina and downtown, located just south of Cleveland, and parking shouldn't be an issue.

If your friend wants to drive downtown, Chinato on East 4th St. is Mod Italian.

Both Lockkeeper's and Chinato also are A-List restaurants.

Aldo's in Brooklyn is another A-list restaurant that would be a good, well-located choice. Many also like Carrabba's Italian Grill in Brooklyn. It's a chain restaurant.

tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g50135-Brooklyn_…

If you have time for Cleveland attractions, this travel article might interest you.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-c198218/Clevel…

Cleveland
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7. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

The Hampton Inn Airport on Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn would be a good lodging choice if you don't want to pay for downtown hotel parking.

Please let us know where you ended up and how you enjoyed it!

Edited: 9:30 pm, March 29, 2014
Cleveland
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8. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

BTW, reservations, if available, are recommended at A-list restaurants.

Cleveland, Ohio
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9. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

I have dined at Bruno's a number of times ( I live fairly close) and I have not been as happy with it the last couple times. They have a great tradition and I have had great meals there so I hope that I was just there on off nights. I have found Aldo's to be superior. It is a little family place in a small unattractive strip center but that should not dissuade you. I have dined at Dante's once in his Tremont location ( and once when he was in the former Lockkeeper's spot) and because neither experience was overwhelming, I have not returned.

For "casual" dining downtown, I prefer Hodges. Their chef, Chris Hodges, is a graduate of Cordon Bleu and was been a nominee for Food & Wine magazines's best new chef for the great lakes region this year and last year. As a young chef, he was a finalist in the Food Channel's Great Food Truck show.

Anaheim, CA
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10. Re: Need a Casual Restaurant to Meet an Old Friend for Dinner

Thanks to TranscendentalEye and Big Brion for taking the time to provide me with some options for my dinner in Cleveland or nearby. I'll be there in early May and will be reviewing your suggestions in the mean time with my friend. Both the attractions and dining links you provided are invaluable. Hope to return the favor to you both if you come to Southern California.