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Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

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Atlanta
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Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

I'm taking my husband to Cleveland for his 31st birthday. He is orginally from Cleveland, a huge music fan and needless to say a die hard Browns fan. But I would like to take him to a nice dinner one night. I've never been to Cleveland so I have NO clue. Any suggestions? Nothing too stuffy, please. Thanks!

Cleveland
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1. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

Any kinds of cuisine he doesn't particularly like (ethnic, seafood, etc)? Whereabouts will you be staying while you're in town and we can suggest something near your hotel.

My initial recommendation was a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and dinner at the Cleveland Chop House & Brewery - good food, big portions and good beer, most guys love this place and it's not stuffy, but is nice. Both are downtown, the Chop House is in the popular Warehouse District.

Cleveland, OH
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2. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

If you've never been to Cleveland and he hasn't been in here for a while, you should check out the Warehouse District downtown for dinner and drinks. In less than ten years this place has really exploded with some of Cleveland's nicest restaurants and most active nightlife scene. The Warehouse District is located on W.6th, St. Clair, and W.9th. Johnny's Downtown on W.6th is probably Cleveland's most popular upscale restaurant right now. It is pricey and more formal, but I wouldn't consider it stuffy. Kind of Italian inspired food and it has a good crowd of people in their late 20s and early 30s. But I do aggree with the Chophouse suggestion. Nice food and atmosphere; semi-upscale, new, but kind of a throwback to the 1940s. Blue Point on W.6th is a nice seafood oriented restaurant, and has a very Cleveland/Boston feel to it.

E.4th Street downtown is a little narrow street with lights strung overhead and an emerging entertainment district. The House of Blues is located here; a really cool music venue. They also have a restaurant. Pickwick and Frolic across the street from HOB is Cleveland's own comedy and cabaret complex. It has a very nice atmosphere and nice restaurant too. Finally, also worth mentioning on E.4th Street is Lola's Bistro, which just moved and openned up in its newest location after much anticipation. Lola's is Michael Symon's flagship restaurant. Michael Symon is a Cleveland native, and national celebrity chef who has appeared on the Food Network and who openned a new restaurant in New York City. Lola's is pretty contemporary/trendy, but it is certainly worth consideration.

Another option, and a Cleveland landmark is Great Lakes Brewing Company. It is Cleveland's famous micro-brewery. Their beer is regularly ranked among the best in the country. Their bar has a really neat and uniquely Cleveland atmosphere to it. Their food and dining room is very nice but not stuffy at all. Just to let you know, it is one of the few smoke-free bars in Cleveland, so if you don't smoke you might want to go there, and if you do smoke you might want to avoid it. Great Lakes Brewing Co. is located on a really charming little street off W.25th St. just across the river from downtown. That area has also really bloomed in the past ten years with a variety of nice restaurants and bars. Maybe during the day on a Friday or Saturaday you should check it out when the West Side Market is open.

Cleveland
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3. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

Just my opinion but I think Johnny's and Blue Point are both really stuffy. My husband is a die-hard Brown's fan and a big music fan and very down-to-earth, he would be uncomfortable in either of these places as they are more fancy than just "nice" and "good food." I do highly recommend Lola but it is for people with unconventional taste buds and reservations are very tough to get as they've just opened (by unconventional I mean things like sweet breads, beef cheek, things like that although they do make a very mean good old ribeye and fries which is fantastic). If you can get in, it would be a very memorable dinner for both of you as this is a star in the Cleveland constellation of restaurants.

4. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

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Cleveland, OH
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5. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

I don't know. I can see where Johnny's and to a lesser degree Blue Point might be considered stuffy. But if you think about restaurants like Baricelli Inn, San Souci, Century, and Classics, then I think Johnny's and Blue Point don't look stuffy at all. At least Johnny's and Blue Point isn't overly quiet, there is a fairly younger adult crowd, and there is a tad more leeway on dress. Johnny's by the way has two different dinging rooms with different menus. One is Johnny's Downtown and the other is Johnny's Bistro. I can never keep them straight, but one is supposed to be a little more casual than the other.

Also, on Lola's I agree that it is good for more adventurous types. The food is pretty creative contemporary greek-inspired cuisine. The atmosphere is pretty contemporary too. Lola's is maybe more of a romantic place than a birthday place.

6. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

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Removed on: 7:19 pm, October 21, 2006
Atlanta
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7. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

Thanks so much, you guys! These suggestions give me a good place to start. (also, he's open to a lot of different kinds of foods. we used to frequent all the top rest in Atlanta often, so he's pretty open)

BTW, we are staying at the Marriott downtown so we can walk to most stuff. At least the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Football game in the cold rain on Sunday...oh joy!

Can anyone give me an idea of what the West Side Market is all about? We are flying in on Sat morning and I thought we'd head there to walk around and grab a bit to eat before heading to the R&R Hall.

Thanks again!!

Cleveland
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8. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

The West Side Market is awesome and I highly recommend you visit there. They have a cafe inside the market that serves good food.

Along the outside are fresh produce vendors, it's sort of a "bazaar" type feel with them shouting out specials and people negotiating over prices. The inside is a cavernous space filled with dozens upon dozens of different stands, most selling fresh, locally grown/raised meats, cheeses, fish, breads, spices etc. There are stands specific to types of meats, such as those specializing in poultry, pork, beef, and those that sell a variety. There are cheese specialty shops and some of our best coffee at the City Roast coffee stand - almost all of the coffees they buy are organic and/or fair trade and they are very tasty. There's are a lot of baked goods from quiche to desserts to breads at various stands.

I go there about once a month to stock up on fresh meats, breads, I go to the Mediterranean market in the corner to get REAL feta (they have several varieties) and other specialties. It's an old-world style place where they have whole pigs, feet, heads, hearts, etc as well as all your more typical, normal cuts and products. It's very crowded/bustling. Many stands take credit cards.

Free parking just E of the market off Lorain.

Cleveland, Ohio
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9. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

The Cleveland Chop House & Brewery has an excellent brunch before the Brown's game - you could try that too! Also, Sushi Rocks is on W 6th Street - very goog sushi and lots of fun if you like sushi. If your husband likes music, I would recommend the House of Blues on E.4th street - you can walk there easily from the Marriott.

Atlanta
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10. Re: Visiting Cleveland...Can I have your top 5 nice restaurants?

Do you need to make reservations for the Great Lakes Brewing co or the Cleveland Chophouse for brunch?

Thanks everyone! Very helpful!!