As native and lifelong Clevelanders we have favorite places to go for a variety of food, drink and other. If you don’t see what you are looking for in this list, please contact us for a recommendation of a Cleveland Favorite.
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Some of Our Favorites:
Our favorite local bookstore is Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry. Mac’s Backs-Books has three floors of new and used books & magazines. They are located at 1820 Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Heights, a walking neighborhood near Cleveland’s museums and Case Western Reserve University. They have a large selection of classics, mysteries, science fiction, contemporary fiction and non-fiction. They even have yours truly’s book Murder in the Cultural Gardens. Mac’s hosts readings, booksignings, author events, book clubs and writing workshops. (216) 321-2665.
Boxty and Shepherd’s Pie
Our favorite Boxty and Shepherd’s Pie both come from The Harp Irish Pub and Restaurant. The Harp is located at 4408 Detroit Ave. in Cleveland. They have traditional Irish food and pub fare but we especially like the Boxty – Irish potato pancakes folded over filled with stuff like salmon, corned beef, steak and even a vegetarian option. The Shepherd’s Pie is the traditional Irish pie filled with ground beef, carrots, onions and peas in a rich brown gravy topped with oven-browned whipped potatoes. Great with a pint. (216) 939-0200
Our favorite Bubble Tea comes from Koko Bakery at 3710 Payne Avenue, (Payne Commons) Cleveland, 44114
Koko Bakery is an authentic Asian bakery with an array of All Natural, No Trans-fat, No Preservatives baked goods and desserts. Customer favorites also include Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls and Taiwanese Shaved Ice Desserts. You will enjoy the large selection of bubble teas and smoothies (slush).
Catholic Mass in Latin
Our favorite Latin Mass is at “The Mac,” Immaculate Conception Church at 4129 Superior Ave. in Cleveland. The Mac not only has a Latin Mass every Sunday at 8 AM and Wednesdays at 7 AM they also celebrate a High Mass in Latin at noon on Sunday. Just a few minutes from Downtown.
Our favorite Cepelinai come from the Lithuanian Club at 877 E 185th St. Cleveland 44119. That is fitting because these “zeppelins” are the national dish of Lithuania. Basically they are potato dumplings made from grated and riced potatoes and stuffed with ground meat, dry curd cheese or mushrooms. We like it with sour cream sauce and bacon bits. (216) 531-2131.
Our favorite Chicken Paprikash is from from Marie’s Restaurant at 4502 Saint Clair Ave, Cleveland, 44103. Marie’s is like a warm memory served up via the family cooking you may have been fortunate enough to grow up with. We like to go on Tuesday for the Chicken Paprikash special which comes with soup or side dish (dumplings, noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, home fries, etc.) and a big basket of their delicious bread and butter. You will enjoy the relaxed and family-like atmosphere but it’s the food that will keep you coming back. (216) 361-1816.
Corned Beef Sandwich
Our favorite corned beef sandwich is a part of Cleveland History. We’ve been going to Slyman’s for decades. They say it’s the Home of the Biggest and Best Corned Beef and it’s hard to argue. The sandwiches are huge and the corned beef is delicious. We usually stay traditional and get a corned beef on rye with some mustard and a dill pickle. But sometimes we add cheese or get a Reuben. It’s always good and so big that we can usually eat just half of the sandwich at a time.
Slyman’s is at 3106 St.Clair Avenue in Cleveland. Park on the street. They have a full deli menu but the corned beef is what you will want. (216) 621-3760
Cleveland is fortunate to have many restaurants that offer good Dim Sum but our favorite is Li Wah in Asia Plaza. Dim Sum (Yum Cha) is technically brunch in the Far East. Dim Sum is served for breakfast and lunch (10 am till 3 pm at Li Wah). The baked, fried, or steamed goods usually come with 3 or 4 pieces to an order. You are expected to share. We love the shumai and the sticky rice but always try something new as the cart wheels by.
Li Wah is the anchor restaurant in Asia Plaza at East 30th and Payne Ave. (2999 Payne Ave) in Cleveland. Opened in 1991 by Donna Hom, Li Wah is a Cleveland classic it has been a mainstay of the area ever since, open 365 days a year Asia Plaza has numerous shops, food options and even an Asian grocery store. (216) 696-6556
Our favorite diner is The Diner on 55th. It’s tagline is “Servin’ Up Good Ol’ Comfort Food!” and that’s what it is. It looks like a diner car parked on the corner of St. Clair and East 55th Street. (1328 East 55th Street Cleveland) Open 7 days a week (6 AM – 3 PM weekdays, 7 AM – 2 PM weekends). Th Diner is family run and has all your favorites including classic Breakfast Blue Plate specials, Dinner Omelettes, Lunch classics (soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, etc.) Grab some homemade chili and a Greek salad or check out the daily specials. (216) 417-8001
Egyptian Street Food
Our favorite Egyptian Street Food comes from a food truck called King Tut where you can “Eat like the Pharaohs.” Hadia Tawadros and her husband Nader Soliman love cooking and their native Egypt so they decided to bring authentic Egyptian street food to the people of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
We really like the Nefertiti Wrap (Chicken Shawerma) which is season grilled chicken with parsley, pickles and garlic sauce, wrapped in a Pita. Also the Sphinx Wrap (Beef Sausage) a mix of sausage with tomatoes, onions and green peppers, wrapped in a Pita. Call 216-255-8380 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to see where the truck is.
Our favorite Ethiopian restaurant is Empress Taytu at 6125 Saint Clair Ave Cleveland 44103-1627. One of the main reasons is the ambience. As Aklilu Demessie says “It is like a mini museum where one can walk around in a restaurant and see the various pictures and posted noted to learn a little bit of history of Ethiopia while waiting for the food to arrive. ”
Besides the authentic Ethiopian food (meat, veggie and vegan options served with injera) you should experience the traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. It’s a a traditional, leisurely ceremony starting with the roasting of green coffee Ethiopian beans in the kitchen, the smoking pan of aromatic beans brought to your table. The coffee is served from a jebena (clay pot), poured into small traditional coffee cups, with incense burning on the side. 216-391-9400
Our favorite florist is family owned and operated Plant Magic Florist at 38015 Euclid Ave Willoughby, OH 44094
Fresh Seafood from Live Tanks
Our favorite fresh seafood from live tanks is at Siam Cafe at the corner of East 40th (3951 St Clair) and Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114
Siam Cafe is an authentic Asian restaurant that has been serving the Cleveland community for over 20 years. Their Chinese and Thai cuisine is true to their cultural roots but with a modern touch. They specialize in fresh seafood from live tanks such as Lobster, Vancouver Dungeness Crab, Fish and more. All of which can be prepared in a variety of different styles from salt baked, Cantonese, and Thai.(216) 361-2323
Our Favorite Hookah Bar is Kan Zaman at 1616 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113. We enjoy the Family Plates which include Kabob, Kafta and Tawook as well as hummus, baba ganouj, tabouli, kebbeh, grape leaves and falafel. The Shish Tawook is three skewers of big juicy chicken chunks served with delicious garlic sauce and the Shish Kafta is charcoal broiled ground beef, mixed with vegetables and spices. Kan Zaman has a great daily lunch buffet. It is also a fun hookah bar. They have live entertainment four nights a week in the Middle East decorated dining room. (216) 621-2222
Hot and Sour Soup
Our favorite Hot and Sour Soup comes from Bo Loong Chinese Restaurant at 3922 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland 44114. They serve a variety of tasty and authentic Chinese soups such as Wonton, Shrimp Wonton, Egg Drop, Chicken Corn, Diced Beef with Egg and Cilantro and Seafood with Bean Curd Soup but our favorite is the delicious Hot and Sour Soup.
Our favorite Hummus is at Aladdin’s Eatery which has several location in town but our favorite is at 775 Som Center in Mayfield Village 44143 because of the owner Rafael who is of Egyptian heritage. The hummus is a creamy blend of chickpeas puréed with tahini and lemon juice drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. We have sampled, and enjoyed, many varieties of hummus in town but our favorite is from Aladdin’s. (440) 684-1168
Our favorite Indian food is at the Saffron Patch at 20126 Chagrin Blvd, Beachwood, OH 44122
Serving authentic Indian cuisine since 1991, Saffron Patch savors great food and ambiance. Fragrant aromas of vegetarian delights such as Palak Paneer (home-made Indian cheese tossed in creamy spinach sauce) or Baingan Bartha (charbroiled eggplant sautéed with ginger, garlic, onion and green peas) will fill your senses. The clay oven gets much of the credit for the restaurant’s good scents with the searing of Tandoori chicken and tender lamb chops over mesquite coals. Guests will also find specialty drinks such as the Mango Madras, the Navan Cosmo or the Coconut Mudslide to quench their thirst. 216.295.0400 email@example.com
Okay they are really chicken wings but since they come from the Winking Lizard, …. There are 16 locations around town but if you are downtown visit them inside the Galleria at1301 East 9th St. If you are one of those people who go for the hottest, try the Fire in the Hole, a blend of Trinidad scorpion peppers & the hottest spices they could find. They also have the usual flavors but lots more such as Thai – An oriental hot chili sauce mixed with honey & garlic. Caribbean – Spicy hot sauce with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic & honey. Bourbon Barrel – A sweet molasses sauce with notes of caramel and sriracha. Sticky but worth the mess! Nashville Hot – A sweet and smokey hot sauce made with a combination of ancho peppers, brown sugar and dill pickle brine. (216)297-4490
Our favorite mikshake comes from Tommy’s Rsetaurant at 1824 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Tommy’s is a fixture in Coventry and has a wide variety of vehetarian, meat-eater and vegan foods but you have to try one of their milkshakes (or malts). The 20 oz. creation comes in a variety of flavors: vanilla, chocolate, cherry, peach, strawberry, coffee, mocha, mint chocolate chip, root beer, black cherry, cookies & cream, moosetracks, cookie dough and black raspberry chip, lemon sorbet, raspberry sorbet. They also have Phosphates, Egg Creams, Yogurt Milkshakes, Tofutti Shakes, Floats, Ice Cream Sodas and Sorbet Frappes but we like the milkshakes best.
Our favorite Mustard is Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard. Bertman’s memorable spicy brown mustard is the delicious mustard that you, and the rest of Cleveland, know and remember from baseball games. It’s been served at League Park, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Jacob’s Field, and now Progressive Field for over 90 years. The classic Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard is our favorite but we are also fans of Bertman Original Ball Park Horseradish Sauce – especially for a turkey or roast beef sandwich. And we are now fans of another Ohio made Bertman original called Bertman Original Great Lakes Brewing Co. Dortmunder Beer Mustard. For everyone who loves a Great Lakes Brew Dortmunder beer (and who doesn’t) this is a terrific pairing. Yum! You can pick any/all of them up at your favorite grocery store or deli, Bertman’s website and even Amazon.
Our favorite Pączki comes from Rudy’s Strudel at 5580 Ridge Road in Parma, Ohio 44129. Pączki are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into spheres and filled with all kinds of tasty stuff. They may resemble jelly doughnuts but pączki are made from especially rich dough. Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages and are a special treat especially just before Lent.
Rudy’s has both Sweet and Savory pączki and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The sweet fillings include: Apple
Apricot, Blueberry, Butter Cream, Cherry, Chocolate Butter Cream, Coconut, Custard, Hough Bakery, Lemon, Marshmallow, Mocha, Pina Colada, Pineapple, Prune, Poppyseed, Raspberry, Rose Petal Jelly, Strawberry and Sweet Moses Hot Chocolate
Their Savory selection includes: Parma-Cristo – ham, turkey, swiss & light raspberry filling, Breakfast of Champions – bacon, egg & cheese, Clevelander – sauerkraut & kielbasa, Murray Hill – Italian sausage & peppers. Parma – potato & cheese, Parma-Kash – chicken paprikash stew, Polish Village – potato, cheese, sauerkraut & kielbasa and the Westparker – corned beef & cabbage. (440) 886-4430
Our favorite Pad Thai comes from Siam Cafe at the corner of East 40th (3951 St Clair) and Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114. It has a great sauce and a decent amount of shrimp. We like to squeeze the lime wedge on it. Siam Cafe is an authentic Asian restaurant that has been serving the Cleveland community for over 20 years. Their Chinese and Thai cuisine is true to their cultural roots but with a modern touch. (216) 361-2323
Our favorite samosas come from Cleveland Tiffin Punjabi Dhaba Home Fresh North Indian Cuisine at 4630 Warrensville Center Road North Randall, Oh 44128
Potato, Spinach, Cauliflower, Chicken, Lamb Samosas.
Concerned about frying? Ask about baked samosas.
Sausage Sandwich for Lunch
With Cleveland’s strong ethnic groups there are a lot of great sausage options. Our favorite place to grab a sausage sandwich is at Raddell’s Sausage Shop in the Collinwood neighborhood at 478 E. 152nd St Cleveland, 44110. Right off the Shoreway. Raddell’s Sausage has been a Cleveland staple for over 4 generations. Specializing in Homemade Slovenian Smoked Sausage and other European-style meats their product has been shipped all over the world. You can get Hungarian, Polish and other sausage but we like the Slovenian sausage in the Big Billy or Slo Boy sandwich for lunch. You can be in and out in a few minutes but once you are inside and look around and smell the place you may want to stay.
Our favorite Tiramisu comes from Presti’s Bakery at 12101 Mayfield Rd. in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. Presti’s Bakery has been in Little Italy Since 1903. The current pastry chef Michael is the 4th generation of the family and the Fresh bread, donuts, cookies, cakes and pastries are still made by hand using the same recipes and techniques originally created by Rose and Charles Presti. The bakery has expanded its menu to include a full line of fresh deli salads, pizza, stromboli, lunch and dinner specials as well as a catering menu. 216-421-3060
West African Food
Our favorite place for West African food is Yum Village at 2215 Chester Ave. across from Cleveland State University. Yum Village features Afro-Caribbean food (the owners father is from Nigeria) and most of the food in the 2,400-square-foot space is non-GMO and vegan, but meat and chicken dishes are offered. Spice levels vary. We like the Flip Village Combo – Mango Curry Chicken with Ginger Curry Chickpeas and White Potato Flips over a bed of delicious Coconut Rice. Also the DJ Village Combo – Jezebel Peach Honey Mustard Chicken over Turmeric Rice served with Truffle Oil Greens and White Potato Flips. Neither are spicy. (216) 415-5068
More Favorites in the works coming soon including:
- Egg Roll
- Food Truck
- Greek Food
- Hot Dog
- Ice Cream
- Irish Pub
- Japanese food
- Maple Syrup
- Mexican food
- Patio Dining
- Pita Bread
- Souvenirs (Cleveland)
- Thai food
- T-Shirts (Cleveland)
- Vegetarian food
Don’t miss our favorite local websites:
ClevelandPeople.Com – info, photos, video on the 120 different ethnic groups in Cleveland