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Dining Guide: Lakewood's 24 Best Restaurants

Jul 26, 2023

Angelo's pizza Why we love it: Toted as one of the best pizzas in Cleveland, this longtime casual family pizza joint is known for its tasty "deep dish" (pan) style pizza lovingly made with slightly sweet homemade sauce and provolone cheese. Try this: Grab a friend and devour a large deluxe pizza ($25.65) with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and sausage. 13715 Madison Ave., 216-221-0440,

Bar Italia Why we love it: The modern "white tablecloth" Italian ambiance coupled with fresh pasta specialties and perfectly crafted house-made sauces make the newer restaurant designed to resemble a New York City bistro a hit. Try this: Bar Italia serves up a delectable Parmesan-crusted crispy chicken limone ($18.50), topped with arugula and a delicate lemon butter sauce. 15625 Detroit Ave, 216-303-9699,

Barrio Why we love it: The second location of what has become a regional chain sports black and white Day of the Dead wall art, build your own tacos and margarita flights in a low-key setting. Try this: Crunch into a two-layered "green goddess" (soft and hard shell) filled with queso and guacamole, with braised short rib ($6.45), and all the cheese, veggies and other toppings of your choice. 15527 Madison Ave., 216-226-7714,

Borderline Cafe Why we love it: This popular brunch spot serves fresh Southwest-inspired breakfast specialties. Try this: This cash-only restaurant excels at hearty dishes like the BBQ pulled pork hash ($15) with crispy home fries, caramelized onion, Cleveland Ketchup Bacon and Bourbon pulled pork, sharp cheddar and eggs, with chipotle aioli and Texas toast. 18510 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-367-2494,

(Photo courtesy Barroco)

Barroco Why we love it: Enjoy a vibrant ambiance with colorful lights, neon signs, art and a massive, covered patio for Latin American fare and giant mojitos at this original location in Birdtown. Try this: Barroco's showstopper is the arepa (house-made stuffed corn tortilla). Try out the birriarepa ($18) with guacamole, mozzarella, curtido slaw and a side of choice, like the maduros (fried sweet plantains). 12906 Madison Ave., 216-221-8127,

Buckeye Beer Engine Why we love it: A neighborhood favorite with a massive craft beer menu, this joint offers up juicy burgers and other American staples (and Eastern European favorites, like schnitzel) in a laid-back, hipster-friendly atmosphere. Try this: Locals love the West Side burger ($11.75) with caramelized onion, New York sharp cheddar, Parma-made Rudy's Strudel potato and cheddar pierogi and sour cream. 15315 Madison Ave., 216-226-2337,

Cleveland Vegan Why we love it: Cleveland Vegan is a go-to pick for scratch-made baked goods and flavorful cafe and catering menus highlighting organic locally sourced delights in a "colorful cafe in a walkable neighborhood," says owner Laura Ross. The cafe recently unveiled "a new collection of artisanal hand-crafted vegan cheese from top vegan cheese companies throughout the country." Try this: Stop by for "hands-down the top selling item," the fried chicken sandwich ($14), crafted with a breaded seitan cutlet with slaw, chipotle mayo and lettuce on a locally made bun from Blackbird Baking Company. 17112 Detroit Ave., 216-221-0201,

Cozumel Mexican restaurant Why we love it: If you’re looking for a simple neighborhood spot serving up high-caliber traditional casual Mexican cuisine, Cozumel has all your taco, fajita and margarita needs. Head there on the next Taco Tuesday. Try this: Go for the sizzling steak fajita ($20.50) with grilled onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms, and all the fixings, served with rice and beans. 16512 Detroit Ave., 216-228-1415,

(Photo courtesy Katie Holub)

Boom's pizza Why we love it: Owner Ben Bebenroth says what stands out about the new NYC/Neapolitan pizza spot that finally got its own brick-and-mortar in 2022 is the "house-made dough, high-quality ingredients, and our amazing hospitable staff." Plus, there's the ‘grab your own’ beer cooler stocked with beer and wine. Try this: "We spent a substantial amount of time creating our dough recipe and gained a lot of expertise on the baking technique," says Bebenroth. "But across the board, the number one selling pie would have to be the OG Pepperoni ($19)." 14730 Detroit Ave., 216-465-1130,

(Photo courtesy Forage Public House)

Forage Public House Why we love it: "We pride ourselves on the use of local, sustainable ingredients throughout our menu," says general manager Lucas Zodo. Additionally, the wide offerings of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu choices at this charming American restaurant make the spot a go-to. Try this: Guests love Braised Berkshire Pork Shank, affixed with honey and mascarpone polenta, spring peas and jus ($32). The weekend brunch is also a hit, says Zodo. 14600 Detroit Ave., 216-226-2000,

Deagan's Kitchen & Bar Why we love it: An American gastropub with a vintage design showcases traditional dishes and new twists on old favorites, featuring bourbons, wines, cocktails and 28 beers on tap. Try this: The hot chicken and waffle is a top pick ($16) with whipped honey butter and Ohio maple cayenne glaze. 14810 Detroit Ave., 216-767-5775,

El Carnicero Why we love it: The modern Mexican menu at this sister restaurant to Ohio City's Momocho stands out for its vibrant innovative lineup of drinks and fare (including guac and margarita trios), and festive decor (think Lucha Libre masks and art) from Chef Eric Williams. Try this: Two words: Carnitas taquitos ($15), featuring adobo-citrus braised pork and pickled jalapeño mustard crema. 16918 Detroit Ave., 216-226-3415,

(Photo courtesy Harlow's PIZZA)

Harlow's PIZZA Why we love it: Delicious wood-fired Neapolitan artisan pizza, modern colorful Mexican-inspired decor and a beautiful intimate chic patio make Harlow's a true gem. Try this: The Leonardo pizza ($20) is a culinary masterpiece: mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, pistachios, grape tomatoes, arugula, garlic and sea salt. 14319 Madison Ave., 216-712-6502,

(Photo courtesy Humble Wine Bar)

Humble Wine Bar Why we love it: Hand-stretched Neapolitan pizza, charcuterie, wine and an open-air patio overlooking Detroit Avenue make Humble a reliable staple for dinner alongside rustic chic decor. Try this: The basic-sounding Margherita ($18) is far from ordinary-tasting, featuring tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, tomatoes, house-made mozzarella and basil. 15400 Detroit Ave., 216-767-5977,

India Garden Why we love it: Lakewood locals visit India Garden for authentic North Indian dishes in a colorful, cozy eatery known for "our authentic flavors and consistency of spices that we still roast in-house and blend with different foods," says owner Sonny Sharma. Try this: Try the chicken tikka masala ($17.95) with marinated tender pieces of chicken, cooked with fresh onion and tomatoes, one of the most popular dishes for regulars, says Sharma. Any dish can be made gluten free, vegan or at any spice level. 18405 Detroit Ave., 216-221-0676,

Molto Bene Italian Eatery Why we love it: This bright modern Italian pick packs it all in a small space: homemade Italian specialties, fresh pasta, pizza, bellinis and gelato. Try this: The sachetti panna e prosciutto ($22) showcases four cheese purse pasta topped with Alfredo-style creamy pink sauce and prosciutto. 18401 Detroit Ave., 216-273-7333,

Pier W Why we love it: Boasting one of the long-standing best views of Lake Erie from a window-filled upscale restaurant, Pier W features fresh sea and land fare, thoughtfully crafted drinks and an iconic weekend buffet. Try this: Go all out with the seared Georges Bank diver scallops ($45) with lime and basil coconut sauce, roasted carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes. 12700 Lake Ave., 216-228-2250,

Rood FOOD AND PIE Why we love it: "Located on the west end of Lakewood, Rood's executive chef Rachelle Murphy offers a modern fresh approach to American cuisine using locally sourced unique ingredients," says owner Brian Ruthsatz. "The atmosphere is artsy, upbeat and yet relaxed." Try this: "The pork sausage cappelletti features butter bean velouté with charred cavolo, herbed sourdough crumb, Calabrian chili oil and pecorino," Ruthsatz says. 17001 Madison Ave., 216-712-4506,

Salt+ Why we love it: A seasonally rotating menu of modern interpretations of elevated American cocktails and small plates celebrating globally inspired flavors developed by the acclaimed duo of Jill Vedaa and Jessica Parkison make Salt+ a must-visit. Try this: Order up a plate of the calamari with coriander coconut glaze and cilantro ($13) with a friend. 17625 Detroit Ave., 216-221-4866,

(Photo courtesy Sarita A Restaurant)

Sarita A Restaurant Why we love it: Housed in the former iconic Player's location, Sarita focuses on New American dishes in an approachable, slightly upscale atmosphere with casual traditional vibes. Try this: Indulge in the molten blue cheese-encrusted beef tenderloin ($38) with roasted garlic whipped potatoes, prosciutto-wrapped grilled asparagus, tomato-bacon jam and balsamic syrup. 14523 Madison Ave., 216-226-5200,

Southern Cafe Why we love it: Chef Tony Fortner brings new twists on Grandma's cooking at this soul food destination, whipping up locally sourced Southern creations ranging from buttermilk fried chicken and red velvet waffles to a traditional fried chicken dinner. Try this: Start out with the fried green tomatoes ($6) served Southern style, lightly dusted in corn flour, and deep fried to a golden brown, served with a spicy remoulade. 11817 Detroit Ave., 216-801-4535,

Western Reserve Distillers Why we love it: This family-owned craft spirit distillery also whips up some delicious American grub (think pizzas, burgers and sandwiches) in a casual space, channeling brick and industrial vibes. Try this: Grab a tasty crispy chicken sandwich with green tomato chow chow and herb aioli on a brioche bun ($13) served with a simple salad, to go with your bourbon flight. 14221 Madison Ave., 216-333-9291,

Thai Thai Why we love it: "We love introducing our customers to new authentic Bangkok street food," says owner-chef Kiwi Wongpeng. Stop here for authentic curries, stir fry and bubble tea. Try this: The roasted duck noodles soup ($13.95) with bean sprouts, cilantro and roasted garlic "is complex and delicious, with earthy flavors and aromatic scent from herbs like star anise," says Wongpeng. 13415 Madison Ave., 216-226-4890,

The Root Cafe Why we love it: The cozy community art-filled cafe sources organic ingredients locally. A menu of coffee and teas meets baked goods "daily-made in-house, and all gluten-free and vegan," says owner Julie Hutchison. Try this: "Our star menu item is the Root biscuit sandwich ($11)," says Hutchison — it's complete with egg, cheddar, avocado, spinach and chipotle aioli. 15118 Detroit Ave., 216-226-4401,

food & drink

8:00 AM EST

June 6, 2023

Angelo's pizza Why we love it: Try this: Bar Italia Why we love it: Try this: Barrio Why we love it: Try this: Borderline Cafe Why we love it: Try this: Barroco Why we love it: Try this: Buckeye Beer Engine Why we love it: Try this: Cleveland Vegan Why we love it: Try this: Cozumel Mexican restaurant Why we love it: Try this: Boom's pizza Why we love it: Try this: Forage Public House Why we love it: Try this: Deagan's Kitchen & Bar Why we love it: Try this: El Carnicero Why we love it: Try this: Harlow's PIZZA Why we love it: Try this: Humble Wine Bar Why we love it: Try this: India Garden Why we love it: Try this: Molto Bene Italian Eatery Why we love it: Try this: Pier W Why we love it: Try this: Rood FOOD AND PIE Why we love it: Try this: Salt+ Why we love it: Try this: Sarita A Restaurant Why we love it: Try this: Southern Cafe Why we love it: Try this: Western Reserve Distillers Why we love it: Try this: Thai Thai Why we love it: Try this: The Root Cafe Why we love it: Try this: