Cool breezes caress the faces of diners seated at the brick-walled outdoor patio at Marbella Restaurant, recalling the Mediterranean climate of the Spanish seaside resort for which the eatery is named. Indoors, tuxedoed waiters deliver fresh seafood such as twin lobster tails, grilled scallops, and jumbo shrimp to tables lit by flickering candlelight. Spanish wines, from sparkling cavas to rich, red riojas, pour into glasses from a full bar.
Serving up French-style Louisiana cooking along with traditional American favorites for lunch and dinner, Fat Fish Blue also hosts live jazz and blues performances five nights a week. Start tongues tapping with a half pound of boiled crawfish ($6.99) and fried green tomatoes with collard greens, mobile relish, and Cajun mayo ($5.99). Entrees include the mumbo jambalaya chicken ($9.99) and the Cajun crawfish ravioli, which replaces the tiny crustaceans' hard outer shells with tender pasta and tosses them with sauteed chicken, onions, and pepper in a Cajun pepper cream ($17.99). Vegetarians can nosh a crisp veggie burger heaped with lettuce, tomato, and shaved onion ($7.99), while roving sweet teeth can be wooed back with desserts such as the carpetbagger, a chocolate sack filled with sponge cake, fresh fruit, and Godiva white chocolate mousse ($11.99). Fat Fish Blue also offers a spacious bar full of potent potables.
First-time visitors to Chowder House Cafe often fixate on the dining room’s walls—or lack thereof, as every square inch has been painted over with electric flowers, guitar players, crowned kings, and other artistic testaments to the café’s funky and unconventional outlook. This same outlook makes its way onto the menu, which features the namesake clam chowder alongside salads, sandwiches, and dinner entrees similarly inspired by the sea. Aside from the Sunday brunch’s traditional omelets and buttermilk pancakes drenched in fresh Ohio maple syrup, a crab cake benedict celebrates the weekend atop a toasted ciabatta roll. Regardless of the time of day, a considerate BYOB policy accommodates the sailors who often stumble into the café with unlabeled bottles of clam juice.
The Fifth Season Restaurant's chefs prep robust steakhouse classics with upscale panache. Situated in an old tavern, the restaurant's muted, earth-toned dining room complements its woodsy surroundings. Warmer seasons bring outdoor seating, where eyes feast upon the surrounding game reserve and mouths dine on selections from the rich menu. Oil rusty jaw-hinges with appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms broiled with crabmeat and swaddled in a melted swiss-cheese blanket ($8). Entrees include the seafood puff pastry ($25), which allows diners to taste a variety of underwater delicacies without the hassle of stealing a shark's lunchbox, as well as the center-cut USDA-choice filet mignon ($26 for 6 oz.) and top sirloin ($12 for 6 oz.). The wine list offers a cornucopia of more than 700 domestic and imported Dionysian delights.
Located in an Erie landmark eatery, la bella entices appetites with an extensive menu of homemade dishes served in a casual setting. Wanting to look perfect for its big dinner plate, the curly-leaf spinach takes a quick dip into the deep fryer ($6), while the sweet italian sausage prefers a long, hot bath in a sweet-and-sour poached-fig-and-date sauce ($8). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find the ragu bolognese ($15) leading a roster of palate-pleasing pastas, as the lobster mac 'n' cheese ($25) and honey-jalapeño ahi tuna ($18) flaunt their flavors elsewhere on the menu. A nearby plant hatchery supplies the key component for vegetarian classics such as the eggplant parmesan ($18) and the eggplant veracruz ($17). Gluten-free guidelines help diners discern diet-friendly dishes such as the bittersweet chocolate-apricot cake ($8).
Rum Runners Cove serves up burgers, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and other American classics in its dining room, with views of Presque Isle Bay, thatched umbrellas, and a 40-foot atrium that give the feel of the tropics. Appetizers such as 24-ounce pretzels with three sauces prepare diners for entrees that range from grilled mahi-mahi and Maryland crab cakes to bourbon-glazed chicken and half-pound Texas steak-house burgers with banana peppers and steak sauce.