At Fat Fish Blue, the authentically bopping Louisiana-Creole cuisine feels right at home with live blues, jazz, soul, and rock music five nights a week. On Friday and Saturday nights, the cayenne-slingers pull out all the stops for toe-tapping bands from across the nation, with past players including such legends as Taj Mahal, Koko Taylor, and a mournful assortment of Leadbelly’s discarded guitar picks. Upcoming shows expand on the restaurant's repertoire with the reggae-thumping Jah Messengers on Friday, October 14, and the Motown croonings of The Magic Touch Band with Ms. Etta on Saturday, November 5. On Saturday, October 29, the Swamp Boogie Band intertwines four-part harmonies, and Blue Lunch combines doo-wop and classic R&B with old-time blues on Friday, November 18.
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.
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.
In 1975, when The Melting Pot originally opened just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter by the name of Mark Johnston opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, The Melting Pot—now owned by Mark and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as a premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On any given night, groups of dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on fondue appetizers before cooking their steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
A dedicated team transforms drab hairdos and slathers freshly manicured nails in Shellac polish in The Beauty Boutique's relaxed, trendy space. Clients unwind in sleek brown salon chairs surrounded by lofted ceilings, wood floors, shimmering gold mirrors, and vintage-looking styling stations. Delicate chandeliers illuminate walls lined with exposed brick and sepia-toned portraits, which remind visitors of earlier eras in American history when the government had to ration colors.
At Mallorca, crews of attentive servers refill glasses of wine or house-made sangria as guests enjoy a long, leisurely meal of Spanish and Portuguese fare. Rotating menu specials incorporate fresh seafood as well as ostrich, venison, and other exotic meats, helping Mallorca to earn Best Spanish/Portuguese Restaurant accolades from Cleveland Magazine in 2011. At the end of the meal, servers return to romantically lamp-lit tables with trays of dessert pastries, cakes, and custards or a cappella renditions of "Kiss the Girl."
Voted 2010's 2nd Best Trendy Bar by the Fox 8 Hot List, The South Side dishes out a succulent menu of gourmet tavern fare overflowing with fresh takes on traditional pub mainstays. Quack for a small plate of chipotle barbecue duck pizza, featuring roasted tomatoes, scallions, provolone, mozzarella, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette ($9.50), or study a sandwich's delicious cheekbone muscles with the open-faced chorizo meatloaf topped onto sourdough and drizzled with rosemary cabernet gravy ($10). Grilled german bologna on a pretzel roll comes dressed with caramelized onions, spicy mustard, and horseradish havarti ($10), while hazelnut coffee-crusted sockeye salmon is served with seasonal squash purée and chocolate buerre blanc ($10) . Every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., diners just waking up after a long night of unsuccessfully building an egg-juggling robot can dine on a brunch menu heaped with zesty midmorning fare such as chicken and waffles, which layers tempura, airline breast, belgian waffles, cinnamon butter, Ohio maple syrup, and a side of hot sauce ($7).