Housed in the former Taylor and Sons Department Store–a historic building that has tastefully transformed its 4,000 sq. ft. into a chic interior and exterior space–Zinc Bistro is a sophisticated eatery that serves prime steaks, French classics, and raw from one of Cleveland's only raw bars. The seasonal lunch menu is a tuxedo-worthy medley of soups, oysters, savory sandwiches, frites, and salads. For dinner, taste buds can take aim at duck a l'orange with butternut-bacon hash ($28) or a pork chop with choucroute, rutabaga puree, and apple-bourbon ($24). Ishmaels can reacquaint themselves with the eats of the oceans by noshing six fresh oysters ($12–$14), a bowl of lobster bisque ($11), or moules frites ($17) stacked with Prince Edward Island mussels, Pernod, and Zinc frites.
At Fred's Diner, breakfast is king. Kneel at the feet of the most important meal of the day with a selection from the diner's menu. The three pancakes ($5.99)—with choice of sausage, ham, or bacon—forge a feast from flattened flour, while a three-egg cheese omelette ($4.99, with additional ingredients $0.85 each) sidekicks its stuffed sustenance with home fries and toast. Enjoy bread-bookended breakfast bites with a two-egg sandwich ($4.29), topped with choice of ham, bacon, or sausage, or simply feast on an uncomplicated half-pound of bacon ($2.50) with coffee ($1) or cranberry-orange juice ($2). Lunch-lovers are also in luck at Fred's Diner, with a fallout shelter's worth of soups, salads, sandwiches, and more on tap. Spoon-survey a bowl of Fred's famous chicken dumpling soup ($3.29), tenderly embrace the tenders of the grilled chicken salad ($7.49), or digestively dissect a 6-ounce rib-eye steak ($7.99). Specialty sandwiches include the Cuy-a-Hoagy ($6.39), topped with hot roast beef, and the triple-tiered tastiness of the Diner's Club ($6.99).
Owner and executive chef Aaron L. Ruggles char-grills flank steak and tops it with pickled sweet summer peppers and smokes fresh Atlantic salmon on a cedar plank. Succulent wild-caught scallops come pan-roasted with avocado-roasted corn orzo pasta salad and smoked red chili sauce. Moody, romantic lighting surrounds diners as servers ferry plates of pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas to four-top tables alongside house-baked focaccia bread, widely considered to be more delicious than bread baked from dismantled houses. On Wednesday nights, the original Cheap Date Night menu proffer plenty of options for every type of occasion, as do a series of daily specials, such as Monday's $5 burger-and-fries special and Tuesday's retail-wine night. A kids menu is always available.
The bakers at Bread Head Bakery & Coffee Shop have an obsession with freshness, imbuing their baked-daily breads with ingredients such as whole-wheat flour, oats, eggs, raw sugar, and cocoa powder. Using slices from these fluffy loaves, they craft delicious dishes all day, such as the Meat Head sammie—a blend of pepperoni, cheddar, honey ham, and house-made stone-ground garlic mustard served with a fresh-baked muffin. They also specialize in breakfast fare (which they cheekily name “wake-and-bakes”) such as breakfast quesadillas, as well as premium coffee, which they grind fresh before brewing each batch.
Nestled in a quaint turn-of-the-century abode, South Market Bistro specializes in serving an eclectic menu of American cuisine prepared with an appetizing amalgamation of organic and locally grown ingredients. To exemplify his commitment to locally based cuisine, owner and chef Mike Mariola changes his menu each season to symbiotically reflect the harvest of local farmers. Give clever and environmentally friendly tips on how to properly recycle Kleenex and Tae-Bo tapes in between bites of the Ohio City gnocchi, a spinach-stuffed pasta soused in bolognese sauce and topped with parmesan cheese ($18.50). Alternately, the pan-seared red snapper, served with sunchoke risotto and toasted pine nuts ($30), will satiate tongues with a taste for savory seafood.
PatDee's Pub and Eatery began carving out its niche in Northfield's culinary landscape in 1995. The restaurant's current chefs have been onboard since the beginning, adding a dash of familiarity to the homestyle dishes that diners have come to greet on a first-name basis. Inside the eatery, cozy vibes pervade meals centered on juicy prime-rib platters and handmade pizzas, and pancakes and omelets rouse early birds during morning hours on weekdays and until 1 p.m. on weekends. PatDee's also dispatches its housemade eats around the neighborhood with its catering service, granting party hosts the option to pick up their spread or have it delivered by a polite staffer shot out of a circus cannon.