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.
Carrying on the tradition of his father Labib Hajjar, a restaurateur who opened the original Poco Piatti location on Monroe Street, Elias Hajjar and his wife Joy have created a welcoming new space where locals can experience Mediterranean cuisine. Diners choose from Greek classics including moussaka, Italian-inspired dishes such as prosciutto crepes with basil and homemade sundried-tomato sauce, or Middle Eastern-style kabobs with swordfish or beef tenderloin. The owners have designed the interior to resemble a Spanish villa—the mural above the bar colorfully depicts rolling Mediterranean hills, and a stone oven churns out freshly baked pita bread or lights the miniature Olympic torches of waiters jogging by.
Since 1996, Labib has given back to the community as the co-chairperson of Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation Toledo, an annual food and wine event that, according to The Toledo Blade, raised more than $100,000 to help fight childhood hunger in 2011. Elias also follows in his father's community-minded footsteps by electing to source his ingredients from local suppliers.
Only a stone’s throw from Lake Erie, Amber Oaks’ outdoor patio pulses with mid-day light peeking through overhanging trees. As dusk sets in, the turquoise-rimmed glass tables transform to a darker blue, and the twinkling string lights outline the restaurant’s silhouette. Clients, both indoors and out, feast on traditional pork chops, behemoth steaks, Lake Erie perch, and all-you-can-eat frogs legs. For more than 30 years, this has been the norm at Amber Oaks: a cozy family-run eatery with a chef who pledges to only serve made-to-order dishes that are never frozen. On the weekend guests spooling pastas in delicate wine sauce, can treat their ears to weekend jam sessions with Swing City Big Band.
Built in 1850, the historic Clemens Alten House easily blended into the antique atmosphere of Avon, though it’s strong exterior caught the eyes of Bob Neimojewski, as mentioned in an article from 2001 posted on avonhistory.org. One massive renovation later, the century-old house was transformed into Nemo Grille, a contemporary American restaurant. More than a decade later, guests still enjoy the modern interior, complete with a tin tile ceiling and white-clothed tables, as they dig into creative steakhouse and seafood fare. Chefs stylishly plate slow-roasted Ohio pork belly, ground-veal-stuffed mushrooms, and calamari with a maple-chipotle-lime butter while Certified Angus Beef strip, ribeye, and filet mignons are paired with a black peppercorn cream or a porcini-mushroom-truffle-infused butter. The “moderately upscale restaurant[‘s]…ever-changing menu,” as highlighted by Metro Mix, also enhances fresh seafood and protein-packed meals with a black-misson-fig marsala sauce, foie gras almond glaze, and mascarpone-chive polenta.
White Oaks Restaurant began business in 1928, but its doors wouldn’t open until staff had spied visitors through a peephole, creating an aura of mystery that’s never quite left this fine-dining establishment. Proudly touting its history as a hotspot for imported booze and high-stakes gambling during the Prohibition era, the restaurant—voted Cleveland's best romantic restaurant by viewers of Fox 8 in 2011—now celebrates the legalization of spirits with a towering wine rack and solid-gold bust of Johnnie Walker. Six wood-burning fireplaces cast their crimson glow off plates piled with high-end American cuisine, from succulent seafood to creative game dishes such as venison. Elegant wood paneling spans the lodge-like dining room, where a glass wall on the east end overlooks an arboreal wonderland and burbling creek.
Specializing in Mediterranean-tinged Spanish dishes, Viva Fernando's matador chefs bait taste buds with a repertoire of delicate pasta twirls, meaty maneuvers, and seafood flourishes. The dinner menu includes palate primers such as the ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a madeira-wine sauce ($8.95). The gazpacho with Andalusian–style vegetables is, like revenge, traditionally served chilled ($4.50). Carne cravers fill up on the slow-roasted lamb shank in a brandy sauce ($28.95), and the mixed seafood linguini spotlights a supergroup of clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and lobster doo-wopping in harmony ($19.95). A lunch menu stacked with Spanish sandwiches facilitates high-stakes games of sandwich Jenga, towering with such delicacies as the serrano ham with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($9.95); noontime noshers can also stay fresh with leafy mélanges such as the blackened salmon on a bed of field greens ($11.95).