The decor at Mancy’s couldn’t be more cliche if it had been put together by a Hollywood set designer: dark wood furnishings, crisp white tablecloths, artwork in gilded frames, a roaring fire. But cliche is a good thing, in this case, as it proves that such elegant dining establishments do really exist. That adherence to tradition is probably why Mancy’s has been able to maintain its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Toledo for nearly 100 years.
Hungarian food and hot dogs don’t always seem to go hand-in-hand, but at Tony Packo’s the combo makes perfect sense. Tony, a Hungarian immigrant, opened his shop during the Great Depression, and became famous for his kolbasz sausage sandwiches, which resembled hot dogs. Many in Toledo still swear they’re the best dogs in town, especially when slathered in mustard, onions, and the cafe’s signature chili.
It’s rare that a humble sandwich shop can skyrocket to “best restaurant” status, but Grumpy’s place in the Toledo eats hall of fame is well deserved. Each sandwich, from the monte cristo to the pork belly BLT is perfection on a plate, especially when made with the house sourdough. Vegans and vegetarians also eat well here with a wealth of plant-based options including a jackfruit pulled “pork” option.
We cheated a little with this pick since the historic Oliver House is actually home to 5 separate dining establishments, but that’s what makes it so special. For a special event, head to Rockwell’s steakhouse for the decadent lobster-topped steak, or keep things casual with a visit to the Maumee Bay Brew Pub for burgers and a nice cold Buckeye Beer. If you have room, you could also head upstairs to the cafe for some ice cream from Mackinac Island Creamery, and then wander the halls in search of the building’s resident ghost.
Within this lavishly appointed dining room, diners are treated to Lebanese cuisine that has been consistently voted the best in town for 40 years. The owners originally started out as bakers, so you’re virtually guaranteed the softest, freshest pita you’ve ever eaten, and food critics often rave about the incredibly tender baby lamb chops, the generously portioned stuffed grape leaves, and the perfectly smoky baba ganoush. Somewhat surprisingly, the menu also includes a number of traditional Italian dishes, from pizza to lasagna, which means even the pickiest of eaters will find something to love here.
Cuban comfort fare is the name of the game at the Displaced Chef, and we’re not talking strictly sandwiches, either, although the cubano here is definitely one of the best in town. No, a focus on creating unique fusion fare means you can enjoy Cuban-inspired tacos stuffed with citrus-roasted pork or mojo-marinated chicken, plus beans, rice, and manchego cheese. More authentic fare such as fried conch or tender ropa vieja help round out the menu, but whatever you order, consider tacking on a rich Cuban coffee and a guava empanada for dessert.
Don’t confuse this beloved retro diner with the jelly company that boasts a similar sounding name. This spot specializes in an entirely different type of sugary treat: pie. The chefs here whip up around two dozen varieties every day, with flavors ranging from the traditional (apple, cherry, coconut cream) to the unusual (strawberry banana, raisin, pineapple cream). But don’t skip straight to dessert: the savory fare here is well-loved too, and you’ll be intrigued to discover the menu dotted with some forgotten diner favorites from yesteryear, such as creamed chipped beef, Swiss steak, and a good old fashioned fried bologna sandwich.
There’s some pretty big competition when it comes to the best Mexican restaurants in Toledo, with spots like El Tipico Restaurant and El Nuevo Vallarta bringing the heat. But this family-owned spot slightly edges out the competition thanks to its location in a Mexican grocery store. That translates into super fresh meats, tortillas, and salsa, plus an opportunity for you to stock your own pantry with authentic ingredients or Mexican pastries. Loyal customers swear these are the best tacos they’ve had outside of Mexico City, so you really can’t go wrong whether you opt for the spicy al pastor, the chicken, or the beef tongue.
In true Toledo fashion, one of the city’s best Italian food spots is also one of its oldest. Owned and operated by the same family for more than 60 years, the restaurant has changed very little during the course of its life, and that’s exactly how the locals like it. The pizza here is famous for its flaky, buttery crust, its rich sauce, and the fact that it’s cut into long rectangular strips instead of in slices or squares. But if pizza isn’t what your heart desires, go for the other standout menu item: the T-bone steak. Why order steak at an Italian restaurant? Because this one comes with no less than salad, tomato juice, bread, french fries, and spaghetti (plus, a baked potato if you come on a Friday or Saturday), making it one of the very best dinner deals in town.