Unique Restaurants In Cleveland: 11 Unconventional Dining Spots And Bars In Cleveland

by Jen
Unique Restaurants In Cleveland
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Cleveland is a city where extraordinary culinary adventures await. This guide highlights the most unique restaurants in Cleveland, each offering a dining experience that’s as memorable as it is delicious. Prepare to be amazed by the creativity and uniqueness that these eateries bring to the table!

Welcome to Cleveland, a city where dining is an adventure filled with quirky and unusual surprises. Here, every restaurant is more than a place to eat; it’s a journey into the extraordinary, complementing the diverse activities in Ohio. Cleveland’s dining scene is a playground for the curious, offering a delightful mix of the unique and the unexpected.

Imagine a city where each meal is a discovery. In Cleveland, you can find restaurants that turn ordinary dining into something magical. Picture places where the decor is as fascinating as the menu, and where each dish tells a story. From themed eateries that transport you to different worlds to spots where the food is an art form, Cleveland is a treasure trove of culinary creativity.

As you wander through the city, you’ll stumble upon dining experiences that are truly one-of-a-kind, echoing the diversity found in the beautiful places in Ohio. Fancy eating in a place that feels like a movie set? Or how about a meal in a historic building with a story to tell? This guide is your ticket to exploring the most unusual and quirky restaurants in Cleveland. Each one offers a unique glimpse into the city’s imaginative dining scene. You’ll encounter everything from hidden gems to buzzing hotspots, each with its own charm and character.

Get ready to step into Cleveland’s world of quirky dining. It’s a journey filled with fun, surprises, and flavors that will leave you wanting more. Let’s dive into the heart of Cleveland’s most unique dining experiences!

The top restaurants to visit in Cleveland right now

Unique Restaurants in Cleveland: 11 Incredible Cleveland Eateries

You’ll find Cleveland’s unique restaurants offering everything from hearty Polish pierogis to contemporary farm-to-table dishes. Exploring these eateries takes you on a journey through Cleveland’s rich culinary landscape, where tradition meets innovation at every turn.

1. Agave and Rye

Agave and Rye is a must-visit for anyone seeking a unique dining experience. This place is a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds. Imagine walking into a space where the decor is as bold and creative as the food. You’re greeted by sparkly chandeliers, walls adorned with funky murals, and an atmosphere buzzing with excitement.

At Agave and Rye, it’s all about pushing the boundaries of traditional dining. The menu is a playful mix of classic and inventive dishes. Take, for example, their Mac N Cheese Beignets. These crispy fried delights, topped with bacon and a sweet, spicy maple sauce, are a perfect start to your culinary adventure. And let’s not forget their famous tacos. Each one is a masterpiece, blending flavors in ways you’ve never imagined.

The Birria Tacos are a crowd favorite. Imagine tender beef, slow-cooked and packed with savory spices, nestled in a caramelized shell. Each bite is a harmony of rich flavors and textures. For something truly out of the ordinary, try the Crown Jewel taco. It’s a luxurious mix of mac and cheese, lobster, and shiitake mushrooms, creating a taste sensation that’s hard to forget.

Agave and Rye is one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland.
Dine at Agave and Rye, where bold decor meets creative cuisine.

2. Forest City Shuffleboard

Dinner doesn’t have to be dull. Forest City Shuffleboard in Cleveland is a standout in the city’s dining and entertainment scene. Located at 4506 Lorain Ave., it’s a hub for those looking for a unique twist on a night out. Forest City Shuffleboard features seven regulation shuffleboard courts, both indoor and outdoor, and a variety of games like vintage arcade machines, pop-a-shot basketball, and skeeball. It’s a place where you can challenge your friends to a friendly game, making it one of the coolest restaurants in Cleveland.

The 30-foot-long bar serves a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. The kitchen brings in rotating chefs and vendors, ensuring a fresh and diverse menu. Whether you’re grabbing a drink or sharing a meal, the vibe here is always lively and welcoming.

The nostalgic decor adds to the fun. With wine-and-gold striped walls, championship banners, and hardwood-high tops, you’ll feel like you’re in an old-time high school gym. This throwback varsity vibe makes Forest City Shuffleboard one of the fun places to eat in Cleveland!

Forest City Shuffleboard offers shuffleboard courts, arcade games, and a unique dining twist for a cool night out.
Forest City Shuffleboard offers shuffleboard courts, arcade games, and a unique dining twist for a cool night out.

3. Strip Steakhouse

Strip Steakhouse is a standout destination for steak lovers. Located at 36840 Detroit Road in Avon, this steakhouse offers a unique dining experience. It combines a historic setting with a modern culinary approach. The restaurant is set in a beautifully restored 19th-century barn, blending rustic charm with contemporary style.

Upon entering, guests find themselves in a spacious area with an inviting wrap-around bar. The loft-style upper floor adds an elegant touch. The decor features rustic woods, abstract paintings, and a striking metal mobile. This artistic and cozy atmosphere places Strip Steakhouse among the best places to eat in Cleveland.

The menu at Strip Steakhouse focuses on high-quality, prime Black Angus beef steaks. Options range from a delicate six-ounce filet to the hearty 24-ounce “Big Daddy” porterhouse. The chef showcases skill and attention to detail in carefully preparing each steak. The daily chef’s specials, like the domestic Wagyu beef, are a delight for meat enthusiasts. Whether for a special dinner or a casual outing, Strip Steakhouse is one of the coolest restaurants in Cleveland.

Strip Steakhouse is a steak lover haven in a beautifully restored 19th-century barn.
Strip Steakhouse is a steak lover haven in a beautifully restored 19th-century barn.

4. Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Located in the heart of downtown, Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar is not only known for its exquisite steaks but also for its rich history and sophisticated atmosphere. Set in the historic former National City building, the Marble Room is a tribute to Cleveland’s past. The restaurant has also become a favorite among celebrities, attracting A-list movie stars, top athletes, and politicians.

The building, constructed in 1893 and named after President James Garfield, was once a hub of financial activity. Its impressive marble interiors and ornate details earned it the nickname “The Cathedral of Finance.” After a meticulous restoration, it now houses the Marble Room, preserving its grand marble staircase, soaring stained glass dome, and intricate moldings. The enchanting opulent ambiance is what makes Marble Room one of the most unique restaurants in Cleveland for dinner.

A visit to the Marble Room is a must for anyone looking for the best food in Cleveland. The steaks, hand-selected from the finest cuts, are grilled to perfection. The menu offers classic steakhouse fare, from filet mignons to rib-eyes, alongside fresh seafood and artisanal sides. Meanwhile, the raw bar offers a wide selection of fresh oysters and delicious hand-rolled sushi.

Dine at Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar, famed for exquisite steaks and a celebrity magnet.
Dine at Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar, famed for exquisite steaks and a celebrity magnet.

5. Vault

Looking for unique Cleveland restaurants in an unusual environment? Imagine dining in a place where once, the fortunes of giants like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were guarded. Vault brings this history alive. Its original bank vaults, complete with their massive doors and vintage placards, now serve as intriguing backdrops for your meal.

Each vault, transformed into cozy, lounge-style seating areas, offers an intimate and unique dining experience. This blend of historical charm and contemporary comfort positions Vault among the unique restaurants in Cleveland for dinner.

The menu at Vault is as intriguing as its setting. It features a variety of bites that are perfect for sharing. Highlights include the ‘Bankers Board’ with chef-selected meats and cheeses, and the ‘Vaulted Shrimp’ with crispy jumbo shrimp in sriracha chili sauce. For those who love wings, the ‘AZ85 Wings’ smoked in cherrywood are a must-try.

Vault’s cocktail menu is equally impressive. Signature drinks like the ‘Vault Old Fashioned’ and the ‘Manhattan’ are crafted with care. For something unique, the ‘AZ85’, smoked with hickory and served in a hollow ice sphere, is a limited-availability treat.

Vault is a unique dining spot in original bank vaults.
Vault is a unique dining spot in original bank vaults.

6. Melt Bar and Grilled

Melt Bar and Grilled is a haven for comfort food lovers. This unique eatery, born from the passion of Cleveland musician and chef Matt Fish, redefines the classic grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a place where creativity meets comfort, making it one of the unique places to eat in Cleveland.

Melt started with a simple love for the grilled cheese sandwich and great craft beer. The idea was to elevate classic American dishes in a fun, unpretentious way. At Melt, the grilled cheese sandwich is not just a childhood staple; it’s a canvas for culinary artistry. Guests can choose from a diverse selection of cheeses, including American, Smoked Gouda, and even Hot & Smokey Carolina Reaper Pepper-Jack for an extra kick. Each sandwich can be customized with a variety of sides, from classic fries to a creamy cup of soup, ensuring a unique and satisfying meal every time.

The menu at Melt is a testament to the power of simplicity transformed into something extraordinary. Each sandwich is a masterpiece, combining fresh, high-quality ingredients with innovative recipes. The result is a menu filled with bold flavors and ‘wow’ moments. Melt’s commitment to crafting each sandwich with care and precision makes it one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland.

Melt Bar and Grilled is one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland.
Dine at Melt Bar and Grilled, where creativity meets comfort for a uniquely delicious experience.

7. White Oaks

Nestled in Westlake, White Oaks has a rich history dating back to 1928. Originally a Prohibition-era speakeasy, it still retains features from its secret past, like a double-mirrored door and a night watchman’s quarters.

The ambiance of White Oaks is a blend of history and natural beauty. Its location on Cahoon Road, nestled in a residential area, adds to its charm. The dining room, with an entire wall of glass, overlooks a picturesque ravine, making every meal a visual delight. With gorgeous views from the dining area, the restaurant is a standout among the scenic places in Cleveland to eat. This setting, combined with the restaurant’s storied past, creates a unique dining atmosphere.

White Oaks is not only a scenic spot but also ranks among Cleveland’s best restaurants. Known for its continental cuisine, the restaurant prides itself on dishes like the classic beef Wellington. The commitment to quality and tradition in every dish is evident. The serene views and historical charm make White Oaks a must-visit for anyone seeking a memorable dining experience in Cleveland.

White Oaks is a scenic gem renowned for continental cuisine.
White Oaks is a scenic gem renowned for continental cuisine.

8. The Corner Alley

Score a strike along with your dinner! At the heart of downtown Cleveland, The Corner Alley offers a dynamic blend of dining and entertainment. This venue, located on East 4th Street, is among the coolest places to eat in Cleveland. It’s a unique combination of state-of-the-art bowling and a lively dining atmosphere.

The Corner Alley is a destination for those seeking both fun and food. Its electric atmosphere is perfect for watching a game, enjoying a meal, or spending a great evening with friends. The venue features ultra high-def TVs and a sports bar vibe that adds to the excitement.

Here, the culinary experience is as thrilling as the entertainment. Delicious meals and trendy cocktails fill the menu, catering to a variety of tastes. Whether it’s for a casual dinner or an evening filled with bowling and bourbon tastings, The Corner Alley is equipped to provide an unforgettable experience.

The Corner Alley is a blend of bowling and dining for a lively entertainment experience.
The Corner Alley is a blend of bowling and dining for a lively entertainment experience.

9. Porco Lounge & Tiki Room

Step into Porco Lounge & Tiki Room and be whisked away to a tropical oasis. This Cleveland gem is a standout among themed restaurants in Cleveland, offering an immersive Polynesian-inspired experience. From bamboo accents to thatched roofs and tiki statues, every detail transports you to an island paradise.

The atmosphere at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room is vibrant and welcoming. It’s a place where the spirit of aloha is alive and well. Guests are greeted with a lively ambiance, perfect for unwinding and enjoying a night out. The friendly staff adds to the warm, inviting atmosphere, making every visit memorable.

The extensive cocktail menu will keep you coming back for more. Drinks like mai tais and daiquiris are crafted with precision, alongside unique creations that tantalize the taste buds. This dedication to quality and creativity has earned it a spot as one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland. In 2016, the Food Network recognized Porco Tiki Lounge as one of the best tiki bars in the country, a testament to its exceptional offerings!

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room is a tropical paradise, immersing visitors in a Polynesian-inspired experience.
Porco Lounge & Tiki Room is a tropical paradise, immersing visitors in a Polynesian-inspired experience.

10. Bookhouse Brewing

Tucked away in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Bookhouse Brewing is a hidden gem among restaurants in Cleveland. Opened in 2018 by Vaughn Stewart, a former homebrewer, this taproom is a unique fusion of a brewery and a library. The building, dating back to 1866, has a rich history, once housing the Jacob Baehr Brewing Company.

Bookhouse Brewing is not just about craft beer; it’s about fostering a sense of community and conversation. With about 16 craft beers on tap and over 50 unique brews created since its opening, Stewart emphasizes the art and science behind each beer. The gravity sampling process used here ensures consistency and quality in every sip.

The taproom’s decor includes hundreds of books, offering a cozy, literary ambiance. This unique restaurant in Cleveland encourages guests to engage in the joy of reading while enjoying their beer. The book exchange aspect is informal, adding to the relaxed, welcoming environment. Bookhouse Brewing stands out as a place where the love for books and beer come together, creating a distinctive experience for visitors.

Bookhouse Brewing blends brewery and library vibes in a historic 1866 building.
Bookhouse Brewing blends brewery and library vibes in a historic 1866 building.

11. Good Night John Boy

In the bustling Flats East Bank of Cleveland, a new star has emerged in the nightlife scene: Good Night John Boy. This ’70s-themed disco bar is a time capsule that takes you back to an era of shag carpets, linoleum floors, and iconic Farrah Fawcett posters. It’s a place where the ’70s live on, not just in decor but in spirit.

Good Night John Boy is a fun restaurant in Cleveland that resembles a party in someone’s basement. The environment is meticulously designed with furniture and decorations sourced from the era. Co-owners Bobby Rutter and Michael Schwartz have created an authentic ’70s experience, complete with a dance floor that beckons you to boogie.

The menu at Good Night John Boy keeps things simple yet satisfying. With a focus on pizza and chicken fingers, the food complements the laid-back, nostalgic vibe. The pizzas, especially the 12-inch margherita, are a highlight, featuring ingredients imported from Keste Pizzeria in New York City. And for drinks, the bar serves up everything from Miller High Life in various sizes to a rum-based disco punch served in a disco ball.

Good Night John Boy is a '70s disco bar capturing the era's spirit in decor and vibe.
Good Night John Boy is a ’70s disco bar capturing the era’s spirit in decor and vibe. | Source: https://goodnightjb.com/

12. The Haunted House Restaurant

Cleveland Heights is home to a unique dining experience that combines great food with a thrilling theme: The Haunted House Restaurant. Opened in 2021, this restaurant has quickly become a fun restaurant in Cleveland, attracting visitors from all over the country, especially during the Halloween season.

The Haunted House Restaurant is a place where horror movie enthusiasts and food lovers unite. Classic horror films inspire the restaurant’s decor and ambiance, creating an immersive and spooky atmosphere. The walls are adorned with horror movie-inspired artwork, and the staff, dressed as iconic horror characters, add to the eerie vibe.

What really sets this restaurant apart is its movie-themed menu. It features creative dishes like Casper’s kid-friendly bowls and haunted potion bowls for adults. The menu’s uniqueness and the overall spooky theme make The Haunted House Restaurant one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland!

The Haunted House Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Cleveland.
The Haunted House Restaurant is a thrilling dining spot, especially popular during Halloween.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Unique Places To Eat In Cleveland

Our Cleveland restaurant guide is here to answer all your questions about dining in this vibrant city!

What makes Cleveland’s dining scene unique?

Cleveland’s dining scene stands out for its diversity and creativity. Here, you’ll find a blend of traditional American fare and global cuisines, all served with a Midwestern twist. The city’s chefs are known for their innovative approaches, often transforming classic dishes into something new and exciting. This fusion of styles and flavors makes dining in Cleveland a truly unique experience.

Are there any unique restaurants in Cleveland for adventurous eaters?

Absolutely! Cleveland is a haven for adventurous eaters. The city boasts a range of unique restaurants that offer unconventional dishes and experiences. From exotic international flavors to fusion cuisines, there’s always something new and exciting to try. These eateries are perfect for those looking to step out of their comfort zone and explore the world of culinary delights.

How does Cleveland’s history influence its restaurants?

Cleveland’s rich history is deeply woven into its restaurants. You’ll find these eateries in historic buildings, offering a glimpse into the city’s past. The local cuisine also reflects the city’s diverse cultural heritage, with influences from various immigrant communities. This historical blend gives Cleveland’s dining scene a unique character that’s both nostalgic and innovative.

Classic ambiance in a historic Cleveland restaurant setting.
Classic ambiance in a historic Cleveland restaurant setting.

Can I find family-friendly unique restaurants in Cleveland?

Yes, Cleveland is full of family-friendly dining options that are unique and enjoyable for all ages. These restaurants often combine fun themes, interactive dining experiences, and menus that cater to both kids and adults. Whether it’s a whimsical décor or a menu full of creative twists on classic kid favorites, these spots ensure a memorable meal for the whole family.

What should I look for in a unique dining experience in Cleveland?

When seeking a unique dining experience in Cleveland, look for places that offer more than just great food. Consider the ambiance, the story behind the restaurant, and how they incorporate local ingredients. Many unique eateries in Cleveland pride themselves on their creative themes, locally-sourced menus, and the ability to provide an experience that’s both gastronomically and visually stimulating.

Are there any hidden gem restaurants in Cleveland?

Cleveland is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Often tucked away in neighborhoods, they offer unique dishes and a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Locals love these lesser-known spots, which provide a more authentic, off-the-beaten-path dining experience. Exploring these hidden gems is a great way to truly immerse yourself in Cleveland’s culinary landscape.

What role do local ingredients play in Cleveland’s restaurants?

Local ingredients are a cornerstone of many restaurants in Cleveland. Chefs often source their ingredients from nearby farms and markets, ensuring freshness and supporting the local economy. This farm-to-table approach not only enhances the flavor of the dishes but also reflects Cleveland’s commitment to sustainability and community support.

Is Cleveland a good destination for foodies?

Definitely! Cleveland is a paradise for foodies. The city’s diverse dining scene offers everything from high-end eateries to casual, quirky spots. With its mix of traditional and innovative cuisines, Cleveland provides a rich culinary landscape that caters to all tastes and preferences. It’s a city where every meal can be an adventure.

Final Thoughts On Unique Cleveland Restaurants

Each restaurant in Cleveland offers more than just food but a journey into diverse cultures and flavors. The unique restaurants in Cleveland are destinations in themselves, each with a distinct personality and charm. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring these culinary gems is a must.

From family-friendly spots to adventurous eateries, Cleveland has something to satisfy every palate, attracting those who fly from Cleveland. The city’s commitment to using local ingredients and its rich cultural tapestry make dining here a truly memorable experience. So, the next time you’re in Cleveland, dive into its unique dining scene. You’ll be amazed at the variety, quality, and creativity you’ll find. It’s an adventure that will take your taste buds on a journey they won’t soon forget!

The top restaurants in Cleveland for all types of travelers
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