Best Italian Restaurants In Cleveland

June 10, 2015 8:00 AM

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MOHAMED HASNI
An employee serves a pizza at a cafe in the Libyan capital Tripoli on August 21, 2014. Libyans are big consumers of espresso, pizza and pasta, and in the parts of Tripoli spared the fighting between rival militias, Italian cafes and pizzerias are very popular. The number of cafes and restaurants highlights the connection to Italy, one of the few Western countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in the country despite deteriorating security. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The thought of Italian cuisine conjures feelings of comfort, warmth and, of course, delicious food. From pastas and pizzas to fresh seafood, chicken or veal parmigiana and delicious Italian wines, Cleveland is lucky to have many wonderful Italian restaurants. Here are some of Ohio’s best Italian restaurants located throughout the area with a variety of ambiances and fare. These restaurants located from the historic Little Italy neighborhood and beyond offer something for every palate, mood and price range.
Mia Bella
12200 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 795-2355
www.miabellacleveland.com

Located in the historic Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, Mia Bella offers Italian fare with some Mediterranean touches. The Italian eatery has won awards for Best Food and Best Restaurant from the 2010 and 2011 Taste of Little Italy, and offers great service in a relaxed, non-rushed atmosphere. While dining, enjoy the signature dish, mia bella especiale, which is chicken with zucchini, onions peppers and  sun dried tomatoes. The restaurant also offers delicious pizzas with homemade dough, homemade pastas, lamb, veal, steak and seafood, and there are also several gluten-free and even vegan options for those with special dietary needs.

Corleone’s
5669 Broadview Road
Parma, OH 44134
(216) 741-0220
www.corleonescleveland.com

Corleone’s opened up in Parma in 1995 and has won several awards since opening 20 years ago. The restaurant, which is located in a strip mall, brings elegance to its setting with lovely hardwood floors and chandeliers, creating a soothing, upscale ambiance for its diners. The veal gotti is the dish to have here—it’s veal stuffed with crab meat, provolone cheese and portabella mushrooms, served with a sherry based pesto sauce.

Mama Santa’s
12301 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 231-9567
www.mamasantas.com

Mama Santa’s was opened in by the Scaffidi family in 1961, and has since become a Little Italy institution. The restaurant is still run by the family, although the restaurant was taken over by the son’s of the original owners, Guido and Nancy, in 1996. Now Pina, the wife of one of the sons, and a friend, make all of the sauces, pastas and pizza dough every day from scratch. Mama Santa’s is known for its pizza—the homemade dough is the perfect combination of chewy and crisp, and is topped with the homemade pizza sauce, any toppings you wish, and fresh mozzarella. The restaurant has a simple, casual, “old school” decor with checkered table cloths and basic tables and chairs along with great prices.

Related: Best Meatball Dishes In Cleveland

Geraci’s Restaurant
2266 Warrensville Center Road
University Heights, OH 44118
(216) 371-5643
www.geracisrestaurant.net

Geraci’s has been in University Heights on Cleveland’s east side for over 50 years and has been featured on the Food Network program, “Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives” with Guy Fieri. Opened in 1956 by Michael and Fran Geraci, the couple shares Fran’s mother’s Italian recipes with diners. Their daughters, Fran and Marti, have taken over in recent years, although Michael and Fran are still mainstays at the restaurant. Geraci’s is best known for its delicious pepperoni pizza, made with homemade dough, a chunky flavorful tomato sauce and special thick cut margherita pepperoni. This amazing pizza, along with other popular dishes, like the homemade beef and veal meatballs, is what has been keeping people heading to Geraci’s for almost 60 years.

Etna Ristorante
11919 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 791-7670
www.etnalittleitaly.com

Etna in Little Italy is a hidden neighborhood secret. The restaurant itself is small, but the service is fantastic with a family feel. Owner and chef Peppe Pilumeli prepares the food and comes out and chats with diners, making the experience even more special. Etna offers fresh seafood specials everyday that are highly recommended, but a constant on the menu is the farfallini al salmone: fresh sautéed salmon with white wine and extra virgin olive oil on farfalle pasta with a lightly creamed tomato sauce. The boar ravioli also comes highly recommended if it happens to appear on the specials list during a visit to Etna Ristorante.

Related: Best Brick Oven Pizzas In The Cleveland Area

Marcia Hudgel is a writer, yoga teacher, wife, mother to her animals and aunt to 10 nieces and nephews living in Cleveland, OH. She writes about family, animals. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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