The idea of Mediterranean cuisine is often misunderstood. The belief that a Mediterranean menu consists solely of contemporary Greek or Middle Eastern dishes simply is not true. Mediterranean cuisine is food from all cultures with ties to the Mediterranean Sea including France, Italy and Spain (paella and risotto) as well as traditional Greek and Middle Eastern fare (naan, hummus and spanakopita). Clevelanders have such a wide variety of Mediterranean cuisine readily available with flavors as diverse as the cultures they come from. These are the restaurants with the best Mediterranean cuisine the area has to offer.
900 Literary Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
One mention of Mediterranean cuisine in Cleveland and it has to be the appetizer menu at Michael Symon’s Lolita. With items such as warm olives ($4) containing chiles, fennel, oregano and olive oil to eggplant caponata ($7) containing pine nuts, black currants, fennel seed, aged balsamic, and flatbread, this place is classic Mediterranean. These are just a taste of what comes out of the kitchen of Cleveland’s most popular Greek-heritage chef.
14536 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Some of the best Middle Eastern cuisine in Cleveland can be found at the popular Aladdin’s Eatery. Fall in love with chicken sambusek containing char-grilled curry chicken, onions, peas and herbs folded into a pita and topped with scallions and diced tomatoes, or a beef shawarma roll containing seasoned strips of beef, greens, turnips, pickles, tomato, onion and parsley. It’s finished off with tahini yogurt dressing and then rolled in a pita for your dining pleasure.
18515 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
The restaurant formerly known as Three Birds takes a French approach to Mediterranean cuisine. Its pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras appetizer ($16) containing brioche, pecan butter, caramel sauce, red grapes and mint gastrique is amazing, as is its roasted duck breast ($28) with mixed baby squash, black rice, poached plum, foie gras, orange and micro watercress salad, sweet soy and duck jus. The food at this suburban eatery can easily compete with some of the best restaurants in the big city, with reasonable prices.
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12305 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
The primary draw to Mama Santa’s in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood is quality food without breaking the bank. Large homemade pizzas can be had for as little as $7.50 while homemade noodle dishes such as lasagna, ravioli, cannelloni, manicotti, cavatelli, spaghetti and fetuccini fetch just $8.95 a plate. Open since July 25, 1961, dishes are created straight from family recipes originating in Sicily.
Mezza Mediterranean Cuisine
28743 Center Ridge Road
Cleveland, OH 44145
What makes this eatery unique is the fact a small section of the restaurant is stocked with items for making Greek/Mediterranean food at home. From hummus and tabouli to fixings for grape leaves, much of what you need is available right there. As for the food, Mezza is perhaps Cleveland’s best-kept secret for some of the best gyros you will ever eat. For just $8, a classic heaping portion of gyro meat paired with red onion, tomato and Tzatziki is yours. The gyro itself is huge, the pita crisp, and the meat is perfectly seasoned.
Paul Rados began writing professionally in 2010. Before formally picking up the pen he worked in some of Cleveland’s premier restaurants as a Chef. His extensive knowledge of the Culinary Arts and Dietary Management can be found in other published works across the web. His work can be found on Examiner.com.