top of page

Your Ultimate Guide to Cleveland's Outdoor Dining Scene

Eat | By Cullen Fischel | Updated June 12, 2023

Cullen Fischel's guide to Cleveland's outdoor dining scene

Key Takeaways

  1. Cleveland's outdoor dining scene is a diverse gastronomic landscape, offering a wide range of culinary experiences from gourmet burgers and ethnic cuisine to farm-to-table dishes and decadent desserts.

  2. The city boasts numerous outdoor dining spaces, each with its unique charm, from serene garden patios and bustling waterfront decks to trendy rooftop terraces with breathtaking city views.

  3. Adding local craft beer or Ohio wine to your meal can enhance your overall dining experience, with many establishments offering extensive drink menus that highlight regional producers.

  4. Live music, weekly events, and special dining experiences often accompany outdoor dining in Cleveland, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your meal.

  5. Dining outdoors allows you to take advantage of Cleveland's warm summer weather while supporting local businesses and exploring the city's vibrant food scene.

As summer graces the city of Cleveland, the streets come alive with locals and visitors alike seeking to enjoy meals under the Ohio sun or beneath the stars. Cleveland's outdoor dining scene is incredibly diverse, with a medley of flavors from around the world waiting to be explored. Whether you're craving an expertly cooked steak, authentic ethnic cuisine, or a dessert that'll satisfy your sweet tooth, Cleveland has it all. Let's dive deeper into the city's alfresco dining scene, with your guide, Cullen Fischel, providing a local's perspective.

Exploring Cleveland’s Neighborhoods

exploring Cleveland neighborhoods with Cullen Fischel

The Flats

As a local resident, Cullen Fischel can attest to the charm of The Flats, a lively neighborhood situated along the Cuyahoga River. This area offers an impressive selection of eateries with outdoor seating, often providing stunning views of the river and the city skyline. Notable spots include Alley Cat Oyster Bar, a seafood lover’s paradise, and Collision Bend Brewing Company, known for its delicious craft beers and American fare.

Ohio City

Ohio City is one of Cleveland's oldest neighborhoods and its culinary scene is vibrant and varied. The famous West Side Market resides here, and it's surrounded by numerous eateries with outdoor seating. Market Garden Brewery is an excellent choice for craft beer aficionados, and the adjacent Nano Brew offers a pet-friendly beer garden.


Tremont is an artistic neighborhood, home to numerous art galleries and studios, historic churches, and an array of fantastic restaurants. Outdoor dining options abound in Tremont. The tree-lined Professor Avenue is home to a variety of eateries like Dante and Fahrenheit, both offering outdoor seating. Elsewhere, The South Side has a fantastic patio - a perfect place to enjoy their delicious brunch options on a sunny weekend morning.

East 4th Street

East 4th Street is a must-visit for anyone exploring Cleveland's dining scene. This pedestrian-only street is lined with restaurants, many offering al fresco dining. Notable options include Mabel’s BBQ, celebrity chef Michael Symon's homage to Cleveland-style barbecue, and The Greenhouse Tavern, a French and seasonally inspired gastropub. Enjoying a meal on this bustling street, as Cullen Fischel would say, is a quintessential Cleveland experience.

Outdoor Dining with a View

Cleveland outdoor dining guide by Cullen Fischel

Outdoor dining offers an immersive sensory experience. The combination of a sumptuous meal, a relaxing atmosphere, and a beautiful view can turn a simple lunch or dinner into a mini-vacation. Several Cleveland establishments offer splendid views alongside their delicious menus.

Alley Cat Oyster Bar

Positioned strategically in the Flats East Bank district, this seafood haven provides an uninterrupted view of the Cuyahoga River. The outdoor patio, buzzing with activity, is the perfect place to enjoy fresh oysters, grilled fish, or their famous lobster roll. Whether it's the lunchtime bustle or the evening calm, the view from Alley Cat Oyster Bar will make your dining experience memorable.

Luca Italian Cuisine

If Italian fare is what you seek, Luca Italian Cuisine should be on your list. Perched on the Superior Viaduct, the restaurant offers panoramic views of downtown Cleveland from its outdoor patio. The menu is a well-curated selection of traditional and contemporary Italian dishes, including homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and an array of meat dishes, each with a unique spin.

Azure Rooftop Lounge

Imagine dining high above the city, surrounded by the twinkling skyline. Azure, located on the top of The 9 hotel, offers an elevated dining experience, both figuratively and literally. The rooftop lounge serves a carefully selected menu of cocktails and small plates, offering a relaxed yet chic dining atmosphere.

Savor Local Flavors

Cleveland's food scene is a gastronomic mosaic of flavors, from old favorites to innovative new dishes. Many restaurants in the city have embraced the farm-to-table concept, sourcing ingredients from local farms and producers.

The Plum

Situated in the trendy Ohio City neighborhood, The Plum is a beacon of innovation in the Cleveland food scene. The chefs here create seasonal menus that are a testament to the bounty of local produce. Enjoy their innovative dishes on the patio for an authentic farm-to-table experience.

Spice Kitchen + Bar

Spice Kitchen, nestled in the eclectic Gordon Square Arts District, is another establishment that embodies the farm-to-table concept. Their menu changes with the seasons, a reflection of the fresh produce available from local farms and their kitchen garden.

Pair with Local Brews and Wines

Enhance your dining experience with a glass of local craft beer or Ohio wine. Cleveland is a city of beer aficionados, with several local breweries making their mark on the national scene.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Offering an extensive list of their craft brews, the Great Lakes Brewing Company's patio is an excellent place to enjoy a beer in the sun. Pair a Dortmunder Gold Lager or an Eliot Ness Amber Lager with your meal for an authentic Cleveland experience.

Collision Bend Brewing Company

Overlooking the Cuyahoga River, this brewery offers handcrafted beer and a menu of classic American fare. The outdoor patio gives a spectacular view of the waterfront, making it a perfect spot to relax with a beer in hand.

What to Expect from the Weather

As you plan your outdoor dining adventure, it's essential to take the weather into account. Cleveland experiences all four seasons, which means the outdoor dining scene can change significantly throughout the year. During the summer months, you can expect warm temperatures - perfect for a sunny brunch or a balmy dinner under the stars. Spring and fall offer cooler but still comfortable conditions, making for a refreshing dining experience. While outdoor dining is generally off the table during Cleveland's snowy winters, some restaurants offer heated patios, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors even when the temperatures drop.

Cullen Fischel's Tips for the Best Experience

  • Plan Ahead: Make a reservation if possible, especially on weekends and during popular dining hours.

  • Dress Comfortably: Dress appropriately for the weather, and remember, even summer evenings can cool down.

  • Enhance the Experience: Try out local craft beers and wines. They not only pair well with the food but also give you a taste of the region's flavor.

  • Enjoy the Ambience: Remember, outdoor dining is not just about the food. The atmosphere, the views, the sounds of the city – all contribute to the overall experience. Savor it.

  • Explore and Experiment: Cleveland's outdoor dining scene is diverse. Don't be afraid to try something new – you might find a new favorite dish or restaurant!

Cleveland's outdoor dining scene offers more than just a meal. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's vibrant culture, stunning views, and culinary innovation. Whether you're a Cleveland native or just visiting, there's an outdoor dining spot for you. So get out there and enjoy all that Cleveland has to offer. Bon Appétit!

11 views0 comments
bottom of page