Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top. To see previous Bill of Fare reviews on the Web, go to toledoblade.com/restaurant-reviews.
In our ratings, the restaurant’s average price is listed in dollar signs ($), from one to four, reflecting a range from inexpensive to expensive.
These ratings are based on the cost per person of an appetizer or dessert, entree, a nonalcoholic beverage, and tax and tip.
Here is the key:
$ — inexpensive (less than $15).
$$ — moderate ($15 to $25).
$$$ — moderately expensive ($25 to $40).
$$$$ — expensive (more than $40).
● Sakura Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Lounge, 5294 Monroe St., excels at fresh sushi and rolls; offers a few Asian-flare entries from its kitchen, and grills about 20 dishes before your eyes on a hibachi. The food is usually fabulous and watching the chef prepare your meal in front of you adds a little something extra. $$-$$$, 3.5 stars.
● Social Gastropub, 1440 Secor Rd., in Gateway Plaza on the University of Toledo campus, is the former Gradkowski’s Dining and Spirits. It is a good place for students to gather, and a good place to take their parents too. The menu is large and offers everything from an interesting selection of appetizers and burgers, salads, and sandwiches to entrees that include a bone-in ribeye, salmon served with a delicious creamed-corn casserole, and a Brick Chicken Picatta. The desserts are not to be missed, and the bar offers signature martinis, flavored margaritas, and a nice selection of beers and wines. $$-$$$ 4 stars.
● Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, 1320 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg, is the sort of faux Mediterranean eatery that's perfect for birthdays and graduations. It's Italian in the same way as pizza, i.e. geared toward the American palate. That means mounds of food that's stingy on the spices. We enjoyed the Capellini di mare, a riot of seafood, and less so the Spaghetti Carbonara. In the midst of its pleasant predictability, the generously-portioned desserts are a redeeming factor, from the chocolate cake to the gelato. $$$ 3.5 stars.
● Stone grilling at the Smokehouse Bistro is a unique and fulfilling dining experience in the Toledo area. You have the option of cooking a steak or other fare options in the kitchen or at the table on a scorching 752-degree volcanic stone. With Smokehouse Bistro's daily specials and helpful waitstaff, you're bound to find something you like. $$$ 3.5 stars.
● Adams Street Cafe, 608 Adams St., gives the downtown Toledo lunch-going crowd somewhere to go for a meal that isn't the same-old-same-old. Both carnivores and vegetarians can appreciate this pit stop, which offers a small but diverse menu with daily specials thrown in that include sandwiches and salads with smoked meats. $$, 4 stars.
● Delta 109 Tavern & Eatery at 214 W Main St. in Delta, OH serves Midwestern classics seven days a week starting at 7 a.m. each day. Despite an extensive menu offering a wide variety of genres, safe bets like burgers and steaks offer the greatest reward. Bonus: bottomless soup and salad bar. $-$$$, 3.5 stars.
● KotoBuki, 5577 Monroe St., has been a top-notch Japanese restaurant for more than two decades. The Ramen Noodles and and the Dolsot Bibimbop were delicious, and the restaurant's selection of sushi are big, bright, and bold. $$$$, 4 stars.
● The Displaced Chef, a popular Toledo food truck, has put down roots at 186 E. South Boundary St., Perrysburg. The simple but tasty menu features Latin-inspired tacos, plates, and a couple Cuban comfort dishes. The restaurant's interior gives off an island vibe. $, 3.5 stars.
● Te’kela Mexican Cocina y Cantina, 5147 Main St., Sylvania, an expansion of the popular Tex-Mex eatery in Perrysburg, serves an average-to-good menu that varies in quality visit to visit. The pescado and fried chickenstreet tacos were favorites, as was anything involving shrimp (shrimp fajitas, camarones street taco). The pork sliders also make for a great appetizer, or a small meal. $$, 3 stars.
● The Ye Olde Durty Bird, 2 S. St. Clair St., is a gastropub that has helped with the re-emergence of downtown Toledo. The eatery features top-notch burgers, sandwiches, and wings. Come for the great food, drinks, and live music. You won't be disappointed. $$-$$$, 4 stars.
● Pho Viet Nam, 3636 Upton Ave., Toledo, is one of the city's hidden culinary gems. It specializes in the flavorful, noodle-rich soup pho (pronounced fuh) endemic to Vietnam. The portions are generous and hot here, with protein add-ons that range from steak and seafood to pork and tofu. You'll also find non-soup dishes like Mi Xao Tom Hay Do Bien (noodles stir fry) and Bun Thit Nuong (rice noodle bowl), while the hefty spring rolls and petite eggs rolls are to die for. The dishes are cooked to order, which can lengthen wait times, but the end result is decidedly filling. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Beckett’s Burger Bar, 146 N. Main St., Bowling Green, is the place to go for a great variety of appetizers and burgers, with cheap Happy Hour beers to wash them down. The menu is extensive and includes other sandwiches, wraps, chicken chunks, and salads, but we recommend a visit when you are in the mood for a reasonably priced, well-cooked cheeseburger with some off-the-wall toppings. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Registry Bistro, 144 N. Superior St., is a must visit for any epicure. Chef Erika Rapp regularly rotates the menu to make the most of seasonal ingredients, and, as a result, nearly every entree steals the show. $$-$$$$, 4.5 stars.
● Mason Jar Tap & Grill, 8504 Secor Rd., Lambertville, Mich., serves great burgers, from the classic Old-Timer to the Baja and the Dirty Martini Burger, but the restaurant's menu goes beyond the popular sandwich. The appetizers and small plates include a delicious Bruchetta Bar with a good selection of foods to sample, salads that include Mike's Caesar with grilled romaine lettuce with strips of chicken and cheese, and Fish & Chips. The bar has a nice selection of beers, too. $$, 3 stars.
● Nick & Jimmy’s Bar and Grill, 4956 Monroe St., Toledo, capitalizes on Americans' soft spot for neighborhood bars. It offers have good burgers, pizza, fries, and other assortments of unhealthy food options. Over many years, Nick & Jimmy’s has mastered the art of bar food. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Element 112 is a gem in the Toledo-area restaurant landscape. It's a truly fine-dining experience without the pretentiousness of a fine-dining experience. The food and service are top notch; we had not one out-of-focus dish and everyone — from the front of the house to the servers we met — was amicable and attentive. $$$$ 5 stars.
● Don't be fooled by the name, Amie's Pizza Factory, 6710 W. Central Ave., is not churning out cookie-cutter pies. It specializes in the specialty pizza, breaking the pizza-box mold with unlikely toppings that are inspired by some of America's greatest foods, such as the BLT Pizza or Coney Island Pizza with hot dogs. There are even versions that tell of our love of Mexican food, the Fajita Pizza and Taco Pizza. Amie's also does the classic pie right, and has a consistent thin crust that is thicker than your average thin with a soft top. We do suggest trying out a hot sub, but may caution you to choose wisely if you order form the pasta side of the menu. $, 3.5 stars.
● The 4 Seasons Cafe, 1208 N. Reynolds Rd., offers a unique Mediterranean dining experience in Toledo. Visitors can kick back, enjoy a feast, and smoke hookah in a decorative, comfy lounge. Sit for hours after a tasty dinner, melt into a couch, and listen to live music waft through the air. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Comfort food with a barbecue flair is the name of the game at Shorty's True American Roadhouse, 5111 Monroe St. The side dishes aren't much to speak of, but the meat portions are generous and flavorful. Ribs are the eatery's claim to fame, but you'll also find decent burgers and brisket, and delectable desserts. Sauces come both sweet and mild and sweet and spicy. Shorty's is the most affordable of the Mancy's restaurants, which helps explain its booming clientele, $$, 4 stars.
● Situated just inside the Grove Place entrance, the Toledo Museum Cafe, 2445 Monroe St., offers a limited menu of pasta, sandwiches, salads, and soups. But don’t expect run-of-the-mill fare. The cafe sets itself apart from similar attraction-related establishments with its fresh ingredients and surprising combinations. $$, 3.5 stars.
● Georgio's Cafe International, 426 N. Superior St., will make even a good culinary experience great with its customer service. Guests are greeted by servers who are well-educated on its menu of upscale Mediterranean, Italian and seafood dining items, and catered to on the small details. For the most part, the cuisine is exceptional as well, with a few hiccups during recent visits. $$$ 4 stars.
● Lena's Italian Restaurant at 214 E. Adrian St. in Blissfield, Mich., is not as far away from Sicily as its address indicates. Mama Lena's hearty, rich pasta dishes have only to envy their champion, the Carbonara (available with chicken, spicy, regular, or however you'd like it). Deep-dish Sicilian pizza outpaces the original pie, but each are outstanding. Homemade desserts, sandwiches, and more all best expectation. $$ 4.5 stars.
● For more than 25 years, Rumors Restaurant, 5205 Monore St., has served a menu of XXL-sized Mediterranean and American meals. The specialty sampler is a great introduction to the Mediterranean portion, including arguably the best grape leaves and gyro meat in town. For something American, try the Reuben platter with its mound of hand-cut fries. Also recommended: the succulent lamb shank and crispy-thin supreme pizza with feta cheese and gyro meat. $$ 3.5 stars.
● If it’s a nice day for a drive and you’re craving a good burger, head for Haskins, Ohio, and the Mail Pouch Saloon, 102 W. Main St., in the Wood County village. The burgers are superb and come in several varieties, from The Blazin’ Blues, with Cajun spices,blue cheese, and bacon, to the Chipotle Black Bean Burger, and the basic but delicious Pony Express Burger. The restaurant’s menu is large and varied, including steaks, salads, and chicken dishes. The atmosphere is fun, and the service is very good. $$ 3.5 stars.
● If you're really hungry and pressed for time, and happen to be in Point Place, you could visit River Diner at 2040 Ottawa River Drive. The service will probably be great but the food — whether you order a traditional diner-style item or something from the Mediterranean offerings — will do little to impress. Among our samplings we tried too-tough-to-tear pancakes, a decent eggs benedict, a tasty hummus that could have used way more vegetables on the side, and mac-n-cheese bites that were actually really great. $$ 2 stars.
● Nine, 9 N. Saint Clair St., opened in April and as part of Hensville, the entertainment district around Fifth Third Field. It serves American fare, such as meatloaf, braised beef, and crispy duck, with inventive twists -- BBQ Bacon Biscuit served with a slab of smokey bacon, Roasted Duck Pancake redesigned as mini-tacos, and a pierogi filled with a trout. However, the restaurant still has some kinks to iron out. At times, plates were served cold or skimped on a main ingredient. In all, considering its location, hip design, and open bar that puts as much emphasis on mocktails as it does cocktails, Nine has all the ingredients to be a downtown hot spot. $$$ 3 stars.
● The Executive Diner, 2516 W. Sylvania Ave., has been consistent in its fare for years. For the early birds, it's a great way to start your day. So enjoy the diner's American and Mexican food choices. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Macs N' Melts, 3330 W. Central Ave., wants to be the next big thing in fast casual, with a menu that boasts a variety of macaroni and cheese dishes and sumptuous melts. You get a lot for the money, even if the blending of cheeses sometimes renders the final flavoring a bit bland. A second location is open at 26520 N. Dixie Hwy., in Perrysburg. Some work is still needed on the temperature and spiciness of the dishes, but the prices and welcome atmosphere are a plus. $$ 3 stars.
● SamB's Restaurant, 163 S. Main St., Bowling Green, offers a diverse menu, friendly service, and a relaxed atmosphere. From sandwiches and salads to steaks and seafood, SamB's offers something for every taste. The steak and seafood dishes, in particular, make SamB's worth a visit. $$$ 4 stars.
● The Northwood oddity, Cabo Loco Mexi-Bar & Burgers, is in a category of its own serving outsized portions of unique Tex-Mex in an isolated structure at 2497 E. Broadway. Mild tomatillo verde salsa is among the best in town, and entrées predominantly feature a lightly fried “puffy” tortilla that is also outstanding. Hearty, cheese-stuffed burgers come in several Southwestern twists but can also be made to order. Despite underwhelming digs, dishes can overwhelm in a mostly satisfying way, even if traveling in the company of surfeit. $$ 3 stars.
● Fat Jack's, 120 W. South Boundary in Perrysburg, dishes some of the best bar food in town.The epic-sized Fat Jack Burger is a monstrosity of goodness — a double patty with cheese, special sauce and all the fixins — with a split side of homemade onion rings and fries. Also worth consideration: the tangy- sweet barbecue bacon burger, the Cajun chicken sandwich, and the grilled ham and cheese. Tasty appetizers include the Blazing Jack's Chunks — grilled all-white chicken tossed naked in Buffalo sauce — and the cheesy burrito bites. $-$$ 3.5 stars.
● The Upper Deck at the Boardwalk, 341 Bayview Ave., on the island of Put-in-Bay, is a great place to get great lobster in many different dishes. The restaurant offers lobster tail, a lobster BLT, lobster mac n'cheese and of course, its famous lobster bisque. Mixed in with its love for lobster is an ability to make other great seafood dishes, as well as burgers and appetizers. $$$ 3.5 stars.
● Jing Chuan, a family-owned restaurant with decades of service behind it, might have some of the best Chinese food in the region. The West Toledo restaurant, 4424 Secor Rd., is a little quirky, with traditional Chinese dishes (and a special back page for the most hardcore diners), tiki-style drinks, and house-made French macarons for desert. While the food — especially the sizzling rice soup and entrees, including the Jing Chuan chicken and Mongolian Stars — was delicious, the service stole the show. $$ 4 stars.
● No one in Toledo executes the art of pizza making like 5th Street Pub, 5577 Monroe St., Sylvania. The local restaurant is named after the street in Perrysburg where the original restaurant is located. Part of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, it practices the craft of pizza making that originated in Naples hundreds of years ago. Pies are hand-stretched, then fired in a wood-burning oven, direct from Italy. The restaurant also features hearty burgers, hoagies that will make your heart sing, and a variety of Italian inspired appetizers. $$ 4.5 stars.
● Webber's Waterfront Restaurant, 6339 Edgewater Drive, Erie Township, has been a big part of the southeast Michigan area for years. With many surf and turf options, eeeeee diners should not have any trouble finding something they like on the menu. Grab a glass of sangria and enjoy the summertime surroundings Webber's offers. $$$ 3.5 stars.
● Those who operate Blackberry Corner Tavern, 5975 N. Elliston-Trowbridge Rd., don't put on airs. They simply want to run a great pizza joint that keeps the pub food and cold drink flowing. Housed in an old school building in the middle of nowhere, the restaurant has been around for decades, and packs its bar and back room daily with customers who like pizzas heavy with toppings, sandwiches, and cold drinks. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Amango, 5228 Monroe St., Toledo, is an unpretentious restaurant that reminds us of the joys of Vietnamese food. Open again after being closed several months for remodeling, the eatery specializes in delicious pan Asian cuisine ranging from such standard dishes as beef broth pho and bahn mi sandwiches, to sumptuous noodle bowls dressed with a delectable fish sauce. Vietnamese cuisine lacks the denseness of Korean food and eschews the glazes of Chinese. It's lighter than its brethren, but no less satisfying. $$ 4 stars.
● Indian Jewel of Toledo is known well for two things: delicious, flavorful food and sloth-slow service. It's unfair to hold against the South Toledo restaurant, at 6711 Airport Hwy., the snail's pace because that's part of the experience. Although our food on two visits was not perfect, each dish received high marks for flavor. There's a buffet-only lunch option served during the afternoon and a full-menu dinner service. Take with you your patience and either a loquacious friend or a good book, and enjoy some of the best Indian food in the region. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Loma Linda's, 10400 Airport Highway, near Swanton, doubles as a mediocre Mexican restaurant and area watering hole. This establishment has been serving food for decades. Loyal followers swear by its drinks as much as its food, which is tasteless and low quality. The tortilla chips, not made in-house, are served with subpar salsa, an omen of what's to come. Many of its listless dishes are smothered in stiff American cheese. If you're looking for bright, fresh Mexican food, keep looking. But the drinks, especially the margaritas, are cheap and delightful. $ 2 stars.
● Pete's Piadina Grille, 10000 U.S. 20, Rossford, is much like a Chipotle or Subway with an Italian twist. The locally owned eatery offers flatbreads and pastas layered with ingredients of the diner's choice for a quick, filling meal. $ 3 stars.
● Arturo's Pizza Kitchen, 2507 Oregon Rd., Northwood, has been in the area since 1988. From its fresh dough to its savory sauce, an Arturo's pizza can be quite the treat if all of the ingredients are fresh. $$ 3 stars.
● La Scola Italian Grill, 5375 Airport Hwy., has an old-school feel with simply terrific cuisine. Whether you order traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna or fettucini alfredo, or weekly chef specials that range from short ribs to lamb, you will find it difficult to complain. Superior customer service and a welcoming environment complete the trifecta. $$$ 4.5 stars.
● Freeway Restaurant (formerly Freeway Drive-In), at 2665 Navarre Ave. in Oregon and open 24 hours a day, does good food well, particularly breakfast: plate-sized fluffy pancakes, killer cheesy omelets, piles of crispy bacon, and lip-smacking-good cinnamon-swirled French toast. Its lunch and dinner comfort-food meals were a bit less rewarding, with the country-fried steak dinner special and tried-and-true cheeseburger among the standouts. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Although Bangkok Cafe is easy to miss, the food is reason enough to seek out this tasty Thai restaurant at 3401 Woodville Rd., Northwood. Favorite dishes include chicken satay, beef jerky, pad sew ew, and cashew chicken (though almost everything was good). Don't dine in if you're in a hurry; plates are staggered in arriving at the table, and appetizers sometimes arrive after entrees. $$ 3 stars.
● Fusion Bistro, 3136 Markway, Toledo, boasts on its website of having staff sushi chefs, despite being nestled in a middle class West Toledo neighborhood. Yet sushi is the one thing it doesn't do so well; pedestrian is the best description for it. Instead, the eatery excels at pub food, especially its $8 12-inch pizzas which let you add on toppings for $1 each. You'll also find 19 beers and a cozy after-work atmosphere. $$ 3 stars.
● At Dégagé Jazz Café, in the historic Commercial Building at 301 River Rd., Maumee, Chef Joseph Jacobsen is committed to a rotating menu that introduces eaters to culinary delights outside the mundane food characters chicken, beef, or pork. He elevates rustic fare like catfish, duck, even the earthy, nutty beech mushrooms, and wild game to culinary characters that tango with homemade pickled onions and vegetables, velvety cheeses, bacon jams, collard greens, and a mash of bright pureed root vegetables. The menu aims to please all taste buds, vegan, and gluten free. The bonus is the relaxed atmosphere and jazz bands that perform every night after 7:30. You can sit up close in the lounge or be entertained by the music in the outdoor patio and main dinning room. $$$ 4.5 stars.
● Sidon Lebanese Grille & Bakery has found a new home in Toledo, and the community could not be happier. Finally, a new tenant calls 4625 Bancroft home. Sidon offers a great mix of breakfast, lunch, and dinner products piping hot off the grill or from its stone-fire oven. The adjacent market is great for shopping as well. $$ 4 stars.
● Kobe Bay, 18 Main St. (On the Docks), left us confused after two visits to the restaurant. Opened in October, Kobe Bay's fresh, Asian-influenced food options were good enough, but lack of a customer base and poor service had us worried for its future. $$$ 2.5 stars.
● Luckies Barn & Grill, 3319 Navarre Ave., Oregon, is the sort of place you go to take a load off or have a drink. It's a neighborhood roadhouse, with rustic décor and meat. Lots of meat. If you enjoy a good burger, fried chicken bombs, or rack of ribs, this is the place for you. It can get a tad loud with the open seating plan, and not all sandwiches are created equal. ( The French dip disappoints). The eatery makes no apologies for its down-home style, and its customers don't seem to mind in the least . $$ 3.5 stars.
● The Weaver family has been serving inventive pizza pies since they took over the restaurant side of Charlie Nyitray's business in 2011. Charlie's Homemade Pizza and Italian Cuisine at 6600 Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania serves up classic and specialty pizzas, from cheese to the Bluto, a festival of meats, on a fluffy dough or crisp thin crust, both champions in our eyes. Sometimes the overabundance of toppings does result in the pizza losing its edge. It also serves up Italian-inspired dishes that can be hit or miss. Overall, if you and your family are looking for a hearty meal on the cheap, you can't go wrong with Charlie's. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Steady as ever, the Avenue Bistro's delicious food, clean atmosphere, and live music will keep you coming back for more. The restaurant knows its base, and has found a nice niche in northwest Ohio . $$$ 4 stars.
● Sage Steak and Seafood, 8505 Secor Rd., Lambertville, is a welcome steakhouse addition to the greater Toledo area. It offers high-quality steaks and burgers, as well as a creative array of seafood and Michigan craft beers. $$-$$$ 3.5 stars.
● Tiger Bakery, with locations in West Toledo and Sylvania Township, has been serving up authentic and delicious Mediterranean food in a deli-style restaurant and shop for decades. With dozens of options daily, from individual pies and sandwiches to a variety of salads and sweets, you won't leave disappointed or hungry. $ 3.5 stars.
● Revolution Grille, 5333 Monroe St., is a gem tucked away in West Toledo that offers exceptional cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients and inventive craft drinks in a friendly atmosphere. Chef Rob Campbell boosts steaks, fish, chicken, and vegetables with sauces and spices that delight the palate. The menu changes constantly . $$$ 4.5 stars.
● Sunrise Skillet, 1855 S. Reynolds Rd., offers plenty of reason to wake up in the morning. The diner offers an array of omelets, skillets, Belgian waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, and more. Expect friendly service and delicious, yet affordable, food. $ 4 stars.
● Rockwell’s Steakhouse and Lounge, 27 Broadway. Housed in the historic Oliver House, its upscale roots as a premiere hotel are still visible in its clubby atmosphere. Yet, there is no snobbery here. You can dress up for an evening on the town or dress down. The steakhouse wet ages meats for two weeks and puts a straightforward emphasis on their preparation. From theatrical and pleasing hors d'oeuvres to captivating side dishes and desserts, this is a place to experience the best dining Toledo has to offer. $$$$ 4.5 stars.
● At Jim Shull’s Rib-Cage, 144 Chesterfield Lane, Maumee, you are sure to find something to enjoy with its eclectic menu of ribs, pastas, steaks, and seafood. The restaurant also caters to your tastes in atmosphere. As you enter to the left, there is a lounge to catch a sports game, sip a cocktail, or listen to the music. To the right is an emphasis on fine dining for the more intimate dining experience. $$$ 3.5 stars.
● Shawarmaholic, 3344 Secor Rd., is the latest addition to Toledo's thriving Middle Eastern food scene. In business just over a year, the cozy eatery boasts everything from gyro and grape leaves to full meals of beef, chicken, and vegetarian Mediterranean staples. The spit-roasted meat is sometimes a tad overcooked, but what you get for your money is amazing: heaping plates of halal-prepared food and pieces of pita bread the size of a small dinner plate. This place delivers the sort of value a budget-conscious diner will love. $$ 3.5 stars.
● The Maumee Bay Brew Pub, 27 Broadway, serves some of the best craft beer in northwest Ohio, and also some really good food. Start off with a giant pretzel. It's a pub favorite and you'll need a brew or two to wash it down. Pizzas and burgers are the pub's specialties, and they don't disappoint. Plus, the beer hall is a fun place to hang out with friends. $$ 4 stars.
● Thai Basil, 1855 S. Reynolds Rd., reminds diners that there is some great Thai food out there in Toledo — you just have to find it. The downfall was inconsistency in working with the less experienced Thai food connoisseur about spicing levels, but the food overall was exceptional in flavor and presentation. Highly recommended is the traditional Pad Thai and many of the establishment’s appetizers. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Tea Tree Asian Bistro, 4100 Chappel Dr., Perrysburg, offers an Asian dining experience. The food is good, but it's the atmosphere that drives the prices. Half-priced sushi from 5 p.m. to close on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a bargain that shouldn't be missed. $$$-$$$$ 3 stars.
● At Ideal Hot Dog, you know what you're getting into from the chili mac to the franks. With locations at Alexis and Heatherdowns, the restaurants have been in the city for years and will continue their tradition of serving up comfort food to Toledoans. $ 2.5 stars.
● Sabor Brazilian Grill & Desserts, 4751 Monroe St., charts new dining territory in Toledo with its modified Brazilian steakhouse theme, but don't expect food that celebrates the spice of life. Most dishes are tasty in a low key fashion, with minimal spiciness and an emphasis on steak, lamb, chicken, vegetarian, and rice, lots of rice. That said, it's likely to be a favorite with those who don't need their taste buds to do the samba. Think simple foods at a highly reasonable price. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Piada Italian Street Food, 3330 W. Central Ave., is Italian food fast, but not necessarily fast-food Italian. The assembly-line themed restaurant churns out piadas, bowls of pasta, Italian sandwiches, and salads using fresh, colorful ingredients in an on-the-spot environment similar to its Mexican food counterpart, Chipotle. This chain holds steady in its efforts to give its patrons a decent meal, quickly. $$ 3.5 stars.
● South Side 6, 737 S. Main St., Bowling Green, is more than the typical six-pack shop. It boasts the “best gyro in the world” and dishes out tasty, generously portioned Mediterranean and American entrees for takeout and delivery. The Hummus Heaven, a layered dip with sizable chunks of grilled chicken, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and then topped with crispy seasoned pita chips, shouldn't be missed. $-$$ 3.5 stars.
● Berger’s Olde Tyme Bar and Grill, 1742 W. Laskey Rd., is a neighborhood bar that places as much emphasis on its food and oversize burgers as its drinks. It serves good ol' American grub and specialty burgers as well as hot submarine sandwiches, salads, chicken wings, and all the fried food greats: onion rings, deep-fried green beans, and mozzarella sticks. Open since 1993, it has been known to cater to the factory and plant crowd, giving the working man and woman a place to unwind after a hard day's work. And we salute them for that. Unpretentious, warm, and inviting, you can find a spot among their giant booths to kick back, refresh in a cold brew, and nosh on some burgers and fries. $-$$ 3.5 stars.
● Los Dos Gallos, 5327 Dorr St., lacks in the décor you find at other restaurants. However, the inexpensive lunch/brunch experience was a hit, only to be disappointed by the overcooked meat options at dinnertime. If you go on the right day, take advantage of Los Dos Gallos’ specials and it could make for a good night out in Toledo. $$ 3 stars.
● Poco Piatti, 3155 Chappel Dr. in Levis Commons, at times reminds you of an assembly line of food that has lost its individual touch. Despite this, the restaurant offers enough menu items for everyone to find their niche, and there was more great than not-so-great. Diners choose from a vast menu of small plates and entrees, including traditional hummus, tuna, lamb sliders, kafka, and kabobs. The pillowy bread is not to be missed. In the end, this Mediterranean eatery is worth visiting. $$-$$$. 3.5 stars.
● Treo, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, wouldn't be out of place in one of Manhattan's trendier neighborhoods, say Tribeca or SoHo. The delicious food spans Italian, American, and French-inspired dishes, and the atmosphere is amiably upscale and pleasantly low key. Your biggest challenge will be deciding what dish to order — pasta? beef Wellington? filet mignon? — or to skip dinner altogether and go for the decidedly af fordable Sunday brunch menu. $$-$$$. 4.5 stars.
● Kyoto Ka’s downtown location, 300 Madison Ave., is a scaled down version of the popular Sylvania Township original. For sushi and sashimi, freshness is key, and Kyoto Ka delivers while managing to stay budget-friendly. The menu offers a variety of rolls and several options for diners who choose to skip the raw fish. $$-$$$ 4 stars.
● Angelo’s Northwood Villa, 6630 S. Dixie Hwy., Erie, has not updated its décor probably since its speak-easy years, but that is half of its charm. Tucked away in Erie, it has several elegant eating rooms and honors the old reliables of supper clubs, which were once popular from the 1930s to the 1970s: seafood, steak, and glistening pastas. Opt for the house-made tiramisu to polish off your fine dinner. It also pays homage to some delicacies, such as frog legs and escargot. It has a convivial atmos phere on Friday and Saturday nights with live music. Be sure to check out the hidden cigar room. $$$ 5 stars.
● The Monroe Street Diner, 4514 Monroe St., is happy to serve omelets, hearty meals, soups, and salads to the early risers and a lunch crowd. But those looking for a bite to eat later in the evening will find the diner closed — even with a slogan “breakfast anytime.” In our two visits, we missed the boat with our orders and will chalk it up as the diner being off its game those days. $ 2 stars.
● Yala Kol, 3200 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd. You might breeze by if you don’t know any better, but the food at Yala Kol is worth checking out. From traditional Mediterranean fare that includes gyros, garlicky hummus, and chicken shawarma, to rich, savory dinners of succulent meats and fluffy rice, this newly established restaurant is worth checking out. Ask for the homemade garlic sauce on the side with everything. $$ 4 stars.
● Two Foxes Gastropub, 121 S. Main St., in Bowling Green has 11 burgers and a handful of pub sandwich favorites on the menu — we highly recommend the Poblano Pollo Loco and liked the burgers for the most part. It’s a friendly spot to enjoy a craft beer and an ever-changing menu. $$ 3.5 stars.
● Mancy’s Bluewater Grille, 461 W. Dussel Dr., Maumee, is the sort of place you go for special occasions, with its low-key lighting and upscale pricing. Although you can get delicious steaks and pork chops, the menu mostly stresses seafood, from mahi mahi and walleye to oysters, lobster, and everything in between. The made-from-scratch pizza dough rolls help make up for the occasional misstep, such as a bowl of soup served lukewarm instead of hot. A small quibble for an otherwise exceptional eatery. $$$ 4.5 stars
● Doc’s Food & Spirits, 18625 Main St., Tontogany, Ohio, is everything you might expect from a small-town restaurant bar. The tender fall-off-the-bone ribs, beef tips, and sirloin stand out on varied menu of traditional comfort foods and Americanized Mexican favorites. The welcoming and friendly service makes the 30-minute drive from Toledo well worth the trip. $$-$$$ 3.5 stars
● The extensive menu of the Flower Drum, 49 S. Byrne Rd., offers a variety of American-Chinese cuisine selections. However, with the long list of entrees, you will find hits and misses. So if you order right, the Flower Drum can be a pleasant dining experience in South Toledo. $ 2½ stars.
● Ventura’s, “the Original Mexican Restaurant and Cantina,” 7742 W. Bancroft St., has been serving enchiladas, burritos (including its own Adela’s Wet Burritos, a favorite), fajitas, and more since 1984, but it can also credit its margaritas for its success. In addition to its Tex-Mex-style fare, it serves a Heart Smart Chicken Enchilada made with fat-free cheese and sauce. 419-841-7523. $$ 3 stars.
● Authenticity is the name of the game at Rose Thai, 5333 Monroe St., which excels at the myriad flavors of the region ranging from sweet and sour to hot and salty. Whether your taste runs to pork and chicken or vegetarian and seafood, the fare here is delivered with ample flavor. Standouts include the Pad Thai and grilled shrimp fantasy. For something different, check out the duck curry. The serene, understated atmosphere is a bonus. $$ 4 stars.
● Chubby’s American Grill, 535 W. Alexis Rd., is a new West Toledo restaurant serving large portions of deliciousness that your doctor may not approve of, but your gullet most assuredly will. Highlights are the signature Reuben balls and pulled pork sliders; the Mac & Crack — mac & cheese with andouille sausage and nice-size shrimp in a five-cheese sauce — is comfort food on steroids; the gigantic Chubby’s Slammer, one of four plate-filling chicken chunk options, and the towering Ernie’s Chubby Double Decker cheeseburger, featuring two 8-ounce patties and plenty of fixings. $$ 4 stars.
● Kengo Sushi & Yakitori, 38 S. St. Clair St., has made its mark in the Warehouse District since its opening in February. Chef Kengo Kato serves up fresh sushi and grilled items daily to the cozy crowd that visits the 23-seat restaurant, including fresh raw fish and grilled chicken and vegetable items. The flavors cover all the taste-bud fronts and are a culinary experience not to be missed. $$$ 5 stars.
● POP Grille, 3309 Holland-Sylvania Rd., specializes in inventive Asian fusion dishes that pack plenty of POP, perfectly blending sweetness with a touch of heat. The salmon, smoked in house, is among the highlights in the Smoke Salmon Wrap ($14) and the Pagoda Salmon ($9). The wontons, available in pork or chicken ($11), also shouldn’t be missed. $$-$$$ 4 stars.
● The Flying Joe has found a home in the Levis Commons area. Come to the Perrysburg coffee house at 2130 Preston Pkwy, Perrysburg, to build your own custom fare, try a pretzel croissant sandwich, or venture in to try the plethora of caffeinated beverages The Flying Joe has to offer. The Flying Joe supports v eterans with a 10 percent discount on drinks and meals. $ 3 stars.
● BleakHouse Coffee serves downtown Toledo tasty treats, sandwiches, and fresh-brewed coffee in a petite shop at 612 Adams St. Named after the eponymous Charles Dickens novel, the coffee shop features tasty beans, a cozy setting, and a laid-back demeanor. It also features limited hours, so be sure to check when BleakHouse is open. $ 3 stars.
● Greg’s Grill, 3243 Sylvania Ave., serves up mom and pop classics with flair. The BBQ burger and Cuban sandwich won us over during lunch, and you can't miss with the breakfast menu. $$ 4 stars.
● Palacio Maya Bar & Grill, 5125 Monroe St., has changed names in the last year, but may also have dropped a notch or two in the quality of its food. The West Toledo Mexican restaurant is solid with traditional food and drink, but falls short when trying to dazzle its customers on entrees with a twist. $$ 2½ stars.
● M Osteria, 609 Monroe St., is situated a stone’s throw from Fifth Third Field and offers the swank atmosphere of a SoHo trattoria with its emphasis on Italian foods. Whether your taste runs to sublime beet salad, personal pizzas, or heftier entrees such as a bistro steak sandwich or Tagliatelle Carbonara, you’ll find it here, along with an expansive wine selection. The eatery sometimes stu mbles on the details — foods aren’t always delivered at the right temperature — but those growing pains should eventually dissipate, allowing this upstart to live up to its promise. $$-$$$ 3 stars.
● Public House, 138 N. Monroe St., is a risk-taking restaurant open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in downtown Monroe. The New American menu is full of locally made fare that dares you to try something different each visit. The Public House Burger, hangar steak, and mac & cheese are can’t-miss items. Most breakfast selections are top-notch as well. $$-$$$ 4 stars.
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