2058 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH | Directions 4411541.498808 -81.690308
Mon. - Sat. 11:30am - 2:30pm;Sun. CLOSED
Go for the Hype, not for the Food (Network) – Owner/chef Michael Symon has made a name and a fantastic career for himself, but seems to have, perhaps, lost his way in all the hype - you can't go a day in the local media without hearing/reading his name. Unfortunately, the great food that made the classic Lola (now Lolita, its sister restaurant) SO great, seems to have been put on a "back burner": meals are tasty enough yet uninspired, recipes are relatively standard (see: pasta dishes), for such prices. It seems he's actually a very nice and is clearly a charming man, plus it's always nice to have national attention focus on Cleveland (he's the reigning Iron Chef, in case you live in a cave), but there are HUNDREDS of as-good-as-or-way-better eateries in town, and I wish that the local media would stop kissing his bu*t long enough to acknowledge them.
Great place to eat in a blizzard – We've been excited to visit Lola ever since Michael's rise to fame on Food TV. We had reservations for 3/8, the blizzard day, but canceled because we didn't think the weather was condusive to a great meal at an upscale place. As we wondered the E. 4th area at about 7pm, we found all other restaurants closed (Corner Alley), not seating anyone else (Flannary's, HOB) or just having the bar open (Zocalo). What goes around comes around and we were graciously welcomed at Lola as a walk-in. Attire was not an issue this night. Like us, others went to the Cavs game earlier and had t-shirts on.
Sure, it's not an inexpensive dining experience. The menu is also limited as you'd expect at an upscale place. The protions were decent sized but not overwhelming as I'd heard before. The drinks were good and strong although the wife's two cosmo's each looked and tasted completely different. My Grey Goose Martini's (w/blue cheese olives) rocked. I forgot what we had for desert (I told you the drinks rocked) but it was chocolate and it was very good. So if that's where it all ended, I'd say it was a very good dining experience. I would go again.
The highlight for us though was Michael. First, you can hear his recognizable laugh across the room. You didn't have to look to know he was there. He also came to our table and had a very nice, genuine conversation with us. He's a busy guy so for him to take a few minutes and talk to his patrons went a long way for me. We've been to other Iron Chef's restaurants in NYC and they were nowhere to be found. You could tell Michael wasn't just going through the motions. He was very sincere and very appreciative of us being there. It made for a special dining experience.
Terrific dining experience! – We ate here on a Friday, it was busy, loud, and dark. The server was fantastic, her recommendations were spot on. We had the charcuterie for an appetizer, which was delicious, then she had the duck and I had the pork chop and I couldn't decide which was better! They were both VERY tasty, and the portion sizes were incredible, I don't understand how people on here are complaining about the portions... For a "gourmet" restaurant the portions were ENORMOUS! Dessert we had the 6AM Special and the Warm Chocolate Cake, the chocolate cake was perfect, rich and gooey with delicious sangria berries and berry sorbet. The 6AM Special was good, definitely different, with the maple-bacon ice cream was surprisingly good, the only problem with it was that the french toast was stuck to the plate like cement, so it was very hard to eat. All I know is that this 2 hour dining experience flew by and my stomach and tastebuds thank the chef for hisefforts.
worth the six hour drive from the windy city... – For my Christmas gift, my wife promised me a weekend in Cleveland to dine at the restaurants of the newly named Iron Chef. There's a whole lot I like about both Michael Symon's restaurants, Lola and Lolita.
First off, the staff is overly accommodating. We went into Lolita on a busy Friday night and the hostess managed to squeeze us in for a table. She talked with us and we told her how we had planned to try to dine at both restaurants, but Lola was booked for dinner on Saturday and were not able to get reservations. Minutes later she returned to our table to inform us that if we were still interested in dining at Lola on Saturday, that we had had a 6:30 reservations there! We went to the bar after dinner where she followed up by giving me a signed menu from the Iron Chef and recommended Cleveland hot spots for the rest of our weekend. Her tile should be concierge, not hostess. We also had the chance to talk with the manager, who was also very polite and accommodating as well. Oh, and the food at Lolita was exceptional and moderately priced. I ate pork cheeks for the first time and devoured them!
Saturday at Lola was amazing as well!! I instantly felt like I walked into a swank upscale New York establishment! Again the service was fantastic all around! Our meals were perfectly prepared and were exquisite to the last bite. We were also informed by Lolita staff to indulge in the 6 a.m. special for dessert, which was an amazing and savory water watering treat. I will gladly make another voyage to Cleveland for dining extraordinaire and maple bacon ice cream! My weekend dining experience was UNFORGETTABLE and got even better when Michael Symon himself stopped by the table to say hello to my wife and I. What a way to compete the end of a great excursion to Cleveland.
Looking for a good excuse to come back to indulge again!
Lovely place, friendly chef, small portions, excellent desserts, salty fish, pricey. – If I could have given 3.5 stars I would have; while definitely an above-average experience, I am only marginally recommending the place. Previous comments about the saltiness are correct; I really don't understand why the food is over-salted. My husband and I came here for our anniversary. He ordered the scallops, which were excellent. I had the halibut which was good, but as previously stated, too salty. For appetizers, my husband ordered the beef cheek pierogoes. Good, but you only get two pierogoes for $12.00. I had the crab gnocchi, which was delicious. Our desserts were excellent, but very small. The portions are indeed small, especially considering the price. Our server was very friendly, but wasn't as knowledgable about the wine as I had hoped. We asked to speak to the chef, so that I could congratulate him on his Cleveland magazine cover. He was very charming and we had a nice conversation with him. The atmosphere is really nice; I love how it is decorated, and the food is beautifully presented.
A Big Disappointment – I am a big fan of Lolita in Tremont, and heard good things about Lola, so thought I'd give it a try. Although the decor was good, the restaurant was very loud and I could barely here myself speak - and this was a Wednesday night. The appetizer was tiny, literally 2 or 3 bites. The entrees were alright, but extremely over salted and nothing stellar. We thought we'd be too full to finish the dessert, but both deserts could literally be eaten in 1 bite. I have honestly never seen anything smaller. I wanted to try the famed "6am special", but found it very strange tasting and just odd. I'm all for restaurants serving smaller portions, but at Lola the portions were just miniscule. Service was alright, but overall, I was very disappointed and cannot say I will go back in the future. If you are looking for great food and a great atmosphere, check out Lolita instead.
Flavor adventure, steep prices, worthwhile – I enjoyed this restaurant very much. It isn't perfect, however. It was too dark in the space to see much. With less than perfect eyesight, the ultra-low lighting made it especially difficult to enjoy the surroundings, let alone see the menu easily. The music playing was enjoyable, but it was a bit too loud, causing people to speak louder and louder to hear each other over it. Service was very good, and not overbearing.
The servings are unusually small, especially compared to the typical American chain restaurant. But we felt they were just right to give us enough of a taste without making us feel bloated and sick. Although it did make the bill seem even higher.
All the dishes we ordered were very intense in flavor. The complementary bread and gnocchi appetizer were very good, as were the venison and squab entrees. The venison was perfect, and it was not gamey. The bright red interior of the squab surprised me, but I trusted that the chef felt it was cooked perfectly. It was very tasty. Although very flavorful with a nice grill mark pattern, I didn?t enjoy the gelatinous fat-like texture of my first taste of foie gras. The flavors were so intense that I think something a bit neutral on both plates, like a starch side to complement and balance the meat, would have been nice to give our palates a rest between bites of meat. I?m definitely not a no-carb fan.
The desserts we ordered, bread pudding and peanut butter banana chiffon, were delicious as well as sculptural. The servings are tiny, so don?t worry about it being too much. Again, intense flavors and a variety of textures all around.
Although I think we prefer the ambiance and food at Baricelli Inn a bit more, Lola is to be admired and respected for creative use of ingredients, some quite unusual and found rarely anywhere else here. If you are adventurous (or not) and have enough in your wallet, try it at least once. Maybe you?ll add it to your list of favorite experiences.
One of the best restaurants in Cleveland – Chef Michael Symon, of Food Network fame, uses only the freshest, local ingredients in preparing some of the best dishes you've ever tried. Be sure to save room for desert. Pastry chef Corey has some wonderful selections. My favorite is the 6 am Special - miniature french toast with maple-bacon ice cream and carmelized apples.
Best meal in years! – My wife and I were traveling through town on business when we were told by an associate that Lola is Cleveland's best restaurant. Being a wine and restaurant professional my interest was peaked. We were warmly welcomed at the door and shown to a lovely table for two. Our server, Natalie was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and efficient. The wine list was good but erratic. It missed some very key elements. The martinis on the other had were superb, and most importantly, the food was out of this world. The chef's focus on mid-western comfort food prepared with gourmet excellence is spectacular. I had the lamb shank and it was, without exaggeration, the best lamb dish I have ever had. Period. My advice - make your reservations ASAP.
Fantastic Venue, Sore Loser – I just want to take a moment and comment on the review "Waste of Time, Waste of Money. The gentleman who wrote the review failed to mention a couple of things regarding his experience. We too were there the evening he and 3 others dined at Lola. It was New Years Eve and everyone was informed when making the reservation there would be a $100 limited menu. Anyone restaurant knowledgable expects this type of package. This man proceded to cause scene after scene complaining and disrupting all other patron's wonderful evening and dinner. In an effort to be "heard", he physically attacked an owner and had to be escorted out. It would only be fitting that he would have a bad taste in his mouth the day after. I think everyone who went to Lola the evening of New Years Eve would agree that the food and service was a wonderful start to 2007. Anyone who loves food should check out Lola and enjoy!!!!
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