Guarino's Restaurant
 Cleveland, Ohio        Date of Visit  11/14/10    

After sitting through a stifling church service on stewardship we made the Pastor take us to lunch. No wonder we don’t go so often anymore…just kidding P-Scooter. Oh yeah, I wasn’t kidding about the lunch part. I haven’t been to Little Italy or Murray Hill in Cleveland for probably 15 – 20 years. Given the chance to go again and having some catching up to do we jumped at the opportunity. There are a number of eateries down these blocks and if you hadn’t caught that they call it Little Italy, they are all Italian fare. Our destination was chosen by our benefactors and we pulled through the narrow streets to find the Gurarino’s Parking lot. There has been little change in Little Italy in the past 20 years, fantastic.



Like Any Good Italian Restaurant, Good Bread

The interior is remarkable. Generations of new adornments make the place feel very family owned which I assume it the actual case. Pictures from the visits of Popes and Presidents are lit by a variety of chandeliers and stand out against the dark reds of the walls and floors. Our server was young and energetic and managed to do a fairly good job even though we were the only table. (Ever notice how you get the worst service in the slowest restaurants?) Guarino’s stayed empty through the morning , I wonder if most of their regular clientele have family dinners on Sunday afternoons? Entering Guarino’s we thought there might be another table occupied, but the maniacal and well, scary matriarch pointed out it was her family and they were likely to be misbehaving…we should fit right in.

We ordered a number of classics, meat and cheese ravioli, cannelloni, and brachiole. We were brought a stack of Italian bread which took me instantly back to Youngstown, same smell, texture and taste and never served with some “whipped spread” but packages of real butter.

Meat Filled Cannoli


Really Good Brachiole

When our plates arrived everything was coated with a nice dose of gravy. The sauce here is more herbally based with strong shades of basil and oregano. It is unusual for me to see cannelloni stuffed with meat, I’m used to seeing cheese. Similar to some of the older Italian places I have been the meat in the cannelloni and ravioli tastes like meat. It is similar to the first time you go to an authentic Mexican restaurant and the beef on the taco tastes like beef, without the foil flavor packet having been added. The ravioli had a more pronounced herbaciouness than the cannelloni but both were very tasty when paired with the sauce. The brachiole is something I seldom see on menu’s outside of Italian neighborhoods and I was pleased to see it here. Traditionally a steak is stuffed with herbs, cheese, possibly some pork product and is then rolled, cooked, and served over pasta and under sauce. I think the brachiole was the best thing on the table.

It's nice to see the folks on Murray Hill in Cleveland holding fast to their traditions, and while a couple of things could be touched up here and there, if you enjoy Italian, real Italian, it's worth the trip.

The Meatballs




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