Fun fact: Downtown Akron has a fantastic fine dining scene! Your new favorite restaurant for a date night, special occasion, or take-out meal is waiting for you to discover it. Read on for a breakdown of seven of the finest restaurants in downtown Akron, and learn everything from local restaurant history to what to order.
Cilantro Thai & Sushi Restaurant
Cilantro has been serving up spectacular sushi and tasty Thai dishes since 2009 from its historic bank-turned chic restaurant on Main Street. Their extensive menu features a variety of appetizers, soups, noodle dishes, Thai fried rice, stir fry, curry, seafood, specialty sushi and sashimi, ramen, house cocktails, and even a few desserts. Not sure where to start?
Start with an appetizer—the Egg Noodle Shrimp is delicious and includes four large, skewered shrimp that are wrapped in egg noodles and deep-fried until crunchy, served with a tangy orange sauce for dipping. Or stick with a classic and get the crispy Crab Rangoon cream cheese wontons.
Hungry for sushi? Try the Akron Roll or the tempura-fried Bakery Roll. Or if you prefer sashimi, choose from a variety of fish including yellowtail, shrimp, tuna, salmon, and more.
For a main course, Cilantro’s Yellow Curry is a delicious warming dish perfect for a cold winter day. Or choose your spice level and heat things up with Pad Khee Mao
Cilantro also has many vegetarian dishes. Add tofu or vegetables to your stir fry or fried rice. Or if you’re looking for vegetarian sushi, try the Sweet Potato or Vegetable Roll.
Pair your meal with beer, wine, or a specialty cocktail like the Sake Grand Cosmo, a delectable mix of vodka, Hana Lychee Sake, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime juice.
If you have room for dessert, try the Mango Sticky Rice, a unique traditional Thai sticky and sweet rice served with fresh mango and topped with coconut cream and sesame seeds. Or end your meal with a bang and order the Fried Cheesecake, served with vanilla ice cream and a Hershey’s chocolate syrup drizzle.
Cilantro has some of the best sushi in town, delicious traditional Thai dishes, and a great half-priced happy hour. The downtown restaurant has a lovely atmosphere, great for a date night, a special occasion dinner, or even a quick lunch. Check out all they have to offer in their lunch and dinner menu or order online for take-out.
In summer 2022, restaurateurs Aaron and Dana Hervey opened Crave in its stunning new location in the Landmark Building, after 21 years of operating out of their former location on East Market St. The space inhabited by this dramatic, intensely modern, two-story restaurant used to be the Akron Savings and Loan. The ornately plastered bank ceilings are still intact.
The space seats 313 guests and features custom bars on both the first floor and the mezzanine level, as well as hand-blown glass sconces and laser-type LED lights strung from wall to wall. The magnificently tasteful atmosphere is matched perfectly by the unique, refined appetizers and entrees that guarantee to provide a gastronomical experience that’s as innovative as it is satisfying.
For a first course, try their Crab Cake—accompanied by cucumber kimchi, honey crisp apples, wasabi peas, and blood orange miso caramel—or perhaps keep it classic with Fried Wings or Baked Goat Cheese. Follow this course with a CZR Salad or Duck Confit with fried potatoes, frisee, radishes, chives, goat cheese fondue, and white balsamic vinaigrette.
While Crave’s owners kept the appetizer menu that existed before their move, executive chef Jimmy Pintello has added new entrees: Spanish-braised Short Rib with leek and manchego risotto, buttermilk fried cinnamon sage Chicken and Waffles accompanied by triple hot sauce and vanilla maple syrup, Pork Tenderloin with white cheddar grits and pickled apple, Salmon with white truffle honey glaze and whipped butternut squash, Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese with blackened chicken and sriracha garnish, and so much more.
To drink, try one of their many signature martinis, or order from their extensive wine collection by the glass or bottle. They also have a wide selection of beer and other cocktails.
If you’re still hungry after all that, be sure to order dessert—perhaps their Grand Marnier Creme Brulee, Apple Galette, Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake, or Flourless Chocolate Torte.
Crave has a great patio and is a fantastic choice for lunch or dinner when you’re spending time downtown. Its central location, large patio, expansive footprint, and elevated menu will make you feel like you’ve arrived. Check out their full food and drink menus, and follow them on Instagram for updates.
Dante Boccuzzi Akron (DBA)
Dante Boccuzzi Akron, or DBA for short, is a fine dining restaurant located in the Northside District. The restaurant showcases an elegant dining space, a private dining room, great cocktails, a modern bar, and an open-air patio. Their menu features tasty appetizers, fresh seafood, pasta, salads, and steaks.
The Charcuterie and Cheese with house meats, local cheese, pickled vegetables, and house crackers is a fan favorite and a great start to any meal. Or start with the deliciously crispy Shrimp Tempura served with Dante’s Dum Yum sauce.
Next, try the Hong Kong Mussels in a bright, garlicky sauce topped with fresh, crisp microgreens. Or you can’t go wrong with the creamy Mushroom Risotto featuring roasted wild mushrooms, truffle, and goat cheese. Another great choice is the well-seasoned and perfectly cooked 8 oz. Prime Filet, appropriately reviewed as “the best steak in Akron.”
The side dishes are nothing short of extraordinary. Choose from mac & cheese, duck fat fingerling potatoes, parmesan truffle fries, and so much more.
Pair your dinner with a hand-crafted cocktail, a beer, or choose a glass or bottle from their extensive wine list.
Have a special occasion to celebrate? DBA also offers dining at the Chef’s Table, a unique culinary experience set in an intimate space featuring the cuisine of Chef Dane and Chef Jacob Carothers. You can choose between 5, 7, 14, or 21 courses for up to 4 guests, with the option to pair your meal with wines chosen by their knowledgeable staff to enhance your experience.
DBA is an incredible restaurant and is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or to just enjoy outstanding cuisine. View their full menu or read reviews to see what fellow Akronites have to say about their experience at DBA.
El Patrón Tequilería & Cuisine
Luis Escudero, the owner of El Patrón, opened his restaurant to showcase a different take on Mexican culture and cuisine. With a variety of simple tacos made with fresh ingredients, mouthwatering burritos, sizzling fajitas, and delicious guacamole, Escudero has done just that.
To start, try the Esquites, a sweet and spicy Mexican street corn salsa. Or choose from their variety of guacamoles—traditional, agave berry, roasted serrano, or mango habanero.
Next, grab a few tacos. Mix and match a few varieties for a flavor-packed experience. You can’t go wrong with options like Taco Chicken Tinga, Taco Barbacoa, or Taco Al Pastor. Looking to try something new? The Taco Nopal features nopales, or prickly pear cactus, that have been sautéed to perfection.
If you’re feeling extra hungry, order one of their delicious burritos. The Burrito Papa con Chorizo and Burrito Veggie, both served with rice and veggies, are fantastic choices.
To drink, enjoy a paloma, traditional or craft margarita, or a margarita flight. El Patrón has a nice selection of tequilas, so you’re sure to find the one for you. They also serve domestic and imported beer as well as seltzers.
Don’t forget dessert! Remember the ice-cream truck classic Choco Taco? El Patrón’s Choco Taco Grande is an elevated version of the childhood treat that’s better than you remember. Or get a hot and fresh churro, a delicious fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar.
The restaurant is beautiful and has a great patio, live music, and fun events like tequila tastings and socials. Follow El Patrón on Facebook for menu updates, event information, and more. See their full food and drink menu or order online for take-out.
The Tea Lady
The Tea Lady, owned by Renea Woods-Baylor, was inspired by a childhood love of tea parties, extravagant events, and fancy table settings. Her elegant tearoom is beautifully decorated with tables set with gorgeous linens, ornate dishes, and sparkling flatware. From Afternoon Tea to brunch to cocktail parties, The Tea Lady offers a variety of tea experiences you’re sure to remember for years to come. There's even a whimsical kids' tearoom for moms and dads to spend quality time with their little ones.
At Morning Tea Time, enjoy adorable tea sandwiches, delicious quiche, and pastries such as shortbread cookies, brownies, and cinnamon doughnuts as you sip on infused hot teas from around the world, poured especially for each guest.
Celebrate a special event with friends, family, or little ones at High Tea. High Tea includes tea sandwiches, a hearty salad, delectable pastries, tea cakes and cookies, infused hot tea, and wine or a mimosa. You also have the option to decorate your table with your choice of fresh-cut seasonal flowers, a dozen roses, or candles.
The Tea Lady aims to create a different experience each time you dine so that no two tea times are exactly alike. You can also learn proper tea etiquette to ensure you know the dos and don’ts of tea time.
Prefer to enjoy your tea at home? Check out the Tea Party in a Box! Each box contains three to four tea sandwiches, scones with jam, delicious, flakey pastries, seasonal salad, tea, and infused bottled water.
If you’re looking to plan a brunch, cocktail party, or special occasion, The Tea Lady will work with you to plan an event that will amaze your guests. View The Tea Lady’s menu for a full list of tea times and events. Tea and tea products such as teapots, steeping cups, tea assortment boxes, and more are also available for purchase online. Be sure to check out Tea Lady on Facebook and Instagram for seasonal specials.
The 1: Food & Spirits
The 1: Food & Spirits is located inside the BLU-Tique hotel, in the United 1 Building in the Historic Arts District. The building used to house the headquarters of the United Cigar Store Company in the 1920s. Now, it’s been restored to its neoclassical revival splendor and offers beautiful views of downtown Akron for hotel guests, fine food, handcrafted cocktails, and of course, live jazz.
Start your meal with Korean Short Rib Tacos, or perhaps Pan Seared Pork Belly. Pair it with a great glass of wine or one of their signature, speakeasy-esque cocktails. If you’re looking to keep things light for the rest of your meal, The 1 offers both a House and a Classic Caesar Salad, as well as three unique flat breads—Spanish Chorizo, Margherita, and Bang Bang Shrimp.
For a heavier entree, try their Gemelli Bolognese or their Unami Dusted Salmon, or perhaps their sizzling Atomic Chili Jack Burger—a short rib and brisket burger topped with ghost pepper seasoning, pepper jack, garlic aioli, pickled red onions, and arugula, all on a brioche bun and served with house fries. For the vegans in the restaurant, they even have the BLU Zone Chick Pea Burger.
Their dessert menu includes a Blueberry & Strawberry Chia Parfait, Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie, and Creme Brulee, all of which go perfectly with their dessert wines.
Time spent at The 1: Food & Spirits is sure to take you back to the age of jazz, and make you feel sophisticated and warm. Learn more about the restaurant and hotel on their website, and check out their dinner and drink menus.
DeJuan's Downtown Akron
DeJuan's is downtown Akron's newest fine dining establishment and the first that's Black owned. They opened in September 2023 on the northwest corner of Main and Exchange Streets, in the location of what was formerly Bricco, and have a menu brimming with prime cuts of steak, seafood, and unique specials.
Begin with the Deep-Fried King Crab Bites accompanied with remoulade sauce, Signature Wings, Lobster & Prawn Bisque, Thai Salad with mango dressing, or one of their other sensational appetizers.
From there, you've got a robust selection of main course options. To name a few: The Cajun Chicken Pasta featuring a Cajun cream sauce, flamed grilled tomatoes, roasted asparagus tops, and fire-roasted artichoke hearts; the Presidential Red Snapper served whole with long-grain rice and sautéed Julian vegetables; the Tomahawk Ribeye Steak topped with Oscar lump crab and béarnaise sauce; or Smothered Turkey Chops served with signature house rice & broccolini.
Finish your meal with their Italian Lemon Cake, Chocolate Truffle Cake, or classic Cheesecake.
DeJuan's has a lovely upscale ambiance and options for a VIP experience. They also have plans to expand onto the second floor of the building with an exclusive, members-only lounge and event space. Learn more about their establishment on their website.