Tour of Heights patio dining spots

Pretty white lights augment Lopez's lovely patio that overlooks Lee Road.

“Al fresco” dining is one of summer’s pleasures. There’s a sweet satisfaction to sipping a cool beverage with good company while enjoying a breeze and a tasty dish as the sun goes down. The Heights area, particularly on Lee Road and the Cedar-Fairmount areas, abounds with wonderful patio dining options. Here are some favorites along with suggested dishes and drinks to sample.

Lopez Pretty white lights augment this lovely patio that overlooks Lee Road, which is a great spot to people watch. The leafy tree provides shade from the summer heat while tall ceramic heaters offer insurance for chilly nights. Best of all, the irresistible golden margaritas $7.90 (and tequilas) are half-off on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Try: Mushroom-goat cheese quesadilla $15 and limon frozen mojito $7.50 (on a good night, tastes like a Dairy Queen lime Star Kiss).

Brennan’s Colony The Colony is sporting an impressive, roomy brick patio out back with a full, covered bar, tables and ceramic heaters. Enter from the front of the restaurant or through the gate in the back for a relaxing, low-key night. Take your pick from two menus: one comprised of sandwiches, salads and fried appetizers and another which changes slightly daily and features full dinners with many fish options. Try: “All-World” burger $6.50 and Blue Moon on tap $4.

Marotta’s This cozy Italian spot boasts rich, satisfying entrees and an Italian-only wine list. Marotta’s is a member of Cleveland Independents and locally owned and operated. The patio is enclosed by brick, which eliminates any glimpse of the massive parking lot in the back. Recent specials featured a delicious, cold cantaloupe soup sprinkled with prosciutto crisps and black peppercorn for $6. Try: Rosetto (gnocchi, sausage and roasted red peppers in a tomato cream sauce) $22 and organically produced rosso guggiolo $8.

Nighttown The elaborate, year-round patio was a wonderful addition to this Cleveland Heights institution. In summer, the walls and ceiling are retracted for open-air dining, while in the off-season, the glass-enclosed patio protects diners from the elements. A waterfall splashes over a brick wall that separates diners from busy Cedar Road, and a pergola offers protection from summer heat. Live music is offered seven nights a week. Try: halloumi kabobs (skewered Cyprian sheep and goat’s milk cheese, grilled veggies and chive oil over a pilaf) $13.95 and Riesling by the glass $6.50.

Mad Greek Tucked just below the parking lot for privacy, this summer’s new patio investment has been very well received and offers an immensely different dining experience from the indoor cafe. A cascading waterfall, pergola and umbrella tables welcome guests. Sample a variety of Greek and Indian dishes. Try: spanakopitakia $8.50, gyro platter $15.50 and White Sands mojito $7.95.

Per her grandmother, Christina Klenotic is a “good eater” who never met a carb she didn’t like. She enjoys sampling eclectic restaurants, galleries and neighborhoods, which is why she loves Cleveland Heights.

Lopez2196 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights216.932.9000www.lopezonlee.comMonday – Thursday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.Friday – Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.Sunday: 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Brennan’s Colony2299 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights
216.371.1010Monday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.Sunday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Marotta’s2289 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights216.932.9264www.marottas.comMonday – Thursday: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.Friday – Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.No reservations

Nighttown12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights216.795.0550www.nighttowncleveland.comMonday –Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday: brunch 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. / dinner 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Mad Greek2466 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights
216.421.3333www.madgreekcleveland.comMonday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.Sunday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Read More on Restaurant Reviews
Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 6:49 PM, 07.24.2008