After a busy morning and afternoon exploring Ohio City, both Charity and I were more than ready for a relaxing evening on Saturday. Charity’s recommendation for dinner that night was L’Albatros, a French Brasserie + Bar in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. I love French cuisine so I was beyond excited to check it out.
University Circle is another gorgeous neighborhood about a 15 minute drive from downtown. It is home to Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and several other impressive cultural and medical institutions. On our way to L’Albatros we drove down Martin Luther King Boulevard so I could catch a glimpse of Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, a collection of 31 public gardens, each commemorating a different ethnic group whose immigrants have contributed to the heritage of the U.S. and Cleveland. I would have loved to spend more time exploring this beautiful area, but our reservation at L’Albatros was waiting!
When we walked into L’Albatros I immediately fell in love. As soon as we stepped in I was greeted by the intoxicating aromas from the open kitchen immediately to our right. The space is split up into smaller sections, making it the perfect setting for an intimate dinner with friends or loved ones. In fact, my cousin and his wife had their first date AND got engaged here, so I think it’s safe to say that L’Albatros does special occasions very well. They also have an outdoor patio that Cleveland.com named one of the top 10 patios in Cleveland this summer and judging by its popularity on this beautiful summer night, it was no wonder why!
Once Charity and I were settled into our cozy corner table that looked out to the patio, we got straight to business and ordered a bottle of wine and an assortment of cheeses. L’Albatros has a “cheese guy” (fromager? cheesemonger? we just went with “cheese guy”) who brings out the full selection of the restaurant’s cheeses to your table and cuts off your pieces right then and there. We opted for a couple funky, a couple soft, and one hard, and we were off to cheese-lovers’ heaven! Served with sliced bread and a little bit of honey and fig jam, this was the perfect way to start a very memorable meal.
After the cheese came the Escargot. I absolutely love escargot and Charity had never tried it before, so this was a no-brainer. L’Albatros’ version is made with toasted garlic and fennel butter (lots and lots of butter) and we both really enjoyed it. The addition of fennel was a twist that I’ve never tried before and it worked very well. Make sure you have a few extra slices of bread to sop up all of that delicious butter, it’s always my favorite part!
We also each ordered a salad to add in a bit of lightness after our first two courses. Charity ordered the popular Radish & Cucumber salad and I ordered their special, mixed greens topped with heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. These were both cool, crisp, fresh salads that hit the spot.
For our main dishes Charity and I both went with fish, Charity with the Roasted Cod, a fixture on the menu, and me with the Amberjack, a special for the evening. The cod was served with spätzle, sauerkraut, crème fraîche, and cornichon aioli – I had a bite and can attest that it is very tasty! My amberjack was served with summer squash and several other great seasonal ingredients. This was my first time eating amberjack and I was very happy with my order.
We were both happily full but just couldn’t say no to dessert. We shared the dark chocolate tart with Meyer lemon curd, not too rich but just enough sweetness to satisfy; it was a great way to end an already fantastic meal.
Our dinner at L’Albatros was my favorite meal during my time in Cleveland. I would definitely rank L’Albatros as my #1 recommendation of where to eat in Cleveland based on my experience and all the great things I’ve heard from others. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion or just in the mood for some delicious food, L’Albatros fits the bill!
*My expenses during my time in Cleveland were paid for by Positively Cleveland. As always, all content on Lion + Maven comes from my own, unbiased thoughts and opinions.