John Kappes, Cleveland.com
Before Cleveland’s chef revolution, there were a few white-tablecloth restaurants where you could celebrate a graduation, a promotion or an engagement in high style. Giovanni’s, tucked away in a nondescript Beachwood office building, has carried on that tradition since 1976 — and with the kind of top-tier menu we’ve come to expect from our new food stars. The offerings are classic Italian, exquisitely prepared to taste and generous in portions. A Carpaccio di Manza appetizer is a dream of thinly sliced sirloin on a bed of chicory, drizzled in mustard cream, while the entrees range from a majestic veal chop marbled with the perfect proportion of fat to a luscious scallopine bursting with the flavors of marsala and mushrooms. There is also a generous selection of seafood, from tuna steak to clams casino, and pasta dishes. Sides, or contorni, include a wood-grilled asparagus that will forever banish the memories of holiday dinners gone awry. The luxury here is not cheap, but you’ll search for new occasions to lean back and splurge.