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Published: Thursday, 10/1/2009

Dining Guide

Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top.

•Call of the Canyon Cafe, 109 Main St., Bowling Green, serves light meals and loads of ambience. Outstanding desserts are worth the calories after the healthy and varied salads and sandwiches. The Calamity (Sarah) Jane salad with dried cherries and pecans is worth the visit, as is the fall apple salad. $ 3 stars.

•Campus Oasis, 3303 Dorr St. at Secor near the University of Toledo, has six venues serving Mediterranean and Tex-Mex fare, gyros, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and entrees such as ribs and lasagna. Beverages include a raw juice bar, fruit smoothies, shakes, malts, coffees, teas, hookahs, and alcohol but not beer and wine at this time. $ 3 stars.

•Mancy's Italian Grill, 5453 Monroe St. With an atmosphere heavy on amber colors and redolent with the smell of food coming from the wood stoves, Mancy's Italian is easy to settle into. The menu features a number of delicious steaks, Italian entrees, seafood, and wood-grilled entrees. Try the 12-year old restaurant's pizza for lunch. $$$ 4 stars.

•Quarters Bar & Grill, 27072 Carronade Dr., Perrysburg, has an intriguing and varied menu highlighted by great homemade soups and an outstanding take on the fried Monte Cristo sandwich. Too many of the other items, however, fall flat in terms of providing much flavor. $$ 2 stars.

•City Hall Grille & Drinks, 315 South Reynolds Rd., is a casual diner masquerading as an upscale restaurant with average to very good food. Its St. Louis-style ribs and New York strip steak are OK, but its meat grape leaves, grilled chicken breast (featuring a wonderful Greek marinade), and reuben sandwich are delicious. $$ 3 stars.

w Bangkok Cafe, 3401 Woodville Rd., Northwood, may lack elegance, but it compensates with hospitality, value, and remarkable Thai cuisine. The pad thai, a noodle dish in a pungent sauce with fresh vegetables, is one of the best in the area. $ 3 stars.

w Yang's Gourmet House, 4446 Heatherdowns Blvd., is low-key and unpretentious. The food is pretty standard Chinese-American served in ample portions. Chef's specialties are generally excellent, and the combination plates are good value for the money. $$ 3 stars.

w Elephant Bar, 5001 Monroe St. at Westfield Frankin Park, has a large, intimidating menu that highlights international fare. Some of the entrees, such as a garlich noodles and shrimp stir fry, are mediocre, and some, including the misoyaki fire-grilled salmon, are sublime. $$ 3 stars

w PizzaPapalis, 519 Monroe St., offers a tasty Chicago-style deep dish pizza unlike anything else around the area. It's savory, it's cheesy, and it's really, really filling. The rest of the menu is solid with a smattering of traditional Italian dishes and sandwiches. Add in the location next to Fifth Third Field and you've got a hit. $$ 3 stars

w Poco Piatti, 3155 Chappel Drive in Perrysburg's Levis Commons, serves small and large plates with fine Lebanese, Italian, and Greek dishes and pitchers of sangria. And there's some good vegetarian fare in this chic villa-style restaurant that shares flavors with the Beirut Restaurant. $$$ 4 stars.

w Korea Na, 536 South Reynolds Rd., Toledo, is an easy way to get a taste of Korea. Although service can be slow, mavens of grilled meat will love the bulgogi and kalbi in their smoky sweet sauces. Dolsot bibim bab is a heavenly take on fried rice. Entrees are served with a sampling of Korean side dishes, including kimchee. $$ 4 stars.

w Yeeha's Buckin Bar and Grill, 3150 Navarre Ave., Oregon, shines during the lunch hour with excellent burgers and a variety of chicken wraps. With a full dinner menu the country-themed restaurant has plenty of options. Yeeha's features live country music every Friday and Saturday night. $$ 3 stars.

w B.J.'s Hide-A-Way, 506 South Lallendorf Rd., Oregon, is a gem of a restaurant across from Pearson Park. Lunches are good, basic fare such as burgers, salads, and wraps, but the dinners are marvelous, running the gamut from prime rib to potato-cloaked Lake Erie walleye to tomato basil tortellini. The desserts are excellent, too. $$ 3 stars.

w The Fairways Bar & Grille, 8256 West Central Ave., isn't about country club chic. (It's not even located on a golf course.) Instead, look for reasonably priced meat-and-potatoes meals. The giant salads are a particularly good value, and the homemade baked French onion soup is a hole in one. $$ 3 stars.

w Budapest Restaurant, 3314 Monroe St., provides hearty homemade dishes - meat, starch, gravy - and time travel (culinary and decor). Recommended are chicken paprikas, Hungarian beef goulash, stuffed cabbage, chicken soup, and crepes. $ 3 stars.

w Sori Sushi, 5236 Monroe St., offers Japanese cuisine that is quite good but occasionally a little dull. The sashimi is exceptional, and their children's entrees are enviable. But the jury is still out on the california crunch roll and the tempura ice cream. $$$ 3 stars.

w Shai Mediterranean Cafe, 5236 Monroe St., Suite A, provides excellent, fresh Middle Eastern and American food at a reasonable price. The platters are hardy without being overwhelming and the food is fresh and healthy. The restaurant includes an espresso bar, making this a good place for a cup of coffee, lunch, or dinner. $ 3 stars

w Red Wells, 301 River Rd., Maumee, is the latest outlet in a Toledo institution known for its gravy-covered hot roast beef sandwiches. Served cafeteria style, the food - with the exception of the delicious turkey sandwich - borders on the ordinary, but it's ample and the prices are decent. $ 2 stars

w Cinco de Mayo, 304 East Alexis Rd., proves the old adage that it's what's inside that counts. The tacos, chimichangas, and other traditional Mexican dishes are filled with delicious, savory, well-flavored meats. A few items lack oomph, but overall the menu is reason to celebrate. $$ 3 stars.

w Georgette's Grounds & Gifts, 311 Conant St., Maumee, serves good coffees, teas, chai, soups, quiches, and smoothies. Sandwiches are a tad skimpy, service is pokey. It's attached to a large gift shop that sells fair-trade items made by Third World artisans. $ 3 stars.

w Indian Jewel of Toledo, 6711 Airport Hwy., Holland, offers well prepared and presented Indian cuisine in a relaxing environment. The exceptional lunch buffet, with stand-outs like the spicy chili chicken, is a remarkably fast way to sample popular items on par with the dinner menu. Dinner appetizers and entrees were flavorful and generous, but the service was extraordinarily slow. $$ 3 stars.

w Michael's Cafe & Bakery, 101 Main St., makes some of the best sandwiches in Toledo. Their Rocky Mountain hoagie, portobello sub and Santa Fe chicken wrap are exceptional. Toss in a dizzying assortment of pastries and desserts and this is one of the downtown area's top lunch spots. $$ 3 stars.

w Yoko Japanese Restaurant, 465 West Dussel Drive, Maumee, is a low-key kind of place that serves excellent tempura. Some of the sauces seemed too sweet for the entrees and there's only one salad, but the seafood and steak were perfectly prepared. $$ 3 stars.

w Bad Bob's BBQ, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford, isn't all bad, but some of its takes on southern classics were bland and uninspired. The pulled pork featured on the big hawg sandwich and the barbecue plate was meaty, moist, and flavorful. The Brunswick stew and rack of ribs, however, missed the mark. $ 2 stars.

w Sports Venue Bar and Grill, 7625 Sylvania Ave., is a top-notch sports bar with a variety of entrees, chicken wings, onion rings, burgers, and beer specials that make it the perfect place to watch a game or hang out with friends. Toss in a first-rate New York strip steak and this place is a winner. $$ 3 stars.

w El Nuevo Vallarta, 3330 West Central Ave., offers the sloppy, cheesy style of Mexican cuisine that is so popular with Toledoans. What the menu lacks in creativity, it usually makes up for with some sort of special sauce, more-then-generous servings, and the eye-popping, fluorescent decor that fills the restaurant. $$ 2 stars

w Bangkok Kitchen, 582 West Dussel Dr., Maumee, is a small Thai jewel that features big flavor and friendly service. A consistent emphasis on freshness is typified by the homemade soups and refreshing salads. Beautifully executed sauces are featured in the sublime curries and noodles. $$$ 5 stars.

w The Water's Edge, in the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park, 1750 State Park Rd. No. 2, Oregon, will serve you a decent meal in a lovely setting. Steaks, chicken, fish, pasta, and salads are cooked well but sans delightful flourishes. Melted cheese on many items adds nothing, and sauteed foods swim in too much oil. $$$ 3 stars.

•The Real Seafood Co., 22 Main St. at the Docks, continues to be a class act, serving broiled, sauteed, and grilled seafood with creative sauces in one of Toledo's loveliest settings. The restaurant also does a fine job with steak. $$$; 5 stars.

•Fat Fish Blue, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. A party atmosphere makes Fat Fish Blue a fun and festive place to enjoy Cajun-American food. The seafood is top-notch, but the restaurant specializes in good steaks, tasty appetizers, and a wide-variety of drinks. Go on a Friday or Saturday night and you'll likely find a local or national blues, rock or rhythm and blues band on stage. $$$ 3 stars.

•The Briarfield Cafe, 3220 Briarfield Blvd., in Monclova Township, offers comfort food in a comfy atmosphere. With breakfast offered all day and a variety of salads, sandwiches, and homemade dinner entrees such as meatloaf, all that's missing is a more robust flavor. $$ 2 stars.

•Grape Leaf Diner, 909 South McCord Rd., is a Lebanese/American diner that serves up heaping plates of Middle Eastern comfort food. The portions are huge and the dishes are uniformly consistent, whether it's the grilled kabobs or the veggie-heavy beef ghalaba. The hummus is perfect for dipping the complimentary pita chips. $$ 3 stars.

•Restaurant Pacific, 7629 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, is the Asian-fusion choice that is safe for those wary of a walk on the wild side. First-rate sushi, particularly the red dragon roll, and distinctive entrees such as the pineapple chicken are served in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. $$$ 4 stars.

•Glendale Garden Cafe, 2521 Glendale Ave., serves decent food at a decent price in a casual environment. The 12-page menu is overwhelming, but the broiled perch, bourbon tenderloin beef, and chicken salad croissant are winners. $ 3 stars.

•Pam's Corner, 116 10th St., provides splashes of color, a seasoned staff, and solid lunch fare with delicious homemade soups, sandwiches, and fine salads. A bit hard to find, tucked behind a downtown parking lot, but worth the search. $ 4 stars.

•Jo-Jo's Original Pizzeria, 4336 Monroe St., is a simple neighborhood hangout where pizza is king. The thin-sliced stuff here is some of the best in town. The menu offers a surprisingly wide variety, including a smorgasbord of bar-style appetizers and standout stromboli. $$ 3 stars.

•Fortune Inn Restaurant, 6725 W. Central Ave., is an unassuming Chinese restaurant that provides great food at affordable prices. The wait staff is gregarious and the appetizers and entrees are consistently excellent. Try the Fortune Inn Special, a perfectly-balanced mix of fat shrimp, lobster, chicken and mixed vegetables in a subtle white sauce. $$ 4 stars.

•The Mango Tree, 217 South Reynolds Rd., serves huge portions to a loyal clientele. The menu features steak, veal marsala, chicken Mango, Scottish salmon, and crab cakes, among many other meals. A few minor glitches from the kitchen and a tired interior are all that keep this South End staple from being first-rate. $$$ 3 stars.

•Tony Packo's Caf, 1902 Front St., is an East Toledo institution that has served up flavorful Hungarian fare for more than 75 years - such belly-busting dishes as Hungarian sausage, chicken paprikas, chili, stuffed cabbage with tomato kraut, and homemade strudel. The eatery now boasts five locations, but the original East Side outlet remains the most interesting and nostalgic. $$ 4 stars.

•Stella's Restaurant & Bar, 104 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg, is an upscale, art-strewn eatery that serves such tempting choices as steak, lamb, ribs, seafood, pasta, sandwiches, and chicken Chadwick with artichoke hearts, shrimp, and hollandaise. $$$ 4 stars.

•Naslada Bistro, 182 South Main St., Bowling Green, specializes in the rib-sticking comfort foods of Bulgaria, as well as European fare from Greece, Turkey, Italy, and beyond. Among the choices are moussaka, goulash stroganoff, pork loin in burgundy sauce, shish kabob, panini sandwiches, and Russian potato salad. $ 3 stars.

•Maumee Chop House, 1430 Holland Rd., Maumee, is an upscale eatery that favors classic over trendy, both in dcor and food. The accent is on prime steak, pork and veal chops, and seafood ranging from lobster and king crab to swordfish and sea bass. $$$$ 5 stars.

•Monroe Street Diner, 4514 Monroe St., is a typical breakfast and lunch eatery with a delightfully off-kilter nature. Fifty-seven clocks clutter the walls, and the food ranges from bacon, sausage gravy, and monster omelets for breakfast to grilled sandwiches and hot platters for lunch. $ 3 stars.

•The Melting Pot, 5839 Monroe St., Sylvania, brings back the fondue style of eating. Patrons of the national chain do their own cooking and dipping of the food, which ranges from steak and chicken to shrimp, lobster, cheese, and veggies, along with fruits and brownies dunked in warm chocolate for dessert. $$$$ 2 stars.

•Al Smith's Place, 3550 Executive Pkwy., is a modest restaurant that's a favorite stop for people interested in reasonably priced home-cooked food such as meat loaf, roast beef and mashed potatoes, chicken dinners, all-day breakfasts, homemade pies, and bread pudding. $ 3 stars.

•Fifi's Reprise, 1423 Bernath Pkwy., is all about elegance, with fine food prepared exquisitely, including the signature boeuf au fromage ($29), veal marsala ($25.50), New Zealand rack of lamb ($29.50), and various seafoods at market price. The service is sometimes bewildering, ranging from overly paternalistic one night to surprisingly mediocre on a night we dropped in without a reservation. $$$$ 4 stars.

• Mancino's Pizza & Grinders, 6650 Centers Dr., Holland, one of five area outlets, serves up pizza, salads, spaghetti and meatballs, and two dozen terrific sub sandwiches, including the signature Italian sub that bulges with goodness. $$ 3 stars.

•The Seafood, 5504 Alexis Rd., Sylvania, serves a wide array of food in an unpretentious setting. The accent naturally is on seafood - perch, grouper, redfish, tilapia, crab, shrimp, lobster tails, frog legs, and other seagoing creatures. Landlubbers can choose among steaks, burgers, chicken, pasta, and salads. $$ 3 stars.

•Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi, 6190 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg, is an architecturally elegant restaurant that serves such familiar Asian fare as hibachi-grill meals, sushi, teriyaki, lettuce wraps, chicken, lamb, and seafood. But it also prepares excellent steaks, including incomparable Wagyu beef, a very expensive variation of Kobe beef from Japan. $$$ 4 stars.



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