So my office had a Friday luncheon out to celebrate my coworkers birthday. It also served as farewell to me for maternity leave as that would be my last day in the office, because little did we know I would deliver that upcoming Sunday.
Anytime someone in our office has a birthday, we ask where they want to go and schedule to go for a late lunch. Timing is important, because on a Friday, we like to celebrate with libations and therefore don’t go back to the office after. In this instance, it was Jazmin’s birthday and she chose a very cute place close to the office that we all love.
I called ahead and made reservations for our entire team for 1:30, which was closer to lunch ending at 2pm (which I recommend because this place tends to get busy at lunch). Lucky for us it was a beautiful day out and this is literally walking distance from our office on Public Square. I was asked if we wanted to eat on the patio, but I chose inside because it was very windy. Not just that, but this particular restaurant sits in a high traffic area for those walking downtown and I saw that as more of a distraction during our lunch. We are a small group and we like to engage in table conversations so I think a table inside was the best decision. I will say, in a different setting like maybe with girlfriends, I would have opted to people watch on the patio during a happy hour.
Anywho, I’ve been here multiple times and I just love the ambiance. You walk into a very clean, fully open and spacious room. From the front door you can see every table, the large countertop bar towards the back of the space, and you can even see into the kitchen. The natural light (which if you’ve read any of my past articles you know I love) fills the entire space. The front floor to ceiling windows look onto the patio, but also onto public square. The walls are white which really ties into the entire “pure theme” of this restaurant in my opinion. There’s also some really cool fancy, decor hanging from the ceiling, not sure what it’s called exactly but its appealing.
The tables and chairs are modern (yet comfortable) and perfectly spaced out. I’m very particular about my personal space and I like to have private conversations without feeling like the person next to me can hear what I’m saying. For that reason, this place is a great option during the day for lunch meetings or in the evening for dates. The lighting colors inside also change, which to me is kind of cool. In the evenings the room is dim, so the lighting is everything.
So now that you know the setting, let me tell you about the food! First, the owner is Chef Brandt Evans who is one of the top chefs in the state. As if that isn’t telling enough, I’ll just say the food is really good. By that I mean all across the board, healthy, great portions (so very filling) and reasonably priced. Don’t worry if you’re vegetarian, vegan or looking for gluten free options, this menu has them all! Anytime our office goes to eat, my boss orders tons of appetizers for us to try. This time we had Vegan Nachos (refried beans, grilled scallions, guacamole, tomato and vegan nacho cheese), and Korean Friend Chicken Wings (korean bbq, sriracha aioli) served with a side of kimchee coleslaw.
At this time, I was still pregnant with gestational diabetes but as always I started with my favorite thing on their menu the African Peanut Stew. This is made of sweet potatoes, curry and peanuts and is gluten free and vegan. I usually order it without the peanuts on top but this time I forgot to mention that. Not bad with I just prefer without. I was concerned how this bowl of soup would affect my blood sugar since it was made of sweet potatoes, so I only ordered veggies– collard greens and asparagus as my meal. I did try the nachos and one wing as well and was pleased with everything. Everyone at the table ordered something different but the one thing that stood out the most was the PV Burger which I’ve always heard was good but have yet to try. Definitely on my list for future visits.
So this place isn’t a fancy steakhouse, but it’s the perfect balance of wanting to go to a very nice restaurant, with the perfect atmosphere but without spending a ridiculous amount of money. It’s great for a casual gathering of friends, or dinner date, it’s also a cool place to stop and have a drink while walking and enjoying downtown. During the day I think its family friendly but I would reserve evenings (in my opinion) for adults. What I also love about this place is that it can be rented out for private events. It’s just a great space, not too big and in the heart of downtown. They also provide catering. I’ll be honest parking here is a challenge, but thats really most places downtown. Just plan to find a garage nearby or street parking in order to have lunch or dinner here during the week or weekend. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday until 2pm then then reopen for dinner starting at 5pm. They also have a good happy hour from 4-6pm.
So if you’re downtown, planning on going downtown or simply looking for new options definitely try Pura Vida and let them now you read about them on #CourtneyCoversCleveland.