q&a with michael annandona

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve caught on that I’m Italian. And because of this (well, really because of my 95-year-old Sicilian grandmother), I’m incredibly picky when it comes to dining out for Italian. I still mourn the closing of Battuto in Little Italy, but that wound began to heal when I discovered Michaelangelo’s (also in Little Italy) about two years ago. When people ask me a recommendation for Italian, this usually is atop my list. In the Q&A, chef/owner Michael Annandono may not be one for a lot of words, but he more than makes up for it in the kitchen. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking out for yourself.

1. What are the top 5 spices every home chef should have? Kosher salt, course ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, saffron and bay leaves.
2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make? Most favorite is handmade pastas; least favorite is soup.
3. What is your favorite thing about Cleveland and what drives you nuts? Most favorite is the ethnic restaurant scene; least is the reputation of a meat and potato city.
4. If you could cook for one person, alive or passed, who would it be? Jimi Hendrix
5. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland? Chez Francois in Vermillion
6. What restaurant do you miss? The Top of the Town
7. What hidden gem(s) have Clevelanders yet to discover? Michaelangelo’s in Little Italy!
8. What’s your last meal on Earth? Tagliolini alla Bolognese
9. Most unusual food you have every tried? Horse
10. Most famous person you have ever cooked for? Madonna
11. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? Fly fishing guide
12. Favorite TV show? Las Vegas
13. Favorite kitchen gadget? French knife
14. What is the best plate of food you have ever had? Veal Ossobuco
15. What’s your signature dish? Veal Cannelloni
16. Why should someone visit you for dinner? We offer the finest ingredients prepared fresh daily in traditional methods.
17. What’s the inspiration behind your restaurant? Bringing the authentic cuisine of Italy back to Cleveland and serving it in a beautiful and sophisticated atmospher


  1. Kristen
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Somehow (as a Clevelander!) I’ve never been to Little Italy but I’ve always wanted to check it out. I’ll have to take your recommendation and go… I saw some good vegetarian pasta dishes on their menu too!

  2. Posted April 9, 2010 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    The menu looks impressive but I hate when restaurants don’t include the prices in their online menus? What are they trying to hide? Can you give me an idea of the price range? Also wonder what the crowd is typically like. I am thinking about going Friday night.

  3. Michelle V
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Kristen: I can’t believe you’ve never been to Little Italy! Go. Soon. We truly have one of the better ones compared to most major cities. Make sure you go to Presti’s for a piece of pizza and/or doughnut, Corbo’s for a cannoli, the patio at Baricelli in the summer is one of my favorites (amazing cheese selection, 1/2 order of pasta – fantastic), school house galleries, art walk, the feast (go during the day – night is crazy). There’s so much to do. Also, right up the hill is Lake View Cemetery. Now i know this is going to sound odd, but it’s a beautiful cemetery and worth exploring. Garfield, Rockefeller, Ness and more are buried there. It’s kinda cool. When I lived in Clev Hts, it was one of my favorite places to walk, then I’d got to Presti’s for a chocolate covered croissant and coffee!

    Dave: It’s along the lines Fahrenheit. To me, a lot of our restaurants are priced similar to each other and I’d include this one in that mix. As for crowd, that’s also pretty typical. I will say this, the decor of the place is not one of my favorite – it’s a bit on the traditional side. If you read my initial review, you’ll see more.

  4. rockandroller
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    That’s Jimi Hendrix, not Jimmy – I think he turned over in his grave! :)

  5. Michelle V
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Yes of course – that’s what I get for typing to fast (just kidding – too fast). I just love when people point out my typos :)