Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Detroit Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


ChocoKitty
 Share

Recommended Posts

I don't know that there are any restaurants in downtown Royal Oak that merit a drive from Ann Arbor unless you had other reasons to be in the area (like the zoo.) That's not to knock Royal Oak as there probably aren't more than a handful of places in metro Detroit worth driving far for, solely for that purpose.

Ferndale is also an option -- it's restaurants are just a mile south of the zoo, not that much further than downtown Royal Oak.

There are places in Royal Oak I haven't been to that I intend to try at some point. If I had to pick a place for a nice dinner that I hadn't tried before, it'd probably be Lepanto. For novelty (as well as hopes of good food), I'd like to try Bastone, a Belgian brewpub on Main (it actually shares space with Cafe Habana mentioned above), and Inn Season, which is vegetarian -- though Ann Arbor has Seva, so I guess that wouldn't be so novel for you.

If I had to pick a place for dinner in Royal Oak that I'd already tried, it'd probably be Fiddleheads, which I mentioned far upthread. But it's not in the downtown, and if you're going to drive there, then you might as well start considering options in Birmingham, Troy, Clawson, Madison Heights, Ferndale, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know that there are any restaurants in downtown Royal Oak that merit a drive from Ann Arbor unless you had other reasons to be in the area (like the zoo.)  That's not to knock Royal Oak as there probably aren't more than a handful of places in metro Detroit worth driving far for, solely for that purpose.

In this case, I wouldn't be coming from Ann Arbor, but from the airport, so it's a drive to wherever we end up. I was mostly thinking that Royal Oak can be an interesting place to walk around. And if one were to find themselves there around a meal time, where are the worthwhile places to go?

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought of another place in downtown Detroit for you - Vicente's Cuban Cuisine: http://www.metrotimes.com/metropolis/resta...ace.asp?id=9537

Parking is easier over on that side of downtown.

You could do a walking tour of downtown Detroit from there - assuming the weather is good. Go through the Renaissance Center, exit at their Wintergarden, go down along the RiverWalk, and then to the Guardian Building.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously I don't know your tastes, and maybe it's just because I live in Royal Oak, but I wonder if downtown Birmingham isn't a better choice for a walking tour + restaurant. You just drive up Woodward from the zoo for five miles, park in a structure (1st two hours are free), and take in the stores, galleries, people, parks, library, movies, cafes, whatever. You'd have your pick of places to eat: my wife likes 220, my coworker likes City Cellar, you've got your upscale fish (Mitchell's) and steak (Cameron's), your upscale restaurant-in-a-hotel (Rugby Grille at the Townsend), the nowhere-else-even-in-Ann Arbor ethnic (Pampas Brazilian Grille). and the foodies' choice (Forte). Maybe the last? I wasn't completely thrilled the only time I was there, but could see how I might be on a different day ordering something different. And more knowledgeable and more professional people than I on this forum have endorsed it.

If you are in Royal Oak, I don't mean to discourage you from any of the places I've mentioned. I'm sure all will be at least decent. There's also Sangria, which is the only Spanish restaurant in the area. But I haven't been in over ten years, and since there are places in Ann Arbor which serve tapas now, the novelty factor is probably diminished. There are a pair of Japanese places, Little Tree Sushi and Katana, prominently standing next door to each other on Main, looking hip, which I know nothing about. The Thai and Middle Eastern places are all OK, but I personally find most such restaurants here and in Ann Arbor rather cookie cutter-like in their sameness. Zumba is really just a hut and a counter, but delivers a tasty burrito. Pronto! is a casual but fair place for breakfast, sandwiches, and cookies. Um, there are some restaurants there which aren't unique to Royal Oak: Andiamo, Tom's Oyster Bar, Tokyo Sushi, but that doesn't mean they're bad, and they don't have outposts in Ann Arbor. I haven't tried D'Amato's mostly because I didn't like the D'Amato's in Ann Arbor, but that's silly because the two are apparently unrelated, nor have I tried Lily's Seafood yet, just because I haven't. Um, OK, this taken with the previous posts has become something like a near-exhaustive list. Most other places probably aren't worth mentioning either because they're bad or merely plain (grilled meats and carbs, Oxford Inn is probably your best bet for this kind) or chain.

This isn't really a recommendation, but I guess everybody should try Red Coat Tavern once. It's on Woodward between Royal Oak and Birmingham. The service can be poor, it's usually loud and crowded, and there's that horrible red lighting. But some guides claim they serve the best burgers in the area. I've been several times and they are quite good.

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

New ISO:

My time in the Detroit area is coming to an end pretty shortly. I have a good friend who had spent some time living in Morocco. I would love to take her out to a great Moroccan restaurant before I leave - both she and I have been craving some besteeya and lamb tagine.

Does anyone know of a traditional Morrocan restaurant in the Detroit area that serves besteeya?

Thanks!

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never heard of a Moroccan restaurant in Detroit. The closest I can think of would be Ayse's Cafe in Ann Arbor, which is Turkish. Clear across the Mediterranean Sea, but different from the usual Middle Eastern choices.

I did a search in the Metro Times restaurant guide and the only restaurants that came up had Moroccan accents, but weren't Moroccan per se.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks annarborfoodie.

Yep, I've looked through that search guide to no avail. That's really disappointing to hear! I absolutely LOVE Moroccan cuisine and I can't believe that a city as diverse as Detroit is void of any options! :sad:

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Wanted to quickly mention Christine's Cuisine in Ferndale, as I had dinner there last night. It's well-known in the area for serving unusually good, inexpensive food in a casual setting. (Perhaps too casual, my wife thought -- strip mall, loud music, paper napkins -- but nice touches too -- flowers, framed photos for sale, etc.) It's on Nine Mile but on the other (east) side of Woodward from where most of the restaurants are. It received a mention in Gourmet a couple years ago, among other things.

They are particularly known for Eastern European specialties, and we shared a combo platter of pierogi, kielbasa, and sauerkraut. My wife had a bacon burger with fries. I had chicken noodle soup and beef burgundy. Chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. Everything was exemplary.

Metro Times review here. We did not, in fact, have "soup out of a plastic cup" and "plastic cutlery."

http://www.metrotimes.com/guide/restaurant...iew.asp?id=3945

And here's the bit from Gourmet:

http://www.epicurious.com/restaurants/feat.../rest04/detroit

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

If anyone is interested in sunday brunches, there is an odd but interesting situation at Club Barts on Woodward in Ferndale. During normal operating hours Club Bart is more of a shot and a beer bar, but the space is used in the morning for an inspiring menu put on by a few women who rent the kitchen. Pass by either that or Toast just further up Woodward and you'll find swarms of hipsters waiting for tables.

Also, Xhedos on 9 mile, does a totally vegan brunch. Caleb is the owner of the cafe and has chosen to serve Lavazza as his espresso and drip for reasons one ought to hear from him. He is one of the only people I know who also employs the naked bottomless portafilter to reduce acidity in the shot.

Earlier someone mentioned Frostbites, also in Ferndale. A passing thought; wouldn't it have been way cooler of the management to have chosen a more obscure local artisan gelato than Stroh's Ice cream? Perhaps tammylc or Ulterior Epicure could suggest something?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cooking classes are offered by Bill and Shanni Apodaca on Vinsetta Boulevard in Royal Oak. They have expanded their personal kitchen to accomodate the growing classes, and I believe they are looking for spaces even larger now. It doesn't hurt that Bill was once a sous chef for Takashi Yagihashi, and that his wife, Shanni, is a born natural. The business in aptly titled Simply Good. Beyond being fantastic people they teach high end food in a comfortable, non threatening, unpretentious manner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Damn, I was in Ferndale last week and the week before and should have read this thread while I was visiting my mom. We were trying to think of somewhere to eat, having been kinda disappointed at Via Nove last summer and figuring Maria's Front Room would be too tiny for a table of 6. I'll pass on Christine's and Club Bart's to mom and sis though.

(We ended up at Bastone in Royal Oak, kind of our fallback place.)

-Kelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just had a business dinner at City Cellar in Birmingham. It was good. I'd go back.

Here's the website:

http://bigtimerestaurants.com

It is part of a group (including two other City Cellars), but all of the other restaurants are in Florida. I had the goat cheese salad and yellow fin tuna. Our menus were not quite what's posted on the website, and the preparations of these two items were not the same as what's on the web menu. There's also a sushi/sashimi menu that's not on the web, and I had a couple of pieces.

Here's the Metro Times review. Among other things, it explains why this restaurant is here in Michigan, what with all of its siblings from Florida.

http://www.metrotimes.com/guide/restaurant...iew.asp?id=8408

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife and I ate at Jeremy last Friday. We go about once a year. It's still good but every year it slips a little in our hearts. If you read the reviews from years past, they'll inevitably mention the small menu (only five entrees!) and the quality such concentration allows. I didn't count, but every time we go, the menu seems to get bigger. And now there's a "casual" entrees section. (Overheard at the next table, as a couple sat down and opened their menus, "ooooh, they have spaghetti!" His companion eventually ordered a burger and fries, and scraped off everything that topped the meat before trying it.)

We had the 3 course early dinner tasting menu. Served from 5:30-6:45, it's undoubtedly a good deal at $24. For salad, my wife had the caesar, which she liked very much, though it didn't seem particularly notable to me. I had their greens salad, which was, I think, unchanged from previous years, and very good though I'm still a little dissatisfied with their treatment of the red onions. I also ordered a calamari appetizer which was good at first but eventually became rather hard to eat. My fault, as I've yet to have a really good calamari experience in the area, even at fine places, but occasionally I'll forget and order it anyway. My wife had risotto with corn and peas. I thought it was tasty, though my wife thought that it was not as good as the risotto she had 2 years ago. I had chicken with summer vegetables. Quite good but not bliss-inducing. I should mention a little unhappiness with the available entree choices on the tasting menu which seemed among the less interesting things on the menu. Dessert was a lemon poundcake with fruit and ice cream. We both enjoyed this.

Metro Times Review (from 2003)

http://www.metrotimes.com/guide/restaurant...iew.asp?id=8541

And here is ulterior epicure's review (2005 or 2006?):

http://ulteriorepicure.blogspot.com/2006/0...s-focus_10.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update. I had a reservation once that I cancelled due to an ice storm, and ever since then I've been thinking about going back but not made it. Your review doesn't give me much incentive to head all the way up to Keego Harbor - looks like I've missed the Jeremy window.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Is there anything that is unusual, different, ethnic, or extraordinarily good in the Canton-Plymouth-Westland-Northville-Livonia area? Especially if it is one of those "find" type of restaurants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there anything that is unusual, different, ethnic, or extraordinarily good in the Canton-Plymouth-Westland-Northville-Livonia area?  Especially if it is one of those "find" type of restaurants.

You might want to look into Emily's in Northville for special occasions. I have not yet been disappointed.Emily's Restaurant

Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another fellow Metro-Detroiter checking in. I'm in Mt. Clemens. :smile:

Welcome to eGullet, Matcha Eyes.

From my time in Macomb County in the 80s, I seem to remember Mt. Clemens as pretty much a restaurant wasteland. How's it doing nowadays?

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there anything that is unusual, different, ethnic, or extraordinarily good in the Canton-Plymouth-Westland-Northville-Livonia area?  Especially if it is one of those "find" type of restaurants.

Everest Express, a Nepalese restaurant with a lot of personality (in a good way, though allow plenty of time for your meal) isn't far from Livonia. (They have two restaurants -- I'm not talking about the one in Royal Oak, which is farther from your specified area and also more expensive.)

Matsuchan is an awesome Japanese ramen restaurant that seems very authentic (most of the customers are Japanese, and they have a lot of things I haven't seen anywhere else). It's in Canton. Here's a review.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadly Macomb County still is a restaurant wasteland. This county was built for the suburban strip-mall way of life. I remember the first and only time I dined at Andiamos on the waterfront... I thought that was classy lol. I'm a novice foodie that still has yet to have a truly wonderful dining experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had dinner at Brasserie Zinc in West Bloomfield (Orchard Lake Rd. just south of Maple), which has been open for 2+ years, but was only just reviewed this May in the Detroit News:

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...=73254184258388

It's owned by the people who own Redcoat. (The Redcoat burger is on the menu.) Nothing we ate was outright bad -- I don't regret eating there -- but nor did anything strike me as much more than OK. My wife is more positive about the experience, I think. Me, I'd rather just have a Redcoat burger.

I had the mussels and fries dish cited in the review above as well as the house greens salad and profiterole for dessert.

Portions are very large. Restaurant was very loud for my taste.

Here's the Metrotimes review from 2004 which is a little out-dated (we didn't see the half-glass wine "tastes" mentioned in this article, for example). The reviewer's opinion that the entrees she tasted needed "fine-tuning" matches my general thinking on why I didn't care more for the food.

http://www.metrotimes.com/guide/restaurant...iew.asp?id=8768

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity, has anyone here been to Il Posto? I recently looked through an old issue of Hour magazine and saw it listed as 2006 Restaurant of the year. Is it really as great as the magazine makes it out to be?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ate at Il Posto once one or two years ago. Except for the calamari appetizer (as I've said upthread, I've yet to have an irreproachable calamari experience in the area), everything was very enjoyable. I haven't eaten at all the well-known Italian places in the area, so I can't absolutely say where Il Posto ranks. But I think, of those I've tried, it's probably been the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ate at Il Posto once one or two years ago.  Except for the calamari appetizer (as I've said upthread, I've yet to have an irreproachable calamari experience in the area), everything was very enjoyable.  I haven't eaten at all the well-known Italian places in the area, so I can't absolutely say where Il Posto ranks.  But I think, of those I've tried, it's probably been the best.

If you want an irreproachable calamari experience, visit Monahan's Seafood Market in Ann Arbor.

Not fine dining in atmosphere, but the calamari are awesome. (So's the rest of the food.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...