Detroit’s Best Restaurants
April 16, 2015
15) Slows Bar B Q
Slows Bar B Q has been earning national recognition and fame for more than a few years running. Located in the heart of Corktown, not too far from where Tiger Stadium used to stand, this big name draws in the crowds. Slows has perfected the art of barbecue in Detroit and has been featured on many national television shows, including a number of Food Network specials highlighting its signature smoked meats and entrées. Though many flock to this diner to eat in — day and night — Slows also offers a “Slows-to-Go” service. They have reinvented the idea of Detroit barbecue, putting Motown on the map alongside some of the South’s best names with their expertly executed ribs, pulled pork, and other barbeque favorites.
14) Green Dot Stables
Green Dot Stables’ self-description on their website reads “Sliders, Fries, Soups & Salads in a casual atmosphere,” and they have clearly enjoyed great success with this simple philosophy. The eatery began as a bar, which closed in 2010. But new owner Jacques Driscoll reopened it as an eatery in the very beginning of 2012, keeping the beloved equestrian-themed décor. The menu has over 20 different sliders with something for everyone, from the tempeh (marinated tempeh, wasabi mayonnaise, and Wakame salad), to the fried bologna (made with Dearborn bologna and grilled onions), to the Korean (beef patty, peanut butter, and kimchi). Best of all, they’re all priced at just $2 to $3 each, so you can try as many as you want without stressing your bank account.
13) Bucharest Grill
Stop by Bucharest Grill for the best shawarma within the city limits. Depending upon which variety you order from the menu, expect a delicious rolled sandwich stuffed to the max with meat, Middle Eastern-style. And non-meat eaters can rejoice, as there are vegetarian options of the same caliber. Slathered with a creamy garlic spread and grilled vegetables and served with fries and slivers of pickles, the marinated and spiced-up sandwiches arrive dressed to impress. Everything is made by hand and is crazy delicious.
12) Inn Season Cafe
Inn Season Cafe is perhaps Royal Oak’s most well-known vegan and vegetarian restaurant, and is located a few blocks north of the usual Main Street hubbub. The pizzas are available with vegan cheese, and so are the (vegetarian) burgers, which are served with coleslaw, blue corn chips, and sauce. Try the cafe’s spaghetti and noodle dishes as well, or order a salad to start off.
11) The Root Restaurant & Bar
Michigan native chef James Rigato has major home state pride. He also has a touch of philosopher in him, demonstrated by his attitude towards Midwestern-sourced food. He has said that “Every decision you make about food, everything you purchase — whether at a restaurant or a grocery store — is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. So let’s use the resources that we have, and put Michigan’s food scene on a national stage.” Sounds like he’s urging us to be the change we wish to see in the world, and we’re happy to give him and his food our vote. It seems that others are, too: the Detroit Free Press named The Root its Restaurant of the Year in 2012. One look at the menu and it’s easy to see why: there’s crispy braised Michigan pork belly, baked Michigan Brie, a Michigan beet salad, house-cured salmon lox, and a char-grilled naturally raised Michigan ribeye.
10) The Rattlesnake Club
First opened in 1988 in Stroh’s historic 300 River Place building, the goal of The Rattlesnake has always been to revive the Detroit dining scene with the use of local and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant overlooks the Detroit River, which allows diners to enjoy views of downtown Detroit and neighboring Windsor; candlelight adds a touch of romance to the evening. The calamari, duck spring rolls, prime rib, and ribeye are all fan favorites.
9) Selden Standard
Fresh and local is on the menu at Selden Standard. Opened last year, this new kid on the block has already won the heart of the city due to its unconventional approach to traditional dishes. Take the mussels, for example, which are chorizo-laden and dressed with cilantro and lime. They’re accompanied by white beans and served with grilled bread that is baked on site. Order a killer craft cocktail and a few shared plates and see what the fuss is about in this chic Midtown eatery.
8) Taquería Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant
At Mi Pueblo, you’ll find fresh homemade tortillas, mouthwatering enchiladas, tacos filled with marinated meats like chorizo and grilled steak, and more than a dozen varieties of tortas. Complete the experience with fresh guacamole to start and drinks like aguas frescas, margaritas, mojitos, and sangria — it’s the best place to go for great Mexican food in Detroit.
7) Wright & Company
Wright & Company is a gastropub and tapas joint located downtown. This is where serious and seductive dining meet. The artfully presented edibles are meticulously prepared for each patron. The staff is passionate about their creations, and it shows — everything that arrives to the table is made with thoughtful care. The handcrafted cocktails are some of the best in town, and the chic décor makes it the perfect place for a rendezvous with a sweetheart or a night out on the town with a group of close friends. The secret entrance adds intrigue to this lovely new spot… if you can find it.
6) Lafayette Coney Island
One of the culinary world’s greatest rivalries rages between two neighboring downtown Detroit hot dog stands: Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island. While the battle over which hot dog tastes better is on par with the fight between Pat’s and Gino’s cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, most locals will tell you that it’s Lafayette all the way, for several reasons. The hot dog has a juicy, salty, smoky snap, the Coney sauce is spot-on, and the fries are crispy. That said, it’s the atmosphere that puts it over the top in our book: While American is shiny and a little charmless, Lafayette is a divey, weathered, eccentric sort of place that hasn’t been renovated in many years, but its charm is palpable, especially in the staff, who’ll most likely bring you your order in less than 30 seconds. In short: it’s the perfect hot dog stand. Their namesake dog is good that it snagged the No. 10 spot on our list of America’s 50 Best Hot Dogs, beating out its storied rival, the Coney at American Coney Island, which came in at #31.
5) Supino Pizzeria
Inspired by a trip to the town of Supino, Italy, where his father was born, chef Dave Mancini spent a jaw-dropping seven years perfecting his dough, which is actually closest to American East Coast-style pizza, with some influences from various Italian styles. Supino Pizzeria caught the eye of Guy Fieri, who featured Mancini and his pizza on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The City Wing Thing pizza was Fieri’s top choice, but the locals call out the Bismark and San Gennaro on Yelp and Foursquare; Supino has also been rated Detroit’s No. 1 pizzeria by Foursquare users.
Torino is yet another Detroit-area restaurant that’s dedicated to showcasing the best of the region’s produce and livestock (have you noticed the emerging theme yet?). Michigan-born chef Garrett Lipar grew up tending his grandparents’ garden and learning about the terroir of Michigan, and began washing dishes in a professional kitchen at just 14 years old. The rest is history, as they say, and today Lipar heads the kitchen of the restaurant that was named the 2014 Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press. More recently, he was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef 2015.
Oftentimes, when a celebrity chef opens a restaurant in the heart of a city’s downtown landscape, it offers little more than high prices and less-than-great quality in an effort to capitalize on a chef’s name. Michael Symon’s Roast has proven time and time again to embody the exact opposite of this philosophy. Symon opened Roast on the ground floor of the historic Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in an 8,000-square-foot facility with three separate dining areas. Roast has won the Detroit Free Press‘ prestigious Restaurant of the Year award and was named the Best Steakhouse and Best General Experience in Detroit by Hour Detroit Magazine. Esquire also recently named Roast Detroit’s beer selection as one of the best in the country.
2) London Chop House
London Chop House was created in 1938 by the Gruber brothers, and in February 2012 it reopened its doors — along with the LCH Cigar Lounge — after a nearly 20-year-long hiatus. At the James Beard award-winning steakhouse, a piano player serenades you while you enjoy your dinner of steaks that range from 6-ounce filet mignon to 32-ounce USDA prime porterhouse. They are served with garlic butter and either au poivre, béarnaise, or chimichurri sauce. Sides such as mac and cheese, potatoes, and vegetables are available à la carte. The restaurant also has a weekday happy hour, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the bar only, that includes appetizers like stacked fries, short rib sliders, shrimp cocktail, and more.
1) Giovanni's Ristorante
Co-owners Frances Cannarsa Truant and her son, chef Randy Truant, bring Old World Italian charm to Detroit with Giovanni's Ristorante. The pastas are homemade and the vegetables and livestock are locally grown, which translates to delicious dishes like funghi alla Giovanni (char-grilled Portobello mushroom marinated in Italian herbs, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, served on a bed of roasted garlic cream sauce); Bolognese sauce served over your choice of freshly made angel hair, linguine, tagliatelle, or fettuccine; three-cheese manicotti with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano; and perfectly baked lasagna comprising thin sheets of house-made pasta layered with meat, cheese, and béchamel.