The 38 Essential Detroit Restaurants, July 2015

July 07, 2015 | Eater Detroit

It's time for a new edition of the Detroit Eater 38. This quarterly list seeks to identify city's key dining establishments (with a few representatives from the suburbs). The 38 is Eater's answer to that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant..." Here, in alphabetical order, are the restaurants that represent the city's flavor, history, and style, rather than what's buzzy (check the monthly Heatmap for that). This time around we say goodbye to Torino, Motor City Soul Food, Roma Cafe. In their place, you'll find some more established recruits paired with newer editions, including Two James Distillery, Rose's Fine Food, Pho Lucky. The list is updated quarterly. Did we leave out your classic Detroit eatery? Tell us about it. Then take a trip to the forums and let us know what your personal 38 looks like. 1 American Coney Island It's the other half of Detroit's infamous coney challenge, and for that reason American deserves a spot on the list. Serving up their own version of the Detroit coney dog, this diner has its own loyal following of die hard fans, and it is definitely 100 percent Detroit. [Photo] 114 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-7758 MORE 2 Antietam Although it boasts an impeccable menu of modern French cuisine and craft cocktails, Antietam’s standout trait is its carefully honed atmosphere. The dim lighting emanating from knit-chain draped lamps, jewel-toned bar chairs, and other antique details bring out the best in this revitalized Art Deco building near Eastern Market. [Photo] 1428 Gratiot Detroit MI, Detroit, MI 48207 Visit website (313) 782-4378 MORE 3 Baker's Keyboard Lounge It claims to be "the world's oldest jazz bar" and whether or not that's true doesn't really matter. Baker's is a Detroit icon, with an incredible history and soul food menu to match. The fried chicken is everyone's favorite, so don't miss it, and of course the entertainment is legendary. [Photo] 20510 Livernois Avenue Detroit, MI 48221 Visit website (313) 345-6300 MORE 4 Bistro 82 Discover upscale, destination dining and a modern bar atmosphere at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. After opening last year, the bistro proved worthy of the #2 spot on The Detroit Free Press’s Best New Restaurants list. Try the escargot served out of the shell with puff pastry and pistou or the popular marrow appetizer. [Photo] 401 S Lafayette Ave Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website 248-542-0082 MORE 5 Bucharest Grill Just a few steps away from the ballpark, Bucharest Grill is serving up some of the best chicken shawarma in town. The line is pretty much nonstop beginning around lunchtime with people from across town stopping in for a bite or to pick up a 6-pack of take-out. It’s simple, cheap, filling, and classically Detroit. [Photo] 2040 Park Ave. Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 965-3111 MORE 6 Cadieux Cafe With love from Anthony Bourdain from back in his Travel Channel days and a beer menu that's hard to beat, Cadieux Cafe proves that it really is beautiful to be Belgian. [Photo] 4300 Cadieux Road Detroit, MI 48224 Visit website (313) 882-8560 MORE 7 Cafe d'Mongo's A fixture in downtown Detroit since the 80s, this old-fashioned speakeasy offers a no-frills experience with loads of culture. Favorited by Hollywood types looking for a relaxed atmosphere, visitors to this weekends-only night spot are treated more like family than customers. [Photo] 1439 Griswold St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website MORE 8 Cliff Bell's Home to some of the finest jazz and impromptu storytelling in the city, Cliff Bell's also features a serious meal menu. Mac & cheese and any of an assortment of meaty appetizers are a must to start or end an evening out. [Photo] 2030 Park Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2543 MORE 9 Cuisine Set in an historic house, chef Paul Grosz's restaurant serves "impeccable" food in a fine dining atmosphere. A favorite of the theater crowd, it's pricey, but worth it for a special occasion. [Photo] 670 Lothrop Rd Detroit, MI 48202 Visit website (313) 872-5110 MORE 10 El Barzon Restaurante How many Mexican Italian restaurants are there? Probably not that many, and maybe for good reason, but El Barzon is different, with top-notch Mexican food and incredible homemade pasta in the same meal, this restaurant creates a memorable experience that you can't find anywhere else. [Photo] 3710 Junction Street Detroit, MI 48210 Visit website (313) 894-2070 MORE 11 Fountain Bistro Located in Campus Martius, the Fountain Bistro offers one of the city's most beautiful and romantic views with great food to boot. It's on the pricy end, but it's a choice location for an upscale night out on the town, especially for two. 800 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 237-7778 12 Green Dot Stables A wide array of sliders and fries make Green Dot a favorite spot for Detroiters. As a bartender explained, "There's no Happy Hour, because as you can see, everything is so cheap." Indeed. [Photo] 2200 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 965-1523 MORE 13 Hygrade Deli With a long history and a loyal following, Hygrade already has all the reputation they need. It won't surprise fans that celebrity chef Chuck Hughes said their Reuben was the best thing he ate during his week in the city, but why stop there? Everything else gets rave reviews too. [Photo] 3640 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 894-6620 MORE 14 Inn Season Cafe An institution when it comes to Metro Detroit's vegetarian and vegan cuisine, Inn Season has been doing veggies right since 1981. [Photo] 500 E 4th St Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website (248) 547-7916 MORE 15 La Feria Spanish Tapas This establishment has earned its stripes by bringing its popular Spanish tapas to Midtown Detroiters. In the evenings, the restaurant can get slammed with customers, however the warm atmosphere is worth the wait. [ Photo ] 4130 Cass Ave Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website MORE 16 Lafayette Coney Island Lafayette is the classic greasy spoon to American's dressed-up diner. Rather than pass our judgement on the debate over which restaurant is better, we will just say that we really like Lafayette's spinach pie. Their chili is also a marvel. [Photo] 118 W Lafayette Blvd Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 964-8198 MORE 17 London Chop House It's a classic with a storied history that has once again opened its doors. They once hosted all the elite in Detroit, and while this chop house is technically new (reopening in 2012) it's the same location, and many of the same traditions (like a rain check drink, purchased beforehand and paid for by a token). [Photo] 155 W Congress St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 962-0277 MORE 18 Loui's Pizza While Buddy’s receives much of the Detroit-square hype, Loui’s in Hazel Park is an equally beloved venue with a history harkening back to the Detroit-style pizza’s conception. Loui’s offers a casual, no-frills atmosphere with clusters of signed Chianti bottles hanging from the wall alongside Christmas lights, silk flowers, and old Budweiser mirrors. [Photo] 23141 Dequindre Hazel Park, MI 48030 Visit website (248) 547-1711 MORE 19 Motor City Brewing Works Inc One of many downtown beer stations getting attention the national craft brew scene, Motor City Brewing also attracted the eye of the Detroit News' Molly Abraham, who praised the creative pizza and chili options. [Photo] 470 West Canfield Street Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 832-2700 MORE 20 Mudgie's Deli Mudgie's serves sandwiches. But that's not all. The deli also offers up some hearty and award-winning neighborhood goodness in the middle of Corktown. The kind of a place that people tell you to visit, and that later remind you again, in case you forgot. [Photo] 1300 Porter St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2000 MORE 21 New Yasmeen Bakery Don't let the name bakery fool you, New Yasmeen is much more than that. For Middle Eastern staples like Kibbeh and spinach or meat pies, and of course the desserts and baked goods are in a class of their own. [Photo] 13900 West Warren Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126 Visit website (313) 582-6035 MORE 22 Pegasus Tavernas The place where dreams of flaming Saganaki come roaring to life, Pegasus Tavernas has been a Greektown staple for almost 25 years. For hearty Hellenic food outside of a Coney Island, Pegasus is your best bet in metro Detroit. [Photo] 558 Monroe St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 964-6800 MORE 23 Pho Lucky Outside of Madison Heights, it’s a challenge to find pho in Detroit. Thankfully Redford-based Pho Lucky offers traditional bowls of Vietnamese pho in large and extra large sizes. Get adventurous with the house special made with rare eye round steak, cooked beef, meatballs, tripe, and tendon. For something a little safer, the eatery also offers chicken noodle soup. Closed Tuesdays. [Photo] 23838 Joy Rd Redford, MI 48239 Visit website (313) 532-2333 MORE 24 Polish Village Cafe Hamtramck still has its Polish gems, and Polish Village Cafe is certainly the crown jewel. The little basement restaurant serves a mean pierogi, and some lesser-known classics like dill pickle soup are also sure to please the more adventurous. It's not fancy, but it's an icon in its own way, and it has been around forever. [Photo] 2990 Yemans St Hamtramck, MI 48212 Visit website (313) 874-5726 MORE 25 Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño Trade tacos for inexpensive Salvadoran pupusas at this cash-only Livernois Avenue eatery. It’s an Anthony Bourdain-approved slice of heaven in Southwest. [Photo] 3149 Livernois Ave Detroit, MI 48210 Visit website (313) 899-4020 MORE 26 Revolver Two years in and Revolver’s experimental pop-up restaurant concept continues to sell out events. Try some truly creative dishes from established chefs and up-and-comers. You might even get an early taste of Detroit’s next great restaurant. [Photo] 9737 Joseph Campau St Hamtramck, MI Visit website (313) 757-3093 MORE 27 Roast Chef Michael Symon keeps winning prizes and making friends with his Westin Book Cadillac restaurant, and it isn't hard to see why. With some of the best happy hour specials in town, plus a meaty main menu that would make any carnivore drool, this is anything but your average hotel dining room. [Photo] 1128 Washington Boulevard Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2500 MORE 28 Rock City Eatery Like Detroit’s rock and roll roots, Rock City Eatery is a little daring. Find the proprietor’s flavorful pies here, alongside a killer mac & cheese baked inside an edible cheese bowl. [Photo] 11411 Joseph Campau St Hamtramck, MI 48212 Visit website (248) 633-3072 MORE 29 Rose's Fine Foods While the phrase "fresh, local ingredients" are tired buzzwords, here it's far from cliche. The simple menu brings out the best in its quality ingredients. Don't leave without trying one of the scratch-made baked goods and a cup of coffee served in a charming antique teacup. [Photo] 10551 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48214 Visit website (313) 309-7947 MORE 30 Scotty Simpsons Fish & Chips Detroit has more than its fair share of fish & chips joints, but Scotty Simpson’s in Brightmoor stands out for its fresh ingredients, simple menu, and vintage — circa 1950 — charm. [Photo] 22200 Fenkell St Detroit, MI 48223 Visit website (313) 533-0950 MORE 31 Selden Standard Selden Standard has captured the spirit of Detroit's dining scene and appears to be the consistent stand-out among the city's recent openings. As a policy, the Cass Corridor restaurant always keeps the majority of its seats available for walk-ins. [Photo] 3921 Second Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 438-5055 MORE 32 Slows Bar-B-Q Okay, we get it — Slow's is written about a lot. But the food and atmosphere in the modern Corktown barbecue icon combine to make one distinctly Detroit meal. Good food, good people and a great city: Slow's has it all, and then some. [Photo] 2138 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 962-9828 MORE 33 Supino Pizzeria Detroit has plenty of highly recommended square pies, but for a slice of New York-style pizza Supino’s reigns supreme. Order at the front and wait for your slice at simple communal tables. [Photo] 2457 Russell St Detroit, MI 48207 Visit website (313) 567-7879 MORE 34 Taqueria El Rey It's a tiny little restaurant on Vernor, but it's much beloved and yet still underrated according to Eater readers. The chicken is what sets it apart from all the other local taquerias, and what amazing chicken it is. [Photo] 4730 W Vernor Hwy Detroit, MI 48209 Visit website (313) 357-3094 MORE 35 The Brooklyn Street Local Founded by Canadians, Brooklyn Street Local offers some of the best breakfast poutine in Detroit. Catering to vegetarians and omnivores, this Corktown restaurant remains true to its name by bringing in fresh and local ingredients daily. [Photo] 1266 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 262-6547 MORE 36 The Root Restaurant and Bar Run by the Top Chef contestant James Rigato, The Root Restaurant & Bar consistently draws Detroiters beyond city limits for adventurous and expertly prepared American cuisine. [Jacob Lekow Photography] 340 Town Center Blvd White Lake, MI 48386 Visit website (248) 698-2400 MORE 37 Two James Distillery No longer a newcomer, this Corktown distillery has made a name for itself. Drop by on a weekend during cocktail hour and find the tasting room packed with customers in for a whiskey flight or a craft cocktail made with ultra-fresh ingredients. [Photo] 2445 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website MORE 38 Wright & Co. Wright & Co. tows the line between casual and fine dining, and manages to strike the perfect balance for downtown Detroit. Chef Marc Djozlija shows off his expert knowledge in the kitchen, honed at Wolfgang Puck’s MGM Grand restaurants, while bar side, partner Dave Kwiatkowski’s influence shines through with a daring craft cocktail list. [Photo] 1500 Woodward Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 962-7711

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