Whether you agree with the Metro Times readers' picks for the best in metro Detroit dining or not, you must admit that to get the nod from Detroit's most recognized best-of list certainly makes any place worthy of a second look (except in certain categories..."Best Gourmet Pizza," I'm looking at you). Below are both the readers' and the staff selections for the best cuisine in the D...along with my own annotations and alternates, naturally.
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
BEST RESTAURANT UNDER $15 PER DINER
BEST GREEK RESTAURANT
Kalamata Greek Café
3149 Crooks Rd., Troy; 248-643-2600; kalamatagreek.com
They campaigned for the win, which automatically deters from their credibility. However, a good Greek place outside of Greektown (which by and large isn't necessarily the best Greek in the area) is still worth a look.
BEST RESTAURANT UNDER $50 PER DINER
Atlas Global Bistro
3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-2241; atlasglobalbistro.com
Yeah, okay. No argument there.
BEST RESTAURANT TO IMPRESS OUT-OF-TOWNERS
BEST BEER SELECTION IN A RESTAURANT
2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9828
While my heart of hearts tells me that there just MAY be a better BBQ place in some strip mall on 7 Mile, Slows' popularity amongst Detroiters and tourists alike cannot be denied. And I can't argue with the beer selection nod, though I can offer Cadieux Cafe and Red Coat Tavern as alternates.
BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT
3409 Bagley, Detroit; 313-843-0179
OMG, vomit. This is one of those instances in which readers' polls need to be wadded up and used for toilet paper.
BEST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT
The Melting Pot
• 26425 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-347-6358
• 888 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-362-2221
• 309 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-622-0055
There is absolutely nothing romantic about watching me shovel cheese fondue into my face as fast as I can so as to maximize the amount I get to eat, but I can see how someone else might think so. As an alternate, I recommend the patio of It's a Matter of Taste in Commerce Township. The food is merely good (trying to hit haute cuisine but not quite succeeding), but the view (a giant stone patio overlooking a quiet lake) and the sense of romance and serenity is unmatched.
BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Mitchell's Fish Market
• 117 Willits, Birmingham; 248-646-3663
• 17600 Haggerty Rd.; Livonia; 734-464-3663
• 370 North Adams, Rochester Hills; 248-340-5900
I've yet to try Saltwater, Detroit Fish Market, or Ocean Prime, but my guess is any one of them is likely superior to Mitchell's. It's not that it's a bad place...but if it's fresh seafood flown in daily with a constantly revolving list of specials based on availability and great pride in exotic selections, try Northern Lakes Seafood Company in Bloomfield Hills. Many go for the Copper River Salmon (when in season), but the Nairagi is a MUST.
BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT
121 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-994-0211
I've never been, so I cannot argue, but I will say I'm glad it wasn't The Lark.
BEST CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT
539 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-528-1674; 19600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-0891
Another reason why voting is overrated.
BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT
21400 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-359-3300; see andiamoitalia.com for more locations
If you honestly voted for Andiamo as the best Italian restaurant, I hereby ban you from my blog. Also, see Bacco in Southfield, or La Dolce Vita once the new chef from Il Posto finishes revamping the menu.
BEST AFRICAN RESTAURANT
545 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-547-6699; additional locations in Ann Arbor and Trenton; bluenilemi.com
I admit to never experiencing Blue Nile for myself, so I can have no opinion on it, but if it is ANYTHING like Taste of Ethiopia (review coming tomorrow), then I spit on this culture's shameless and entirely uninformed co-opting of quasi-"ethnic" foods just because they're different. "Ethiopian" food (which is nothing like ACTUAL Ethiopian food, save for the bread) is the new sushi. Just wait 'til we start packing it full of mayo, cream cheese, and avocado.
BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
PF Chang's China Bistro
2801 W. Big Beaver Rd. Troy; 248-816-8000; locations in Clinton Township, Northville and Dearborn; more locations at pfchangs.com
Yeah, it's tasty, I won't deny it. But the BEST??? Anyone here heard of Chen Chow?
BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT
22651 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-0680
A longtime Troy favorite finds plenty of new blood in Ferndale. While a place with a more Arab-sounding name in a more Arab-dense part of town (Al-Ameer, Dearborn) might have the advantage over Anita's, it's still a good place.
BEST THAI RESTAURANT
3400 Russell St., Eastern Market, Detroit; 313-831-1302; see salathai.us for more locations
In my experience, most Thai places are created equally, so one is as good as any other. Sala Thai wins by prominence, and good for them for that.
45 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-585-2314
I've been hearing good things about this place for some time, and can say nothing more than at least it wasn't Oslo again.
BEST EASTERN EUROPEAN RESTAURANT
122 E. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-665-8767
Polish Village Cafe
2990 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-874-5726
I know very little about this category, so I'm taking the readers' words on it, even though I am extremely reluctant to do so.
BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT
36600 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills, 248-615-7700; 72 W. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-269-0100
BEST AFTER-HOURS RESTAURANT
BEST CONEY ISLAND
Lafayette Coney Island
2 Congress, Detroit; 313-879-0038
No, no, no, it's not, it's really really not.
BEST CASINO BUFFET
MGM Casino, Palette Dining Studio
1777 Third St., Detroit; 313-465-1777; mgmgranddetroit.com
I hear better things about Greektown's new buffet, but it is still fairly new so we'll see.
BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT
Inn Season Cafe
500 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-547-7916
BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
314 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-1111
I am completely unqualified to judge the two above categories. How about "Best Restaurant That Serves Nothing But Meat"? Five Lakes Grill in Milford.
The following categories are an insult to my intelligence as a pizza lover...though $5.00 Hot-N-Readys really ARE a good deal.
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA
17125 Conant St., Detroit; 313-892-9001; for more locations visit www.buddyspizza.com
BEST CHEAP PIZZA
BEST GOURMET PIZZA
553 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-961-8020; for more locations, see pizzapapalis.com
Red Coat Tavern
31542 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-0300
Original Pancake House
Locations in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe Woods and Southfield; originalpancakehouse.com
Aw, hell, why not the Big Boy breakfast bar while we're at it? :/
BEST SOUL FOOD
Beans & Cornbread
29508 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-208-1680
Or, my friend's mom's kitchen. Either way.
422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354; see zingermansdeli.com for more locations
Arbor Brewing Company
114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393
Since the Church Brew Works is in Pittsburgh, this will have to do.
BEST WINE LIST
BEST WINE BAR
417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6256
They were much better when they first opened, and NO they do NOT have the best wine list, not even if the rest of Oakland County burned down.
Tom's Oyster Bar
24935 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-774-TOMS; with locations in Royal Oak, Rochester Hills and Detroit
I think this is one of those instances where people didn't know what else to put.
Avalon International Breads
422 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-832-0008
Yes. Though not the only one worthy of recognition (see: anywhere in Hamtramck).
541 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-963-2530320 S. Main, Royal Oak; 248-582-9220
Ugh. Voting should be a privilege, not a right.
BEST INDIE COFFEEHOUSE
2287 Holbrook, Hamtramck; 313-319-8766
Finally, something we can agree on!
Stay tuned for my take on the Metro Times Best Of 2009 Staff Picks, coming soon!