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Detroit has been serving up fine eats for decades, centuries even – Roma Cafe near Eastern Market, for example, has been plating up its famous homemade meat sauce and veal Parmesan since 1890. It’s this combination of the restaurant staples with the skyrocketing set of newbies throughout metro Detroit that makes for quite the assorted dining scene.
Since we’re all giddy about summertime sneaking up, here’s a mixed bag of warmer-weather Detroit food favorites. Some of these restaurants are Motor City mainstays; others are new kids on the block. Some are well known for their stunning views, others for their outdoor venues and proximity to certain parks. All serve up tasty eats.
When you’re hungry and blessed with a mild, sunny day in The D, search out the metro area’s most illustrious dine-and-drink outdoor patios. And who said you can’t hit more than one in one day?
Mercury Burger & Bar, Detroit
Cool off on the patio, admire outdoor art and slurp down the tastiest milkshakes in town. Huge burger selection – try the Southwest Detroit with chorizo and pickled spiced carrots, plus either poutine or garlic fries. Large selection of Michigan craft beers, too. (DD)
Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius
A summer afternoon and lunch in the heart of the city? Yes, please. The patio at Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius is your destination. Food options range from soup, salad and sandwiches at lunchtime to mouthwatering entrees for dinner. In the spring and summer, stop by the south lawn which is transformed into a downtown beach. Food and drinks provided by the Beach Bar & Grille. (DD)
Mike's on the Water, St. Clair Shores
Get the island vibe as you sit on this Nautical Mile hidden gem. The gorgeous tiki bar is right on the canals of Lake St. Clair. The perch dinner is a solid choice. Coconut shrimp is also a patron favorite. Boaters can drive in and park right next to the patio. (M)
MacRay Harbor on Lake St. Clair
Sail in and dock or drive to MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township, the perfect spot to enjoy tropical drinks and delicious steak, chicken or seafood. The outdoor seating area looks across the sparkling waters of Lake St. Clair for an unbeatable view. (M)
Bar Louie, Novi
The patio is heated on those cooler nights. Drink specials, delicious grub, and an awesome happy hour during the week with martinis under $6 and ½ price apps. Go for a selection of sliders from salmon to chicken parm. (GN)
Granite City Food & Brewery, Troy
Enjoy a Michigan craft beer or cocktails on the patio. Choose from a huge menu with flatbread pizzas, salads, soups and a garlic butter sirloin that will knock your socks off. Additional location in Northville. (O)
Big Fish Seafood Bistro, Dearborn
Sensational seafood and patio seating. It's almost like you're on vacation when you eat at Big Fish Seafood Bistro. Located along the circle of Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn. Start things out with the Hot Rocks & Blue Slaw (spicy shrimp and blue cheese coleslaw). (DW)
Summertime is Tigers time in Detroit. So many bars and restaurants cater to Detroiters’ love of professional baseball, with pre-, post- and game-time specials, even shuttles (often free) to and from Comerica Park.
Elwood Bar & Grill, Detroit
Take 56 steps from this bar and you’ll be inside Comerica Park, ready for some Tigers baseball. The Elwood is where hardcore fans congregate before and after a game for burgers and beer. (DD)
Hard Rock Cafe, Detroit
The patio is open on warm days with a fab view of Comerica Park. Everything you would expect from a Hard Rock with all the menu staples – burgers, wings, nachos. A perfect pre-game stop and after-game party place. Game day shuttles are available. (DD)
The Corner Tap Room
Baseball fans and Detroit tourists can revisit Old Tiger Stadium when they dine at new restaurant The Corner Tap Room. The eatery is just to the right of Comerica Park's main entrance and features mementos of the Tigers' former ballpark that once stood at Trumbull and Michigan avenues. The Corner Tap Room has a patio, a rotating selection of craft brews and a whole set of menu items that you won't find offered anywhere else in the stadium. Also open on non-game days. (DD)
Fishbone’s, St. Clair Shores
Eat delicious sushi and sip on a tropical drink while you wait for the shuttle bus to take you to Comerica Park. After the game, the bus will drop you off so you never have to get behind the wheel. (M) (Some other downtown Detroit bars with shuttles to and from Comerica Park on Tigers game days: Nemo’s, Harry’s, Old Shillelagh and Bookies Bar & Grille.)
Groundbreakings and grand openings in the metro Detroit restaurant scene are hard to keep track of these days – and so many are already so good. A few of the more recent and intriguing additions:
Republic is on the hottest-in-Detroit 2015 list. Dubbing itself an old-world tavern, Republic is using old-school prep with local products. Order the bread and butter with lamb bacon jam. Natural wines, craft beers and premium whiskey are available to quench your thirst. (DD)
Located inside the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Café 78 serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. MOCAD members save 10% on their purchase. (DD)
Zeke's Rock & Roll BBQ
Ferndale’s newest barbecue player, Zeke's smoky menu can compete with the best of them. Add a side of jalapeno macaroni and cheese to any dish. Did we mention there's live music? (O)
Craft Breww City
At Craft Breww City, you can get any style or flavor of beer imaginable. They also serve domestic imports for those of you that like to keep it simple. Lunch, dinner and happy hour menus available daily. (GN)
Major Tomato, Allen Park
Major Tomato takes pride in serving the healthiest food with the freshest ingredients. Their thin-crust, bromate-free pizza dough contains fewer calories, but certainly doesn't lack in taste. (DW)
If you need a direct connection to Amtrak, make your way to the Weiser Railroad at Greenfield Village, one of a few heritage railways to have such a modern-day link.
Book a dinner cruise or go for a late-night moonlight party aboard the Detroit Princess. The five-story riverboat is back in action for the season.
Fall is in full swing and that means Detroit Red Wings hockey at The Joe. No ticket? Cobo Joe's is a surefire hot spot on game days.
Watch Discover the D TV to learn all about the hidden gems and history that our city has to offer.