Since Detroit’s founding in 1701 as a French colony and fur trading outpost, the city has returned a little of its French influence. Mainly through our street names, architecture, and our closeness with the legendary name of Cadillac, our city may be known as Paris of the Midwest — but one of our closest ties may be our food.
In Detroit there has been a boom in world cuisine and French is right up there with them all. Here are some of the best French restaurants in metro Detroit where you can experience a little of our historic flavor.
Detroit’s French Restaurants
Chef owner Paul Grosz realized his dream of owning an upscale dining establishment in 2001. Educated at Le Francais and Le Cordon Bleu, Grosz presents a series of tantalizing menus varying in price for dinner from about $30 to $60. Try the progression menu for a custom selection of an appetizer and entrees selected by Chef Paul personally. The theater menu is varied with a delicious assortment of appetizers, entrees and sides to share. Of course, a French restaurant isn’t complete without a delicious dessert selection, Cuisine has an assortment of custom ice creams and a hot souffle that changes with the seasons. Cuisine also has a large wine selection that was chosen by Chef Paul himself.
Cuisine has a beautiful interior featuring full white linen service and a formally-dressed, professional wait staff. Presentation is important at Cuisine, where dishes are served with the intention to impress. Reviewers, who are often leaving or heading to a show at the Fisher Theatre, rave about Chef Paul’s lobster broth, tuna tartar and dessert offerings. Try the roasted duck breast confit leg served with shitake risotto and summer Michigan plums.
French Toast Bistro
40370 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth
French Toast Bistro in Plymouth presents a beautiful interior décor with warmth and ambiance that accentuates the delicious flavor offerings. French Toast serves breakfast and lunch daily, as well as a popular brunch on the weekend. The French flavors are found in nuances. Omelets are often paired with French cheeses like gruyere or brie. The star of the show is the namesake of the house – French Toast – is served stuffed with cream cheese and mixed berries, as well as cornflake crusted topped with Fosters’ sauce and candied pecans.
At French Toast Bistro, entrees take on their French flair in the form of Cajun-style that is reminiscent of another American-French descendant, New Orleans. Reviewers rave about the New Orleans-style jazz music during brunch that perfectly complements the flavors of dishes like shrimp po’ boy, croque madam and crawfish etouffee. The beignets served with cinnamon or dark chocolate are also popular. One of the best draws of the brunch service is the mimosas which are served in unique flavors like the classic with orange juice, as well as a tropical and elderflower flavor. Reviewers rave about the ambiance and service; French Toast Bistro is worth the try for casual French-style cuisine.
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Promenade Artisan Foods
2627 W. Jefferson, Trenton
Offering French flavor with casual ambiance and flair, Promenade Artisan Foods is a jewel of Downriver. Breakfast sandwiches are a popular menu offering served on ciabatta bread. Quiche is also a popular menu item, with the mushroom and potato as favorites. Baked goods are a staple of Promenade. Offerings change seasonally, complimented by rich, strong coffee.
As a small local business in the area, Promenade Artisan Foods also sells art from local artists carefully displayed on the café walls. A lovely, late weekend brunch of fruit, salad, sandwiches and pastries makes for a delightful Downriver outing.
Le Petit Zinc
670 Alexandrine St., Detroit
With less than a year in at their new Midtown location, Le Petit Zinc has picked right back up where they left off at their former Corktown digs. Le Petit Zinc features a light menu of quiches, sandwiches, salads, and famously, their delicious crepes. The restaurant closes at 4 p.m. so the menu is well-suited for breakfast and lunch. The Poulet crepe served with the signature ratatouille (with or without chicken) is a must try. Made up of squash, zucchini, onions, garlic, and eggplant in a tomato-base, the ratatouille is a French staple that is also served as a delicious side dish.
Sweet crepes are fan favorites. The beurre crepe with butter and sugar is fantastically paired with coffee or a latte. Kids absolutely love the Nutella crepe offerings featuring banana or strawberry. The environment is welcoming to children with available high chairs. The café is well-lit with large windows and custom art designed by the owner, Karima Sorel, who was inspired to design her restaurant by time spent in the French capital of Paris.
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Marais Market & Café
With a delightful breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, Marais is a Grosse Pointe staple. The mushroom, spinach, and pepper jack cheese crepe is delicious as is the truly unique s’more crepe stuffed with chocolate chips, marshmallow, graham crackers and whipped cream. Smoked salmon tartine is a favorite featuring smoked salmon, chive cream cheese, capers, red onion, cucumbers and avocado. Lunch is a little more traditional with salads and sandwiches topping the menu. But, there is also a delicious chicken paillard with a grilled chicken breast, bacon lardons, spring mix, mushrooms and shallots, in a sherry vinaigrette.
Dinner is where the French flavor shines at Marais Market & Café. Hors d’oeuvres like escargot and pate are, of course, a featured item. The plats principaux include steak frites, cedar roasted Scottish salmon and a delightful 8 oz beef tenderloin au poive served with wilted arrowleaf spinach and a citrus and garlic confit. Marais features French flavors, a full bar, and a warm ambiance worth enjoying.
Looking for more food in Detroit?
3Promenade Artisan foods, West Jefferson Avenue, Trenton, MI, USA734-307-7061