Detroit is the ultimate foodie destination. Don’t believe us? Just ask National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, and Zagat. Think of any type of food, and we have it at our restaurants in Detroit – with a twist. Craving soul food? We’ve got the classics, and a vegan version, too. Food prepared by award-winning chefs? We have more arriving every year. Detroit breweries will fuel your Saturdays and brunch in Detroit will kickstart your Sunday Fundays. And a trip to Detroit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a Coney Island. Read on for the best places to eat in Detroit. Trust us – you’ll be coming back for more.
The D’s dining scene erupts with cuisine classics. From Mexican and Italian restaurants, to Detroit’s take on barbecue and vegan food, you’ve got plenty of options sure to fit your pallet at the best restaurants in downtown Detroit. Don’t miss out on authentically Detroit staples, like Coney Islands and Detroit-style pizza.
Ethnic Cuisine in Detroit
If you’re looking to sample the diversity in Detroit, look no further than our array of ethnic cuisine. Don’t know where to start? Take a taste of our Italian food, where La Lanterna, Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and Ottava Via have the pasta and pizza bases covered, but if you’re craving a spicier pasta, try Johnny Noodle King, Ima and Pho Lucky – our go-to Asian noodle houses.
If Mexican food is more your style (or you just really like Taco Tuesday deals), Mexicantown in southwest Detroit is loaded with traditional Mexican cuisine at Los Galanes, Xochimilco and Mexican Village.
For a truly authentic Middle Eastern food experience, head straight to Dearborn, home of the largest Middle Eastern population in the U.S. Al Ameer is a favorite in the area – you can basically eat their hummus with a spoon. If you’re in downtown Detroit, Bucharest serves the best shawarma in Detroit at three locations.
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Types of Food in Detroit
Everyone loves some good barbecue (us included). It wouldn’t be a trip to Detroit without stopping at Slows Bar BQ, one of the OG Corktown Detroit restaurants. If you’re more on the meat-free path, Seva and Detroit Vegan Soul are dedicated to vegetarians and vegans.
If you haven’t noticed, brunch is trending, and The D is on the bandwagon. Hudson Café and the Dime Store will not let you down. But if you’re specifically looking for that Sunday morning hangover cure, Bobcat Bonnie’s beats your couch (can you say $3 bloody mary bar?).
Heading out for drinks with friends? You’re going to need some good bar food to pair with that craft beer. Motor City Brewing Works and HopCat will help you out in Midtown. If you find yourself drinking in Corktown, McShane’s, Batch Brewing and PJs Lager House are known for their food just as much as their drinking. If you don’t mind a line, grab a great sandwich in Detroit at Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market and Mudgie’s in Corktown – you can’t go wrong with either.
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Classic Detroit Food
Detroit is famous for its Coney dogs. Find the best ones at the dueling Coney Islands, Lafayette and American. Take the Coney Challenge if you dare – but trust us – you won’t be hungry the rest of the day.
You can find a good sliders in any city, but you haven’t lived until you’ve had sliders from Green Dot Stables. Talk about cheap eats – almost every slider, side dish and cocktail on their menu is $3.
Move over NYC and back off, Chicago. Detroit-style pizza is gaining popularity, so grab a slice of the original at Buddy’s. And, of course, we have award-winning chefs and restaurants in Detroit at Grey Ghost, Chartreuse and Mabel Gray all named in the Detroit Free Press best restaurants lists – but we don’t mean to brag.
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When you’re deciding on a place to eat in Detroit (tough, we know), sometimes it’s easier to pick the Detroit neighborhood you want to spend your time in. For the best restaurants in metro Detroit, take a virtual food tour of The D.
Greektown Restaurants Detroit
Greektown is a lively nighttime destination, and you’ll find Firebird Tavern, Old Shillelagh, Wahlburgers and The Greek have fun atmospheres with a side of drinks. Fishbone’s offers seafood and sushi, Red Smoke Barbecue offers (obviously) barbecue, and PizzaPapalis serves the best Chicago deep dish pizza in Detroit. On the Greek food side Golden Fleece and Pegasus Taverna will serve you traditional Greek fare. And don’t forget to stop at Astoria Pastry Shop after dinner for any dessert you can imagine. When you’re done, hit the slot machines at Greektown Casino.
If you’re in Detroit on Fat Tuesday head straight to Hamtramck. Authentic Polish bakeries, like New Palace bakery, serve the best Paczki around. Craving pierogi or Golabki? Authentic Polish food is abound in Hamtramck. Our favorites include Polish Village Café, Polonia Restaurant and Krakus Restaurant.
Shawarma, shish kabob, falafel, gyros…we know your mouth is watering. For the best Middle Eastern food at metro Detroit restaurants, Dearborn is the place to be. Al Ameer received the James Beard Foundation Award for America’s Classics, and try Sheeba Restaurant and La Shish for delicious dishes. For your post-meal sweet tooth, Shatila Bakery and New Yasmeen Detroit Bakery serve baklava, pita, mamoul and knafef.
Mexicantown’s name speaks for itself. You’ll also hear the area referred to as Southwest Detroit. For Taco Tuesdays, Tamales Thursdays, Fajita Fridays (we can dream), stroll down Vernor Highway and you will be living your Mexican food dreams. Taqueria El Rey is a popular Mexican restaurant right now, and Los Altos and Taqueria Mi Pueblo are not far down the road. Right off of I-75, you will find some Mexicantown staples, including Xochimilco, Mexican Village, Los Galanes and Taqueria Lupitas. La Gloria Bakery is in this area, serving the best Mexican desserts, and amazing churros in Detroit, at very reasonable prices.
The Corktown neighborhood in Detroit was originally settled by Irish immigrants, but there is more than just Irish pubs in this hip area. McShane’s and the Gaelic League Irish American Club cover the Irish culture in Corktown. Slows Bar BQ, Sugar House, Gold Cash Gold and Mercury Burger & Bar are near the famous Michigan Central Train Depot. Takoi offers a gourmet twist on Thai food, and Two James Spirits and Sugar House are serving up craft cocktails in Detroit. Looking to slurp down your lunch? Ima serves authentic udon. Off the main Corktown drag, you will find Batch Brewing Company and Brew Detroit for craft beer, Mudgie’s for the best sandwiches in Detroit, Red Dunn Kitchen (located in the boutique hotel Trumbull & Porter), and everyone’s favorite slider joint, Green Dot Stables.
If you’re near Wayne State University or Detroit’s cultural center, there are plenty of restaurants you should try while you explore. Eateries near the Detroit Institute of Arts include Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, Common Pub, Seva and Shangri-La.
The Cass Corridor is booming nowadays, with a nice stretch of restaurants. Favorites include Avalon International Breads, La Feria Spanish Tapas, Go Sy Thai, Slows to Go, Selden Standard, 8 Degrees Plato Beer Company and The Peterboro. And if you’re shopping at the Shinola store in Midtown, stop at Motor City Brewing Works, Jolly Pumpkin, or Bronx Bar for lunch.
The Dearborn/Wayne area, affectionately known as downriver, offers several great food options. So if you find yourself heading down south, Giovanni’s Ristorante, Dakota Inn Rathskeller, Andiamo Dearborn, and Ten Eyck Tavern are all restaurants close to Dearborn. In Wyandotte, be sure to try Waterfront Restaurant and Portofino’s. Other restaurants sprinkled throughout this area include Big Bear Lodge, Pia’s Ristorante Italiano, The Glass Onion, World of Beer and more.
Greater Novi Restaurants
Shopping at Twelve Oaks Mall? The Greater Novi area has a delicious array of restaurants to fuel your shopping spree. Try Meriwether’s for seafood, Fire Iron Grille for American classics, Beans & Cornbread for delicious soul food, and CK Mediterranean Grille for Mediterranean favorites. For delicious steaks, 5ive Steakhouse is a must-try, and it’s located in the picturesque Inn at St. John’s. And don’t miss Genitti’s Hole-in-the-Wall for family style Italian food paired with comedy shows and plays.
Oakland offers some of the best steakhouses around with Big Rock Chophouse, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, Morton’s Steakhouse, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. When you’re shopping at Somerset Collection or Great Lakes Crossing, you sure won’t go hungry.
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Drinks and dessert – everyone’s favorite meals of the day (even though they won’t admit it). There’s no shame around here, check out Detroit’s sweet tooth spots, craft cocktails and breweries to satisfy your craving.
Craft beer is having a moment in Detroit and we’re not mad about it. Atwater Brewery might be the most famous brewery in Detroit, serving up Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter. But don’t miss our smaller Detroit breweries, such as Motor City Brewing Works in Midtown. Brew Detroit and Batch Brewery are Corktown staples. Detroit Beer Company is near Comerica Park and Ford Field, so stop in for a beer on the way to a game. And the newly opened Eastern Market Brewing Company lets you bring your dogs with you while you drink.
Best Places for Craft Cocktails in Detroit
For specialty cocktails, you must stop in Corktown, where you’ll find Two James Spirits and Sugar House, which basically kickstarted Detroit’s craft cocktail scene. Wright & Co. on Woodward Avenue is just as well known for its cocktail selection as it is with its food. Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails is the only place in Detroit that serves chartreuse cocktails (the liqueur is made by monks in France).
Sports Bars in Detroit
With all four professional sports teams occupying downtown, you bet we have the Detroit sports bars to go with it. Hang out at the popular Cheli’s Chili Bar and Hockeytown Café before a game. Bookies Bar & Grille is great for tailgating, and they offer a shuttle to Comerica Park and Ford Field. Anchor Bar, and Tommy’s Detroit Bar and Grill are all near the now-closed Joe Louis Arena, but they are still great bars to catch a game.
Detroit’s bakeries are pretty sweet (we had to). Dearborn offers Middle Eastern treats. Greektown and Royal Oak are home to everyone’s favorite bakery, Astoria Pastry Shop. More Detroit sweet shops include Milano Bakery in Eastern Market, Dilla’s Delights, Avalon International Breads and Bon Bon Bon. The suburbs also boast some delicious establishments – Peteet’s Famous Cheesecakes and Good Cakes and Bakes.
Ice Cream in Detroit
For all you ice cream lovers out there, Treat Dreams and Cold Stone Creamery serve up the best flavors. And for a twist on cold treats, a trip to Detroit isn’t complete without Detroit Water Ice Factory, started by writer Mitch Albom. All profits from the business go to charity, and it’s near Detroit’s city center, Campus Martius Park.
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by Serena Maria Daniels
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