Detroit Eat City – Top 10 Restaurants for Fall 2017

September 29, 2017  |   Story by Lexi Trimpe  

Picks that are helping feed The D’s hot-and happening food scene    

Sometimes a little bragging is justified. When it comes to Detroit’s erupting restaurant scene, we have lots of good — or should we say tasty — reasons for tooting our own horn. Others think so, too. Top of mind: Zagat called Detroit one of its hottest food cities in late 2016. This year, National Geographic followed suit, naming Detroit North America’s top unexpected city for food lovers for 2017.

Obviously, we can’t name every new, newer and coming-soon establishment that’s contributing to The D’s off-the-charts restaurant selection, but we can share some stats and facts about 10 recent adds that are sure to whet your appetite.

1. Lady of the House

Not Your Grandmother’s Tea Time

Teacups on a table

Lady of the House by Monica Casillas Rios

It’s hard not to expect greatness from any restaurant headed by culinary powerhouse Kate Williams, previously of Republic, Parks & Rec and Rodin. Excitement has been building ever since the chef announced in 2016 that she would be taking over the renowned St. CeCe’s spot in Corktown. Known for her nose-to-tail animal preparation and farm-to-table freshness, Williams will focus the menu on locally sourced ingredients while also working to minimize food waste. As a nod to her lineage and the historic neighborhood, meals are prefaced with a two-ounce cup of tea (Joseph Wesley teas will be featured) to cleanse and open the palate. Expected opening is this fall.   

2. The Apparatus Room

Smokin’ Hot Location

Located in the Detroit Foundation Hotel, the Apparatus Room’s name is a nod to the location’s original purpose of housing fire engines. The massive restaurant spans the entire first floor of the hotel. Its cozy, classy interior is highlighted by warm filament light bulbs and clean brown leather. Steered by Michigan-born and Michelin star-winning chef Thomas Lents, the menu is reflective of the hotel’s ambience and stature, featuring rich dishes such as lamb tartare, decadent pastas and craft cocktails. More casual fare, including burgers and sandwiches accompanied by house-made chips, is also available.

3. Gather

Congregate Around the Campfire

Photo by Marina Goldi

After months of anticipation, Eastern Market’s newest hot spot is finally here to challenge the concept of small plates and offer a gathering spot for hungry Detroiters. The intimate 30- to 40-seat restaurant has a light atmosphere and a neighborhood feel, and simplicity is key. Long, shareable portions of locally sourced food, with a focus on seasonality and affordable prices. Owned by young guns Lea and Kyle Hunt, Gather is a breath of fresh air in a restaurant scene sometimes dominated by offbeat and unconnected cuisine.

4. Royale with Cheese

So Meaty

It seems 2017 is the year of the cheeseburger. Not only did some notable chains find a new home in the Motor City, but boutique burger joints also broke out on the scene. The Pulp Fiction-inspired Royale with Cheese’s signature burger, the Royale, is stacked high with smoked brisket, southwest corn relish, caramelized onions, avocado, creamy coleslaw, oozing gouda fondue and royale sauce.

5. Parc

New Kid on Campus

Parc restaurant exterior

Parc by Bill Bowen

Taking the spot of the former Fountain Bistro, Parc has continued to wholly impress diners and critics since it opened last fall. Headed by executive chef Jordan Hoffman, the restaurant specializes in “redefined Detroit cuisine,” featuring dishes such as wood-roasted oysters and tuna tartar served with house-made potato chips, and, of course, craft cocktails. The chic interior is highlighted by panoramic windows, the perfect view for a night out in downtown Detroit.

6. Ima

Use Your Noodle

Chef-driven, Japanese-inspired cuisine is what’s on the constantly rotating menu at this Corktown destination. Headed by chef Mike Ransom, a Michigan native, the eatery churns out hefty bowls of flavorful curries, noodle soups and rice dishes — all packed with prime ingredients, such as tender smoked pork loin, ginger beef and fresh fish. Vegetarians, never fear. The location also features many vegan and gluten-free options, including some of the best
roasted tofu around.

7. La Bohème

Bon Appétit!

Pastry with fruit

La Bohéme by Bill Bowen

New to West Village last spring, this tiny French cafe brings a taste of Paris to Detroit. The shop is headed by Eve de Castro and Jean Jeannot, who moved to Detroit from France in 2015. Open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe features quiches, pastries, sandwiches and a sprawling list of teas. For added taste (and authenticity), all the hams and cheeses are imported from France. The dining area is decorated with mismatched porcelain, Parisian posters and knickknacks. The basement of the building features art exhibits, events and more. Come early — space is very limited and for now, cash only.

8. Flowers of Vietnam

Not Your Average Coney Island

You wouldn’t expect to find some of the best traditional Vietnamese cuisine in metro Detroit inside a Coney Island in southwest Detroit. But sure enough, the eccentric and highly praised chef George Azar has been doing it for years. The diner has gained national attention with its signature dishes, including the dangerously addictive caramel chicken wings and rich Vietnamese egg coffees. The location went through a massive renovation and will launch a newly revamped Flowers of Vietnam this fall.

9. La Lanterna

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Pasta and pizza

La Lanterna by Bill Bowen

Decades after its shuttering, this Detroit original is back in action, slinging northern Italian cuisine just like the good ol’ days. Reopened under Eddie Barbieri, grandson of original owner Edoardo Barbieri, the location looks anything but dated with a sleek, clean interior, marble bar and modern signage. Old-world charm is still found in the decadent house-made pastas and Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzas. The white ‘zas easily steal the menu’s spotlight with favorites like the Da Edoardo, made with rich mozzarella, oven-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mangia!

10. Prime + Proper

Several Cuts

Located in the historic Capitol Park Building, Prime + Proper, which is expected to open this fall, isn’t your average American steakhouse. Executive butcher Walter Apfelbaum will strive to serve only the best cuts of meat, including 100 percent USDA prime beef and lamb. Beyond the premium cuts, meats will be dry-aged in-house to ensure optimal flavor. Diners can choose their perfect protein personally after a chat with the butcher on-site — a “meat and greet,” if you will. The truly proper menu will be rounded out by a list of carefully selected wines and craft cocktails. In addition, upstairs will hide a “secret” cash-only bar, strictly for regulars. Swanky.

Newbies Outside The D’s Downtown

Voyager and Conserva in Ferndale • Chapman House in Rochester • Wine Dotte Bistro in Wyandotte • HomeGrown Brewing Co. in Oxford • Detroit Dog Co. in Royal Oak • Smoke’s Poutinerie and Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor • joebar in Hazel Park • Testa Barra in Macomb Township

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Detroit Foundation Hotel
    250 W. Larned St., Detroit, MI 48226313-915-4422 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. London Chop House
    155 W. Congress St., Detroit, MI 48226313-962-0277 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Avalon International Breads
    422 W. Willis St., Detroit, MI 48201313-832-0008 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Supino Pizzeria
    2457 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207313-567-7879 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. Takoi
    2520 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-855-2864 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Bucharest Grill - Rivertown
    2684 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48207313-965-3111 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. Bobcat Bonnie's
    1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216313-962-1383 Highlight on map | More Details
  8. Rusted Crow - Detroit
    78 W. Adams Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-782-4751 Highlight on map | More Details
  9. Lady of the House
    1426 Bagley Avenue, Detroit, MI, United States313-818-0218 Highlight on map | More Details
  10. Gather
    1454 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI, United States313-638-1893 Highlight on map | More Details
  11. Royale with Cheese
    4163 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI, United States313-315-3014 Highlight on map | More Details
  12. Parc
    800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, United States313-922-7272 Highlight on map | More Details
  13. Ima
    2015 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216, United States313-502-5959 Highlight on map | More Details
  14. La Bohème
    8100 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, MI 48214, United States313-962-6240 Highlight on map
  15. Flowers of Vietnam
    4430 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI, United States313-554-2085 Highlight on map | More Details
  16. La Lanterna
    1224 Griswold St, Detroit, MI, United States313-962-8821 Highlight on map | More Details
  17. Prime + Proper
    1145 Griswold St, Detroit, MI, United States248-294-0700 Highlight on map | More Details
  18. Founders
    456 Charlotte St, Detroit, MI, United States Highlight on map