Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Detroit Right Now

Updated On 06/25/2018 at 05:42PM EST

BEST NEW OPENINGS

La Noria Bistro

La Noria Bistro

Southwest

Italian and Mexican fusion that brings the best of both worlds
The long-awaited sister restaurant to El Barzon finally opened its doors in March; prime for those who just can’t decide what they want to eat, the Mexican-Italian fusion restaurant specializes in both wood-fire pizzas and Pueblan tacos. Feeling adventurous? Opt for the chapulin pizza, topped with roasted grasshoppers.

Lovers Only

Downtown

Upscale burger joint inside Detroit's historic Capitol Park
From the masterminds behind Voyager (a Food & Wine restaurant of the year) comes this new Downtown burger destination. The menu is perfectly concise, only featuring a dozen options including burgers made with 100% pasture-raised Michigan beef, sandwiches, and basic sides. Good news for homebodies, the location now offers online ordering and delivery.  

Lumen Detroit

Lumen Detroit

Downtown

Al fresco dining destination outside Beacon Park
Latin for “light,” Lumen has certainly shined since opening in April. The largely open-air hotspot is located directly outside Detroit’s Beacon Park, offering picture-perfect dining with a view. From the owners of Griffin Claw Brewing, the restaurant may not look like your average brewpub, but its eclectic American fare pairs perfectly with the location’s healthy variety of craft beers and cocktails.

Bolero

Bolero

Midtown

Elevated Latin cuisine paired with an impressive wine program
If you’re craving tapas, look no further. From the owners of Vicente's Cuban Cuisine, Bolero offers Latin classics like tapas and ceviche with flavors spanning from Brazil to Argentina, and just about everywhere in between. Beyond that, the eatery offers an extensive bar program, with some imported wine selections exclusive to the location.

Folk Detroit

FOLK

Corktown

Cozy cafe and coffee shop featuring all-day brunch
From the duo behind the Farmer’s Hand in Corktown comes this cozy cafe (only steps away). Offering all day “brekky,” the menu is highlighted by seasonal breakfast and brunch selections like quiches, granola bowls, and colorful toasts with toppings like beet hummus, citrus ricotta, and sardines.

Fist of Curry

Fist of Curry

Southwest

Reimagined takes on eclectic curry dishes
Popular fish and chips restaurant the Huron Room underwent a complete transformation earlier this year, reopening as Fist of Curry. Owned by Inlaws Hospitality, the group behind Greendot Stables and Johnny Noodle King, the casual curry spot features dishes inspired by Indian, Japanese, Jamaican, and Thai cuisine.

Flowers of Vietnam

Southwest

Vietnamese-inspired favorites inside a newly-renovated Coney Island
After closing in March 2017 for a remodel, Flowers of Vietnam reopened in early 2018. Headed by owner and chef George Azar, the former Coney Island dishes out Vietnamese-inspired fare like Korean-fried caramel chicken wings, steaming bowls of pho, and egg cream coffee.

Le Petit Zinc

Le Petit Zinc

Midtown

Cute, casual cafe featuring light French eats
Detroiters can once again cure their crepe craving at this Detroit mainstay. After unexpectedly closing its Corktown location in September, Le Petit Zinc reopened in Midtown inside the Strathmore Apartments building in March. The cafe offers classic French selections including sweet and savory crepes, quiches, pastries, and more.

best of the best

Lady of the House

Lady of the House

Corktown

Upscale, modern American cuisine from revered chef Kate Williams
Lady of the House has wowed both local diners and national voices since opening last September, taking home a 2018 Best New Restaurant in the Country nomination by the James Beard Foundation. Headed by chef Kate Williams, the former St. Cece’s place specializes in upscale, locally-sourced cuisine, with standout items like whole roasted chickens, steak tartare, and potato doughnuts. Since opening, the location has added a weekend brunch menu, including house cocktails like the Lady Gin and Tonic. National buzz, including a recent New York Times review, has only added to the intimate restaurant’s popularity, so reservations are highly recommended.

Joe Vaughn

Mabel Gray

Hazel Park

Highly celebrated seasonal fare, with a menu that changes daily
It's probably safe to call Mabel Gray the most famous restaurant in Michigan right now, thanks to the slew of national accolades and media attention it has garnered in part due to chef James Rigato's larger-than-life personality, but also because he practices what he preaches. With an all-star team supporting him in the kitchen, behind the bar, and on the dining room floor, Rigato has achieved what many thought to be the impossible: creating a world-class restaurant in the sleepy inner-ring blue-collar bedroom community of Hazel Park. (For those of you keeping score, this is the second time he has achieved such a feat; the first with The Root.) By spearheading plans for more restaurant and bar concepts along John R between 9 & 10 Mile, transforming it into a culinary corridor, you can expect to see much more from Rigato & Co. in the coming year, but Mabel Gray will remain his culinary coup d'état, a flaming middle finger to the "conventional" restaurant wisdom that had metro Detroit dining stuck in stasis for decades and proof positive that, indeed, if you build it, they will come.

Michelle & Chris Gerard

Grey Ghost Detroit

Midtown

Attractive Midtown addition known for its meat-centric, snout-to-tail menu
It's got "grey" in the name and honors a famous regional ghost (this one a rum-running pirate on the Detroit River rather than the ghost of a woman haunting the Indiana Dunes State Park) so it lent itself to comparisons to Mabel Gray long before its doors ever opened. The comparison is both fair and favorable, as Grey Ghost -- located in the old Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe space in Midtown, a space that has long offered incredible promise that previous concepts failed to deliver on -- is a kindred spirit in culinary ethos, from the house-made charcuterie and "we dare you to thumb your nose at this" fried bologna to the robust, boundary-pushing cocktail program overseen by local startender Will Lee.

Courtesy of Selden Standard

Selden Standard

Midtown

Culinary mainstay known for small plates and craft cocktails
Selden Standard set the standard; all the rest are just following suit. There isn't a lot we can say about Selden Standard that we haven't said already, so suffice it to say that, even though the restaurant no longer has that new restaurant smell, chef Andy Hollyday's menu continues to impress as one of the best in Detroit.

courtesy of Chartreuse Kitchens & Cocktails

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

Midtown

Award-winning dining destination known for seasonal, locally-sourced offerings
Chef Doug Hewitt works miracles with a small kitchen and VERY open line, which is all the more reason to be impressed by the quality of food Hewitt and his team put out there. From the popular twice-cooked egg and the cap steak to the house-made burrata and grilled octopus, every item is consistently outstanding, all complemented by owner Sandy Levine's small but excellent beverage program.

PARC

Parc

Downtown

Upscale American hot spot with a prime Downtown location
With a prime location in Campus Martius, Parc has continued to impress diners since its opening in November. The kitchen, headed by executive chef Jordan Hoffman, serves up “re-defined Detroit cuisine,” pulling inspiration for Hoffman’s childhood and traditional Midwestern fare. The seasonal menu is highlighted by fresh pasta, meaty entrees, and flashy desserts like the flaming Baked Alaska. Oh, and if you're worried about ambiance, don't be: Parc's dining area is surrounded by glass windows, and offers a view of downtown Detroit unlike anywhere else. Looking to sample? Stop in during the week for happy hour from 3 to 6pm to pair a $6 wire pour with oysters on the half-shell, served with lemon chile oil, mint gremolata, and fresh lemon.

Michelle & Chris Gerard

ima

Corktown

Hip, communal noodle house specializing in udon and curry bowls
Noodle lovers rejoice: There’s a new place to get your udon fix in Detroit proper. Since opening in late December, Ima has already created a small cult following. Taking the place of Rubbed (RIP), the storefront serves up signature noodle soups, rice bowls, and curry in a communal setting. Unlike more traditional noodle shops, the location touts vegan and vegetarian fare, including the dangerously addictive steamed edamame, served with chilis, lemon, olive oil, and sea salt; and the forest udon, made with a porcini broth, sesame tofu, smoked trumpets, and seasoned with rosemary and garlic oil.

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Detroit's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
I t was another interesting and exciting year for metro Detroit’s culinary scene. From unexpected shutterings (RIP La Rondinella) to an influx of burger spots, arcade bars, new breweries and restaurants, there was certainly no shortage of food news in 2017. And, while the industry shows no immediate signs of slowing down, six new spots stopped us in our tracks, serving everything from elevated bar fare to hot bowls of curry. During another impressive year for Detroit, these newcomers earned the title of the 2017 best restaurants -- an increasingly impressive feat in a rapidly growing space.
courtesy of joebar

Joebar

Hazel Park

A new neighborhood favorite focused on decadent pub food and dip sandwiches
Nestled off of John R Road in Hazel Park, Joebar’s neighborhood vibe and communal seating were an unexpected addition in 2017, especially as this is owner Joe Vaughn’s first restaurant. As a renowned food photographer, though, it’s easy to see that Vaughn knows what makes good restaurants tick. Headed by executive chef Courtney Witter, previously of Mabel Gray, the menu features elevated bar fare and dip sandwiches and elevated bar fare that is anything but ordinary. Options like the famed Joe dip, made with tender, slow-roasted prime rib, caramelized onions, and house-made horseradish, or massive burgers specials made with brisket, chuck, and short rib, keep the “average Joe” spirit alive without skimping on quality. But that’s not all. On some nights, a second, “secret” dining space known as Frame hosts regular chef residencies, featuring notable names such as George Azar of Flowers of Vietnam.

Lady of the House

Corktown

Snout-to-tail butchering and subtle Irish influences at this highly anticipated opening
After months of anticipation, chef Kate Williams' first solo venture opened in late September, and the Corktown restaurant has more than lived up to the hype so far. Williams blends her Irish heritage with whole animal butchering and local ingredient sourcing for inspired, chef-driven dishes. Dinner service begins with a traditional Irish tea, followed by offerings like decadent tartars, whole roasted chicken, and seasonally rotating cuts of lamb. The location also touts a hefty beverage program, highlighted by sherry and sake on tap, rancio wines, and a proprietary Lady of the House gin. The former St. CeCe’s space has been completely redone, subbing out the old wood look for clean white walls and a warm, subtly feminine decor, which is more than appropriate given the concept and cuisine. From start to finish, Williams and her talented team have shown impressive attention to detail. Well worth the wait.

Jenna Belevender photography

Voyager

Ferndale

Coastal-inspired restaurant specializing in oysters and raw offerings
It’s no surprise Voyager was a seemingly instant success after opening in March. Headed by revered chefs Justin Tootla and Jennifer Jackson, the seafood-forward restaurant hits all the major points: fresh, flavorful, and inventive cuisine. Even with the closest ocean about 1,000 miles away, somehow this Ferndale serves seafood that solely tastes like it was just caught. Oysters are served from “tide to table” within 24 hours, even with well over a dozen varieties, and Voyager also prides itself on its sustainable fare, utilizing wild-caught and responsibly farmed fish. With so many offerings, including standouts like the chili crab spaghetti and rotating catch of the day, the menu can admittedly seem a bit daunting. However, the attentive and knowledgeable staff is more than happy to make suggestions. The restaurant rounds out the menu with a variety of seafood-friendly wines, various craft beers, a handful a craft cocktails like their signature mai tai, made with hazelnut orgeat syrup and tangerine liqueur.

Maty's African Cuisine

Old Redford

Hole-in-the-wall serving seriously comforting Senegalese cuisine
The city’s (and arguably the state’s) only Senegalese restaurant is a welcome breath of fresh air, specializing in eclectic West African cuisine with menu standouts like whole chicken and fish, lamb shanks, and shawarmas. Served alongside massive portions of flavorful sides like yellow rice, couscous, and fried plantains, each meal is seriously comforting and well worth the slightly elevated price point. Maty's is deeply personal for owner Amady Gueye, who opened the place with money saved from odd jobs (including a stint as an Uber driver) -- it's named after his wife, Maty, and the couple run the kitchen alongside Gueye’s mother. For any other restaurant it'd be a hopeless cliché, but you really can taste the love in every bite here.  

Michelle & Chris Gerard

Ima

Corktown

Japanese-inspired spot focused on noodle soups, rice bowls, and curries
While this Corktown hot spot technically opened right on the cusp of the new year, the restaurant truly found its stride in 2017 with a number of exciting updates and a continued commitment to making the most delicious food possible. Headed by chef and owner Mike Ransom, the Japanese-inspired eatery specializes in warm and comforting noodle soups, rice bowls, and spicy curries, with dangerously delicious shareable plates like the steamed edamame (served with chilis, lemon, olive oil, sea salt). The dishes are unapologetically untraditional, incorporating bold ingredients like rich smoked pork loin and barbecue-glazed eel, and in the last few months, the noodle house added a lunch service, extended dinner hours, and secured its liquor license. Diners can now choose from a curated list of beers, sake, and shochu, a popular Japanese distilled liquor. All in all, an impressive first year for a small noodle shop.

River Bistro

Rosedale Park

Cozy, casual spot for low country, Caribbean, and African cuisine
Headed by chef Maxcel Hardy, who's planning on opening three (yes, three) restaurants in the next year, River Bistro made a splash after opening its doors in August. While seating is minimal (the emphasis is on carry-out and delivery), the kitchen here is turning out high-quality, flavorful, chef-driven takes on soul food with African and Caribbean inspiration. Hardy's impressive resume has garnered him national attention, and for good reason -- he was first runner-up on the Food Network’s Chopped, with past clients including the prince of Dubai, the prime minister of Turks and Caicos, and former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire, among others. Using his grandmother’s recipes (who was said to have cooked for some favorite Motown artists), he's created a inspired menu highlighted by familiar favorites like jerk ribs and chicken wings, and elevated by additions like house-made guava barbecue sauce. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this audacious chef.