“Motor City” Detroit is Michigan’s largest city. Its abundance of high-quality dining options makes it the ideal setting for a culinary journey of epic proportions. Choose restaurants with the right ambiance for your dining companions, whether you’re out on a date or with friends.
Here is our list of the best restaurants in Detroit, so you can plan a vacation around delicious meals.
The seasonal, multi-course menu at Freya Detroit, a new hotspot in Milwaukee Junction from Sandy Levine and chef Doug Hewitt of James Beard Award-winning Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, is made with ingredients from Southeast Michigan’s top farmers, fishmongers, foragers, and butchers.
Freya’s multi-course, creatively plated fine dining is an unforgettable experience. Even though it’s decorated in chilly greys and crisp lines, the room somehow manages to feel welcoming and full of life. It is ideal for an elegant, out-of-the-ordinary evening since combining the broad diffused light and the trendy candlelight creates a sensual, conversation-starting ambiance. Tables for two are generously spaced apart, contributing to a relaxed atmosphere that is only slightly disrupted by the service’s swift but deliciously calm pace.
Freya demonstrates that plant-based cuisine can be as creative and varied as any other. The most recent meal included umami tofu topped with cayenne and black sesame seeds and served over a bed of greens, onions, and mushrooms; a sunchoke tart decorated with black garlic and berry compote; tofu ricotta-stuffed cappelletti served with apple slaw; and, finally, a decadent house-made passion fruit sorbet sundae. Freya composes a sensory experience that will have your date swooning.
2. Joe Louis Southern Kitchen
The restaurant formerly known as New Center Eatery, famous for its chicken and waffles, has been rebranded as Joe Louis Southern Kitchen. The restaurant was given its new name in honor of the legendary boxer who is memorialized along the riverfront by an iconic sculpture of a fist and is also memorialized through Southern comfort foods. Supino Pizzeria and Yum Village are located just a few doors south of the restaurant on this block of Woodward, and Baobab Fare is located directly across the street from the establishment.
In addition to the restaurant’s namesake dish, chicken and waffles, the menu features an array of traditional Southern dishes that are sure to satisfy even the most voracious of champions, such as buttermilk marinated fried catfish and Cajun fried turkey leg. The menu unmistakably pays tribute to Louis, from “Champ’s Specialties” such as shrimp and grits to “Training Camp,” which includes hot beef sausage, fried wings, and blackened shrimp with eggs your way, along with rice and potatoes. The meal that boxers start their day with.
3. Lady of the House
The Lady of the House in Corktown is a restaurant in an old auto shop. It obtains its ingredients from small local farms in and around the city, which means that the fruit and vegetables you consume here may have been grown just a few blocks away. The menu constantly evolves to reflect what ingredients are available at that time of year. The extensive list of drinks, including beer, wine, and cocktails, also evolves throughout the year to complement the cuisine. It is an excellent location to bring a large group to and order most of the items on the menu; however, if the carrot steak and potato donuts are on the menu, you should make it a point to purchase them.
4. The Peterboro
The Peterboro, located in Detroit’s old Chinatown, serves up innovative Asian fare in a lively setting. Vibrant music and bright Chinese-inspired decorations (think tiger paintings and paper lanterns) create a contemporary atmosphere that seems at odds with the ancient customs of the once Sleeping Giant. The bar scene is equally appealing, with an extensive selection of carefully crafted cocktails, beverages, and sake.
Peterboro’s contemporary vibe permeates even the restaurant’s avant-garde take on Asian fare. The creative plates are sized right for two people to share, and there are many vegetarian and vegan options. You can start your meal well with the crispy eggplant served with black bean sauce and the steamed mushroom dumplings floating in a delicious garlic lemongrass broth. Every dish stays true to its traditional roots while venturing into exciting new tastes, such as General Tso’s cauliflower and tofu lo mein. After that, eat as many of the not-so-Chinese but incredibly tasty Oreo-filled donuts as you can (sans chocolate sauce). These delicious desserts are best served hot and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Three of each are offered, making them ideal for sharing and extremely fortunate according to Chinese belief.
Doner kebab prepared Berlin-style, tinned fish and drinks are on the menu at Supergell, which was opened by David Landrum, the proprietor of the nearby distillery Two James.
Dishes such as Verschicken Chicken (whiskey, green beans, and Piri Piri sauce), sticky ribs with black tea, apricot, and allspice, and the main attraction, the doner kebab, with three distinct variations, are included on a well-edited menu that travels the world (lamb and beef, chicken, and eggplant). In its many forms, such as one flavored with cherry blossom, gin and tonic take up a significant chunk of the drinks menu. A mai tai, a “Mediterranean Mule,” and other drinks that draw influence from various cultures are viable alternatives for those who aren’t big fans of gin. There are also beverages such as the Jallab, a mixture of rosewater, jasmine tea, figs, dates, and sumac grenadine.
6. Grey Ghost
Both meat and cocktails are taken extremely seriously in the Grey Ghost restaurant. The items on this establishment’s supper menu are cured raw, not meat (salads and shellfish), and heart, with the last category including more substantial fare such as duck breast with foie gras. Consider it incredibly delicious bar cuisine, considering how you will most likely be drinking while you are here. We highly recommend the cocktails that are served from the tap, but in addition to those, they also have an extensive list of other drinks. It is also an excellent place to eat breakfast before or after a visit to the neighboring Detroit Institute of Arts, which may result in you snapping a ridiculous amount of photos in front of artworks, depending on which you do first. The restaurant is located near the museum.
7. Lafayette Coney Islands
Lafayette Coney Island is one of the few places that has remained the same throughout the years despite the many shifts that have taken place in the city of Detroit throughout its history. It’s a dive in the middle of downtown that’s been there forever and serves coney dogs in the style of Detroit that is unrivaled anywhere else in the world. The standard order is called “one up with everything,” The dish is a hot dog in a bun with chili, onions, and mustard. However, one coney dog is not sufficient. Thus the regular order consists of two coney dogs stacked on each other with everything, chili cheese fries, and a cold beer. If you need a third coney, don’t be shy about asking for it, and while you’re at it, consider ordering a slice of their sneakily delicious pie.
8. Mink Detroit
The Mink Detroit is a well-known restaurant with a menu that primarily emphasizes fish, and it opened its doors in November 2019. At the Mink Detroit, you and your family, friends, or significant other can indulge in a meal that satisfies your appetite for fish. It offers a contemporary setting, a warm and welcoming ambiance, delectable fare that is artfully presented, and attentive service. It offers a tasting menu that is constantly being updated, as well as a la carte alternatives, imported sake, refreshing lager, and great cider.
It would help if you tried something sophisticated, like the Snapper Crudo. Apples in vinegar, cucumbers, savory buttermilk sorbet, and herb oil are all components of this dish. The Date Cake would be a good choice for dessert. Pistachios with a salty flavor, harissa honey ice cream, and caramel with a burned orange hue are all components of this dish.
9. The Melting Pot
Melting Pot is conveniently close to routes 3 and 128, just on the border between Bedford and Burlington. If you’re looking for the best dining experience, look no further than The Melting Pot Restaurant. They have fondue dinners with multiple courses, ideal for special events. They have a wide variety of options for you to choose from on our menu. Cheese fondues, salads, seafood, and steak cooked in the fondue technique are all available. Indulge in one of our decadent chocolate fondue desserts during your visit to The Melting Pot. They also offer a separate Gluten-Free menu and can make adjustments for vegetarian and other special diets.
The four-course tasting experience is highly recommended in addition to the a la carte menu for an exciting and enjoyable meal. You can’t beat a dinner that starts with melted cheddar cheese and ends with smooth chocolate, both presented with an endless supply of fresh fruits, veggies, and bread for dunking. What could fit between these two culinary cornerstones and still be delicious? The main dish will be a veggie-friendly fondue, complete with a selection of raw and cooked veggies, tofu, and veggie meatballs to dip in your preferred blend of seasoning oil and spices. Cooking together strengthens relationships, as has been scientifically demonstrated, and The Melting Pot makes that time together more enjoyable and convenient than ever before.
10. Coriander Kitchen and Farm
Several years ago, chef Alison Heeres and farmer Gwen Meyer began working together to realize their dream of opening a farm/prepared food business hybrid that would highlight local food at catered events and pop-ups by purchasing acreage on the east side of Detroit. While opening a restaurant wasn’t the original plan, the success of their events at an abandoned marina led them in that direction. Not far from their first urban farm on the east side, they opened a restaurant this year serving upscale comfort food with fantastic drinks.
Coriander proves that “simple” doesn’t have to mean “basic” by serving delicious fare that doesn’t skimp on taste. The menu includes the usual suspects like fish sandwiches, loaded fries, and more adventurous seasonal dishes like grilled lamb shoulder with green garlic zhug (a Yemenite green hot sauce) and a spicy soba noodle salad. No matter the dish, it is based on what is growing and available at the farm.
Marrow is a high-end cafe and butcher shop that serves a menu influenced by cuisines from around the world. At Marrow, you and your traveling companions may enjoy quality time together while indulging in Detroit’s finest lunch. The inside of this exceptional restaurant features a modern area, exposed brick walls, and enormous windows, all of which contribute to its pleasant appearance. It provides meats of the highest possible quality, attentive servers, a menu with dishes suitable for all types of diets, and catering for special events.
Start your meal on the right foot with a wholesome appetizer like the Ham and Apple Salad. Frisee, apple butter, tarragon Vin, ham croquette, and apple shavings are the components that make up this dish. Try something savory for lunch by ordering a Cubano sandwich. It’s delicious. Spicy beef salami, pickles, sliced smoked ham, Swiss cheese, and spicy mustard are all included in this sandwich.
You should visit Imperial if you think a night out on the town should include tacos and tequila. This bar and restaurant on Woodward Avenue serve up California-style tacos, Sonoran hot dogs, and a wide selection of beverages. Your ideal date night atmosphere may be created in these three settings: at a community table, in a cozy bar, or out on the patio. Regardless of where you choose to set up shop, you’ll be swept up in Imperial’s hip and buzzing atmosphere in no time. Its one-of-a-kind qualities come from its knowledgeable staff, pleasant bartenders, and quirky decor.
You can share a little bit of everything on the menu, from the tacos de papa (a house favorite to its fiery combination of fried red potato, guac, grilled corn, and Cholula aioli) to the vegan chorizo and seitan. Vegetarians and vegans alike have the option of ordering Sonoran hotdogs, which are hefty in size. You also can try the elite vegan special: sweet corn on the cob doused in aioli and wrapped in spices. Extremely unorganized. It’s delicious. And it’s no fluke that everything on the menu at Imperial goes swimmingly with a house margarita, which we also tried and enjoyed.