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Jun 26, 2006 02:31 AM

Roma Cafe in Detroit

I did a search, both via Google and chowhound, for restaurants in the Detroit and Canton areas. Roma Cafe in Detroit consistently received excellent reviews. In fact, I don't recall reading any negative reviews of Roma Cafe. Most of the reviews received 5 stars (out of 5 stars max) or at least 4.5 stars. Given the outstanding reviews, I knew I had to visit Roma Cafe during my brief time in Detroit. I was not disappointed. The service was excellent. It is a rather upscale establishment but most of the patrons dressed somewhat casually, given the warm afternoon. I am embarrassed to say that I was dressed the slobbiest, in walking shorts and a t-shirt (I did call ahead of time to inquire whether shorts and t-shirts were acceptable, though). Nonetheless, the staff at Roma Cafe provided excellent service.

I had heard about the salads on chowhound, so I knew I had to get a salad. The server was surprised we were ordering so much (two entrees and a salad), and warned us that the salad was big. We told him that we were going to share it as an appetizer. Boy, he was right! The salad was large. He graciously divided the salad into two plates, but each plate resembled a full salad! The salad we had was a lunch menu special: a chopped garden salad with turkey, ham, and cheese. The dressing was divine, and the salad, overall, was one of the best salads (if not the best) I've had.

A few reviewers raved about the veal, and apparently Roma Cafe specializes in veal. I don't eat veal, but indicated to my brother that the veal was highly recommended. There was only one veal on the lunch menu (a breaded veal with mushroom sauce), but the dinner menu contains maybe 1/2 dozen to a dozen different types of veal dishes. The veal entree came with a side of spaghetti and meat sauce and green beans. My brother said the veal was excellent.

I ordered the ravioli with Italian sausage. The quality of the ravioli was top notch. The sausage was spicy, and contained a lot of herbs. I'm afraid I was disappointed by the meat sauce (red), which I thought was too salty.

I was also disappointed by the bread, which was cold.

After the main courses, we ordered espresso, which was excellent.

I really wanted to try the desserts, but I was so stuffed, I didn't have room. (After eating 1/2 of the salad, I could not finish my ravioli and Italian sausage).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Roma Cafe. The food was excellent, as was the service.

What's also great is the location: Roma Cafe is just next to the Eastern Market (or it's actually in the Eastern market), an area that contains a market of sorts for fresh plants and vegetation, fresh fruit and vegetables, and various meat sellers. We even found a restaurant that cooked (grilled/barbecued) meats outdoors. We could not believe the size of the sausages, hamburgers, and other meats they were cooking. (I think this was a soul food establishment.) We had just eaten at Roma Cafe, but the sight and smell of the meats cooking on the open grill was certainly a feast in itself.

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  1. the outdoor grilling place is called bert's. known for their 1 lb burgers and ribs. they always attracts a crowd. they are one of the driving forces behind the sizzle-n-sauce bbq competition (see below).

    Metro Detroit: Newsmakers June 9, 2006
    Eastern Market spices up Detroit with BBQ competition in July
    It is the All Star of BBQ...the Homerun of Grilling Knowledge...the Big Daddy of Secret Spices, and the Masters of the Grill. Call it what you may, the Sizzle-N-Sauce BBQ Competition held July 8-9, 2006 will put one out of the park
    Save the date for July 8-9, 2006 when over twenty-five contestants will release the sweetest smelling BBQ aromas at the 2nd Annual “Sizzle-N-Sauce” over Eastern Market for three pork, beef, & chicken stuffed days of BBQ heaven, where contestants will eat, sleep, and live to win cash prizes and trophies. Masters of the grill and folks wanting to enjoy the competitors finest BBQ, will descend on Eastern Market July 8 & 9 for a serious competition guaranteed to be seriously fun. Expected attendance at the event promised more than 20,000 BBQ lovers from around the globe who will gather to testify about the tasty delights of special sauces, rubs, ribs, and much more during the weekend.
    The Main Stage is set with world-class musical entertainment on both Saturday and Sunday. The outstanding lineup of performers and entertainers will include the R&B sounds of Streetcorner and Larry Lee & Back In The Day, the jazz sounds of The Edge and the all-female group Straight Ahead, a Motown review by Horizon, Blues favorites by Bons Temps Roulle, and a very exciting blues show by Da Blooze Brothers. On-air personalities from both 100.3 WNIC-FM and MIX 92.3-FM will also make appearances during the weekend.
    Admission to “Sizzle-N-Sauce” is absolutely FREE and a variety of BBQ menu items will be available for purchase to feed the entire family.
    For more information about the event, visit or call (248) 324-5424. Limited sponsorship opportunities for this year's event also remain available. Sizzle-N-Sauce sponsors will have amazing contact and sales opportunities at this wonderful and exciting food and entertainment event at Eastern Market.

    1. Does anyone know whether they still have their Monday night buffet? I checked their website, and it did not say one way or the other. It was a great bargain--for $15 you could eat yourself silly on very fine pastas that didn't suffer from sitting on a buffet table. Agreed--the Roma has great, rich, traditional Italian-restaurant food. It isn't the place I'd pick for a romantic dinner (the interior is compact, and a bit loud when it's full), but I'd sure go there with a group of visiting friends to show them good Detroit Italian.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jim M

        You're in luck. They still have the Monday night buffet. In fact, on the menu they even list the buffet items.