Good Italian in Rochester or Auburn Hills MI?
the first thing that comes to mind is lelli's on opdyke just north of featherstone (across the from the huling, vacant pontiac silverdome) has been renowned in detroit since 1939. this is there second (and now only) location. excellent food and service -- but pretty pricey.
south of rochester, in troy (on rochester road) are several other good places:
picano's - excellent place and more afordable than lelli's
franco's (across the street from picano's)- sicilian style italian. small family owned place on the end of a strip mall. simple & fairly pricedacross the street is a
alibi (rochester between square lake & south blvd) for very good round pizza. they have other italian dishes, but we always go there for pizza. always busy. no reservations.
larco's (big beaver between rochester & livernois) - another old school italian chophouse in the vein of lelli's. relocated from detroit to troy. upscale and in the league of mortons/ruths/shulas/capitol down the street.
My husband and I just went to Franco's last night and it was terrible! It recently got a good review from Mel Small in the Metrotimes, too. We had the roasted red pepper appetizer, the lobster bisque, dinner salad, and two entrees: Veal Siciliano and the fettucine alfredo with chicken and spinach. First, the roast peppers were not tasty, and the skins were left on. (I'm not sure if that's typical in Italian cooking, but my Jewish-Moroccan aunties would never dream of leaving a skin on a roasted pepper). The lobster bisque tasted of salt and corn starch, the dinner salads contained the funkiest-tasting cicis, the alfredo was cafeteria-grade at best, and the breading on the veal had the texture of sand. The ammoglio that came with the veal had little flavor as well. Plus, despite the relatively nice decor, the food came served on the typical cafeteria plates that are brown-flecked and have dark brown edging. There was truly nothing good about that meal.
In the metrotimes review, Small compared the food to typical italian chains and suggested that it was better to give the business to someone local. While I normally fully agree with this sentiment, I have to disagree that the quality of the food even approached what you would get at an italian chain. Even if the food was better quality, it would certainly taste better at a chain. I would go to Maggianos or Buca any day of the week over this place.
Lino's on Tienken just north of Rochester is often overlooked. However, if you are seeking a quiet, nighborhood bistro, Lino's is your go-to place. Reasonable, not-overdone - real comfortable Italian food. It's a little out of the way (next to a car-wash) but always good.