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Downtown Detroit Eats?

I'm visiting Detroit from St. Louis for the 4th time next month and I'm determined to have a good meal there. I haven't really had much luck in the past.

Can you please point me in the right direction. We would like to stay in the downtown area for convenience but we will have a car. Any type of food welcome and Im always open to try new things. We also like young trendy places are all under 30. Looking for low-midprice range, as my SO isnt the coat and tie type.


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  1. Might be helpful if you told us what restaurants failed to impress on your
    previous forays.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rainsux

      Sorry its been years..... i dont remember specific names but we always just dined where convenience with no real destinantion spot in mind.

    2. Detroit News article recommending downtown restaurants when the NCAA Final Four was in town a couple of weeks ago.

      2 Replies
      1. re: coney with everything

        Thanks! I'm going to print that out and keep it handy.

        1. re: shnda99

          I think Slows from that list might fit the bill well. Sure, you may be coming from Missouri and thinking the BBQ probably doesn't get much better than that. But the place gets a young crowd, they have a big bar with locally brewed beer, and the food is really good. About five minutes by car from downtown.

      2. I recommend Vincente's - its Cuban with great Paella or small plates if that's the way you want to go. Definitely do not need a coat or a tie!

        Do you like Asian - Oslo has sushi and also thai (I think).

        Mosaic in Greek town - its on the upscale side, but no dress code. It also has a trendy bar that would have a lot of people in your age group (which is mine too).

        Honestly, most of the upscale places in town don't have a dress code - you won't see tons of "coat and tie types".

        Have fun!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ludlows23

          BTW, it's Vicente's, if you're looking for this on Google.

          Agreed--fun spot. Often has live Latin music on Friday nights. Call ahead to reserve. Not expensive for what you get. Can eat well on appetizers, and then hang out and drink. "I Love Lucy" reruns on monitors, subtitled in Spanish.

          1. re: Jim M

            Great food & good times ...

            It can be very noisy. A few too many tables ... I get that "cramped" feeling.

            Bus staff can be VERY aggressive about clearing plates from tables.
            Done? No ... and they grab for the plate anyway.

        2. Cliff Bell's on Park Ave. not only has a nice French-inspired menu, but great happy hour food specials and fantastic ambiance.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tabrams

            Yeah, I was going to mention them. Jazz shows later in the evening. The Park Bar next door is also a good place to hang out and meet Detroiters. It has a small Romanian food counter with cheap wraps--they're good, but you gotta be garlic tolerant.

            1. re: Jim M

              I'm glad you said something about the Park Bar - whenever I walk by there I wonder about it - there are always people there, but I haven't been in. And, I'm more than "garlic tolerant", I'm probably "garlic friendly!"

          2. This is my list so far.... heading out next week if anyone else has more suggestions

            Checker Bar & Grill
            124 Cadillac Square
            (313) 961-9249)

            Taste, a Pizza bar
            1431 Times Square
            (313) 962-8700

            El Barzon (Italian/Mexian)
            3710 Junction St. at Michigan
            (313) 894-2070

            Woodbridge Pub
            5169 Trumbull
            Sunday 11am Brunch

            Oslo (Asian/Sushi)
            1456 Woodward Ave

            Slows BarBQ
            2138 Michigan Ave. at 14th St
            (313) 962-9828

            Vicente's Cuban Cuisine
            1250 Library St

            1 Reply
            1. re: shnda99

              I'm surprized no one mentioned Jacoby's in Bricktown. Sometimes uneven. Always fun.


            2. I was a big fan of Tom's Oyster Bar at 519 E. Jefferson Avenue. It's right across the street from the Renaissance Center. Nothing fancy, but good food. We ate there for lunch two days in a row.


              1. last night, i ate at the 24 grille in the westin book cadillac before last night's wings game seven.

                the place is on the street level at the opposite end of the building from roast. it fronts michigan avenue and the wall is all windows which lets in outside light and the views of the abandoned lafayette building, with its street level murals behind a chain link fence that were erected fool our final four visitors into thinking we have a vibrant/artsy downtown. there is also a patio sectioned off on the sidewalk, but no tables outside yet.

                the room is a long rectangle with a large bar at the entrance and a single row of high tops across from the bar along the window, causing a bit of a tight squeeze. the exposed ceiling and steel girders are painted a matte black and the decor sleek and fairly minimalist - like a westin. a half wall of crackled glass partitions a 15-20 table dining area from the bar.

                plently of servers in the room, all clad in black. and a few well dressed front of house managers milling about. service was prompt but not pressured. water, menus, drinks, run through of menu features and specials. our waiter explained that most menu items are from local ingredients from eastern market.

                we ordered two appetizers to share. the fried calimari and a seared tuna (special). the calimari came with a caper buerre blanc and a spicy chili aioli, though i don't remember tatsing any chili (or chile for that matter). the tuna was sushi grade, barely seared, sliced thin, and served with a cold nori salad and a garlicy soy sauce - very good.

                for dinner i had a pistachio encrusted sea bass ($28 special). the fish was excellent and cam with braised bok choy and a sweet potato puree dotted with garlic aioli (both just passable). my friend had a caddilac salad, veal chops ($30; the other special was lamb chops), and a side of asparagus. the salad greens looked fine but they appeared to be drowning in a thick garlic mustard dressing. the three double cut chops were cooked to just under medium, but i don't remeber the waiter asking how he would like them done. the asparagus were grilled and drizzled with balsamic. he said that everything was very good and cleaned most everything off of his plates.

                we looked at the desert menu with no intention of getting anything. fairly straight forward: chocolate cake, creme burlee, something with fruit. we ended up splitting house made ice cream. choices were triple chocolate something-or-other, vanilla, pistachio, and smores. they also have a selection of house made sherberts/sorbets. i chose the pistachio. the waiter pointed out their ice cream cart in the middle of the dining room, but i think ours came out fo the kitchen. since we were sharing, our waiter served it in a three bowl dish - a scoop in each end and shards of broken waffle cones in the middle. it was knockout good.

                the bill for the food, 3 beers (atwater blonde), a martini, and two glasses of wine came out to ~$120. not outrageous like the $60 lunch for two (1 salad, 2 soups, 1 sandwich, and 2 iced teas) i have had at boulevard room on the second floor. but the upcharges were lurking: make the steak or the chops specials surf and turf by adding lobster claws and the prices doubled to $60 a plate.

                overall, a good meal, a hip/vibrant room, good service, and decent value. i would go back again. perhaps if there is another game seven against the hawks....


                1 Reply