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Best in Novi, F.H. Area?

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Visitor from Ontario staying in Novi, Farmington Hills area for 3 nights and looking for something that may be considered unique to the area and that maybe has stood the test of time. Not looking for anything high end and can travel a bit and interested in all food types. Also, a good pub happy hour would be nice as that's unique for us. So far I have:

Tomatoes Apizza
Pizza Papalis


Zingermans in Ann Arbor

Five Guy Burgers

Taverns & Bubs
Matt Prentice Flying Fish Tavern

All comments and suggestions welcomed and appreciatted.

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  1. For the pub visit I am going to point to either Kuhnhenn's Brewery or Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

    www.kbrewery.com - Try the Raspberry Eisbock

    1. For the deli visit I would go to Ron's Bagel Deli. M5 and 14 mile. Excellent corned beef and pastrami and really good bread. And their bagels are really good too! Tomatoes Apizza is the best!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Rheta

        Ron's closed a couple of months ago. They're pretty much the same (food wise) as Bread Basket on Greenfield in Oak Park. The nearby Siegel's, at Maple and Haggerty, is farily comparable.
        Everybody loves Tomatoes Apizza.
        However, lefty, Five Guys is actually a chain that's just making its way into Michigan. If you want unique, try a sliders place like Greene's on 10 and Orchard Lake or Bates, with a location on Middlebelt.

        Bates Hamburgers
        22291 Middlebelt Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48336

        greene's hamburgers
        farmington, michigan, farmington, michigan

        bread basket
        oak park, michigan, oak park, michigan

        west bloomfield, michgan, west bloomfield, MICHIGAN

        1. re: Fibber McGee

          I didn't realize Ron's had closed. That's too bad. I'm glad I found out before going there for my fix of corned beef.

          1. re: Rheta

            Have to bring this back, because Ron is BACK! He (Ron Foreman) has teamed up with Michael Schwartz to open Schwartz's at the same location Ron's was at 14 Mile and M-5 in Commerce Twp. Your fix is back, Rheta.

            1. re: Fibber McGee

              Hey thanks Fibber! That is great news! Will have to check it out soon!

      2. Diamond Jim Brady's in the Novi Town Center by the theatres for lunch or dinner. Had dinner there last Saturday (softshell crabs, yum) and had a nice talk with Mary Brady. Everything is as wonderful as always. Please try to make it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SonyBob

          I heartily second the suggestion for DJB...I absolutely love it!

        2. You may want to call Priya before heading there. A friend drove on Friday and it looked deserted. She called their phone number, no one answered and the voicemail box was full. My daughter was there a few months ago and they had started charging for rice and naan, so possibly they were starting to feel the pinch of the economy. If I could make a suggestion, try Ashoka, they have a Troy and Canton location.

          2 Replies
          1. re: grouper

            My Indian colleagues preferred Ashoka or Rangoli in Auburn Hills to Priya.

            1. re: coney with everything

              India Spice is much better than Priya, and cheaper. 12 Mile just east of Orchard Lake. I much prefer it to House of India and Bombay Grill. Royal Sweets on Orchard Lake for chaat etc is very good though.

          2. > Burgers: Five Guys

            You can do MUCH better. Bates' or Greene's is good for sliders. Jaws is GREAT for burgers, fries and malts. They also have chicken sandwiches & subs.

            Modern Food & Spirits is just up the road in Keego Harbor - an excellent kitchen.
            Lots of specials & promos:


            5 Replies
            1. re: rainsux

              As much as I love Bates and Greene's....I still really like Five Guys alot. I know its a chain..but it works for me. Although if they are looking for uniquely local I also would go elsewhere.

              Jaws I have yet to get to...that I am looking forward to when i get in that neck of the woods.

              1. re: JanPrimus

                I'll spot that the burgers at FG are at least good, but the fries are almost completely unsatisfying to me. Yes, they give you a lot...but a lot of something lousy isn't any good, either. I'm not completely anti-chain (hey, I likes me a Pei-Wei fix and such), but FG is *not* inexpensive, especially in terms of the cost of a burger.

                As a whole, I find myself less inclined to go to FG specifically because the fries aren't up to snuff, and the burger isn't enough to fill me up.

                1. re: boagman

                  I kind of get that....since I just went to Bray's in Westland yesterday and got 5 burgers for $5 bucks...but I did not get the fries...They have crinkle cut fries....the worst! I just got the burgers in a sack and took them home to enjoy with a beer.

                  Actually the FG fries I don't remember the taste of...I have had them...just did not think they where offensive nor worthy of remembering. Just there....

                  1. re: JanPrimus

                    Crinkle cut fries...the worst?! Blasphemy!!!

                    1. re: yorbacus

                      I have no love for the official fry of School lunches.

            2. With your help this little trip is coming together nicely, so far it looks like Tomatoes Apizza and Diamond Jims with one of the burger places for lunch ........is there a good Mexican place within reasonable distance to fill out the card?

              7 Replies
                1. re: Lefty

                  Is El Nibble Nook on 8Mile a good as it used to be?? This would be fairly close.

                  1. re: SonyBob

                    I can't speak for that one, but the one on Pontiac Trail and Haggerty wasn't overly impressive. I much prefer Border Cantina.

                    Border Cantina
                    21420 Novi Rd, Novi, MI 48375

                      1. re: JanPrimus

                        Sans taco trucks and taquerias, it's what Novi/F.H has. It wasn't that long ago when Chi-Chi's seemed to be the main option. I haven't tried the place on 12 Mile just East of Orchard Lake that regularly changes every couple of years.

                      2. re: SonyBob

                        I think El Nibble Nook is very good. It's not gourmet or authentic "Mexican," but it does serve up consistent, tasty dishes. Their shredded beef is very well made, with carrots and celery adding piquant sweetness to the spiciness. Their chicken is always tender and flavorful. I've never had a bad meal there. The only complaint I have is their onions are not cut properly (too large, should be more of a dice). Order the Tijuana Bypass and you'll have enough for the next day.

                    1. El Nibble Nook and Border Cantina IMO are both very good. El Nibble Nook is more traditional Mexican and Border Cantina has more of a Tex Mex flavor (like South of the Border but better).

                      Another suggestion for a pub type is Cowley and Sons on Grand River Rd in Farmington. Way good! http://www.johncowleys.com/main.htm

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chowchowbrowncow

                        I don't really wanna be the bad guy but I would never push someone that is looking for something "unique to the area and that maybe has stood the test of time" to any Mexican within 10 miles of Novi or Farmington. The atmosphere of these places is nice, they are slightly above average representations of the tex-mex region but do not hold a candle to real Tex-Mex from Texas or the south. They are fine for a Thursday night out for a local but in no way would I call them worth while for a out of towner looking some something special .

                        1. re: JanPrimus

                          I couldn't agree with you more. The only reason I asked about El Nibble Nook is because Lefty requested Mexican.

                          1. re: SonyBob

                            Thanks for chiming in....I only feel moderately like a meany now :)

                            1. re: JanPrimus

                              You're not a meany at all. Like SonyBob, I suggested Border Cantina because they did ask for Mexican in the area. But, like with Five Guys, those two are decent but not unique and certainly not as authentic as what you can find in Mexicantown. The burbs is the burbs.

                      2. Thanks Folks:
                        It's this weekend we are coming and El Nibble and Border Catina are good options for us if we don't feel like traveling downtown. We appreciatte all the recs.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Lefty

                          If you want a really authentic little Japanese place, try Fumi on Novi Rd.

                        2. Well, we just got back and we made it to Diamond Jim's, Tomatoe Apizza and Greene's. They were great rec's and we enjoyed them all. Don't throw anything at me but our third dinner was at Olive Garden as it's my wife's favourite chain restaurant and we don't have them in Canada and to be fair, it was also very good. Thanks again for all the rec's and we will be returning again next year (we were at the Nascar race) and look forward to trying some others.
                          PS: Sonybob ...Mary at DJB who is a very nice lady and came to our table to ask how everything was, say's to tell you she owes you a soft shell crab after we told her how we found the place.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Lefty

                            Thanks Lefty - I'll take her up on it! She is indeed a very nice person. Both she and her late husband, Tom, are very loved and respected by all of DJB's regulars.

                            1. re: Lefty

                              > Don't throw anything at me but our third dinner was at Olive Garden
                              > as it's my wife's favourite ...

                              We all have our (gasp!) indulgences. You are wise to
                              accommodate her in this regard. <g>

                              1. re: rainsux

                                Ditto, Rainsux!
                                One of my most memorable meals was at the Red Lobster in Petersborough in Canada albeit a long time ago. The fact that we had just come off a one week houseboat trip on the Trent Severn seaway helped, I'm sure!

                            2. Race weekend is coming up again and we are returning to the area. Anything new that we should be trying this year? Only thing we have locked in is a return to Diamond Jims .... see the 4th reply above for what we enjoyed last year. Thanks in advance.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Lefty

                                If you're looking for a decent breakfast place, there's The Breakfast Club. There's one on 10 Mile around Grand River in F.H. and they just opened another one on Haggerty north of Maple.


                                1. re: Fibber McGee

                                  I fully endorse Fibber McGee and this recommendation!

                                  I will also add...


                                  #1 for the Butter Pecan Ice cream and for #2...the Broasted Chicken!


                                2. re: Lefty

                                  I like Guernsey a lot, but their service has been a little off. The chicken and ice cream go a long way to make up for it however. The ice cream counter there though runs like a well-oiled machine, and their sundaes are excellent.

                                  I would also suggest a drive to Hamtramck or Dearborn for "unique to the area" Polish or Middle Eastern.

                                  1. re: Lefty

                                    Alfoccino's in Farmington Hills for dinner is a possibility. It's seems like your typical family owned Italian place but I think their veal piccata is to die for. I think Rheta agrees with me. It's on the corner of Grand River and Haggerty. It's not bistro style like Diamond Jim's and not as unique but it's a possibility if you can't decide on a place to go some night. I envy you going to the races!

                                    39205 Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48335

                                    Diamond Jim's
                                    210 S Main St Ste 1, Crown Point, IN 46307

                                    1. re: SonyBob

                                      I agree with SonyBob, totally! The veal picatta at Alfoccino's is delish! The best I've had anywhere. And the spaghetti w/meat sauce that comes with it. Hubby really likes their ravioli when he goes for lunch. I'm pretty sure everything is good. And their salad is also really good. And then there's the bread.......I would go there if I was you, lefty. And I also enjoy Diamond Jim's.

                                      Diamond Jim's
                                      210 S Main St Ste 1, Crown Point, IN 46307

                                  2. Just got back and had another great weekend with your rec's. Made it to:
                                    Guernsey's .. what a unique place, great chicken and ice cream
                                    Alfonccino's... now that's old school, the Veal Picatta may be the best single plate I have ever had.
                                    Zingerman's for breakfast ...worth stopping just for their sourdough toast.
                                    Didn't make it to Diamond Jim's this year as we were one less night this time. Thanks again for your rec's and look forward to more again next year.

                                    1. Best Middle Eastern: Al Omara Maple and Farmington. Go in there a couple times and they will treat you like family. Originally my favorite was La Shish, but after their scandal of funding terrorists and embezzlement, plus them closing down, it hasnt been an option for a long while.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Zucumber84

                                        > Best Middle Eastern: Al Omara Maple and Farmington.


                                        1. re: Zucumber84

                                          Has anyone tried the second location on Haggerty and Maple across from Meijer?

                                        2. Hi Guys .... racing weekend coming up again, anything new this year we should try, also, we have another couple coming with us that really like the pub sports bar style, last year we tried I think it was the library, anything similar or comments on it? Thanks

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Lefty

                                            Diamond Jim Bradys, Bonefish Grill (chain, but great, especially the ahi tuna) and Toasted Oak are all good choices in the Novi area.

                                            Recently went to the Novi Chophouse and it was pricey, but outstanding -- food and service.

                                            All four of these restaurants are around the Novi Road/96 intersection.

                                            1. re: Rosedale

                                              "Bonefish Grill (chain, but great, especially the ahi tuna)"

                                              Really? I've never been, but I've been avoiding it specifically because it was a chain. Anything you'd recommend other than the ahi tuna? That's not my favorite, usually.

                                              Couldn't agree more about DJB and Toasted Oak. I've never been to No.VI Chophouse, so I can't comment there.

                                              1. re: boagman

                                                I was a little afraid to try the seared ahi tuna too, but now I'm a convert. Their Bang Bang shrimp appetizer is great. I usually get the ahi since I discovered it, but they have a ton of fish/seafood options. Personally, I like the chimichurri sauce.

                                                1. re: Rosedale

                                                  And if you go on a Wednesday, Bang Bang shrimp is $5 all day. Until 6:30 they have 1/2 off drinks. The wait is usually long for inside, but it's first come first serve at the bar and patio.