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Ideas for good, local eats in Ann Arbor/Detroit?


My husband and I are going on a "romantic getaway" in a few weeks and will be staying at a hotel in Plymouth. We don't ever get to do this and I want to make sure that we eat at a place that is memorable for the occasion. I like fancy, but we don't have a lot of money (Eve's is way too expensive, from what I saw!!). I'm up for any kind of food, but especially like Indian. Also an option would be a place that specializes in preparing with local ingredients. We are looking to eat out on Monday night, but could do Sunday if we had to, I suppose. Someplace that has a unique atmosphere would be great, or unique and tasty menu choices.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. About how many meals do you think you need to cover?

    As for Indian...I would not call this place at all romantic...but I love www.neehees.com in so many ways.

    For some the Atmosphere and a good meal...that is going to be a east one.
    www.djbistro.com - I am sure you will find many people hear to second this recommendation. My wife just looked at me the other day and with a sparkle in her eye said "We SO need to get back to Diamond Jim Brady's."

    As for places that serve local raised and produced food....unfortunately the area has yet to get on this wagon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JanPrimus

      I will, indeed, second the idea of Diamond Jim Brady's. I was just there on Saturday night, as a matter of fact, and enjoyed myself once again. I actually wasn't too crazy about the Shepherd's Pie special I had, as it was too salty for my taste, but it wasn't awful or anything, and the salad and bread were still good. Besides, I ate the whole Shepherd's Pie anyway...I was hungry!

      Trust me: DJB is a *great* place for both food and ambience. Do have the garlic-and-brown-sugar rubbed filet mignon with butternut squash ravioli...you won't be disappointed. My favorite, though it is the most expensive thing on the menu at $27. Even so, it's worth it.

      La Pita in Dearborn might fit the bill if you were in the mood for Middle Eastern food. Don't know that that's your type of food, though. It sure is a great place with great food, though!

      1. re: JanPrimus

        had lunch there yesterday. very good - as always.

        had a cup of there chili for the first time. it was ok. a bit on the sweet side. also had a california club - turkey, gruyere, and avacado and it was great. the guy i was with had a gravlox quesadilla. looked good/interesting with fresh gravlox cream cheese, onions, capers and maybe a bit of hardboiled egg on a rather crispy tortilla. he said it wasn't quite too his tasting - but not because it was of poor quality. for me, that would have been too much salmon.

        saw mary on the way out. she looks well and she is as warm and welcoming as ever.

      2. We are only going to be around for dinner on Sunday night and Monday night, plan on having lunch at the hotel restaurant on Monday, and probably breakfast Monday and Tuesday at a local place in Plymouth, or at the hotel. We have a limited budget, which is not even known at this time (some friends are sending us away).

        1. For an inexpensive breakfast or lunch, I'd suggest Bode's, which is something of a local institution. Their specialty is corned beef.


          1 Reply
          1. re: gooddog

            Yeah, that place is an institution in Plymouth. It's like something straight out of "A Prairie Home Companion." The regulars all have their own mugs hanging on the wall.

          2. haven't been here in a long time, but Ernesto's had decent food in a nice room. Maybe someone with more recent experience can say whether this is still a good choice. Not too expensive, either.

            Is Raja Rani any good still in A2?

            1. For indian....
              Shalimar Restaurant
              307 S. Main,
              Ann Arbor, MI 48104
              It's in Ann Arbor, a short drive from Plymouth but definitely worth the drive.

              Ashoka Indian Cuisine
              2100 North Haggerty Road
              Canton, MI 48187-3767
              (734) 844-3100
              this is in Canton and not that far of a drive from Plymouth.

              If you have time I would definitely venture out to Ann Arbor, you might need to call ahead if you plan on going on Sunday night.

              There is a great breakfast place on Ann Arbor Trail and Forest right in downtown Plymouth but for the life of me can't think of the name... they have this gigantic loaf of cinnamon bread that is enough to feed a small army....if I think of the name I'll post it.
              Have a Great Weekend!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: MiMexTex

                Was the breakfast place the Cozy Cafe? They were famous for their giant cinnamon rolls, but that was before the previous owners sold out a year or more ago. How recently have you been there?

                1. re: gooddog

                  Last time I was there was probably in the Fall of 2009, so after you say they were sold. I had a quiche and shared the cinnamon roll. Food was pretty good and I guess the new owners continued the cinnamon roll tradition.

              2. A good resource for finding local restaurants is www.wherethelocalseat.com. It's a restaurant guide website and phone application that recommends local, nonchain restaurants. If you're using the application, you can press "near me" to see a list of restaurants that the editors suggest in your specific area. Or online you can type the actual address of your hotel, zip code, city, etc and search for restaurants that way. Most reviews have a link to the actual restaurant website so you can take a look at the menu and determine if you like what you see. I like it because it's a simple format that makes it easy to decide where to eat. Enjoy your getaway!

                1. Anyone who knows me knows I'll always recommend DJB's to satisfy your requirements. If money were no object, I would recommend LaBistca on Plymouth road. Excellent meals but $$$$. Bodes is very plain, an institution and has the best corn beef on this side of town. Breakfast or lunch would be perfect. Karl's Cozy Cabin is unique but certainly not fancy. I like the "lodge" atmosphere. Now that I think of it, there's two places right in downtown Plymouth that you might want to check out - Comparii.s and Fiama's. They're right on Main St. across from the park and I really think you should check them out. Just around the corner is Sean O'Grady's - a nice Irish pub. Definately check them out before you decide. Welcome to Plymouth; it's a nice place
                  Sorry Hounds I've been blessedly quiet for awhile; I'm the proud owner of a shiny new aortic valve!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: SonyBob

                    Whoa, Bob! Glad you're recovering...hope that you're still able to eat well these days!

                    1. re: boagman

                      Thanks. It's a bovine valve so perhaps I'll turn vegan. Getting lots of "cow" jokes.

                      1. re: SonyBob

                        Homeopathy would somehow seem to suggest that you keep eating the steaks. Good luck! Downtown A2 does have walkable spots that aren't quite in Eve's price range. I've had good luck at Cafe Zola lately -- try the lamb chops. Pacific Rim has good Asian fusion cuisine. Shalimar is decent. We have a newly transferred Indian place called Temptations that I've heard good things about -- haven't had a chance to get there yet. It's on Washtenaw between AA and Ypsilanti.

                    2. re: SonyBob

                      Bob, glad you're up and about! Thanks for your update!

                    3. Comparii's and Fiama's are both great choices with Fiama's being more expensive. LaBisteca is one of my favs, but definitely pricey. One more suggestion would be Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor. It's located in a building that used to be a train station.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chowchowbrowncow

                        Great suggestion! Good food and unusual and warm atmosphere.

                      2. How am I supposed to choose from all these great places??? I had thought that we would go into Ann Arbor, but now I'm seeing all these suggestions for places right in Plymouth...perhaps we'll stay closer to the hotel! I'd need a week and a deep bank account to explore all the lovely restaurants suggested!! :) Thanks guys!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: kamaezechi

                          If you hadn't noticed, we likes to eats arounds heres. ;) Have a great weekend here, wherever you choose!

                          1. re: kamaezechi

                            If you have a chance to stroll around Plymouth to check out the local places, try to visit our museum, ask for "Sandy" and if he's there, get him to tell you about the old Wilcox house.
                            It's visible from the two eateries I mentioned on Main St.

                            1. re: kamaezechi

                              If you like healthy veggie oriented there is a GREAT raw food and vegan place is downtown Northville called the Red Pepper Deli, and if you like to taste the whole animal kingdom try the Deadwood Bar and Grill on Hines Drive where you can sample deer, quail, and wild boar!

                              1. re: AmeliaIda

                                The OP didn't say which hotel in Plymouth they're staying at, but if it's a "romantic getaway" I would guess it's the Inn at St John's. If so, you're just a couple miles down the road from the Deadwood. Even if you don't go for a meal, it's a cozy place for drinks and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.


                                1. re: gooddog

                                  yah, the inn at st. johns. maybe we will go for cookies... perhaps check out the menu while we're at it. I love it when restaurants make your cookies baked fresh to order! yum yum!!

                            2. If you are prioritizing local food, as in food produced locally, I'd suggest the Grande in Ann Arbor. Not sure if they are open on Monday, though.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: momskitchen

                                That's the Grange. They specialize in this. Pretty expensive, but probably a few bucks less than Eve. Could eat in the bar and get cheaper dishes.


                                1. re: Jim M

                                  Thanks for fixing my fat fingerin'...I really liked my visit to the Grange last weekend for my birthday. I'd highly recommend it. I heard some mixed reviews when it first opened, but everything we had was great.

                              2. “…I want to make sure that we eat at a place that is memorable for the occasion. I like fancy, but we don't have a lot of money.” Not knowing your budget, consider Bacco Ristorante, 29410 Northwestern HwySouthfield, MI. It is a splurge restaurant but they do offer lunch which is less expensive. Or, even better go for dinner and order and split each of the following: a single appetizer, pasta, entrée and dessert. Ask the waiter, and be very specific, to serve each as a separate course.
                                The restaurant is small and personal and the ingredients and cooking skill way above anything in Ann Arbor.
                                Ask for the owner, Luciano. Tell him it is a special occasion but that you are on a budget and your ordering plan. Luce is a very nice guy and I believe that he will make sure you will have that memorable evening.
                                The menu is on their web site.
                                If memorable is what you want and truly excellent food makes up a big part of the memorable than Bacco is the place for dinner.

                                1. So we had our grand weekend away! We ended up going to Bode's for lunch on Monday, on the suggestion of all of you- I had a reuben and it was wonderful!! So yummy and tender and the corned beef was perfect! My husband had a mexican omelette, which was also very good.

                                  For dinner that night, we went to La Bistecca! We decided to save on breakfast by bringing our own fruit and donuts and splurged on a fancy dinner. It was great! I had the special: Sea bass with a truffle and red pepper reduction. Fantastic flavor. My husband had the chicken penne pasta with portabella mushrooms and asparagus tips. He loved it! I really liked the bread that was brought, with garlic oil and roasted red pepper puree. YUM!

                                  So, even though we only ended up eating out twice (actually, Sunday night we went to a Chinese restaurant called the Red Dragon and it was pretty gross...filled our hungry stomachs but we were not impressed)--our weekend was awesome and we had a great time!

                                  Thanks for all your suggestions!!