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Oct 6, 2011 12:50 PM

Detroit for a vegetarian

Hello All,

I am coming to Detroit for a convention and staying at the Westin downtown. My travel partner is a vegetarian and I am a fish eating vegetarian.

I have a couple of questions:

1. Do we need a rental car to eat well? We have the option of renting and driving to different spots.

2. What place would you recommend that is fun and eclectic? We are fine paying up to $50 a person including tax and tip. Anything els you would say are must haves?


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  1. In Detroit, you're always better having a car, so yes I'd encourage that. Traffic Jam & Snug near Wayne State is a very eclectic restaurant -- make their own cheese, beer, bread -- award winning too. Very veggie friendly menu. Also near Wayne State there are some good Asian restaurants (blanking on the main one, on Cass)- also very veggie friendly. Dearborn's not that far a trek and there are just great choices for MiddleEastern -- my favorite is Al-Berdouni on Chase. Good Chinese in Windsor and a very good, but small little Italy as well so you can get some rockin' pasta dishes there. Ren Cen has an outstanding fish/seafood restaurant so you could get a great meal there. And I also believe the Whitney, converted lumber baron's mansion offers an extensive veggie menu as well. Hope you have a great time, if you need more info just post, we'll jump on it.

    Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant
    511 W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201

    3 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      If you decided to get a car Al -Bourdini has been closed for well over a year - try New Yasmeen Bakery or Al -AMeer in East Dearborn if you are looking for Middle Eastern food For something more upscale, try Ollie's. Closer to your hotel., you might consider Pegasus in Greektown, or Good Girls Go to Paris for crepes. Coach Insignia in the top of the Renaissance Center (where the Westin is) is highly regarded and has lots of vegetarian options on the menu.

      Coach Insignia
      Renaissance Center 72nd Floor, Detroit, MI 48243

      1. re: momskitchen

        Thanks, mom, didn't know about Al-Beroudni... too bad.

      2. re: berkleybabe

        And Inn Season in Royal Oak, maybe less than 10 miles via freeway, a veggie restaurant just celebrated 30 years. Great food, nice ambiance.. well worth it to get there, also solid vegan options.

        Inn Season Cafe
        500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

      3. I would second Inn Season in Royal Oak. It is about the best choice for vegetarians with a complete vegetarian menu and many vegan options. They have great daily specials and Royal Oak is a wonderful place to walk around after a meal too. Cafe Muse in Royal Oak also offers many vegetarian options. I'd also agree with the middle eastern suggestion in Dearborn. There are countless vegetarian options on any middle eastern menu. Have a great time visiting the D. Let us know where you end up going!

        Cafe Muse
        418 S Washington Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067

        Inn Season Cafe
        500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

        5 Replies
        1. re: Jack Freeman

          I have to strongly disagree with the Inn Season suggestion. Here's why: If you are visiting from another major city (such as Minneapolis) where vegetarian restaurants are both plentiful and downright mouth-wateringly delicious, Inn Season is almost a joke. It's great that they have an all veg menu and offer so many vegan choices, but they are BORING with both flavor and their use of veggies. Plus, I have received such poor service there, to the point of offensiveness , I couldn't in good conscience send a visitor from out of town there. Even as the ONLY strictly veg restaurant in all of metro Detroit, I really think a vegetarian would eat better at the various places mentioned above. There are plenty of options on those menus to keep you satisfied for a short visit.
          If the OP is interested in the Royal Oak thing, though, I would steer toward Cafe Muse.
          Please, please, please do not miss Middle Eastern food while in the D. Try to make it to Dearborn if you can!

          1. re: tokyo

            Tokyo..yeah, we are going to have to disagree on the Inn Season bashing. I have an excellent palate and don't think their food is in any way boring. I especially like their daily specials. The only restaurant that orders better veg food, in my opinion, is Seva in Ann Arbor. I've heard rumblings on CH about poor service at Inn Season and I have to say, we have been there nearly 70 times and have never had anything but attentive and excellent service. Not that it couldn't happen..every restaurant has it's terrible nights.

            I love Cafe Muse and Traffic Jam but would never choose them for strictly a vegetarian meal. I think Traffic Jam's veg menu is tired and poorly executed. There black bean burrito is like a can of black beans stuffed into a tortilla...GROSS!

            I will agree that visting Detroit and missing middle eastern food would be a crime!

            1. re: Jack Freeman

              I done went and held my tongue as long as I could, here...I'm sure there are those which are marveling at my patience, here. In short, I would recommend *AS STRONGLY AS I CAN* that you avoid Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak. The lousy/arrogant attitude/service they've come to be associated with is completely, totally, absolutely, and wholeheartedly well-deserved. Never dine there, and *please* don't bother wasting your time, much less your money, on this place.

              For good vegetarian, I, too, would recommend the myriad Middle Eastern places in Dearborn, Neehee's Indian Vegetarian Street Food in Canton, and believe it or not: Giovanni's in Detroit does offer some good vegetarian choices as well.

              Don't skip Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park. It's worth it.

              Enjoy your time here!

              Loui's Pizza
              23141 Dequindre Rd, Hazel Park, MI 48030

              Inn Season Cafe
              500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

              1. re: boagman

                I'm with boagman and Tokyo on the service. I will never go back after sitting for 15 minutes, not getting as much as a glass of water and when we got up to leave no one even cared. They didn't even ask if there was a problem and it was obvious that we were leaving. No business should be that confident that they treat customers like this.

              2. re: Jack Freeman

                Hi Jack, My comments did come off a little strong, I think the attitude/ego issues I have witnessed make me that much more critical of the food because I just don't think they have anything to be so smug about. If you have consistently received excellent service, I believe you are among a minority. Their arrogance almost seems intentional, as if to weed out who they deem to be undesirable customers, for whatever reason. It is truly, well, creepy, actually. I sort of wish they would get more constructive criticism, take it to heart, and make some changes, but I suspect they are not interested in any of those things. I also really do believe they have become tired, not up to par with the vegetarian fare that I have tasted in MANY other cafes, groceries, and non-vegetarian restaurants throughout the country. Now, if I were a vegetarian or vegan LIVING in Detroit, I would be grateful (begrudgingly, Is that possible?) to at least have a place like this to go to once in a while (Maybe. If I could stomach the service.), since it is literally the only restaurant of it's kind in Detroit, so far...

                Which brings me to the much anticipated opening of Seva in Midtown! The latest I have heard is 'sometime in October....? Any clarification out there? If the OPs convention is timed right, this could be a very good option!

          2. I haven't tried La Dolce Vita on Woodward north of midtown,, but one of my co-workers recommends it. He also assures me that parking is secure.

            Russell St. Deli near Eastern Market is veg-friendly

            1 Reply
            1. re: coney with everything

              La Dolce Vita has excellent food and least the dozen or so times we have gone. It's definitely not the best neighborhood but yes, cars are secure in the lot!

              Dolce Vita Restaurant
              17780 Fort St, Wyandotte, MI 48193

            2. Om Cafe in Ferndale is also strictly vegetarian and gets pretty decent reviews from most people. They are only open Mon, Wed, Fri and Saturday though. It would be a quick drive up Woodward or 75 for you.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Cheeeese

                Oh my, thank you for this. I think it's pretty funny that I have NEVER registered this restaurant, especially since I have been to Toast several times and they could not have done much more to the buiding to make it eye-catching. In fact, I HAVE seen it as I walked past and just never even gave it a second thought.

                There are a couple of raw food cafes which I have never tried - The RAW Cafe on Woodward in Detroit and Cacao Tree Cafe in Royal Oak. Both are new-ish I think? Anyone have personal experience? This might be more 'strict' than the op is really looking for, I suppose.

                1. re: Cheeeese

                  I was wondering if Om was still there - it was there 23 years ago when I lived in fashionable Ferndale...glad to see it still is going on.


                  1. re: momskitchen

                    Thank you, quite a lively discussion! Traffic looks great. I think that will be it for Thursday night and some middle eastern in Dearborn on Saturday! You guys rock.

                    1. re: chadradchad

                      Both fit your description of "fun and eclectic". Have you decided on a specific place in Dearborn?

                      Please post your experiences after your trip. Hope you have a good time in the D.

                      1. re: tokyo


                        We had a special dinner at Cranbrook School, it was very good! At the Cranbrook house. We went to Traffic Jam on Thursday night. I thought it was quite odd. The Ethiopian plate was fine, but not as traditional than any I could find in Minneapolis. My friend got the crab risotto, that was weird and tasted out of the box. The space was too big and quiet. I would not really return there. On Saturday night our group went to the Detroit Brewery, which was fine. I didn't pick, but it was free! On Saturday we went to Royal Kabob in Detroit. That was fantastic! The little pita bread warm pockets with garlic butter was amazing. The shrimp dish was outstanding as well as the falafel and other dips.


                        Royal Kabob
                        635 W 7 Mile Rd, Detroit, MI 48203

                2. I know I'm late but I remember reading a blog post by the actress Alicia Silverstone. She was in town filming and she highlighted some of her favorite vegan/vegetarian places.