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Jun 24, 2012 09:52 PM

Detroit Dinner before the Opera House

I am lucky to have recently moved to the metro Detroit area and am loving exploring all the amazing food the area has to offer. People underestimate the incredible cuisine here! I am taking my much younger sister (20) to a show at the Opera House and am hoping for some good suggestions between Royal Oak and Detroit, but I would particularly love to expose her to something beautiful in Detroit. She is a very mature 20 year old with amazing taste which I want to foster. I want her to go back to her small town hometown friends and her slightly larger college town friends with rave reviews about the city I have fallen so in love with! We are definitely willing to explore a wide variety of areas and food. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Giovanni's Ristorante in Detroit for *extremely* great Italian food. I've made up my mind to go there this week for lunch because I've missed it so. To me, that'd be perfect pre-opera dining.

    2 Replies
    1. re: boagman

      Love Giovanni's but isn't it in Melvindale? Not much "beautiful" there to expose her sister to, and it's pretty far from Royal Oak. They should take a special trip out just to experience Giovannis, and make the food the star of that night, imo. However, many moons ago I went to Giovannis before the opera and it made for quite a night, although we had to break several traffic laws to make it to the opera on time.

      Maybe in downtown you could try Mosaic? I hear it is decorated beautifully. Roast's happy hour might be an interesting idea if you could get there early enough to get a seat at the bar. Maybe the Whitney, Cliff Bell's, Centaur bar or Caucus club? I'm racking my brains to think of interesting downtown places...

      1. re: boagman

        I'd go to Roast, for sure.

        The food and service are always very good. The restaurant is known beyond Detroit on account of Michael Symon's other restaurants and his TV fame, so some of her small town friends or college friends may have heard of it. It's in a big, beautifully renovated hotel-- it looks so impressive driving up to the front of the place and dropping you car with the valet.

        I'd probably even go so far as to take the People Mover to/from the Opera House, just to city-fy the experience a bit more (Michigan Ave station to Broadway Station)-- that is if you're both wearing reasonably comfortable shoes.

        I'm always happy with the Lamb Ragu and the Fried Brussels Sprouts, and like many others I don't even like brussels sprouts except at Roast.

        I'm trying to think of places to stop after the show, in case that might be of interest, but pretty much everything I'm thinking of would be 21+. Probably could stop in to Imperial in Ferndale for a nightcap taco on your way home.

      2. How about Imperial Taco Bar in Ferndale? Haven't been there yet, but it's getting raves, it's supposedly a hip spot that would attract a young person, and it's something new in Michigan.

        Cliff Bell's on Park St. ( might be fun for her. For decent contemporary Italian right next to the opera house, go to Angelina on Grand Circus Parkā€”fun, festive place.

        1. My beloved and I had dinner on our anniversary at Angelina's Italian Bistro right before we saw David Sedaris at the Opera House. Angelina's was quite good, and you can't beat the location--it's right across the street from the Opera House. Decent views of the Opera House complex and Comerica Park.

          I've heard absolutely amazing things about Giovanni's. It's on my must try list.

          1. If starting in Royal Oak, she will love Pizzeria Biga--for Italian foods of all sorts. GREAT atmosphere for young people, and authentic. Stylish and reasonably classy, but still affordable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: VTB

              I like Biga; but I don't consider it to have any worthwhile bragging rights around a sorority house.

              Roast will be very trustworthy; and there's the whole "celebrity chef" bragging thing, if (whenever)
              she wishes to play t.h.a.t. card.

              We've not yet visited Angelina ... no comment.

              Giovanni's? Great food. Great service. Lousy neighborhood. I sense a tone of trying to implant
              a very positive, long-term memory into a 20 year-old. Unless it's pitch black and experiencing a
              thunderstorm; the neighborhood will be likely have her thinking, "WTF?" Then there is the matter
              of decor. It's a fine, olde, Italian restaurant ... but I doubt it's gonna generate a fond, long-term and
              positive memory. Not hip. Not at all. Not even a teensy bit. If she's a harcore foodie, maybe.
              Maybe! <g>

            2. If she's a small town girl, she might enjoy the view from Coach Insignia (top of the RenCen). Our
              most recent meal there disappointed. But if the weather is good (clear), it might be worthy of a
              dessert with a view.