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Birmingham, MI Sunday brunch

We are looking forward to a week-long stay in downtown Birmingham and would very much appreciate thoughts on the best place for Sunday brunch. Any recommendations for dinner will also be appreciated. We would prefer walking from our location in the center of town, but are willing to drive for an outstanding dining experience. Our ideal restaurant is a small, chef owned place serving locally sourced, innovative food. We don't find such a place often but are always searching. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Social Kitchen is one of the places you will want to visit.

    For a more blue collar lunch-ish brunch, I'd head down Woodward to Vinsetta Garage.

    There's also a third place option called-- What Crepe?...or a fouth place option of Ned's Travelburger at the B-Ham farmers' market--love the Cuban sandwich.

    Dinner-- Forest Grill, Tallulah, or maybe Bistro Joe's. I've never felt rich enough to indulge at Rugby Grille.

    1. If you're willing to drive 30 to 40 minutes, then I think Root is your answer-- though not for brunch as they're closed on Sundays.


      Or, closer in (only a few miles south of Birmingham) there's Torino's tasting menu. Dinner only, Tuesday thru Saturday.


      1. Forest Grill is expensive ..... but it is a chef owned place serving innovative food. Much is locally sourced if I recall.

        I go to Root once a week ... it is a drive for you, but if you are here for a week why not. Last night I had Halibut cheeks over creamed corn with tasso ham and kale - pretty amazing, though the halibut was not local.
        If you enjoy wine, they have a short list, but the next few Wednesdays they have half off wine. I'll be there next Wednesday. And the Wednesday after that.

        1. The Rugby Grille in The Townsend Hotel is certainly the best place to go for Brunch on Saturday & Sunday.

          It has been there for 25 years and is the "place to go and be seen" in "walkable" Birmingham, MI.

          My favorites: Try the Tuscan Bowl, Lobster Omelet, pancakes are heavenly and the Monti Cristo (when they have it). A side of Kielbasa is also fantastic!

          1. Thanks so much for the great suggestions. All sound wonderful and fortunately, we will have enough time to try several. I'll report on our experiences.

            1. We love the brunch at Toast. You have to get there early if you don't want to wait but it's worth it. They give you free coffee as you wait. Also good for a laid-back comfort food dinner.

              I've been to Social a number of times for dinner but never brunch---but I imagine it would be good. Definitely should be on your list for dinner.

              Just had lunch for the first time at Bistro Joe's and LOVED it! I highly recommend it. Also fun to stroll around the gourmet market downstairs.

              Another great dinner or lunch spot is Phonica for high end Middle Eastern cuisine.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Elyssa

                Phonicia? I'm interested to hear more. But, I'll be bummed if the $39 they charge for lamb chops just buys snob appeal. If there is something special goin' on I'd like to try it (of course I would NOT start with the lamb chops...)

                1. re: VTB

                  Phonicia is not cheap (more affordable at lunch) but it is probably the only high end Middle Eastern restaurant in the area and their prices reflect that. I think the food is excellent personally and the portions are very large.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    > Phonicia ... is probably the only high end Middle Eastern
                    > restaurant in the area

                    Have you visited Le Chef in Farmington Hills?

                    1. re: rainsux

                      Well, you both have my curiousity up, now.

                      1. re: VTB

                        Care to join us @ Le Chef for dinner on their patio?

                        1. re: rainsux

                          Lamb tongue, dandelion and okra. Cool, I'm in. Catch ya then. It's been too long.

                      2. re: rainsux

                        No I haven't tried it yet. I'll check it out.

                  2. Thanks Birmingham/Detroit for a fabulous 6 days and thanks to Chowhounds for great recommendations.

                    Because of other commitments, we didn’t make it to The Root, Social Kitchen or other restaurants on our list. Luckily, with many thanks to ak994, we did go to Torino – the food, drink pairings, and service were all as good as could be. Recent reviews in the Free Press

                    and Hour Magazine


                    were spot on and do a much better job of sharing the experience than I can. It was a memorable experience; one we would have missed without Chowhound and ak994’s recommendation.

                    We had lunch at Bistro Joe’s (Nicoise and wood-fired salmon salads). Salads interesting and fresh, fish cooked to perfection. Both were very good.

                    We had dinner at Streetside which always seems to be dependable and good, Tallulah, which was good but not quite up to the hype we’ve heard in the past and was our least favorite place. We had a very enjoyable meal at Bella Piatti – the buratta antipasti was excellent, the Columbia River salmon special was very good as was the service.

                    And for Sunday brunch, we ended up at Rugby Grille. Meeting relatives from NYC that we hadn’t seen in several years, we wanted a place where we could linger for several hours over conversation and photos. Rugby Grille was a perfect place to meet, unrushed and quiet. I had the Tuscan bowl and my wife had an egg white frittata – both were excellent.

                    With trips to DIA, Eastern Market, Heidelberg Street and Cranbrook, we had a great visit. Dinner at Torino will be remembered as one of the best ever.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Grape Nut

                      Wow, thanks for the input/perspective.

                      1. re: Grape Nut

                        Thanks for reporting back. Looks like you guys did very well for yourself.

                        I just had dinner at Bistro Joe's on Friday and it's quickly becoming a favorite. That nicoise salad is amazing!