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  • DJ Josh Cheon shares his favorite darkwave tracks

    San Francisco’s Josh Cheon runs the darkwave revival label Dark Entries and is a member of the Honey Soundsystem DJ collective. This Saturday, July 26, Macho City switch out of disco mode and get a little gothic, bringing the Dark Entries 5th Anniversary Tour to town. Synth bands Bézier, Max + Mara, and Redredred will play, and Cheon will spin select cuts in between sets. We asked Cheon to share a playlist of some of his favorite tracks: Martin L. Gore — “Compulsion”: “I first heard this song at The Bank, a goth club I used to go to every weekend in New York as a teenager. I love the synths that sound like brass instruments and of course Martin’s distinct vocals.When I bought the EP, I discovered it was actually a cover of a song by Joe Crow, who used to play with UK post punk group The Nightingales. The rest of the covers on this EP turned me onto so many other great bands like Tuxedomoon, Sparks, The Durutti Column and Comsat Angels.” Clan of Xymox — “Call it Weird”: “This song was also part of my teenage soundtrack after it was reissued in 1994 on CD. I never imagined I would reissue it then, but when I started my label it was one […]

    The post DJ Josh Cheon shares his favorite darkwave tracks appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault

    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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2012 Best of Detroit

Nutritional Value - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for dining in Metro Detroit

Pegasus

558 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-6800; pegasustavernas.com

Pegasus is a charming restaurant that serves authentic and flavorful Greek recipes. Even the most simple of dishes, such as the vegetarian platter, are cooked to perfection — full of hearty spices and herbs that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. For meat eaters, the lamb is tender and tastes like it's been slow cooked for hours, even though it'll be briskly served by the attentive wait staff.

Best European Cuisine

Polish Village Café

2990 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-874-5726; thepolishvillagecafe.com

Your polish grandmother would approve — Polish Village Café is known for its authentic pierogis, potato pancakes, dill pickle soup, and stuffed cabbage, all moderately priced. There's usually a line, but it's worth the wait. Cash only.

Best Mexican Cuisine, Wayne County

Xochimilco Restaurant

3409 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-843-0179

This popular Mexicantown eatery offers generously portioned Mexican staples at reasonable prices. The chimichangas are deep-fried and gooey, smothered in cheese and guacamole. The hot chips and salsa are addictive, and it washes down well with a house margarita.

Best Mexican Cuisine, Oakland County

Sagebrush Cantina

28 S. Broadway St., Lake Orion; 248-693-0100; mysagebrushcantina.com

The chips and salsa are made in-house, and the guacamole is fresh and tasty. Sagebrush offers traditional Mexican staples, as well as signature dishes, such as shrimp ranchero. Expect to be carried out after ordering the chimichanga: It's large enough to feed you for a week.

Best Mexican Cuisine, Macomb County

El Charro

21519 21 Mile Rd., Macomb Twp.; 586-598-7556; see elcharrousa.com for more locations

Sure, El Charro offers Mexican classics, but the spot is also popular for its puffy soft-shelled tacos. For dessert, order the fried ice cream or the sopariaz, a fried tortilla with honey and cinnamon.

Best Mexican Cuisine, Washtenaw County

La Fiesta Mexicana

529 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-1666; lafiestamexicana.net

This family-owned Mexican eatery serves Mexican classics as well as more unusual menu items — such as potato tacos, a house specialty. The house-made tamales are steam cooked and wrapped in cornhusk. They don't serve alcohol, but you can BYOB.

Best Caribbean Cuisine

Bahama Breeze

539 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-528-1674

19600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-0891; see bahamabreeze.com for more locations

Decorated in tropical decor for the Hawaiian-shirts set, this chain restaurant brings you American-friendly Caribbean-style fare. Think coconut shrimp and jerk chicken. The island-themed alcoholic beverages, such as the BahamaRita, are crowd-pleasers.

Best African Cuisine

Blue Nile

545 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-547-6699

221 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-998-4746; bluenilemi.com

The Blue Nile is a great place to explore traditional Ethiopian dining. This includes eating with your hands (although American utensils are available on request), sharing the injera, a tangy flat bread used to scoop up morsels of food. The menu includes a wide range of vegetarian dishes, as well as some meat options. Spicy Ethiopian teas are available, as well as a full bar.

Best Chinese Cuisine, 

Wayne County

Midtown Shangri-La

4710 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-974-7669

Shangri-La is a low-key Asian restaurant with attentive service and a full bar. The kitchen offers traditional Chinese-American cuisine as well as roast duck, Singapore noodles and fried squid. The dim sum selections and sushi make Shangri-La a kind of one-stop shop for Asian classics.

Best Chinese Cuisine, Oakland County

Mon Jin Lau

1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-689-2332; 

monjinlau.com

This modern Asian restaurant offers an extensive sushi and cocktail list, a wide range of seafood and meat items, as well as tofu dishes for the vegetarians, all served up in a sophisticated setting.

Best Chinese Cuisine, Macomb County

Golden Harvest

6880 E. Twelve Mile Rd., Warren; 586-751-5288

This low-key eatery is known for its specialty dim sum and fresh seafood options, such as walnut shrimp and soft-shelled crab. The menu also includes items more familiar to American diners, such as sweet and sour pork and almond chicken.

Best Chinese Cuisine, Washtenaw County

TIE

Middle Kingdom

332 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-6638; annarbormiddlekingdom.net

San Fu

625 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-4787; everydaychinesefood.com

Middle Kingdom serves up Americanized fare, such as sesame chicken, chow mein and spicy shrimp, and even grander dishes, such as lobster. San Fu, however, is a popular takeout spot for students, serving the usual American-friendly options. Clearly, our Washtenaw County readers value inexpensive and quick comfort food. And who can argue with that?

Best Thai Cuisine, 

Wayne County

Sala Thai

3400 Russell St., Detroit; 313-831-1302

2751 E. 14 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-939-5456; salathai.us

Sala Thai is known for its authentic Thai curries, noodles and rice dishes. Their pad Thai  — made to order to your choice of spiciness — has just the right levels of succulence. Along with the extensive appetizer list, the menu includes squid and scallops, pork, beef and chicken, as well as vegetarian selections.

Best Thai Cuisine, 

Oakland County

Bangkok Café

323 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-548-5373

Warm and unpretentious, Bangkok Café offers fluffy noodles dishes, spicy curries and combo options that include house-made soup and fried rice. The kitchen upholds standards of quality, which means no dish is a misfire. Better yet, prices are budget-friendly and portions leave room for leftovers. 

Best Thai Cuisine,  

Macomb County

Sy Thai

23519 Nine Mack Dr., St. Clair Shores; 586-776-8424

Entrées include noodles, curry and variations of fried rice. Each entrée is offered with a choice of chicken, shrimp, squid, krab, squid, pork, tofu, beef or vegetables. Even the mild spice level will prickle your taste buds; advance to medium and your sinuses may go into overdrive. No spice is an option.

Best Thai Cuisine, Washtenaw County

Tuptim

4896 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-528-5588;

tuptim.com

Coconut ginger soup, fried tofu (light and crunchy with a peanut dipping sauce), nam prik pao and other hard-to-find authentic dishes are served at this laid-back Thai restaurant.

Best Indian Cuisine, 

Wayne County

TIE

Aladdin Sweets & Café

11945 Conant Ave., Hamtramck; 313-891-8050

Zam Zam

11917 Conant Ave., Hamtramck; 313-893-9902; zamzamcafe.com

The winners both sit on the same block in Hamtramck, along Bangladeshi Avenue (Conant's honorary designation). Aladdin's offerings include the usual Bangladeshi classics, such as fried homemade cheese with spinach, all served on polystyrene plates with plastic cutlery. Prices are budget friendly — no dish surpasses $8.99. But down the street at Zam Zam, you get actual plates and silverware, if many of the same offerings. Zam Zam's meat and vegetable samosas are more substantial, and the entrées may be a bit more geared to American tastes. Your bill will hardly breach $10 per diner; an $8 buffet runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. 

Best Indian Cuisine, Oakland County

Priya

72 W. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-269-0100; priyarestaurant.com

Priya's vast menu of South Indian food contains massive portions of hard-to-find dishes, such as rice-lentil crêpes stuffed with onion-chili-ginger mix or curry. Food is cooked in the tandoor, a clay oven that gives the dishes their tender consistency. 

Best Indian Cuisine, Macomb County

Michigan Masala

43734 Schoenherr Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-532-5200; michiganmasala.com

Michigan Masala's menu includes a wide-range of fresh Southern Indian tandoori, curry, seafood, lamb, vegetarian and Balti-style dishes. Dishes are served medium-spicy, but can be changed upon request.

Best Indian Cuisine, Washtenaw County

Shalimar

307 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-1500; shalimarrestaurant.com

This modern-styled Northern Indian eatery offers Mughlai cuisine. The menu has plenty to offer both vegetarians and meat lovers. Better still, you can wash the dishes down with a cocktail thanks to the full bar.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine, Wayne County

La Pita

22681 Newman St., Dearborn; 313-563-7482; lapitadearborn.com

This charming eatery offers traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, such as chicken shawarma and vegetarian stuffed cabbage, even such ambitious dishes as char-broiled swordfish. A full juice bar, a long list of appetizers and combinations, and the addictive hummus and pita will keep your taste buds happy.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine, Oakland County

Anita's Kitchen

22651 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-0680; anitaskitchenonline.com

Ever since the folks at Anita's kitchen claimed the old ice-cream shop on Woodward Avenue as their own, gave it a chic, contemporary makeover and filled it with the smells of Anita Farah's classic Lebanese fare, loyal foodies have been naming Anita's Kitchen the best Middle Eastern Cuisine in Oakland County. Made with only the freshest ingredients, menu highlights include the roasted red pepper hummus, the out-of-this-world mujadara (topped with the most perfect caramelized onions: perfectly crispy, perfectly sweet), and their falafel, which comes baked or fried depending on your preference. The lentil soup, bursting with the taste of fresh lemon, is a must. Also, you'll find a surprising and welcome choice of Michigan beers available.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine, Macomb County

Sahara

22114 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-777-9600

An east-side classic, Sahara crowds them in at its location out in St. Clair Shores. Expect the usual offerings — juices, falafels, hummus — but with a touch of care that made the joint Macomb County readers' favorite.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine, Washtenaw County

Jerusalem Garden

307 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-995-5060; jerusalemgarden.net

Billed as Ann Arbor's oldest Middle Eastern restaurant, Jerusalem Garden offers a cheap, quality meal to be enjoyed on their quaint, brick garden patio. Your budget and your belly will thank you for visiting one of Treetown students' favorite haunts where you can get the basics for less than $5 or $6: falafel with baba ghanoush and hummous options, shawarma, kebabs. Splurge and have a cup of lentil soup.

Best Korean Cuisine

TIE

New Seoul Garden

27566 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-827-1600; newseoulgarden.com

Wasabi

15 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 313-638-1272; wasabidetroit.com

We note with interest that both winners of the Best Korean Cuisine category also serve Japanese food as well. New Seoul Garden has the Korean dishes covered, offering such classic fare as bibimbap and bulgogi, even with tabletop grills that could find you grilling your own slices of beef tongue to taste. Wasabi offers no tabletop grilling, but excellent renditions of the Korean food that, until recently, was so hard to find in Detroit.

Best Japanese Cuisine

Cafe Sushi

1933 W. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-280-1831; cafesushitroy.com

A first-time winner in the Best Japanese Cuisine category, Café Sushi boasts an impressive sushi bar and complete Asian kitchen. Having just won Best Entrée in the Taste of Troy, the tonkatsu curry rice is their most popular dish. It features panko-breaded pork fillet atop Japanese curry. Of their sushi rolls, the Maui roll is a must-try — panko-fried calamari, pineapple and asparagus topped with albacore tuna, seared spicy sauce, banana peppers and eel sauce. Almost everyone in the Café Sushi kitchen is family, lending the place an intimate, friendly atmosphere, something akin to having dinner at a relative's. 

Best Chicken and Waffles

Fort Street Brewery

1660 Fort St., Lincoln Park; 313-389-9623;  

fortstreetbeer.com

Fort Street Brewery's Chicken and Waffles dish appears under the menu heading "A League of Its Own" — and our readers couldn't agree more. Providing a cool, Northern twist on a traditionally Southern meal, Fort Street Brewery serves up a crisp Belgian waffle topped with cheddar cheese, beer-battered chicken slivers, a fried egg, peppered bacon and a side of maple syrup. Other menu highlights include the Brewery Burger and a dinner basket of beer-battered cod or perch, not to mention a tasty selection of beers brewed in-house.  

Best Coney Island, Wayne County

Lafayette Coney Island

118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-964-8198

One of the best hot dog spots in town, Lafayette's real charm lies in its character: food orders shouted into the steamy kitchen, the sound of plates rattling and the cast of characters strolling in at 2 a.m. Lafayette's plain coney dogs make a quality meal, boasting thick, meaty chili sauce, fresh onion and mustard, and only all-meat franks — not the filler-laden "hot dogs" common at lesser establishments. 

Best Coney Island, 

Oakland County

Best Coney Island, 

Macomb County

National Coney Island

1812 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-398-6111

More locations at nationalconeyisland.com

Located just across the street from Luna, this coney island is open 24 hours, perfect for satisfying late-night stomach rumblings at 3 a.m. or taking a midday lunch break. Although their coney dog is their most popular seller, don't be afraid to try a crispy garden burger on grilled sourdough or a plate of hot blueberry pancakes. 

Best Coney Island, Washtenaw County

Abe's Coney Island

402 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-485-2008

Billing itself as "Ypsilanti's finest four-star coney dog, steak-and-egg joint," this popular after-bar stop has a kind of self-deprecating humor. Whether you're rolling in with crazy bed head for eggs over easy with "burned" hash browns in the morning, or sopping up booze and making ironic jukebox selections at 3 a.m., Abe's will hit the spot.

Best Slider, Wayne County

Bates

33406 Five Mile Rd., Livonia; 734-427-3464

This slider stop is a venerable west side institution, with some saying you haven't lived until you've tried one of Bates' "gut bombs." The blandishments are few — just the essentials: salt, pepper, mustard and ketchup — but it doesn't get any more authentic than this. Great for going alone, eating at the counter and rubbing elbows with the people.

Best Slider, 

Oakland County

Hunter House

35075 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-646-7121; hunterhousehamburgers.com

Founded in the 1950s, Hunter's burgers are served on moist hot buns, with a glistening sheen on them. But the patties are all about the onions — the folks at Hunters carefully press tasty onions into the patty while it's still on the grill. In fact, if there's a single ingredient that sums up the burger, it's onions. Even seldom-ordered items on the menu show a similar attention to detail.

Best Slider, 

Macomb County

Best Slider, 

Washtenaw County

White Castle

See whitecastle.com for dozens of locations

This year, the white-enamel-steel-clad mini-burger chain only won out in two counties instead of the near sweep they achieved some years! Their website's helpful Find-a-Castle function will help you when you have your next craving.

Best Cheap Breakfast, Wayne County

Honest John's

488 Selden St., Detroit; 313-832-5646; 

honestjohnsdetroit.com

Honest John's brings in all types: hipsters wearing big glasses, students, working stiffs, the occasional cop, even a doctor or two. You can get a full breakfast for $5 or $6 — omelets bursting with veggies and cheese, steaming French toast with turkey sausage or grilled cheese on Texas toast. 

Best Cheap Breakfast, Oakland County

Mae's

24060 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-548-5355; maesdetroit.com

For decades, this snug diner was home to Anna's Coffee Shoppe. In 2010, the folks at Mae's updated the little restaurant while still keeping with the 1950s charm. It's not hard to see what our readers love about this place — cheap, quality food in a comfy neighborhood nook. If you're regretting last night's festivities, order the "Hangover Platter": two eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, hash browns, a biscuit with sausage gravy and your choice of bacon, sausage links or ham. Or try the Aebelskivers, an order of five spherical Scandinavian "pancakes" served with fresh whipped cream and your choice of strawberries or raspberries in syrup. They aren't lying when they say you'll never be able to eat regular pancakes again. 

Best Cheap Breakfast, Macomb County

Best Breakfast or Brunch, 

Macomb County

The Pantry

34220 Van Dyke Ave., Sterling Heights; 586-939-1370

44945 Morley Dr., Clinton Twp.; 586-465-5514

58884 Van Dyke Rd., Washington; 586-677-4135; thepantryrestaurant.com

Whether you're breakfasting or brunching, Macombers agree, the Pantry is the place to go. A successful mini-chain that's been catering to locals for years with the usual eggs, waffles and pancakes, the Pantry also offers some delicious surprises, including fresh fruit crêpes, a prime-rib steak Caesar salad, and out-of-this-world baked apple pancakes that look like little deep-dish pizzas and have customers lining up out the door on weekends.

Best Cheap Breakfast, Washtenaw County

The Bomber

306 E. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-482-0550; thebomberrestaurant.net

As the Bomber's website proudly proclaims, breakfast here is not for the faint of heart. Featured on Food TV's Top Five Overindulgences, the Bomber is home to a number of popular breakfast feasts including the "Nature Lovers Pancakes," made with blueberries, raspberries and pecans (sunflower seeds may be substituted) and, for those with super-sized appetites, the "Bomber Breakfast," complete with four eggs and a heaping plate of breakfast potatoes, meat and toast.

Best Breakfast or Brunch, Wayne County

Hudson Café

1241 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-237-1000;          hudson-cafe.com

The Hudson Café is situated downtown, right on Woodward Avenue. Whether you're grabbing a specialty coffee and hitting the road, enjoying a selection from the baked goods counter and relaxing in Hudson's comfy lounge, or sitting down for graham cracker-crusted French toast with cream cheese drizzle or a create-your-own omelet, our readers insist there's no better spot for brunch in the county.

Best Breakfast or Brunch, Oakland County

Toast

23144 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-398-0444

203 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-258-6278; eatattoast.com

At the Birmingham spot, you'll find great food and wine "with humor in a fun, casual environment." The hostess station is an old white Detroit Liner stove, a 1940s model with legs and drawers. In Ferndale, you can't go wrong with the Grand Marnier French toast— a perfect blend of vanilla-soaked challa bread with toasted almonds and other ingredients. If you want a real delight, try the more-than-filling granola banana cakes. Both locations serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week and have similar menus. Hours vary slightly between the two.

Best Breakfast or Brunch, 

Washtenaw County

TIE

Beezy's

20 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-485-9625;

beezyscafe.com

Café Zola

112 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; cafezola.com

Hardly a surprising tie here. At Ypsi's Beezy's, their sign promises simple, honest food and that's just what you'll get, with a side helping of the friendliest staff you could meet. They pour on the quality, serving excellent breakfasts, and there can be lines on a Sunday morning. Café Zola, with its brick walls, large picture windows and, in season, sizable outdoor patio, is one of the more comfortable restaurants in Ann Arbor — especially around brunching time.

Best Late-Night Eatery

Leo's Coney Island

30967 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-655-1080

More locations at leosconeyisland.com

Leo's extensive menu features American, Greek and Italian foods and stays open till 10 p.m. Whether you're heading out or heading home, Leo's is sure to add a little flavor to your evening.

Best All-Around Buffet

Golden Corral

13017 Warren Rd., Westland; 734-641-9163; 

see goldencorral.com for more locations

At Golden Corral you don't have to worry about freshness — the food is served hot and fresh each day. It's all-you-can-eat fare that features such familiar favorites as simmered pot roast — along with new menu offerings whipped up to keep things exciting. You won't want to miss the bakery and dessert buffet, so make sure to leave room.

Best Soul Food, Detroit

Southern Fires

575 Bellevue St., Detroit; 313-393-4930; southernfiresrestaurant.com

Southern Fires packs 'em in, particularly the Sunday after-church crowd. The prices here are family-oriented (lots of food at low cost). Sweet, cheerful-yellow cornbread comes with your entrée and you get the traditional choice of two sides, which include mac and cheese, collard greens, fried corn, mashed potatoes and baked beans. 

Best Soul Food, Suburbs

Beans and Cornbread

29508 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-208-1680; beanscornbread.com

This is the place for upscale soul food with a fresh twist, including excellent meat loaf, salmon croquettes and a dreamy sweet potato cheesecake. Arrive early and plan to stand in line for this perpetually full house. A busy, colorful dining spot which features bright artwork and a bustling open kitchen, and another frequent winner in this category.

Best Sushi

Noble Fish

45 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-585-2314; 

noblefish.com

Out front are aisles of packaged foodstuffs. But in back is a magnificently serene sushi bar, staffed by iron chefs of the first order: a no-nonsense, inexpensive, delicious alternative to too-Westernized sushi madness. The insular Japanese keep things intensely focused, be it decor or food customs or table manners, which is what makes Noble Fish an experience.

Best vegan or Vegetarian Cuisine

Inn Season Cafe 

500 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-547-7916; theinnseasoncafe.com

A provider of vegetarian cuisine in metro Detroit is a rare treat, and Inn Season Café has only improved with age. Fine, organic ingredients have always been its hallmark, but it's so much more than "health food." With great effort, they comb farmers' markets and community supported farms to ensure only the freshest, best and most local food makes it to your plate. Very open to diners with dietary restrictions.

Best Raw Food

Cacao Tree

204 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-336-9043; cacaotreecafe.com

Cacao Tree's vegan and gluten- and soy-free menu has the health-conscious crowd crowing. Favorites include the falafel, as well as the Mexican menu. Everything is made onsite from scratch, and ingredients are locally and seasonally sourced. Seats 20, with an additional juice bar.

Best Food Truck

El Guapo

313-720-0360; elguapogrill.com

The first modern food truck allowed in downtown Detroit by the city government. Its menu includes creative variations on south-of-the-border specialties — such as the pork belly confit taco and Korean short rib taco, both customer favorites.

Best New Barbecue

Best Barbecue, 

Oakland County 

Lockhart's

202 E. Third St., Royal Oak; 248-584-4227;  

lockhartsbbq.com

Named after the reputed barbecue capital of Texas, Lockhart's opened in late 2010. The kitchen turns out reasonably priced, hefty portions, with appetizers averaging around $8, sandwiches with one side around $9 and barbecue plates with two sides around $14. The thin slices of brisket are well-trimmed and tender, as are the ribs. Wash it all down with an excellent selection of Michigan microbrews — there are 12 on tap.

Best Barbecue, 

Macomb County

Lazybone's Smokehouse

27475 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-775-7427

43203 Garfield Rd. Clinton Twp.; 586-247-7427; lazybonessmokehouse.net

Billing itself as "authentic slow-smoked Southern-style barbecue," Lazybone's has sandwiches for around $8, and smoke plates starting at $8.99. It boasts 'cue styles from Texas to Kentucky to our own Detroit-style tips. Lazybones caters with party pans that can have as many as 100 ribs.

Best Seafood 

Restaurant, 

Wayne County

Joe Muer Seafood

GM Global Renaissance Center, #1404, Detroit; 

313-567-6837; 

joemuerseafood.com

While Joe Muer Seafood is relatively new, the Muer brand, going back to 1929, is known throughout southeast Michigan. But the relaunched institution also has a big staff, big menu and big dessert cart. There are a number of offerings from a fairly classic raw bar, including oysters, a poached shrimp cocktail and steamed mussels; original Muer dishes include the Shrimp Ilene and deviled crab balls.

Best Seafood 

Restaurant, 

Oakland County

TIE

Lily's Seafood

410 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-591-5459; lilysseafood.com

Mitchell's Fish Market

370 N. Adams, Rochester Hills; 248-340-5900; mitchellsfishmarket.com

Straight from the kitchen of "Grandma Lily," Lily's offers a stunning interior, friendly service and a dedication to homemade food. Even the beverage menu includes house-brewed beer and root beer for the kids. Both entrées and desserts are delights of flavor and texture. Saturdays and Sundays cater to a "build your own Bloody Mary bar," and Tuesday is "create your own combo" night. Mitchell's has variety: With more than 80 seafood choices, menus are printed twice a day to reflect changes in availability. Summer is the season for soft-shell crab as well as an Alaskan halibut, though there's a short window in early summer when high-quality Copper River salmon from British Columbia will be on offer. Outdoor dining is a draw, as is Monday oyster night.

Best Seafood 

Restaurant, 

Macomb County

Red Lobster

25901 Hoover Rd., Warren; 586-759-0010; 

redlobster.com

Macomb County has great seafood dining, from the famous Nautical Mile all the way out to Harbor House on Groesbeck. So .... What's with choosing Red Lobster? Must be those Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Best Seafood Restaurant, Washtenaw County

Real Seafood Co.

341 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 888-456-3463; realseafoodcorestaurant.com

A hot spot for the freshest top-catch fish and premium seafood for 37 years and counting. With an atmosphere that's comfortable, open and lively, it draws its catches from the waters of Boston, the Pacific Coast, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. One highlight is its raw oysters, served to order on the half shell.

Best Steak, 

Oakland County

Ruth's Chris Steak House

755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-269-8424; ruthschris.com

What's it going to take to outdo a Ruth's Chris steak? With more than 100 locations worldwide, this is the second consecutive year the chain has won this category.

Best Steak, 

Macomb County

Mr. Paul's Chop House

29850 Groesbeck Hwy, Roseville; 586-777-7770; mrpaulschophouse.com

More than 40 years old, Mr. Paul's is a charmed place lost in time somewhere back in the early postwar era. Here you can have one of the area's best Caesar salads, prepared with a theatrical flair at tableside, often by the owner himself. The chateaubriand steak for two and the cherries jubilee for dessert also involve a tableside show. Liveried waitstaff and impressive French red-dominated wine list complete the picture.

Best Steak, 

Washtenaw County

Knight's Steakhouse

2324 Dexter, Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-665-8644

Old-time dining in a somewhat casual environment. Knight's has both kinds of food: surf and turf — including perch, crab, filet mignon, New York strip, Delmonico, sirloin, porterhouse, prime rib, pork tenderloin schnitzel, baby back ribs, char-grilled London broil and much, much more.

Best Burger, Wayne County

Miller's Bar

23700 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-565-2577; millersbar.com

Metro Times readers consistently rate Miller's Bar's burger best in Wayne County. Don't let the simple setting and limited menu options fool you, the choices are few, but they're finely tuned classics. Table service has been paperless for years — all on the honor system. Don't ask for a menu or a tab. Just order the burger and a beer. When you're done, tell the bartender what you got. Done and done.

Best Burger, 

Oakland County

Red Coat Tavern

31542 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-0300 

6745 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-865-0500

Another stubborn winner: When it comes to the Best Burger in Oakland County, Red Coat comes out on top year after year. Choose among 20 add-ons — burnt onions to olives to smoked Gouda — and five breads. The thick, succulent two-handers require lots of extra napkins. This place never seems to see any sort of downtime.

Best Burger, 

Macomb County

Five Guys Burgers & Fries

29387 Mound Rd., Warren; 586-751-4897; 

see fiveguys.com for more locations

Five Guys empire is far removed from its first shop in Arlington, Va. With more than 1,000 locations in 40 states, the gimmick of allowing customers to custom-order a burger has cemented its place in the burger biz. As of last fall, Five Guys stands as the country's fastest growing-chain, with five stores opening per week.

Best Burger, 

Washtenaw County

Sidetrack Bar & Grill

56 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-5230; sidetrackbarandgrill.com

In Ypsi's historic Depot Town district, Sidetrack has been serving delicious grub for over 150 years. The "Famous Burger" cracked GQ's "20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die" list in 2006, with its secretly blended meat on a small, soft and grilled sesame bun. Sidetrack sits so close to the Amtrak line that passing trains rattle the foundation. 

Best Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

More than a dozen locations in metro Detroit; 

see buffalowildwings.com for info

If you're packed into a booth surrounded by a calamity of screaming HD TVs, buckets of chicken wings and beers the size of your forearm, you're probably sitting in a Buffalo Wild Wings. The bar maintains mid-day and late-night happy hours, and it proudly flies flags of local pro and college sports teams. Those unable to snag a ticket for the big game can do no better than finding a seat at B-Dubs.

Best Neighborhood Pizza, Wayne County

Best Gourmet Pizza

Supino Pizzeria

2457 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-7879; 

supinopizza.com

Imaginative fresh ingredients — even an egg — with a delectable thin crust! They serve five red pizzas and six white, meaning no tomato sauce; almost all are made with traditional ingredients. The red sauce is supremely simple, nothing much besides some fresh-tasting though canned crushed tomatoes. The Primavera, a white, is topped with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, red onion, mozzarella and spinach — lots of flavors.

Best Neighborhood Pizza, Oakland County

Buddy's

Several locations in metro Detroit, including Oakland County; see buddyspizza.com for info

Before we broke up our pizza by county, Buddy's was the perennial winner of our Best Neighborhood Pizza category. After a full life as a speakeasy, Buddy's original location on Conant only started pumping out pizza in 1946. And though it has expanded all over southeastern Michigan, it has retained the neighborhood cred.

Best Pizza, 

Macomb County

Jets

Dozens of locations in metro Detroit; more than 20 locations in Macomb County; see jetspizza.com for info

Jets' deep-dish, square, Detroit-style pizza is a regular crowd-pleaser. But it's not just a Macomb County thing; with locations all over the metroplex — as well as Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. How do they do it? It's right on the box: The pizzaiolo wears a jetpack!

Best Pizza, 

Washtenaw County

Aubree's Pizzeria & Grill

39 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-1870

2122 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti Twp.; 734-483-1525

8031 Main St., Ste. 101, Dexter; 734-424-1400; 

aubrees.com

For more than 20 years, Aubree's Cross Street location has been catering to Ypsilanti's pizza-lovers. They offer many kinds of pies, from classic round to square deep-dish to build-your-own to thin-crust, even whole wheat crust. 

Best Deli, Wayne County

Mudgie's

1300 Porter St., Detroit; 313-961-2000; 

mudgiesdeli.com

This Corktown spot used to be the old Eph McNally's, and they carry on the sandwich tradition with a slew of options. The sandwiches are grand; one contains turkey, apple-wood-smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce and melted pepper jack cheese layered on an 8-inch-sub spread with Mudgie-made garlic mayo.

Best Deli, Oakland County

Bread Basket Deli

32906 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-3663

101 N. Telegraph, Waterford; 248-683-2244; alsfamousdeli.com

Voted Best Deli by Metro Times readers off and on since the mid-1990s, Bread Basket serves more than cheese blintzes: Expect huge sandwiches, such soups as cold beet borscht, even stuffed cabbages. For best effect, drop in for a breakfast, which can include a lox platter, omelets and fried matzo.

Best Deli, Macomb County

TIE

Nautical Deli

23839 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-776-9898; nauticaldeli.com

New York Deli

25008 Little Mack Ave., St. Clair Shores; 

586-779-5665

Nautical Deli bakes, prepares and mixes everything fresh each morning. And the menu of soups, salads and sandwiches may not be pretentious, but it does offer a lot to choose from. Plus, Nautical is vegetarian-friendly, with triple-cheese and even tofu sandwiches. New York Deli is more on the traditionalist side, where you can get your deli classics — subs, burgers, any and all concoctions created with cold cuts — all served in a family-style environment with friendly service.

Best Deli, 

Washtenaw County

Best Bakery,      

Washtenaw County

Zingerman's

422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354; 

zingermans.com

Zingerman's is more than a deli, with its huge selection of olive oils, vinegars, cheeses and sausages, many from the far corners of the world. With excellent corned beef and pastrami, sandwiches available in numerous combinations, and artisanal breads fresh from the Zingerman's Bakehouse (yes, they have their own bakehouse!), this is deli central for the county. 

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery, 

Wayne County

Motor City Brewing Works

470 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-832-2700; 

motorcitybeer.com

This brewpub has a quirky tiled interior, with its concrete bar, its Wednesday-night art shows, and its sturdy menu of pizzas and small plates. For less than $10, you can get a pizza made with ingredients as local as possible. The excellent beers include classics and a rotating cast of summer brews, meads and more. 

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery, 

Oakland County

Woodward Avenue Brewery

22646 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-3696; thewabsite.com

Dubbed, "a neighborhood bar with lots of style," the top floor has huge windows overlooking Woodward. Downstairs has a sidewalk café and lounge with a view of the brewhouse. WAB serves a selection of its own award-winning microbrewed beer and root beer, plus gourmet sandwiches, huge salads and more.

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery,             Macomb County

Dragonmead

14600 E. 11 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-776-9428; dragonmead.com

Tucked away in an industrial-looking building on I-696's service drive, inside it's all about the beer. Dragonmead aspires to a level of sophistication, a nice mix of relaxed couples and cap-and-T guys out for a few, the sort of relaxed, friendly and affordable evening out more people are willing to splurge on. And some of Dragonmead's brews can run to 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery,    Washtenaw County

Corner Brewery

720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739; 

arborbrewing.com

Operating on the "reverse mullet" premise (i.e. party in the front, business in the back), CB is a cozy microbrewery equipped with a beer garden and a special tasting room. They'll open at noon, and you can kick back with a pint of one of usually eight beers on tap, including Sacred Cow or Phat Abbot Tripel.

Best Wine Selection 

in a Restaurant

Cork Wine Pub

23810 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 

248-544-2675

This year's laurels go to the first-ever recipient of a liquor license in Pleasant Ridge. Not only is Cork's wine list broad and inventive, the menu of small plates to accompany the pours are varied and wine-friendly, never too acidic, spicy or salty to pair well.

Best Wine Bar

Motor City Wine

608 Woodward Ave., 2nd floor, Detroit; 313-483-7283; motorcitywine.com

Up above Woodward Avenue, in a second-floor space in downtown Detroit, is the wine shop of husband-and-wife team David and Melissa Armin-Parcells. Hundreds of bottles of affordable but quality wine line the walls, and a steady stream of customers comes in, tastes a few glasses of wine, and leaves with a bottle or two. Special events, like jazz combos, also are a draw. 

Best Crêperie

Good Girls Go To Paris

15 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 877-727-4727

14929 Charlevoix St., Grosse Pointe; 313-331-2425; goodgirlsgotopariscrepes.com

The traditional French pancake gets an American treatment at this stylish eatery. Each crêpe takes almost four minutes, from careful pouring to when it is handed to the customer. Some come savory, some sweet, but given the variety of choices, nobody will leave unsatisfied. You can even design your own.

Best outdoor 

or Patio Dining, 

Wayne County

La Dolce Vita

17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331; ldvrestaurant.net

La Dolce Vita is one of those gems Detroit offers to those in the know, marked only by the neon letters LDV on a building just north of McNichols Road. Park in back, then walk through a courtyard that, in summertime, will transport you to a romantic oasis. Sunday brunch is punctuated with jazz that accompanies the mimosas and Bloody Marys, a prelude to a short menu of eggs Benedict, Mascarpone-stuffed French toast and similarly delectable treats.

Best outdoor 

or Patio Dining,  

Oakland County

Como's

22812 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-5005

Whether it's pizza, pasta, or anything that can conceivably be breaded and deep-fried, this fixture on the corner of Nine Mile and Woodward has been serving it up since 1961. Como's sheltered outdoor dining area offers a place for eating and boozing, with heating elements for added comfort on chilly days.

Best outdoor 

or Patio Dining,  

Macomb County

Fishbone's

23722 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-498-3000

More locations at fishbonesusa.com

The outside dining area, which seats about 150, has a lot to offer. The large, covered bar, the stone paving and walls, the marble fire pit and umbrella-covered marble tables offer a kind of European atmosphere. The four 50-inch flatscreens and 30-foot projection screen keep you in touch with your all-American sports. 

Best outdoor 

or Patio Dining, Washtenaw County

Dominick's

812 Monroe St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-5414

Located south of U-M's Ann Arbor campus, Dominick's serves up pizza, pasta, apps and sammiches. Two faves are the chicken quesadilla and the tomato bruschetta on a toasted baguette. Michigan microbrews are also on tap. And then there are the sprawling outdoor options, as seating is available in three spots: the balcony, the front or the back yard — your choice!

Best Bakery, Wayne County

Avalon International Breads

422 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-832-0008; avalonbreads.net

Sure, Avalon's breads are among the best, regularly featured at restaurants far beyond their Cass Corridor location. But if you like your sandwiches made for you, show up at lunchtime as the focaccia comes out of the oven. It might be topped with organic roasted zucchini, tomatoes, basil and Parmesan. Avalon has branched out from the baguettes and crusty peasant loaves of yore.

Best Bakery, Oakland County

Pinwheel Bakery

220 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-398-8018; pinwheelbakery.com

Their scones are among the best we've had, crisp on the outside, moist and soft on the inside, coming in a variety of flavors. Last year, they joined forces with the new Red Hook coffee shop; Pinwheel bakes in the back and Red Hook brews up front. Now that's a tasty sort of synergy!

Best Bakery, Macomb County

Vito's

36578 Moravian Dr., Clinton Twp.; 586-791-0360; vitosbakery.net

In the same family for almost 40 years, this is Vito's second annual win in this category, and with good reason: Vito's does it all! Expect cakes, breads, candies, cookies, pizza dough to go, and so much more than just loaves. In fact, more than a bakery, Vito's qualifies as a pasticceria, a genuine pastry shop. If you're not convinced, try a cannoli; you'll be back!

Best Desserts

Best Sweets shop

Astoria Bakery

541 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-963-9603

320 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9220; astoriapastryshop.com

Astoria has logged more than 40 years in its Greektown location. How do they do it? By serving the kinds of desserts that make you want to snap a photo before they go down the hatch. And it's quite a sight: a glistening array of mouthwatering cakes and pies and cookies and puddings. Then there's the chocolate-peanut butter frozen yogurt, a rich delight made from low-fat frozen yogurt, but chock-full of thick peanut butter, a necessity for low-carbers.

Best indie Coffeehouse, Wayne County

Astro Coffee

2124 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-638-2989; astrodetroit.com

Calling Astro Coffee a coffee shop doesn't do it justice. Superb coffee, food and community spirit all abound in this excellent, comfortable neighborhood café. Exposed brick, high ceilings, and eclectic furniture create a fun, approachable space. And the food is local, fresh, seasonal and delicious.

Best indie Coffeehouse,              Oakland County

Five15

515 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-515-2551; five15.net

It's more than the good java, friendly folks, gift-shop-lite atmo, free Wifi and appetizing snacks that make Five15 a destination. It's also the fun events that lend a surreal quality to your cup of coffee, such as their Friday and Saturday night Drag Queen Bingo (poll winner for the Best Bingo). See their website for a video of the fun, honey.

Best indie Coffeehouse,             Macomb County

TIE

Che Cosa

90 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens; 586-954-2677

Luna Café

23415 Greater Mack Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-774-5000

Che Cosa is a quirky little joint in downtown Mount Clemens has snacks, coffee, couches and a friendly vibe. Plus, if you want to grab some coffee to go, you can walk right over to the Clinton River and take it easy. And Luna Café is a chill, comfy spot to have a latte or maybe just a regular cup of joe and use the Wi-Fi.

Best indie Coffeehouse,       Washtenaw County

The Ugly Mug

317 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-484-4684; uglymugcafeandroastery

Since 2004, this microroastery has attracted a following with its increasing focus on small-lot coffees from farms and cooperatives in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Peru. The comfy setting doesn't hurt, with tables, couches, barstools, even an open-air seating area out back.

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