Bright lights big city
For the Auto Show crowd: Worthy restaurants in and around downtown Detroit
Published: January 11, 2012
$=$5-10; $$=$10-25; $$$=$25-50; $$$$=$50+
24 Grille inside the Book-Cadillac Hotel, 204 Michigan Ave.; 313-964-3821; spa1924grille.com; $$: Dark and sexy, with cushioned stools, Swarovski crystal and more create a sumptuous interior. Various nods to industrial design, right down to an exposed 1920s I-beam. Outdoor patio.
Anchor Bar 450 W. Fort St.; 313-964-9127; anchorbardetroit.com; $: Enjoy waxed-paper-wrapped burgers, sandwiches and bar food with chunky crisp steak fries and creamy coleslaw sides in a room that will collapse if one more piece of Detroit history goes on the walls.
Andiamo Detroit Riverfront 400 Renaissance Center; 313-567-6700; andiamoitalia.com; $$$: Right on the river off the redesigned Renaissance Center's sunny Winter Garden, with seating areas that are spacious or intimate. Upscale Italian cuisine in luxurious atmosphere, often with live music.
Angelina Italian Bistro 1565 Broadway, at Grand Circus Park; 313-962-1355; angelinadetroit.com; $$$: Italian food (and some extras) at "prices that reflect the new reality" — at least when it comes to the entrées and the wines. Pristine view of Grand Circus Park with floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around dining area. Closed Mondays.
Astro Coffee 2124 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-638-2989; astrocoffee.us; $: Breakfast and lunch dishes are handmade from mostly local ingredients. Some choice items include: buttermilk scones, ham and white cheddar croissants, and a variety of baguette sandwiches. On top of the superb coffee, sweets include a flavorful chocolate mousse cake baked with ground Honduran coffee and served with hand-whipped cream.
Atlas Global Bistro 3111 Woodward Ave.; 313-831-2241; atlasglobalbistro.com; $$$$: At Atlas, you'll find Carolina catfish, pork taquitos, short ribs, ravioli and polenta, Hawaiian shrimp and Moroccan beef. Ingredients — which don't necessarily remain with their cuisine-of-origin — include lemongrass, cactus, Gorgonzola, wasabi, coconut, pancetta, caviar and black-eyed peas. Brunch until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Avalon International Breads 422 W. Willis St.; 313-832-0008; avalonbreads.net; $: A Cultural Center fixture, Avalon has branched out from the baguettes and crusty peasant loafs that brought bread-starved customers flocking years ago, today offering brioches, scones and cinnamon rolls.
Bangkok Crossing 620 Woodward Ave.; 313-961-3861; bangkokcrossingthaifood.com; $$: Tasty and enjoyable pla dook pad ped (crisp red snapper stir-fried with mushrooms, peppers and eggplant), pad ma kher (fried eggplant), as well as a few concessions to the American palate. Crowded at lunchtime weekdays.
Bookies Bar & Grille 2208 Cass Ave.; 313-962-0319; bookiesbar.com; $$: A downtown fixture for more than years, Bookies' new home is on Cass Avenue, out among the parking lots where tailgaters often take over. But don't let the remove fool you: On game days, it's right in the heart of things, sporting enough plasma screens to warm the heart of any sports fan.
Bourbon Steak 1777 Third St., (inside MGM Grand Detroit); 313-465-1648; mgmgranddetroit.com; $$$: Open only for dinner 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Features self-dubbed "modern American classics," including all-beef burgers and Colorado lamb. Usually, all tables are taken on the weekends. Reservations suggested.
Bucharest Grill 2040 Park Ave.; bucharestgrill.com; 313-965-3111; $: "Come get your shawarma on." The unique offerings at Bucharest match its tagline. Everything on the menu is handmade and makes for a stellar affordable meal.
Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy 1439 Griswold St.; cafedmongos.com; $$: Open Friday nights only, this is the quirkiest little hipster hangout in downtown Detroit. The limited soul food menu features some very fine sides at $3 a la carte.
Cass Cafe 4620 Cass Ave.; 313-831-1400; casscafe.com; $$: The lofty open space on two floors can accommodate intimate or large groups, and can cater to veggies and non-veggies. Kitchen creates inventive daily specials, never more than $16, and the varied beer and wine list, rotating art installations and chatty neighbors always add something.
Centaur Bar 2233 Park Ave.; 313-963-4040; centaurbar.com; $$: This sophisticated setting for an after-work nip garners a diverse clientele. If you're headed to Joe Louis for hockey action: Centaur offers a free shuttle to every Red Wing's home game.
City Wings 2896 W. Grand Blvd.; 313-871-CITY; citywingsinc.com; $$: Inviting prices on 14 versions of owner Grant Lancaster's special wings coupled with a vast array of sides. Prefer buffalo wings with a kick? The KO (knockout) flavor is 'way hot' according to Lancaster.
Coach Insignia 200 Renaissance Center, 72nd Floor; 313-567-2622; mattprenticerg.com; $$$: Coach Insignia, perched spectacularly on the 71st and 72nd floors of the Marriott Hotel in the Renaissance Center, is the second highest restaurant in the United States. Only open for dinner. The unsurpassed view, mostly of the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario, is of considerable value. Closed Sundays.
Cuisine 670 Lothrop Rd.; 313-872-5110; cuisinedetroit.com; $$$: In the shadow of the Fisher Building, Cuisine attracts a bustling theater crowd. Inside a 1920s house is a simple but elegant space. Ambitious French-American cuisine is creative, sophisticated and memorable.
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