The food of love
A selection of metro Detroit restaurants for a romantic meal
Published: February 9, 2011
Amadeus Cafe & Patisserie 122 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-8767; $$$: Amadeus is a unique restaurant designed after the Old World cafés of Vienna. A variety of traditional dishes from Central Europe are offered, as well as desserts and a unique list of wines and beers. Enjoy candlelit dinners and live classical music on the weekends. Family-owned and -operated for almost 20 years. On Valentine's Day they'll offer a $69 per couple prix-fixe meal.
Antonio's in the Park 15117 Kercheval St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-2433; $$: This romantic little Italian restaurant has all the Old World charm of a courtyard café in Rome. The menu has pastas, thick, rich soups and to-die-for specials. The atmosphere is so relaxing that slow service would seem like a gift.
Assaggi 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-584-3499; $$$: Assaggi's Mediterranean dishes include wood-fired pizza (prepared, naturally, in the prominently displayed wood-fired oven), antipasti and sea scallops with hand-rolled pasta. A full wine list and a full bar are available to accompany your lunch or dinner. Rumor has it they're coming up with a prix-fixe special for Valentine's Day.
Atlas Global Bistro 3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-2241: Voted by our readers as the best affordably expensive restaurant (under $50 per diner), Atlas has the vibe of a hip city eatery thanks to its striking interiors, knowledgeable service and international cuisine. In Atlas' quirky kitchen, ingredients don't necessarily remain with their cuisine-of-origin, and the fusion fare can be at once exotic and down-home, mixing it up with lemongrass, cactus, Gorgonzola, caviar and black-eyed peas. And Atlas simply oozes hip urban cachet, nestled in the Addison Building — a 1905 beaux arts structure that once flirted with the wrecking ball — where it sports high ceilings, polished floors and street views of Detroit's historic Brush Park. Expect Valentine's Day specials with both seafood and meat options.
Baker's Keyboard Lounge 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300; $$: The world's oldest jazz club, now with a new lease on life, features big band and jazz jam sessions and a great late-night dining menu, with metropolitan Detroit's finest local musicians live every weekend. A perennial winner of our best jazz club categories, if your date likes jazz, you have to take her to Baker's Keyboard Lounge on Sunday to catch a performance by the Christopher Key Quartet. Get there early and score one of the horseshoe-shaped booths — just right for two! For Valentine's Day, expect a live performance by Cheri Oliver & Friends.
Bistro 222 22266 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-792-7500; $$: Michael Chamas' bistro, open almost a year-and-a-half, is well-positioned to attract diners with his imaginative Californian-Italian cuisine and reasonable prices. The walls of his intimate room, which seats 60, are decorated in subdued shades and accented with dark wooden panels. Much of the fare is assertively spiced, such as the zesty and generous portion of bruschetta topped with tomatoes, onions and peppers, and small scallops sautéed in a tangy lemon-garlic sauce and artfully presented in three scallop shells. Most of the entrées are $15 or $16, a surprisingly low price considering the quality of the ingredients and the careful thought that has gone into their creation and presentation. All desserts, except for the ethereal, ultra-light house-made tiramisu, come from the respectable outside supplier, Sweet Street Desserts.
Café Cortina 30715 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-474-3033; $$$$: Since Café Cortina was started in 1976, its reputation as a true ristorante has spread its Venetian style pasta sauces are well renowned (and available for sale on the café's website). In today's fast-paced environment, this restaurant continues to present the true heart and soul of Italy, but at prices that are more Lamborghini than Fiat.
Café Felix 204 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-8650; $$: Authentic European-style café, serving pastries, breads and cakes baked fresh on-site, as well as European wines, beers and liquors. They serve a full breakfast, omelets, crepes, soups, salads and tapas. Call for information on their special Valentine's Day prix-fixe menu. Handicap accessible. Expect Valentine's Day prix-fixe options.
Café Zola 112 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; $$$: With tasteful art for sale on the brick walls, large picture windows fronting the colorful pedestrian traffic on Washington Street, and, in season, a sizable outdoor patio, Café Zola is one of the more comfortable restaurants in Ann Arbor. Mains have included spaghetti and meatballs marinara, lamb chops a la Turque, flat-iron steak with garlicky chimichurri sauce from the Pampas, and ahi tuna in a sesame-seed crust with wasabi butter, sugar snap peas, and that crunchy coconut rice. The wine list, a thoughtful if somewhat pricey one, contains a handful of relatively obscure bottles in the high 20s to the middle 30s before it disappears into the stratosphere.
Coach Insignia 200 Renaissance Center, 71st & 72nd Floor, Detroit; 313-567-2622; $$$: This eclectic chophouse is the United States' second-highest restaurant and is located at the top of the GM Global Renaissance Center. Coach Insignia features incomparable food, great service and a world-class wine list to accompany a panoramic view of Detroit and our Canadian neighbors. Handicap accessible; dress code: no jeans. Valentine's Day specials include a package deal with the Marriott — a room for the night and dinner for $239.
D'Amato's 222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; 248-584-7400; $$: Neighborhood Italian joint with eclectic and "from scratch" fare. A fresh Caesar or Caprese salad will run you $6, and a pizza with feta, grape tomatoes, roasted banana peppers, kalamata olives and more is $8. Tender, fluffy gnocchi of ricotta and spinach come surrounded with a rich sauce, and veal saltimbocca arrives on soft layers of rapini and gnocchi, resting in a silky Marsala sauce. There are many more beef, chicken and seafood entrées, and 30 glasses and 60 bottles of wine to wash them down with. What's more, there's often live music (call for schedule) and legendary Royal Oak martini bar Goodnight Gracie is connected to the restaurant.
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