The food of love
A selection of metro Detroit restaurants for a romantic meal
Published: February 9, 2011
The Earle 121 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-0211; $$$: Illuminated with candlelight, The Earle is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two. On the weekends, you can enjoy live music during your meal. The menu includes French- and Italian-inspired entrées that will satisfy whatever you are craving, as will an award-winning, 1,000 options-strong wine list.
Fiamma Grille 380 S. Main St., Plymouth; 734-416-9340; $$$: Right next door to Compari's on the Park, Fiamma Grille might be for those looking for something grander than hard-line Italian fare. Boasting a sleek and retro-accented ambience, with art on the walls that's better than most, this joint has steaks and seafood dishes to boast about.�
Forté 201 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-594-7300; $$: Originally an upscale and expensive dining destination, a dramatic retooling kept the talented staff, lowered prices, and came up with fare that is more fun and less fussy: everyday food that's a little bit special, designed by their fine-dining chef, who does comfort foods with an unexpected twist. A good example is "Firecracker Chicken," a whole bird marinated for 24 hours before it's deep-fried and plated upon wasabi mashed potatoes. The wine list is simple and unintimidating. They say they'll likely have a three- or four-course prix fixe for the big night.
French Gourmet 23421 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-1200; $$: Grapevine-wrapped pillars, classical background music and jeweled murals. Entrées prepared to order. Vegetable broth-based French onion soup, bay scallops poached in vermouth. Warm salad of duck confit and lobster. Pastries are beautiful to behold.
Giulio's Cucina Italiana 31735 Plymouth Rd., Livonia; 734-427-9500; $$$: For a romantic mood, try one of the cozy corner booths at this Italian eatery, amid the music and twinkling lights. House specialties include seafood pasta, lamb chops with brandy pepper corn and pasta with crab meat. A special menu gives lovebirds the option of going gluten-free.
The Hill Seafood & Chop House 123 Kerchaval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-886-8101; $$$: The Valentine's Day menu will be mostly limited to a list of chef favorites, but will include the veal chop of the original menu. The Valentine's Day dinner is a $75 three-course dinner for two that includes a roasted red-pepper shrimp soup, a surf-and-turf entrée whose turf is a 10-ounce filet mignon with mushrooms, and a lava cake for dessert.
Hong Hua Fine Chinese Dining 27925 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-489-2280; $$: At Hong Hua's decor has more of a fine-dining than a Chinese feel. It's has an elegant look, with its curving lines of cherry wood and tasteful paintings of flowers. The shredded duck and mushroom soup comes highly recommended. The Szechuan hot and sour soup is another winner, more sweet and flavorful than simply hot. An excellent entrée is eggplant in chili sauce. The mu-shu pork is tasty if not overly interesting, slightly sweet and crisped-up by the shredded cabbage that's used. Dessert can be peppermint or ginger ice cream, or translucent lychees served on ice. Offers a full complement of fried rices, chow meins and lo meins, along with all the dishes found at corner Chinese restaurants throughout America.
La Bistecca Italian Grille 39405 Plymouth Rd., Plymouth; 734-254-0400; $$: Serving certified Piedmontese beef, fresh fish, seafood, veal and chops, La Bistecca emphasizes fresh ingredients and impeccable service. Their award-winning tiramisu is not to be missed either. To round out your lovers' feast, see their extensive wine list.
La Dolce Vita 17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331; $$: Tucked away behind a garden gate on Woodward Avenue just north of McNichols, La Dolce Vita has only a cryptic neon sign (reading LDV) to herald its presence. But those who slip behind the building, often for valet parking, can have one of the most romantic, secluded experiences in this urban oasis. Add the friendly, accommodating waitstaff, a well-stocked bar and good food, and you can see why this restaurant is a staff-favorite. For Valentine's Day, the restaurant will feature three specials: veal marengo (a dish that features shrimp and fried eggs), veal chop and sea bass.
The Lark 6430 Farmington Rd., W. Bloomfield; 248-661-4466; $$$$: This European-style country inn-inspired restaurant offers a peaceful and romantic setting for any couple. The overlooking garden, which includes a fountain and grape trellis, provides a dreamy and relaxing setting. Going along with the European theme, the menu is filled with an assortment of entrées created with French cooking techniques. Spice up your evening by participating in the themed dinner nights that range from a Mexican Fiesta to a Corleone Soprano dinner. The dining room design will be appropriately themed on Valentine's Day.
Luciano's 39091 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-263-6540; $$: Serving fresh, delicious pastas topped with your favorite sauces, Luciano's follows an Old Country Italian tradition that specializes in authentic Italian pasta, specialties, wines and desserts. Located in the northwest corner of Gar-Pointe Plaza.
Maggiano's Little Italy 2089 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-205-1060; $$: Staying true to its word, Maggiano's is designed to replicate an original Italian neighborhood restaurant. Red-checkered table cloths complete the Little Italy appearance. Nobody leaves hungry because the portions are colossal, especially for the price. Valentine's Day special running Feb. 10-16. It is $79 for two, and includes a choice of appetizer, two salads, two pastas, one dessert, and two glasses of wine. The special Valentine's Day entrées are lobster ravioli, beef medallion and chicken Francaise.
The Majestic Café 4124 Woodward Ave.; Detroit; 313-833-9700; $$; Contemporary American and European specialties served in an open, airy setting. For Valentine's Day weekend, they'll have their regular menu as well as special prix fixe packages, on Friday (Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner, prix fixe 3 p.m.-11 p.m.), Saturday (brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner, prix fixe 3-11 p.m.), Sunday (brunch 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; dinner, prix fixe 3-10 p.m.) and Monday (dinner, prix fixe 3-10 p.m.). The V-Day prix fixe is $40 for one, $75 for two, and includes salad, choice of appetizer (seared tuna, tenderloin tips, wild mushroom crostada), choice of entrée (orange- and chili-glazed swordfish, cherry-glazed rack of lamb, vegetable linguini) and choice of dessert (gourmet cheesecake, chocolate mousse). Live music all weekend.
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