Insider Eats: Discover 17 Detroit Restaurants Where Locals Love to Dine


This article serves as a tribute to the diverse array of dining establishments that pepper the cityscape, each offering a unique blend of flavors as diverse and dynamic as Detroit, itself.

Prepare for a culinary exploration of these incredible restaurants in Detroit, Michigan, where the city's industrial heritage meets its gastronomic expertise, crafting a unique epicurean experience.

Keep reading to embark on a tantalizing tour of Detroit's culinary treasures that are sure to whet the appetite!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Lou Allen, Robert Dickerson, Helena Moyer, Gerald Hodges, Jean Funk, Matthew Morales and Betty Lynch.


I must confess, I've had my fair share of fine dining experiences, but nothing comes close to the culinary delights at Freya, right here in Detroit.

From the moment I stepped foot into this dining paradise, the extraordinary attention to detail blew me away.

This wasn't just dinner, it was an event.

The service was nothing short of exceptional.

I’ll never forget the time when I stepped away for a bathroom break, only to return to my seat being pulled out for me and a napkin neatly folded by my plate.

It was as if they’d choreographed the entire evening to perfection.

Now, let’s talk food.

Every dish at Freya is not just a meal; it's a work of art.

The flavors dance on your palate, the presentation is a visual treat, and the timing of each course was so in sync, I thought I was at an orchestra.

And the best part? You get to individually choose every course.

It’s like having the world of gourmet cuisine at your fingertips.

Each visit to Freya is a new adventure.

They go the extra mile to make your special occasions even more unforgettable.

On anniversaries, they'll wish you, play your wedding song, and even decorate your table with a heart and the number of years you're celebrating.

If you're in or around Detroit and you haven't yet experienced Freya, you're missing out on a Michelin-star-worthy dining experience.

With its exquisite food, impeccable service, and the personal touch that they adds to every event, Freya has truly mastered the art of fine dining.

Freya · 2929 E Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202
★★★★★ · Restaurant


There's something about the exposed brick and modern setting of Marrow that makes this spot a neighborhood gem.

The bistro dishes out internationally inspired flavors, elevating the culinary landscape of our beloved Detroit.

Its intimate dining area and patio space make it a perfect spot for both catch-ups with old friends and first dates.

Marrow's menu is a delightful surprise as it changes from time to time.

I once opted for the multiple-course meal, and to say it was awesome and filling is an understatement.

Each course was packed with flavor and substance, making it a delectable culinary journey.

Another unique charm of Marrow is its clientele.

It's a joy to overhear and observe the regular customers who drop by during my visits.

Marrow · 8044 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, MI 48214
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Frita Batidos Detroit

Every time I walk through the doors of Frita Batidos Detroit, my day instantly brightens.

Its high ceilings and sleek design provide an atmosphere that welcomes you the moment you step inside, and the smell of Cuban street bites cooking in the back teases your senses.

The first time I tried one of their award-winning Frita burgers, it was like tasting a piece of heaven.

The ingredients are top-tier, and you can taste the quality in every bite.

Pairing the burger with one of their Batidos, tropical milkshakes, is a must for me.

My personal favorite is the passion fruit, but they also offer the option to add alcohol if you're looking for a little kick.

Their menu isn't just burgers and shakes, though.

The chicken salsa verde with 50/50 rice and salad is a dish that I find myself craving on a regular basis.

But the real star of the show is their "Best Snack Ever" - it is, quite literally, the best snack I've ever had.

I will admit, however, that service can be a bit slow during peak hours.

But the quality of the food and the overall experience make the wait worthwhile.

The only item on the menu that I've been less than thrilled with was the cilantro lime fries - they were a bit on the greasy side, and I probably wouldn't order them again.

Frita Batidos Detroit · 66 W Columbia St, Detroit, MI 48201
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Duly's Place Coney Island

Ah, the sweet smell of nostalgia wafts over you as soon as you step foot into Duly's Place Coney Island.

This place, this unassuming diner tucked away in SW Detroit, has been my go-to for a quick bite and a warm chat for as long as I can remember.

You see, it's more than just a place that serves up the most delectable chili dogs, cheese fries, and sandwiches. It's a trip down memory lane.

It's a place where you can almost hear the laughter and banter of the Irish Community from the good old days.

It's a living testament to the thirties, a time when things were simpler and a hearty meal didn't cost you an arm and a leg.

Walking into Duly's is like stepping into a warm hug.

You're greeted with friendly faces, that old counter we all love, and the most delicious smell that will instantly make your mouth water.

Even Anthony Bourdain, yes, the Anthony Bourdain, made a stop here.

If it's good enough for him, I'm sure it's good enough for anyone, right?

The charm of Duly's lies in its simplicity.

The counter seating may be a bit snug, but it's the best place for some people-watching.

And oh, the menu! It's not a fancy leather-bound booklet but a simple listing on the wall.

However, don't let that fool you. Each item on that menu is a culinary masterpiece, a celebration of flavors that will leave you wanting more.

Duly’s Place Coney Island · 5458 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Giovanni's Ristorante

Have you ever had a night that takes you back in time?

My most recent trip to Giovanni's Ristorante was exactly that.

This family-run trattoria, famous for its rustic Italian fare and handmade pastas, is a place where the legendary Sinatra once supped.

You can feel the history and tradition flowing from every corner of this charming place.

Walking into Giovanni's is like stepping into a scene from "The Godfather."

My family and I held a special celebration in the Godfather room, a semi-private setting that makes you feel like you're part of the family.

We were treated with such warmth it felt like we were dining at home.

Of course, no Italian restaurant is worth its salt without fabulous food, and Giovanni's doesn't disappoint.

From the delicious calamari to the Cannelloni di Carne that's simply to die for, every dish is a delight to the senses.

Don't get me started on the dessert! The lemon cake and ice cream puff covered in chocolate was worth every single calorie.

The service at Giovanni's is as top-notch as its food.

Giovanni’s Ristorante · 330 Oakwood, Detroit, MI 48217
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

Who knew heaven could be found tucked away in a cozy corner of Detroit?

Well, it can at Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails.

Imagine stepping into a space where the ambiance echoes the lush botanical decor, and the aroma of seasonal American cuisine tickles your nostrils, instantly awakening your appetite.

Once seated, I found myself marveling at the menu.

Each item listed was a testament to the creativity and skill of their chefs. Deciding what to order was a challenge, but I opted for a gluten-free entrée.

The combination of fresh ingredients and bursts of flavor in every bite was nothing short of a culinary delight.

Let's not forget the cocktails at Chartreuse.

Each concoction was a work of mixology art, balanced perfectly with fresh ingredients.

On one of my solo visits (which followed a day at Detroit Institute of Arts), I got adventurous and tried one of their non-alcoholic cocktails.

It was a revelation! They serve up some serious non-alcoholic goodness that easily rivals their alcoholic counterparts.

But what truly sets Chartreuse apart is their service.

They create a welcoming atmosphere, making you feel at home while dining in their gorgeous lounge.

The enthusiasm they show in their work shines through, making the dining experience all the more enjoyable.

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails · 15 E Kirby St D, Detroit, MI 48202
★★★★★ · Restaurant


The city lights of Detroit were twinkling as I walked into BESA, my most cherished bistro in the city.

Known for its globally-inspired fare and raw bar, BESA never fails to deliver an exquisite and unique dining experience.

The first time I dropped by, I remember being taken aback by the splendidly rich interior details.

Elegant yet inviting, it's the perfect spot for any occasion.

I found my way to one of the booths, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

The privacy it offered further enhanced the upscale dining experience.

BESA's menu is a delight for the adventurous foodie.

The oysters and octopus were phenomenal, each bite transporting me to the ocean's edge.

The kale salad was a refreshing palate cleanser, perfectly preparing me for the main course.

I still dream about those entrees; expertly cooked and amazingly delicious.

The bistro also hosts a truffle ravioli that is a must-try. Stuffed with mushroom and garnished with truffle, it is undoubtedly the most unique ravioli in Detroit.

The zucchini fritters are another gem on the menu, a delightful blend of crispy and juicy.

Of course, a BESA dinner wouldn't be complete without indulging in their cocktail creations.

On one memorable occasion, I tried a white rum cocktail, the name of which escapes me.

But the taste was unforgettable - it was the epitome of a perfectly balanced cocktail.

And let's not forget about the grand finale, the desserts.

The raspberry dessert is heavenly, a perfect way to end a fine dining experience.

But if you're someone who prefers cakes, do take away their Tres Leches cake.

I promise it's worth it.

My experiences at BESA have always been marked by attentive, gracious service.

BESA · 600 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Selden Standard

It was one of those rare nights when all my friends somehow managed to coordinate their schedules.

We decided to head to Selden Standard, our city's stylish little nook that never fails to impress with its seasonal, locally sourced New American small plates and craft cocktails.

The place sets the standard for what a great dining experience should be in Detroit.

Every time we go, we can't help but be in awe of the amazing flavor combinations that the chefs conjure up.

They're so creative! I wouldn't think to put some of these ingredients together, yet each bite has us all sighing in bliss.

The kale salad and parsnip dish, in particular, are two of our favorite crowd-pleasers.

Even my friend, who prides himself on being a bit of a food snob, couldn't help but rave about the beef tartare and squid.

Selden Standard is also the perfect spot for a date night.

The atmosphere is just the right mix of chic and comfortable, setting the stage for some wonderful conversations.

Make sure to reserve in advance, though, as seating can be limited.

We often prefer to go as a group, sharing different dishes so we can taste as much of the menu as possible.

The one thing that I wasn't overly impressed with was the wine options, but then again, that's more a matter of personal taste.

On the bright side, the cocktails are divine.

If you ever find yourself there, do yourself a favor and try the Catching Rabbits.

Trust me, you won't regret it.

In the heart of Detroit, Selden Standard truly stands out as a gem.

The farm-to-table ingredients, the talented chefs, and the ever-changing menu make for an unforgettable dining experience.

It's one more reason why I'm proud to call this city my home.

Selden Standard · 3921 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Boostan Restaurants

Ah, the unmistakable aroma of freshly grilled dishes at Boostan Restaurants.

Every time I walk through its doors, it feels like a grand homecoming.

My taste buds have been on quite the journey here, from the unforgettable chicken dishes to the delectable hummus and garlic sauce.

Each visit, I find myself mesmerized by the inviting smell of the seasonings, full of woof and favor. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

They are genuine gentlemen, kind, and professional.

Plus, the restaurant maintains a high standard of cleanliness, which is a big tick in my book.

I have to admit, though, the prices can be a bit steep.

Like that one time I ordered the grilled biryani haneeth with lamb - four pieces of lamb and rice, all for 25 bucks!

Gave me a bit of a shock, but then again, it's Detroit. What can you expect?

But let me tell you - their fattoush salad is the show-stopper.

Now, this isn't just any salad. It's the absolute best I've ever had!

Fresh, crisp, and the blend of flavors is simply out of this world.

And when you pair it with their tawook lemon oregano, you're in for a treat.

It was so good that I had to ask for it "juicy" on my very first visit. And you bet I've been a regular since.

Boostan Restaurants, you have my heart!

Boostan Restaurants - Detroit · 5101 E McNichols Rd, Detroit, MI 48212
★★★★★ · Mediterranean restaurant

Clique Diner

I'm sitting in a mid-century modern diner, sipping on a cup of the most superb coffee I've had in a while.

You might wonder, where on earth am I?

No, I'm not time-traveling, I'm at Clique Diner, nestled in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Hidden inside an unassuming motel, the diner might be off-putting from the outside.

But never judge a book by its cover! One step inside, and you're greeted by a cozy and comfortable atmosphere with the Clique Diner's signature atrium seating.

I’ve been frequenting the place for years, watching it stand the test of time without losing its original charm.

But let's get down to the main event - the food.

Now, I’ve personally had my fair share of breakfasts in Detroit, but nothing quite holds a candle to Clique's finest.

The silver dollar pancakes are heavenly, the scrambled eggs are done just right, and the bacon is cooked to perfection.

I usually opt for the two eggs special with pancakes, home fries, and turkey sausage, a classic American breakfast, and I've never been disappointed.

The food always arrives hot and leaves me nostalgic for old-fashioned home-cooked meals.

One thing to remember, though, is that the diner is cash only.

Clique · 1326 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48207
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Aratham Gourmet To Go

From the bustling streets of downtown Detroit, I discovered a healthy haven hiding in plain sight.

It's called Aratham Gourmet To Go, a small but mighty gem tucked neatly amidst the city's concrete jungle.

My curiosity was piqued by the promise of a rotating menu full of hearty, whole-food, plant-based meals. This was a call I couldn't resist.

Stepping inside, I felt an immediate sense of welcome, further amplified by the sight of their diverse menu offerings.

They had everything from soups, salads, and sandwiches to pasta bowls, desserts, kombucha, and even fancy coffee.

It was an eclectic, appetizing mix that had me coming back more frequently than I'd like to admit.

On one such visit, I decided to try the vegan clam chowder - a euphemism for a creamy mushroom soup.

A side serving of vegan mac and cheese and a "lobster" roll completed my adventurous trio of choices. Every bite was a delightful surprise; it was delicious and a perfect departure from the usual fast food options.

Another time, I dared to dive into their cashew tzatziki salad.

An interesting choice, you might think, but pair it with their delectable hummus, and you've got yourself a match made in heaven.

And let's not forget their tantalizing assortment of desserts.

Every sweet treat I tried was an exquisite experience, further reinforcing my love for this place.

It's been an expensive lesson in the benefits of eating fresh, organic meals — but a lesson well worth the cost.

Aratham Gourmet To Go has become my go-to spot in downtown Detroit.

It's a welcome respite for those of us seeking healthier food choices in a city where they're few and far between.

You'll surely find me there on any given day, enjoying the best of what vegan food has to offer.

Aratham Gourmet To Go - Detroit · 719 Griswold St #100, Detroit, MI 48226
★★★★★ · Health food restaurant

Hearth 71

There's no place like home, and for me, home is Detroit.

And, in the heart of this bustling city, high above its skyline, is a gem of a restaurant - Hearth 71.

It's nestled on the 71st floor of the GM building, and let me tell you, the views here are simply unbeatable.

From the moment you take the elevator ride up, you are greeted by an expansive panorama of the city that leaves you breathless each time.

From the deliciously unique food choices to the wide selection of cocktails, Hearth 71 has something for everyone.

And although the menu may not be the cheapest, you're definitely paying for quality.

The burgers are especially incredible, each one offering a unique flavor twist that's well worth trying.

While the menu isn't extensive, the moderate food selection is high-quality and never disappoints.

And a word of advice: don't miss out on the appetizers.

Now, getting here might be a bit tricky if you're not familiar with the layout of RenCen, but trust me, it's worth the effort.

Also, for parking, I recommend the structure closest to the river as it's cheaper.

Hearth 71 · 71st Floor Level 3, 400 Renaissance Center #2500, Detroit, MI 48243
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Taqueria El Rey

I had heard the rumors, whispers on the wind that Taqueria El Rey was back in town, but I had to see it for myself.

And let me tell you, those juicy chicken tacos didn't disappoint.

Nestled in its new spot at 3344 Vernor Ave, this humble eatery has transformed itself into a food truck paradise.

You won't find any indoor seating here, but what you will find are rustic picnic tables under the open sky, perfect for enjoying a casual meal in the great outdoors.

The quaint food truck opens its service windows from 11 am to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 am to 10 pm on Sundays, serving mouthwatering tacos that taste like a little slice of Mexico right here in Michigan.

The delectable chicken and shrimp tacos are seasoned to perfection, and the salsas? Authentic and delightful don't cover it.

As the tantalizing aroma of grilled meat wafts through the air, it's hard not to get caught up in the vibrant atmosphere.

If you're feeling adventurous, their fried chicken is a must-try, and their margaritas are undoubtedly the best in town.

From the first bite to the last sip, Taqueria El Rey never fails to impress.

They may have changed location and format, but their commitment to serving absolutely lip-smacking Mexican street food remains steadfast.

Taqueria El Rey · 3344 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant


Whenever I'm looking for a place to unwind after a long day, my mind drifts to the dimly lit dining room of Standby, right here in the heart of Detroit.

Set in an ideal location, Standby is a place where the vibe of the city truly comes alive.

Every visit to Standby has the allure of intrigue, much like their creatively crafted American cuisine.

The Pork Gnocchi, for example, has become my favorite comfort food after trying it once.

It's bursting with flavors and cooked perfectly every time.

The Pork Skewers are another delightful pick.

They are tender, flavorful, and well worth the wait despite it sometimes stretching to almost 50 minutes.

The cocktail menu is something that cannot be missed. Standby offers a huge list of scratch-made cocktails, and I've enjoyed every single one I've tried.

But I must confess, not all cocktails are created equal here. Some of them have a rather peculiar aftertaste that might not sit well with everyone's palate.

There's something about Standby that feels like home, albeit a home with small tables and plates that are a bit undersized for comfort.

Like that one time, I remember wrestling with a chicken wing on a plate that couldn't quite accommodate it.

They gave me a butter knife instead of a meat knife, adding to the struggle.

Standby · 225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Cork & Gabel

Imagine a place where the warm, hearty flavors of Irish, Italian, and German cuisine meet in a light-filled, industrial space dotted with rustic tables and a full bar.

That’s exactly what you find at Cork & Gabel, a culinary haven tucked away in the heart of Detroit.

On my regular visits, I've hardly ever been disappointed.

Some of my favorite dishes include the chicken marsala and the shrimp Alfredo, each bursting with the bold flavors Cork & Gabel is known for.

The meals are consistently outstanding, making me reminisce about my travels through Europe.

The schnitzel, too, is worth mentioning for its authenticity and taste, so much so it could hold its own in a German biergarten.

The cocktails, particularly the aperol spritz, offer a refreshing break from the hearty fare.

On lazy afternoons, I often stop by for a quick Bloody Mary before a stroll around nearby Roosevelt Park.

Bartenders are friendly and always ready with a suggestion or a quick chat.

However, it's not just about the food and the drinks.

It's about the overall experience, and Cork & Gabel nails it.

Cork & Gabel · 2415 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
★★★★★ · Restaurant

La Feria

Stepping into La Feria feels like being whisked away to a charming Spanish bodega.

The food, though - that's where the magic truly lies!

The small plates or "tapas" are traditional Spanish fare at its most authentic.

Each dish is a bite-sized adventure – a tantalizing journey through the diverse flavors of Spain.

And let's not forget about the portions.

They're just the right size to allow you to savor a variety of dishes, all in the span of a single, leisurely glass of wine.

Speaking of wine, they may not have the most extensive list, but the selections they do have are simply exquisite.

Each bottle has been carefully chosen to complement the food and enhance the dining experience.

Then there's the service.

It's consistently top-notch. Every visit to La Feria is like dining with friends who have your best interests at heart.

They're quick, friendly, and always ready to guide you through the menu.

La Feria is my go-to spot for a relaxing meal.

It's a small nook in the middle of Detroit that brings the heart and soul of Spain right to our doorstep.

La Feria · 4130 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
★★★★★ · Spanish restaurant


My dinner at Takoi, a trendy Thai fusion restaurant tucked away in Detroit, was an experience unlike any other.

This compact but stylish dining room flaunts an open kitchen concept, which just adds to its charm.

The elevated Thai plates they serve are simply divine!

I found myself pleasantly surprised with the khanom krak, a traditional Thai dessert, which was nothing short of amazing.

Their range of vegetarian dishes also deserves mention - with the grilled eggplant standing out in particular.

Although some dishes were good rather than great, the overall experience was still delightful.

But it's not just the food that has me heading back to Takoi time and again.

The cocktails they offer, like the Promises in Vortex, are truly a treat! It's the kind of concoction that makes you sit up and take notice.

Plus, the bartenders are more than willing to whip up something special on request, which is a sweet little bonus.

I must say, there's something about the vibe at Takoi that keeps you captivated.

The unique menu, the intriguing choice of colors, and the bustling atmosphere combine to create an unforgettable culinary journey.

Takoi · 2520 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
★★★★★ · Restaurant

SheWolf Pastificio & Bar

When the craving for authentic Italian cuisine hits, there's one place in Detroit that never fails to deliver - SheWolf Pastificio & Bar.

This trendy restaurant is known for its contemporary Italian plates and cocktails; all served in a sophisticated dining room that exudes the warmth of old-world Italy.

From the moment I walk in, the aroma of fresh pasta and simmering sauces, alongside the clink of glasses and the hum of pleasant chatter, creates an ambiance that is both inviting and exciting.

One of the things I love most about SheWolf is that they make their pasta in-house.

As a foodie, there's nothing quite like peering into the kitchen and catching a glimpse of the chefs busily crafting gnocchi, linguini, and fettuccine from scratch.

Each plate that comes out of the kitchen is a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into Italian cooking.

The food at SheWolf is simply divine.

From their tantalizing antipasti to their delectable pastas, everything tastes fresh and is well-seasoned.

The tomatoes, in particular, are always bursting with flavor, perfectly ripened, and meticulously sourced.

The dishes might be a bit on the pricey side, but for the quality you get, I believe it's worth every penny.

SheWolf truly shines when it comes to celebrating special occasions.

The attention to detail and the effort to make every guest feel special is something that sets this place apart.

SheWolf Pastificio & Bar · 438 Selden St, Detroit, MI 48201
★★★★★ · Restaurant

TABLE No. 2 Restaurant

Imagine having a reservation for one and being treated like royalty.

That's how I felt when I dined at TABLE No. 2 Restaurant that's nestled right in the heart of Detroit.

I chose the duck and the Caesar salad - it was nothing less than amazing, a culinary delight that was worth every single penny.

The experience was so substantial that I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone.

On another occasion, I decided to celebrate my anniversary with my partner at TABLE No. 2 Restaurant.

We made our reservations weeks in advance, knowing how popular it had become since it moved from Livernois to downtown Detroit.

As we entered, we found it surprisingly quiet, with just another table occupied.

The one downside was the constant buzzing of little gnats that we had to swat away while trying to enjoy our romantic evening.

The Oyster Rockefeller appetizer was a flavor explosion in our mouth, and the Parker House Rolls were a good accompaniment.

The side dishes - sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes were satisfying.

A peach cobbler marked the end of our meal, although it was more of a berry cobbler and not as enjoyable as we'd hoped.

TABLE No. 2 Restaurant · 1045 Brush St, Detroit, MI 48226
★★★★★ · Fine dining restaurant

Final Thoughts

Having explored a myriad of culinary destinations right in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, I can affirm that our city is truly a gastronomic paradise.

It has been an incredible journey, from the unique Asian-inspired fusion at Takoi to the vibrant flavors of Spanish cuisine at La Feria.

Indeed, Detroit's culinary scene is alive and well, brimming with endless possibilities waiting to be explored.

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