Restaurant veteran Molly Abraham noshes around town, tracking down some top spots.
CIAO BELLA /// An all-day menu combines Italian dishes with a few Mexican favorites. Proprietor Lisa Santori uses her mother Modesta’s recipes for pasta and chicken dishes, and they’ll strike a chord with anyone who remembers Ristorante di Modesta, the popular spot that pre-dated Bacco in its space in Southfield. The single room that includes a small bar is nicely accessorized with linens and fresh flowers, and almost everyone on the staff is family. Notable dishes include lasagna made with fresh noodles and meat sauce, baked cannelloni, and fettuccine Bolognese. From the Mexican side, there are street-style open-faced tacos and flautas (pictured at right). Guacamole is made to order, and there are some lovely house-made desserts. 12950 Northline Rd., Southgate; 734-281-4100. L & D Tues.-Sun. $15 Handicapped accessible.
ROCKEFELLERS OYSTER BAR & GRILL /// Oysters have defined the corner of Mack Avenue and Nottingham Road in Grosse Pointe Park for 20-plus years. These days, Rockefellers is upholding the tradition under proprietor Jai-Lee Dearing. The bivalves and a sushi bar share space between the cocktail bar and the two dining rooms. But oysters and sushi are not the whole story. The menu features sandwiches such as burgers and grilled chicken and entrees including fresh fish selections and a couple of steaks. Live music is a plus. 15402 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-626-5000. L & D daily, Br. Sun. $16 Handicapped accessible.