City Guide 2024: Where to Eat In and Around Detroit

From laid-back neighborhood joints to fancy lounges and James Beard semifinalists, here’s some of our favorite places to eat in Detroit and its suburbs.
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Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh

First-time visitors: You may have heard of Detroit’s Coney dog (not a chili dog, and a favorite of Anthony Bourdain). Or Detroit-style pizza (for an authentic experience, go to Buddy’s Pizza on East McNichols Road, where Detroit-style pizza was first introduced, and order your pie well done).

When I say these foods are amazing, I mean it. I love grabbing a late-night Coney at Duly’s, American, or Lafayette. And I used to wait tables at the original Buddy’s location. I sincerely love the pizza, the staff, and the magical dining room, virtually unchanged since 1946. Still — I hope to go beyond a surface-level introduction to Detroit dining.

I’ve found when I visit a new city, the best recommendations seem to come out of a conversation with a local. So, I’ve enlisted the help of my co-workers to try to simulate this experience.

Here is a local’s guide to dining in Detroit, courtesy of the Hour Detroit staff and contributors. Remember to tip your servers.

Casual

Michigan & Trumbull Pizza

Pizza

“It’s the best Detroit-style pizza in town, and the small venue has a very nice feel to it. I usually get the Margherita.”

— Andrew Nolan, account executive

Detroit Beer Co.

Vegetarian options

“The service is friendly; they’re inside a historic building and have some historic photo displays of the city. I’ve tried their Beyond Burger and the cauliflower po’boy — both were really good. They also have vegan quinoa tacos and ricotta cheese ravioli for vegetarians.”

— Christina Clark, digital editor

Green Dot Stables

Sliders

“This is the best place to get sliders in Detroit. In fact, it’s just about the only thing you can get here, but the options are endless. A recent menu item was the Fluffer Nutter. Green Dot is dark and old-timey with brick walls and old-fashioned bar chairs. And it’s always crowded — but you can pass the time on their covered outdoor patio, complete with picnic tables and a bar.”

— Kate Walsh, editor

Iggy’s Eggies

Breakfast

“I first stumbled upon Iggy’s after I went to an early-morning shoe drop with my teenage son at the Nike store on Woodward. He was starving, and we needed to eat fast. Not only do Iggy’s breakfast sandwiches hit the spot, but their burgers and fries are among the best I’ve had. It’s also no muss, no fuss. Order at a window, wait, and eat it on the go while you’re exploring the city or sit at a picnic table in nearby Capitol Park.

— KW

Ima/Ima Izakaya

Noodles

“I order the spicy seafood kimchi ramen. Detroit takes its ramen seriously, and this variation lands at the top of my rankings. It’s cozy, hearty comfort food with a spicy kick. Both Ima locations in Detroit have cool décor and are in hip areas of the city — Midtown and Corktown. They’re good jumping-off points for exploring all Detroit has to offer outside of the downtown.”

— Emily Doran, managing editor, Hour Custom Publishing

Rocco’s Italian Deli

Sandwiches

“Simple, delicious Italian cold-cut sandwiches made with fabulous bread and fresh ingredients. I always go with the II Rocco, made with hot soppressata, mortadella, fontina, romaine, spicy red pepper relish, and garlic lemon aioli. Jimmy John’s could never.”

— Jack Thomas, associate editor

Sweetwater Tavern

Wings, Bar Food

“Hands down my favorite spot for wings. Ultracrispy, flavorful, and prepared completely from scratch. The bar is a great place to watch a game, and the restaurant has an old-school, homey atmosphere.”

— JT

Yum Village

Afro-Caribbean

“I love grabbing lunch here. The jollof rice burns so good. The jerk chicken is out of this world, along with the plantains. It’s serverless and cashless — you tap out your order on an iPad. I recommend ordering and paying online about 20 minutes in advance, so your food is ready to go when you get there.”

— JT

Fancy

Mink

Seafood, Tasting Menu, Cozy

“Since they offer a rotating tasting menu, I’ve never had the same dish twice, but they always have an oyster amuse-bouche. They serve you two oysters, one from the West Coast and the other from the East Coast, each prepared in a unique style. It’s a very cozy restaurant, and the bar seating allows you to see everything going on in the kitchen. Chef Rolka always puts together a great menu. Their tinned fish selection is outstanding as well, which a lot of other seafood spots don’t offer.”

— Will Reaume, intern

San Morello

Italian, Dining Events

“One of the best meals I’ve had downtown was at a San Morello VIP event (folks
who subscribe to their newsletter are invited) This was a collaborative dinner with the restaurant (housed in the fantastic Shinola Hotel) and Detroit City Distillery. The food and drinks were exceptional, the setting was magnificent, and my fellow diners/new friends were super fun.”

— KW

Wright & Co.

Small Plates, Cocktails, Great Views

“Take the elevator up to the second floor of the Wright-Kay Building, where you’ll find one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to — anywhere. Snack on elevated dishes that come out fast or try one of their unbeatable cocktails.”

— JT

Fun

Cadieux Cafe

Belgian, Feather Bowling

“The real big draw to this restaurant is the feather bowling lanes. It’s like curling or bocce, but with rocks that resemble giant wheels of cheese. The goal is to get your stones closest to the feather without touching it. You do have to reserve lanes ahead of time, but man, is it so fun. I usually get the Mussels Forte dei Marmi. It’s one of their best-sellers and is a more traditional preparation for mussels. Get those with a side of pommes frites, and you’ll be a happy camper. Just talking about it makes me miss it.”

— Kathryn Dave, graphic designer

Checker Bar

Barcade, Pizza, Burgers

“They’ve been around for over 50 years, so they’re a staple of the city and boast being Detroit’s first arcade bar. Pizza and burgers take center stage. I always sub in veggie on The Checker Burger, with fries — it’s delish.”

— CC

Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizzeria & Deli

Pizza, Bar, Bowling, Music

“Sgt. Pepperoni’s is located inside The Garden Bowl, one of the nation’s oldest bowling alleys. They make a top-tier pizza, and the price is right. There’s also a bar inside. If that’s not enough, it’s connected to two great music venues — upstairs is The Magic Stick (where The White Stripes used to perform), and next door is The Majestic Theatre. Grab some bowling shoes or kick back with a slice and a brew (or a Faygo). — JT

Visit a James Beard Nominee

2024 Semifinalists

Detroit

“The atmosphere is minimalist and hip, and their team is knowledgeable, warm, and welcoming. It consistently serves dishes that are creative, deeply flavorful, and beautifully presented. For me, Selden Standard is the standard for one of the best dining experiences our city has to offer.”

— Michelle Kobernick, contributing writer

In the ‘Burbs

Ann Arbor

Clawson

“There isn’t anything like Sozai in Michigan. Last year, I ate at some of the best restaurants in Japan, and as I enjoyed impeccable and pristine sashimi at a sushi bar in Tokyo and a Michelin-starred kaiseki (multicourse dinner) in Kyoto, I thought how lucky I was to have a place like Sozai back home so I could enjoy the same dishes featuring the best ingredients without traveling halfway around the world.”

— Dorothy Hernandez, contributing writer

Dearborn

Ypsilanti


This story is one piece of our 2024 City Guide, which appeared in the April 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. For the rest, pick up a copy of Hour Detroit at a local retail outlet. Our digital edition will be available on April 5.