1 EUROPA BISTRO
543 N. MAIN ST., ROCHESTER; 248-650-1390. A photograph of the Eiffel Tower substitutes for the real thing at this romantic, lacecurtained spot overlooking Paint Creek. The preferred table is near the fireplace, the quietest corner of Pascal Paviani’s French/Italian restaurant. One prospective groom had the chef bake the ring inside the miniature cream puff that’s part of his fiancée’s favorite dessert, the profiterole.
2 RISTORANTE CAFÉ CORTINA
30715 W. 10 MILE RD., FARMINGTON HILLS; 248-474-3033. There are two special tables in front of the fireplace at this appealing restaurant, and the staff is ready to “do what we can do to make the surprise happen,” says co-proprietor Adrian Tonon. And that includes rose petals strewn on the patio in the glow of the firepit, where some prospective grooms take their ladies for “a breath of air” and the surprise proposal. And that’s regardless of the weather, Tonon says.
3 THE WHITNEY
4421 WOODWARD, DETROIT; 313 832-5700. Each room is named for its original use by the family who once lived there, and two are particularly suited to popping the question. The library and the dining room on the main floor each has secluded romantic corners. The restaurant often suggests that the host pre-order a first course, and then leisurely look over the menu. When the chosen moment arrives, the waiter brings a plate under a silver cloche. Inside, tucked into a tuxedo-folded linen napkin, is the ring. “We don’t suggest putting the ring in a glass of champagne,” says Whitney party planner Suzanne Gormely, who has overseen hundreds of proposals in the Whitney’s 20-year history.
670 LOTHROP, DETROIT; 313-872-5110. Paul Grosz’s intimate French restaurant in a ’20s vintage house has one particular table in an alcove overlooking the garden, table 16, where proposals take place “at least once a month,” says the chef/proprietor. Rings are most often presented with dessert, he says, some in a champagne flute and one that he bakes into a soufflé.
5 COACH INSIGNIA
GM RENAISSANCE CENTER, DETROIT; 313-567-2622. Window tables offering a spectacular view of the city and Windsor abound atop the 71st and 72nd floors of the center tower. But one is especially prized. At table 21, known as “the sunset table,” if the timing is right, the ring can be presented just as the setting sun paints the sky above the Ambassador Bridge.
6 STAR CLIPPER DINNER TRAIN
840 N. PONTIAC TRAIL, WALLED LAKE; 248-960-9440. A private dining room seems the ultimate choice for a proposal, and the 1956 Pennsylvania Railroad cars have them for those who prefer seclusion for the big moment. But not everyone wants to be alone. Couples can participate in the show, which is part of the three-hour trip on Saturday nights. So that’s another option for the very outgoing among us.
330 S. OAKWOOD, DETROIT; 313- 841-0122. Many a ring has been placed in a champagne glass at this hideaway spot tucked into an old Detroit neighborhood. The restaurant seats couples by the fireplace in the Godfather Room or in the wine room. When one gentleman got down on his knee for the proposal, the whole room cheered.
31425 W. 12 MILE RD., FARMINGTON HILLS; 248-848-9393. As you enter the restaurant through its wine room, there are four semi-circular banquettes just to the left that seem to envelop guests in relative privacy. The best is No. 8. Rings have been placed in glasses of champagne and under silver cloches over dessert.
9 COOK’S SHOP
683 OUELLETTE, WINDSOR; 519-254-3377. Lino Catroppa says his is “the most-engaged restaurant in town.” It isn’t just Saturday evenings when proposals take place, but “on a normal Tuesday or Wednesday we could have three, four, or five.” No wonder. Every table seems to have its own corner. There are two special tables, however: 4B and 4K near the wine cellar. Catroppa suggests that the prospective groom order dessert. His arrives as ordered. Hers comes with the ring in place of the chocolate cake. Then, says Catroppa, “tears of joy begin to pour.”
10 CAFE BON HOMME
844 PENNIMAN, PLYMOUTH; 734-453-6260. There’ve probably been some quiet proposals in this hideaway in the heart of Plymouth since Greg Goodman opened it in 1986, but one of the most memorable was the evening the prospective groom excused himself from the table, changed into a tuxedo, and returned to become the waiter serving dessert — and the ring. The bride-to-be didn’t look at the “waiter’s” face at first, but when she did and spotted the diamond, “the whole place vicariously enjoyed it,” says Goodman, who recommends two particular tables, window tables 11 and 31, each one under a soffit that makes the high-ceilinged room more intimate.