From eight to 11 

A short listing of restaurants in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak

$=$5-10; $$=$10-25; $$$=$25-50; $$$$=$50+


Anita's Kitchen 22651 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-0680;; $$: In warm weather, a large, covered outdoor dining area allows outside dining. The bar serves beer, wine, juice, smoothies and wine and craft brews. Salads, veggie-intensive appetizers, pita pizzas, kebabs or shawarma, lamb chops, shanks and kibbeh dazzle the palate. 

Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro 330 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-584-3499;; $$$: Attractive atmosphere, creative menu of Mediterranean dishes influenced by Italian, French, Middle Eastern and Spanish cuisines. Full wine list, sangria and a full bar. Seating for 80 in the courtyard patio in fair weather. Closed Mondays. 

Blue Nile 545 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-547-6699;; $$: At this Ethiopian joint, you get to eat with bread, choosing from two all-you-can-eat choices: four meats and seven vegetables for $17.90, or all-veg for $15.90 (kids eat for half price). In a nod to the West, a full bar. 

Buffalo Wild Wings 280 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-744-4470;; $$: The nation's leading chain sports bar offers its winning formula; see website for dozens of Michigan locations.

Cantina Diablo's 175 W. Troy St.; 248-808-6633;; $$: Our readers went for this purveyor of Tex-Mex cuisine in a big way, voting it the Best Mexican Cuisine in Oakland County. The restaurant offers a blend of stick-to-your-ribs fare and frosty drinks.

Christine's Cuisine 729 E. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-584-3354; $$: A casual, comfortable place to dine, the menu dances from Eastern European into Italy, America, France, and burritoville. Daily house specials.

Como's 22812 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-5005;; $$: Though they do serve pizzas and pastas, Como's is best-known as a lively bar scene, particularly on their commodious tent patio, even on a frigid night.

The Fly Trap 22950 Woodward Ave.; 248-399-5150;; $: You can get a burger and fries, or bacon and eggs, but after that the menu goes in all sorts of interesting directions, including sandwiches with such names as the Pea Patch or the charmoula chicken. Closed Mondays.

French Gourmet 23421 Woodward Ave.; 248-541-1200; $$: Grapevine-wrapped pillars, classical background music and jeweled murals provide the setting, but the prepared-to-order entrées are gems. The pastries are beautiful to behold.

Howe's Bayou 22848 Woodward Ave.; 248-691-7145;; $$: Cajun and Creole food pleases those seeking a bit of Nawlins living. Full bar. Great sweet potato fries and bread pudding.

Inyo Restaurant & Lounge 22871 Woodward Ave.; 248-543-9500;; $$$: Wide-ranging menu, striking presentations, pleasing texture contrasts within a dish and excellent sushi and specialty cocktails. 

Maria's Front Room 215 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-542-7379;; $$: Old-line Italian classics and some new lighter fare. Full liquor license.

MiChigo Pizza 255 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-439-6195;; $$: Chicago-style deep dish pizza even diehard Chicagoans can appreciate. Sumptuous desserts and locally roasted coffee.

Omega Hawg & Dawg Deli 2100 Hilton Rd.; 248-548-5700; $: Minimalist diner decor and "coney" fare. But expect inventive twists, such as a bag of sliders, "chilly dilly" (chili with all the fixings) and all-day breakfast. Cash only.

Pete's Place 1225 Woodward Heights; 248-544-4215;; $$: Peter Mel has transformed a dreary Coney Island into a hip eatery that's open all day. Broadway-themed posters and soundtrack, reasonable prices. Friendly, attentive and knowledgeable waitstaff.

Pinwheel Bakery 220 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-398-8018;; $: It's a cozy neighborhood bakery, but also a gourmet bakery. Pinwheel focuses on mostly simple, made-from-scratch delights. There are a variety of bite-sized cookies sold by the pound and boxed with a ribbon. 

Sakana Sushi Lounge 22914 Woodward Ave.; 248-336-2555;; $$$: Upscale sushi lounge, lush electro-acoustic lounge and raw fish artfully prepared. Good sake selection. 

Star of India 180 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-546-5996; $: Classic Indian menu includes two variations on korma, a creamy, yogurt-based sauce with a mild blend of spices punctuated by yellow raisins and slivers of almonds.

Toast 23144 Woodward Ave.; 248-398-0444; $: Beautiful to look at. Weekday egg-fests include some pretty fancy fixings along with more regular fare, but it gets more lavish on the weekend (think wild mushroom or French omelets and challah French toast).

Torino Espresso + Bar 201 E. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-247-1370;; $$: A modern urban twist on the authentic Italian cafe, with select coffees and espressos, breakfast items, sandwiches, small appetizers. Wine and signature spirits too. Open on 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 6 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. Free WiFi.

Treat Dreams 22965 Woodward Ave.; 248-544-3440;; $: The flavor board in this bakery and micro-creamery offers dairy-based desserts with such flavors as purple yam, potato chips, jalapeño peppers and chicken.

Via Nove 344 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-336-9936;; $$: Upscale Italian fare includes several pasta choices, and dinner comes with crusty focaccia, brushed with butter and dotted with herbs. Full bar has a nice selection of Italian and California wines. An enclosed patio in front. Open 4 p.m.- 2 a.m. Tuesday- Saturday.

Woodward Avenue Brewers 22646 Woodward Ave.; 248-546-3696;; $: Dubbed, "a neighborhood bar with lots of style," the top floor has huge windows overlooking Woodward Avenue. Downstairs has a sidewalk café and lounge with a view of the brewhouse.


Cork Wine Pub 23810 Woodward Ave.; 248-544-2675;; $$: Decorated in an eclectic, contemporary kitsch. The menu showcases about 18 small plates, which range from salads and bar snacks to sandwiches and bigger bites. In wine and spirits, Cork really shines.

Mae's 24060 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-5355;; $$: Open until 4 p.m. every day except Mondays, Mae's menu is naturally focused toward breakfast and sandwiches. The highlight on the breakfast side is aebleskievers, Scandinavian spherical pancakes crossed with a popover.


Al's Famous Deli 32906 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-3663;; $: Local deli for locavores, buying and selling only Michigan-based products, including corned beef, pickles, breads, rolls, chips and more. See for more locations.

Andiamo Royal Oak 129 S. Main St.; 248-582-9300;; $$: Unquestioned master of the Best Italian Chain category in our annual readers' poll, the many iterations of Andiamo's are part of an Italian chain, all right, but they have different styles and menus. In the Royal Oak kitchen, Stephen J. Kuclo Jr. has helped add a few specialties to the menu of old reliables. 

Bastone 419 S. Main St.; 248-544-6250;; $$: Belgian brewpub is unpretentious, quirky and interesting, with fare heavily influenced by Germany and France. 

BD's Mongolian Grill 430 S. Main St.; 248-398-7755;; $$: The idea is a crowd-pleaser: You select the fixings from a buffet, take it to the grillmasters, they cook it, you dine on the fresh, stir-fried results.

Beirut Palace 105 S. Main St.; 248-399-4600;; $: Just across the street from the Main Art Theatre, Beirut makes a great start to a night at the movies. All food is very fresh, and they make a great Turkish coffee.

BlackFinn 530 S. Main St.; 248-542-9466;; $$: Referred to instead as "an American saloon," the sprawling, boisterous lounge has great standards, including steaks, but also hosts a lively singles scene. The 25-bottle wine list has some bargains. 

Cafe Habana 419 S. Main St.; 248-544-6255;; $$: Excellent, reasonably priced Cuban cuisine in a fun, funky-chic setting, along with Latin music and a full bar. Grilled meats dominate platos principales, enhanced by fresh and spicy marinades and sauces.

Cafe Muse 418 S. Washington Ave.; 248-544-4749;; $$: You won't find "omelets" on the menu, as the kitchen has chosen to serve scrambled eggs instead, and ingredients can include truffle oil, Boursin cheese and shredded basil.

Camelia's Mexican Grill 1304 E. 11 Mile Rd.; 248-544-8900;; $$: Mexican food made from fresh ingredients, with a wide gamut of heat levels. Not just tacos, fajitas and burritos, but steaks, sandwiches and even some vegetarian choices.

Cantina Diablo's 100 S. Main St.; 248-543-4300;; $$: Our readers went for this purveyor of Tex-Mex cuisine in a big way, voting it the Best Mexican Cuisine in Oakland County. The restaurant offers a blend of stick-to-your-ribs fare and frosty drinks.

Chicken Shack 1320 E. 11 Mile Rd.; 248-541-5100;; $: Since starting in Royal Oak in 1956, Chicken Shack has been selling "broasted" chicken, pressure cooking birds in their own juices. It's been wildly successful, with 18 locations listed at its website.

Comet Burger 207 S. Main St.; 248-414-4567; $: Quirky decor includes pink vinyl, stainless steel chairs, Formica tabletops and album covers on the walls. The sliders and malts are worth the trip.

D'Amato's 222 S. Sherman Dr.; 248-584-7400;; $$: Neighborhood Italian joint has eclectic and "from scratch" fare. Plenty of beef, chicken and seafood entrées, and 30 glasses and 60 bottles of wine to wash them down. Connected to the Goodnight Gracie martini bar. 

Delmar Family Restaurant 1207 E. 11 Mile Rd.; 248-543-2773; $: Most of the omelets are less than $6, and they're all classics.

Falaffel King 32748 Woodward Ave.; 248-554-9881;; $: Inexpensive Middle Eastern standards served in a plain, tiny storefront that can accommodate 10 diners at the narrow counters along the walls and windows.

Green Lantern Lounge 4326 Rochester Rd.; 248-298-3005;; $: The price structure here and throughout the menu is quite reasonable, and, best of all, they use the pepperoni that curl up into little "grease cups." 

The Inn Place 917 N. Main St.; 248-547-6051;; $$: Neighborhood bar offers a modest menu of classic bar fare. They start serving breakfast and Bloody Marys at 7 a.m. Monday-Saturday, at noon Sundays.

Inn Season Café 500 E. Fourth St.; 248-547-7916;; $$: Fine, organic ingredients have always been this vegan and vegetarian restaurant's hallmark. Serving local, organic, house-made fare that can seemingly accommodate every diet, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, etc.

Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse 111 S. Main St.; 248-591-9900; $$$: Katana offers the fine art of teppanyaki, or grilling. Expect to pay extra for this dinner-and-a-show, or take the booths and tables for those who prefer the bistro and sushi menu.

Leo's Coney Island 110 S. Main St.; 248-336-8093;; $: Chances are that if you're walking out of a bar in metro Detroit, there's a Leo's location within striking distance. They're all classics.

Lily's Seafood 410 S. Washington Ave.; 248-591-5459;; $$: Stunning interior, friendly service and a kitchen that believes homemade is best, down to the house-made root beer, cream soda and four varieties of house-made beer.

Lockhart's BBQ 202 E. Third St.; 248-584-2227;; $$: In Lockhart's stainless-steel open kitchen, they turn out reasonably priced, hefty portions, with appetizers averaging around $8, sandwiches with one side around $9 and barbecue plates with two sides around $13.

Mezza Mediterranean Grille 212 Fifth Ave.; 248-414-7000; $$; Mezza has all the usual classics at bargain prices, and with larger than usual servings.

Motimahal 411 S. Washington Ave.; 248-298-3198; $$: Indian curries get a variety of treatments: biryani, korma, balti, rogan and tandoori, to name a few. Plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, most "mild"or "very mild" kormas. Entrées tend to the rich side (lots of ghee?). Lunch buffet seven days a week.

Monterrey Cantina 312 S. Main St.; 248-545-1940; $$: Young, friendly staff, big portions, colorful setting, serving burritos, quesadillas, tacos and enchiladas and some fun drinks, such as the "Iguana" margarita.

Mr. B's Pub 215 S. Main St.; 248-399-0017;; $$: A mix of restaurant, bar and dance spot, its hearty bar fare embraces zesty apps, burgers, Mexican-style choices, sandwiches, ribs and more.

Mt. Chalet 32955 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-2929; $$: It's both a full-service restaurant with pretensions of culinary respectability and a boisterous watering hole with sports featured round-the-clock on multiple screens.

National Coney Island 1812 N. Main St.; 248-398-6111;; $: Year after year, Metro Times readers name National the best coney chain, and with good reason. You simply can't expand to more than 20 locations without upholding standards of quality. See website for a spot near you, from Clawson to Waterford; many even offer beer and wine.

Noodles & Company 470 S. Main St.; 248-548-7700;; $: Noodles & Company's fast food is made with fresh vegetables and organic tofu. The menu is internationally inspired, and includes specialties from China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and, of course, Italy. See website for numerous locations in southeast Michigan.

Oak City Grille 212 W. Sixth St.; 248-556-0947; $$$: Menu spills over with filet mignon, peppercorn sirloin and pecan-encrusted trout at reasonable prices. Live music most nights.

O'Tooles 205 W. Fifth Ave.; 248-591-9226;; $$: Irish-accented sports bar serves daily entrée specials, house-made soups and, of course, corned beef sandwiches. Decked out with HD plasmas everywhere you look. 

Oxford Inn 1214 S. Main St.; 248-543-5619;; $$$: English-style pub and restaurant serves steaks, seafood, pastas and ribs, along with an extensive wine list. Garden patio beckons in fair weather.

Pasquale's 31555 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-4002;; $$: Try "Brown's special," and it's loaded with cheese, pepperoni, bacon, ham, onions, green peppers, green and black olives, and mushrooms, $12.40 for a small, $15.90 for a medium and $20.20 for a large.

Pizzallica 121 E. 13 Mile Rd.; 248-733-1111;; $$: Self-described as making "platinum-selling pizza," as well as subs and salads, the Pizzallica folks offer take-out and delivery until 3 a.m. most nights, midnight on Sundays.

Pronto! Royal Oak 608 S. Washington Ave.; 248-544-7900;; $: If you want to avoid the pricey, overcrowded Main Street restaurants, go to Pronto. Brightly colored walls, a lively feel, a creative and fun sandwich menu and sidewalk seating in the summertime.

Red Coat Tavern 31542 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-0300; $$: Red Coat offers its famous hearty half-pound hamburger with sides like chicken tenders and onion rings, alongside its signature salad featuring Port-poached pear and a Stilton-hazelnut terrine. The Red Coat has been around for over 40 years and it's the place where the upscale chefs of Royal Oak go after work to get a burger.

The Rock on 3rd 112 E, Third St.; 248-542-7625; $$: American bar fare, from salads to "lava wings" to sandwiches, subs and pasta. Extensive beer selection comprises more than 100 brews that span the globe.

Ronin 326 W. Fourth St.; 248-546-0888;; $$$: In a stylish setting, bandana-clad sushi chefs vigorously chop and slice at the sushi bar turning out first-rate sushi and sashimi, but entrées include fish, fowl and beef. Six beers on tap, including Kirin Ichiban, and a well-stocked sake bar.

Sangria 401 S. Lafayette Ave.; 248-543-1964;; $$: The featured dishes, tapas and paella, require a leisurely schedule. With a pitcher of sangria and a good friend, you have the ingredients for an enjoyable evening.

Tokyo Sushi & Grill 315 S. Center St.; 248-284-0165; $$: Offers more than 100 items just in the "rolls" category. For those who fear the raw, there are plenty of tempura items in the rolls, or the whole roll can be deep-fried. Hot appetizers are also done well.

Tom's Oyster Bar 318 S. Main St.; 248-541-1186;; $$: Right across from the RenCen, noisy and cheerful at lunchtime and after work, Tom's gives a very convincing impression of a well-preserved 19th century pub.

Town Tavern 116 W. Fourth St.; 248-544-7300;; $$: Elegant (mohair booths and bentwood chairs) 21st century bistro. Grazers can easily make a hearty meal of the "bar-plate" appetizers. Bustling, noisy, with a train passing through the heart of downtown Royal Oak a block away now and then.

Tong Thai'd 32166 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-4112; $: Tong Thai'd serves authentic, fine Thai cuisine: spring rolls so good, they often sell out after lunch, Thai flavored beef jerky with sticky rice and a variety of fried rice, noodles and curry dishes. Unreasonably low prices but narrow dinning area. Closed Sundays. 

Vinotecca 417 S. Main St.; 248-544-6256;; $$: Patrons can learn from knowledgeable waiters, and they can relax as much as their party's designated-driver policy will allow. Eclectic wine list is well-balanced among vineyards around the globe. The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. every day.

Vinsetta Grill 28028 Woodward Ave.; 248-543-2626;; $$: Build your own burger of beef, turkey or veggie with a dazzling array of choices. The perfect accompaniment would be the grill's signature French fried sweet potatoes, cooked without trans fats.

What Crêpe? 317 S. Washington Ave.; 248-629-9391;; $: Another crêpe spot? We can dig it. The little French food pocket is a hit because it's all fresh, it cooks in a flash, and it doesn't break the bank. And What Crêpe? has 50 to choose from. 

Woody's Diner 208 W. Fifth Ave., Royal Oak; 248-543-6911;; $$: Part restaurant, part sports bar, part dance venue, the menu has apps, soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, burgers and entrées ranging from beef tips to Hawaiian chicken to tortellini.

Zumba Mexican Grille 121 N. Main St.; 248-542-1400;; $: Modeled after taco stands popular in the Southwest. The entrées are familiar: burritos, tacos, quesadillas and tacons. But you get your choices of meats and toppings as it's built, then eat in or take out.

See any inaccuracies or omissions? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail

More by Michael Jackman

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