Annam 22053 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-565-8744; $$: This intimate storefront restaurant serves traditional, high-class Vietnamese cuisine. Expect light traditional dishes served amid spare and elegant decor: wicker chairs, fragrant vanilla candles, white linen and fresh flowers — for Valentine's Day they'll even have red roses. The appetizer sampler plate is good for sharing, and the menu includes bouillabaisse, sautéed chicken, and a pho soup with noodles and beef. Full bar and wine list; reservations by phone; no smoking.
Antonio's in the Park 15117 Kercheval St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-2433; $: This romantic little Italian restaurant has all the Old World charm of a courtyard café in Rome. The menu has pastas, thick, rich soups and to-die-for specials. The atmosphere is so relaxing that slow service would seem like a gift.
Assaggi 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-584-3499; $$$: Assaggi's Mediterranean dishes include wood-fired pizza, antipasti, sea bass and sea scallops with hand-rolled pasta. A full wine list and a full bar are available to accompany your lunch or dinner.
Baker's Keyboard Lounge 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300; $$: The world's oldest jazz club, featuring big band and jazz jam sessions and a great late-night dining menu, with metropolitan Detroit's finest local musicians live every weekend. A perennial winner of our best jazz club categories, if your date likes jazz, you have to take her to Baker's Keyboard Lounge and score one of the horseshoe-shaped booths — just right for two!
Bin 151 1515 Ottawa St., Windsor; 519-977-0112; $$: Cool fusion food & hip place with reasonable prices — some items are expensive but worth every morsel. You can bring your own bottle of wine too! Serving food described as "modern cuisine with a global flair," Bin 151 offers food that makes your taste buds skip. Wheelchair accessible.
Bistro Bordeau 3315 Auburn Rd., Auburn Hills; 248-852-3410; $$: Executive chef Kipp Bourdeau cooks up innovative bistro-style cuisine, including dishes such as crab-and Asiago-crusted whitefish with sautéed spinach and grain mustard vinaigrette as well as maple-and-pecan-cured salmon. The decor is inviting, and the circle-in-a-square dining room offers many opportunities for privacy. No smoking.
Café Cortina 30715 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-474-3033; $$$$: Since Café Cortina was started in 1976, its reputation as a true ristorante has spread. In today's fast-paced environment, this restaurant continues to present the true heart and soul of Italy, but at prices that are more Lamborghini than Fiat.
Café Felix 204 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-8650; $$: Authentic European-style café, serving pastries, breads and cakes baked fresh on-site, as well as European wines, beers and liquors. They serve a full breakfast, omelets, crepes, soups, salads and tapas. No smoking. Handicap accessible.
Coach Insignia 200 Renaissance Center, 62 Floor, Detroit; 313-567-2622; $$$: This eclectic chophouse is the United States' second-highest restaurant and is located at the top of the GM Global Renaissance Center. Coach Insignia features incomparable food, great service and a world-class wine list to accompany a panoramic view of Detroit and our Canadian neighbors. Handicap accessible; dress code: no jeans.
Fiamma Grille 380 S. Main St., Plymouth; 734-416-9340; $$$: Right next door to Compari's on the Park, Fiamma Grille might be for those looking for something grander than hard-line Italian fare. Boasting a sleek and retro-accented ambience, with art on the walls that's better than most, this joint has steaks and seafood dishes to boast about.
Fiddleheads 4313 W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-288-3744; $$: The dining room is lovely and the food is head-and-shoulders above most. And, hey, parking at 13 Mile and Greenfield is no problem. Their "new American" menu puts forward a dozen entrées, including bobwhite quail with apple port stuffing and toasted almond risotto.
Giulio's Cucina Italiana 31735 Plymouth Rd., Livonia; 734-427-9500; $$$: For a romantic mood, try one of the cozy corner booths at this Italian eatery, amid the music and twinkling lights. House specialties include seafood pasta, lamb chops with brandy pepper corn and pasta with crab meat. A special menu gives lovebirds the option of going gluten-free. Plus, on Valentine's Day, the ladies get complimentary flowers.
Little Italy 227 Hutton St., Northville; 248-348-0575; $$$: This Northville spot won staff's choice for Most Romantic Restaurant in our 2007 Best Of issue. With its soft lights, white tablecloths and private alcoves tucked into a Victorian house, Little Italy lends itself to amorous murmurs. Expect slightly uptown takes on Italian classics, with pages of choices for entrées, ranging from eggplant Palmino ($19) to a grand surf-and-turf ($49). Award-winning wine list and excellent desserts, including the heart-shaped "Amore."
Luciano's 39091 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-263-6540; $$: Serving fresh, delicious pastas topped with your favorite sauces, Luciano's follows an Old World Italian tradition that specializes in authentic Italian pasta, specialties, wines and desserts. In the northwest corner of Gar-Pointe Plaza.
Maria's by Artie Oliverio 2080 Walnut Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-851-2500; $$$: Maria's leans toward traditional, heavily sauced Italian dishes, but often with unexpected and welcome touches. Although the complimentary focaccia is filling and the entrées are generously proportioned, it's hard to pass up the distinct and equally hefty appetizers ($6.99-$11.95).
Mon Jin Lau 1515 E. Maple, Troy; 248-689-2332; $$$: Sophisticated but casual chic Asian-deco décor, serving New Asian cuisine that combines the taste of Asia with preparations artfully presented. Great ambience for gourmet Chinese food, with a lively bar for drinks or sushi, as well as cool music and lighting.
Pasticcio Ristorante 854 Erie St. E., Windsor; 519-253-3329; $$: Voted by our readers as the best Italian restaurant in Windsor's Little Italy in 2002, Pasticcio's serves amazing Italian cuisine, with notable seafood pastas. Friendly atmosphere.
Small Plates 1521 Broadway, Detroit; 313-963-0497; 310 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-543-3300; $$: What could be more romantic than nibbling off the same plate? The diminutive dishes run the gamut from hand-cut fries ($4) to pan-seared scallops ($15). And they're so serious about their food, they make almost everything on-site, including the mayo and ketchup. Special Valentine's Day menus at both locations. In Detroit diners can expect their own plates of mandarin shrimp rolls, oysters Rockefeller, a mini-surf-and-turf, chocolate cheesecake and strawberry puree; $75 per person; reservations required; and, yes, sharing allowed.
Tribute 31425 W. 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-848-9393; $$$: Over-the-top detail in both decor and food sets this luxurious restaurant apart from the crowd. Chef Rich Travis commands the crew in the huge, two-sided kitchen on the lower level, below the dramatic Victor Saroki-designed dining room where diners can be assured they are treating themselves to fare that used to be the area's most expensive, but is now just among the best.
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