The Detroit area’s hottest restaurants in 2019 

click to enlarge Dishes from JINJI Korean Cuisine & Soju Bar at New Seoul Plaza. - DONTAE ROCKYMORE
  • Dontae Rockymore
  • Dishes from JINJI Korean Cuisine & Soju Bar at New Seoul Plaza.

Metro Detroit's dining scene continues to heat up — here are some of the newcomers you need to know.

New Seoul Plaza

27566 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-996-8922; newseoulplaza.com

After a year-long renovation, the Korean-themed New Seoul Plaza opened its doors in late 2018, with three distinct restaurants. Jinji serves up classic Korean comfort food like bibimbap, Daebak has got Korean barbecue, and Myomee trades in inventive, colorful desserts and coffee.

Peso Bar

2547 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-974-6197; pesobardetroit.com

This Mexican bar and restaurant serves tortas, burritos, and more. The bar offers 20 different types of margaritas, as well as cantaritos and other cocktails. We concur with the spot's neon sign: "Make tortas, not war."

San Morello

1400 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-209-4700; sanmorello.com

There are few chefs in town of Andrew Carmellini's caliber, and Detroit's new Shinola Hotel is lucky to have him. His skill is evident in a dish like the black shells puttanesca, with big, sweet pink shrimp and small rings of tender calamari. And his tartufi pizza is one of Detroit's best pies, with a layer of black truffles spread across a blanket of fontina and parmigiano.

Saffron De Twah

636 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; 586-359-6138; saffrondetwah.com

This Moroccan-American restaurant's menu features lamb tagine bowls, hot chicken, and ras el hanout lamb ribs. What started as a carryout and delivery only joint has graduated to a brick-and-mortar space.

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Zao Jun

6608 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Twp.; 248-949-9999; zaojunnewasian.com

With Adachi, chef Lloyd Roberts brought upscale sushi to downtown Birmingham. Some of those dishes are featured at his new restaurant, Zao Jun, but the focus here is on "new Asian" dishes that are busy with complex sauces and flavor profiles — like the green papaya salad, braised short-rib bao buns, and branzino.

Grandma Bob's

2135 Michigan Ave, Detroit; 313-315-3177; grandmabobs.com

This is not your typical pizzeria. Grandma Bob's serves atypical pies like the coney pizza and the taco pizza. Their dough is made from a blend of all-purpose white King Arthur flour, and the bar serves a range of beers and craft cocktails.

Antihero

231 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-307-7383; antiheroferndale.com

There's a lot going on at Antihero, metro Detroit's latest Japanese izakaya. It's hip and swanky, with a menu with small plates and shareable dishes. But make no mistake — this is, at its core, a bar.

Balkan House

3028 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-262-6234

Though focused on Bosnian and Balkan cuisine, the dish at Balkan House that seems to be getting people talking the most is the döner kebab, a sandwich Turkish in origin that is wildly popular in northern European nations. The one served at Balkan House is served in a lepinja, the Balkans' flatbread version of pita.

Mootz Pizzeria and Bar

1230 Library St., Detroit; 1230 Library St., Detroit; 313-243-1230; mootzpizzeria.com

This pizzeria is divided up into two components — a full-service dining room with a bar, and a small counter with slices for carryout. The big, floppy, thin-crust triangle slices are the closest you'll get to New York-style here — and are perfect for soaking up booze after night of drinking at the nearby Belt alleyway.

PAO Detroit

114 W. Adams Ave., Detroit; 313-816-0000; paodetroit.com

A modern experience inspired by classic Asian flavors. Dishes include king crab truffle gnocchi and a 48-hour lamb lollipop. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m Monday through Friday.

Ochre Bakery

4884 Grand River Ave., Detroit; ochrebakery.com

Specializing in small plates and sandwiches, Ochre Bakery is a cute new spot that's perfect for a quick coffee, lunch bite, or a danish. Speaking of danishes, this bakery is one of the only in town with a laminating machine. The machine is able to fold multiple layers of butter within the dough, creating some of the flakiest danishes around.

Table No. 2 Restaurant

18925 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-340-9550; tablenumber2.com

Located on the Avenue of Fashion, this upscale restaurant's menu features Lake Michigan walleye, crab legs, and grilled oysters Rockefeller. On Sundays, the restaurant has a brunch-style buffet for $32.95.

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown

34977 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-671-1714; hrd.kitchen

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown's menu is divided into three sections: Familiar, Well-Traveled, and Trending. Familiar food includes a wedge salad and a Caesar, pot roast, wings, chicken noodle soup, a pork chop, and a hunk of salmon. Well-Traveled goes mostly to Europe and Latin America. The Trending column is largely vegan or vegetarian, with a grain burger, cauliflower steak, and a vegetables-and-couscous bowl.

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Momo Cha

474 Peterboro St., Detroit; 313-462-4973; detroitshippingcompany.com

Located in the Detroit Shipping Company, this dumpling shop is operated by husband and wife Anjani Lama and Louisa Ainsworth. Lama, from Nepal, is the chef behind the place, and Momo Cha serves Nepalese dumplings and snacks. Everything is made from scratch and locally sourced.

Cork and Gabel

2415 Michigan Ave., Corktown; 313-638-2261; corkandgabel.com

Cork and Gabel mixes Italian, Irish, and German cuisine — sometimes the combined in the same dish, like a chopped salad with Black Forest ham, sopressata and Dubliner cheese sticks; or arancini, which are Sicilian, stuffed with beef, lamb, and mashed potatoes, like a shepherd's pie. Portions are hefty. Everything is from scratch except for a couple of breads.

Norma G's

4628 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-290-2938; normagscuisine.com

Late last year, Trinidad-born Lester Gouvia opened the first new sit-down restaurant in this neighborhood in 30 years. The cuisine is Caribbean comfort food with some twists. More than a third of Trinidadians are of Indian heritage, and it shows: Trinidadian street food is represented by "doubles," what Indians would call a samosa. Caribbean staples like jerk chicken and oxtail are featured on the menu.

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