Readers' Picks - Conspicuous Consumption

Best New Restaurant
Best Restaurant Under $15
Best Restaurant Under $50
Best Caribbean restaurant
Best Local Chef (Robert Campbell)

45580 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton; 734-844-8892
According to the online Rastafarian Dictionary (yes, there is such a thing), the word Irie means positive emotions or feelings, or anything good. And there's no better name for this Caribbean newcomer, which, undeniably, has won itself quite a following.


Best Restaurant to Blow Dough
Seldom Blues

400 Renaissance Center, Detroit; 313-567-7301
Upscale surroundings, rich menu choices and live music make the check worth every penny.


Best place to Dine for kids
Red Robin

18650 Ford Rd., Detroit; 313-996-8910
If the bouncy go-cup set gets too loud, there's sure to be something on the menu to take the edge off.


Best Restaurant with a view
Coach Insignia

100 Renaissance Center, 71st floor, Detroit; 313-567-2622
Perched spectacularly on the upper floors of the Marriott Hotel, the restaurant's unsurpassed view is of considerable value.


Best Restaurant Patio
La Dolce Vita

17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331
Outdoor but ensconced, sunlit but shaded, the al fresco dining at LDV is worth the valet tip.


Best After-Hours Eatery

300 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-5502
You can't argue with a local landmark, and our readers thought it a symphony in stainless steel and striped canvas.


Best Seafood Restaurant
Real Seafood Co.

341 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-5960
Where, amid hip surroundings, the bounty of the deep is served as you like it, blackened, broiled, grilled or Shanghai-style.


Best Mexican Restaurant

3409 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-843-0179
The slightly kitschy Latin American feel has kept "Xochi's" packing them in into the night.


Best Spanish Restaurant
Vicente's Cuban Cuisine

1250 Library St., Detroit; 313-962-8800
In the broad sense of Spanish, that is, Vicente's takes top honors, a downtown joint where music and dancing add spice to its hearty fare.


Best French Restaurant
The Earle Uptown

300 S. Thayer St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-0222
With its unique take on French food, plus its wine choices and impressive dessert menu, our readers picked the Earle as the best place to go Gallic.

Best Italian Restaurant

21400 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-359-3300; see for more locations
The constellation of Italian eateries gets four stars from our readers.


Best Greek Restaurant
Pegasus Taverna

558 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-6800
Named for the mythical horse with wings, it's where waiters flick their Bics and cry "Opa!" until 4 a.m. on weekends.


Best African Restaurant
Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant

221 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-998-4746
545 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-547-6699
No doubt it's the sensual nature of scooping up food with spongy bread that has captivated our readers.


Best Chinese Restaurant
TIE: Mon Jin Lau

1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-689-2332
P.F. Chang's
2801 W Big Beaver Rd Troy; 248-816-8000
In a tie suggesting a delicate balance, our readers favor both the winning Chinese bistro chain and the sophisticated and upbeat Troy eatery.


Best Thai Restaurant
Sala Thai

3400 Russell St., Detroit; 313-831-1302
The ever-expanding Sala Thai chain has met with such success, it's even expanded back into its original Lafayette Plaza storefront.


Best Indian Restaurant

36600 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills; 248-615-7700
This Indian hot spot has fused the subcontinent's various regional cuisines into the fare that's made them our regional winner.


Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
La Shish

22039 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-562-7200; visit for more locations
On the basis of what it has done to introduce the region to Middle Eatern fare alone, not to mention its generous servings, La Shish wins hands-down.


Best Coney Island
Lafayette Coney Island

118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-964-8198
A roll with your dog, after rolling with your dawgs.


Best Polish Restaurant

122 E Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-8767
Eat your heart out, Hamtramck! This Washtenaw County spot rocked our readers like Falco.


Best Sushi Restaurant
Noble Fish

45 E 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, MI (248) 585-2314
This Japanese grocery's eat-in spot wows you with exotic baubles, but the authenticity in each lovingly prepared portion does the job nicely, thank you.


Best Breakfast Restaurant

23144 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-398-0444
That line snaking out the door on weekend mornings doesn't lie.


Best Brunch Buffet
The Gandy Dancer

401 Depot St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-0592
The bar named for dancing on the end of a shovel is where they shovel it in every Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and reservations are recommended.


Best Hangover Brunch
TIE: Atlas

3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-2241
23144 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-398-0444
For those eager to knock back a restoring curative with a nourishing meal, our readers split on the counties, but agreed on Woodward.


Best All-Around Buffet
Best Casino Buffet
MGM Grand Detroit

Relocated to 1777 Third, Detroit; 313-465-1777
Diners always win at the casino buffet, and MGM scored twice with their offerings.


Best Steak House
Ruth's Chris Steak House

755 W. Big Beaver Rd., No. 137, Troy; 248-269-8424; and various locations
With more than 100 steak houses worldwide, the folks at Ruth's Chris must be doing something right.


Best Soul Food Restaurant
TIE: Beans and Cornbread

29508 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-208-1680
Southern Fires Restaurant
6500 Mack Ave., Detroit; 313-571-9398
Metro Detroiters wound up straddling Eight Mile Road with this deliciously down-home tie.


Best Barbeque Restaurant
Slows Bar B Q

2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9828
The slow-and-low cooking combined with the fun-and-funky redesign of a disused Michigan Avenue space give Slows its bragging rights.


Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Inn Season

500 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-547-7916
A soothing environment and fresh, nutritious choices make this off-the-main-drag Royal Oak eatery a best bet.


Best Neighborhood Pizza
Buddy's Pizza (chain)

17125 Conant St., Detroit; 313-892-9001; for more locations visit
Though Buddy's has expanded to nine locations, the neighborhood-joint label fits for those who've had pizza and beers at its original Detroit location.


Best Cheap Pizza
Little Caesar's (chain)

333 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-965-1219;
Pizza, pizza? Really, really? Please, please!


Best Burger Restaurant
Red Coat Tavern

31542 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-0300
Perennial winner of our readers' Best Burger pick, maybe even Paul Revere himself would bite into one of these creations with aplomb.


Best Gourmet Pizza Place
Pizza Papalis

553 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-961-8020; for more locations visit
The pizza purveyors at Papa's have taken the Chicago-style pie and parlayed it into a Detroit legacy. Bravo.


Best Airport Eatery
National Coney Island

2541 Worldgateway Place, No. 830, Romulus; 734-955-1733
If you're being held captive on the ground by airport security, at least you can let your spirit soar with an all-beef frank.


Best Deli
Zingerman's Deli

422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354
The deli that grew into a gastronomic empire still serves up New York-style classics on Detroit Street.


Best Bakery
Avalon International Breads

422 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-832-0008
Years of commitment to bringing fresh-baked fare to our "food desert" have paid off.


Best Desserts
Astoria Pastry Shop

541 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-963-9603
320 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9220
The Monroe Street shop has been boxing up goodies for metro Detroiters since 1971.


Best Tea Room
Karma Tea + Tonics

309 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-548-1424
We though tea rooms were all about pinky fingers and doilies, until we happened by this austerely stylish joint where the hip sip.


Best Chocolate
Gayle's Chocolates

417 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-398-0001
Whether you just want some nut clusters or want elaborate chocolate coffins for Halloween, Gayle's has what it takes.


Best Gelato
Zingerman's Creamery

3723 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor; 734-929-0500
When it comes to this Italian treat, Zingerman's has the category scooped.


Best Ice Cream
Cold Stone Creamery (chain)

540 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-2715; for more locations, visit
With more than a dozen stores in the metro area, and even a presence even in Greektown, Cold Stone knocked the competition out cold.


Best Fresh Juices
La Pita

22681 Newman St., Dearborn; 313-563-7482
West Dearborn's premiere pita shop has won a following since it opened in 1994.


Best Indie Coffee Shop
Bean and Leaf - Sweetwaters Café

123 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2331
407 N. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-622-0084

Though the former Royal Oak location is now under new management (as the Bean and Leaf), the two Ann Arbor shops still satisy.

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