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Best Old-School Italian

Roma Café

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3401 Riopelle St., Detroit; 313-831-5940; romacafe.com

For the last couple decades, the majority of new Italian restaurants have anxiously tried to distinguish themselves from their "inauthentic" older cousins, aka red-sauce joints. You know, the places where most of the dishes have a thick blanket of mozzarella, and where you'll unfailingly find familiar standbys such as chicken Marsala and eggplant Parmesan. We say there's nothing wrong with these old-school restaurants — in fact, they should be celebrated for the hearty hybrid cuisine they offer. Detroit's oldest and best is Roma Café in the Eastern Market. Not only does the place have history and ambience up the ying-yang, their food is rock-solid. In addition to covering the usual classics — pastas, steaks, several preparations of chicken and veal — Roma also offers such items as frog legs, sautéed sweetbreads and escargot for more adventurous diners.

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