Amici's Pizza and Living Room 3249 W. 12 Mile Rd.; 248-544-4100; amicispizza.com; $$: Pizza crust made with bran? Biodegradable dishes and soy candles? No TV? Gluten-free beer? Even a couple of organic vodkas? Amici's manages both to be virtuous and to pull it off without a hint of self-righteousness. It is a bar, after all. Open daily at 4 p.m.
Bagger Dave's 2972 Coolidge Hwy.; 248-543-3283; $$: Bagger Dave's is more a full-service restaurant than its fast-food competitors, even if the burgers, fries and sandwiches are often delivered to the table wrapped in paper bags. Affordable bottled beer and wine by the pour, sophisticated jazz playlist and woodsy Up-North interior.
The Berkley Front 3087 W. 12 Mile Rd.; 248-547-3331; $: Patrons can choose to enjoy the Old World charm, laid-back style and great beer selection downstairs or to chill out in the '50s-style lounge upstairs, where live music plays every weekend. Open 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Monday-Tuesday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays, noon-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m.-midnight Sundays.
Berkley Bistro & Cafe 1999 Coolidge Rd.; 248-691-4333; $$: On Sundays, long past noon, customers are asking for coffee refills as they mop up the last of their four-egg omelets made with Italian sausage, sausage gravy, or chili and cheddar cheese, or French toast stuffed with strawberries and mango-infused cream cheese.
Blarney Stone Pub 27253 Woodward Ave.; 248-541-1881; $: The Blarney Stone's everyday menu is all-American pub grub, with familiar deep-fat fried items, "pizza dip," and a five-slider plate. Plenty of beers either on tap or bottled.
Hogger's 2959 W. 12 Mile Rd.; 248-548-2400; $$: Good food, fresh ingredients, affordable lunch specials, community-oriented management, friendly staff. Orders to go.
Margarita's Mexican Restaurant 27861 Woodward Ave.; 248-547-5050; $$: Located right smack in the middle of the Woodward corridor, Margarita's serves authentic Mexican cuisine that's heavy on the veggies and true to its roots.
Mr. Kabob 3372 Coolidge Hwy.; 248-545-4000; $: Located inside a Sunoco station at the corner of 12 Mile and Coolidge, you hardly expect the restaurant-quality cuisine you'll find here. Fourteen entrées average around $7 for lunch and $10 for dinner. Open daily 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Mazza Indian Cuisine 3354 W. 12 Mile Rd.; 248-541-2119; mazzaindiancuisine.com; $$: In the heart of Berkley, Mazza serves contemporary Indian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.
O'Mara's Irish Restaurant 2555 W. 12 Mile Rd.; 248-399-6750; omaras.net; $$: Traditional Irish fare, such as succulent shepherd's pie, as well as good renditions of classic American food in a welcoming atmosphere.
Panini Press 28983 Woodward Ave.; 248-547-7377; thepaninipress.com; $: Small, mostly takeout place with eight small tables and free Wi-Fi. White, multi-grain and gluten-free panini, as well as roll-up wraps and lettuce wraps. Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sundays.
Anita's Kitchen 22651 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-0680; anitaskitchenonline.com; $$: 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; assaggibistro.com; $$$: Attractive atmosphere, creative menu of Mediterranean dishes influenced by Italian, French, Middle Eastern and Spanish cuisines. Full wine list, sangria and a full bar. Seating for 80 in the courtyard patio in fair weather. Closed Mondays.
Blue Nile 545 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-547-6699; bluenilemi.com; $$: 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.
Christine's Cuisine 729 E. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-584-3354; $$: A casual, comfortable place to dine, whose menu dances from Eastern European into Italy, America, France, and burritoville. Daily house specials.
Club Bart 22726 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-8746; $$: Club Bart's normal breakfast menu is extensive enough with 13 omelets and 10 pancakes or waffles. But for the hip weekend breakfast crowd, there's a tantalizing array of specials. Add in the liquor license and you have it made.
Como's 22812 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-5005; $$: Though they do serve pizzas and pastas, Como's is best-known as a lively bar scene, particularly on their commodious tent patio, even on a frigid night.
The Fly Trap 22950 Woodward Ave.; 248-399-5150; theflytrapferndale.com; $: You can get a burger and fries, or bacon and eggs, but after that the menu goes in all sorts of interesting directions, including sandwiches with such names as the Pea Patch or the charmoula chicken. Closed Mondays.
French Gourmet 23421 Woodward Ave.; 248-541-1200; $$: 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; howesbayouferndale.net; $$: Cajun and Creole food pleases those seeking a bit of Nawlins living. Full bar. Great sweet potato fries and bread pudding.
Inyo Restaurant & Lounge 22871 Woodward Ave.; 248-543-9500; inyorestaurant.com; $$$: Wide-ranging menu, striking presentations, pleasing texture contrasts within a dish and excellent sushi and specialty cocktails.
Josephine Creperie and Bistro 241 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-399-1366; $$: Co-owners Jeanine Henson and Bob Zagar work the floor themselves, resulting in professional, knowledgeable, caring service, serving a short menu of French or French-inspired dishes. Call for hours.
Maria's Front Room 215 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-542-7379; mariasfrontroom.com; $$: Old-line Italian classics and some new lighter fare. Full liquor license.
MiChigo Pizza 255 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-439-6195; michigopizza.com; $$: Chicago-style deep dish pizza even diehard Chicagoans can appreciate. Sumptuous desserts and locally roasted coffee.
Omega Hawg & Dawg Deli 2100 Hilton Rd.; 248-548-5700; $: Minimalist diner decor and "coney" fare. But expect inventive twists, such as a bag of sliders, "chilly dilly" (chili with all the fixings) and all-day breakfast. Cash only.
Pete's Place 1225 Woodward Heights; 248-544-4215; petesbroadwaycafe.com; $$: 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; pinwheelbakery.com; $: 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; sakanasushilounge.com; $$$: Upscale sushi lounge, lush electro-acoustic lounge and raw fish artfully prepared. Good sake selection.
Star of India 180 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-546-5996; $: Classic Indian menu includes two variations on korma, a creamy, yogurt-based sauce with a mild blend of spices punctuated by yellow raisins and slivers of almonds.
Strawberry Moon Bakery 301 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-544-3141; $: Kid-friendly bakery uses organic flour from Owosso, selling not only baguettes and other loaves, but cookies, pastries, rolls, muffins and pizza.
Toast 23144 Woodward Ave.; 248-398-0444; $: Beautiful to look at. Weekday egg-fests include some pretty fancy fixings along with more regular fare, but it gets more lavish on the weekend (think wild mushroom or French omelets and challah French toast).
Via Nove 344 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-336-9936; vianoverestaurant.com; $$: 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; thewabsite.com; $: 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; corkwinepub.com; $$: Decorated in an eclectic, contemporary kitsch. The menu showcases about 18 small plates, which range from salads and bar snacks to sandwiches and bigger bites. In wine and spirits, Cork really shines.
Mae's 24060 Woodward Ave.; 248-548-5355; maesdetroit.com; $$: 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; alsfamousdeli.com; $: Local deli for locavores, buying and selling only Michigan-based products, including corned beef, pickles, breads, rolls, chips and more. See breadbasketdelis.com for more locations.
Andiamo 129 S. Main St.; 248-582-9300; andiamoitalia.com; $$: Unquestioned master of the Best Italian Chain category in our annual readers' poll, the many iterations of Andiamo's are part of an Italian chain, all right, but they have different styles and menus. In the Royal Oak kitchen, Stephen J. Kuclo Jr. has helped add a few specialties to the menu of old reliables.
Bastone 419 S. Main St.; 248-544-6250; bastone.net; $$: Belgian brewpub is unpretentious, quirky and interesting, with fare heavily influenced by Germany and France.
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; blackfinnroyaloak.com; $$: Referred to instead as "an American saloon," the sprawling, boisterous lounge has great standards, including steaks, but also hosts a lively singles scene. The 25-bottle wine list has some bargains.
Cafe Habana 419 S. Main St.; 248-544-6255; cafehabanas.com; $$: 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; cafemuseroyaloak.com; $$: You won't find "omelets" on the menu, as the kitchen has chosen to serve scrambled eggs instead, and ingredients can include truffle oil, Boursin cheese and shredded basil.
Chicken Shack 1320 E. 11 Mile Rd.; 248-541-5100; chickenshack.com; $: Since starting in Royal Oak in 1956, Chicken Shack has been selling "broasted" chicken, pressure cooking birds in their own juices. It's been wildly successful, with 18 locations listed at its website.
Comet Burger 207 S. Main St.; 248-414-4567; $: Quirky decor includes pink vinyl, stainless steel chairs, Formica tabletops and album covers on the walls. The sliders and malts are worth the trip.
D'Amato's 222 S. Sherman Dr.; 248-584-7400; damatos.com; $$: 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; falaffelking.com; $: 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; greenlanternlounge.com; $: 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."
Inn Season Café 500 E. Fourth St.; 248-547-7916; theinnseasoncafe.com; $$: Fine, organic ingredients have always been this vegetarian restaurant's hallmark, but the health food nature of the cooking has been eclipsed; now you are eating vegetarian haute cuisine.
Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse 111 S. Main St.; 248-591-9900; $$$: 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; leosconeyisland.com; $: 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; lilysseafood.com; $$: Stunning interior, friendly service and a kitchen that believes homemade is best, down to the house-made root beer, cream soda and four varieties of house-made beer.
Lockhart's BBQ 202 E. Third St.; 248-584-2227; lockhartsbbq.com; $$: 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.
Moti Mahal 411 S. Washington Ave.; 248-298-3198; motimahalroyaloak.com; $$: Plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, most "mild"or "very mild" kormas. Entrées tend to the rich side (lots of ghee?), adding warmth to sag muttar paneer — peas and spinach with firm cubes of Indian farmer cheese, quite buttery tasting. Affordable buffets; call for details.
Memphis Smoke 100 S. Main St.; 248-543-4300; $$: Memphis Smoke offers more than juicy ribs and pulled pork po' boys — it also plays a gracious host to many of the area's best blues acts.
Mezza Mediterranean Grille 212 Fifth Ave.; 248-414-7000; mezzagrille.com $$; Mezza has all the usual classics at bargain prices, and with larger than usual servings.
Motimahal 411 S. Washington Ave.; 248-298-3198; $$: Indian curries get a variety of treatments: biryani, korma, balti, rogan and tandoori, to name a few. Lunch buffet for $7.95 seven days a week.
Monterrey Cantina 312 S. Main St.; 248-545-1940; $$: Young, friendly staff, big portions, colorful setting, serving burritos, quesadillas, tacos and enchiladas and some fun drinks, such as the "Iguana" margarita.
Mt. Chalet 32955 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-2929; $$: 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.
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.
Oak City Grille 212 W. Sixth St.; 248-556-0947; oakcitygrille.com $$$: Menu spills over with filet mignon, peppercorn sirloin and pecan-encrusted trout at reasonable prices. Live music most nights.
Pasquale's 31555 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-4002; pasqualesrestaurant.com; $$: 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; pizzallica.com; $$: Self-described as making "platinum-selling pizza," as well as subs and salads, the Pizzallica folks offer take-out and delivery until 3 a.m. most nights, midnight on Sundays.
Pizza Paesano 415 S. Washington Ave.; 248-547-2751; $: Open late for Royal Oak hanger-outers, Pizza Paesano serves more than pies, including marvelous gyros, calzones, a spinach pie and a spicy meat pie.
Pronto! Royal Oak 608 S. Washington Ave.; 248-544-7900; $: If you want to avoid the pricey, overcrowded Main Street restaurants, go to Pronto. Brightly colored walls, a lively feel, a creative and fun sandwich menu and sidewalk seating in the summertime.
Red Coat Tavern 31542 Woodward Ave.; 248-549-0300; $$: 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.
Ronin 326 W. Fourth St.; 248-546-0888; roninsushi.com; $$$: In a stylish setting, bandana-clad sushi chefs vigorously chop and slice at the sushi bar turning out first-rate sushi and sashimi, but entrées include fish, fowl and beef. Six beers on tap, including Kirin Ichiban, and a well-stocked sake bar.
Sangria 401 S. Lafayette Ave.; 248-543-1964; sangriaroyaloak.com; $$: 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; $$: Offers more than 100 items just in the "rolls" category. For those who fear the raw, there are plenty of tempura items in the rolls, or the whole roll can be deep-fried. Hot appetizers are also done well.
Town Tavern 116 W. Fourth St.; 248-544-7300; towntavernroyaloak.com; $$: 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; $: Even if you dislike the alliteration in the name, you've got to love the food. 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; vinotecca.com; $$: Patrons can learn from knowledgeable waiters, and they can relax as much as their party's designated-driver policy will allow. Eclectic wine list is well-balanced among vineyards around the globe. The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. every day.
Vinsetta Grill 28028 Woodward Ave.; 248-543-2626; vinsettagrill.com; $$: 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; whatcrepe.com; $: 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.
Zumba Mexican Grille 121 N. Main St.; 248-542-1400; zumbagrille.com; $: 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.
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