Date Night In and Around the “D”


So the holidays are over and you’re back to the grind. Work and school, playdates and basketball games, there doesn’t seem like much time at all to cozy up next to your significant other at the end of the day. I think most people recognize that this often happens when kids come along, but there’s no better time than the present to start scheduling those date nights and making them a recurring appointment. 

Date night doesn’t have to be fancy; Sometimes you just need comfort food or a great beer. When your favorite restaurant books up for Valentine’s Day, why not try one of these Metro Detroit favorites and head out for a date night with your love? In no particular order:

1. Townhouse (Detroit, Birmingham)

Voted “The Best of Detroit” by Hour Magazine, Townhouse has menus that differ by location and by meal (lunch, brunch and dinner). You can’t go wrong with their award-winning burgers or if you’re in the mood for greens, I’d recommend the Power Salad. Yum.

2. Big Rock (Birmingham)

Several friends have recommended Big Rock to me. “The filet is hands down my favorite steak in Metro Detroit, and the service is great. Their wine selection and prices can’t be beat, and they have a cigar and martini bar upstairs that’s fun for a nightcap after dinner. It’s a splurge for sure, but the tasting menu is one of a kind.”

3. Social Kitchen (Birmingham)

Who doesn’t love a great rooftop spot in the middle of summer (so what if it’s mid-winter right now, I’m always thinking sunshine and 75 degrees). Social is a great spot for brunch and the Social Skillet is fantastic – create a custom skillet with your choice of veggies, protein, eggs, compliments, etc. Add a cocktail to make it a true day-date. 

4. Clawson Steak House (Clawson)

Another restaurant voted as “The Best of Detroit” by Hour Magazine, the Clawson Steak House’s menu is what you might consider traditional steak house food: steaks, chops and seafood. Try the Baked French Onion Soup before cutting into that filet.

5. Ronin (Royal Oak)

If you love sushi, you have to try Ronin. The contemporary atmosphere is perfect for a date night and their menu has a great mix of specialty and signature rolls. Be sure to try the Mountain Dew roll – which is also featured on their happy hour menu.

6. One Eyed Betty’s (Ferndale)

If you’re looking for a casual night out filled with craft beer (44+ on tap, 61+ bottles) and fried food, OEB’s is the place to go. You can’t make reservations or call ahead, and it’s guaranteed to be busy on the weekend but it is so worth it. The Pork Belly Cuban is sinful and the side of fries is good enough to eat completely before you even take a bite into your “handwich.”

7. Kruse and Muer (Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Lake Orion, Troy, Clarkston)

A Metro Detroit favorite, Kruse and Muer restaurants are a great choice for any type of date night. Their menus offer a variety ranging from traditional steakhouse entrees (steak, pasta, seafood, etc.) to handmade pizzas and the always-delicious poppyseed bread to match perfectly with your Charley’s Chowder. Kruse and Muer also offers a gluten free menu for those in need of other options.

8. The Meeting House (Rochester)

If you’re looking for a seasonal menu, The Meeting House is a great option. Their dishes are always changing and the presentation is superb. Like the name says, it truly is a great place to meet up for dinner with friends or grab cocktails after dinner.

9. Rock City Eatery (Hamtramck en route to Detroit – Midtown)

Rock City Eatery locally sources most of the ingredients on their menu which means it’s always changing and handmade. Save room for dessert as they’re known for their pies. The chocolate caramel pie comes highly recommended so cross your fingers that it’s on the menu for your next visit.

10. Roma Cafe (Detroit – Eastern Market)

This gem, in the heart of Eastern Market, is Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant, dating back to 1890 (the building was built in 1888!) You can expect authentic Italian food along with decor that will remind you of something you’d see in The Godfather. Be prepared for at least four courses; You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. My personal favorite is the veal parmigiana. 

11. Small Plates (Detroit – Downtown)

One of my favorite places to frequent when downtown for a game or show is Small Plates. The menu has something for every craving and taste and the plates are obviously perfect for sharing. Try new things and chances are you’ll like it enough to want to order it again.

12. Union Street (Detroit – Midtown)

You know a restaurant is true Detroit when it serves a J.L. Hudson Maurice Salad – just one of the many signature dishes they offer. If you’re looking for a casual night out in the D with a wide menu and a lively crowd, this is the spot to hit.

14. J. Baldwin’s (Clinton Twp.)

A local favorite for many reasons, J. Baldwin’s offers a fantastic mix of shareable dishes, seafood, steak & chops and hand-tossed pizzas. A must-have when visiting is the award-winning calamari that is unlike anything you’ve ever had. 

15. Bad Brad’s BBQ (Shelby Twp., New Baltimore)

Hungry for BBQ? Bad Brad’s is the only place we’ll go. You can get your traditional favorites on a platter with delicious sides, or opt for a pizza in their wood-fire oven. I’m not one to often get appetizers before my meal, however, we can’t come here without getting the BBQ chicken nachos. Ahh-mazing!

16. Marine City Fish Company (Marine City)

Gotta show some love to my hometown favorite! According to me (and the Detroit Free Press) MC Fish Co. is worth the drive to along the St. Clair River. They specialize in local fresh fish, homemade pasta, smoked meats & fish (ribs, jerky and salmon), gourmet sandwiches, steak burgers and homemade desserts. This is one of those places where you’ll develop a favorite dish that you want to get every time you go but will still have a hard time deciding because everything that is brought out looks absolutely delicious. 

Do you have a favorite spot in or around Detroit that I missed? I’d love to hear in the comments below — we’re always looking for a new, fun date night spot.

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