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Detroit Food Writers Reveal Their Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2019

Recapping the best openings of the past 12 months

Bread slices and three spreads in beet pink, orange, and beige colors with sprigs of parsley on top sit on a round dish on a concrete background.
Bread and spreads at Ochre Bakery.
Michelle Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

As is tradition at Eater, we closed out the year by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and publishing their responses throughout the week. Here, we asked for their top new openings of 2019. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts below.

Brenna Houck, Editor, Eater Detroit:

There were so many wonderful casual restaurants that opened in 2019. I’m thinking places like our Restaurant of the Year Saffron De Twah and runners up Yum Village, Balkan House, and Ochre Bakery (So much good bread!). I think Taqueria y Cenaduria Triángulo Dorado, Momo Cha, and Frita Batidos also undeniably fall into this category. Bakeries like Cannelle by Matt Knio also really set a tone for the year. Mink is a late-season heavy hitter with great food.

Dorothy Hernandez, Managing Editor, Model D:

Ochre Bakery, Balkan House, Frita Batidos Detroit (finally!)

Serena Maria Daniels, Founder and Editor, Tostada Magazine:

I fell in love with Taqueria y Cenaduria Triángulo Dorado on West Vernor Highway. I’m noticing that more Mexican restaurants in town are focusing on regional cuisine, which is an exciting trend. Here, their menu is inspired by the food in a section of northern Mexican, so you’ll see a lot high quality steak and Sinaloa sushi, which has already picked up in popularity in other parts of the United States in recent years.

Pretty quickly I realized that Karl’s, helmed by chef Kate Williams, would become a favorite of mine whenever I’m downtown. True to concept, the diner feels like the old-school eateries that used to be popular inside department stores, right down to the delicious, Hudson’s-inspired Barb’s Maurice salad, which is a meal in itself. We’re used to the divey coneys, overpriced fine dining, or the growing number of chains that take up so much space in the downtown restaurant scene. This is a really nice balance.

Melody Baetens, Restaurant Critic, The Detroit News:

Karl’s, Besa, Savant, San Morello, Saffron de Twah, Momo Cha, Como’s, White Wolf, Magnet, and Frita Batidos.

John Reyes, Ann Arbor Contributor, Eater Detroit:

In Ann Arbor, Loomi Cafe’s ever-changing menu filled with tons of spices and flavors always impressed.

Mark Kurlyandchik, Restaurant Critic, Detroit Free Press:

Catch my Best New Restaurants list in February for the rundown.

All Year in Eater Coverage [ED]