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a coney dog, a plastic cup of brown cola, and a plate of french fries
A coney dog and french fries at American Coney Island.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

31 Iconic Dishes to Try in Detroit

Classic and essential meals from across the Motor City

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A coney dog and french fries at American Coney Island.
| Michelle and Chris Gerard

No matter how long a person lives in Detroit, there's always something new to try: another rib restaurant to check out, a new style of pizza, a Lebanese mainstay that’s familiar to some, but an entirely new experience others. The Motor City, in short, is packed with flavor.

Encompassing so many square miles and diverse cultures, it's tough to pair down a list of iconic metro Detroit dishes, but below find a primer on 31 of the most delicious items Detroit has to offer from coneys to pupusas to potato doughnuts.

Undoubtedly there will be disagreement and dishes missed. Drop your notes at the tipline and we'll take them into consideration.

Next Read: An Eater’s Guide to Detroit

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cadieux Cafe: Mussels

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4300 Cadieux Rd
Detroit, MI 48224
(313) 882-8560
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Flemish bar and feather bowling destination Cadieux Cafe serves up European beers with bowls of steaming hot mussels. Select from a choice of white wine and garlic, Cajun-style, or garlic-lemon butter and dill.

2. Rose's Fine Foods: Crybaby

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10551 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 822-2729
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Rose's Fine Foods is a different kind of diner and the pastries here are some of the best in town. Hit the restaurant in the mornings for the fresh, not-too sweet crybaby potato doughnuts often flavored with berries or fruit.

3. Sister Pie: Salted Maple Pie

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8066 Kercheval Ave
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 447-5550
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On its way to becoming a classic, Sister Pie in West Village serves up great pastries using Michigan ingredients. While the flavors rotate monthly and seasonally, the salted maple pie is standard-bearer that tastes great any time of year — especially with a little whipped cream on top.

4. Cutters Bar & Grill

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2638 Orleans St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 393-0960
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This off-the-beaten-path Eastern Market bar doesn’t give its burgers fancy names. Rather, they’re listed by weight — anywhere from 3- to 32-ounces. Patties made from a fresh Saad ground beef are mixed with house seasoning and cooked to juicy perfection on a flat top grill. Top them with anything from blue cheese to pepperoni to habanero peppers.

5. Eastern Market Seafood Co.: Old World Sandwich

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2456 Market St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-8359
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Eastern Market Seafood Co. may focus on aquatic cuisine, but fans love it for the lunch counter’s Old World Sandwiches. Pita pockets are filled with a choice three to five sliced, smoked sausages and mixed with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and onions. It’s an affordable, protein-stuffed meal that’s perfect for fueling a day at in the sheds.

6. Bert's Marketplace: Ribs

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2727 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-2030
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An iconic Eastern Market destination, summer means ribs at Bert’s Market Place. Cooked outside, with the smoke wafting enticingly off the grill, it’s a must-try meat experience.

7. Dilla's Delights: Doughnut

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242 John R St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 346-3771
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Herman Hayes, uncle of the late local hip hop legend J Dilla, paid tribute to his nephew by founding Dilla’s Delights, a small-scale organic doughnut business. Find Uncle Herm’s creations — Aaliyah lemon filled, Brewster’s banana pudding, and beyond — at his pint-sized shop in downtown Detroit’s The Ashley building.

8. Roast: Roast Burger

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1128 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-2500
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Michael Symon's meat-centric restaurant in downtown's Westin Book Cadillac hotel was one of the early entrants into Detroit’s rebounding culinary scene. Try the Roast Burger, a bar menu-only option topped with pickled onions and a fried egg and served on an English muffin.

9. American Coney Island: Coney Dog

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114 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-7758
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In the debate over which coney island is better, American often gets props for its coney dog recipe, which naturally features loose chili sauce, chopped white onions, and mustard with a hot dog on a steamed bun.

10. Lafayette Coney Island: Chili Fries

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118 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 964-8198
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If a single coney at Lafayette doesn't fill you up, the smart thing to do is order a plate of fries topped with the house chili. It's not fancy, but it's a staple in the Detroit diner diet.

11. The Brooklyn Street Local: Breakfast Poutine

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1266 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 262-6547
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Located in spitting distance of Canada, Detroit's food scene offers lots of choices for poutine. Owned by bonafide Canadians, farm-to-table restaurant Brooklyn Street Local serves up one of the best bowls of gravy and cheese curd fries in the city with a vegetarian option and a fried egg on top during breakfast. It's a salty hangover essential.

12. Slows Bar B-Q: Yardbird Sandwich

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2138 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-9828
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An essential stop for barbecue, this Michigan Avenue restaurant’s Yardbird Sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu and it’s not hard to see why. Pulled, smoked chicken is coated in Yardbird sauce and piled onto Zingerman’s bread along with sauteed mushrooms, cheddar, and applewood bacon.

sandwich Slows [Official photo]

13. Mercury Burger & Bar: Hummer Milkshake or Boston Cooler

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2163 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 964-5000
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There are three main drinks that Detroit can claim as hometown inventions and two of them are served at Mercury. The Hummer milkshake is a boozy concoction with Kahlúa and a swirl of fresh whipped cream while the Boston Cooler features a Detroit original — Vernor’s ginger soda — in an ice cream float.

14. Hygrade Deli: Corned Beef Sandwich

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3640 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 894-6620
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Head to Michigan Avenue near Hubbard Street for Hygrade Deli’s iconic Reuben sandwich. A mountain of freshly sliced corned beef is layered between slices of grilled rye with kraut, Thousand Island dressing, and melty swiss cheese. It even comes with a pickle on the side.

A reuben sandwich from hygrade deli sliced in half with about an inch and a half of corned beef between two slices of toasted bread Brenna Houck

15. Mike's Famous Ham Place: Ham Sandwich

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3700 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 894-6922 ext. 8

Detroit has many old and faithful diners serving sliced ham sandwiches, and Mike's Famous is one of the best. The ham is sliced thick and served on a poppy seed roll with pickles, mustard, and maybe a little ham garnish on top.

A large ham sandwich on a bun with poppy seeds. It has a slice of ham on top of the bune and a pile of pickles on the side Brenna Houck

16. Armando's Mexican Restaurant: Botana

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4242 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 554-0666
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While botana is just a generalized word for “snack” in Mexico, in Detroit the word refers to a very specific nacho-like dish. Armando’s botana features corn chips loaded with beans, chorizo, Muenster cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, onions, and jalapenos. For an classic Detroit flaming cheese-meets-Mexicantown moment add an order of queso flameado.

17. Taqueria El Rey: Grilled Chicken

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4730 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 357-3094
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This seemingly always bustling taco shop sets itself apart from the other taquerias and trucks in Southwest with its chicken that's barbecued on an outdoor grill. The bird is lightly seasoned and served with warm tortillas.

18. Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreno

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3149 Livernois
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 899-4020
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This no-frills Salvadoran spot in Southwest Detroit specializes in pupusas, tiny pockets of dough stuffed with a choice of filling (cheese, meat, jalapenos, etc.) and toasted to perfection. Each order comes with a side of curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for just a couple of bucks.

19. Telway Hamburgers: Slider

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6820 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 843-2146

For bonafide sliders and cheap coffee head to Telway, Southwest Detroit's 24/7 burger spot. The burgers at this greasy spoon taste best late at night. Order them by the bag and don’t forget to bring cash.

20. Al-Ameer Restaurant: Stuffed Lamb

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12710 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 582-8185
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The stuffed lamb at this Eater National 38 member restaurant should not be overlooked. Each plate is filled with tender, slow-cooked pieces of lamb topped with slivered almonds or pine nuts over rice. The “stuffed” part is somewhat of a misnomer, but a phenomenal eating experience all the same.

21. Shatila Bakery: Baklava

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14300 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 582-1952
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While Dearborn is scattered with Middle Eastern bakeries, this 40-year-old, large-format pastry destination on Warren offers one of the widest selections of baked goods. The variety can sometimes make choosing a single sweet a challenge, but many customers gravitate towards a house favorite: honey-glazed walnut baklava made with flaky phyllo dough and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

22. Bucharest Grill: Chicken Shawarma

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110 Piquette Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 965-3111
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There's other shawarma and then there's the Bucharest chicken shawarma. The chicken is marinated and grilled on a flat top. Then the whole thing is wrapped in a pita with house garlic sauce, pickle, accompanying veggies, and, of course, french fries.

A box of Bucharest shawarma wrapped in tin foil to-go. Bucharest Grill [Official photo]

23. New Palace Bakery: Paczki

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9833 Joseph Campau Ave
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 875-1334
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There are dozens of places across Hamtramck and the greater Detroit metro area where you can eat paczki on Fat Tuesday, but New Palace Bakery offers the greatest variety of the Polish pastry with fresh flavors added every year. The doughnuts — sometimes frosted or dusted with powdered sugar — are filled with a variety of creams and jellies.

24. Polonia Restaurant: Dill Pickle Soup

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2934 Yemans St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 873-8432
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This lively Polish restaurant in Hamtramck is filled with folk art character and makes a mean dill pickle soup to boot. The sharp dill flavor is complemented by notes of lemon. Order a cup before digging into plates of city chicken and pierogi.

25. Amar Pizza: Ghost Pizza

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12195 Joseph Campau Ave
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 366-0980
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Alongside Hamtramck's Polish restaurants, the city offers a variety of options for Bangladeshi cuisine including a Bangladeshi-influenced takeout pizza shop Amar. Among the tandoori chicken pizzas and dried fish, the extra spicy Ghost pizza topped with chicken, red onion, cilantro, and ghost pepper sauce has gained a serious following.

26. Buddy's Pizza: Detroit-Style Pizza

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17125 Conant St
Detroit, MI 48212
(313) 892-9001
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Buddy's Pizza is an icon that's credited with creating the original Detroit-style square pie. Similar to a Sicilian tomato pizza, the square features a thicker, spongier crust with caramelized cheese edges, toppings, and sauce on top. The Detroiter with brick cheese, parmesan, pepperoni, sauce, and a spice blend is particularly gooey and delicious.

27. Asian Corned Beef: Corned Beef Egg Roll

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13660 Wyoming Ave
Detroit, MI 48238
(313) 834-1819
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Founded by Kim White in the 1970s, this unassuming Detroit carryout deli chain has gone on to inspire numerous imitations of its signature dish: the corned beef egg roll. The fried wonton envelopes come filled with anything from corned beef and melty swiss cheese to steak. They’re are big, hot, and downright affordable for less than $5. An order comes with packets of orange duck sauce. It’s something worth trying at least once.

28. Chef Greg's Soul-N-The Wall: Boogaloo Wonderland

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10009 Curtis St
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 861-0331

When it comes to Detroit sandwiches, few have achieved the legendary status of the Boogaloo Wonderland at Chef Greg’s Soul-N-the Wall: a hoagie topped with beef, tangy red sauce, American cheese, and caramelized onions. This carryout spot’s signature dish pays tribute to an original recipe at the now-shuttered Brothers Bar-B-Q and to the late “Boogie Wonderland” songwriter Allee Willis, who was a big fan of proprietor Greg Beard’s food.

29. Scotty Simpsons Fish & Chips: Fish & Chips

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22200 Fenkell Ave
Detroit, MI 48223
(313) 533-0950
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For more than 60 years Scotty Simpson's has faithfully served the Brightmoor neighborhood big, beautiful plates of fish and chips. The house specialty is the fresh Nova Scotian cod fish and chips plate served with a side of fries, coleslaw, tartar sauce, and a roll.

30. Sweet Potato Sensations: Sweet Potato Pie

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17337 Lahser Rd
Detroit, MI 48219
(313) 532-7996
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Sweet potato ice cream, sweet potato chicken and waffles, sweet potato cookies — Sweet Potato Sensations does it all. But for the true Old Redford neighborhood experience try the sweet potato pie first.

31. Phoenicia: Dry-Rubbed Ribs

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588 S Old Woodward Ave
Birmingham, MI 48009
(248) 644-3122
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It’s known for its high-end Lebanese cuisine, but Phoenicia’s most unexpected and beloved dish is the dry-rubbed pork ribs. The ribs are cooked, marinated, and cooked again under a broiler with a slightly spicy, secret dry-rub mix. While the meat doesn’t fall off the bone, it’s tender and exceptionally flavorful. Sauce is optional. Diners in-the-know will order them "Samy-style" — extra crispy with more dry rub.

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1. Cadieux Cafe: Mussels

4300 Cadieux Rd, Detroit, MI 48224

Flemish bar and feather bowling destination Cadieux Cafe serves up European beers with bowls of steaming hot mussels. Select from a choice of white wine and garlic, Cajun-style, or garlic-lemon butter and dill.

4300 Cadieux Rd
Detroit, MI 48224

2. Rose's Fine Foods: Crybaby

10551 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48214

Rose's Fine Foods is a different kind of diner and the pastries here are some of the best in town. Hit the restaurant in the mornings for the fresh, not-too sweet crybaby potato doughnuts often flavored with berries or fruit.

10551 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48214

3. Sister Pie: Salted Maple Pie

8066 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, MI 48214

On its way to becoming a classic, Sister Pie in West Village serves up great pastries using Michigan ingredients. While the flavors rotate monthly and seasonally, the salted maple pie is standard-bearer that tastes great any time of year — especially with a little whipped cream on top.

8066 Kercheval Ave
Detroit, MI 48214

4. Cutters Bar & Grill

2638 Orleans St, Detroit, MI 48207

This off-the-beaten-path Eastern Market bar doesn’t give its burgers fancy names. Rather, they’re listed by weight — anywhere from 3- to 32-ounces. Patties made from a fresh Saad ground beef are mixed with house seasoning and cooked to juicy perfection on a flat top grill. Top them with anything from blue cheese to pepperoni to habanero peppers.

2638 Orleans St
Detroit, MI 48207

5. Eastern Market Seafood Co.: Old World Sandwich

2456 Market St, Detroit, MI 48207

Eastern Market Seafood Co. may focus on aquatic cuisine, but fans love it for the lunch counter’s Old World Sandwiches. Pita pockets are filled with a choice three to five sliced, smoked sausages and mixed with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and onions. It’s an affordable, protein-stuffed meal that’s perfect for fueling a day at in the sheds.

2456 Market St
Detroit, MI 48207

6. Bert's Marketplace: Ribs

2727 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207

An iconic Eastern Market destination, summer means ribs at Bert’s Market Place. Cooked outside, with the smoke wafting enticingly off the grill, it’s a must-try meat experience.

2727 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207

7. Dilla's Delights: Doughnut

242 John R St, Detroit, MI 48226

Herman Hayes, uncle of the late local hip hop legend J Dilla, paid tribute to his nephew by founding Dilla’s Delights, a small-scale organic doughnut business. Find Uncle Herm’s creations — Aaliyah lemon filled, Brewster’s banana pudding, and beyond — at his pint-sized shop in downtown Detroit’s The Ashley building.

242 John R St
Detroit, MI 48226

8. Roast: Roast Burger

1128 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

Michael Symon's meat-centric restaurant in downtown's Westin Book Cadillac hotel was one of the early entrants into Detroit’s rebounding culinary scene. Try the Roast Burger, a bar menu-only option topped with pickled onions and a fried egg and served on an English muffin.

1128 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

9. American Coney Island: Coney Dog

114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

In the debate over which coney island is better, American often gets props for its coney dog recipe, which naturally features loose chili sauce, chopped white onions, and mustard with a hot dog on a steamed bun.

114 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

10. Lafayette Coney Island: Chili Fries

118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

If a single coney at Lafayette doesn't fill you up, the smart thing to do is order a plate of fries topped with the house chili. It's not fancy, but it's a staple in the Detroit diner diet.

118 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

11. The Brooklyn Street Local: Breakfast Poutine

1266 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Located in spitting distance of Canada, Detroit's food scene offers lots of choices for poutine. Owned by bonafide Canadians, farm-to-table restaurant Brooklyn Street Local serves up one of the best bowls of gravy and cheese curd fries in the city with a vegetarian option and a fried egg on top during breakfast. It's a salty hangover essential.

1266 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

12. Slows Bar B-Q: Yardbird Sandwich

2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
sandwich Slows [Official photo]

An essential stop for barbecue, this Michigan Avenue restaurant’s Yardbird Sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu and it’s not hard to see why. Pulled, smoked chicken is coated in Yardbird sauce and piled onto Zingerman’s bread along with sauteed mushrooms, cheddar, and applewood bacon.

2138 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

13. Mercury Burger & Bar: Hummer Milkshake or Boston Cooler

2163 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216

There are three main drinks that Detroit can claim as hometown inventions and two of them are served at Mercury. The Hummer milkshake is a boozy concoction with Kahlúa and a swirl of fresh whipped cream while the Boston Cooler features a Detroit original — Vernor’s ginger soda — in an ice cream float.

2163 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

14. Hygrade Deli: Corned Beef Sandwich

3640 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
A reuben sandwich from hygrade deli sliced in half with about an inch and a half of corned beef between two slices of toasted bread Brenna Houck

Head to Michigan Avenue near Hubbard Street for Hygrade Deli’s iconic Reuben sandwich. A mountain of freshly sliced corned beef is layered between slices of grilled rye with kraut, Thousand Island dressing, and melty swiss cheese. It even comes with a pickle on the side.

3640 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

15. Mike's Famous Ham Place: Ham Sandwich

3700 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
A large ham sandwich on a bun with poppy seeds. It has a slice of ham on top of the bune and a pile of pickles on the side Brenna Houck

Detroit has many old and faithful diners serving sliced ham sandwiches, and Mike's Famous is one of the best. The ham is sliced thick and served on a poppy seed roll with pickles, mustard, and maybe a little ham garnish on top.

3700 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

Related Maps

16. Armando's Mexican Restaurant: Botana

4242 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

While botana is just a generalized word for “snack” in Mexico, in Detroit the word refers to a very specific nacho-like dish. Armando’s botana features corn chips loaded with beans, chorizo, Muenster cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, onions, and jalapenos. For an classic Detroit flaming cheese-meets-Mexicantown moment add an order of queso flameado.

4242 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

17. Taqueria El Rey: Grilled Chicken

4730 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

This seemingly always bustling taco shop sets itself apart from the other taquerias and trucks in Southwest with its chicken that's barbecued on an outdoor grill. The bird is lightly seasoned and served with warm tortillas.

4730 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

18. Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreno

3149 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48210

This no-frills Salvadoran spot in Southwest Detroit specializes in pupusas, tiny pockets of dough stuffed with a choice of filling (cheese, meat, jalapenos, etc.) and toasted to perfection. Each order comes with a side of curtido (fermented cabbage slaw) for just a couple of bucks.

3149 Livernois
Detroit, MI 48210

19. Telway Hamburgers: Slider

6820 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48210

For bonafide sliders and cheap coffee head to Telway, Southwest Detroit's 24/7 burger spot. The burgers at this greasy spoon taste best late at night. Order them by the bag and don’t forget to bring cash.

6820 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210

20. Al-Ameer Restaurant: Stuffed Lamb

12710 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

The stuffed lamb at this Eater National 38 member restaurant should not be overlooked. Each plate is filled with tender, slow-cooked pieces of lamb topped with slivered almonds or pine nuts over rice. The “stuffed” part is somewhat of a misnomer, but a phenomenal eating experience all the same.

12710 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126

21. Shatila Bakery: Baklava

14300 W Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

While Dearborn is scattered with Middle Eastern bakeries, this 40-year-old, large-format pastry destination on Warren offers one of the widest selections of baked goods. The variety can sometimes make choosing a single sweet a challenge, but many customers gravitate towards a house favorite: honey-glazed walnut baklava made with flaky phyllo dough and sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

14300 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126

22. Bucharest Grill: Chicken Shawarma

110 Piquette Ave, Detroit, MI 48202