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Take a Culinary Trip Around the World Without Leaving Ferndale

Be transported to a place near or far at a restaurant representing Poland, Peru, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Vietnam, or more

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It’s no secret that Ferndale, that progressive suburb just north of Detroit, is a hotbed for food and nightlife.

With more than 50 bars and restaurants in downtown alone, Ferndale thriving dining scene makes it hard to decide. Even with familiar cuisines, it can be trial and error.

If the pandemic has you missing travel to places near or far, you can be transported to Peru or Poland, El Salvador or Ethiopia, without veering too far from Woodward.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Lebanon: Anita's Kitchen

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The flagship, full-service Anita’s Kitchen in Ferndale features traditional Lebanese recipes, Michigan craft cocktails and beers, raw juices and smoothies, and patio dining. Start with an appetizer of hummus, baba ghannouge, falafel, or with lentil soup. The menu includes chicken and beef shawarma, gyros, and lamb burgers.

Ukraine and Poland: Christine's Cuisine

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At first glance at the menu, it might be hard to map the food, a mix of modern regional dishes centered by eastern European comfort food. Specialties include pierogies, potato pancakes, and kapusta. For breakfast, there’s a wonderful selection of omelets from around the world.

Louisiana USA: Howe's Bayou

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For a taste of the bayou, try a New Orleans’ traditional po’ boy sandwich (shrimp, fried oyster, voodoo chicken, catfish), with a bowl of gumbo ya ya or shrimp bisque. If you’re up for something heavier, go for jambalaya or the red beans and rice with andouille sandwich. Finish things off with bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

India: Star Of India

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Star of India has served dishes from both the northern and southern parts of the country since 1980. The mixed appetizer sampler is a best bet and popular with customers: think two samosas, four eggplant pakoras, four onion bhajees, and a papadam. Other standouts include the Indian classics butter chicken, palak paneer, chicken tikka masala, aloo matar gobi, which all should be accompanied by the cheese naan.

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Vietnam: Got Pho?

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Got Pho? made its debut in the middle of the pandemic. Yet it’s building up a solid clientele with its food, which can be easily ordered for carryout or through DoorDash. This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup comes spicy or with a choice of protein (beef, tofu, chicken, shrimp, pork, or imitation crab) perfect for slurping.

Japan: Inyo Restaurant & Lounge

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Inyo Restaurant and Lounge is known for its fresh sushi, sashimi, and Asian-fusion cuisine but it’s also a standout for its creative cocktails and cook factor. On the weekends, dim sum brunch has traditional bites served with mojitos, mimosas, and bloody marys. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and in 2021, there’s a new menu of cocktails featuring Roku Japanese gin.

Peru: Culantro

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Culantro is an herb native to Central and South America, but also is what Peruvians call cilantro, which is featured in many of the dishes at this family-owned casual restaurant. The ceviche, a South American dish that originated in Peru,is fresh here and the raw fish is  cured in the citrus acids of fresh limes and garnished with onions, lettuce, peppers and spices, and accompanied by Peruvian corn and sweet potatoes. The rotisserie  chicken is the star of the show and as juicy and flavorful as any you might find south of the border.. Finish the meal with maracuya juice or an Inca Cola, Peru’s favorite pop.

Thailand: Bangkok Cafe

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Long a jewel of Ferndale, Bangkok Cafe is consistently excellent and their prices have remained reasonable and the service stellar. The menu is lengthy but is classic Thai: curries, pad cashew, pad thai, fried rice, rice noodles, served with a choice of beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, crabmeat, or scallop. Mind your spice level. Entrees are enough to serve two.

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Bosnia: Balkan House Ferndale

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Balkan House is known for Eastern European dishes, specifically the Balkans-style döner kebab, made with the owner’s recipe for lepinja bread and stuffed with shaved lamb or chicken, purple cabbage, and a special döner sauce.   Reflecting on its Bosnian roots, Balkan House is a halal restaurant and doesn’t serve alcohol, so complete the meal with Turkish coffee and baklava.

A close up of a döner sandwich with veggies and meat stuffed in a pocket of soft white bread and drenched with creamy white sauce. Brenna Houck

Italy and France: Assaggi Bistro

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The food at Assaggi Bistro is a mix of Rustic Italian, and country French with a hint of Lebanese. The menu includes pasta, flatbread pizza, and veal, duck, and chicken entrees, with menu changes based on seasonal ingredients. Customer favorites include the rigatoni Bolognese, which is flavored with hearty meat sauce, bechamel, and parmesan, and the chicken Francese, seasoned with Parmesan, orecchiette with eggplant, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and lemon beurre blanc.

Ethiopia: Blue Nile

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with dishes eaten by hand, shared with others who eat from the same plate, and scooped up with injera. Try Doro Wat, Ethiopia’s most famous cultural dish. The chicken is gently simmered in niter kibbe herbed butter, berbere sauce, and onions. Or the atalkilt wat, a dish of potatoes, carrots and green beans, cooked with onions, garlic, jalapenos and spices. Service is currently limited to delivery and carryout.

Injera bread on a metal platter with a green salad at the center and different types of lentils, greens, and saucy curries around the sides. Blue Nile [Official photo]

Chinese America: Wing's Gardens

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Even before the pandemic, Wing’s Garden was a popular spot for takeout. This bustling restaurant, just across the Ferndale border, is typical of old-school Chinese-American restaurants: the menu is extensive; service is fairly fast; and combo plates come with an entree, choice of fried rice and an egg or spring roll. Portions are large and sizable enough for parties of two or four. Entrees are flavorful enough that you may skip the extra soy sauce.

El Salvador: Buena Fe Restaurant

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Right across the border in Oak Park, this family-owned Salvadoran / Mexican restaurant offers the best cheap eats you’d find in El Salvador in Mexican. This means $2.50 for pupusas (cheese and pumpkin, locoro and cheese) or $2.50 for tamales de pollo. There’s also Salvadoran breakfast with plantains and eggs.

Lebanon: Anita's Kitchen

The flagship, full-service Anita’s Kitchen in Ferndale features traditional Lebanese recipes, Michigan craft cocktails and beers, raw juices and smoothies, and patio dining. Start with an appetizer of hummus, baba ghannouge, falafel, or with lentil soup. The menu includes chicken and beef shawarma, gyros, and lamb burgers.

Ukraine and Poland: Christine's Cuisine

At first glance at the menu, it might be hard to map the food, a mix of modern regional dishes centered by eastern European comfort food. Specialties include pierogies, potato pancakes, and kapusta. For breakfast, there’s a wonderful selection of omelets from around the world.

Louisiana USA: Howe's Bayou

For a taste of the bayou, try a New Orleans’ traditional po’ boy sandwich (shrimp, fried oyster, voodoo chicken, catfish), with a bowl of gumbo ya ya or shrimp bisque. If you’re up for something heavier, go for jambalaya or the red beans and rice with andouille sandwich. Finish things off with bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

India: Star Of India

The flag of India Shutterstock

Star of India has served dishes from both the northern and southern parts of the country since 1980. The mixed appetizer sampler is a best bet and popular with customers: think two samosas, four eggplant pakoras, four onion bhajees, and a papadam. Other standouts include the Indian classics butter chicken, palak paneer, chicken tikka masala, aloo matar gobi, which all should be accompanied by the cheese naan.

The flag of India Shutterstock

Vietnam: Got Pho?

Got Pho? made its debut in the middle of the pandemic. Yet it’s building up a solid clientele with its food, which can be easily ordered for carryout or through DoorDash. This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup comes spicy or with a choice of protein (beef, tofu, chicken, shrimp, pork, or imitation crab) perfect for slurping.

Japan: Inyo Restaurant & Lounge

Inyo Restaurant and Lounge is known for its fresh sushi, sashimi, and Asian-fusion cuisine but it’s also a standout for its creative cocktails and cook factor. On the weekends, dim sum brunch has traditional bites served with mojitos, mimosas, and bloody marys. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and in 2021, there’s a new menu of cocktails featuring Roku Japanese gin.

Peru: Culantro

Culantro is an herb native to Central and South America, but also is what Peruvians call cilantro, which is featured in many of the dishes at this family-owned casual restaurant. The ceviche, a South American dish that originated in Peru,is fresh here and the raw fish is  cured in the citrus acids of fresh limes and garnished with onions, lettuce, peppers and spices, and accompanied by Peruvian corn and sweet potatoes. The rotisserie  chicken is the star of the show and as juicy and flavorful as any you might find south of the border.. Finish the meal with maracuya juice or an Inca Cola, Peru’s favorite pop.

Thailand: Bangkok Cafe

Shutterstock

Long a jewel of Ferndale, Bangkok Cafe is consistently excellent and their prices have remained reasonable and the service stellar. The menu is lengthy but is classic Thai: curries, pad cashew, pad thai, fried rice, rice noodles, served with a choice of beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, crabmeat, or scallop. Mind your spice level. Entrees are enough to serve two.

Shutterstock

Bosnia: Balkan House Ferndale

A close up of a döner sandwich with veggies and meat stuffed in a pocket of soft white bread and drenched with creamy white sauce. Brenna Houck

Balkan House is known for Eastern European dishes, specifically the Balkans-style döner kebab, made with the owner’s recipe for lepinja bread and stuffed with shaved lamb or chicken, purple cabbage, and a special döner sauce.   Reflecting on its Bosnian roots, Balkan House is a halal restaurant and doesn’t serve alcohol, so complete the meal with Turkish coffee and baklava.

A close up of a döner sandwich with veggies and meat stuffed in a pocket of soft white bread and drenched with creamy white sauce. Brenna Houck

Italy and France: Assaggi Bistro

The food at Assaggi Bistro is a mix of Rustic Italian, and country French with a hint of Lebanese. The menu includes pasta, flatbread pizza, and veal, duck, and chicken entrees, with menu changes based on seasonal ingredients. Customer favorites include the rigatoni Bolognese, which is flavored with hearty meat sauce, bechamel, and parmesan, and the chicken Francese, seasoned with Parmesan, orecchiette with eggplant, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and lemon beurre blanc.

Ethiopia: Blue Nile

Injera bread on a metal platter with a green salad at the center and different types of lentils, greens, and saucy curries around the sides. Blue Nile [Official photo]

with dishes eaten by hand, shared with others who eat from the same plate, and scooped up with injera. Try Doro Wat, Ethiopia’s most famous cultural dish. The chicken is gently simmered in niter kibbe herbed butter, berbere sauce, and onions. Or the atalkilt wat, a dish of potatoes, carrots and green beans, cooked with onions, garlic, jalapenos and spices. Service is currently limited to delivery and carryout.

Injera bread on a metal platter with a green salad at the center and different types of lentils, greens, and saucy curries around the sides. Blue Nile [Official photo]

Chinese America: Wing's Gardens

Even before the pandemic, Wing’s Garden was a popular spot for takeout. This bustling restaurant, just across the Ferndale border, is typical of old-school Chinese-American restaurants: the menu is extensive; service is fairly fast; and combo plates come with an entree, choice of fried rice and an egg or spring roll. Portions are large and sizable enough for parties of two or four. Entrees are flavorful enough that you may skip the extra soy sauce.

El Salvador: Buena Fe Restaurant

Right across the border in Oak Park, this family-owned Salvadoran / Mexican restaurant offers the best cheap eats you’d find in El Salvador in Mexican. This means $2.50 for pupusas (cheese and pumpkin, locoro and cheese) or $2.50 for tamales de pollo. There’s also Salvadoran breakfast with plantains and eggs.

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