The term "Mediterranean cuisine" broadly defines the food in the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including Lebanon, the Middle East, and Greece. At Al Makan, the menu appropriately reflects this broadness. Eaters can feast on kabobs, hummus, falafels, and herb-encrusted seafood or sip on fresh juice squeezed from fruit trees that Zeus himself has stepped on. Italy's influence finds its way into the kitchen in the form of the Al Makan pizza, which is topped with shawarma, jalapenos, and feta and mozzarella cheese.
It all started with a single olive tree. The founder of Red Olive Restaurant was sailing down the coast of the Mediterranean with his father many years ago when they spotted it. Like a snowman on the beach, this tree stood out among its surroundings, and offered the two sailors the best olives they'd ever tasted.
Striving to set itself apart in similar fashion, Red Olive Restaurant presents diners with an extensive spread of flavors culled from around the globe?but especially those from Greece. At 10 locations around the Detroit metro area, visitors drop anchor near platters of grape leaves, kebabs, and a wide assortment of salads. They also dig into house specialties, such as moussaka, which features layers of eggplant, ground meat, and parmesan topped with bachamel sauce.
Dooley's Tavern is a sports bar with all the charm of an Irish pub. If you think it doesn't get any better than that, well, it does. There are three Dooley's locations throughout Detroit, meaning the chance to savor a Guinness or a locally brewed Michigan beer is never far away.
But this pub is about more than the pints. The food menu stands on its own with crispy thin-crust pizzas, half-pound burgers, and a wide selection of iconic Irish cuisine. Try the fish and chips or the corned beef sandwich, the latter a layered combination of toasted bread, Grobbel's corned beef, and swiss cheese. Dooley's claims it's the largest of its kind in the world; sadly, the sandwich is always eaten just before an official measurement can be taken.
The walls behind the bar at Republica double as chalkboards, decorated with hand-written beer specials?typically Michigan craft beers, like the Dragonmead IPA. The barkeeps also craft signature cocktails, mixing Hennesy, Ciroc Amaretto, and cranberries, for example, to create an intoxicating elixir known as the French Connection.
The culinary team, meanwhile, complements the pours with gourmet bar food, such as sliders, lamb chops with mint jelly, and vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. At in-house events, the chefs also show patrons the techniques behind the dishes, showcasing butchering strategies and other fundamentals, like differentiating a burger patty from an actual person named Patty.
Tim Castañeda's culinary education began at his family's dinner table. Nourished by the fresh salsas and flavorful meats, Tim developed a deep appreciation for and understanding of the traditional flavors of Mexican cuisine. After cooking in his family's restaurants during his youth, Tim continued to perfect his recipes and spice blends in Mexican eateries throughout the country. He brings his years of experience to Zumba Mexican Grille, where he whips up freshly made tacos, burritos, and quesadillas reminiscent of the authentic dishes of his childhood.
Named for the Spanish slang word for "energy," Zumba bustles with color and zest—from its shiny stainless-steel counters and rainbows of wooden chairs to the skirt steak, red-chili pork, and fresh vegetables sizzling on its grills. When customers walk in, their first step is to pick meats, toppings, and black, pinto, or magic beans. Then the servers behind the counter begin building Mexican specialties—including the burritos, named the city's best by Real Detroit Weekly. After receiving their orders, guests stroll over to the fresh salsa bar, where six different housemade varieties in various spice levels await them.
Every guest who steps into Kalamata Greek Grill smells it—the warm, comforting aroma of freshly baked pita bread. Made from a closely guarded recipe—the one thing Caesar saved before burning down the Library of Alexandria—pitas serve as the foundation of Kalamata's made-to-order Greek cuisine. Chefs line the pocketed bread in full view of customers, stuffing it with ingredients such as steamy gyro meat and each guest’s choice of toppings. They can also make house-style pitas, such as the Greek Cowboy, which includes green pepper, red onion, and greek barbecue sauce. The dining room invites patrons to relax under its latticework ceiling, and the patio offers alfresco seating. Kalamata's combination of fresh Greek food and a welcoming atmosphere—plus its enthusiasm for helping out with fundraisers—has won it Best Greek Restaurant from 2009 to 2012 in WDIV's Vote 4 The Best awards.