For more than 42 years, Gracie See Pastaria's repertoire of cheese-dripping specialty pizzas and rib-sticking pasta platters has satisfied cravings for flavorful Italian fare. Launch a two-person feast rocket with the Clucker—a flock of wings, buffalo wings, chicken tenders, and miniature tacos—or gather four folks and cram for a popper quiz with a 20-piece study guide of deep-fried broccoli and cheese. Marinara-drenched main courses include pasta options such as healthy whole-wheat mostaccioli and the Godfather plate, with its large extended family of italian sausage, homemade meatballs, and mushrooms. Flattened stacks of pepperoni, sausage, and green pepper litter the Sicilian pie, and the spicy Middle Eastern Explosion shakes hands with halal ingredients, onions, and garlic. Meatless munchers might try the cheese ravioli or split the vegetarian pizza. These Roman repasts may be washed down with a glass of wine, soda, or beer, or enjoyed Italian-style with a quart of olive oil.
At Taqueria La Casita, Mexican dishes arrive hot from the kitchen accompanied by an spread of colorful sauces, from tangy red salsa to creamy guacamole. The restaurant's chefs deploy fiery grills and sizzling pans to create traditional classics using an array of crisp vegetables, tender meats, and flavorful spices. They shower handmade corn quesadillas in crumbled fresh cheese before adding in spicy chicken and pressed pork. The chefs smother steak and chorizo burritos in piquant ranchero sauce, and layer gorditas with marinated roasted pork.
As chefs bustle about the kitchen, diners soak in the vibrant colors of the bright dining room, where multi-hued strings of lights dance along the walls. The warm space is flush with whimsical accents, including bright Mexican paintings and an magical sombrero that gives people the ability to smuggle left-overs out of the restaurant.
Back in the 1950s, Ramond Tejada, Sr. and his dad, Alfred, introduced the town of Taylor to its first taste of Mexican cuisine, serving family-recipe tamales, tacos, and tostadas from a drive-in they called the Matador. Though the original founders are long gone, the family legacy lives on in the restaurant's current incarnation, where the fourth generation of Tejada restaurateurs serve sizzling fajita plates, meaty Texas-style chili, and tapas of mini-tacos and guacamole dip. The menu spans across Mexican and American culinary landscapes, with homey bowls of menudo and breakfasts of chorizo and eggs served alongside beer-battered cod, fried chicken, and 1/3-pound hamburgers. Guests can also revel during weekly special events, such as exhibitions by balloon artist Andrew Grosjean or Monday margarita nights featuring buy-one, get-one half off. Birthday revelers will indulge in shared botana appetizer on their special day along with free fried ice cream if they join the email club.
Thai Diner's culinarians of Southeast Asian cuisine craft a full menu of noodles, rice, and Thai combination dinners at a fast-food speed. Step up to the counter and muffle your appetite's grumbling engine by ordering a sumptuous appetizer of egg rolls ($1.50) or Tom Yum chicken soup ($3) before mouth lassoing a classic noodle dish, such as pad thai ($7.50–$8.50 for lunch; $8.75–$9.75 for dinner), drunken noodles ($7.50–$8.50 for lunch; $8.75–$9.75 for dinner), or pad se ew ($7.50–$8.50 for lunch; $8.75–$9.75 for dinner). Chefs can adjust their creations to guests' desired spice levels on many dishes, including pineapple fried rice ($7.50–$8.50 for lunch; $8.75–$9.75 for dinner) or Gang Gai, a red curry adorned with bamboo shoots, mushrooms, green peppers, and your choice of meat ($7.50–$8.50 for lunch; $8.75–$9.75 for dinner). The Thai Diner seafood combo boasts a sauce-topped consortium of locally purchased ocean delights—including shrimp, squid, scallop, and crab—sharking a naïve team of vegetables in high-stakes Go Fish tournaments ($9.75 for lunch; $12.50 for dinner).
Voted best Thai in Detroit by CityVoters in 2008 and 2009, and now leading CityVoter's 2010 poll, Bangkok 96 offers authentic Thai fare at affordable prices. The restaurant's chef and owner, a native of Laos, provided craft services on the set of Gran Torino, proving Clint Eastwood does not sustain himself by disengaging his jaw and swallowing eggs whole. All of the menu items can be prepared according to a diner's heat tolerance, anywhere from one to four chili peppers' worth of spiciness. The menu also deems both tod mun (minced chicken dressed with Thai curry and cucumber sauce, $5.50) and chicken satay skewers ($7.95) "the most famous Thai dish," setting up a dramatic gustatory rivalry in which your mouth wins.
For more than 30 years, Dimitri’s chefs have crafted comforting American and Greek meals, served in a casual dining room swathed in warm earth tones. Three-egg omelets fold over fresh spinach, bacon, tomatoes, and cheeses during breakfast, while Greek staples such as stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita, and pages from Plato’s Republic keep patrons sated into the evening.