Certain restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out signature dishes really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. Detroit has had much success cultivating great restaurants and creating a substantial market for Seafood. Locals can't get enough of the city's excellent food, and you'll often find them, along with eager tourists, at popular Northern Lakes Seafood Company or at Big Fish, a major player in the field. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about!

Big Fish
A Chuck Muer restaurant, Big Fish offers a trendy setting and one of the area's most attractive steamer and cocktail bars. The fun restaurant, whose modest prices and casual atmosphere help make it a local favorite, features "patio jazz" during warmer months and live entertainment throughout the year (in the lounge). Menu favorites include basil-tinged Salmon of the Angels; Oriental Steamer Basket with salmon, rock shrimp, and mussels; a hearty seafood cassoulet with shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat; and a daily fish special that they'll prepare any way you'd like — baked, blackened, broiled, cedar-planked, or sautéed. (313-336-6350)

Tom's Oyster Bar
For some of the best seafood in the Motor City, head to Tom's, where oysters, lobsters, and steamed mussels have been earning high marks with locals since 1985. A New England experience awaits, complete with quintessential chowder house-style bare wood floors, tin ceilings, dark wood walls, checkered tablecloths, and French doors. A winner of several local awards, Tom's has also garnered recognition from national publications like Esquire and Gourmet. (313-964-4010)

Charley's Crab
The flagship of restaurateur Chuck Muer's fleet, Charley's Crab has been a Detroit-area favorite for more than a quarter of a century. Nautical decor — complete with sea-blue carpeting, smokestack light fixtures à la the Queen Mary, wood-paneled walls littered with seafaring artifacts and oddities, and even a few trees made from coral, shells, and sea urchins — lets you know immediately that you're in for a seafood feast. Indeed, Charley's features Maryland soft-shell crabs, California pink abalone with Mediterranean rice, and a delicious San Francisco-style cioppino — a shellfish stew with mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, and lobster. (248-879-2060)

Mitchell's Fish Market
Open, light-filled, and peppered with yacht-evoking accents, Mitchell's serves fantastic seafood in a polished setting. Fish is flown in daily to ensure freshness, and the effort is much appreciated by diners. They contentedly tuck into ginger-crusted salmon, Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, New Orleans seafood stew, and hoisin-glazed yellowfin. Combination plates give tastebuds a flavor workout, and varying fresh catches can be grilled, broiled, blackened, or given a signature Asian kick. Great raw bar options too. (248-646-3663)

Streetside Seafood
With its neighborly, convivial atmosphere, Streetside has become quite a local presence, and it's rare that you'll not find a crowd in residence. The cozy space boasts a copper bar, textured brick, and fish-themed accents; the menu, along with daily specials, presents delectable dishes whose preparations exhibit global influences. Among them are crawfish bisque, crab cakes, bouillabaisse, shrimp and lobster scampi, and potato-crusted whitefish. A manageable wine list is also available. Good bar scene. (248-645-9123)

Kruse & Muer on Main
Dressed with a pressed-metal ceiling, framed black-and-white art, polished woodwork, and a marble bar, this mainstay in downtown Rochester always treats folks well. While seafood is a favorite — try crab cakes, coconut shrimp, fried walleye, lobster-and-shrimp fettuccine, or parmesan-encrusted whitefish — patrons also count on steaks, chicken, and pizza. You'll find salads and sandwiches as well, and regulars aver that you absolutely can't pass up the fresh-baked bread. (248-652-9400)

Steve & Rocky's
Owned and run by two friends with years of experience in the restaurant industry, Steve & Rocky's knows how to treat customers. Their fun establishment is awash in color and pattern, but it's always comfortable, never overpowering. The place is also punctuated with rooster decorations, the men's chosen symbol. The menu revels in fresh ingredients, crafting them into bouillabaisse, grilled yellowfin tuna, broiled lake trout, and grilled whitefish with sour cream and dill sauce. Poultry, pork, and beef satisfy "alternative" diners. (248-374-0688)

The Hill Seafood & Chop House
Dark woods, subtle lighting, and deep, rich colors give The Hill the feel of an elegant library, and diners find it a perfect escape for superb meals. A fitting appetizer is lobster bisque, splashed with sherry, although seared ahi tuna and calamari are equally delicious. Classic dishes also appear as entrees, as evidenced by surf 'n turf and Dover sole meuniere. Shake up your taste buds, on the other hand, with pan-seared diver scallops enlivened with gorgonzola, walnuts, and a blood orange beurre blanc. A handful of steaks, chops, and light alternatives also appears on the menu. Highly regarded. (313-886-8101)

Northern Lakes Seafood Company
A spacious interior punched up with a gleaming metal ceiling, a curvilinear bar, and spherical light fixtures sets the scene for this appealing hotel restaurant. As the name indicates, seafood is the focus, and there are plenty of fresh options. Start with raw East Coast oysters, bacon-wrapped prawns, or Maine lobster "corn dogs" before diving headfirst into Florida swordfish, Idaho rainbow trout, or Tasmanian salmon. You can have these fresh catches prepared in a variety of ways, or you can opt for a house specialty, such as deconstructed seafood ravioli, a Nobu-influenced tuna duo, or walnut-encrusted whitefish. Chicken, lamb, and steaks can also be had. (248-646-7900)

Maps and Directions

Big Fish 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Dearborn
Cost: $$
Tom's Oyster Bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cost: $$
Charley's Crab 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Troy
Cost: $$$
Mitchell's Fish Market 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Birmingham
Cost: $$
Streetside Seafood 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Birmingham
Cost: $$
Kruse & Muer on Main 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Rochester
Cost: $
Steve & Rocky's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Novi
Cost: $$
The Hill Seafood & Chop House 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American, Seafood, Steakhouse
Neighborhood: Grosse Pointe Farms
Cost: $$
Northern Lakes Seafood Company 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American, Seafood
Neighborhood: Bloomfield Hills
Cost: $$$
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