3401 Riopelle St, Detroit, MI 48207
|Mon - Fri:|
Parking: Street, Valet
Bike Parking: No
Good For Groups: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Cuisines: Fine Dining, Italian, European, Continental, Wine Bars
Alcohol: Full Bar, Wine
Takes Reservations: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Price Range : Average
When I'm asked to name my favorite restaurent my immediate response is "The Roma
Cafe in Detroit MI". And I admit to being in a rut because I always order Veal Piccata and a Roma Salad with anchovies. That main dish, accompanied by a glass (or two) of fine Chianti and crisp warm bread dipped in virgin olive oil makes my day.
I knew about this place my whole life and always wanted to go, but as a kid my parents said it was too expensive (evidently we were actually really poor and I didn't know it). As an adult going downtown I am usually with others that want to go to Bert's, Thomas Magee's or Vivio's. Today I finally put my foot down and insisted my husband and I go (after a little side trip to Bert's) OMG! I am utterly in LOVE with this place!!! The soup and salad dressing are home made (you don't get a choice of dressing, it is the house dressing). Thee minestrone soup was like no other I have ever had. It had firm cabbage pieces in it and a creamy texture to the broth instead of clear. I could have made a meal of that alone! I had the Homemade Paglia & Fieno with Green & white shoe string noodles with prosciutto & peas. SOOOO hearty and delicious! My husband had the Seafood Pasta with shrimp and clams. I tasted his and I really can't determine which was better. I make a lot of pasta dishes and sauces myself and usually don't like the restaurant version. I have to say, I think this was better than my own. AND THE SERVICE!!!! Like a 5 star restaurant! Sam was THE BEST SERVER EVER!
THE FOOD AT ROMA CAFE IS ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. THE WAIT STAFF IS A MIXED BAG. SOME OF THE WAITERS ARE ABSOLUTELY STELLAR, WHICH MAKES FOR A FANTASTIC DINING EXPERIENCE, BUT MOST OF THE OTHERS ACT LIKE THEY ARE DOING YOU A FAVOR BY WAITING ON YOU. A COUPLE OF THEM ARE VERY CONDESCENDING, ESPECIALLY TO WOMEN, AND THEIR DEMEANOR IS ALOOF AND SNOOTY. MENTIONING THIS TO THE MANAGEMENT IS A WASTE OF TIME. THEY ARE UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO ADDRESS THE SITUATION. IT DEFINITELY DISCOURAGES ME FROM GOING THERE TO SIT DOWN AND HAVE A MEAL, SO I NOW GET CARRY-OUT MOST OF THE TIME. HOPEFULLY, THEY READ SOME OF THESE CRITIQUES.
The food is outstanding, just good old fashion Italian cooking. The drinks are a dollar more but its a Great Drink. If they have the Oso Bucco on the menu , It Is A MUST TRY, YOU WONT REGRET IT. A small place but they turn them over so you will always be able to get in. Otherwise, I will definatly go there again, I here the Perch is awsome.
01/02/2009Provided by Citysearch -
I've been to Roma Cafe a few times and have been disappointed each occasion. I've read the other reviews and have to agree that I think the experience is directly related to who you know and how well the staff knows you. Frequent visitors seem to get a great deal of attention, while everyone else suffers through a rough dinner with tight seating. The food is simple but did not impress me as having the homemade, fresh ingredients as promised. This place is old, stodgy and severely overrated. I'd go to Assaigi in Ferndale any day of the week but I'll never go back to this place.
11/08/2008Provided by Citysearch -
I know a lot of people who frequent this establishment who rate it as one of the best italian
restaurants that they go to. I have to say that these people do have good taste but I have
to say my experience there seriously fell short. My girlfriend and I got seated in a cramped
corner next to a big party of people who occupied the attention of our tuxedo clad waiter the
THE GOOD: Old world atmosphere. The bartender was amiable and made a good bloody mary. There were a lot of people there who looked like regulars and they looked like they were getting special treatment.
THE BAD: Seeking to impress my girlfriend at a highly rated Italian restaurant I ending up getting mad instead because the waiter ignored us all night and when our meals arrived (mine being Linguine w/ Clam sauce) the waiter dropped my dish down like he was giving me my prison meal. It was the most unimpressive Linguini I have ever had. It was like someone dumped some butter and a can of clams on it. Someone later told me that maybe that's because what I ordered is more of a northern Italian dish and not sicilian, so I guess I should have ordered something with a red sauce. What I found there is It depends on who you are pretty much. Expect to get treated as special if you ARE special (to them) That's why the reviews are so off balance.
03/15/2008Provided by Citysearch -
I have been coming here for years, as well as my parents before me, as well as my grandparents before my parents.. Jan, the owner, and Dan, the host, are two of the most gracious and polite people you could ever meet. They have a superb way of running a restaurant and interacting with patrons.
Yes, Roma is old, and yes, it is somewhat cramped, but that doesn't count much, what does is the service and food. In 30+ years I have never had a bad meal. Not once! I have never been disatisfied in any way.
If you want quick, fast, and cheap, go to a chain-type fast food joint. If you want to enjoy a meal, come here.
Also, if you tell the staff you are in a hurry and have to go to a game or a show, they make sure that they accomodate you, and make sure you get to your location on time. They never keep you hostage, like another Italian restaurant on Second does- so they can sell you more booze.
The men who park your car are also very polite, and I have never gotten a car back damaged, dinged, or had something missing,
I have brought many friends here for their first time, and they keep coming back as well, and bring their friends. While the food is excellent, the service is even better. There is virtually no changeover in staff.
They have an extremely good way of processing your order, and the waiters are always quick with the drinks. The best part is once they get to know you, some of them don't bother with the menu's or asking if you would like another drink, or more bread, or dessert. They already know!
Jan, keep up the good work. The fact that you are on-site is what makes your place the best. I look forward to my next lunch or dinner!
12/09/2007Provided by Citysearch -
I was really excited about eating there, especially after reading all of the great reviews, however I was very disappointed. We arrived on time only to discover that our reservation had been mistakenly been bumped up by a half hour, not a problem if the host had been sincere in his apologies instead of the shrug he gave us. We were crammed in at a table that was not completely set, they were tossing the bread plates and butter knives down the table, not what I expected at a restaurant with such a good reputation. The menu did offer your garden variety Italian choices and the bread and wine were good. The entrees were average and could be ordered at any local Italian restaurant. After my experience there I have no plans to ever go back or recommend it to any of my friends.
08/27/2006Provided by Citysearch -
I have been coming to this restaurant for 30 years, and I am in my 40's. I have NEVER had a bad meal there. The food is well prepared, plentiful, and served correctly.
The Roma Cafe is always busy. There is a good reason for this- quality service, quality food, a decent price, and the owner is on-site, taking care of business.
Many of the people who work at Roma have been there for ages- there is virtually no turnover, thus making this restaurant very consistent.
I go there at least twice a month - usually more- for both business and with family. The interesting part is that when I take someone there who has never been there, they start to come back on their own, and bring their friends!
02/16/2006Provided by Citysearch -
You step back in time when you go to this place. A 130 year old house with an atmosphere like you are at home. The servers have been there forever and are knowlegable warm and friendly like you were family. And the food! We had the veal for 2 which came with salad, pasta, bread 5 vegs and 4 different veal dishes (parmesean, marsala, tosca and lemon). Tiramisu to die for and coffee rounded out a huge meal which we wound up taking half home. Go to this place and you will leave feeling satisfied on many levels!
12/31/2005Provided by Citysearch -
Excellent food and service. An extensive menu with classic Italian favorites along with flavorful beef, seafood, and poultry selections. Salads are dressed with a very tasty Italian style vinaigrette that must be homemade. Cocktails contain a generous amount of liquor and the espresso with a twist of lemon is just delicious. Although the waiters are clad in tuxedos, day and night, patrons' attire is mixed; both casual and business attire. I only eat at two restaurants in the Detroit metro area. Roma Cafe is one of them!
04/30/2005Provided by Citysearch -
Veal Tosca and a Roma salad and I'm a happy man. I'm getting near 20 yrs in Michigan and always a great meal at Roma's. It may be cramped and noisy at times and there have been some long waits, but the food and the service are always very good. Some of the waiters have been there since I can remember.I think one sign of a good restaurant is when the menu and staff are succesfull for a long time.
03/12/2004Provided by Citysearch -
The Roma meal I had would not qualify it for Best Italian by a long shot. My veal dish was a commercially-prepared veal-like chunk. Reminded me of the ""fused"" chicken at Wendy's. I liked the atmosphere, but would not order an Italian dish were I to go back.