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Antonio's in the Park 15117 Kercheval Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-2433; $$: Known for traditional Italian cuisine, this eatery's menu includes 11 veal entrées, 13 classic pastas and a variety of seafood dishes. If you don't want to fill up on food, venture to their outdoor seating area for 25 to enjoy a glass of red wine on a breezy summer day.
Aut Bar 15 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677; $: In the summer months, historic Kerrytown's Aut Bar spills out onto a quiet courtyard. Functioning as a restaurant and a bar, the second level is 21 and older only. And, since 1986, there's been a popular Sunday brunch (10 a.m-3 p.m.) and, more recently, even a weekday lunch (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). For brunch, Mexican specialties are standouts, including breakfast burritos or huevos motulenos. The Aut Bar caters to the LGBT community and their friends, families, and allies.
Beach Grill 24420 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-771-4455; $$: From burgers and pizza on the spacious lakefront patio to filet mignon in the dining room, from a casual Sunday brunch to a colorful night at the tiki bar, from four draft beers to Dom Perignon, the Beach Grill caters to all. In the coming months, the Beach Grill will feature live music on Fridays and Saturdays — everything from bands to singer-songwriters.
Beirut Palace 105 S. Main St. Royal Oak; 248-399-4600; $: Falafel-heads come year-round for Beirut Palace's fresh raw juices, daily vegetarian soups and specials, and fresh bread, but the palace packs them in during the warm months with their commodious outdoor seating area for 80, where you can have your gherkins and gawking together.
Cafe Luwak 42 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-482-8050; $: A deck in the building rear as well as modest table seating by the storefront are comfortable spots to enjoy a sandwich, coffee or dessert in Ypsilanti's historic Depot Town, but, indoors, the walls decked out with local art are just as welcoming on a rainy day. They have more than 20 different kinds of sandwiches served hot, cold and wrapped, made with meats roasted in-house, veggies or even meat substitutes like tempeh.
Café Zola 112 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; $$: A coffeehouse in the European tradition: a place for gathering, eating and enjoying coffee, espresso, hand-selected teas, and sweet and savory crepes made fresh, one at a time, and served hot and delicious. In true European style, there is outdoor seating on the sidewalk.
Como's 22812 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-5005; $$: Whether it's pizza, pasta, or anything that can conceivably be breaded and deep-fried, this fixture on the corner of Nine Mile and Woodward has been serving it up since 1961. Rain or shine, Como's sheltered outdoor dining area offers a place for al fresco eating and open-air boozing.
Compari's on the Park 350 S. Main St., Plymouth; 734-416-0100; $$: Outdoor dining here tends toward the teeming on a good summer night. Several tables take over a generous portion of the downtown sidewalk during lunch or dinner, shaded beneath white umbrellas. Spring and summer specials are in the works.
Dominick's 812 Monroe St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-5414; $$: Located south of U-M's Ann Arbor campus is a restaurant decked out with a sprawling patio and lots of sangria. Dominick's serves up pizza, pasta, apps and sammiches. A favorite is the chicken quesadilla (which you can never go wrong with) and tomato bruschetta on a toasted baguette. Michigan microbrews are also on tap. Outdoor seating available in three spots: the balcony, the front or the back yard — your choice!
Honest John's Bar and No Grill 488 Selden St., Detroit; 313-832-5646, $: Serving up breakfast till noon on weekdays and till 3 on weekends, Honest John's is sure to keep you going, with Bloody Marys and Ghetto Blaster Ale and a full bar at any time of day. As many as 30 to 40 people can sit outside, complete with Waspinators to keep your eating adventure clean and fun.
Jox 543 N. Main St., Rochester; 248-650-8170; $: If the fancy won't suit your needs, situated right below the Europa Bistro is newly renovated Jox Sports Bar. They have 10 TVs to catch the game on and burgers and appetizers and pizzas (oh my!) for your eating pleasure. If the inside bores you in the summer, Jox has the capacity to fit more than 120 people outside, with an wide selection of domestic beers on tap.
La Dolce Vita 17546 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-865-0331; $$: La Dolce Vita's classic Italian cuisine will have a fresher taste and be lighter for the summertime according to executive chef, Matt Baldridge. Their menu will still include old favorites like classic pastas, chicken, veal and beef, but new to the menu is the stuffed trout, which will be served with chili, a hint of lime and olives. An inviting courtyard awaits behind a wrought-iron fence to offer al fresco dining. Hit the patio Tuesdays for a live DJ or for cocktails during their weekly patio parties that last until 2:30 a.m.
Mitchell's Fish Market 370 N. Adams Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-340-5900; $$: Mitchell's large outdoor dining area complements a large selection of fish (12 varieties at any given time), with menus reprinted over the course of the day to reflect changes in availability and with seafood items detailed as to origin. Summer is the season for soft-shell crab as well as an Alaskan halibut, though there's a short window in early summer when high-quality Copper River salmon from British Columbia will be on offer.
Niki's Pizza 735 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-961-4303; $: Just outside of Greektown, Niki's Pizza offers a full menu of Greek foods, but no doubt, sports fans, concertgoers and casino patrons come from far to enjoy the breeze outside on their newly reconstructed patio as they chow down on good pizza.
Pronto! 608 S. Washington St., Royal Oak; 248-544-7900; $: If you're going to Royal Oak to eat, but you want to avoid the pricey, overcrowded Main Street restaurants, go to Pronto!, where brightly colored walls add to the lively feel of this often bustling restaurant. The sandwich menu is creative and fun. Settle into a sidewalk table and enjoy.
Seva 314 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-1111; $-$$: A few steps above the street, the raised patio offers diners a bit of respite from downtown Ann Arbor's bustle. The eclectic dishes change weekly and range the globe, converting traditional meat-based fare into vegetarian or vegan. They also offer a full bar and juice bar, smoothies and cocktails, with a long wine list.
Shores Inn 23410 Greater Mack, St. Clair Shores, 586-773-8940, $$: Shores Inn specializes in regional and creative American cuisine. Featuring a huge dark wood bar. Enjoy one of more than 150 beers from around the world (ask about their "Hall of Foam"). About 60 diners can fit in their outdoor dining area.
Slows Bar-BQ 2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit, 313-962-9828, $: Featuring a slew of sauces and sandwiches, brews and appetizers, Slows Bar-B-Q has some dynamite baby-back pork ribs. Customers can sit outside and enjoy service surrounded by beautiful decor and live music once summer kicks into gear.
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