Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top.
- Michigan Bar & Grill, 1140 South Monroe St., Monroe, may lack curb appeal, but it more than makes up for it with spectacular thick prime rib, exquisite desserts, and a relaxing and romantic interior. $$$ 4 stars.
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, 1385 Conant St., Maumee, is healthy fast food (sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, smoothies, and breakfast) in a cheerful decor. It's pricier than the fast-food joints of the last century but worth it for the quality of meat, fruit, vegetables, and breads. This is a smart, contemporary franchise, the only one in the area. $ 4 stars.
In our ratings, the restaurant’s average price is listed in dollar signs ($), from one to four, reflecting a range from inexpensive to expensive.
These ratings are based on the cost per person of an appetizer and entree, a beverage, and tax and tip.
Here is the key:
$ — inexpensive (less than $20).
$$ — moderate ($20 to $30).
$$$ — moderately expensive ($30 to $40).
$$$$ — expensive (more than $40).
- Harbor Inn & Ale, 13993 Laplaisance Rd., Monroe, is the perfect spot for a burger and a beer. But it also has a varied seafood selection — from shrimp and sausage cioppino to bluegill sliders. The onion rings are a can't-miss appetizer or side order. $$ 4 stars.
- Magdalena's Bar and Grill, 1955 West Alexis Rd. is a fine place to go for a drink and a game, but the food is another matter. The lunch taco buffet on Mondays and Tuesdays is solid, and the fajitas have some zing, but some of the other Mexican entrees fall short of expectations. $$ 2 stars.
- China House, 255 Golden Gate Plaza, Maumee, stands out from the common Chinese take-out restaurants that dot area strip malls. Efficient service, great value, and superbly prepared food are just a few reasons to make this your ‘go-to' place for quick meals in Maumee. Particularly worthwhile are the mei fun noodles and hearty budget-friendly lunch specials. $ 3 stars.
- Mac & Tong's Restaurant and Lounge, 4330 W. Central Ave., is a great choice for dinner, not so much for lunch. From duck with orange marmalade to shrimp fettuccine to New York strip steak, you can't go wrong when dining in the evening. Beware of cold dishes and salty sandwiches during the lunch hour. $$$ 4 stars.
- Deet's BBQ, 1385 Conant St., Maumee, just might be the best barbecue joint in Toledo. The ribs are big and meaty, the sauces are simple but tasty, and you can't beat the pulled pork or barbecue chicken on big sturdy buns and the homemade side dishes. The menu isn't vast, but the folks who work at this family-run restaurant are friendly. Be warned, though: the place is small, with seating for only 12, so you might want to carry out. $ 3 stars.
- The Common Grill, 112 South Main St., Chelsea, Mich., is a sublime dining experience. The atmosphere is close to that of a French bistro, and chef Craig Common's creations are inventive without being oddball. The pan-fried walleye in a black walnut crust and the pine-nut crusted scallops are well worth the drive. $$$ 5 stars.
- Caper's Restaurant & Bar, 2038 South Byrne Rd., is a low-key neighborhood place with a wide variety of great pizzas (crusts, bread, and sauces made in the kitchen), pasta dishes, and calzones. The ribs are succulent, and there are burgers, fish and chips, and several oven-baked sandwiches. Check out the warm bread pudding topped with Kahlua, brown sugar, candied walnuts, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. $$ 3 stars.
- Glass City Cafe, 1107 Jackson St., serves tasty diner food that's easy on your wallet. The Glass City burger is one of the many highlights on the menu, as are the meat-lover's omelet and french toast. The cafe also serves as an after-hours dining destination on the weekend. $ 3 stars.
- Bai Du, 26530 Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg, serves Chinese-American food, things like kung pao chicken, orange beef, and won ton soup. There's nothing upscale about it, and Chinese nationals probably wouldn't recognize most of what's on the menu. But hey, there's a time for authenticity and a time for sweet and sour chicken. $$ 3 stars
- Ice Restaurant and Bar, 405 Madison Ave., is an unpretentious upscale dining experience in the shadow of the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo. Live jazz plays on Thursdays, and the restaurant has a warm, friendly vibe. Check out the pan roasted walleye or the salmon and soak in a unique atmosphere that makes your night out feel special. $$ 3 stars
- Oregon Inn on Bayshore, 6067 Bayshore Rd., Oregon, is a homey, off-the-beaten-track roadhouse, 20 minutes from downtown Toledo at the western edge of Maumee Bay State Park. A broad selection — prime rib, Lake Erie perch and walleye, pork loin, frog legs — is well prepared and augmented with home-made soups. $$ 4 stars.
- Manos Greek Restaurant, 1701 Adams St., is one of the many ethnic restaurants in the Toledo area, and this one isn't to be missed. Manos' gyros and spinach pies are first-rate, and it serves everything from lamb shanks to baklava. $$ 4stars.
- Tea Tree Asian Bistro, 4100 Chappel Drive, Perrysburg, can boast a stylish and sophisticated interior along with extraordinary sushi, but some of the appetizers and entrees fell short of the great expectations and comparatively high prices. $$$ 3 stars.
- Zia's Restaurant, 20 Main St., at the Docks, emphasizes the sturdy fare Americans have come to consider Italian cuisine: pastas, cream or tomato sauces, pizzas. But if you look closer, you can find chicken, steaks, and seafood, mostly with creative Italian twists. Service is pleasant and efficient, and desserts are wonderful. $$$ 3 stars.
- Ahmed's Steakhouse, 1923 West Alexis Rd., exudes family atmosphere and warmth. As its name suggests, one of the menu's strengths is the restaurant's steaks, but there are plenty of seafood and chicken offerings, all served with a Middle Eastern twist. $$ 3 stars.
- Spaghetti Warehouse, 42 South Superior St., remains largely unchanged in the 28 years since it opened in a one-time brewery on downtown's south side. That holds nostalgic charm for some; for others, it appears dated. But if you're hankering for hearty pasta in a big place full of stained glass and antiques, and you don't mind a wait staff that encircles patrons with hand-clapping birthday chants, add this family-friendly spot to your list. $$ 3 stars.
- Baldy-Q Rib Shack, 90 Dodge St., Swanton, is on its way to being known as the place to go for ribs. The smoky, fall-off-the-bone ribs, paired with one or more of the house barbecue sauces, makes Baldy-Q a destination place for meat lovers. Don't forget to leave room for the tasty corn cakes. $ 3 stars.
- Sebastiano's Italiano,4448 Heatherdowns Blvd., is simply a delightful little neighborhood place that has an owner with a huge smile and an even bigger talent for re-creating the Tuscan recipes of his mother and grandmother. The Tricolore will make a carnivore forget about meat, and the Mare and Monte offers a great combination of flavors and textures. If veal marsala is on the menu, it's worth every penny. $$ 4 stars.
- Balance Pan-Asian Grille, 541 The Boulevard, Maumee, offers a unique ‘modular' menu that's big on flavor, variety, and value in a cool minimalist bistro. Diners choose one of five proteins, along with one of five carbs and one of the spectacular sauces to customize fresh, healthy meals. $ 4 stars.
- Adam's Place, 2417 West Laskey Rd., is back in the hands of its original owner, serving excellent steak, fish, and ribs along with a fine sampling of desserts at its Wernert's Corners location. With the feel of a big-city neighborhood restaurant, this place is an understated gem. $$ 4 stars.