Bring on the Heat: Spicy Food in Metro Detroit

By: Aaron Cohen | March 23, 2021

Metro Detroit’s thriving culinary community provides locals with a diverse palette of flavors from all over the world. If you’re looking to up the intensity of your next dining experience, check out this list of some of the best spicy food in the D.

Como’s Pizza

A Ferndale institution for decades – and now with a second location in Bloomfield Hills – Como’s adds a sweet and spicy twist to their classic, Detroit-style pie via the Joshua J; a pepperoni, jalapeno and honey-topped pizza. While honey may seem like an off-kilter addition alongside otherwise standard pizza toppings, its sticky sweetness perfectly complements the buttery crisp of old-school, Detroit-style crust. After trying this slice, your pizza cravings will stem from an entirely different part of your palate – sweet heat.

Touch of India

Located on Maple, just off Woodward, Touch of India packs serious heat with their extensive menu of North Indian staples. Perfect for carryout, the sizable portions are ideal for sharing multiple dishes with the family. For something unique, try the curried goat. While American restaurants rarely feature this variety of protein, it is enjoyed worldwide for its tenderness and ability to absorb the flavors of a hearty sauce – similar to brisket or short ribs. Spice is variable (mild, medium, hot) but be warned, even mild spice can take out the sensitive palates among us. Don’t forget to ask for extra naan.

Redcoat Tavern

Home to traditional American fare and, to many, the best burger in town (on Earth?), few would ever suspect this Woodward Ave. staple to serve up anything with more than a lil’ kick. But those familiar with the unchanging menu know that down and to the left, just below their classic New England clam chowder, resides its bolder, more sophisticated cousin, the Caribbean seafood chowder. It’s creamy and reddish. Almost pink. And there’s definitely a curry thing going on – but this isn’t a burn-your-face-off kind of heat. Rather, it’s complex, thought-provoking and stands alone as a completely unique entity in Detroit’s spicy food scene.

Shin Thai

If you’re looking to punish yourself with chili, look no further than Shin Thai. Located right on the fringe of downtown Royal Oak, the menu covers all the bases for Thai carry-out, but in a modern space that speaks to we-might-as-well-eat-here tendencies. C’mon, admit it…you’ve gone for the pad Thai every single time since college. Perhaps you started there, loved it, and never thought to expand beyond. Maybe you didn’t know where to begin. This time, try the pad see ew. Still noodles, just with a little more soul. The level of heat correlates with the quantity of Thai chili applied to the dish – and the stuff is powerful – so order with care. The result is that good burn you crave, combined with the salty sweetness that will have you wishing you had been ordering it all along.

City Wings

Nothing satisfies the need for spicy food like a bucket of wings doused in flaming lava. New Center’s City Wings has you covered with over a dozen original sauces, all of which can be made extra spicy upon request. For the real-deal heat, go for the K.O. – City’s ultra-hot Buffalo sauce. For something a little more manageable, try the spicy BBQ or Caribbean jerk.

Takoi

One of Corktown’s trendiest restaurants, Takoi is the perfect place to pretend you’re totally fine after downing an entire plate of spicy noodles. Along with an assortment of curries, rice dishes and famous spare ribs, you will also find their unique take on a Nashville classic – the hot chicken sandwich. A fried chicken thigh in house-made Thai chili crisp with kewpie and half-sour cucumbers on a toasted brioche bun — this sandwich will blow your mind and have steam blowing out of your ears.