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Bites Nearby: Assaggi Bistro

Ferndale restaurant's Mediterranean-themed decor and menu offer romantic experience for Valentine's Day.

Assaggi Bistro, 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale, (248) 584-3499  

It's been 10 years since George Gize and Josie Knapp opened which has become one of Ferndale's most appealing restaurants – and certainly a place to think about for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner.  

Starting with one storefront space, the couple took over a second and then added a kitchen garden and a courtyard setting for outdoor dining in suitable weather.    The menu and the earth-toned, art-filled setting reflect a swath of the Mediterranean countries – Lebanon, Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco – but it's not an overly extensive list. It is pared down to dishes that follow the theme. 

There are pastas such as gnocchi and ravioli and such entrees as herb-crusted salmon and marinated lamb chops. A wood-burning oven produces the rounds of bread as well as appetizer pizzas. A well-selected wine list and professional service add to the experience.

Recommended dishes: Mezze plate of taboulee, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, yogurt cheese and roasted beets;  twice-cooked duck legs Moroccan style atop couscous. 

Prices: Sharable appetizers $11-$14, entrees $15-$28

Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, dinner 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday.

 Credit cards: All major.   

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