A small college town with the heart and energy of a big city, Ann Arbor, MI has had a great food revolution over the past few years. Whether you’re close to the University campus or wandering around downtown, the following restaurants will undoubtedly set you up for a successful foodie adventure. Check out the 10 best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
As the Ann Arbor locals and University of Michigan students would say, if you’re in their town and haven’t been to Zingerman’s Deli, you simply haven’t lived. Founded in 1982, this traditional Jewish deli inspired restaurant and market sits in a historical building at the corner of Kingsley and Detroit streets. They’ve got everything you would need, from a wall full of delectable loaves of bread alongside award-winning deli meats to the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had. If you’re looking to warm your heart, stomach and dare we say, soul, with a perfectly portioned Reuben sandwich, look no further, for Zingerman’s is your ticket to sweet and savory salvation.
It’s all in the name at Frita Batidos, whose two greatest staples, the Frita (a spicy chorizo burger served between a soft egg bun, topped with French fries) and the Batidos (milkshakes made with fresh fruit) will have your mouth watering and heart longing for more. Committed to the Slow Food movement, this Cuban-inspired and locally sourced restaurant whose menu changes with the seasons, caters to all the senses. Consistently voted one of the 10 Best Burgers in America, any Frita of your choice can be accompanied by a sunny-side-up egg, tropical slaw, avocado spread, cilantro-lime salsa and Muenster cheese.
Named after the Italian word for ‘hand-made,’ Mani Osteria and Bar brings out the most wonderful flavors through creative combinations of ingredients across all dishes. Start off your meal with the pickled tomato and lemon-pepper ricotta and crisp pork belly appetizers. Then, enjoy any of their famous wood fired pizza masterpieces, from the Tartufo (fontina, black truffles, and egg) to the Cippolini (mozzarella, roasted arugula, bacon and balsamic).
The neighboring restaurant and sibling to Mani Osteria, Isalita is Ann Arbor’s beloved tapas-style Mexican cantina. It offers a hip, fun and flavorful adventure, from the mouthwatering truffle guacamole to its prized frozen blood orange margarita. Voted Best New Restaurant by Current Magazine and the Detroit Free Press in 2013 and Best Mexican Food in 2015 by Michigan Daily, Isalita will do everything but disappoint. Enlighten your taste buds with a Baja Fish taco (mahi mahi, chipotle remoulade, avocado, and pickled red cabbage) or a Cubano Quesadilla (chili roast pork, ham, queso, pickle, chipotle mayo, and mustard).
Founded upon the strongest ideals of hospitality, Pacific Rim by Kana provides its guests with a warm and comfortable atmosphere, accompanied by a wide range of pan-Asian cuisine, reflecting Chef Duc’s Asian-American roots. The Chef uses his worldly palate and instinct, creativity and great talent to offer a unique menu of pan-Asian dishes. Come with a loved one and try to enjoy the Japanese style sablefish a buttery flaky whitefish with a subtle miso soy sauce, or a light tuna tartare with taro chips.
Grange Kitchen and Bar is a locally sourced farm to table restaurant with a European flair. The ambiance and décor bring the farm right to you, while the daily changing food and bacon obsessed menu brings you right back to the farm from which they came. Start off with the fried chickpeas and pan roasted chicken before the desserts blow your mind, from lavender panna cotta with poached Bartlett pears, local honey, and bee pollen to the glazed flour-less chocolate cake with concord grape sorbet, candied peanuts, and smoked salt.
Chef and owner Tadashi Nagura, a fun and charismatic man who takes pride in his title as a ramen expert and playfully challenges his competitors at any chance he gets, has opened Ann Arbor’s Slurping Turtle, voted Best New Restaurant by the Michigan Daily in 2015. There’s no doubt the ramen is their key to success, however, the menu also hosts many more staples that keep customers coming back for more. The pork belly bao buns are perfectly soft and pillowy, while the sashimi of all varieties is said to be the best in Ann Arbor. If that wasn’t enough, experience the second half of your meal with yellowtail tacos enveloped in taro taco shells followed by incredibly delicious green tea cream puffs.
Owned and run by Chef Danny Van, a Vietnamese born and French trained chef, Taste Kitchen serves high quality seafood, for which they emphasize the importance of origin and a relationship with those who produce their food. Chef Van is an artist in his field as he puts together a tastefully complex menu of creative and accessible dishes. The menu features a great variety of foods from a Moroccan chicken tagine (with the traditional dried yellow raisins) and couscous to a red snapper with kale, morels, fiddlehead fern fronds, a piquant sauce, and a sorrel vinaigrette.
Opened in 1977 and known to many as the top of Ann Arbor’s classy upscale dining experiences, The Earle hosts a delectable combination of Italian and French fine dining along with live jazz shows between Tuesday and Saturday every week. An absolute must for the Earle is the fresh, juicy and tender duck paired with one of the 1400 varieties of wine. Let the music grace your ears as you enjoy any masterful dish The Earle has to offer.
Zola Bistro will draw you in with its inviting interior and keep you ordering into a late Sunday afternoon with endless amounts of coffee and generously portioned dishes. Brunch, which many people simply describe as out of this world has all of the sweet and savory delights you could ever want or need. If you’re in a savory mood, definitely go for the Turkish eggs or an omelette of your choice with their famous garlic roasted rosemary red skin potatoes, or try something sweet, a crepe or waffle drenched in all of your favorite sauces and toppings.