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  • Alana Robin

The Ultimate Restaurant Guide to Ann Arbor, Michigan

Growing up in a Collegetown, I often get people exclaiming with excitement about how amazing that must of been and asking me if I attended frat parties as a toddler. I did not. What I did do, is grow up with an amazing food scene that far exceed the size and expectations of the town.

The food scene in Ann Arbor is known to have more restaurants per capita than pretty much any city of its size, and the quality of the restaurants does not disappoint in the slightest!

Today's post will be a master list of all my favorite restaurants, by category, from the 18 years I lived in the beautiful city (plus all the trips home since moving)!

Dolores | Umi Sushi | Real Seafood | Paesano's | Evergreen | Seva

Best places to go in Ann Arbor for an amazing brunch...

  • Sava's: They have an amazing brunch menu as well as a $22 buffet that includes smoked salmon, frittatas, and exquisite seasonal items.

  • Northside Grill (aka Diner): Not like just any diner, this place has the most amazing various egg sandwiches. Worth adding to your list for a quick brunch! Be sure to go early to avoid a wait.

  • Fred's: Newer to the restaurant scene, Fred's has all the trendy offerings I have grown accustomed to living in New York City. I love this spot! Great acai bowl with even better decor.

  • Afternoon Delight: Such a classic brunch spot - their omelettes are amazing, but their milkshakes and muffins are even better. Another place where you want to be sure to go early so you don't have too long a wait!

  • Gandy Dancer: If you're having a celebratory brunch, this spot is perfect for an extravagant buffet! We used to go on special occasions, and it is such a wonderful, high-quality brunch buffet. There is even a carving station!

  • Cafe Zola & Zola Bistro: Yumyumyum! I love Zola! They have the most wonderful crepes and lattes as well as a pretty expansive brunch menu. Would highly recommend if you like a french twist on things.

  • Angelo's: Angelo's is an Ann Arbor staple. They have amazing diner style brunch. Just don't try to go in July - the family takes an annual vacation then!

  • The Broken Egg: Another great classic that serves - you guessed it - eggs!

  • Avalon: Pancake's please! This spot has delish options and such a cute atmosphere.

Best places to go in Ann Arbor for a romantic dinner...

  • Tomukun Noodle Bar: This noodle bar is one of my favorite spot in Ann Arbor. They have some amazing elevated ramens and udons that are sure to impress. Perfect for the cold winter months!

  • Aventura: Aventura has great tapas and even better Paella! The paella has these crispy chickpeas that I cannot recommend enough.

  • Gratzi: One of the fancier restaurants in town, this is a great place for a truly romantic, celebratory dinner.

  • Bigalora: Another newer addition to the Ann Arbor restaurant scene, this place is the best. They have these special wood-fired pizzas that are wonderfully unique and the best brussel sprouts in town.

  • Mani Osteria: Opened by a Hotelie (aka someone from my college major at Cornell -whoop whoop), this spot has amazing seafood and even better pizzas! I love getting one of their pizzas with an egg on top. So good.

  • Islaita: Another Hotelie spot in town, this is a great spot for unique Mexican fare with yummy drinks.

  • Real Seafood: Real Seafood is one of the best spots in town for fresh seafood. It is right on Main Street, so perfect for a date night out!

Bigalora | Avalon | Fred's | Gandy Dancer | Zola Bistro | Zingerman's

Best places to go in Ann Arbor for a group dinner...

  • Pizza House: Living in New York now, I miss the midwest, thick crust, extra cheesy pizza so much. Pizza House has the best deep dish pizza ever. You won't regret adding it to your Ann Arbor itinerary!

  • Palio's: One of my favorite spots in town, Palio's has amazing Italian. The also have a rooftop, so it is perfect for the spring and summer months!

  • Cardamom: If you're looking for some authentic Indian dishes, Cardamom has you covered. Their masala is oh-so-good!

  • Evergreen: Chinese food that is so good it hurts. My friend group went here for homecoming dinner our Freshman year of High you know it must be good!

  • Maiz: Just outside of Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti, this spot has the best tacos. On Tuesday they are $2, so grab yourself a taco and frozen marg!

  • Dolores: Another great Mexican spot in Ypsilanti, Dolores has THE BEST street corn!

  • Prickly Pear: Michael Phelps was apparently a big fan of Prickly Pear, and so am I! It is a great spot for Mexican classics in downtown Ann Arbor.

  • Paesano's: Another great Italian restaurant, Paesano's is perfect for large groups.

  • Seva: If you like vegetarian options, Seva has you covered. Their black bean & sweet potato quesadilla is to die for!

  • Sadako: Sushi for two please! Sadako has great sushi at affordable prices. The best part? Sushi comes with miso soup & salad!

  • Jerusalem Garden: YUM. All your middle eastern favorites can be found at Jerusalem Garden, and they possibly have the best lentil soup I have ever tasted.

Best places to go in Ann Arbor for a casual quick bite...

  • Zingerman's Deli: $20 sandwiches seems excessive, until you try these (and realize they last two meals.

  • Frita Batidos: Opened by the chef of one of the fanciest restaurants in Ann Arbor, Frita Batidos will take you right to the beach in Cuba. The Cuban style burgers have fries inside of them, and the decor is beachy-keen!

  • No Thai: This fast casual spot has some amazing thai food! With a few locations around town, it is great for a quick bite.

  • Olga's: Olga's has been a favorite of mine since middle school. They have amazing gyro-style sandwiches and soups.

  • Umi Sushi: Umi always impresses me with their quick service and high-quality food. I love their bento boxes which include an entree, sushi, veggies, dumpling, and rice for just $13.

Best places to go in Ann Arbor for a drink...

  • Bill's Beer Garden: Local beers in a beer garden that are wonderful! There are a bunch of food trucks that service the venue for quick bites while you drink.

  • Grizzly Peak: Local beers on tap!

  • Arbor Brewing Company: Local beers on tap!

  • Jolly Pumpkin: Great rooftop space for easy drinks with friends.

  • Gandy Dancer (Happy Hour): The mango mojito is amazing, and only $6 during happy hour!

I plan to do more detailed reviews of many of the restaurants on this list, so please let me know if there are any you want to see soon!

Did your hometown have a good food scene?


Alana Robin

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