OT-Best and Worst Restaurants in Ann Arbor?

Submitted by Transatlantic Flight on June 30th, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Recently I was convinced to eat at Zingerman's Roadhouse after many a friend told me "how it has unbeatable barbecue". Sadly, this was far from the truth. While I maintain a strict love of Zingerman's Deli, I was disappointed by the quality of food and service at the roadhouse.

By contrast, I also recently tried the Arbor Brewing Company for the first time and was incredibly impressed. What are you best and worst restauranting experiences in AA?

Comments

blueheron

June 30th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

Possibly somewhat out-of-date...

I've had two good outings at Eve.  On a lower level, I also like Exotic Bakery and Cafe (Syrian) just off North Campus.

While I'm here, I have to (sorry) complain about how stale Ann Arbor is with its restaurants.  It would be nice to see new places pop up more often.  I'd definitely like to see some of the Main Street Ventures places turn over.  Some of them are just a notch above Applebee's.

Vapour

June 30th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

Exotic bakery has some of the best cakes in Ann Arbor.  They did our wedding cake years ago and it was really well priced.  I think the wife is French and makes the pastries and the Syrian husband does the hot food.

James Burrill Angell

June 30th, 2010 at 5:59 PM ^

But outside of that there have been some good additions in recent years.

Blue Tractor is really really good (I would rate just a step behind Slows in Detroit but not that big of a step) plus they brew their own beer.

I've heard great things about Grange which is the new restaurant that replaced Bella Ciao.

Had two or three good meals at Melange on Main St (think its been there about 3 yrs) and Pacific Rim has really been solid for a few years since the second generation of that family took it over and really redid it.

Eve was a nice addition a few years ago (what has it been four or five now)

Got one other sleeper since its off campus out on Washtenaw. Paesano's is really quite good.

On the bad side, aside from the staleness of places like Palio and Real Seafood, had two really really bad meals at Vinology (plus they're owned by Sparties)

James Burrill Angell

June 30th, 2010 at 11:03 PM ^

The owner is Kristen Jonna of the illustrious Jonna family (either her cousins or brothers who own the Plum Markets in AA, W.B. and B.H.) and she owns both the one in Ann Arbor and its sister restaurant Vinotecca in Royal Oak. Beal may own the building but Kristen owns the business. See the links http://www.vinotecca.com/press.html and http://www.dbusiness.com/DBusiness/November-December-2009/The-Merchant-of-Vinotecca-mdash-Kristin-Jonna/

those.who.stay.

June 30th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

I went to Prickly Pear during restaurant week and was enormously disappointed. I couldn't even eat the gazpacho is was so gross, the service was spectacularly bad and resulted in my server losing my credit card. How can a server lose a credit card! I will never go back there.

But you cannot beat ABC on Monday nights when the large beers are $3. That's the best deal in town.

JeepinBen

June 30th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

I've always enjoyed Prickly Pear. The fajitas were outstanding, and a good value. In terms of service, I've found it acceptable, but not great... I've been there about 5-10 times, and had a good time with each of them (in addition to the fajitas for 2, the queso is great... but huge!) Sounds like we've had different experiences

varsity

June 30th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

Great Plains is a fairly new burger place on Plymouth Rd. near North Campus, and they have VERY good food.  Simple menu - Beef/Turkey burgers, dogs, fries, shakes.  Very fresh, and really tastes great.  The employees are also very friendly, and a lot of fun if you have a kid with you.

umichjenks

June 30th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

Blimpy Burger still to this day has the best burgers I've ever had IMO.  I worked at the news service during school there and it was well worth the bike ride.

 

I actually got hit by a moron riding my bike (some guy blew out of a parking structure and I was riding on the sidewalk).  At the time I had a cast on my right hand and was riding back to work from Blimpy's.  The only thing I cared about after I got hit was if my burger was ok.  That's when I realized nothing is going to compare to it.

umichjenks

June 30th, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

Blimpy Burger still to this day has the best burgers I've ever had IMO.  I worked at the news service during school there and it was well worth the bike ride.

 

I actually got hit by a moron riding my bike (some guy blew out of a parking structure and I was riding on the sidewalk).  At the time I had a cast on my right hand and was riding back to work from Blimpy's.  The only thing I cared about after I got hit was if my burger was ok.  That's when I realized nothing is going to compare to it.

Monocle Smile

June 30th, 2010 at 3:18 PM ^

is ridiculous, and I'm not even talking about the food (which gets an A+). I took the lady friend there last year. I come from a partially Italian family and I'm picky about Italian restaurants, but sometimes the philosophy of long, drawn-out meals results in slow service at Italian joints. Not at Gratzi. They have a veritable army of wait staff who can apparently communicate telepathically. I'm pretty sure a different waiter or waitress delivered each dish that evening, and we had quite a few dishes. This is a very impressive place that I recommend to anyone looking for a fancy evening out.

WindyCityBlue

June 30th, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

It's not Ann Arbor Brewing Company, its Arbor Brewing Company (ABC).  I worked there for a couple years and the owners hammered that into anyone who would say Ann Arbor Brewing Company.  Sorry :)

Best Restuarant: Bella Ciao (not there anymore)

Worst: NYPD

JeepinBen

June 30th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

Palio (main st) - really good Italian. Try the baked cheese with cracked pepper - amazing. Also they had the Gabbiano Chianti (one of my favorite red wines) Magnum for really cheap. did my graduation dinner here.

Paesano's (Washtenaw just south of where stadium hits) - Different Italian. Palio is more your "Chicken parm/pasta/traditional italian" while the Paesano's menu changed frequently, but was very good.  

Prickly Pear (main st) - Wrote about it above but I enjoyed the tex-mex here, Chicken Fajitas for 2

Angelos (Glen and Catherine, near the hospital) - Best breakfast. I'm a french toast guy, and with their homemade bread, it was amazing. 

Beavis

June 30th, 2010 at 4:08 PM ^

Bad

Palio is whack.  I never had a good experience there and had a roommate who worked there who'd bring home food.  It wouldn't even taste that good when you were high. 

Good

Gratzi is much, much better than Palio in my opinion and I would clearly steer any person to this restaurant over Palio. 

I know it gets mentioned a lot, but the Chop House has to be the best restaurant in Ann Arbor.  I have dined at many Chicago steak houses and the Chop House in Ann Arbor makes my top three nationwide. 

Overrated

I think the Gandy Dancer is overrated a bit (it's good, but it's not some sort of dining experience that I will never forget - some person on this blog listed it as his/her favorite restaurant of all time - that's ridiculous). 

Underrated

Damon's.  I come for the ambiance but stay for the cigs and trivia.  No - this is not serious (didn't this place close down?). 

 

Maizeforlife

June 30th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

Pricley Pear is the most over-rated spot in town.  You have to wait at least 45 minutes to get in and then wait another hour and a half to get through waiting for a server, waiting for your food, and waiting for your check.  After all of that, they'll give you a bill that looks like you've just eaten at the the Earl but for burritos that you can get at Tios.  To my wife's chagrin, I have blacklisted Prickley Pear for life. 

Marley Nowell

June 30th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

Earthen Jar is a great place for vegetarian food.  There is also a place next to Skeeps which is good for meat dishes.

Raja Roni is terrible don't ever go there

stankoniaks

June 30th, 2010 at 3:58 PM ^

Is the place right next to Skeeps.  It's South Indian food, so it's not entirely fair to compare eating dosas (South Indian food) at Madras Masala to eating chicken tikka masala (North Indian food) at Shalimar.

With that being said, I think those are the two best places for Indian food in Ann Arbor.