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The definitive list of the nine best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Written By | Jun 29, 2018
Ann Arbor, Michigan, Best restaurants in Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR: Ann Arbor, Michigan has evolved into much more than your average college town. With a bustling international community, there’s a thriving independent business scene as well as fantastic cuisine. Here’s are nine best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Taste Kitchen

It’s difficult to peg the food chef and owner Danny Van puts out at Taste Kitchen, and maybe it’s a good thing it doesn’t fit into one culinary box. For example, a delicately folded smoked salmon, shares space on a plate with beets and a jalapeno sauce. chicken roulade is served with spaghetti squash and a mustard cream sauce. Those are just two menu items that you may or may not find on the globally influenced menu, which changes often.

But rest assured that whatever is being produced, is done with precision and excellence.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Best restaurants in Ann Arbor

Smoked Salmon with shallots, beet, salmon roe and jalapeno sauce at Taste Kitchen

Ayse’s Cafe

There are many ethnicities in Ann Arbor, but perhaps the most prominent one is Turkish. Owner, Ayse Uras has no menus in her restaurant, which focuses on Turkish home cooking. Instead, she writes the specials on a board for customers to see as they enter, along with a display of house-made desserts.




Ayse’s Café impresses with items like beet salad and some of the tastiest stuffed grape leaves (Dolmas) you’ve ever had. Moussaka and lamb dishes shine too. Make sure to get kadayif, a deconstructed Baklava, too! Sip on Turkish tea or for something stronger, Turkish Raki, an anise-flavored liquor sometimes referred to as the national drink.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Best restaurants in Ann Arbor

Casablanca Restaurant

Cars whiz by the busy street in Ypsilanti, close to Ann Arbor, where Casablanca is located, most unaware that this former Taco Bell is housing a divine Moroccan restaurant. The decor is simple with white walls and wooden tables, and tile floor. Blue pendant lights hang above.

With three kinds of hummus, and falafel (which is fabulous), and traditional choices like Tagines and Shawarma, these dishes won’t disappoint. But with a talented Moroccan chef, Abdul Mani, you want to give the unique items a try like the spiced carrots with honey and cilantro or the restaurant’s signature dish, Bastilla.

Like most Moroccan dishes, Bastilla combines sweet and savory. Layers of savory saffron chicken, spicy omelet stuffing, and a crunch topping of fried almonds flavored with orange blossom water.

Garnished with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Don’t keep this gem all for yourself, bring a group to share the feast.



Slurping Turtle

Aptly named since it is customary to slurp noodles in Japan, the Slurping Turtle is a casual street food spot, created by James Beard Award-winning chef, Takashi Yagihashi. The modern, yet laid back restaurant features small plates like mini Hamachi tuna tacos in a taro root shells, duck fat fried chicken and steamed pork belly buns.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Best restaurants in Ann Arbor

Fried Rice noodles and Mushroom buns at Miss Kim

Miss Kim

Korean food lovers should head to Miss Kim, one of the city’s first No Tip establishments. It’s modern vibe and decor match the modern presentation of dishes like the fried rice noodles and fried shrimp. Vegetarians will love items like the mushroom buns or the fried tofu banh mi. Insider tip: they sometimes have a delightful cinnamon soda in stock. It’s a perfect match to wash down their dishes, so be sure to ask for it.

Fred’s

For a hearty, yet healthy breakfast visit Fred’s. Offerings include smoothies, protein bowls, bagels, as well as different kinds of toasts like avocado, butternut squash and banana with almond butter. Keep it healthy and start with a matcha coffee. The Acai bowl is as Instagram worthy as it is tasty, packed full of banana and apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, coconut, and more.

An avocado toast is generously topped with both avocado and pickled red onions for a flavorful and pretty contrast.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Best restaurants in Ann Arbor

Toasts at Fred’s in Ann Arbor come with generous toppings and are served on long boards.

Aventura

It sounds cliche, but stepping into Aventura, especially the intimate basement, feels like being transported to another world and time. Except the food is dubbed “modern Spanish.” Order the Almendras y Pina – housemade goat cheese curd, marcona almonds and caramelized pineapple as well as the Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes) topped with fried egg.

Don’t miss out on their specialty – Gazpacho made with grapes, jalapeños, pistachios, and honeydew.

Mikette

A lively and upscale spot is Mikette, with nearly every inch of wall and ceiling adorned with vibrant art. Long, crimson, tufted booths complement the dark wood tables. The self-proclaimed American Bistro has many French touches including pates, Escargot, Beef Bourguignon. Though one of the best menu items is simply the BURGER “LE MEC” American cheese, special sauce. Of course, Absinthe service after dinner is a must.

Zingerman’s Deli

A visit to Ann Arbor isn’t complete without a visit to this one of a kind restaurant and market. For decades, Zingerman’s has been selling deli sandwiches, unique meats, cheeses, bagels, and condiments. Prosecco soaked cheese or Mousse Basquais made of duck fat and liver with port wine? You’ll just stare and wonder at the dizzying array of bagels, cheeses and more before making your selection. Tip: You don’t have to take your food to go. Zingerman’s has a restaurant on site, so stay and order a sandwich. Can’t make it there? The nationally known organization ships it’s Reuben sandwich kits nationally.

Bonus: Make sure to visit the Cherry Republic, for about 100 different ways you can use cherries. Salsas, chocolate covered, bbq sauce and more!

Malika Bowling

Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta and Food Blogging 101. She has been featured on HGTV, Playboy, Chowhound and Travelgirl and has been a contributing writer to USA Today. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including The World Food Championships, where she is a certified judge. Besides food, travel is her passion and her most recent adventure is leading international culinary trips.