Ann Arbor is a charming little town that packs a punch. And that punch often comes in the form of the state’s best foodie destinations, craft breweries and historic restaurants. So if you’re trying to narrow down your date night dinner options, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, we’re here to help whether you’re looking for over-the-top romance or more casual charm.
Featuring decades-old favorites, new, modern spots, and a few of the coziest restaurants in A2, our round-up of the city’s most romantic restaurants has something for every food craving and couple. Enjoy!
121 W Washington St | Facebook
The Earle has been a downtown Ann Arbor favorite for more than 20 years. In addition to the decadent menu of French and Italian country cuisine, the romance is heightened by live jazz five nights a week, solo piano and solo guitar performances. Their world-class wine selection has over 1,200 options and wraps the evening up perfectly!
341 E Liberty St | Facebook
This downtown restaurant is named for two things: the word “mani”, which means “hands” or “handmade” in Italian, and the classic Italian osteria, an eatery that emphasizes local ingredients, small production wines and hospitality. This particular osteria is a fun independently-owned spot specializing in artisanal pizzas and creative Italian dishes prepared in wood-burning ovens. Bring your date to share a pizza and grab a craft cocktail!
113 E Liberty St | Facebook
Driven by two food and hospitality experts, Spencer balances the feel of a casual wine bar with craveable fare made from local ingredients. As a result, the menu is made up of unique shareable plates and an impressive line-up of wines, drafts and bottles.
216 S State St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Sava’s
What began as Sava Lelcaj’s 23-seat cafe is now one of A2’s best restaurants: now with 300 seats, and a team of amazing chefs and welcoming staff. The seasonally inspired menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert — the last of which we definitely recommend on date night. One taste of their artful Créme Brulée, Apple Cider Donuts or Housemade Ice Cream and you’re sure to stop by for your next outing as well.
608 E Liberty St | Facebook
Beer, cocktails, wine, sake, sushi, steaming bowls of ramen: this all adds up to one cozy date for you and yours. The slurps include an impressive lineup of ramens and other bowls while the sashimi bar rolls out some of the best sushi in Ann Arbor. Finish with the Mochi Ice Cream and enjoy your seat in Slurping Turtle’s beautiful, modern dining room.
Multiple Locations | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Knight’s Steakhouse
The locally-famous Knight’s destinations began with Knight’s Market in 1952. Then, 1984 brought Knight’s Steakhouse — one of the neighborhood’s favorite family, dinner, and date spots — to Dexter Road. Now, you can dine at their original location or downtown Ann Arbor, and you can still shop Knight’s Market and visit Knight’s Steakhouse & Grill in Jackson.
226 S Main St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell
The Pretzel Bell was the place to be for students, townies and visitors for more than 50 years. Then, when the doors reopened after a brief closing, it became one of the Tree City’s warmest and coziest spots while still functioning as a go-to campus landmark. The menu is a modern take on traditional American comfort food with hearty items like fried chicken, Pretzel-Crusted Mac & Cheese and The Jomes Burger, a local blend of Michigan and Waygu beef from Farm Field Table, braised short rib, bacon, smoked Gouda and garlic mayo.
347 S Main St | Facebook
The culture of Italy is inherently romantic and it comes alive at Palio. The authentic, country-style cuisine pairs with warm, rustic Italian decor inside. And during the summer, you can grab a seat on Ann Arbor’s largest and most popular outdoor gathering spot: the rooftop patio! It offers the best view of downtown and its own kitchen with a unique dining experience.
415 N 5th Ave | Facebook
Though Miss Kim is one of Ann Arbor’s newest eateries, it has quickly become a favorite. Their authentic Korean dishes are driven by and adapted to showcase Michigan’s bountiful produce. As you sit back and relax in the modern, industrial dining room, you can share small plates like Fresh Oysters and Pork Belly Bossam, or opt for the medium and large entrée selections which include everything from Fried Calamari to a Whole Lamb Shank.
207 S Main St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of The Ravens Club
The Ravens Club has been offering some of the best seasonal menus in town since they opened their doors in 2011. Alongside Michigan craft beer, a list of over 150 American whiskeys and impressive craft cocktails, the dinner menu features made from scratch snacks, appetizers and dishes like Braised Pork Belly served with steamed bao buns, Beef Carpaccio & Bone Marrow, and a Chorizo-stuffed Pork Chop.
512 E William St | Facebook
Back in 1948 when it opened, The Original Cottage Inn was Ann Arbor’s first restaurant to serve pizza. Today, they still serve some of the best pies in town as well as classic American, Italian and Greek cuisine. For your dinner date, we recommend starting with the Mamma Mia Meatballs, splitting a gourmet pizza, then finishing with a decadent cheesecake dessert. But the menu is large and mouth-watering enough to try something new every time!
505 E Liberty St | Facebook
As Ann Arbor’s favorite noodle bar, Tomukun serves some of the town’s best ramen, pho, udon, stir-fry and pork buns along with a wide variety of imported Asian beers, sake and soju. Inspired by the comfort foods the owners and chefs grew up with in Asia, you’re sure to be satisfied at the end of every dinner — and you’ll want to come back ASAP!
216 E Washington St | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Aventura
Aventura is a charming spot that offers authentic Spanish cuisine and culture including tapas, paella, vino and delicious, artisan cocktails. Inspired by the old-world atmosphere and the historical nature of the building itself, restaurateur Sava Lelcaj designed the restaurant from the bones of the original, 1872 space by utilizing classic Spanish design elements paired with works by local artists. In traditional Catalan and Valencian style, the dining room and bar are intertwined, emphasizing the lively social experience of the classic tapas bar.
3030 Washtenaw Ave | Facebook
Whether it’s a brunch date or a dinner date, Zola is one of the best destinations every day of the week. Tucked inside cozy and casual digs, you’ll want to come back time and time again just to admire the decor! But dinner dishes like Blue Crab Cakes, Moroccan Salmon and Penne with Sweet Italian Sausage may bring you back as well.
2321 Jackson Ave | Facebook
Breweries are often a great, casual date spot. At HOMES, they take the experience to a whole new level with a food menu full of modern and inventive Korean food. Perfect for sharing, we recommend an order of Kimchi Fries, Pork Belly Bao Buns and maybe even a flavor-packed rice bowl. And, of course, don’t skip a flight of HOMES original brews.
Share your favorites
Do you have a go-to date night dinner spot that’s not on our list? Let us know in the comments below!