Quite often, we turn to sources like Yelp to discover the best eats in a city — whether we live there or are simply passing through. We turned to Yelp to see what the masses (consisting of both locals and tourists) are saying about Ann Arbor’s restaurants.
Ranging from casual counter-serve eateries to upscale restaurants, these are the best restaurants in Ann Arbor right now. Pick out a new place to try, dig in and then consider leaving your own review to document the experience!
117 West Washington Street
Photo Courtesy of Steve Julen via Frita Batidos
The main attraction at Frita Batidos is the burger. That makes sense, because a “frita” is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. And a batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). What a perfect pairing!
Yelper Mala L. says, “Outstanding food in a bright, trendy place. It’s basically Cuban inspired burgers and tropical milkshakes. Menu is simple and easy to navigate. Get a Frita, a Batido, and a side!”
P.S. Another Yelper suggests stopping by during their happy hour, from 4–6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or an hour before close nightly, when their Beef Frita is only $5 and fries are only $1.50!
216 East Washington Street
Photo courtesy of Aventura
Aventura focuses on authentic Spanish cuisine and culture, including tapas, paella, vino and delicious, artisan cocktails. Complete with exposed brick walls, gorgeous tilework, unique light fixtures and bold wallpaper, the interior is cozy, comfortable and inviting, yet remains modern, cheerful and eclectic. 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.
Yelper Don J. says, “One of our favorite splurges when visiting Ann Arbor. Soft lighting and cozy tables make it a great spot for a dinner date, or a night out with a small group of friends. If you’re a late eater, sit at the bar for some good late happy hour specials on food and drink (weekdays only and must sit at the bar).”
715 North University Avenue
Situated right next to the University of Michigan campus, Hola Seoul is the go-to spot for Korean-Mexican fusion food for both university students and local residents. Haven’t heard of Korean-Mexican fusion before? We hadn’t — but now we’re intrigued. Menu items include delicious options like kimchi fries, bulgogi tacos, spicy pork tacos and Korean-style fried chicken in the form of popcorn chicken, wings or drums.
Yelper Antony G. says, “One of the places that does Asian fusion right! They take authentic, delicious-tasting Korean food as a base and presents it in yummy new ways. Hola Seoul is a great place to grab some finger foods of crispy, spicy wings, chunky-cut kimchi fries, or loaded Korean fusion tacos close to downtown and the central UofM campus before a night out.”
216 South State Street
Photo courtesy of Sava’s
What began as Sava Lelcaj’s 23-seat cafe is now one of A2’s best restaurants (according to both Yelpers and food critics alike): now with 300 seats, and a team of amazing chefs and welcoming staff. The seasonally inspired menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a brunch buffet on Sunday mornings. Just as inspired as their menu, the interior features eclectic light fixtures, gorgeous tilework, plush seating and soaring windows letting in natural light.
Yelper Moe A. raves, “I cannot determine if the food or decor here is better. This place is absolutely stunning. It’s good for a nice family outing or a date or a professional meeting. Absolutely wonderful. They have some of the best service around. I came here on several occasions and have enjoyed every single time.”
422 Detroit Street
The first business that opened in the Zingerman’s Company was this historic deli; it opened in 1982 with a staff of two. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but you can now choose from an enormous menu of both classic and creative sandwiches, breakfasts, salads, housemade Jewish specialty foods, handmade pot pies and more. For more information about the delicatessen and all 14 Zingerman’s establishments, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.
Yelper Hannah M. says, “I have a long line of Michigan alum in my family, so I’ve been coming to Zingerman’s since I was old enough to eat a sandwich. It’s changed a bit over the years as they’ve expanded seating to accommodate the lunch rush, but the heart is still the same: fantastic sandwiches and a massive menu. I get the same thing every time I come: the #36 light on the Swiss heavy on the slaw. It’s a vegetarian sandwich, which anyone close to me could tell you is very antithetical to my usual carnivorous eating habits, but it’s just the perfect combination of ingredients. I’ll usually order a bowl of tomato soup on the side to dip my crusts in.”
311 South Main Street
Photo Courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery
Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Each location — whether full-service pub or casual hangout — offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, aged Jolly Pumpkin beers. In downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll find Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, a full-service brewpub serving lunch, dinner, brunch and late-night eats. Choose the JP Burger and you’ll be in for one of Ann Arbor’s best lunches!
Yelper Andrew M. raves about the truffle fries. “I haven’t been to Ann Arbor in years; and yet, the Jolly Pumpkin is exactly how I remember it! Truffle fries are always amazing and I can promise you, you’ll eat them all! They come with a great mayo based dipping sauce. It’s so delicious and sooo rich, what’s not to love?!”
1906 Packard Street
This quaint, modern eatery in Lower Burns Park operates under a unique model. They serve a carry-out menu with a mix of comforting standard dishes and seasonal weekly specials. Plus, eat offers catering services, featuring custom menus designed to suit you and your occasion, such as a luncheon, wedding, corporate party, conference or a family celebration. Their team works from flavorful, long-held food traditions to create new classics that are fresh and familiar.
Yelper Phoebe T. says, “Easily my new favorite spot to eat in Ann Arbor. Thoughtfully created food that tastes homemade at the same time that it tastes well refined. We first went for dinner and enjoyed the peach glazed chicken and roasted vegetable salad, followed by a selection of their fresh cookies. Everything was incredibly good. Coming from CA, we were excited to find such fresh veggie-heavy food at such a reasonable price.”
113 East Liberty Street
Photo Courtesy of Spencer
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. Plus, all their wines are made naturally with minimal manipulations and are available for retail purchase. Spencer is particularly unique for their counter-serve style and communal seating, as they believe the best meals are meant to be shared.
Amirah A. shared, “I almost don’t want to review Spencer’s for fear the great secret of downtown AA let’s out. If you’re serious about great food, love small intimate places that reminds you of your neighborhood favorite restaurant then look no closer than Spencer’s. With a constantly changing menu to fit the season, each dish is meant to be shared and tasted by a group. Tons of great wine and coffee if you’re here for brunch. I love both brunch and dinners here and it’s my go whenever friends are in town and are really interested in exploring local cuisine.”
2019 West Stadium Boulevard
This Ann Arbor craft brewery is the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do—from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations. But they don’t just do beer here! In the taproom, you can pair that beer with a food menu filled with shareable plates, snacks, famous nachos, salads and craft sandwiches.
Yelper Catlyn G. enthusiastically recommends the nachos. “LOVEEEE this place! The service is good, the beer and food are amazing, and the atmosphere is welcoming. You must try the nachos because they are better then expected at a brewery. I highly recommend visiting this place if you get a chance!”
The People Have Spoken!
Which of these local favorites are on the top of your list? Let us know in the comments below!