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11 of the Best Italian Restaurants in the Ann Arbor Area

When we’re thinking about going out to eat for a date night or celebratory dinner, settling in at a local Italian restaurant is usually on the top of the list. There’s just something about the homestyle food, the white linen tablecloths and romantic atmosphere that adds something special to your meal. 

If you love Italian food, we don’t blame you! Luckily, the Ann Arbor area is full of spectacular Italian restaurants—from casual pizza and pasta joints to upscale, dimly lit eateries. We rounded up some of the most highly rated right here. Salute! 

A popular local pizza and Italian chain, Bigalora is the only place in southeast Michigan where you can get biga-fermented pizza dough. Each of their Neapolitan pies starts with a natural, 72-hour fermentation without the use of commercial yeast or added sugar. It’s then cooked in just 90 seconds at 900 degrees. That same artistry is applied to the rest of their menu, which includes plenty of pasta favorites, Italian entrees, and desserts.
Owned by the Costanza family, La Bistecca Italian Grille in Plymouth is one of the best places in the region for authentic, homestyle Italian food. They are known for being the first restaurant in the country certified to prepare Piedmontese beef, a lean and tender beef that originated in the foothills of the Italian Alps. In addition to this rare specialty, they also offer a selection of fresh Italian antipasti, entrees and a la carte sides. 
Dominick’s is famous for their potent sangria, their Italian-inspired eats and, of course, their massive patio! Since opening in 1960, this locally owned spot has been the go-to for locals, students and families looking for great food and drinks in the Ann Arbor area. Stop by on a warm day and bask in the sunlight on their spacious patio (with one of their massive mason jars full of sangria). Or, if the weather is just too cold for the patio, head indoors and enjoy your Italian fare in their cozy café. 
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, they offer live jazz five nights a week, solo piano and solo guitar performances alongside an extensive wine list. Perfect for nights out with friends, date nights or celebratory dinners, The Earle’s dim lighting and spectacular ambiance can’t be beat! 
Dessert aficionados—this one is for you! La Dolce Vita, owned by the same masterminds behind The Chop House, is “the ultimate after-dinner experience.” Gourmet Italian desserts and pastries, port and dessert wines, cognac, premium bourbon, single malt scotches, and hand-rolled cigars are waiting for you in this dimly lit, dessert heaven.
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!

Mediterrano, which is the sister restaurant to the popular Carlyle Grill, serves up flavors inspired by 14 different countries around the Mediterranean region. Driven by the belief that the Mediterranean diet is inherently nutritious, their food features an innovative fusion of flavors, ingredients and spices sourced from local farmers and purveyors as much as possible. 

Nico & Vali, owned by the DePalma family, is an Italian eatery located in the heart of Plymouth known for their traditional recipes, warm ovens and welcoming smiles. Here you’ll find a spectacular lunch and dinner menu full of Italian favorites as well as catering options. Stop by to enjoy their home cooked fare in their intimate dining room or on the spacious patio while listening to local live music and sipping on a glass of Italian wine. 

Inspired by the culture and cuisine of Italy, Paesano is one of Ann Arbor’s best local restaurants and wine bars. Boasting a spectacular wine list (which has even grabbed the title of Grand Prize Winner in the “Best Wine List in America” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine), seasonal Italian dishes, a gorgeous outdoor patio, wine tastings, Italian cooking classes and more—Paesano is one wine and Italian food lovers don’t want to miss! 

A destination for gourmet Tuscan dishes in Ann Arbor since 1991, Palio is named for the famous horse race that runs yearly through Siena, Italy. Their authentic, country-style cuisine pairs with warm, rustic Italian decor inside. 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. And in the winter, don’t miss their intimate and romantic dining room. 

Celebrating 16 years of operation in 2021, Silvio’s Organic Ristorante & Pizzeria offers handmade, authentic Italian food. How they make their signature dishes is in their name using only the best locally sourced, fresh and organic ingredients. And in an effort to make their delicious pizza accessible to everyone, they also offer gluten-free and vegan options! They also host a plethora of live music events, wine tastings, family-friendly craft classes and more. Click here to explore this month’s event calendar.

Buon Appetito! 

Did we miss your favorite Italian restaurant in the Ann Arbor area? Let us know about it in the comments below. 

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