clock menu more-arrow no yes
Pear and ricotta triangoli.
Spencer/Facebook

12 Essential Ann Arbor Restaurants, Fall 2018

Must-visit classic and contemporary dining destinations in Tree Town

View as Map
Pear and ricotta triangoli.
| Photo by Spencer/Facebook

As a college town, Ann Arbor attracts students and visitors from around the world. Many of them like the place so much they extend their stay — sometimes for decades. Mix them in with a healthy dose of counterculture dating back to the 1960s and Midwestern small-town sensibilities and the result is a diverse blend of tradition, global outlook, and an eye towards the future. Ann Arbor’s restaurant scene is an eclectic mix of eateries that reflects that diversity.

There's no shortage of the usual college town standbys — pub food, pizza, burgers — and many are excellent (a few are listed here). This map features restaurants special to the area around Ann Arbor including Ypsilanti. Spots included in this guide must have been open at least six months. For more recent additions to the area, check out the Ann Arbor heatmap.

In this fall update, Dessous is joining the list. Here are some of Ann Arbor’s top dining destinations right now.

Did we overlook your favorite spot? Drop a note in the comments or at the tipline and Eater will check it out. Map points are arranged geographically, never ranked.

Next Read: Where to Dine and Drink in Ann Arbor

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Knight's Steakhouse

Copy Link
2324 Dexter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 665-8644
Visit Website

Knight's is the textbook steakhouse with swimming pool-sized cocktails. While the restaurant has a flashier Liberty Street location in the vibrant downtown area, the original Dexter Road eatery’s historical charm makes it a classic.

John Reyes

2. Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

Copy Link
304 S Ashley St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 663-4590
Visit Website

This humble burger hangout embodies Ann Arbor’s counterculture identity. The dizzyingly wide variety of combinations and the unique cooking methods are the antithesis of the gourmet burger chains that have proliferated across the country. While some label the burgers as laden with “grease,” the preferred term is “natural juices.”

John Reyes

3. Pacific Rim By Kana

Copy Link
114 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-9303
Visit Website

French techniques, quality ingredients, craft cocktails, and romantic atmosphere make Pacific Rim a go-to destination for date nights. The wine list is a worthy complement to the pan-Asian cuisine.

4. Spencer

Copy Link
113 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 369-3979
Visit Website

Spencer is the epitome of good things coming in small packages. The pint-sized space delivers outsized flavor with dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Spencer’s menu changes regularly with the seasons offering everything from ramp hushpuppies to lamb meatballs and green garlic carbonara.

5. Miss Kim

Copy Link
415 N 5th Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 275-0099
Visit Website

Ann Arbor has plenty of Korean restaurants, but only a few have full beverage menus for a complete fine dining experience. Part of the Zingerman’s restaurant group, Miss Kim’s features family-style Korean food in a bright minimalist atmosphere with dishes like dahk-jook (chicken rice porridge) and chili butter monkfish. During lunch, the restaurant offers a throwback to its days as a street food cart with banh mi and pork buns.

Miss Kim/Facebook

6. Zingerman's Delicatessen

Copy Link
422 Detroit St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 663-3354
Visit Website

This Ann Arbor institution is considered to be one of the best delis in the country and a mecca for food lovers looking for specialty items. This Midwest Eater 38 member offers dozens of sandwich options all on Zingerman’s bread with top quality ingredients make it worth the wait and the price.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen [Official photo]

7. Mani Osteria and Bar

Copy Link
341 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 769-6700
Visit Website

Settle in at Mani for wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, small plates, and salads. The dishes are meant to be shared, which — along with an open-concept dining room — gives this restaurant the liveliest and most energetic atmosphere in town.

Mani Osteria [Official photo]

8. Tomukun Noodle Bar

Copy Link
505 E Liberty St #200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 995-8668
Visit Website

What began as a noodle bar featuring several kinds of East Asian comfort foods, now includes a full-on Korean barbecue section with tabletop grills and other Korean standards. Tomukun may be the best place to see townies and students dining in perfect harmony.

Tomukun/Facebook

9. Seoul Street

Copy Link
1771 Plymouth Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
(734) 719-0085
Visit Website

Tucked in the back corner of a small apartment building and several restaurants, it’s easy to overlook Seoul Street. But in a town with many Korean restaurants, this one stands out from the crowd for its fried chicken. Coated in either a hot and spicy or soy garlic glaze, it’s a must-try dish. Order online to avoid long wait times.

John Reyes

10. Ma Lou's Fried Chicken

Copy Link
15 W Michigan Ave
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 905-7994
Visit Website

Perfectly cooked fried chicken comes in sandwiches or Nashville-style with a sauce that lives up to its “Hot AF” moniker. On Taco Tuesdays, their delicious biscuit donuts — glazed deep-fried biscuit dough — become Churro Donuts and are served alongside fried chicken tacos.

11. Taste Kitchen

Copy Link
521 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 369-4241
Visit Website

Taste Kitchen’s small, downtown space might seem unassuming, but the French and Asian-influenced menu is anything but simple. Diners can enjoy sophisticated, elegant dishes such as grilled Berkshire pork and shrimp risotto.

Taste Kitchen [Official photo]

12. Dessous

Copy Link
312 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-0202
Visit Website

The transformation of the former Melange to its new identity of Dessous is finally complete. Chef Eve Aronoff’s seasonal menu features classics from her repertoire as well new globally-inspired creations such as the Indian-spice braised lamb shank. The subterranean space transports diners from busy Main Street to a cozy atmosphere where the music and decor are designed for lively conversation.

1. Knight's Steakhouse

2324 Dexter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
John Reyes

Knight's is the textbook steakhouse with swimming pool-sized cocktails. While the restaurant has a flashier Liberty Street location in the vibrant downtown area, the original Dexter Road eatery’s historical charm makes it a classic.

2324 Dexter Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

2. Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

304 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
John Reyes

This humble burger hangout embodies Ann Arbor’s counterculture identity. The dizzyingly wide variety of combinations and the unique cooking methods are the antithesis of the gourmet burger chains that have proliferated across the country. While some label the burgers as laden with “grease,” the preferred term is “natural juices.”

304 S Ashley St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

3. Pacific Rim By Kana

114 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

French techniques, quality ingredients, craft cocktails, and romantic atmosphere make Pacific Rim a go-to destination for date nights. The wine list is a worthy complement to the pan-Asian cuisine.

114 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4. Spencer

113 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Spencer is the epitome of good things coming in small packages. The pint-sized space delivers outsized flavor with dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Spencer’s menu changes regularly with the seasons offering everything from ramp hushpuppies to lamb meatballs and green garlic carbonara.

113 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

5. Miss Kim

415 N 5th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Miss Kim/Facebook

Ann Arbor has plenty of Korean restaurants, but only a few have full beverage menus for a complete fine dining experience. Part of the Zingerman’s restaurant group, Miss Kim’s features family-style Korean food in a bright minimalist atmosphere with dishes like dahk-jook (chicken rice porridge) and chili butter monkfish. During lunch, the restaurant offers a throwback to its days as a street food cart with banh mi and pork buns.

415 N 5th Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

6. Zingerman's Delicatessen

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Zingerman’s Delicatessen [Official photo]

This Ann Arbor institution is considered to be one of the best delis in the country and a mecca for food lovers looking for specialty items. This Midwest Eater 38 member offers dozens of sandwich options all on Zingerman’s bread with top quality ingredients make it worth the wait and the price.

422 Detroit St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

7. Mani Osteria and Bar

341 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Mani Osteria [Official photo]

Settle in at Mani for wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, small plates, and salads. The dishes are meant to be shared, which — along with an open-concept dining room — gives this restaurant the liveliest and most energetic atmosphere in town.

341 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

8. Tomukun Noodle Bar

505 E Liberty St #200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tomukun/Facebook

What began as a noodle bar featuring several kinds of East Asian comfort foods, now includes a full-on Korean barbecue section with tabletop grills and other Korean standards. Tomukun may be the best place to see townies and students dining in perfect harmony.

505 E Liberty St #200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

9. Seoul Street

1771 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
John Reyes

Tucked in the back corner of a small apartment building and several restaurants, it’s easy to overlook Seoul Street. But in a town with many Korean restaurants, this one stands out from the crowd for its fried chicken. Coated in either a hot and spicy or soy garlic glaze, it’s a must-try dish. Order online to avoid long wait times.

1771 Plymouth Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

10. Ma Lou's Fried Chicken

15 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Perfectly cooked fried chicken comes in sandwiches or Nashville-style with a sauce that lives up to its “Hot AF” moniker. On Taco Tuesdays, their delicious biscuit donuts — glazed deep-fried biscuit dough — become Churro Donuts and are served alongside fried chicken tacos.

15 W Michigan Ave
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

11. Taste Kitchen

521 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Taste Kitchen [Official photo]

Taste Kitchen’s small, downtown space might seem unassuming, but the French and Asian-influenced menu is anything but simple. Diners can enjoy sophisticated, elegant dishes such as grilled Berkshire pork and shrimp risotto.

521 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

12. Dessous

312 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The transformation of the former Melange to its new identity of Dessous is finally complete. Chef Eve Aronoff’s seasonal menu features classics from her repertoire as well new globally-inspired creations such as the Indian-spice braised lamb shank. The subterranean space transports diners from busy Main Street to a cozy atmosphere where the music and decor are designed for lively conversation.

312 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Related Maps