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10 Tried & True Ann Arbor Restaurants to Tempt Your Tastebuds

Ann Arbor MI is a city that perfectly blends its historic charm with its funky, eclectic vibe, which makes it the ideal foodie destination. While the dining scene is constantly changing in Ann Arbor, these Ann Arbor restaurants have long been considered the best in the city.

Throughout downtown Ann Arbor Michigan and on the outskirts of the city, students, full-time residents, and visitors who simply want to explore the city will find an array of restaurants, ranging from fine dining experiences and ethnic cuisine to locally-owned casual restaurants that will serve up a flavorful meal in a matter of moments. 

Take Your Tastebuds to Germany at Metzger’s German Restaurant

305 N Zeeb Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Metzger’s German Restaurant is a family-owned Ann Arbor restaurant that has been passed down from generation to generation since 1928.

This restaurant is most famous for its authentic German cuisine, featuring menu items such as German Sauerbraten, Schnitzel, and German Rouladen, which you can only find on the menu on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Dining at Metzger’s has become a tradition in Ann Arbor, and it is one of those rare restaurants that is beloved by local residents, visitors, and students.

Metzger's German Restaurant - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Ann Arbor Restaurants
Metzger’s German Restaurant | photo via @shuggy033

Indulge in a Classic Ann Arbor Experience at The Earle

121 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Since 1977, The Earle has been the go-to place in Ann Arbor for those searching for romance and elegance in a fine-dining atmosphere. This chic and intimate restaurant is known not only for its dinner menu that is influenced by Italian and French cuisines, but also for its live jazz performances, which are held five nights per week.

If you want to be transported back in time to an era gone by, then this is the restaurant that you need to try in Ann Arbor.

Find Something Funky and Fresh at Sava

216 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Sava’s is known as the most “spirited” restaurant in Ann Arbor — and once you know the history of this favorite local eatery, you won’t be surprised by that description. Sava’s was founded in 2007 by a 23-year-old entrepreneur who was hoping to take advantage of the investment deals that were available during the recession.

Within two years, the restaurant relocated into the space it occupies today, and it quickly blossomed into a two-story, 300-seat restaurant that became famous for its contemporary decor and eclectic menu. Today, Sava’s serves dinner between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Sava - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Ann Arbor Restaurants
Sava | photo via Meg Corts

Enjoy an Elegant Taste of History at Gandy Dancer

401 Depot St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

There is no better place to celebrate a special occasion in Ann Arbor than at the Gandy Dancer. This restaurant offers a fine dining experience that is unmatched throughout the rest of the city.

Housed inside a restored Michigan Central Depot station that was built in 1886, this restaurant’s elegant and historic atmosphere sets the stage for an unforgettable evening of dining. The menu is icing on the cake, as it includes sensational seafood items, delightful meat entrees, and a selection of pastas.

While this restaurant has become a favorite place for private celebrations, such as rehearsal dinners or graduation meals, it also is the perfect place to go when you simply feel like indulging in the finer things in life.

Keep it Simple with the Best Burger in Town at Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger

304 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

For the most part, the era of hamburger stands has passed by, but Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is hanging onto this old-fashioned fast-food style of eating in Ann Arbor. This hamburger stand has been serving up the most delicious burgers in the city since 1953, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Ordering your burger from Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is an experience in and of itself, as you have to follow a few specific steps:

  • Get in line, grab a tray and stay off your cell phone.
  • Order what you want from the deep fryer first.
  • Next, take on the grill — be ready with the number of patties that you want and what kind of cheese you need.
  • Dress your burger with your favorite toppings. First, ask for the wet stuff, then the free stuff, and then any extras.
Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Ann Arbor Restaurants
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | photo via @catm0mx2

Experience Spanish Culture in the Heart of Ann Arbor at Aventura

216 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Aventura may be located in downtown Ann Arbor, but diners here are often transported to Old World Spain. Aventura was founded by local Ann Arbor entrepreneur Sava Farah, and the concept of a locally-owned, immersive Tapas restaurant sprang from a table that had been left behind by the owners of the building.

Today, that table sits at the heart of the restaurant, and diners are able to enjoy music, conversation, and Spanish-influenced cuisine under the soft glow of the candlelight. Aventura may be a relative newcomer to the Ann Arbor restaurant scene, but it’s quickly become a fan favorite among local residents and visitors alike.

Cure Your Craving for Korean at Miss Kim

415 N 5th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

While there are many international restaurants in Ann Arbor that focus on authentic, ethnic Asian cuisine, Miss Kim stands out as one of the best in the city. This Korean restaurant is part of the Zingerman community of businesses, and it is led by Chef Ji Hye Kim, a South Korean native who brings her passion for Korean culture, ancient traditions, and locally-sourced ingredients to the table.

Kim was recognized by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the best up-and-coming chefs in the entire country, and those who visit the restaurant regularly understand why. She relies on locally-sourced Michigan ingredients and makes sure that every meal is rooted in Ancient Korean tradition, allowing all diners to enjoy a flavorful and immersive experience at Miss Kim.

Miss Kim - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Ann Arbor Restaurants
Miss Kim | photo via @cassandraspicer

Live Like a True Local and Dine at Knight’s Steakhouse

2324 Dexter Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Knight’s Steakhouse was founded in 1984 with the intention of becoming a welcoming, comfortable and casual Ann Arbor establishment that could be relied upon for excellent food and superior service.

Nearly 40 years later, the restaurant now has three locations — including its original Dexter Road location — and it is still considered to be one of the best places to enjoy a meal in the city. It’s a versatile restaurant that is suitable for special occasions as well as casual family dining on a weeknight.

No matter the occasion — or lack thereof — you can count on enjoying one of Knight’s signature dishes as well as one of the restaurant’s refreshing yet surprisingly potent cocktails. No visit to Ann Arbor would be complete without enjoying a meal at Knight’s, as most locals around town will be quick to tell you.

Check Zingerman’s Off of Your Ann Arbor Bucket List

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Forty years ago, Zingerman’s was established as a local deli that sought to provide customers with fresh bread, delicious meats, and enjoyable sandwiches. 

Today, however, the name has almost become synonymous with the city itself, and getting a sandwich or meal at Zingerman’s Deli has become a rite of passage for anyone who is exploring the city.

The Zingerman’s brand has grown significantly, and there are many restaurants included under its umbrella. However, the deli still operates on Detroit Street and anyone who wants to experience the true flavor of Ann Arbor should make it a point to go there at least once during their time in the city.

Related: 7 Reasons Zingersmans Ann Arbor is More Than a Destination

The Awesome Mitten-Southerner Meets Michigan: Discovering Zingerman's
Zingerman’s Deli | photo via Jennifer Bowman

For Taco Tuesday, Look No Further Than Tio’s Mexican Cafe

401 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Long before it was trendy to rely solely on locally-sourced ingredients, Tio’s Mexican Cafe had been crafting homemade Mexican food from Michigan farm-fresh ingredients.

Since the 1980s, Tio’s has been known as one of the best places to grab fast and flavorful Mexican food in Ann Arbor, and it’s particularly popular among the students — who love to enjoy those late-night tacos after a night on the town.

With both traditional menu items and contemporary takes on Mexican cuisine available, there is something for everyone at Tio’s Mexican Cafe. The best part is, every single item is made from scratch, so you will always enjoy the freshest possible meal when you dine at this location.

Tio's Mexican Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Ann Arbor Restaurants
Tio’s Mexican Cafe | photo via @mpadamo

Enjoy Dining at the Best Ann Arbor Restaurants

With so many Ann Arbor restaurants to choose from, it can feel as if you are experiencing a different version of the city every time you dine at a local establishment. The city is known for its restaurants, which boast authentic atmospheres, diverse menus, and incredible flavors. 

Once you have filled your belly at your favorite Ann Arbor locale, you can head on over to one of the top Ann Arbor microbreweries to refresh yourself. As you will soon find out, there is always a new way to enjoy Ann Arbor.

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