It’s no secret that, for the finest Italian cuisine, Gratzi ranks among the top spots in all of Southeast Michigan. Maybe that’s because dining at Gratzi is more than just going to dinner—it’s an experience. The restaurant’s giant Renaissance-styled mural sets the tone for a fine dining outing that is made complete by a courteous, high-quality waitstaff and the freshest ingredients available, making Gratzi the premiere location for Italian food in Ann Arbor.
For starters, I enjoyed some bread with a unique olive and oil mixture. It was the perfect combination and got my taste buds ready for what was next. The Insalata Mista was served with a balsamic vinaigrette and fresh mozzarella cheese, which was delicious and portioned at the prefect amount—light and just enough.
For my entree, I chose Fettuccine Con Pomodoro Basilico. It was a simple, vegetarian dish with a tomato basil sauce and a nice pairing of garlic and wild mushrooms. The fresh basil was a nice surprise when mixed with the mushrooms and tomatoes. It was simple and delicious—nothing over the top or heavy and was just right for pasta.
In true Italian form, I had to get the Canoli for dessert. It was a perfect ending to an almost perfect meal, with fresh, mixed fruit as a welcome addition.
Between the outstanding service and exquisite food, I had a fantastic experience and am already looking forward to my next visit to Gratzi.
Located on West Washington Street across from Grizzly Peak Brewery, Frita Batidos is a relatively new restaurant that came from the vision of renowned chef Eve Aronoff (you may have seen her in a 2009 episode of Bravo’s Top Chef). Though not a Cuban restaurant, part of Aronoff’s vision was to incorporate some of her favorite elements of Cuban style cooking into menu items that would appeal to both those who want to try something new as well as those with more American tastes.
The Frita is a mildly spicy Cuban burger, layered beneath shoestring fries and served on a soft egg bun. Patrons can choose between several additional toppings (I recommend a fried egg), and a side order of incredible fries is a must. Batidos are tropical fruit milkshakes made with crushed ice and sweetened milk that can be ordered with or without rum. So, essentially, the restaurant is known for an exotic burger, fries and shake combo that is prepared with tremendous quality and some added culture.
The building itself is very inviting, with a sleek, modern exterior and a simultaneously elegant and casual interior with white walls and high ceilings. The space is very open and relaxed, and guests can either sit at one of the white picnic tables indoors or at a table outside. There is also a neat little snack bar outside with a separate menu of drinks and snack items hanging on the wall beside the counter.
The casual, inviting atmosphere, high-quality menu and late hours make this restaurant a great choice for all residents and visitors of Ann Arbor. After my experience at Frita Batidos, I have a new standard for burgers and fries—and a new restaurant to add to my list of favorites.