A-square meal

A shortlist of some notable Ann Arbor eateries

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Afternoon Delight 251 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-665-7513; afternoondelightcafe.com; $: Open every day until only 3 p.m., Afternoon Delight serves from the bright pinks and aquamarines of its tablescape a variety of creative breakfast and lunch plates to an often — particularly on Sundays — out-the-door crowd. Catering service available.

Anthony's Gourmet Pizza 2520 Packard, Ann Arbor; 734-971-3555; anthonysgourmet.com; $$: Anthony's has a reputation for being the closest thing to Chicago-style stuffed deep dish in Ann Arbor. Also offers Sicilian deep dish and Anthony's own gourmet spin on deep dish (with a vegetarian option and "chicken delight").

Aut Bar 315 Braun Court, Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677; autbar.com; $$: Gay-friendly restaurant and a bar. Serves a popular weekend brunch, Saturday brunch (11 a.m.- 2 p.m.) and Sunday brunch (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.). Open at 4 p.m. on the weekdays. In warmer months, access to a quiet courtyard. The Aut Bar caters to the LGBT community and their friends, families and allies.

Amadeus Cafe & Patisserie 122 E. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-665-8767; amadeusrestaurant.com; $$: Amadeus is a unique restaurant designed after the old-world cafes of Vienna. A variety of traditional dishes from Central Europe are offered, as well as desserts and a unique list of wines and beers. Enjoy candlelit dinners and live classical music on the weekends. Family owned and operated for 20 years. Closed Mondays.

Arbor Brewing Company 114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393; arborbrewing.com; $: This brewpub's drinkable house brews complement a menu of "upscale pub food." The award-winning spot hosts regular beer tastings for the serious fans, but it's also accessible for those wanting to try beer that brims with flavor. Open 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-midnight on Sundays.

Ashley's Restaurant and Pub 338 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-9191; ashleys.com; $$: Upscale but casual, Ashley's has dozens and dozens of beers on tap, a massive menu of bottled beer, and scores of single-malt scotches and small-batch bourbons. Better still, the kitchen stays open late. Open 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon-midnight on Sundays.

B.D.'s Mongolian Barbeque 200 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-913-0999; $: This place gives new meaning to the term "open kitchen." In the center of the dining room is a massive grill, staffed by "Natural Born Grillers," whipping up an endless array of meat, vegetables and spices. Don't complain about the food, or the size of the portion. Not because the chef is wielding a large oak stick, but because you are responsible for choosing raw meat and accompaniments from the buffet. If you're unsure of good combos, the staff has some suggestions. Very high energy on the weekends.

Bell's Diner 2167 W. Stadium, Ann Arbor; 734-995-0226; $: Unless you look close, you might just think Bell's is a normal American diner. And, in many respects, it is — especially for breakfast. But its kitchen also excels at producing the Korean items on the menu, give you a choice of bacon or bulgogi. Now that's unusual.

Black Pearl 302 S. Main St.; 734-222-0400; blackpearlonmail.com; $$$: A seafood and martini bar that aims for "comfortable and cool," well-suited for socializing and entertaining. Opens every day at 5 p.m. Becomes a lounge after 9 p.m.

Blue Nile 221 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, 734-998-4746; bluenilemi.com; $$: Family-owned and operated, this western outpost of the Blue Nile Ethiopian dining mini-chain offers an unusual experience. Diners are handed piping-hot washcloths for their hands, and then the food, which is sponged up with bits of bread called injera. And the food, which can include meats but can also be veggie-only, is slow-cooked, healthful and delicious. Since it's all-you-can-eat, nobody will walk away hungry.

Blue Tractor 207 E. Washington St.; 734-222-4095; bluetractor.net; $$: Menu aims for a down-home feel, but the beers are contemporary craft. Quirky interior. Very good word-of-mouth.

Brown Jug 1204 S. University Dr., Ann Arbor; 734-761-3355; brownjug-annarbor.com; $: In the heart of U-M's campus, Brown Jug has been in business since 1938. Its walls snuggle you up in Wolverine history and football memorabilia. Catch the game, drink and munch with dignity: Greek sausage and calamari show up among nachos and cheese sticks on the appetizer list.

Cafe Felix 204 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-8650; cafefelix.com; $$: Ann Arbor's Café Felix is practically poetic. The tradition of a European café holds true to form. There is a prime wine assortment as well as coffee drinks and delicious food. Every finishing touch within the butter-colored walls is indeed, as the French say, "au point."

Cafe Zola 112 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-769-2020; cafezola.com; $$$: With tasteful art for sale on the brick walls, large picture windows fronting the colorful pedestrian traffic on Washington Street, and, in season, a sizable outdoor patio, Café Zola is one of the more comfortable restaurants in Ann Arbor. Mains have included spaghetti and meatballs marinara, lamb chops a la Turque, flat-iron steak with garlicky chimichurri sauce from the Pampas, and ahi tuna in a sesame-seed crust with wasabi butter, sugar snap peas, and that crunchy coconut rice. The wine list, a thoughtful if somewhat pricey one, contains a handful of relatively obscure bottles in the high 20s to the middle 30s before it disappears into the stratosphere.

Carson's American Bistro 2000 Commonwealth Blvd.; 888-456-3463; $$$: Good, solid American fare such as steaks and chops, but with gluten-free options too. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays; 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; noon-9 p.m. Sundays.

Casey's Tavern 304 Depot St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-6775; caseys-tavern.com; $$: Thick burgers with a slew of topping choices (think grilled mushrooms, guacamole and bleu cheese) are Casey's signature, courteously offered as either turkey, veggie or beef burger. Don't worry about a parking garage, since it's just outside the downtown cramp. Casey's is classic and classy.

The Chop House 322 S. Main St.; 888-456-3463; thechophouserestaurant.com; $$: Luxurious, comfortable and pushily elegant, serving prime beef, fine grain-fed protein and exceptional premium wines. Opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 4 p.m. Sundays.

Crazy Wisdom Tea Room 114 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-9468; crazywisdom.com; $: The ground floor twinkles wholesomely with spiritual paraphernalia. Upstairs, enjoy a pot of tea or coffee with a view of Main Street. Live acoustic sounds some nights. Call for details.

Dominick's 812 Monroe, Ann Arbor; 734-662-5414; $$: Nestled in a quiet Ann Arbor neighborhood at Monroe and State Streets, Casa Dominick's is a almost-50-year-old sidewalk cafe. Suffused with ample outdoor seating, Dominick's porches, balconies, courtyards, and outdoor fountain welcome those who love fair weather March though November. More an "afternoon spot" than a nighttime hangout, this informal oasis is open until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. It's a favorite after-work or lunch destination for townies, city workers, professors and students alike. No waitstaff here — the menu is written in colored chalk on boards above the counter. And although Dominick's may be more famous for their selection of beers on tap, don't miss their house recipe sangria and special invention "constant buzz" (a fruity frozen drink) served in Mason jars. Closed Sundays.

The Earle 121 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-994-0211; theearle.com; $$$: The vault-like Earle is an Ann Arbor legend, with its candlelit tables, imaginative kitchen and live jazz. Start in the elegant wine bar with its daily specials or check the 30-page wine list. Happy hour 5-8 p.m. Monday-Friday. Open 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Fridays; 5:45-11 p.m. Saturdays; 5-8:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Sundays for the summer.

Earthen Jar 311 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-327-9464; earthenjar.com; $: Catering to vegetarian tastes, their signature "mostly vegan buffet" is heavily Indian influenced, with hints of Pakistani (yellow lentil dal moong), Italian (tofu lasagna) and even dishes of the American South (turnip greens). It presents a hodgepodge of an herbivore's feast.

Eve: The Restaurant 415 N. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-222-0711; evetherestaurant.com; $$$: Our local showcase for the slow food movement is a bit pricy, but does not disappoint. Under the guidance of Top Chef contestant Eve Aronoff, the restaurant pulls together farm-fresh food, naturally raised proteins and an extensive wine list, making for memorable meals. This restaurant is open for dinner only. Closed Mondays.

Fleetwood Diner 300 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor; 734-995-5502; $: The only 24-hour diner in downtown Ann Arbor, this is genuine greasy spoon eating. The Fleetwood looks like a small trailer propped atop the hill at Ashley and Liberty, packing in cheap-breakfast seekers on a dozen bar stools and at a handful of tables.

Gandy Dancer 401 Depot St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-0592; $$$: One of Ann Arbor's most popular restaurants offers a daily menu of fresh fish, seafood, steaks, and pastas in a historic brick and granite structure. Live jazz during the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday brunch. Known to U-M students as the place to take Mom and Dad (when they're picking up the tab, that is).

Gratzi 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-6387; $$$: One of Gratzi's most popular offerings is the antipasti buffet, where a little sign informs you that the items are changed every three hours, for freshness. This seems unnecessary in a joint with pretensions to class, but never mind: The grilled vegetables; marinated olives and mushrooms; prosciutto, cappicola and sopressata make for hearty appetizers. An extensive wine list is Italian and American, with bottles ranging from $20 up. Gratzi offers fish, chicken, veal, pork and beef dishes as well, including an Angus porterhouse.

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co. 120 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-741-7325; grizzlypeak.net; $$: Grizzly Peak has the feel of a restrained hunting lodge that enjoys its own history more than its kills (you'll find a mounted buck or two, but the exposed brick interior tends to remain neutrally bare). But the award-winning beer is the real centerpiece. Some specialty brews go fast — call for detailed offerings.

Heidelberg Restaurant 215 N. Main, Ann Arbor; 734-663-7758; heidelbergrestaurant.com; $$: With the facade sign imploring "Eat, drink, dance and be merry," it's not kidding. With a 50-year-plus tradition of bringing Ann Arbor's German roots alive, it boasts a genuine rathskeller (a German-style basement bar) complete with German wheat beers and lagers; the dining room offers schnitzels, wursts and other German plates; and the Club Above plays host to entertainment. Call for details.

Jerusalem Garden 307 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-995-5060; jerusalemgarden.net; $: The brick garden patio is the perfect accompaniment to Jerusalem Garden, which claims the title of Ann Arbor's oldest Middle Eastern restaurant. It covers the basics for less than $5 or $6: falafel with baba ghanouj and hummus options, shawarma, kebabs.

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery 311 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-913-2730; $$: While pub-like in atmosphere, the food is a bit more up-to-date. Expect tofu cracklings, French fries flavored with rosemary and truffle salt, and a butcher's snack board of cured meats and more. There is no real entrée menu as such. A small list of daily specials is offered, such as broiled walleye and mushroom risotto. The rest of the list consists of salads, sandwiches and pizza. Children are considered with an entire section of their own. And, of course, there is the beer. Diners not yet familiar with Jolly Pumpkin beers might want to ease into the experience with something slightly tamer, like a North Peak Amber Ale. But hardcore fans will likely find the cask ale to be the liquid they want in their glass. Along with a few Michigan wines and spirits, and a list of non-alcoholic cocktails, there's a drink for everyone. Open 11-2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight Sunday.

La Dolce Vita 322 S. Main St.; 734-669-9977; $: Located in the Chop House restaurant. Offering the finest in after-dinner pleasures, including chocolaty cakes, fruity tortes, mousse parfait and more.

Logan 115 W. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-327-2312; logan-restaurant.com; $$$: The eclectic fare, which emphasizes Asia and the Caribbean, is reflected in the appetizers. For example, Thad brilliantly executes a platter of four crispy Chinese pork dumplings atop cilantro, laced with a subtle, tamarind-infused tomato sauce ($9). Although the portion size will disappoint those hoping to share, the tuna tartare, a small mound of yellowfin folded into a dijon-thyme dressing, is a pleasing delicacy ($12). Other appetizers include broiled mussels and crab cake.

Melange Bistro Wine Bar 314 S. Main St.; 734-222-0202; melangebistro.com; $$: Unique dining experience, casual, sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere in a contemporary, subterranean bistro. Eurasian eclectic cuisine infused with worldly ingredients. Happy hour 4-6 p.m. weekdays. Closed Sundays.

Old Town Tavern 122 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-662-9291; oldtownaa.com; $$: Old Town has been a tavern since 1867. The brick walls covered in old photos and playbills, the wood floor and tin ceiling radiate its history. The menu is reliable and there's always a Bell's beer on tap. Grab one of the two window tables and people-watch or, if you're part of a big group, pull the tables together in back, under the giant painting of the naked lady.

Palio 347 S. Main St.; 734-930-6156; paliorestaurant.com; $$$: Italian fare in a convivial setting, with the usual pastas, lasagnas and chicken, veal and fish options. High culinary standards.

Pizza Bob's 814 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-4517; pizzabobs.com; $: It's about $7 for a 10-incher with pepperoni. Kinder still, you can share a 16-incher with same for $6.50 each. Don't want pepperoni? It'd cost the same for any topping, and they range from bacon and meatballs to banana peppers and pineapple. Lunch, dinner, takeout and delivery.

Prickly Pear Southwest Café 328 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-930-0047; pricklypearcafe.com; $$: Unique southwestern dining in a lively decorated and casual atmosphere. From scallop quesadillas to sweet potato enchiladas alongside their sought-after margaritas, it's a well-spent treat on the town.

Real Seafood Company 341 S. Main, Ann Arbor; 888-456-3463; realseafoodco.com; $$$: Comfortable, casual and sporting a great seafood menu, this "unchain" does it all, from fresh pastas to raw bar delicacies.

Red Hawk 316 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-4004; redhawkannarbor.com; $: The Red Hawk is a nice little place to stop in for a hot sandwich or a glass of uptown brew after scoring at the bookstores on Liberty Street. Their burgers are 7-ounce wonders, available with more than a dozen toppings from the usual to the extraordinary.

Seva 314 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-662-1111; sevarestaurant.com; $$: A few steps above the street, the raised patio offers diners a bit of respite from the foot, bike and car traffic criss-crossing downtown Ann Arbor. The eclectic dishes change weekly and range the globe (from Ethiopian to Mexican, Indian to Italian), converting traditional meat-based fare into vegetarian or vegan. They also offer a full bar and juice bar, smoothies and cocktails (all juices fresh squeezed, right down to the margarita lime), along with an extensive wine list. But these all-in-house-made offerings come at a moderate price: The most expensive entrée is just under $14. Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays; half-priced wine on Tuesdays.

Sweetwater's Cafe 123 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor, 734-769-2331; 407 N. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor;734-622-0084; 3393 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-327-6330; $$: Three clean-lined, wood-floored, pricey-baked-good-stocked locations — one in historic Kerrytown, one just a block from Main Street and Liberty, and one at Plymouth Green Crossings — position Sweetwater's as the sophisticated café choice in Ann Arbor. Signature coffees include the Dragon Eye (house coffee and condensed milk) and the Monkey Cap (a chocolate cappuccino).

Vinology 110 South Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-222-9841; vinowinebars.com; $$$: The Jonna family's Ann Arbor wine shop aims to educate people about wine. The space's interior decorating takes guests on a tour of sorts, showing the soils, sands and loams that give wine its terroir. And flights of wine are paired with delicate small plates to heighten everybody's enjoyment.

Weber's Restaurant 3050 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-665-3636; $$: Fitted inside this deluxe, full-service hotel, founded in 1937 by Herman Weber, this restaurant is still owned and operated by the Weber family, committed to guest satisfaction.

Zanzibar 216 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-7777; $$: Zanzibar serves user-friendly interpretations of cuisines from Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, India, the Caribbean and West Africa. The selection of full-meal salads is perhaps the best in the metro area. Try the grilled chicken breast rubbed with achiote paste, served atop baby greens, black beans, avocado, roasted peppers and dry Jack cheese with a citrus vinaigrette.

Zingerman's Delicatessen 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354; $$: Opened in March of 1982 by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in an historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market, the deli served as the foundation for the extended Zingerman's kingdom of today, which includes Zingerman's Next Door (422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-5282; $$), as fine a deli as anyone could wish for, and Zingerman's Roadhouse (2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3663; $$$) American food served in a setting that harks back to the day when weary travelers could recharge with a comforting meal by the roadside.

Special thanks to editorial intern Ali Harb for helping compile these listings.

See any inaccuracies in our listings? Anyplace that's closed? Any facts that have changed? Let us know! Send e-mails with corrected information to the editor of this column, Michael Jackman, at [email protected].

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