Dining Guide 2021 Results


Best Restaurant: Inexpensive (under $10)

Winner: Chela’s

Runner-Up: Jerusalem Garden

Best Restaurant: Overall

Winner: Amadeus Restaurant

Runner-Up: Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Best “Splurge” Restaurant

Winner: Sava’s

Runner-Up: Weber’s

Best View

Winner: The Boro

Runner-Up: Johnny’s on the Lake

Best Outdoor Patio/Dining

Winner: The Session Room

Runner-Up: Bigalora

Best Waterfront Dining

Winner: Zukey Lake Tavern

Runner-Up: Webber’s Waterfront Restaurant

Hidden Gem

Winner: Dolores

6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti. 734-547-3727. Doloresypsi.com.

The heart of Ypsilanti hides some of the best spots in Washtenaw County. One of the best-kept secrets is Dolores, a small Mexican restaurant that hides around the corner from Red Rock Barbecue. The tricky part is finding it. Dolores has managed to make itself a hidden gem by keeping its outside unmarked. The lack of marking can make it difficult to find, but once you find it, you won’t want to leave. Dolores works in an a la carte style, where you can pick out a wide range of foods to try. The menu is short, sweet, and authentic, and even includes a few vegetarian options for those who want to avoid any type of meat. Although the menu may seem a little too short to some, there is enough variety present to let patrons try all sorts of different flavor combinations to find the perfect mix. Due to COVID, the restaurant is currently only open two days a week. However, you can still stop by two days a week to try some of these tasty tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas the restaurant has to offer. It’s the perfect place to pick a dish and share with friends to try the different options Dolores has to offer!

Runner-Up: Jefferson Market

Fast-Casual Eatery

Winner: First Bite

Runner-Up: Frita Batidos

First Date Restaurant

Winner: Amadeus Restaurant

Runner-Up: Miss Kim

Mom & Pop Restaurant

Winner: The Jefferson Market

Runner-Up: Alpha Coney Island

New Restaurant

Winner: The Boro

5400 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor. 734-669-3310. theborotogo.com

Want something new to try? Head on over to The Boro in the picturesque village of Dixboro. The restaurant is settled in a century-old barn that was originally erected in the 1880s but has been utilized as a restaurant since 1934. The restaurant opened during the pandemic and is spearheaded by Adventura and Seva owner, Sava Farah. With chef Louis Maldonado and baker Annemarie Maldonado, the team has created a beautiful, rustic restaurant with a beautiful backdrop. The Boro holds a rustic feel, which pairs perfectly with the rustic style of food. The Boro has both a dine-in menu and a take-out menu, providing patrons with options on how they want to dine. For the dine-in menu, you can try the entrees they have to offer. This includes caramelized scallops, roasted half duck, or even the bone-in ‘prime’ filet! If you’re on the go, the take-out menu can give you a variety of items that travel well. Whatever way to dine you choose, you definitely should at least try one of their pizzas. The Boro has redone their location to accommodate the menu item that the restaurant wanted to focus on: wood-fired pizzas. There are a variety of pizzas you can pick up, and each one will appeal to your taste buds.

Runner-Up: Bellflower

Old School Favorite

Winner: Knight’s Steakhouse

Runner-Up: Fleetwood

Restaurant You Want to Try

Winner: The Boro

Runner-Up: Paesanos

Restaurant to Take a Foodie

Winner: Zingermans’ Roadhouse

Runner-Up: Bellflower

Place for a Late Night Munchies

Winner: Fleetwood Diner

Runner-Up: Kosmo

Place for a Business Lunch

Winner: Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Runner-Up: Carlyle

Place to Impress Your Date

Winner: Blue LLama Jazz Club

314 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. 734-372-3200. bluellamaclub.com

Since the Blue LLama opened, it’s brought some of the best jazz shows to Ann Arbor into an intimate setting. Paired with the sophisticated ambiance, it makes for the perfect place to impress your date! The lighting in the venue is low, which creates a romantic atmosphere for dates. The ceiling is sprinkled with lights that glow and twinkle, giving the feeling of eating below the stars. Each table has its own lighting as well, which keeps seeing your date and dinner easy while ensuring the jazz musicians are easily visible for all audience members. Everyone is spaced out well enough that you don’t feel too close to the tables next to you. Our suggestion would be to select a high-top table when possible. Although it seems like these tables would be too far from the stage, the higher-up position makes it the ideal place to have a quiet dinner for two while never missing a note. And don’t get us started on the food. Every plate is delicious and ideal for sharing with the person you’re trying to impress. If you’re wanting to make an impression on your date, the Blue LLama Jazz Club is the place to go!

Runner-Up: The Earle

Place to Be Seen

Winner: Cafe Zola

Runner-Up: Zingerman’s

Restaurant: Ann Arbor

Winner: Amadeus Restaurant

Runner-Up: Real Seafood Co.

Restaurant: Brighton

Winner: Brighton Bar & Grill

Runner-Up: Bourbon’s

Restaurant: Chelsea

Winner: The Common Grill

Runner-Up: Grateful Crow

Restaurant: Dexter

Winner: Dexter’s Pub

Runner-Up: Jolly Pumpkin

Restaurant: Plymouth

Winner: Campari’s on the Park

Runner-Up: Park Place Gastropub

Restaurant: Saline

Winner: Salt Springs Brewery

Runner-Up: Mac’s Arcadian Seafood

Restaurant: Ypsilanti

Winner: Bellflower

Runner-Up: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Restaurant Worth a Drive

Winner: Shorty’s True American Roadhouse

Runner-Up: AQUA Restaurant

Spot for Breakfast

Winner: Northside Grill

Runner-Up: Avalon

Spot for Brunch

Winner: Cafe Zola

Runner-Up: Avalon

Best Use of Local Ingredients

Winner: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Let’s face it: Nothing is better than delicious tacos made from local ingredients. Maiz Mexican Cantina is the perfect example of how to best use local ingredients. The restaurant provides both indoor and outdoor seating, making every spot comfortable for patrons. If you get a seat outside, you may even have a chance to wave as the passenger trains pass by! And the food at Maiz is nothing short of phenomenal. Chef’s prepare food from scratch daily. They obtain local ingredients from local purveyors as well, which is something you notice with your first bite. Each bite contains some of the best local ingredients combined in a perfectly balanced Tex-Mex dish. We could recommend a specific dish but, to be honest, everything we’ve tried here has been phenomenal. The burritos are stuffed full with a delicious mix of fresh vegetables and meat. Or you can get it as a vegetarian dish, no problem. The chips and salsa (which is provided to each table) are crisp, delicious, and are definitely prone to filling you up before your meal if you’re not being careful. Maiz doesn’t know what it means to make a bad dish, and it’s amazing.

Runner-Up: Spencer

Spot for Lunch

Winner: Jerusalem Garden

Runner-Up: Amadeus Restaurant

Food Truck

Winner: Bao Boys

Runner-Up: Shimmy Shack


Best Baristas

Winner: Arbor Farms

Runner-Up: Hyperion Coffee

Best Bartenders

Winner: Wolverine State Brewing Company

Runner-Up: Frasers

Best Brewer

Winner: Nick Panchame, HOMES Brewery

Runner-Up: 734 Brewing Company

Best Chef

Winner: Chef Christian at The Ravens Club

Runner-Up: Eve Aronoff Fernandez at Frita Batidos

Best Overall Staff

Winner: The Last Word

Runner-Up: Aventura

Farmers Market Vendor

Winner: Sparr’s Flowers & Greenhouse

Runner-Up: Spicey Mike’s

Local Food Supporter

Winner: Argus Farm Stop

Runner-Up: Growing Hope

Coffee Roaster

Winner: RoosRoast Coffee

Runner-Up: Hyperion

Pastry Chef/Baker

Winner: Ellen Whitehat from Ellen’s Fine Goods

Runner-Up: The Chop House


Winner: Paul Strozynski from Amadeus

Runner-Up: Jon Carlson from Sava

Cooking Classes

Winner: Zingerman’s

Runner-Up: Last Bite Chef


Bar: Ann Arbor

Winner: The Last Word

Runner-Up: Ann Arbor Distilling Co.

Bar: Saline

Winner: Salt Springs Brewery

Runner-Up: Smokehouse 52 BBQ

Bar: Dexter

Winner: Beer Grotto Dexter

Runner-Up: Jolly Pumpkin

Bar: Chelsea 

Winner: Robin Hills Farm

Runner-Up: Ugly Dog Distillery

Bar: Ypsilanti

Winner: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Runner-Up: The Wurst Bar

Bar: Brighton

Winner: Brighton Bar and Grille

Runner-Up: Stout Irish Pub

Best Bar Overall

Winner: The Last Word

Runner-Up: Nightcap

Dive Bar

Winner: 8-Ball

Runner-Up: Alley Bar

Wine List

Winner: Vinology Restaurant & Event Space

Runner-Up: Blue LLama Jazz Club

Craft Cocktail Selection

Winner: The Last Word

Runner-Up: Bobcat Bonnie’s

Local Spirits

Winner: Ann Arbor Distilling Company

Runner-Up: River Raisin Distillery

Happy Hour

Winner: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Runner-Up: Real Seafood

Hangover Cure

Winner: Frita Batidos

117 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor. 734-761-2882. fritabatidos.com

Have you ever tried a frita after a night of partying? If not, then you need to head down to Frita Batidos. A Frita is a burger that is made with spicy chorizo and is served with shoestring fries on top of a soft egg bun. It’s the perfect combination to absorb your long party night! Frita Batidos also offers a variety of variations of the frita if you’re looking for something that better fits your diet, culture, or religion. If chorizo isn’t for you, Frita Batidos also offers chicken, black bean, beef, or fish instead. If possible, you should make your frita loco. This will add muenster cheese, a sunny side-up egg, cilantro-lime salsa, tropical slaw, and avocado spread. What’s more, each ingredient at Frita Batidos is from Michigan or the Midwest whenever possible. The fresh meat is obtained from farms that only use humane practices, and they’re always looking for local, humane farms or purveyors to add to their resources. Check out their Menu Guide for all the vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, and other dietary options that are present on their menu. If you feel the frita isn’t soaking up your night out fast enough, you could also take the hair-of-the-dog approach and pick up a batido. These shakes are served with a little rum, but you can also get it without rum and it’s just as delicious. 

Runner-Up: Fleetwood Diner

Locally Brewed Beer

Winner: Wolverine State Brewing Company

Runner-Up: Arbor Brewing Company

Place to Buy Local Beer

Winner: Arbor Farms

Runner-Up: Jolly Pumpkin

Place to Drink Local Beer

Winner: Wolverine State Brewing Company

Runner-Up: Corner Brewery

Bloody Mary

Winner: Gandy Dancer

Runner-Up: Bobcat Bonnies


Winner: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Runner-Up: Isalita


Winner: Blue Llama Jazz Club

Runner-Up: Alley Bar

Uncommon Cocktail

Winner: Bobcat Bonnie’s

Runner-Up: The Last Word


Creative Burger

Winner: Amadeus Restaurant

Runner-Up: HopCat

Creative Pizzas

Winner: Blaze

Runner-Up: Anthony’s Pizza


Winner: Knight’s on Dexter’s Road

Runner-Up: Chop House


Winner: Yotsuba

Runner-Up: Godaiko


Winner: Jerusalem Garden

Runner-Up: Palm Palace

Mac N’ Cheese

Winner: Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Runner-Up: Wolverine State Brewing Co.


Winner: Big Bear BBQ

Runner-Up: Grand Traverse Pie


Winner: Big Bear BBQ


Runner-Up: Wolverine State Brewing Co.


Winner: Maiz Mexican Cantina

Runner-Up: Chela’s

Pasta Dish

Winner: Palio

Runner-Up: Mani Osteria and Bar

Killer Salads

Winner: Seva

Runner-Up: Knight’s on Dexter


Winner: Ma Lou’s Chicken


Runner-Up: Wing Stop


Winner: Big Bear BBQ

Runner-Up: Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Gluten-Free Options

Winner: The Blue Nile


Runner-Up: Anna’s House

Vegan Options

Winner: Seva

Runner-Up: Detroit Filling Station

Vegetarian Options

Winner: Seva

Runner-Up: The Blue Nile

Most Instragram-Worthy Plates

Winner: Chef G

Runner-Up: Pacific Rim

Comfort Food

Winner: Zingerman’s Roadhouse

2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-663-3663. zingermansroadhouse.com

Zingerman’s is a nationally recognized restaurant. People from across the country come to Ann Arbor to try some of the delicious sandwiches. But Zingerman’s Roadhouse brings something a little more comforting to the table. Zingerman’s Roadhouse has some of the best comfort foods in the area. It’s not just about their delicious Poutine and Chili & Cheddar Fries, either. They also offer some delicious BBQ meats, provided by pit-master Ed Mitchell. The BBQ at Zingerman’s Roadhouse is made using traditional methods, which means the meats are slow-cooked over a wood-fired open pit. This gives their BBQ the perfect amount of time it needs to be packed full of flavor. For those not really interested in the meat aspect, you can indulge in a variety of their macaroni and cheese. The Cabot cheddar that is caramelized with the Martelli pasta makes it all worthwhile. Maybe you’re just looking to get something comforting while heading up to the next University of Michigan Football game? Good news! Zingerman’s Roadhouse also provides tailgating catering, making it the perfect place to get something tasty before heading out into the cold stadium. Those looking for a taste of something delicious yet comforting should definitely try Zingerman’s Roadhouse.

Runner-Up: The Bomber


Winner: Wolverine State Brewing Company

Runner-Up: Bobcat Bonnie’s

Healthy Fast Food

Winner: Core Life Eatery


Runner-Up: KouZina Greek Street Food

+ posts

Recent Articles