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“As our dinner companions said...”
Review of Mani Osteria

Mani Osteria
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Ranked #1 of 600 Restaurants in Ann Arbor
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: ANN ARBOR
Reviewed October 2, 2013

"The portions are for the skinny!"

Let's start with the atmosphere. We entered the restaurant, were welcomed by the hostess, and quickly sat at a spacious table for 4 by the large picture windows. We were able to gaze out on the people walking around and the traffic going by on Division Street. Those facing towards the north part of the restaurant had a good view of the pizza ovens and those behind the counters cooking them. There is a full bar located a short level below the larger dining area. Outdoor seating commenced around 8PM, I believe. As the evening went on, the overall volume in the restaurant rose to a point where we had to raise our voices a few levels.

The waitstaff for our table was very attentive, helpful with the menu, welcoming our dishes to each of us, and kept our water and wine glasses full.

My husband and I dined here with two other (hungry!) people. When the appetizers came out in small plates, our friends had a double-take! Mani isn't a huge pizzeria, full-blown Italian restaurant, nor is it a steakhouse. The food we ordered was culinary experience! Pasta chips infused with sesame seeds and paprika and white been puree for dipping. Pistachio pizza. Chicken liver mousse. Apricot and pork belly. Delicious and crisp calamari. The house red wine was a pleasant compliment to each dish. Next time we hope to try more of the menu, as well as indulge in their desserts!

Impress your friends and family with Mani's creativity.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank 1hotam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 1, 2013

I was in Ann Arbor as a guest for a literary event at the University of Michigan. The guests and other people involved in the event enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Mani Osteria. The coordinator ordered all the food ahead of time family-style so that we could enjoy our meal in a relaxed mood and become acquainted with each other.

When I first walked into the restaurant I was greeted with smiles. The place is just beautiful. I told the hostess that I was there it meet a large party from the University and I was brought back to their semi-private room upstairs. We were seated at a long table that already had a huge selection of charcuterie and cheese offerings along with roasted olives and a host of other delicious items.

Our waiter came around to take the drink orders. He recommended a favorite drink of his (The Nights of Cabiria) which he said was a delightful botanical drink. Although it was a gin drink (I tend to prefer bourbons) I decided to try it on his recommendation and was not disappointed. Indeed, the drink was light and refreshing with basil and garnished with a salt-crusted cucumber slice.

More food was brought out – we were told it was our appetizer. Bruchetta was supplied and a fried potato/prosciutto dish that was actually lighter than it sounds (it looked like mozzarella sticks but tasted divine). Lovely sauce for dipping as well. And then they brought out a beautiful salad!

We were starting to wonder just how many course we would be sharing. Our waiter told us we still had the pizza, the pasta and the dessert course. Ok, so now it’s time to pace ourselves, right? The pizza selections were amazing. Not your usual run-of-the-mill pizza that is serves everywhere. These were true works of art, perfect crust and interesting combinations of toppings. There was one pizza that had goat cheese with toasted pistachio nuts. It sounds strange, but let me tell you, it was delicious. Nice and crunchy with a burst of the goat cheese in each bite. There was also a pizza with zucchini. Very refreshing.

The pasta course was spaghetti and meat balls. As full as I was, I had to try the meat balls, right? After all, they were hand-made. And they did not disappoint. Perfectly seasoned and the accompanying sauce was tasty.

Dessert??? Everyone says you simply must. They brought out a plate of cannolis with a selection of flavors. I chose the chocolate, although I am sure the other favors were fantastic, too.

After this amazing meal I thought they were going to have to roll me back to my hotel! The food was so good. Oh, and I enjoyed the company immensely. When I walked in I didn't know a soul. But share such a wonderful meal like this together and we were all fast friends. It was a memorable evening.

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Thank Ann V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Mani Osteria is a very exciting restaurant. I cook a lot and find most restaurants to be less creative than me, and the food usually less tasty than my cooking. Mani is something else. It's a bit expensive, but the food is creative, ever-changing and tasty.
Every trip is a culinary expedition and I learn about new ingredients. I would focus on their appetizers, they are the strongest aspect of Mani. Like!

Thank Amos D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

Not from Ann Arbor, my husband & I wanted to eat at a restaurant that wasn't a chain but was something unique & new! Our B&B hosts suggested Mani and we are so glad they did. From the bartender down to our server, we received the best service bar none! The suggestions they gave us food & drink wise were incredible! We were going to try another restaurant for dessert, but Mani also had an excellent dessert menu so we stayed. This is the place to go in Ann Arbor!

    • Value
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Thank PeacefulDreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Fantastic osteria, food great, drinks great and very knowledgeable server Sara, who knew everything about the menu and the beverages and since it was our first visit she made great suggestions and painted a good picture of what we might order. We also had a member of our party with a significant allergy so she helped us understand what he could safely consume. It was a Saturday night and every spot in this large establishment was full. We had reservations so we were seated promptly.
The cocktails were unique and very tasty. The non alcoholic strawberry mint lemonade was refreshingly light. We tried several antipasti including the garbanzo bean salad which was tasty with a hint of spice, the crab gazpacho with fresh tomato flavor was tasted by several of us and that along with the pork belly and apricot marmalade were my personal favorites. The mussels, garlicky, large morsels with broth so tasty it was sopped up with their crusty bread were A+ also.
We ordered 3 salads amongst us. The arugula with mushroom, the fig and prosciutto and the caesar. They were all fresh, large portions, the caesar in particular had an unusual preparation in that the egg that is usually raw and mixed into the dressing came soft boiled and rolled in a light crumb that crowned the salad and just begged the diner to gently cut into it so the soft warm yolk and white could be mixed as little or as much into the salad and dressing as the diner desired. This preparation takes away the "stigma" of the raw egg approach which some diners object to.
Two couples at our table ordered different pasta entrees and the other couple ordered one of the pizzas. The pasta was hand made, which is a rarity and both the dish that was veal broth based and the linguini with tender bay scallops were thoroughly enjoyed. The wood fired thin crust pizza with garlic spinach and burrata cheese drizzled with an aged balsamic was the surprise in that you couldn't eat just one............slice that is!
Coffee, espresso and desserts were offered and just because we were full does NOT mean we passed. Espresso was brewed well, the Affogato was creamy, cold, ice cream with a piping hot espresso poured over and it was delicious and partly responsible for the time of this review. The one item we feel should be removed from the menu was the triple mini cannoli's. We wanted to like them but just couldn't. The flavors of all three were off point. Despite that everything else, including Sara's expert service, was outstanding and we will definitely return.

Thank shmtw2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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