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“A taste of northern Italy in northern Michigan”
Review of Tuscan Bistro

Tuscan Bistro
Ranked #71 of 308 Restaurants in Traverse City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: American, Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
193 reviews
151 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“A taste of northern Italy in northern Michigan”
Reviewed May 21, 2014

Tastefully decorated and there is a nice view of the bay. The bar is open and friendly. The servers know the menu and are attentive and friendly. Soon after you are seated, you are served warm bread with a great pesto dipping sauce. Lots of terrific looking appetizers. Great looking entrees, with that northern Italy touch. The house salad with a honey balsamic dressing was very good. I decided on the Cavatell con Ragu di Funghi--Cavatelli, made with ricotta cheese with a wild mushroom ragu, herbs, garlic and a cream sauce.....absolutely delicious.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Veronica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    89
    47
    25
    16
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
northern michigan
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Wonderful food, just be sure to make reservation”
Reviewed May 14, 2014

We were there on a Saturday night and luckily we made a last second reservation. We had to sit on a high top by the bar but it was fine for us. It was great food all around and a nice atmosphere. I would recommend for a reasonably priced place with nice portions.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank paulretherford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traverse City, Michigan
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Shocking...Do not bring small children...will never go back.”
Reviewed March 6, 2014

We went on a week nite...hungry. Having heard good things...excited ~ because good Italian is great eats. We took our 6yr old daughter she wanted spaghetti...we ordered the KIDS at $6 . It had plain tomato sauce. We asked a meatball be added ~ no go the reply. What do you have? Ground Sausage. Ok do it. The waiter stated there would be just a slight up charge. Fine. And that is as far as GOOD got.

The up charge was $4.95 for a table spoon at best...more like a dusting teaspoon of dried up hope it was sausage . Further, they charged $3.00 for a 1/2 full styrofoam coffee cup of milk ~ that they had to run across to a gas station to get !

WARNING...AVOID WHEN WITH SMALL CHILDREN AND ASK FOR FULL DETAILS OF WHAT AN "UP CHARGE" WILL BE !! Our 6yrs old dinner was higher priced then ours and it was a very small child's portion, cold to boot. Our dinners ...were just ok & very small servings. Excitement dashed...upset we got for dessert. AVOID.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Craig H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clare, MI
Level 5 Contributor
40 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Not a great location, but love the Tuscan Bistro!”
Reviewed February 12, 2014

I've visited this place twice, once this past fall and once last week (early Feb 2014), and both times have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of food here. Our first visit we enjoyed the tuna steak salad (which WAS quite flavorful in our experience, another reviews wasn't so lucky), the calamari appetizer (excellent, even better than North Peak, which is saying something) and a bowl of soup. This visit we enjoyed the calamari again since I was looking forward to it since my last visit, as well as some mushroom pasta dish I cannot pronounce as it was titled in Italian (very good,strong mushroom flavor). My wife got the chicken breast panini and a guest of ours ordered a different panini...both of them raved about how good they were. The fries (lunchtime) are excellent, when a restaurant cares enough to have amazing french fries you know they care about everything on their menu. The bread they serve you upon being seated is phenomenal, I'm a big pre-dinner restaurant bread fan, and they serve it with garlic olive oil...delicious!

The TB offers two types of seating- either right at the bar or high tables around the bar area, or regular tables in the dining area, where there's a nice cozy fireplace, with a nice non-cramped layout. The fireplace was a nice touch since on our last visit in early Feb it was about 6 degrees outside and a gale wind with -10 wind chills. So whichever your seating preference, they have you covered.

The Tuscan Bistro isn't Olive Garden, it's a bit more upscale than that food-wise, but it doesn't have the ambiance of Trattoria Stella either, it sits comfortably in between with real gourmet meals carefully prepared and presented, and has its own charm. There was music playing softly, and a TV or two quietly playing in the bar area, but not distracting for those in the dining area. After two separate visits we decided this is one of our go-to places.

The location, by comparison to the majority of restaurants in TC, is off the beaten path but only slightly. It's up the Leelenau Peninsula side, west of the Bay, about a mile or two up Bayshore/22 or whatever you call it, on the west side of the road. It sits in a building shared by a real estate company and an Edward Jones office... kind of odd for a somewhat upscale restaurant to share a building, but perhaps the owner also owns the other businesses and this method works for them? I'm not sure. It'd be great to see them in their own building one day.

The prices aren't cheap per se, lunches average about $10 and up, dinners double that and up but they're not quite at a linen tablecloth price range either in my opinion. As we all know you get what you pay for, and TB's prices are on par with competitors and adequate for the quality of food served here.

Looking forward to our next trip!

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Huskee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rapid City, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Great food and friendly staff.”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

Tuna spinach salad was great! Tuna was just seared and very tasty. Friends had glazed salmon and flank steak and both were equally great. Topped off with cream brûlée and tiramisu which were perfect to top off a great evening of wine and dinner with the girls!

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Cms2716
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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