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“Stella’s is one-of-a-kind”
Review of Trattoria Stella

Trattoria Stella
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Ranked #8 of 316 Restaurants in Traverse City
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed January 13, 2014

Review is based on two separate experiences: one this past weekend, and one six months ago.

PROS:
1. Atmosphere - stellar. Feels like an old Burgundian wine cave. Exposed brick, little dining alcoves, a communal bar table; it's old-world Europe in the heart of TC.
2. Wine list - brilliant. The sommelier must be a formal angel? Or should run for President? It's well-balanced and offers a comprehensive selection of different varietals from different regions - there is something for everyone on this list. And the Col Vetoraz prosecco, yes, you could bury me with a case of this so I was happy in my afterlife.
3. Food - thoughtful. I choose this word for many reasons. One - menu development - is crazy good. Offal, seafood, wild boar, oysters, and an extreme list of antipasti which includes house-made burrata, a treat I would drive from GR to TC for alone. Two - quality - food sourcing and preparation is top-notch. Flavors, textures, total culinary experience, is expertly and purposefully designed. Again, 'thoughtful,' is the word that comes to mind. It is evident how carefully the menu was designed.

CONS:
1. Food - execution. On both dining occasions, there were little 'misses' in the execution of the well-designed dishes we had ordered. For the first occasion, I had ordered the wild boar, which was slightly overdone for how I had ordered it. For the second occasion, my husband ordered a pasta dish where the pasta was completely undone. Getting pasta to al dente requires art and science, and the cooks should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS taste each batch before serving it to ensure al dente has been achieved. My husband's pasta was crunchy in some bites, and tasted of raw flour. Good that you could tell it was homemade, but inexcusable that it left the kitchen unfinished.
2. Service - is generally good on the whole, but we did ask to switch out the pasta in my husband's dish. The dish he ordered was offered as a fettucine, and he simply does not enjoy long pasta. He asked if there was a bite-sized pasta available as an alternative, and our server responded saying that 'chef doesn't allow substitutions.' Let me clear. Chefs allows substitutions if they want their customers to return. Period. Secondly, to request a substitution of an immaterial nature, such as pasta, is reasonable. Asking to switch out a meat source, an herb, etc that completely alters the flavor profile of a dish is a different matter. Was not impressed with how our server handled this.

SUM: Will always go back to Stella's. Their menu is inventive, authentic, familiar but inspiring, and the atmosphere isn't something I've experienced in dining in any other restaurant in the state of Michigan.

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Thank Travel_Crazy_GRR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 9, 2014

Family went here on a Sunday night and it was packed. We had just arrived in town for vacation and came here based on recommendation from hotel. They were spot on. The staff instead of having us wait 2 hours, found us a table in the bar area that was even more fun. The service made the night, our waiter was friendly, engaged, new the menu and timed to courses exceptionally, Drinks for my wife and I after 8 hour car ride and delicious flatbread pizza;s for our boys came with zero delay. The rest of the meal, appetizers, pasta's and a veal were all great. We had a great time and the outstanding start to our holiday made the 4 days fly by! For others, reservations make sense, but cannot say enough to the staff here and the service.

Thank MJonesPE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2014

For speacial occations or bussiness (they have smaller rooms available) it is the best. Paul Amanda, and chef Miles are at the top of their game. The place is beautiful and always exciitingly inventive. We love trying somthing new. Amandas and the servers knowledge of the wine list is an education always finding value in somthing you will not have seen before. Paul runs it like a fine watch. Chef's forays into local pork dishes using the whole animal are not for my wife and I (pescatarians) but those we have taken are always "wowed" by the fabulouly prepared and presented meals. The roasted beet salad is to die for. Tuesday night Jazz is a local legend.

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Thank wssjam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

This was our second trip to Stella. As with the first, we had a wonderful meal in an awesome setting. The farm to table menu is not the typical "cookie cutter" Italian restaurant fare. We would go more often, were it not for the high prices. This is a great special occasion destination.

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Thank NinnieG59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

This restaurant was recommended to me by a co-worker who had been there a few times before. While I knew it was going to be good, I had no idea just how spectacular it would be. The restaurant is housed in a huge brick building that once housed an asylum of some sort. Spectacular setting. Our group of three was seated in one of the alcoves running down both sides of a long hallway.
When our waiter brought our menus, he treated us to an expert explanation of every dish, which just built the anticipation of a great meal to come. There was nothing on the menu that did not sound appetizing, and almost everything was sourced locally, which is a huge plus for me.
We ended up starting off with a grilled octopus dish served over sausage and beans. Simply amazing. Probably the most well prepared octopus I've ever had in my life.
For my main course I had a wild boar tenderloin, which was rich and tender beyond belief. I was in heaven the whole time.
To top everything off, the drinks and wine selections are out of this world, and again, the wait staff are encyclopedic in their knowledge of the offerings.

I cannot recommend Trattoria Stella highly enough. Not to be missed in Traverse City. Take someone special - she'll love it!

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

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