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Ann Arbor Business Dinner

Hello. I will be hosting a dinner for about 8 professors from University of Michigan (in Ann Arbor) on Wednesday, November 8. Could you receommend a place with a fairly quiet atmosphere and $15-25 entrees? Hopefully the food is good but not to exotic. Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Mediterrano on Eisenhower across from Briarwood might fit the bill. I believe that most of their entrees fall into the $15-$25 category. The food is usually well-prepared, the waitstaff is usually excellent, and they have a decent wine list. Caveat: I haven't eaten there more recently than two years ago.

    My recent steak at the Earle was $29, but I think that there are a number of dishes that fall between $15-25. The Earle, of course, is an Ann Arbor mainstay.

    1. I have to say I thought of the Earle first, it's definitely quiet.

      I prefer them to Mediterrano. IMO, the Earle is tops in town (and more) for service and beverage service. Best wine list in the state, if that matters.

      Food is good rather than great, but that could sum up Ann Arbor as a whole. The Earle is country French/Italian. I'm talking about the original Earle on Washington, not the Earle Uptown, which is more expensive.

      I haven't been there in a while, but some people whose opinions I respect really like what they've done at Pacific Rim by Kana. It's Pan-Asian, and pretty reasonable too.

      But as noted above, the Earle is an AA institution, so you'd get style points just for taking them there.

        1. The Earle?? Yech. Ate there a year ago. Totally overrated. What an undergrad's vision of a "fancy restaurant" is.

          I'd rather eat at the West End Grill, The Moveable Feast, or the old standby, The Gandy Dancer. Travel a little distance out to Chelsea to the Common Grill.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodGroupie

            The Gandy Dancer was good 20 years ago. They have definitely gone down hill in the intervening years.

            I've yet to have a decent meal in my four trips to the Common Grill.

            The Earle has been consistent over the years, and I would hardly describe it as fancy. It was always casual. Plus, you get to hear very good jazz (at least I did).

            I don't think that the Moveable Feast exists any more.

            1. re: Summerfield

              I like the Earle for appetizers and wine, which could be a very good setting for conversation. I'm always a little bit disappointed in their entrees--not terrible, but I feel like I could've made them myself.

              Moveable Feast is long gone, and the Common Grill is not quiet, and it's a bit of a drive. For U-M professors I would try the Bella Ciao--very small, personal, sophisticated Italian place. Very quiet. Entrees would be toward the top of your range. If you get the feeling that there are some more adventurous eaters in your group, try Eve in Kerrytown. That one could go over $25. Paesano's on Washtenaw is also good--looks like a chain Italian place, but it's not. Ann Arbor Italian lovers know it for the real thing.

          2. I might have to give Bella Ciao another try. My wife and I favored it for our anniversaries, but the last time out (a few years ago) everything (and I do mean everything) was way off from what we were accustomed to at Bella Ciao. Since we don't get out that much any more, we've stayed away, which is too bad because that restaurant has some nice space for eating.

            I second your opinion on Paesano's, which really has taken over Italian duty from Bella Ciao for me. I was just looking at their on-line fall menu and it looks great.

            What happened to Amadeus?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Summerfield

              Amadeus is still there, but you remember it's a very small place. 8 people in there would be about a quarter of the restaurant.

              I really am not a fan of Gandy Dancer. Really. I haven't been to Bella Ciao in a long time, because they weren't too good the last couple times. Common Grill is fair, but if you want to have a conversation, well it's one of those rooms designed to be loud.

              Paesano's has a good rep, but I don't know it.

              I recommended the Earle, but I didn't rave about their cooking. It's a nice room, with very good service, great beverage service, and you can find something decent to eat. Not great, but okay.

              Frankly, there is no great food in Ann Arbor restaurants.

              Moveable Feast has been gone for 10 years.