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Real Seafood Co and Gratzi in Ann Arbor

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I need some feedback on these two restaurants. The reviews are very mixed. Thanks!

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  1. My own experience: they are mixed. I've had great meals at both, and others not so good. They're both run by the same chain, and they are pretty good at serving large crowds effectively. Accordingly, if you keep it simple, you can do pretty well. Real Seafood goes through a lot of fish, and when I've ordered things like whitefish there I've always found it fresh. The basic pasta dishes and the antipasto at Gratzi are good, too, although I think the price/food ratio is better at Palio across the street. Fancier specials at either place can go astray, and if you really want to splurge, these are not the places I would go in AA. OTOH, for a birthday party or a reliable meal before going to a concert or something, they do the job they set out to do.

    1. Jim's definitely put his finger on it. They are very mixed. I once had one of the finest lunches I've ever had during a slow afternoon at Gratzi, but I've also had times where the service has been unmitigatedly rude. Some of the food is just ok, but it is generally never really bad.

      Real Seafood has its ups and downs too. In my experience, the service at Real Seafood is generally a bit better, but I haven't been to either restaurant in a year. Real Seafood does do very nice dishes, especially their specials. And their hot rocks appetizer is excellent, as is their coconut cream pie. Like Jim said, keep it simple at both places and you'll do fine.

      One thing I've noticed, a difference between the two is at Real Seafood, if you have any problem, they'll try to correct it, At Gratzi, you might get a little arguing from the server or manager if you voice a concern, which I find to be intolerable.

      One caveat, I think that Real Seafood is due for a remodel sometime this spring, so check to make sure they're open if you're going.

      1. If it is Italian you are after, I highly recommend Paesano's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Markcron

          I've had three very good dinners at Paesano's--and two terrible lunches. What makes it worse, the two lunches were in the same day. The first lunch was bad--I sent it back and they were very willing to have me order something else. I did--and it was worse! I know they have a different chef at lunch than at dinner, so.....

          1. re: Longing for Italy

            Paesano's is uneven, too. I think pastas, salads, and soups/stews are great, meat and seafood not so much. But their highs are high enough that I keep going there—also the good wine list. Of course, they now have a totally new chef, so all bets are off.

        2. My experiences have been a bit more consistent than the other posters. Gratzi has been one of my favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor for years now. I LOVE the atmosphere - it's an old theater, so it has a very unique feel, and the artwork and balcony seating really adds to the experience. I think their Italian entrées are the best in town. The ingredients are fresh and prices are pretty reasonable for Main Street. I'd definitely recommend giving it a try if you've never been.

          As for Real Seafood, my experiences are a bit more limited as I'm not a huge seafood fan. However, I've enjoyed all my trips there and know some seafood lovers that swear by the place. I remember really enjoying the mussel appetizer in red sauce. I also remember being very pleased with the service. I hope this helped!