4. Taste Kitchen

Taste Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants in AA! The food is exceptional as they integrate Asian flavors into American dishes with different and unique ingredients, creating a great taste! So, if you’re ever in town and looking for good food, visit Taste Kitchen.

However there are limited spots and most of the time you have to be lucky to get a seat without a reservation (at least for me). Also, the tables are quite small, so you would be scrambling for space and there isn’t much privacy between you and the next table.

At the end it’s worth it. So grab yourself a reservation and enjoy the food.

Personally, I’ve visited Taste Kitchen 3 times, and so far I’ve enjoyed everything on the menu. Considering the taste, and the atmosphere of the restaurant, it’s a local favorite to treat/bring a visitor so many academic departments invite guest speakers/professors to this restaurant when they visit AA.

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  As soon as you walk in through the doors, a server will greet you and ask if you have any reservations. On your unlucky days (if you don’t a reservation), you will be rejected right here. But, if you have a reservation, they’ll check your name and guide you to a table.

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Beside the podium (where the red bag is) there are hangers in which you can hang your coats. This was very useful in the winter when we had bulky winter gear, but the seats and tables were too small to fit all of our stuff.

20170418_190541Behind the chairs and bar, we see a glimpse of the kitchen. When your food is prepared, it is lifted onto the high top and the chef gives it a last inspection before your waiter brings it to you.

The waiters are friendly and very knowledgeable about the food within the restaurant. If you are unsure of what to get, feel free to ask for recommendations!

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On days when you can’t get a reservation, there may be some seats available in the bar area which you can take. Personally, I don’t enjoy eating at high tops because I like my feet in contact with the ground, but this is highly personal and you may enjoy high tops! In that case, you rarely have to make a reservation because the bar seats are nearly always available.

This night we ordered an entree (Fish tacos),

and two main dishes (Grilled Filet & Roasted Duck Breast).

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I really enjoyed the fish tacos, but my friend said it tasted too “fish-y”.

The first time I visited Taste Kitchen we ordered shrimp risotto as an entree and it was great. I highly recommend it, but it can be a little salty.

The two main dishes we ordered were great.

Our main dishes today (in comparison to the first time which was a 9.5/10) was 9/10. The roasted duck breast was great, but the grilled wasn’t great. Also, another great thing about Taste Kitchen is their potion size. It’s not to big and not too small (but it could quite small for some). I personally enjoy smaller portions as I like to grab a desert for the finale.

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The grilled filet was great in comparison to other steaks, but from Taste Kitchen I expected something more unique. If this were a normal steak house, I think I would have rated it a 8.5~9/10. The sauce and the tenderness were all good, but I was just hoping for that extra Asian twist.

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The roasted duck breast was better, and I would rate it a solid 9/10. It was tender and juicy with the Asian twist! I really enjoyed the texture, and the overall (although slightly bland) flavor of the dish.

The shaking beef and Berkshire grilled pork are also great dishes which I highly recommend you try!

20170418_193946Finally to the desert menu! So the desert menu…is great too, but I would only recommend it once as there isn’t a wide variety (unless you’re going for something with alcohol)

I’ve tried the lemon meringue and chocolate bodino squares previously which is a 8.5/10 and 8/10 respectively.

This time I tried the coconut panna cotta which would be a 7.5~8/10. It has the coconut flavor to it, but after 4 scoops, I didn’t want more. It feels like coconut and gelatin mixed together.

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I wouldn’t say it was fantastic, but then again it wasn’t bad either. I don’t think I would get it again though. However, if you are a coconut fan, you may enjoy it!

Overall, my experience with Taste Kitchen allows me to give it a rating of 9/10. The taste of the food is great, and if you are looking for quality food I would recommend this restaurant. In comparison to the other Asian fusion restaurant (Pacific Rim), I would recommend Taste Kitchen because it provides better food at a lower price.

If it’s graduation and your parents are in town, take them to taste kitchen. If it’s a chill night and you want great food, try taste kitchen. If you don’t know what to eat, and it’s a weekday in which you have free time (and money) to spend outside, try taste kitchen.

Well thank you for reading my blog and I hope you get to try Taste Kitchen if you are in Ann Arbor for any occasion!

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3. Cafe Zola

The third restaurant I will introduce from my Ann Arbor Restaurant series is Cafe Zola!

Cafe Zola is my favorite brunch place and it’s a great location for instagram.

Cafe Zola

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Location: 112 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Breakfast/Brunch: 7am – 4pm

Happy Hour: 4pm – 6pm

Dinner: 6pm – 10pm

(And according to Yelp, Cafe Zola is a Turkish restaurant)

They are famous for their breakfast and brunch, and I would recommend it too. I’ve been there a couple of times with my friends and the food was always delicious.

The first menu I chose was the Kobe burger, which was great, but it was quite difficult to eat (due to size, which is the case for most) and it wasn’t special compared to other Kobe burgers. However, I met my favorite dish, “Monte Cristo”!

I would wake up around 10 am on a Sunday morning, then prepare and walk down Main street to Cafe Zola. Along the way, everything feels romantic and pretty. By the way, this walk feels amazing during spring/summer, but a little too cold to enjoy during winters.

After a nice brunch, I would walk down to Blank Slate creamery and grab an ice-cream (which is very difficult to do now because there are just too many people, so I opt for Kilwins). With great food and a sweet dessert, my Sunday starts amazing and I’m ready to put some work in for Monday!

This day, we arrived around 3:40 pm (just before their brunch menu ended). Also, it was awfully quiet, usually it would be extremely packed and noisy. But, the quiet atmosphere was nice to have as I could have a conversation with my friend without interruption.

20170409_160347To accompany our meal, we ordered smoothies. I ordered a Zola’s Simply Delicious, and my friend ordered a Five Berry Crush. I usually get the Five Berry Crush but for a change I ordered Zola’s Simply Delicious…but I must say I prefer the Five Berry Crush.

Zola’s Simply Delicious tastes a lot of banana, while Five Berry Crush has the taste of mixed berries, and personally (although I like Bananas) I prefer berries.

Finally, our food!

As usual, I ordered a Monte Cristo, and my friend ordered a Meatball sandwich. With the Monte Cristo, you also get strawberry jam in which you can dip the toast. The combination of the salty toast and sweet jam is amazing!

With plenty more beautiful days to come in Ann Arbor, I hope you guys have the opportunity to try my Sunday brunch schedule!