A warm dining room, hearty Northern Italian dishes and friendly service make Gratzi, off Ann Arbor's Main Street, a delightful place to grab a meal. The grand two-story dining room features warm woods and gleaming brass, white-cloth-topped tables, and eccentric touches such as a statue of Orpheus over the bar and a giant mural of bacchanalia. The effect is inviting and welcoming - here, you can relax.
The menu, handed over in interactive iPad form (for daily updates, according to our server), features Northern Italian standards, with an ever-rotating selection of specialties that reflect different regions of Italy. One month, the specials may explore Sicilian cusine; another month, perhaps flavors from Abruzzo. It's a smart way to entice diners back again and again - not that guests need much enticing, with food like this.
Our lunch started with an antipasti plate ($11.25) of a lovely, mild Parmesan cheese, roasted peppers and asparagus, and thin-shaved proscuitto. A bowl of orichette with fresh sausage and broccolini ($10.95) arrived loaded with veggies, fresh and green, and left a residiual heat from the spicy sausage. And for dessert, we loved the delicate dark-chocolate crepes wrapped around heavenly light white chocolate mousse (a play on cannoli, for $5.95). Other tempting options included salmon served over gnocchi and chicken marsala.
An extensive wine list, gluten-free meal options and our server's deep knowledge of regional specialties made our meal even more appealing. For diners looking for comforting Italian classics, Grazi pleases.