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Posted on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

Mani Osteria makes list of 20 best Italian restaurants in America; Mario Batali loves it too

By Jessica Webster

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A pizza comes out of the oven at Mani Osteria in Ann Arbor.

Melanie Maxwell |

The accolades keep coming. On the heels of being named the 10th best college town in the country and the seventh best small city for successful aging, Ann Arbor can now brag that we've got one of the 20 best Italian restaurants in America, at least according to the September issue of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Open just since last spring, Mani Osteria is a relative newcomer on the Ann Arbor restaurant scene, but it has already made a big splash nationally. Detroit Free Press critic Sylvia Rector named it one of the10 best new Metro Detroit restaurants, and Food & Wine listed the Mani as one of the top new pizza restaurants in the world.

Mani Osteria's pizzas are the focus of Travel + Leisure's write-up as well. They mention the restaurant's new clam pizza and their use of "more nuanced ingredients like pickled chilies, garlic cream, mint, chili pesto, and black truffles."

You can see the full list on the Travel + Leisure site.

It turns out that celebrity chef Mario Batali is a fan too. He tweeted a photo from the restaurant on Saturday night, with the caption: "Loved Mani in Ann Arbor !!! Ribs w charred shishito. YUMASTE!!"

Mani Osteria is located at 341 E. Liberty St., at the corner of Division. For more, see the restaurant's website.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for You can reach her at


An Arborigine

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

And the list hits just keep on comin'! So many lists, so little time...


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Not to mention the excellent outdoor seating. When we went there, we sat outside, and over the course of our meal we observed the most fascinating collection of characters walking by. One piece of criticism I must offer, though, is that we were grossly dissatisfied with the cannolis - not much flavor, and the texture indicated that they were probably filled several hours in advance (which should be illigal).

Andrew R. Gorsuch

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

Kudos to the team at Mani! LOVE the pickled tomatoes, they are wicked good and the tartufo pizza! Can't wait to taste their version of Mexican street food when the open the restaurant next door!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

bella italia... too bad its not downtown.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Any word on their proposed new Mexican restaurant that they are opening next door? Oh yeah, great job!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

Cool, Thanks!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Sign up to the Mani facebook page and they have progress pictures of the Mexican place.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

This should get Ann Arbor on the latest Top Ten list of college towns with Italian restaurants.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Are we allowed to know where this place is? No address, no street, nothing to go by and too new to be in the phone book. Map?


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Click on the website they provide at the end of the article.

Bob Needham

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

It's at the corner of Liberty and Division in downtown Ann Arbor. That's been added to the article. Thanks.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Hit the restaurant tab at the top of the page and select Italian in the cuisine section.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Congrats, Mani! Great food; well deserved. Also, I love the photo on this page. Mmmm.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Great news and very well deserved. Mani has quickly became a stand out and a favorite destination for our family. Congrats to all involved and keep up the wonderful work!

Josh Thiele

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Pickled tomatos & their pistachio and red onion pizza.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

What a great restaurant in an uncommon location! I can't wait to see what comes next!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

Love that place. I'm shocked at how fast it's picked up in this town.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.


Top Cat

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

I highly recommend it if you like overpaying for skimpy portions.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

Hmmm.... Having a deja vu moment here.... For some reason I feel like someone very close to me said something much to the same effect... But not about Mani...


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

ah...who needs quality when you can have quantity...

sun runner

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Personally, I'm pleased to get a moderately-sized portion instead of three-quarters of a pound of noodles I couldn't possibly finish. I have enough disposable income that occasional trips to Mani are not a strain on my wallet. I dine out infrequently, so when I do, I prefer high quality and higher prices (Mani, Ravens Club) over feeding-trough-sized portions for lower prices.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

And I thought Gratzi was skimpy with their portions! This place beats that!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6 p.m.

I'm gonna side with you, Top Cat. I've been there once. $18 was an outrageous price to pay for the skimpy amount of pasta I got.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

How about that, if it is too much for you to spend, the Fleetwood is open for business and it is only a short walk for you to get there By the way, over paying would mean they told you one price, but charged another. If most people felt it was not worth the price, the place would be empty all the time, but it seems to do pretty well.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

I don't feel that I'm overpaying for skimpy portions when I go there, but obviously everyone has their own opinions on pricing and quality. That's why both Mani and Macaroni Grill are packed on a Friday night. To each their own, I say!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

1985 called and wants its complaint back.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Such good news! More than well deserved. Perhaps this will inspire others to be creative in food in town. It promises well for their new venture.

Jon Carlson

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Fantastic. They really deserve it. Since they opened food and service have always been exceptional. Charred Octopus is the best small plate in the world.! Congratulations to Mani and to Ann Arbor!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

That octopus is to die for.