Mani’s comforting yet lively atmosphere and truly to-die-for cuisine make its ranking as most romantic dinner in Ann Arbor completely unsurprising.

The osteria and bar meet the criteria for a date night almost to a tee. The buoyant ambiance, kept afloat by a panorama of conversation, hits the sweet spot, allowing you and your partner to engage in private conversation obscured by other voices. Candlelit tables invite a comfortable amount of intimacy and offset the black-and-white patterned floors. The food alone is a conversation starter. Just ask any waitstaff or frequent customer about their chili oil and you’ll see what I mean. 

After celebrating its 10-year anniversary with sister restaurant Isalita last year, Mani has established itself as a paramount leader in Ann Arbor’s restaurant scene. A line outside the door and a hefty wait time have become a definite part of the experience on any weekend due to reduced hours, reservation restrictions and its organic popularity. 

Their impressive menu centers around a plethora of shareable plates, unforgettable pizza and mouth-watering pasta. The family-style menu and thoughtful portion sizes make it only logical to share a couple of plates with your partner and indulge in the comfort of good Italian food and even better company. 

Daily News Editor Shannon Stocking can be reached at