As my last name would suggest, I’m Italian, which is to say that there’s only one voice I truly respect when it comes to culinary wisdom — my own little Italian grandma, Adeline DePollo.

Since coming to Ann Arbor, however, I’ve had to add another voice to my list of experts on the subject: Gratzi.

Built inside what was once the Orpheum Theater, the restaurant is gorgeous. From the massive bay window looking out over Main Street to the paintings of Orpheus and an ancient Greek bacchanalia hanging above the dining room, few other restaurants in Ann Arbor can boast such sumptuous and elegant décor.

But Gratzi’s real strength lies in its Head Chef, John Fisher. The man is an artist, constantly creating fresh new takes on traditional Italian dishes with close attention to flavor, presentation and the history of the food he loves. Each month, Fisher crafts a new menu built around the flavors of a different region of Italy, bringing recipes to Ann Arbor rarely seen outside the confines of the peninsula.

Although the menu is always changing, the quality of food and service remains consistently high at Gratzi — and it’s the only place outside of my grandma’s kitchen that you can find a truly excellent plate of gnocchi.

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