Can’t say enough good things about this Ann Arbor gem. We had not been here in a couple years and it is better than ever. Start to finish the food and service was awesome. We had 4 people and it’s not often that we all agree!
Great place, cozy yet vibrant atmosphere, great food. Make sure to get there early as it’s always packed, even with a res. Also great for a Sunday brunch
Unfortunately, I have a mixed review about Cafe Zola. In our party of 4, one diner was unable to eat her pasta because of the overbearing and off-putting lemon taste. I mentioned this to the waitress who then brought it to the attention of the chef. His response was curious, he said it is intended to be that way. So my response is that I will not eat there again nor will I recommend the restaurant. I love Ann Arbor and it’s eclectic restaurants. I also love trying new food. However, when a chef refuses to put his customers first, he loses my business.
I went with my five best friends at school for Easter brunch. It was a great experience everybody enjoyed their meals.
Loved this restaurant. Our server was amazing. We all had a great dinner and drinks.
Best in town
Our waiter was fantastic and the food was great but even with a reservation we had to wait 30 minutes and the hostess was rude and unhelpful.
The mixed drinks were horrible. Very watered down.
Amazing food! It delivers every time!
The menu at Café Zola is a delight. Unfortunately, we were there during the March Madness basketball tournament which resulted in a very crowded, noisy restaurant with slower than usual service.
Seats too close together
We have dined here many times over the years. The food is always tasty. The service has improved. One risk is that things can be more done than you asked for. You really need to be explicit about what rare, medium etc means to the kitchen. That goes for eggs at breakfast & lunch as well as meat and fish.
We had a wonderful meal. The service was mediocre. We will definitely be dining there again in the near future.
Very quiet for a Friday night. They didn't have the scotch or the wine my husband ordered which seemed a bit odd. The food was good, waitstaff very attentive without being overbearing.
Not a great idea to go for Sunday Brunch. Even though we had a table booked people were filling the sidewalk outside and it was impossible to get inside the door. Eventually we did and after 20mins of waiting we decided to leave. So we never did get to have brunch. Its great that its popular but if you have a booking you expect to be able to get a table. Not watch other people take table after table.
I do like this place but this experience was poor. It was also noticeable that the tables seem far more packed together than they used to be. Also the hostess was anything but urgent or reassuring that there was some kind of system to manage the popularity.
I will go back for lunch and dinner as I have done before. Probably not Sunday brunch though.
I have eaten here many times, but tonight was crazy! I waited 40 minutes for a table WITH a reservation. There were tons of open tables, but only one hostess who was working her tail off to bus tables, reset them and seat people all while managing the phones and the waiting list. This poor girl was doing her very best, but still a disappointing start to our meal. The tables were smashed together way too tightly which made it less comfortable than I would have liked. I’m not sure why it was so crazy tonight. I like the food and I would probably try it again but I must admit I feel skeptical after tonight. One last comment - give that hostess a raise - she worked harder than anyone could have expected!
Though we made a reservation, we got seated more than 30 mins after our reservation time.
The food was absolutely delicious, though portions were small. The ambience/set-up was VERY disappointing. In order to make money off on Valentine's day, Cafe Zola set up tables so close to each other that the wait staff had to tip toe and walk on their side in order to get through. If two people sat tables back-to-back, there was no space for the staff to get through. Couples hardly had privacy, as they were seated so close to other couples. It would have been nicer (not to mention thoughtful) if the customer experience was prioritized over a quick buck on Valentine's Day. The wait staff did say that this was a special seating set up for Valentine's Day. I would go back for the food and see what it's like without the terrible seating arrangement.
All meals were great except the steak salad, which was small, and consisted of a few ingredients on a plate without any integration.
We've been to Cafe Zola many times and we've always had a good experience. We are senior diners (60-70 range) and the restaurant was always occupied by a mix of clientele with a reasonable noise level. We haven't been there for about a year and things have changed.
The restaurant was occupied primarily with college students and young professionals (20-30 range). They have added tables leaving limited space between tables and dining parties. The noise in the place was deafening. It was not possible to have a conversation without shouting to be heard by others at our table.
The service was poor. It took took an extraordinary amount of time for our main course to arrive. I asked for a glass of wine when our main courses were brought to our table. The waitress never came back until we had finished our meal and told me that there were no clean wine glasses and that's why I never received my wine. She asked me if I wanted to re-use my existing wine glass or wait. I told her to cancel the order for the wine because we were done with our meal.
Regarding the food.... it was good. It would have been better if it had been warm. The french fries that came with the burger were cold. The callimari, although tasty, was barely warm. One of our party ordered lamb chops. The lamb chops were measly little ones and they too were cold.
Cafe Zola is not inexpensive. The prices have increased substantially and the cost/value of the entire dining experience was very low. We will not be returning to Cafe Zola and will
no longer recommend it to anyone we know.
Staff was very attentive and food was delicious!
Great food, great service. Thank you.
The salads were disappointing. The wine list was expensive and the service was very slow. The entrees were too much meat and not many vegetarian or vegetable options. Desserts were good. It was okay, not outstanding.
We have eaten several times at both Zola restaurants and have always come away pleased with service and food. This time we were extremely disappointed. We watched several table that arrived after us, receive their food while we waited for ours and were never given any indication of the problem. When the food came is was edible but not worth the wait. Very disappointed and reconsidering our commitment to this restaurant.
Cafe Zola has excellent food, service and ambiance. Handcrafted cocktails were excellent. Wine list is very good but overpriced. The saving grace is they have corkage. Swordfish and pasta options were excellent. Hawaiian salad had potential but too much chewy kale. Nice bar scene. Recommend.
Cafe Zola has wonderful food although it can be slightly overpriced. Our waitress Claire was fantastic but the place was a little too crowded (it was restaurant week).
We went for restaurant week. Table was ready for our scheduled reservation. The menu was extensive and generous (2 appetizers and main dish) which were absolutely delicious and flavorful. One minor criticism was that a couple of the appetizers were tepid, not hot, but with four we could try 8 different ones. Main dishes were skirt steak (so tender and seasoned), shepherd pie Turkish style and bricked chicken, both also plentiful. Service was friendly and crazy given the crowd seated and waiting, but never felt rushed. Cappuccino for one of us never arrived. Thank you.
It was restaurant week. We had made reservations at least 2 weeks ahead. When we got there , the line was out the door ( by the way: cold and snowy night). It was so crowded the wait staff couldn't get past the patrons waiting and the bar. I had recent surgery and got tired of standing ( 45 minute wait) so I leaned on a bar stool, but it was needed for a party. Finally my fiend intervened and asked if we could please have the next table as I was getting very sore.
Once we were seated the waitress was very nice and apologized but she clearly was running like a mad woman. Over booked? Poor planning on ho long a table will be there? We wee there over 2 hours once we got our food/check. It is also very noisy! Good food, but not worth it.
We absolutely love Zola Bistro, but Cafe Zola was not a good experience for us. The hostess could not find our Open Table reservation. As a result we were seated in a cramped space next to the front window & door eating with our coats on to stay warm. Our waitress was very pleasant, but due to the cramped space, she physically could hardly reach us to do her job. We felt sorry for her. The noise level was out the roof & people were packed together shoulder to shoulder. It was standing room only literally to the front door.
Went for restaurant week. Good was great...good value...enjoyed the evening and would go back
We went for Ann Arbor Restaurant Week. Once there, the Restaurant Week menu was completely different than what was posted online. The restaurant refused to honor restaurant week pricing for the online menu, even though they did carry those menu items.
Food and service were great, but we only had 6" separating us from tables on both sides and it was really distracting to have servers and customers try to squeeze through.
This was our first dining experience at Cafe Zola. The food was excellent, the servers were attentive and knowledgeable, and the ambiance was a pleasant mix of old and new. The restaurant is housed in an older building on the western fringe of downtown Ann Arbor. The original brick is visible throughout both rooms. The dining area is comfortable and cozy. My swordfish was moist and grilled to perfection while my salad was a savory combination of arugula, grilled pear and Stilton cheese. They make a tasty Moscow Mule there as well. We'll dine at Cafe Zola again!
One of my favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor! High quality, delicious meals in a warm, friendly environment! The tuna dish is amazing!!!!!!!
Cafe Zola is great. Food is excellent and service is on point. Prices are high but it’s worth it. Loved my tofu and the affogato. Wine selection is robust
We dined on New Year's Eve and overall it was very good. We were seated right next to the door and steps leading into the dining area so we were very cramped and freezing! The service, though, was great and timely. Never had anything other than really great food here!
We went pre NYE and had a wonderful time. The staff did a great job on a very busy night!!!
Early New Year’s Eve menu was great. Busy and a bit chaotic as one might expect. One guest’s entree was delayed 20 min relative to others due to an order input glitch with no service recovery. Quality of entrees was excellent, some veg accompaniments were lukewarm.
We took the family for a birthday brunch. The food was WONDERFUL! I would definitely recommend this restaurant.