The Bottom Line
Palio Restaurant, an Italian eatery, has one of the best locations in downtown Ann Arbor, but its claim to fame has got to be the ambiance of its rooftop patio in the summertime. The food is good, if a bit over priced, and the service is friendly.
- Large outside dining patio
- Out of the congestion of Main Street
- Parking nearby
- A little expensive
- The Italian Restaurant takes great pains to create an authentic atmosphere.
- It is centrally located in downtown Ann Arbor, allowing for a stroll along the city streets before or after dinner.
- A large rooftop patio provides a great romantic atmosphere for summer nights.
Guide Review - Review of Palio Restaurant in Ann Arbor
Palio is ideally located on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. It has close parking, a corner location, and a large rooftop for outside dining.
Palio’s large roof-top patio is easily twice as big as the restaurant’s main dining room, which allows a large number of diners to enjoy balmy summer nights without the noise, smells and congestion of the side-walk dining employed by the other downtown restaurants. The dining configuration on the patio is well thought; it has umbrellas and shade-creating trellises for daylight hours and fairy lights for night-time romance. While the chairs are plastic, they are heavy and comfortable. A separate kitchen serves the patio, so expect a slightly different menu. The patio also has its own bar and restrooms.
While the rooftop patio is one of the Palio’s highlights, the restaurant’s main dining room is decorated to invoke the feeling of an Old-World eatery. It even has an open kitchen that borders the lobby when you walk in.
The house salad was presented in a thin layer on a large plate. While the salad’s ingredients – greens, Gorgonzola Cheese -- were set out on the plate to eye-pleasing effect, the center of the salad was a little wilted and soggy, probably from the use of too much oil & vinegar dressing.
The Spinacio Agnolotti was presented in a large, shallow bowl, allowing the aroma to attract the attention of nearby diners. While the basil was the star of the show, the other ingredients – tomato sauce, spinach & cheese stuffing, chicken -- blended together to create a rich, well-seasoned dish. None of the ingredients, however, stood out as individual elements. In fact, the sliced grilled chicken was lost in the mix. To be fair, the chicken was listed last in the menu's description, but finding it in the dish was something of a “Where’s Waldo” type challenge.
The dessert tray is brought table side with a large number of tempting selections. The peanut butter pie was served in a nice-sized wedge. It had a whipped texture and strong peanut-butter flavor without being too rich or heavy.
While the wine menu at Palio is large, a glass is served in a juice glass, which, depending on how you look at it, adds to the restaurant’s “Italian” character or reduces the serving size. The prices are also high for at least some of the wines offered.
The waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and made several good suggestions. She was also on top of refills, and there was no real wait at any stage of the meal.