Food Fight: aMa Bistro Arrives

. March 2, 2015.

aMa Bistro

215 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: 734-780-7202

Hours: 8am–10pm daily

On a cold day, the interior was warm and inviting. Pendulum lights dangled from the high ceiling. The brick walls, painted cream, looked sophisticated surrounding the striped dining tables, dark chairs and floors. Bright flowers, albeit fake, adorned both tables and walls. This was no longer a typical diner like the one that had previously occupied this space on State Street.

This was aMa (which stands for Ann Arbor, Michigan) Bistro, which opened last fall. The bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. My husband and I, together with our kids, ages 8 and 11, stopped in for lunch. There were sandwiches, like the Turkey Pesto Panini, burgers, hot dogs, and salads, plus breakfast was available. Breakfast items included omelets, pancakes, French toast, and specialties like Egg Khima, which our server described as a traditional Albanian dish, with eggs served on top of a mixture of beef, onions, and cayenne pepper.

Right away my kids decided it was time for a smoothie. (I think the pictures of the smoothies on our table had something to do with that!) Our server mentioned that their smoothies are not traditional smoothies with ice. Theirs are made with only ice cream, milk, and fruit. My daughter ordered a Peachy Strawberry and my son got a Banana Strawberry.

A table divided

We were a table divided as half of us ordered breakfast and half ordered lunch. My husband ordered a cup of chicken lemon rice soup ($3.50) and a Greek salad with chicken ($12). My son followed with aMa’s Perfect Burger ($7), with cheese and without lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. I decided on the bacon, cheddar and chives omelet ($9.50) with hash browns, wheat toast and jelly. There was a kids’ breakfast menu with interesting items like the Banana Dog with peanut butter, a banana, and raisins in a bun. My daughter chose a short stack of pancakes ($4.50) with a side of sausage links ($2) off the regular menu.

Slurps up

“This is the best thing I ever tasted,” my daughter declared sipping her smoothie.

“This is really good,” chimed in her brother, sipping his.

Served in a slender glass, the smoothies kept the kids happy while we waited for the main course. My husband dove into his chicken lemon rice soup. “I like the celery in it,” he said. “There are real chunks of chicken.”

All of this made me hungry and I devoured my omelet when it arrived. The ingredients were fresh. The cheddar was tangy and there was plentiful bacon and chives throughout. Neither my omelet nor hash browns tasted greasy.

My husband liked his salad, commenting that its lettuce, tomato, and peppers, were fresh as well. He enjoyed the copious amounts of feta.

My son happily ate his cheeseburger, while my daughter surprised us by eating her two giant pancakes. I snuck a bite when she wasn’t looking and then tried later for another. She caught me.

“Can I have a bite?” I asked.

“You already did,” she replied, her lips set in a straight line.

We had a wonderful time at aMa Bistro, and look forward to a return trip. Next time, we will try one of the delicacies, like macaroons or chocolate fudge cake.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes

To avoid wait: Brunch on the weekends may be busy, but other times, likely not a problem

Noise level: Moderate

Bathroom: amenities, but no changing tables

High chairs: Yes

Got milk?  White and chocolate, plus soft drinks, orange juice, smoothies and shakes

Kids’ menu: Yes, for breakfast items

Anything healthy for kids: Try a fruit and cream cheese sandwich or banana dog with peanut butter, banana, and raisins on a whole-grain bun

Food allergy concerns: Peanut oil is not used and food can be cooked separately. Tell your server about any concerns and they will work with the kitchen to accommodate you.