With the last name Pasciolla it’s probably not difficult to guess that I come from an Italian family.

My great-grandparents immigrated from Sicily in the 1920’s and passed down their favorite recipes through the generations. I grew up on my grandma’s homemade sauce, my uncle’s Italian bread, my aunt’s five cheese lasagna and my grandpa’s famous meatballs – famous, at least, to my brother and I. 

I have an appreciation of Italian restaurants that strive to be authentic instead of falling into more American-Italian food. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying an evening at Olive Garden, it just doesn’t give me the same sense of home and family as restaurants like Gratzi Midland do. 

I noticed Gratzi on my first day working at the Midland Daily News. I knew it was a place I just had to try.

Gratzi Midland

120 E Main St, Midland, MI 48640

4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday
4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

(989) 486-9044



The experience did not disappoint. 

As I sat down for dinner I couldn’t help but admire how beautiful the restaurant is. My favorite part of the decor was a mural of the Amalfi Coast on the wall near my table. As I spent the night staring at the painting, I began imagining how wonderful it would be to sit on that beach and see the bright blue waters for myself. Of course, the idea seemed even more appealing as I looked out the window and saw the mix of snow and rain falling outside.

I started the meal with an appetizer of ravioli fritti, which is fried cheese-filled ravioli. Upon my first bite I was immediately reminded of the lasagna fritta (fried cheese lasagna) that my dad and I would make when I was growing up. The melted cheese stretched as I cut open the ravioli and enjoyed a bite. The breading was incredibly flavorful and the mix of cheeses inside combined perfectly to create a taste that reminded me of home and family.

While the $11.99 it cost for an appetizer may seem like a lot, it was worth every penny. High quality ingredients and preparation are well worth the price.

I ordered the Pollo Parmigiano (chicken parmesan) as an entree. Not only did Gratzi serve me the thickest chicken breast I’ve ever seen, it was also cooked perfectly – soft and juicy with no chewiness. It was covered in the same flavorful breading, which was just as good on chicken as it was on the ravioli. 

I also tried a bite of my boyfriend’s chicken alfredo and while I didn’t want to try too much and steal his meal, I definitely could have eaten the entire thing. While most restaurants make their alfredo sauce very thick and creamy, Gratzi’s sauce was thinner and more oily. I preferred the sauce that way, which was shocking to my boyfriend as he knows I love cheese. I think heavy, thick alfredo can be hard to eat sometimes, though, and it was nice to enjoy the chicken and noodles more than a mouthful of cream and cheese. 

The chicken parmesan was $22.99 and the alfredo was $27.98 with the addition of chicken. The prices were on-par with most authentic Italian restaurants I’ve been to and as I said before, great ingredients can cause higher prices.

For dessert I tried the vanilla bean gelato, which was rich and provided a delightfully sweet ending to the meal. I have always preferred gelato over ice cream because it has a denser texture and is smooth rather than icy. 

I would definitely give it a try the next time you’re craving ice cream. I promise, it will not disappoint and at $3.99 it’s cheaper than some fast food restaurants. 

Not only did the restaurant serve me excellent food and provide a lovely dining experience, it also reminded me of home and my family.

Even for those without a deep connection to Italian culture, I can say you will definitely fill up on delicious Italian food and stuff your face with some fabulous dessert if you choose to dine at Gratzi.


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