Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, Michigan is a hidden gem of a restaurant that will take your taste buds on a journey they won’t forget. I have been waiting to dine here for about a year, but never made the reservations far enough in advance. Located in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, which was once an asylum, the restaurant is steeped in history and charm. But don’t let that fool you – Trattoria Stella is a farm-to-table restaurant that takes its food seriously.
I started off with the Aviation gin cocktail and a New York Sour, both of which were expertly crafted. And then came the Chef’s Taste from Chef Myles’ whole animal offal – blood sausage made from a whole hog. Now, I know that might sound a little taboo to some, but trust me, it was a taste sensation. I always make it a point to order blood sausage if it’s available. The flavors were rich and complex, and it was the perfect start to the meal.
Next up was the Burrata with shaved Toscano salami, and charred tomato vinaigrette, served with crostini. The creamy burrata paired perfectly with the salty salami and tangy tomato vinaigrette. And the crostini? Let’s just say I could have eaten a whole basket of them.
For my main course, I had the maltagliati, with all’arrabbiata, crispy Berkshire pork belly, mini sweet peppers, cannellini beans, Calabrian chile paste, with simple tomato sauce. Every bite was exquisite. The peppers added a nice sweetness, and the chili paste gave it just the right amount of kick without being overly spicy.
Overall, I can’t recommend Trattoria Stella enough. It’s a restaurant that takes its ingredients seriously but isn’t afraid to have a little fun with them. Our waitress Katie was outstanding, as well. And the fact that it’s located on the grounds of former asylum just adds to its quirky charm. So, whether you’re a Traverse City local or just passing through, make sure to stop by Trattoria Stella – your taste buds will thank you.