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The 20 Best Restaurants in Northern Michigan

Nourish Northern Michigan

Are you planning a trip to the northern part of Michigan? If this is your first time visiting the area don't forget to plan where you're going to eat while you're there. It's hard to know which places are worth checking out and which will leave you feeling disappointed, shortchanged, or worse, hungry after eating. We have the perfect solution for the dilemma. We've put together a list of the most highly recommended eateries with a few details about why they're so well-liked. Here are the 20 best restaurants in Northern Michigan for your consideration.

Stafford's Pier Restaurant

20. Stafford's Pier Restaurant

Stafford's Pier is a Seafood Restaurant that is situated in a historic complex with a comfortable yet classy vibe. It's one of the most highly recommended seafood venues that offers an outdoor deck along with 3 indoor spaces to enjoy your dining experience. They offer your choice of dine-in, curbside pickup, or delivery. The restaurant gets high reviews for the atmosphere, the bar that offers a decent range of beer and cocktail options, friendly and efficient waitstaff, and what some refer to as a 5Star experience. The views of the harbor are spectacular and complement the nautical them of the restaurant.


19. Vivio's

Vivio's is an authentic Italian restaurant that also serves a broad selection of American dishes. The restaurant is housed in a rustic building that was erected in 1939. The atmosphere is welcoming and relaxing. This eatery is known for its extensive pizza menu, along with other Italian dishes, delicious vinaigrette, and signature cocktails. Vivio's has been in business in Northern Michigan for decades and it is one of the most reasonably priced eateries in the area.


18. Crispigna's Restaurant

Crispigna's is another affordable Italian restaurant in Northern Michigan. It's one of the most highly recommended places to eat in Escanaba. The venue is known for its spaghetti and tender and flavorful meatballs. They offer a range of pasta dishes with your choice of red or Alfredo sauce, and meat specialty including beef steak tips, shrimp, chicken, and more. The salads are also appetizing. This restaurant plates large servings to fill you up.

Northern Oak Brewery

17. Northern Oak Brewery

The Northern Oak Brewery is one of the better places to get interesting and tasty craft beer. The atmosphere is casual and the beer menu is extensive. In addition to that, the service is top-notch, the prices are fair and the pulled pork flatbread is stacked high with tender delicious meat. There are plenty of snack and dinner options to choose from on the menu. Live music is also provided when restrictions do not prevent social gatherings.

Mission Table

16. Mission Table

Mission Table is a fine dining establishment that requires you to call ahead for reservations. The ambiance of the 1880s home that houses the upscale eatery is nothing short of magnificent. You will have an unforgettable dining experience. It opens seasonally to showcase local fare and craft spirits for guests. It's a little on the spendy side but the experience is truly worth the cost.

The New York Restaurant

15. The New York Restaurant

The New York Restaurant is an eclectic eatery serving affordably priced American cuisine from local sources. The New York Restaurant is known for its amazing environment with delicious food and exceptional service. It's housed in an elegant historic building. The menu offers a wide range of choices with the Beef tenderloin at the top of the most recommended list from locals.

Chandler's A Restaurant

14. Chandler's A Restaurant

Chandler's A Restaurant is a highly rated eating establishment in Petoskey. They're known for their sushi and New American style dishes along with an extensive wine cellar that houses 4,000 bottles. Notable mentions include the meats and vegetable dishes that are locally raised and grown for the freshest possible healthy offerings. One of the most highly-rated sushi houses that also serves other choices.


13. Boathouse Restaurant

The Boathouse Restaurant is an upscale restaurant that is a bit on the expensive side, but worth every penny. Among the most popular menu items is the King steak which is made from Kobe beef. The venue is located on the bay with exceptional window views and an eclectic menu with produce grown on the restaurant owner's farm. The scenery and food are great and so are the drinks. The Boathouse is in a cottage-style setting that promises a memorable dining experience.

Reflect Bistro

12. Reflect Bistro

Reflect Bistro is located in the Cambria Hotel in Traverse City. This is a classy upscale restaurant that is known for its friendly and efficient waitstaff. The food is ranked as excellent with an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere and great service. Among the most notable dishes at this hotel restaurant is the lobster bisque that is filled with large chunks of lobster. It's one of the better places in Traverse City to go for tasty seafood options. The menu items include American fare with an extensive list of regional wines.

Rowe Inn

11. Rowe Inn Restaurant

Rowe Inn Restaurant is a French establishment that serves foods with layered flavors for the most exquisite dining experience. The food is excellent,, but be prepared for high prices and small portions. The environment is elegant yet welcoming. The service is rate as top-notch. Guests strongly recommend the Morrell mushroom dishes and soups.

Legs Inn

10. Legs Inn

The Legs Inn is a hotel restaurant that is located in an early 20th century quirky stone building. It's a seasonal venue that is family-run near the Shurtleff Nature Preserve close to Lake Michigan. It's one of the staple eateries in Northern Michigan and a must-try when you're in the vicinity. People drive for a couple hours to enjoy the exceptional food and the scenery.

Michael's Tavern

9. Michael's Tavern and Steakhouse

Micheal's Tavern and Steakhouse is one of the best upscale restaurants in Northern Michigan. The venue offers a rustic log cabin setting with tasty food and an excellent wine list. Michael's Tavern and Steakhouse is fine dining at its best with friendly and fast service, indoor dining, and an outdoor patio. The strip steak is one of the most highly recommended menu items along with the truffle fries that are rated as the best in the state.


8. Willow

Willow is an American-style restaurant that is known for its beautiful views and exceptional menu offerings. The chef uses local produce and offers some of the most unique combinations of vegetables including a salad with roasted cauliflower,, and other high-quality ingredients. It's suggested that you call ahead to book your reservation because this popular restaurant fills up fast. While you're there don't forget to have a cocktail because they also come with high recommendations from visitors and locals.

Slabtown Burgers

7. Slabtown Burgers

Slabtown Burgers is one of the best Hamburger restaurants in Northern Michigan. The prices are reasonable and the servings are large. They specialize in handcrafted patties in a colorful dining room with a patio for eating outside when the weather is agreeable. Although it's a small restaurant it's one of the more popular with friendly staff and enough food to fill you when you're hungry. Visitors and locals give it high marks for friendly service that is fast with fresh food. One of the most popular options is the bison burger on a pretzel bun with grilled onions and cheese.

Pepe Nero

6. Pepe Nero

Pepe Nero is an upscale Italian restaurant with swanky decor. The chef specializes in serving authentic Italian cuisine. The location is a former chapel that was transformed into a high-end eating establishment. The prices are expensive, but it's a place to experience fine dining at its best. It's located in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and offers to dine in a curbside pickup or delivery options. The food and cocktails are rated as exceptional.


5. Bennethum's Northern Inn

Bennethum's Northern Inn is an upscale American bar and grill-type restaurant that specializes in classic steak and seafood dishes. The building is rustic in decor with a comfortable environment. The pub grub and cocktails come highly recommended by locals and visitors alike. It's been in Gaylord for decades and has become a staple in the area. The staff is friendly and the prices are moderate. The menu offers a variety of comfort foods, fresh salads, soups, appetizers, beer, and half-off cocktails during happy hour.

Moose Jaw Junction

4. Moose Jaw Junction

Moose Jaw Junction is rated as the best restaurant in Pellston, Michigan. This is a family restaurant that features friendly staff and great service with outstanding menu items. They specialize in Friday night fish fry, burgers and a range of comfort foods, and Mexican main meals with a full bar.

Douglas Lake Bar

3. Douglas Lake Bar & Steakhouse

Douglas Lake is an upscale steak house that is located on the waterfront. They specialize in steaks and seafood with traditional menu offerings. The decor is rustic with your choice of indoor dining or patio seating. The prices are moderately high, but the atmosphere, service, and quality of food are well worth a little extra. The wine list is extensive and the views are breathtaking.

Polish Kitchen

2. Polish Kitchen

The Polish Kitchen is the best Polish restaurant in all of Northern Michigan. It's situated in a warm brick clade building and serves traditional polish standard fare. Some of the most notable dishes are the goulash and pierogi. They also serve sides of kielbasa with Reuben-style dishes, pizza, and more. They also serve a killer hunter's stew and the portions are large and hearty. The food is a real value for the price.

Nourish Northern Michigan

1. Nourish Northern Michigan

Nourish Northern Michigan is the premier restaurant in Northern Michigan. It's located in Cheboygan and offers wonderfully healthy meals and groceries. The staff works hard to please. This is a gluten-free restaurant that helps meet the needs of people who are on special diets or those who simply prefer to eat healthier foods. Be warned that the foods are usually served plain and dry, but it's been heralded by guests as one of the most nutritious places to grab a meal with food that tastes delicious.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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