Traverse City’s Top 7 Restaurants | Traverse City, Michigan

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Traverse City is a lovely town located at the foot of West Grand Traverse Bay and tucked between two of Michigan’s main wine-making peninsulas. With its beautiful peach sunsets over breathtaking waterfront vistas and an abundance of eating choices to please all palates, it is considered a hidden treasure of the Midwest.

It is an area filled with award-winning coastal vineyards, artisanal cheese creameries, local food farms, and even experienced chocolatiers. It is the ideal all-season escape for anyone looking for superb cuisine alternatives ranging from local cafés to fine dining establishments in one of the Midwest’s most gorgeous places.

This historic lumberjack town is located on the same latitude as the famed wine-making areas of France and Italy. As a result, there has a long history of luring European winemakers to settle in Northwest Michigan’s undulating hills. Although timber barons formerly had grand houses with local wood-paneled rooms, descendants of European winemakers took full advantage of the grape-and-cherry-friendly climatic conditions to create the midwest’s richest wines.

Farmers from small farms producing local honey, fruits, and vegetables, as well as dairy creameries, joined the business. This four-season hamlet is the ideal setting for Midwesterners searching for a fall foliage weekend escape or a family summer vacation hideaway.

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The Top 7 Restaurants in Traverse City


Hall St. (231) 486-6128144 Hall St.

This vegan and vegetarian restaurant embraces and promotes gender and racial equality in both its loving environment and worldwide cuisine. It is part of the MRKT warehouse building across the street from the Hotel Indigo. Christian Geoghegan, the visionary chef, brings his mixed history of Irish and Palestinian origins to the table with carefully inclusive cuisine, pastries, and beverages from all around the globe.

According to the staff, the name Hexenbelle is derived from the German and French phrases for lovely witches, which is represented by a feminine hand gripping a selected wildflower in the restaurant emblem. Wafts of sugar and spice draw you in and lead you to cheerful faces behind a spacious counter with a towering glass case of baked goods. Huge Palestine and PRIDE flags freely welcome individuals of all origins and inclinations inside an accepting, blush-themed café.

There are no reservations, however you may pre-order online (which is strongly encouraged since the wait time during peak hours can be up to thirty minutes) or put your order there. If you purchase online but want to dine on their lovely self-serve patio, just ask for here, and they will plate your meal for you to enjoy on the covered deck.

The MRKT Roastery. Trademark beverages to heal the spirit include the Bee Change honey lavender latte, iced Sencha tea, and the Damascus Gate milky drink. Although the drink’s name is derived from a revered cultural emblem, the component list (rose, black cardamom, clove, and saffron) is a spa treatment in a cup. The café serves locally roasted coffee from BLK and is open from breakfast until a mid-day caffeine break.

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A smashed egg salad pita dusted with dill and pickled onions, with the option of topping it with a dollop of housemade Shatta (an Arabic Chili Relish); perfect for a packed lunch for a wine tour or fishing excursion. A Palestine Rice Bowl with ghee butter, vermicelli rice, warm lentils, pickled stuffed eggplant, and a typical strained yogurt cheese sauce, or Mapo Tofu in a spicy bean sauce dusted with Sichuan peppercorns over fragrant herbed rice, are two heartier meals.

Their signature hummus is a local delicacy produced with imported from Palestine olive oil and topped with a distinctive combination of dried spices. We missed out on numerous exceptional menu dishes due to our late summer visit, including one worth noting called Japchae. According to the counter server, this is a Korean-inspired dish of glass noodles drenched with a refreshing vegan variation of their Ponzu sauce.

For an on-the-go pastry, they have green chile and cheddar scones, coconut with white chocolate scones, and their distinctive glazed hand pies, including one made with local apples and topped with brown sugar and cinnamon.

The Aerie Restaurant and Lounge

100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd.

The Grand Traverse resort welcomes guests and visitors, including couples, small and medium-sized groups, and even families with children, to its floor-to-ceiling windowed café on the 16th floor. Every seat is considered the greatest seat in the house, with a magnificent background of the East Grand Traverse Bay and Old Mission Peninsula.

Winters in Aeries are described as having spectacular vistas of tiered glistening trees and sparkly snow-covered lawns, while fall brings an ombre of hues from the changing vegetation. It’s no surprise that this restaurant is popular for romantic proposals, business meetings, and small family gatherings like Sunday or holiday brunches.

The elevator brings you to the 16th story, where double doors open to reveal an airy (pun intended) restaurant with a towering white steel grid-beamed glass ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows, as if you were entering a greenhouse on top of a tall structure with a wide-angle view over the surrounding.

But, the ambience is just one aspect of the Aerie experience. Chef Auston Minnich, a Michigan native, returns to his origins after working at top chef restaurants throughout the country to highlight the local wealth of freshwater fish, colorful fruit, farm-raised meats, and, of course, area wines via his menu. Gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives are available, as well as made-to-order meals for those with food allergies.

Make a reservation for twilight to be enveloped by its golden glow while sipping on Little Pink Bubbles, their specialty beverage. This nose-tickling bubbly handmade cocktail is a resort staff favorite, prepared with the scandalously titled sparkling wine Sex from nearby L. Mawby Vineyards. Our beginning of gorgonzola creamed gnocchi topped with brown butter crumbs and combined with tomato bacon jam was a fantastic aperitivo. We got seconds immediately away since it was so delicious.

Green tea soba noodles with miso grilled chicken, surrounded by sliced radish and carrots, shredded bok choy, a speared trio of pickled shishito peppers, and drizzled with spicy cashew vinaigrette, were served next. The crispy fried Brussels sprouts with Sasawan sauce and a hefty dollop of rich black garlic aioli vanished quickly!

While we did not order it, a staff suggestion of the colorful Aerie Salad prepared with entirely local field greens, candied walnuts, and Michigan’s own sour cherry vinegarette is worth noting. The table next to us had it with the optional duck breast, and it looked amazing!

Our main course selections included a crunchy potato-crusted halibut topped with tangy tapenade and cheery tomato confit and paired with an Italian-style aged balsamic mostardo, a blackened salmon (regionally caught) with chimichurri sauce and vinegar fried potatoes, and a tender six-ounce filet with roasted onion and candied bacon, potato confit with an unexpected crunch of potato chips, and slurp-worthy green peppercorn bordelaise sauce.

The tomato tart tatin with house ricotta cheese, grilled cipollini onions, a watercress basil salad, and dollops of roasted garlic tomato aioli was a hit with our vegetarian companions. With just a spoonful of stomach space left, we finished the dinner with a birthday toast and devoured the Traverse City Cherry Toffee Pudding for dessert.

Creperie Millie and Pepper

S. Union St. (231) 421-9499120 S. Union St.

Against the elegant black façade, a sidewalk terrace with bright pink tables and chairs is flanked by pots full of purple blossoms and ferny greens. As you come in, the scents of sweet, boiling crepe batter, melting chocolate, and frothy coffee draw you in toward the walled blackboard menu behind the broad tiled bar.

The café is decorated with quirky flowers painted on the walls and tables, as well as wooden shelves piled high with attractive ceramics and little kitchen supplies for sale. While the crepes are classified as Savory or Sweet, the menu clearly indicates all gluten-free alternatives. When the crepes are presented, they are wrapped in a conical sleeve with the cafe’s unique pastel design.

I began with a savory cheese crepe prepared with melted gruyere cheese enclosed in buckwheat folds. I made an all-in-one breakfast with fluffy scrambled eggs, vibrant spinach, and caramelized onions.

If you’re looking for a meatier and more satisfying dinner, choose The Turkey, which is packed with roasted pork, ham, spicy pickles, gruyere, and their very own house mustard sauce.

My vegetarian friends raved over The FMSO, which had crumbled feta cheese, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and melted onions.

The sweet alternatives were both exciting and difficult to choose from. So we decided to try three! We chose a Nutella crepe piled with small pieces of crimson sweet strawberries and a salted caramel treat with creamy luscious bananas. Of course, the T.C. Cherry Crepe, loaded with cherry preserves, sweet cream cheese, and crushed graham crackers, is a must-try while in Michigan.

In addition to espresso and tea, the creperie serves fresh fruit smoothies, fluffy parfaits, and milkshakes.


E. Front St. (231) 941-8888229 E. Front St.

Amical is a must-try restaurant in Traverse City’s downtown district, surrounded by boutiques, cafés, and antique stores. Entering the restaurant, you are welcomed instantly by all of the moving personnel, and the restaurant radiates a warm, intimate environment with fifteen dimly illuminated tables encircled by a welcoming open kitchen.

Jeffrey Libman, the general manager (soon to be partner), verifies the restaurant’s reputation by noting that the restaurant is recognized for keeping many long-term guests and personnel, including waiters and kitchen workers, as well as a sous chef who began as a dishwasher fourteen years ago. There is a seven-table, covered patio with drop curtains for outside eating, as well as an outdoor heater for the colder months.

Amical has been servicing Traverse City’s dynamic culinary industry since 1994, and has stood the test of time. What began as a French-inspired bistro has now grown into sampling the globe, particularly the numerous characteristics of the Mediterranean. Local foods, such as livestock producers, dairy creameries, Michigan cherry orchards, and even mushrooms foraged in the forest, are highly respected.

Now only open for evening, the restaurant plans to reintroduce its once-popular Sunday brunch and lunch service in the future. Between 4 and 5 p.m., budget-conscious guests may have a late lunch or small dinner with a pre-fixed two-course menu with two salads and six entrees, accompanied by a glass of a regional winemaker’s Chardonnay or Merlot.

Another interesting tidbit is the cookbook series, which runs every first week of the month from November through May. Weekly, the culinary crew is tasked with preparing seven to eight highlighted items from a selected cookbook and incorporating them into the evening menu.

They’ve previously picked textbooks from Israeli, Vietnamese, and Japanese cuisines, as well as those from famous chefs like Mario Batali and culinary adventurers like Anthony Bourdain. Surprisingly, the culinary crew is not allowed to rehearse the meals before they are served on the menu. If you attend on a Monday, be aware that the kitchen crew arrives at 3:00 p.m. and will be cooking the cookbook-featured delicacies for the first time.

We began our evening with a round of the suggested pear ginger martinis and Ambrose sour cocktails (named after a former waiter who created this delightful tart beverage, Jess Ambrose). A large range of locally created beers is always available on the menu, while whiskey enthusiasts can taste Traverse City’s favorite apple whiskey.

Due to the number of tantalizing menu selections to choose from, my party made the wise decision to dine family-style tonight. The common thread running through each meal was, Mmmmmyeah, this one is a party in my mouth. I was smitten by the Oliver Twist appetizer, which included olive tapenade, crumbled feta, and orange pepper cream interwoven in pillowy soft puff pastry.

The White Pizza with a cracker crust was covered with baby spinach and black truffles, and not one, but two cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan) were melted to a boiling crispy brownness.

The Lobster Tacos were a light appetizer that had buttery sweet lobster pieces, crunchy jicama slaw, and a cool yellow tomato salsa drizzled with peanut-lime vinegarette, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla.

The soups were a hearty welcome to the cool finish of a summer evening. We all had to taste the tomato soup with the poofy pastry cooked on top. That seemed to be an embrace. The French onion soup was served with the ideal stringy cheese topping and carmelized onions steeped in a rich brown broth.

Tonight’s special did not disappoint as I witnessed the tines of my fork descend like quicksand into the seven-ounce leg of lamb. Warm sake butter flowed over the sides of green apple-kale kimchi and grilled bok choy, only to be soaked up by the bed of jasmine rice, while miso-smoked honey coated the edges. I don’t believe I even opened my eyes once until the platter was gone.

The risotto had roasted carrots, delicious small green peas, and delicate pea shoots creamed with a local goat milk chevre and finished with a brilliant green pistachio crumble. That went well with everything on the table!

I skipped the suggested local cornmeal-dusted and fried pork chop with pickled green tomato relish in order to preserve space for dessert. The next time.

Desserts are all cooked in-house, and it’s impossible to choose just one from the menu. When asked, the staff said it’s like choosing your favorite kid; it changes every day. We ultimately decided on two. The raspberry crème brulee and peach cobbler with glazed blueberry compote did not disappoint!

If you don’t have a sweet taste, I suggest the three-cheese platter of foreign and local cheeses combined with Marcona almonds and seasonal peach jam, along with two fingers of the aforementioned apple whiskey.

Amical’s international cuisine, pleasant ambience, and kind service left a lasting effect on myself and my party, to the point that we were daydreaming about the delicacies we ate long after our wine tour had ended. In fact, I’m having dreams about Oliver Twist right now! That is, Chef Ben Hoxies’ version, not Dickens’.

Brunch at Red Spire

Phone: (231) 252-4648 Address: 800 Cottageview Dr.

To get to this hidden treasure, make your way through the yellow brick tunnels and low archways of what was formerly a state-run Victorian-Italianate designed lunatic institution in the 1800s. The ruby red spires on the roof distinguish the structure as a historical emblem for the community.

There are guided tours available to learn about Dr. James Decker Munson’s idea of creating a sanctuary for a compassionate approach to treatment for mental patients using the beauty is therapy philosophy. It has a campus-like vibe with gardens and fountains designed to encourage patients to either roam the large grounds full of greenery and blooming plants or at the very least enjoy a brilliantly illuminated view from their room windows.

Currently, it is well-known among residents as the Grand Traverse Commons, a lovely market where handcrafted items (such as the Alpaca shop or jewelry businesses) are braided around the corridors and corners. Follow the signs to the Red Spire Brunch House on the lower floor, or ask any of the kind store owners if you get confused or turned around while shopping or reading the historical interesting facts and upcoming events posters on the walls.

This vibrant brunch establishment serves all the classics and more. From fresh pecan and cinnamon pastries to omelets with an assortment of extra components such as green onions, asparagus, hot jalapenos, gruyere cheese, potato, and even crab. There are four types of benedicts offered, including crab cake and smoked salmon, as well as standard egg breakfasts. We were drawn to the pancake and French toast options.

Red Spires’ melt-in-your-mouth red velvet pancakes are cooked from their home recipe and topped with whipped cream cheese, making them ideal for anybody with a sweet appetite or looking for a Sunday brunch splurge. A big dollop of the wonderfully sweetened home pancake syrup placed a huge grin on my face right away.

Since the descriptions made it difficult to select just one, we got two French toast meals to split. Thick triangular slices of sourdough were coated in a secret egg wash with sticky cooked apples for the apple cinnamon streusel French toast. The crunch comes from the streusel crumbs scattered over the platter.

I had the pleasure of biting into a life-changing French toast created with handmade grilled banana bread dipped in the same egg wash, but loaded to the brim with sweet cream cheese and Nutella and then piled with chunky banana slices (also grilled), candied nuts, and lavishly drizzled caramel. Everyone enjoyed many refills of their featured coffee, an organic mix from Higher Grounds Trading Co.

H and L Social

(231) 932-0500 The Hotel Indigo is located at 263 W. Grandview Pkwy.

We stayed at Hotel Indigo because of its convenient position near two of Traverse City’s major wine trails, its bayside location, and its proximity to Traverse City’s famed rooftop bar, H & L Social. Visitors may enjoy exquisite nibbles from the lunch and dinner menu shared with the hotel’s main restaurant, Warehouse KiTChen + Cork, exclusively during the spring and autumn seasons. Keep an eye out for the uppercase TC for Traverse City.

We went to H & L Social for appetizers and drinks since we were here in the middle of summer. This is an excellent site for boat viewing since it is just next to the Duncan L. Clinch Yacht Harbor and across the street from an open green area surrounded with a jogging route that juts up to the lake. The breathtaking vistas of deep blue seas, rustling trees on the peninsulas, and rows of boats in the port with gleaming decks in the corner of my eye were deserving of a champagne toast and shared snacks with close companions.

Our company devoured the crispy arancini, which are thick arborio rice balls filled with cold water lobster claw and glued together with truffle aioli and coated in a smoky orange tomato sauce rather than the conventional ham and cheese. The accompanying grilled crostinis were ideal for soaking up the remaining rice and sauce.

We chose the cherry barbeque pulled pork flatbread to continue our devotion to Michigan cherries. It’s a rustic-flavored appetizer with soft roasted pork shoulder chunks and red peppers piled on top of a warm, doughy crust baked locally by the Detroit Bread Company.

The tarty sweet cherry barbeque sauce stole the stage, despite being covered with melted farm country cheese that threads as each piece is taken apart! A spinach and artichoke variation with wild mushrooms, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and herb bechamel sauce baked on a crispy light gluten-free cauliflower crust was a hit with the vegan crowd.

The H+L Cheesesteak, according to the staff, is a popular lunch meal that Traverse City residents think can rival with Philly. I was tempted to order it, but because we were here for happy hour before dinner, I asked the customer at the table next to us to explain it to me, and he was pleased to comply!

Tender sliced prime rib and juicy grilled onions, bell peppers, and shallots are placed onto a crusty Detroit Bread Co. hoagie baguette with gooey cheddar cheese. Each mouthful was oozing with cheese and grilled vegetable juice. It came with a side of truffle fries, which he said he put to the sandwich to give it the proper crispy texture. As he inhaled it in fifteen seconds, I assumed it was as excellent as every word he stated.

Following dinner, we returned to the rooftop bar for more nightlife and learned about a famous dessert dish on the menu that we missed due to our late-night schedule. Moomers ice cream was prominently displayed at the café! Any local will tell you that the greatest ice cream comes from Moomers Homemade Ice Cream, which is created right here on a family-run dairy farm. It comes in a variety of flavors, including key lime, chocolate peanut butter crunch, and oreo cream, and H & L has a large quantity on hand to offer as dessert or an afternoon snack.

Chantal Château

Rue Devin (231) 223-411015900

Imagine sitting on a veranda overlooking rows of tangled grapevines and layers of fall leaves while watching the sun set into the far blue ocean. Enjoy a delicious lunch and raise a glass to the love tale of a nun and a priest who left the church to pursue a new life, fell in love, married, and pursued their goal of constructing a vineyard chateau.

This two-hour and thirty-minute event starts with an outdoor vineyard tour at 6:00 p.m., followed by a dinner sitting of a set six-course menu cooked by Chef Chris Mushall, with each dish matched with the winery’s trademark and reserved wines.

This a fantastic way to sample the local cuisine. They have worked with Taste the Local Difference to get all of their wine evenings certified as local food events. This implies that at least 20% of the food must come from Michigan farmers and companies. They are delighted to say that they have exceeded this objective by utilizing 54% local foods each week.

A reservation is necessary in advance. There is a predefined menu available with substitutes such as tofu or portabella mushrooms for individuals with food allergies or dietary constraints. They recommend contacting ahead of time to clarify what substitutes are available before making a reservation.

A sneak peek at the proposed upcoming fall Wine Dinner menu included a goat cheese crostini with locally grown fava sprouts and aromatic fresh herbs paired with a pinot noir, butternut squash chicken curry paired with Gewurztraminer, a naughty apple cider sorbet float, oven-roasted Scottish Salmon over a spaghetti squash latke paired with Chardonnay, and Hanger Steak prepared with a Malbec demi-glace and caramelized onion and potato hash.

If it isn’t motivation enough to return in the autumn, a milky white chocolate mousse may be served as dessert.

Traverse City has become a well-known gastronomic destination in the Midwest, where tastes from all four seasons may be savored by inviting local food and wine producers within miles of picturesque bays and lush hills and meadows.

Which of these Traverse City restaurants do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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