It can be difficult to find good waterside restaurants in Michigan, which is known for being the Great Lakes State. There are nights when only a waterside restaurant will suffice. You’re celebrating Father’s Day or your girlfriend’s birthday. Or maybe you just need to get away from the Airbnb. But, the most important criteria is to be so close to the water that it’s possible to fall in. These 16 hidden gems are our top picks for North shore waterside destinations. They offer fine dining with white tablecloths, historic inns, and vintage drive-ins. Are you driving up right now? Book a table immediately by calling ahead. You’ve been warned if you are “that guy” who slips off the dock dressed for dinner.
Bistro casual European-style serving The Classics, simply and with flair. Belgian beers, wood fired pizzas, mussels, frites, pastas and Panini are just a few of the many options. Offering Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
“I received a text message from Mario Batali, a legendary celebrity chef, a few years back at midnight in early December. I was told by him that his family was going to Boyne to enjoy the indoor waterpark at Boyne Mountain. He also asked me where I should eat. After my shock at his initial question, I replied Cafe Sante. Batali then sent me a second note in which he thanked me for everything.11 best waterfront restaurants in michigan
It feels like you are stepping back in the past when you pull into Eagle River, just off Highway 41. You will find a few simple, historical summer homes, a vintage playground and a metal truss footbridge. It also has one of the best meals in the U.P. The Fitz, as it is known in the Keweenaw is equal parts hotel/restaurant–the building itself was a modest 1950s-era motel. Mike LaMotte, the owner, and his staff are pouring decades-aged whiskey in etched cocktail glasses. They also prepare beef brisket using an on-site smoker. Bonus: LaMotte has just completed a spectacular remodel of the property’s one-bedroom king suites. Book a room to transform dinner into an overnight stay at this lake-facing gem.
The Lake House is located just blocks from downtown on Muskegon Lake’s 4,400-acre shores. It offers marina-side dining that’s casually elegant and friendly. It is a lovely setting with a gorgeous patio and a deck running the length of it along the water. Here you can see some very large boats. The inside is just as nice with large windows.
A spectacular sunset can be viewed from your chair, either inside or outside.
This spot, featuring seafood and American fare, overlooks the Kalamazoo River.
Saugatuck’s family-owned restaurant offers full-service dining and fresh fish. The dockside restaurant has patio seating that overlooks the Kalamazoo River. We are committed to providing excellent customer service. We aim to provide a welcoming environment where families and individuals feel valued and welcome.
Reservations are not accepted at our restaurant. However, you can call ahead for one hour or use the Yelp app.
5. Harbor Haus Restaurant
The white-tablecloth dining area at the Keweenaw’s tip is the best place for oysters Rockefeller, lobster tail or a tableside martini. The menu also features smoked jagerwurst, schnitzel and other traditional German dishes. If you feel that the dirndl-clad waitresses are a little out of date, go straight to the bar and order one the large format German dunkles. Then, watch the Isle Royale ferry return from Copper Harbor.
6. Crews Inn
Crews Inn’s large menu has something for everyone. Crews Inn’s large menu includes a variety of dishes. Calamari is delicious and tender. It’s flash-fried, then tossed with bright, acidic banana peppers, sharp garlic, and other great ingredients. It’s delicious in many ways.
They smoke salmon in-house and make Reuben sandwiches from corned beef. Every Sunday, they roast whole birds for their special roast turkey dinner. The fish here is always fresh and delicious. We especially loved the La Belle Perch which has the fish sauteed in garlic, tomatoes, and capers for a lighter, more flavorful version of this Michigan staple.
Mike Connors created Apache Trout Grill in 1994 from a passion for Northern Michigan Outdoors, and his love for fresh fish caught fly fishing. Mike sold the restaurant’s ownership to Traverse City native Jeff Lobdell in 2018.
Jeff Lobdell, the owner of Apache Trout Grill, says that it has been a favorite restaurant for years. I look forward to continuing (Connors’) tradition of providing award-winning dining experiences in the Grand Traverse. I will be taking care of Apache Trout Grill to ensure it continues to fulfill its purpose as a beloved waterfront gathering place.
The Apache Trout Grill, which is located on the water with stunning views of Grand Traverse Bay, is still one the most popular restaurants in Traverse City. We offer a variety of signature dishes including hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, ribs and many other delicious options. All are prepared using the best local ingredients.
You can enjoy a romantic dining experience at our restaurant with a large selection of local wines or you can relax on the patio and enjoy a few cocktails or ice-cold beer.
Million-dollar views don’t have to be accompanied by million-dollar meals. You can find a vintage drive-in in Sault Sainte Marie that is located right next to the St. Marys River, and get a 3/4-pound hamburger (that’s not a typo) and a chocolate shake. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron via this working passageway. You’ve never had a better way to eat in your car!
The most sought-after dish of the menu at The Shed is a pleasant delightful surprise and is absolutely delicious. The renowned Shed Borscht takes six hours to make, features an extremely rich, thick beef broth, with succulent cabbage floating around and a rich flavor due to the smoking paprika and a garnish of cool Sour cream. It’s not what you’d think of eating at a waterside restaurant But we’re here to tell you that you’ll want the soup.
A hugely well-known, and a regular menu item it is known as also a long-running menu item, the Legendary Glarum Grill. The open-faced sandwich is the classic Philly cheesesteak, but with a twist. It’s packed with lots of chopped steak, peppers and onions, all joined by a melting layer of provolone. The other top options are those that include the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich, which includes a wonderful hot and sweet pepper jelly mayo as well as the fish tacos which have Shed Slaw on them, an incredibly crunchy blend that is coated by Key Lime juice.
We like that chef Justin Couturier puts a little spin on food to shine and helps other local businesses like Crescent Bakery in Frankfort who provides their bread. They’re cooking everything in-house from desserts to dressings. Don’t skip the signature Key Lime Pie, that comes in a adorable mason jar. Or their warm, gooey Skookie which is a home-cooked chocolate chip cookie covered in Moomer’s vanilla Ice cream, and Kahlua hot Fudge sauce.
“Our motto is ‘Work hard and be nice’,” Beth Roethler said. They have all of that in The Cabbage Shed. We’re guessing they’re enjoying a great time living in Elberta.
10. Bil-Mar, Grand Haven
With such a close proximity for the Lake, you’ll be able to enjoy peace and tranquility during your dinner.
The Noto family bring the family’s Sicilian roots to the Bil-Mar at Noto’s which was rebuilt on the site that was the restaurant Bil-Mar that was serving the lake since 1952. Noto’s located at Bil-Mar is a lively modern bar and restaurant that has plenty of options for everyone. Try our extensive wine menu along with an unforgettable Lake Michigan sunset and fine dining in our lakefront dining area. Enjoy delicious food or drinks on the deck or in our bar, which is modern and stylish. You can also bring your family to enjoy a casual meal. We serve a range from wood-fired pizzas to shared dishes and salads made with local ingredients, as well as a variety of vegan choices.
They Have also hold private events in our lakeview room, which has been renovated and remodeled, as well as the beach room.
Take a bite of the Brie as well as Balsamic Flatbread that is served with warm, melting cheese, fresh spring lettuce as well as drizzled with tart white balsamic vinegar and sweet honey to provide a wonderful flavor balance. If you see the Chicken Lettuce Wrap is on the menu, you should order. Crispy lettuce is served with a delicious mixture of chicken ground with a crisp Asian salad as well as Gochujang sauce. It’s fresh and clean. The salmon is surrounded by perfect cooked vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes which are cooked each day. The delicious seafood pasta is filled with shrimp, mussels, and crab, and is tangled with sun-dried tomatoes.
The reality is that Joey Selleke and Tommy Selleke are the only cooks at the restaurant is quite astonishing and they’re cranking out lots of food each day as well as “not one complaint,” their mother told them. They are the Selleke family is an impressive force to be reckoned with. Go to Uri’s restaurant and take a look at them in action.11 best waterfront restaurants in michigan