With everything from upscale steakhouse fare and gourmet wood-fired pizzas to mouthwatering barbecue and legendary brunches served up in kitsch surroundings, Lansing, Michigan’s dining scene has something to suit every diner. Read on for our round-up of the state capital’s very best restaurants.
A meat-lover’s dream dining destination, Meat Southern BBQ and Carnivore Cuisine cooks up some of the best-loved barbecue in all of Lansing. Opt for one of its meat plates of either pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey, Texas hot link sausage or wings, and pair with sides like BBQ pit beans, spicy cream corn, jalapeño and cilantro slaw. Otherwise, go for one of its hearty sandwiches, appropriately dubbed ‘meatwiches.’ They have a range of fancy fries too, parmesan-garlic and chili bacon included, and made-to-order mac ‘n’ cheese that diners can personalize with toppings like bacon, caramelized onion and roasted red pepper.
A cozy breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in the heart of Lansing, Soup Spoon Café is, as its name might suggest, famous for its wholesome homemade soups, and serves six handcrafted varieties each day, including traditional choices like French onion and seafood chowder, alongside varying seasonal and vegan offerings. But there’s more to Soup Spoon Café than its tasty broths, its hearty breakfast fare includes the likes of smoked salmon Benedict and gourmet omelets, while in the evening guests can pair dishes like Maryland blue crab cakes and braised lamb shank with a range of rotating Michigan-brewed craft beers.
A chef-driven restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas, The Cosmos has been wowing local diners with its delicious signature pies since first opening its doors in early 2015. It’s a fun space with a sci-fi inspired interior that matches its name, a 120-seat outdoor patio and arcade tables where guests can play retro games while they wait for food. Chef Dan Konopnicki’s creativity results in inventive, gourmet pizzas like the roasted pumpkin with chorizo, red onions, arugula and feta, or the runny egg with pancetta, spinach, oven-dried tomato and mozzarella. Bruschetta and shareable dishes are served as well, alongside classic cocktails, wine, and craft beer.
Perpetually busy, Golden Harvest is undoubtedly one of Lansing’s best-loved restaurants with guests often queuing up outside for up to an hour to get their hands on its delicious grub (and rumor has it, it’s worth the wait). Although Golden Harvest has been around for over 60 years, it was in 2004 when current owner Zane Vicknair took over and revived it into the great hit it is today, a kitsch, unfussy diner serving some of the tastiest brunch and lunch fare in town. Indulge in omelets, scrambles and waffles, or a delicious daily special like golden beet and portobello mushroom hash with beef brisket, crispy shallots and ale gravy.
Located just outside Lansing in the suburb of Okemos, Dusty’s Cellar is a retail store-cum-restaurant and a favorite fixture on the local dining scene since first opening its doors over 30 years ago. Casual fine dining and bistro-style ambience are the focus at Dusty’s Wine Bar, where dishes like guava-glazed roasted half-duckling with creamy truffled grits and spiced rack of lamb with sweet potato mash and cherry mustard are teamed with selections from Dusty’s award-winning wine list. Meanwhile, Dusty’s Tap Room offers a traditional pub atmosphere with plenty of craft brews and tasty bar eats like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and pizzas.
Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Food, $$$
Owned and operated by the same family since opening back in 1960, DeLuca’s Restaurant is a traditional Italian bistro serving the best-loved pizza in town. DeLuca’s potato pizza topped with olive oil, potato slices, bacon, chicken, broccoli and onions is a diner favorite, but there are plenty of subs, pasta dishes and Italian classics like gnocchi and veal parmesan on the menu as well.
Elegantly prepared seafood and steakhouse fare are on the menu at Capital Prime, an upscale restaurant that opened in the outskirts of Lansing in 2013. Open for lunch and dinner, Capital Prime’s talented chefs pair appetizers like ahi tuna tartare and Cajun-rubbed tenderloin skewers with mouthwatering mains like prime bone-in New York strip steak, and pan-seared rainbow trout with roasted red skin potatoes, haricots verts, baby carrots and a pistachio reduction. Head to its classy lounge where, on weekends, live music acts entertain guests while they sip hand-crafted cocktails or browse the extensive wine list.
Located in the heart of Lansing’s Old Town, Pablo’s Panaderia is the city’s go-to for authentic, delicious Mexican eats. A cozy and casual little spot, guests at Pablo’s Panaderia can expect a laid-back atmosphere and all the usual suspects on the menu, from quesadillas and tacos to chimichangas and chicken mole poblano. Breakfast dishes like huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos are served too, but Pablo’s real specialty are its tortas, a Mexican sandwich crafted from homemade bread filled with beans, shredded cheese, tomato, onion, avocado, jalapeño and a choice of meats.
Since owner and chef Samy Rashed first opened Zaytoon in late 2013, the restaurant has quickly become one of Lansing’s favorite with guests raving about its modern take on authentic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Start with classic mezze (appetizer) dishes like baba ghanoush, spicy hummus and falafel, before dining on entrees like juicy lamb kabobs, lamb-stuffed grape leaves or the vegetarian-friendly mujadara, a dish of caramelized onions, lentils and cracked wheat. But if you try just one dish, make sure it’s Zaytoon’s house specialty, the chicken shawarma, marinated, thinly sliced chicken, slow-roasted on a vertical broiler and served with hummus and rice.
A laid-back neighborhood joint in downtown Lansing, Midtown Brewing Company is a brewpub mixing its handcrafted beers with upscale pub grub crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Choose from a number of gourmet pizzas like the lobster and truffle (topped with lobster, roasted garlic, white cheddar, goat cheese, basil, balsamic reduction, arugula and truffle oil), as well as burgers, sandwiches and tacos. Team them with a signature Midtown craft beer like the popular Pumpkin Cream Ale fermented with pumpkin and fall spices. Head outside during warmer months and enjoy an ale or two under the sun in Midtown Brewing’s outdoor beer garden.