Top 10 Restaurants In Traverse City, Michigan

Photo of Evie Graham
9 February 2017

Traverse City, known as the cherry capital of the US, boasts some of the most picturesque scenery in Michigan. It is also becoming increasingly well regarded for its growing culinary culture. With a great passion for using locally sourced ingredients, many of the restaurants in Traverse have made the city one of the best ‘food towns’ in Michigan. Here are 10 must try restaurants in town.

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Boathouse Restaurant

Restaurant, North American, Seafood, $$$
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Boathouse Restaurant, Traverse City
Boathouse Restaurant, Traverse City | Courtesy of Doug Kosch

Located on the shores of Bowers harbour, Boathouse Restaurant is most definitely worth a visit. The great views are enough to satisfy any visitor, but more importantly, Boathouse Restaurant maintains a team of dedicated and passionate culinary experts who carefully craft each element of the dish paying close attention to detail. The chefs at Boathouse Restaurant are capable of providing some of the best food in Traverse City. A combination of high standards, delicious food and the comfortable cottage-like interior of the restaurant make the Boathouse Restaurant a definite must on the visit list.

Trattoria Stella

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Trattoria Stella, West Eleventh Street
Trattoria Stella, West Eleventh Street | Courtesy of Trattoria Stella
Trattoria Stella is a favourite in the city, a family-run Italian restaurant located in an intriguing 100 year old building that once served as a mental asylum. The owners have used the original brick interior of the cellar and converted it into a beautiful restaurant. Stella Trattoria offers award winning Italian cuisine with an emphasis on home cooking, and is very family friendly. Some of the signature dishes at Trattoria Stella include octopus and Italian favourites such as pizza bianca.

Old Mission Tavern and the Bella Galleria

Restaurant, North American, $$$
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Old Mission Tavern and the Bella Galleria provide a combination of both fine art and fine food to its visitors. Perfectly located in picturesque landscape, surrounded by the blue waters of lake Michigan, Old Mission Tavern has offered a relaxing dining experience for 25 years. As well as the restaurant there is the Bella Galleria, an art gallery that exhibits original art forms of many local and regional artists.

The Cove

Restaurant, North American, American, Seafood, $$$
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Located in the village of Leland, with views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands surrounding the restaurant, The Cove offers an award-winning menu and specialises in serving fresh white fish. Speciality dishes like the seafood chowder can be followed with hearty homemade cherry pie. The combination of the picturesque landscape neighbouring the restaurant and high quality food makes The Cove a memorable dining experience.

Sleder’s Family Tavern

Restaurant, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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An original tavern dated back from 1882, Sleder’s Family Tavern is unsurprisingly treasured by many Traverse City locals. The original characteristics of the tavern have captured the hearts of the venue’s many visitors. Lovingly preserved for over 100 years, the tavern offers a comfortable and historical setting to enjoy simple yet tasty food. Home-made and locally sourced beef burgers alongside a fantastic range of drinks make Sleder’s tavern a treat to be enjoyed by any visitor to Traverse City.

The Cooks’ House

Restaurant, North American, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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A small but popular restaurant, The Cooks’ House astounds its customers with a delicious locally sourced array of dishes. The menu changes seasonally but the philosophy of farm to fork remains throughout the year, ensuring all customers receive some of the freshest food in Traverse City.

The Jolly Pumpkin

Gastropub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
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Located amongst cherry orchards and close to Lake Michigan, The Jolly Pumpkin is a well-liked restaurant and brewery in Traverse City. The restaurant takes inspiration from its beautiful surroundings and incorporates them into its interior décor, offering a rustic atmosphere for its customers to enjoy a hearty meal and a refreshing cool home-brewed beer, and of course a slice of homemade cherry pie.

Apache Trout Grill

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Apache Trout Grill offers award winning outdoor dining with beautiful views of the West-Bay shore waters, making it the perfect restaurant for a romantic outdoor meal or relaxing lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. In 2013, the restaurant won the Red Hot Best Of… award for best brunch, best whitefish, best view and outdoor dining. Every Friday night the restaurant also hosts a live music night for frees.

Aerie Restaurant & Lounge

Restaurant, North American, American, Contemporary, Vegetarian, $$$
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Providing outstanding panoramic views of Grand Traverse Bay, Aerie Restaurant claims to be the crown jewel in the Grand Traverse resort. Offering dishes packed with bold and rich flavours, the restaurant’s culinary team are dedicated to creating an experience to be remembered. Aerie restaurant & Lounge also boasts an extensive wine menu, a perfect accompaniment to the relaxing and beautiful views of the sunset over Traverse City after a busy day.

Martha’s Leelanau Table

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Martha’s Leelanau Table is a European style bistro, inspired by the owner’s travels to Europe. The Suttons Bay restaurant works hard to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere, and the emphasis is on the food made from scratch. Every year, Martha herself leads foodie tours to Europe, and customers can enrol on her Traverse City cookery classes if they want to recreate her delicious meals at home. With items on the menu like paella and Swiss raclette, it’s no wonder customers want to learn how to cook like Martha.

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