With plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free restaurants as well as traditional, grand-scale American restaurants, Grand Rapids in Michigan has every cuisine covered. We’ve updated our Gourmet Guide to Grand Rapids to ensure that all budgets, tastes and dietary requirements are catered for and only the best of the best is featured.
Expect only the best authentic fare at Amore Trattoria Italiana. This restaurant’s owner and head chef, Jenna Arcidiacono, won the prestigious Grand Rapids Chef of the Year award in 2014 and it’s no wonder why when her menu creations are this authentic. Sample Jenna’s twist on Italian fresh meat, fish and pasta dishes for a meal that will satisfy any palate. Go for the lobster pasta or the Mangia Fuoco salami and sausage pizza with a selection of Italian cheeses to pick at while you wait. Regular live music accompanies the dinner service creating a pleasing and cozy restaurant setting to enjoy the tasty dishes in.
Both an elegant wine bar and a welcoming restaurant, Reserve Wine & Food serves seasonal dishes created using local ingredients and produce. Book a table on a Thursday to sample the custom three-course dinner menu created using an array of fresh produce from Green Wagon Farms or stop by any day of the week to try the BBQ quail, pancetta and mushroom cheese burger or the Moulard duck breast. For a lighter bite, order from the charcuterie and cheese menu and take advantage of the daily happy hour to get a great deal on cocktails and drinks. Wine lovers should inquire about the monthly wine tasting evenings that currently take place every third Thursday of the month, costing $20 per person.
San Chez a Tapas Bistro, Grand Rapids | Courtesy San Chez a Tapas Bistro
The only authentic tapas bistro in the city, San Chez a Tapas Bistro serves a medley of European and Mediterranean dishes in miniature portions perfect for mixing and matching. Choose a couple of meat tapas such as the grilled lamb rib and beef tenderloin dishes, some fish and seafood ones like the sautéed squid and wild crawfish and one or two vegetable options like the artichoke hearts and the spicy bean and quinoa cakes. At San Chez every dietary requirement and preference is catered for from the usual vegan, gluten-free or lactose- free needs to soy, garlic and tree nut allergies – just ask the waiter for the relevant menu options. For those who fancy a bigger plate, order the freshly made paella.
A traditional American diner with an unusual twist, all the dishes served at Bartertown Diner are either vegan or vegetarian guaranteeing that only healthy, nutritious meals are enjoyed here. The classic red booths and black and white chequerboard flooring are in keeping with the usual diner decor but the pun-filled menu is bursting with chickpeas, beans and other superfood options. Go for the Pretzeldential sandwich or the Michigander black bean burger for a yummy lunch and revel in the knowledge that the food is all prepared using fresh, local ingredients.
The Cherie Inn is infamous among locals for its delicious breakfasts but it also serves incredible dishes throughout the day. Stop by to start the day the right way with a breakfast of croissants, French toast, eggs Benedict, pancakes and hash browns, or come by at lunchtime to sample the sandwiches, burgers, soups, pittas and salads. Open since 1924, Cherie Inn is the oldest restaurant in Grand Rapids and has a lovely quaint, romantic feel to it. The authentic tin ceilings, carefully selected artworks, Stickley furnishings and fresh flower displays draw passers-by into this vintage cafe so come early to avoid queuing for a table.
Situated atop the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Cygnus 27 not only offers guests delicious dishes but it boasts incredible views over the city too. Plates are small here so order one for a light meal, three for a heartier portion or a selection of the best to share with friends. Essentially American with international influences, the cuisine at Cygnus 27 is an eclectic mix in keeping with the unusual decor of the restaurant inspired by the Cygnus constellation, the Grand Rapids skyline and world cuisines. Try the shrimp and scallop brochette for a light but exceptionally tasty plate of grilled shrimp and scallops skewered and served on black pasta and vegetables.
Home cooking at its absolute best, Marie Catrib’s serves an abundance of Lebanese-influenced dishes in both its restaurant and delicatessen. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and just for lunch on Saturday, stop by to sample a tasty sandwich, soup or salad sure to satisfy any craving. Go for the chevre salad: greens, roasted root veggies, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, red onion and balsamic vinaigrette or the vermaire sandwich made from chicken, provolone cheese, cream cheese, cranberry sauce and spinach on grilled challah bread. Marie Catrib’s also offers a kids menu for smaller appetites and plainer tastes, and a variety of cheeses, olives and signature granola bars can all be purchased to take home from the delicatessen.
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Priding themselves on serving memorable breakfasts, brunches and lunches, the service at Real Food Cafe is just as great as the food on offer. With two cafes in the Grand Rapids area, diners can choose between the north eastern branch or the south eastern branch so they never have to travel far to sample Real Food Cafe’s delights. The specials change daily; for today’s favorites check out the menu board on the cafe’s Facebook page. Past options have included: blueberry, lemon and cream cheese stuffed French toast; split pea and ham soup; a BBQ pulled pork sandwich and a deluxe bacon cheeseburger skillet.
An unmissable stop for burger aficionados, Stella’s has been declared as the best burger joint in the whole of the United States. Huge, cheese-stuffed slabs of meat are served between two buns with a steak knife stabbed through its middle to hold the tumbling stack together and are accompanied by onion rings and a crisp salad. Aside from burgers, Stella’s also serves bacon popcorn, nachos, tacos and steak sandwiches in its colorfully decorated dining room. The motto here is ‘strong drinks, cheap beer, loud music’ so expect a slightly raucous night once the drinks start flowing.
An eco-conscious gastro pub, The Green Well supports local farmers, breweries and vineyards whilst keeping its carbon footprint to a minimum. The menu here is an eclectic mix of cuisines with dishes changing regularly. For a bit of spice try either the salmon jambalaya made from grilled Atlantic salmon, crawfish, red rice, Cajun sausage, peppers, sweetcorn, pickled tomato relish and pepper sauce, or the lamb vindaloo of slow=stewed lamb, curried lentils, broccoli, tomato and onion served with a mint yogurt cooler and crispy flatbread. The Green Well strives to support the local economy not only by sourcing ingredients from local farmers but also by displaying works by local artists on its art wall that diners can admire, or choose to purchase with a percentage of sales going to Grand Rapids Friends of the Parks charity.