Every good vacation should consist of great food. Luckily for you, Traverse City has evolved into a hub of culinary excellence with unique flavors and atmospheres. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: we’ve got it all. No matter the style of food or the manner of your company, there is likely a place for you. If you are searching for a place to feed the masses or looking to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of amazing wine over dinner, we’ve put together a list of a few of the places that the locals know and love… and think you will love too!
If you are looking for something formal, Traverse City is blessed with some of the best restaurants in Northern Michigan. Listed below are some of my favorite places for a night out, cherished by the locals and nationally recognized.
Trattoria Stella is a beautiful Italian restaurant that has been a treasure of Traverse City’s since it was established in 2004. The owners, Amanda and Paul Danielson, were among the very first people to renovate what once was the abandoned State Hospital, ultimately starting the movement that gave Building 50 a second life. This stunning restaurant with original brick walls gives each guest a mouth-watering exposure to dishes made from the products of over sixty local farms. Trattoria Stella prides itself on their farm-to-table food, house made pastas and breads, incredibly trained and knowledgable staff, while also featuring a wine list carefully curated by sommelier Amanda Danielson. Stella is a wonderful place for a romantic date night or adult night out, but this might be a good chance to leave the kids at home as the atmosphere is formal. Trattoria Stella can be very busy during the summer so reservations are recommended. The bar and large common table are popular for walk-in guests.
Visit http://www.stellatc.com to check out their menu and learn more.
830 Cottageview Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684
Red Ginger is another great place for a date night. Located next to the State Theater on Front Street, Red Ginger is a go-to for fresh sushi and amazing Asian Cuisine that captures the heart of every foodie. The metropolitan atmosphere is a popular place to socialize while also receiving excellent service, food, and drinks. Red Ginger is well-known for their raw sushi, among many Asian dishes made from local ingredients and freshly sourced in each day. As their website states, “Red Ginger is more than just a restaurant, it’s an experience,” and I couldn’t agree more. Reservations are also recommended if you are looking to dine; otherwise, feel free to blend in with the locals at the bar.
Visit http://www.eatatginger.com/menus/dinner/ to peruse their menu.
237 E Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684
Alliance is a modern restaurant residing in the Warehouse District of Downtown Traverse City. Though Alliance was just established in the spring of 2016, Pete Peterson is no stranger to the area’s food scene. Having previously owned several successful restaurants, Pete came out of retirement to open another farm to table restaurant that highlights the many tastes of our beautiful corner of the mitten. Featuring small dishes meant to be shared, the bright atmosphere is complimented by a fantastic bar with some of the best cocktails in TC. The kitchen is completely open so tables can clearly see, observe, and appreciate the process of each dish. In addition to the inside seating, there is a small patio with a limited menu. The friendly service, delicious food, and atmosphere is highly recommended. While this restaurant is less formal than Trattoria Stella & Red Ginger, Alliance is geared towards adults as seating is limited.
Reservations encouraged: (231) 642-5545
144 Hall Street, No. 107, Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Got kids? No problem. We all know how hard it can be to travel with children, especially when it comes to food. Have no fear, Traverse City has many kid friendly places.
The Little Fleet
Located on front street, The Little Fleet consists of eight independently owned food trucks that park directly outside of The Little Fleet Bar. While the hours of each food truck slightly vary, you can count on most of them being opened until 9pm. Not only are the food trucks kid friendly, but they are an easy way to break away from your typical hamburger and hot dogs while still pleasing even the pickiest of eaters. From White on Rice’s sushi to Pleasanton Pizza to Happy’s Tacos, The Little Fleet has everything covered — with a fresh margarita, beer, or cocktail on the side.
The Franklin located on Front and Cass in the heart of Traverse City is the sister restaurant of Trattoria Stella, both owned by Amanda and Paul and sharing the executive chef, Myles Anton. Opened three summers ago, The Franklin features a beautiful antique bar and indoor dining area. It also has a second story with a trademark rooftop overlooking front street with a breeze frequenting from West Bay. This buzzing restaurant is an extremely popular place to enjoy more farm to table food, a beer and good company. If you are looking for a nice place to enjoy a drink later in the evening, The Franklin is a fantastic place to lounge on the roof under multicolored lights while choosing from a creative cocktail menu and expertly chosen wine list. Reservations are not required but if you have more than four people, they are usually recommended if you don’t like to wait a few minutes.
160 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684
Bubba’s has some of the best bar food in town with great burgers, burritos, and beer. You can’t help but love the fun atmosphere perfect for families and popular to catch the current sports games.
428 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684
Mary’s Kitchen Port
Pre-made Picnic!! Mary’s Kitchen Port is a hidden gem amongst locals in Traverse City. If you are on the go, MKP is the place to stop in and pick up a few sandwiches. Famous for “The Gobbler,” Mary’s Kitchen Port is also well-known for their delicious salads, pasta salads, and sandwiches ready to be picked up and taken to the beach. Trust me, after you’ve bitten into your first Gobbler, you’ll be going back to Mary’s Kitchen Port every chance you can! Their menu is updated daily on their website listed below.
539 W. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684
To see other recommended restaurants in Leelanau County please visit our Local Restaurants page!