There’s nothing more wonderful than trying a new restaurant, whether you’re searching for a specific flavor profile or simply seeking an adventurous meal. Luckily for those of us who call the Great Lakes State home, eateries abound around every bend – from long-standing family establishments to inventive new cafes. As you plot out your next culinary excursion, keep these 12 bucket-list restaurants in Michigan in mind: one for every month of the year.
January: White Horse Inn
When temperatures are chilly, there’s something special about cozying up in a warm and welcoming restaurant with a rich history. You’ll find all this and more at the White Horse Inn, which sits in the heart of downtown Metamora and dates back to the mid-1800s. This former stagecoach shop is especially magical during the winter months, but it delivers deliciousness all year round. Favorite dishes include honey plum salmon, perfectly prepared steak, and warm bread pudding.
February: The Whitney
February might just be the most romantic month of the year, so we’d be remiss not to highlight one of the most romance-friendly restaurants in the state. The Whitney in Detroit boasts an elegant atmosphere within a former lumber baron’s house and perfectly combines stately touches with fine fare and beauty. Whether you visit for a typical date night or a Valentine’s Day outing, you’ll have the chance to appreciate a four-course dining experience among unforgettable surroundings.
March: The Curragh
Ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? You don’t have to limit yourself to a few glasses of Guinness at home when the holiday rolls around. Instead, venture to the lakeside city of Holland for a mouthwatering meal and plenty of adult beverages at the Curragh, which embraces its Irish pub theme with an extra dash of class. From traditional Irish breakfasts to shepherd’s pie and Irish stew, there’s something here for everyone.
April: Apache Trout Grill
April signals the earliest hints of springtime, so you might just want to venture out for a journey to the scenic Traverse City area. During your adventure, carve out time to dine at Apache Trout Grill, which features dining along the bay and a rustic yet elevated vibe. Whether you’re digging into fresh fish, a burger, or fantastic french onion soup, you’ll surely want to return to this lodge-inspired gem.
May: The Farm
Farm-to-table dining is at its very best at The Farm, a Port Austin eatery that prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients and fresh produce. With its farmhouse setting and laid-back country atmosphere, The Farm is a satisfying and dreamy destination for those who appreciate a rotating menu, thoroughly home-cooked meals, and some of the friendliest service around. Talk about a perfect May day trip.
As summer kicks into full gear, you’ll find yourself wanting to be closer to Michigan’s shorelines: it’s simply in our blood here in the Great Lakes State. Fulfill this desire while satisfying hunger pangs at Blu, a gorgeous Glen Arbor restaurant that provides diners with glimpses of Sleeping Bear Bay and even the beautiful Manitou Islands, which sit among the vibrant blue water. After a long day of exploring the nearby dunes, we can’t imagine a more gorgeous place to unwind with a glass of wine and fine fare.
July: Harbor Haus Restaurant
Summer is the best time to check out Michigan’s marvelous Upper Peninsula, as roads are more easily traversable and natural attractions are accessible in all their glory. In July, make your way northward to the stunning Keweenaw Peninsula, which houses the lovely Harbor Haus Restaurant. This spot remains open annually between May and October and offers unbeatable views of Lake Superior. When paired with its seafood-rich menu and great service, there’s nothing not to love.
August: The Southerner
Indulge in a bit of Southern-inspired charm when you dine at the aptly named Southerner, which sits in the tiny community of Saugatuck and brings together tourists and locals alike with its mouthwatering menu selections. While fried chicken is a popular option here, other favorites include po’ boy sandwiches, pulled pork, and an assortment of delicious cocktails. While you’re dining, take time to gaze out at the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the eatery’s backyard.
September: Woods Restaurant
Looking for a magical way to appreciate the autumn months? Make your way to Mackinac Island and opt for dinner at Woods Restaurant, a one-of-a-kind destination that can be reached by horse-drawn carriage from the iconic Grand Hotel. As its name implies, this eatery sits among wooded splendor and serves a little something for everyone, whether you’re craving duck, steak, a fresh salad, or something else entirely. The fairytale-like atmosphere here is enough to make it a new family favorite.
October: Chamberlin’s Ole Forest Inn
Head to the little-known community of Curtis for a visit to Chamberlin’s Ole Forest Inn, a restaurant that sits within a history-rich bed and breakfast. When you choose to dine or spend the night here, you’ll appreciate views of Big Manistique Lake from atop a beautiful bluff and enjoy a sense of welcoming that’s almost impossible to replicate elsewhere. When fall colors blossom, the property is extra stunning – so why don’t you book an overnight stay and settle in after your meal?
November: Turkey Roost
Many of us appreciate Thanksgiving dinner with our loved ones in November, but one restaurant offers turkey-centric deliciousness all year long. If you can’t get enough Thanksgiving fare, venture to Turkey Roost in Kawkawlin for daily helpings of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, fresh veggies, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, and so much more. It’s easy to understand why this spot has been in operation since 1955, as its quirky charm keeps diners returning time and time again.
December: Historic Holly Hotel
With the arrival of the holiday season, the Holly Hotel is a perfect dining destination. The entire town of Holly is ripe with holiday charm throughout the year – after all, there’s cheer built right into its name! The Holly Hotel, which now operates as a restaurant instead of a lodging space, has been around for more than a century and offers particular ambiance in the winter months when its porch is dotted with garland and lights. Throw in tasty food, awesome drinks, and perhaps a few ghost stories… and you’ve got the recipe for an unforgettable December meal.
Have you been lucky enough to dine at any of these bucket-list restaurants in Michigan? Did one of your favorite eateries make our list – or get left off? We’re always happy to hear from you, so share your thoughts by leaving a Facebook comment. If you have a recommendation to make, let us know by completing our official nomination form here.