Welcome to waterside dining in Michigan — a state of satisfying appetites for both good food and a good life with menus that span the culinary spectrum and venues characterized as much by the experiences they serve as their region’s natural attributes.
While BLUE’s first annual statewide sampling of shoreline restaurants and nearby venues can’t because of sheer volume be all-inclusive, we invite you to explore this array of destinations and to share with us new discoveries or favorites of your own that we may have missed.
Information contained in this directory is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. Please verify specific details with each respective restaurant of interest.
Notable Near-water Dining
BLUE PLATE CAFÉ — Making the most of local produce, this from-scratch restaurant and bakery specializes in breakfast, lunch and fresh-squeezed juices. 15288 Red Arrow Hwy., Union Pier; (269) 469-2380; blueplatemichigan.com. B, L, $-$$
CITY-VU BISTRO — Housed in the modern City Flats Hotel, this top-floor venue features flatbreads, small-plate fare and hearty entrées, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. 61 E 7th St, Holland; (616) 796-2114; cityflatshotel.com. B, L, D, $-$$
BENTHAM’S RIVERFRONT RESTAURANT — Casual setting with bistro-style entrees and wines from Amway Grand Plaza Hotel’s main level overlooking the Grand River and Gerald R. Ford Museum. 187 Monroe Ave. NE, Grand Rapids; (616) 774-2000; amwaygrand.com. B, L, D, $$
BENTWOOD TAVERN — Serving artisan comfort cuisine, as well as wood-fired pizzas, chicken, steaks, seafood and local microbrews, from inside the harbor-side Marina Grand Resort. 600 West Water St., New Buffalo; (269) 469-9900; marinagrandresort.com. L, D, $$
CAFÉ MANITOU — A favorite in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this beachside bistro offers indoor dinner service, outdoor patio dining and an outdoor bar with sweeping views of Manitou Islands. 1 Wood Ridge Rd., Glen Arbor; (231) 334-5000; thehomesteadresort.com.
LA BECASSE — Nestled within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this intimate eatery has been serving acclaimed French-country fare for more than 30 years, paired with A full bar and award-winning wine list. 9001 South Dunns Farm Rd., Maple City; (231) 334-3944; restaurantlabecasse.com. D, $$-$$$
ROWE INN — One of northern Michigan’s most celebrated restaurants offering fine casual dining since the early 1970s. Seasonal menus feature local fare Sunday brunch is also served. 6303 East Jordan Rd., Ellsworth; (231) 588-7351; roweinn.com. D, $$-$$$
THE STONEHOUSE & CARPORT LOUNGE — Relax in casual elegance and enjoy seafood, steaks, fresh fish, veal and daily luncheon specials. Closed Sunday. 2223 Ludington St., Escanaba; (906) 786-5003; stonehouseescanaba.com. L, D, $$-$$$
BAYSIDE — Try local whitefish, aged beef and homemade pasta in this elegant yet rustic setting at Drummond Island Resort in northern Lake Huron. 33494 S. Maxton Rd., Drummond Island; (906) 493-1000; drummondisland.com. D
TAMARACK — Spend the day canoeing the Au Sable River or swinging easy at one the area’s championship courses, then settle into this massive log cabin at Garland Resort for locally-sourced produce and fresh-caught fish. 4700 N. Red Oak Rd., Lewiston; (877) 442-7526; garlandusa.com. L, D, $$
1852 GRILL ROOM — Watch harbor activity while enjoying starters, soups, salads and entrees in the historic Island House Hotel or new outdoor terrace. Stop, too, by the Ice House Bar & Grill next to the pool house. 6966 Main St., Mackinac Island; (906) 847-3347; theislandhouse.com. L, D
ANDIAMO DETROIT RIVERFRONT — Enjoy Detroit at the water’s edge in the GM Renaissance Center Wintergarden. Serving authentic Italian cuisine and offering cooking classes and special events. One of nine unique Andiamo locations. 400 Renaissance Center (Suite A-403), Detroit; (313) 567-6700; andiamoitalia.com. L, D, $$-$$$
MURPHY INN — Welcoming visitors since 1836, this boarding-house-turned-historic-inn serves up casual fare in an Irish pub setting, within walking distance of the St. Clair River. Start dinner with an appetizer of drunken mussels or the soup du jour, followed by entrees like liver, bacon and onions or lake perch and finishing with a “sweet finale” suggested by your server. 505 Clinton Ave., St. Clair; (810) 329-7119; murphyinn.com. B, L, D, $
ROOT RESTAURANT — Named “Restaurant of the Year” by the Detroit Free Press, this locally-owned and operated restaurant focuses on regional, seasonal cuisine that showcases the Great Lakes State’s many resources. 340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake; (248) 698-2400; therootrestaurant.com. L, D, $$