Fine Dining in Northern Michigan
By Jeff Wellman
As a Northern Michigan local and self-proclaimed foodie, I have definitely tried my fair share of local restaurants time and time again. A question that I commonly receive from clients and people new to or exploring the area is, where they can get a fantastic dinner in Petoskey, Charlevoix and beyond? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite places to go when I’m celebrating, looking to indulge, or simply seeking an exceptional dining experience.
Douglas Lake Bar & Steakhouse
Known to locals as the “DLB,” this rustic log building sits on the shores of Douglas Lake, which is near Pellston – a quick jaunt from the airport. Two large fieldstone fireplaces sit in the dining area, providing a warm and cozy ambiance during the winter months. On a warm summer night, you can enjoy live music on the patio and beautiful views of the lake. Their menu is that of a classic American steakhouse. Wonderful cuts of meat, fresh local fish, and other well-crafted dishes give patrons a true 5-star dining experience. The food can be described as hearty, but refined country cooking, prepared with local and regional ingredients. The tables are filled almost every night, so be sure to get a reservation if you plan to make the trip.
Located in Harbor Springs overlooking the marina and Little Traverse Bay, Willow is a modern American restaurant with a focus on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. Its airy dining room offers a modern atmosphere with a rustic twist, which pays tribute to the beauty of Northern Michigan. The menu features dishes that are simple, creative, and rooted in the flavors of the Midwest. The entire staff is professionally trained, some in Michelin star restaurants, so you can bet that you will be having meal to remember. In addition to their impressive food menu, the bar menu and thoughtfully curated wine list complement their dishes to a tee. Because their ingredients are so seasonally focused, you can expect to see different dishes rotating in on their ever-evolving menu.
Located on the edge of downtown Petoskey, and perched on a hill overlooking Little Traverse Bay, Palette Bistro is a special restaurant with a unique approach to upscale, but casual, dining. Their menu consists of dishes that are inspired by areas surrounding the Mediterranean including Spain, France, Italy and beyond. For a fun dining experience, attend one of their occasional wine dinners, where each course is paired with a carefully selected wine. The two-story restaurant offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, with a casual atmosphere and some of the best food you’ll find in downtown Petoskey. They also have a fantastic happy hour, so be sure to check it out to enjoy some delicious starters and cocktails.
Walloon Lake Inn
Perched on the shores of Walloon Lake, this fine dining establishment near the village is newly renovated, with both indoor and outdoor dining. The inn has been in existence since the early 1900s, and was once called the Fern Cottage and renamed in 1981. Today it serves as an upscale restaurant, offering a unique dining experience to locals and visitors alike. The Walloon Lake Inn has a reputation for incredible dishes, a refined and almost posh atmosphere and unmatched service. Some nights, you’ll be lucky enough to listen to a live pianist, making the experience all the more enjoyable. Their menu is elegant, and unlike any restaurant you’ll find in the area with unique dishes, all well balanced and delicious. It is a must-visit restaurant on your visit to Northern Michigan.
What can be more exciting for a luxury home specialist but to be working with the premiere luxury art house Christie’s?! As a Lake Charlevoix native, I have a deep love for Michiganders and our relaxed lifestyle. I approach both life and real estate with sincerity, honesty, and professionalism. Even after 33 years, for me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a client fall in love with his or her new home, cottage, condo, or property in Northern Michigan. I cater to the most discerning clients.
Whether you seek a pleasant peninsula all your own or a home thick in the bustle of Charlevoix’s Venetian Festival, I am ready and able to meet your desires in a bespoke home. I eat, breathe, and sleep Lake Charlevoix.