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Feb 17, 2007 03:29 PM

HELP! Just moved to Kalamazoo. Need Chowish Food.

Can anyone give me a chowhound tour of the best places to eat in and around K-zoo?

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  1. The Union and the epic bistro on the mall in downtown Kalamazoo are both very good. For good beer and good food definitely check out bells brewery. I like Old Peninsula for bar food, they also brew their own beer and root beer. There's also Food Dance, which is a little more casual but organic (i think) and yummy. I hope this helps you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: schofiek

      I stopped at bells about a year ago and had an awesome burger. It put me on a burger at breweries kick for a few months. The others didn't top bells. they served it with lame potato chips from a bag though.

    2. I 2nd the restaurants already suggested. And if you like pot roast Old Peninsula has the best I've ever had. If you like tapas there is a great place downtown called Fandango. Great pizza downtown at Martini's. For the best weekend brunch I recommend Bravo's on Portage Rd right off of 94 exit. Really good authentic mexican at El Jimador on Centre Ave in Portage. Or you can't not try Taco Bob's for the taste like mom's tacos.
      For a really good steak travel a little west on I-94 to Paw Paw and try Bistro 120 and have the Paw Paw Steak..worth the price in portion and taste!

      1. Welcome to Kalamazoo! The food is "eh" here, IMHO. The Union, Epic Bistro, Fandango and Bravo's are all good and pricey. To that list I would add Zazio's (Italian) in the Radisson, great food, demonstration kitchen just for foodies like you, excellent wine selection, very expensive.

        Not a restaurant, but Tiffany's is an excellent wine shop with the area's best selection of wines and beers, along with a little gourmet grocery shopping. In the same strip mall is Saffron, fairly good Indian food (Punjabi). There is finally a sushi restaurant in town, Sushi-Ya. the food won't blow you away but the decor is very nice. Across the street from it is Shakespeare's, a big college bar with good drink specials, good pizza, and a portion of their menu dedicated to vegan options. Don't miss Pilsen near campus, an extremely cozy little bar which feels like a ski lodge and serves Belgian beer on tap.

        Ditto Olde Peninsula. I eat there all the time.

        And on the list of places to avoid: Kraftbrau (the beer is HORRID I do not understand how they can stay in business) and Burdick's (terrible food, often served cold.) Shwarma King is not an acceptable substitute for decent middle eastern food, don't bother.

        1. For more casual dining but very good food, I enjoy Martini's, Oakwood Bisto, Cosmo's (and O'Duffey's Pub), and Food Dance Cafe. A few places that are a little fancier but with good food are The Union, the Epic Bistro and Zazio's. During the summer, try to make it to the West Lake Drive In for a great burger (only open from May to Mid August). R. Stanley's is newer and I have had a couple of great meals there.

          1. Martini's is my absolute favorite right now. They just added a very cool sit-down area - until recently it was a take-out place. The menu is somewhat limited, but food is consistently wonderful. I don't eat meat, but sometimes wish I still did so I could enjoy the pork and chicken sandwiches which everyone says are great. I love the veggie saute and veggie sandwich, house salad and pizza - ($2 for a slice). Pastas are also nice, and they have some really nice wines by the glass, and a variety of unusual beer. Great casual atmosphere. I also really like Cosmo's and the pub on the first floor (O'Duffey's) with it's beautiful bar. Menu is eclectic with vegetarian options. Brunch here is the best in town. In the same area is Crow's Nest - great breakfasts and very vegetarian friendly. No alcohol. I really like this place, but I have to add that it isn't consistent - some meals have been fantastic and others not up to par. Although they're serving dinner now I think of it as more of a lunch place. I just recently went to R. Stanley's for the first time and totally enjoyed my meal. They specialize in southern cuisine - I had fried catfish, cheese grits and fried green tomatoes and loved my meal. Others in my group ordered crayfish, and that day they had soft shell crab sandwiches as a special. Large menu. I want to go back and try more! Another new place is Sushiya, 242 E Kalamazoo Ave downtown (door and parking in back). We were pleased with our sushi, and on weekdays only they serve box lunches which looked good on the menu. Atmosphere in here made me feel like I was somewhere other that Kalamazoo, which isn't a bad way to feel in February. I've eaten at Fandango several times and have concluded that it isn't all that great. There's a really good Tapa's place in downtown Grand Rapids that totally outshines Fandango, and I love Cafe Iberico in Chicago, so I guess I'm spoiled. I've only eaten in Epic Bistro once. It was good and pricy. Black Swan is another like that. I think they're owned by the same person, maybe The Union is as well. I know he owns four or five around town. For Indian food I like Saffron on West Main in the same area as Tiffany's. Chinese in Kzo is all bad right now. For Mexican there are MiRanchito's scattered around town, once owned by various members of the same Mexican family, and still are as far as I know, so they're all a little bit different. I like the one in Otsego best. In fact, I like it very much. And definitely go to Bell's - great music sometimes, too. In the summer sit out back! Unlike the other poster, I also enjoy Kraftbrau.
            Hope you find something you like, and stay out of the chains!!!