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Jun 20, 2007 11:18 AM

Traverse City, MI - good eats?

I'll be staying in Traverse City for a day with my husband and in-laws on the way to Mackinac Island. All the previous posts on dining in this city are at least 3 years old from my search.

Just wondering if any of you can update this topic with some good recs on where to eat? We are not looking for upscale fine dining, but some place to get a tasty, medium-priced meal in a casual setting, around the $20-25 per person price range.

Thanks for any tips!

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  1. Amical ( Strongly recommended.

    I would not-so-strongly recommend North Peak Brewing, too.

    If you've got any desire for a family-style breakfast place, I've got a soft spot for Mabel's.


    3 Replies
    1. re: gromit

      Oh, Mabel's is stll around! My family and I went there in 1993 when I was at Interlochen. We loved it. I hope it hasn't changed.

      1. re: gromit

        I tried Amical based on a couple comments on this thread -- but was disappointed. Started of fab with a completely yummy mussels in a wine broth w chunks of pork. Oh and great olives! But the duck w pasta was tragically underseasoned. Huge portion which would have been nice if...
        I was really tempted by Hanna Bistro's menu, but didn't go b/c of bad reviews on Yelp, sigh.

        229 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

        1. re: eqjosh

          I agree, we stopped In amical because of posts here and it was just so-so. Had a bland pizza and the sandwiches were average. However, I was very surprised by Poppycocks recently. Looks like an upscale diner but had fresh, interesting menu items. Had a special goat cheese, walnut, cherry and sweet potato spinach salad with a strawberry-maple dressing--somehow, all the ingredients complemented each other. The hanger steak app was cooked well, and was well seasoned, and the daily soups were interesting flavor combos (like tomato, spinach, Swiss) that again, oddly, worked. Thumbs up!

      2. My wife and I were there for two nights in October last year and had two great meals. Amical and Trattoria Stella.
        Both great.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mmillerk

          I definitely concur on Stella - absolutely a great meal. 2 of us shared the STROZZAPRETI which was to die for -- it's a thick, short pasta nicely al dente, with a big portion of braised pork shoulder that was salty and rich. Then the WAGYU TOP SIRLOIN which was as close to a perfect steak as I've had -- seared outside w a nice level of salt, super tender and flavorful. I'd asked for medium-rare in it was quite red in the middle, so if you want it cooked through better go medium. The steak is served w a veal stock -- I was about ready to lick the plate.
          The dessert was disappointing, as was the bruschetta. Both had too much starch, not enough substance so ended up tasting kinda... white. :)
          However, on the whole I'd definitely go again.
          (re Amical, as I posted in a note above, I wouldn't)

          229 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

        2. Last fall we had a nice lunch at the Cullinary Institute - can't remember the exact name of it, but anyone up there would know. Very nice service and within your price range. You may need a reservation??? Maybe someone else will post more on this. We also scheduled a tour of the training area after lunch, which was nice and informative. Their lovely dining room overlooks the lake. I'll be up there in August and hope more recommendations will appear here.

          1. Ok , I saw you price range , but may I humbly suggest Scalawags ? A chain sure , but a chain that exists pretty much in Northern Michigan only . Their specialty is fried whitefish , but they do many other local freshwater species very well too , most everything is fried but fried real good . Think Long John Silvers if John only knew the local fisherman captains by name , and they brought fresh fish caught locally every day . It's a good light hearted fun place for lunch . If you try it and like it , there is one in Mackinaw City as well , they are both very good for what they do .

            1 Reply
            1. re: GoalieJeff

              If you can't make it Up North there is now a Scalawag's in Rochester Hills, on Rochester Rd between M59 and Auburn.

            2. You should not pass through Traverse City without stopping at Don's Drive-In for either a raspberry or cherry shake -- or better yet, both. They use real fruit. My wife and I go to Charlevoix every year by way of TC and always stop at Don's.

              The other place I like is Cousin Jenny's for pasties. Good, but not a must stop like Don's fruit shakes.