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Jul 9, 2008 09:59 AM

Special occasion dining in downtown Grand Rapids, MI


After many months lurking, I'm finally posting a question. Woohoo!

My boyfriend and I are thinking about heading over to Grand Rapids for a weekend (we're in Detroit) in the next few weeks for his birthday. We'll probably be staying at the JW Marriott and I'm in search of suggestions for a special occasion dinner within walking distance of the hotel. We prefer more of a contemporary scene than traditional, but as long as the food is good, we're happy. (No sushi, though.)

I was thinking about the tasting menu at, but couldn't find any reviews on this site. Has anyone been?

The only restaurant I've been to in Grand Rapids is Bistro Bella Vita (which we liked), so we are open to your suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Yesterdog in Eastown is quite popular with my daughter who goes to college in Grand Rapids.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      Thanks, but I'm looking for an upscale restaurant for a nice birthday dinner for my boyfriend. Although we love hot dogs, Yesterdog is not exactly what I had in mind for his special night.( I will keep it in mind, though, for a quick lunch.)

    2. I think Bloom would fit nicely into your plans.

      1. I second planojim's Bloom recommendation.

        The 1913 Room is always a fine choice, or Cygnus (atop the Amway Grand Plaza) on the right night can offer a nice sunset view. But, Cygnus could always be where you have a cocktail and hopefully see the sunset, after dinner at Bloom or elsewhere.

        1. Me and my girlfriend have been to in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids many times. In fact it is our favorite restaraunt. The menu changes about once every two weeks. Although it does have sushi...sorry is quite cool because it is rolled right in front of you. They have a portion of their kitchen in the middle of the restaraunt where flatbreads, sushi, salads, and deserts are made right in front of you. They also just opened the patio which overlooks the Grand River. Very nice. I hope I could be of some help.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Brentos

            Is the patio just for dining? Or could we grab a drink and sit outside there?

            1. re: aliasrlm

              the patio is mostly for drinks and appetizers.

          2. San Chez has great tapas and is in a cool building. However, they don't take reservations so you are in for a long wait on a weekend. It would be worth it to me, but that's only because I know how good their food is.

            1 Reply
            1. re: porkypine

              That's funny we have very similar monikers! I was just checking this thread because I'm headed to GR in a month. I go to San Chez every time I'm in town. Is there anything new in Grand Rapids thats worth checking out while I'm there?