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Traverse City - Lake Leelanau

j
jock Jul 2, 2009 03:16 PM

Spending a few weeks there in July and have never been even close before. I am a passionate food and wine guy. Would appreciate suggestions. Don't care about trendy and hate loud. Hole-in-the-walls are great. 20- 30 mile drive is ok for something special. TIA

  1. j
    jock Sep 17, 2009 08:09 PM

    Mini report.

    Good enough to recommend and go back --

    Phil's on Front - TC
    Village Inn - Suttons Bay - good burger

    Very Good --

    Stella - TC - best crudo outside of Italy. Casual, good service.
    Esperance - Charlevoix - worth the trip. Only decent wine list we saw. Owner Pram is very wine savvy and our simple lunch was excellent.

    In a Class by Itself

    Cook's House - one of the best restaurants in the country!!! A real gem.
    (It is BYO so if you want a perfect meal and need a great bottle drive to Charlevoix and let Pram at Esperance help you.)

    Best local wines (that we tasted) - Bel Lago!

    1. Mid Michigan Dining Jul 7, 2009 12:35 PM

      My favorite restaurant....maybe even the best lunch I've ever had...was at The Cooks' House near downtown. It is sort of a hole-in-the-wall with only six tables and a small kitchen, but the food is amazing!

      http://midmichigandining.com/2008/09/19/the-cooks-house/ <--review
      http://thecookshouse.typepad.com/ <--website w/menus

      -----
      Cook's House
      439 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mid Michigan Dining
        j
        jock Sep 17, 2009 07:43 PM

        Have to agree wholeheartedly. I spent a long week in TC and the food was so extraordinary that we went back twice.

        The place isn't fancy but the food is truly world class. The service is informal but friendly and efficient. Did I mention that the food is superb? I have had meals in 2 and 3 star restaurants in France where the food was no better. Seldom have I had better food in the states.

      2. g
        grouper Jul 6, 2009 10:40 AM

        Last fall we were treated to dinner at Stella's. It's on US31 and in an old psychiatric hospital, but not sure what they have named the building now. Anyway, I probably had the best salad I've ever eaten there. The menu is changed daily and on the top of the menu they list all of the local suppliers and what ingredient is used for that day. It's a little on the higher end, but I would really recommend it for a wonderful meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: grouper
          Niki in Dayton Jul 6, 2009 10:56 AM

          Our friend who has a summer cabin near TC raves about Stella's. Said it's the best restaurant meal she's ever had....we haven't had the pleasure of dining there yet, though!

        2. s
          Scott D Jul 6, 2009 09:40 AM

          Good article about TC on Fox today.

          http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,5...

          "Long a top Midwestern tourist draw for its lakes, rivers, forests, beaches - and the orchards that inspire the self-proclaimed moniker "cherry capital of the world" - the Traverse City area is now home to an increasingly varied and sophisticated culinary culture with a strong emphasis on local ingredients."

          1. Fritter Jul 3, 2009 06:25 AM

            There have been a bunch of threads this year on the same topic. Just do a quick search.

            Scalawags in downtown TC for great fried Whitefish. Cheap, good and a local chain.
            Amical on main street. Very good but it can be a bit loud. The Cooks House on Main right on the Boardman river. This is on the far East end of Main Street.
            Le Becasse is well worth a visit.
            Bowers Harbor Inn on Mission point is nice and away from down town. There is also the Boat House at Bowers Harbor. If you are willing to drive I always suggest The Walloon Lake Inn. Which is a real hidden Gem but closer to Petoskey.

            http://www.restaurantlabecasse.com/

            http://www.boathouseonwestbay.com/

            http://www.bowersharborinn.net/

            http://www.walloonlakeinn.com/

            1. rainsux Jul 3, 2009 03:04 AM

              Hermann's European Bisto is located in Cadillac; 48 miles from Traverse City. Good food,
              good wine, good prices.

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