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Jun 1, 2011 08:57 AM

Good Eats Around Charlevoix

My boyfriend and I will be taking our 3rd annual trip to Northern Michigan this summer. For a couple of days we are going to be staying in Charlevoix. We stopped through for lunch 2 years ago and ate at the Weather Vane (quite good). But I was wondering if there are any restaurants in Charlevoix or the surrounding areas that we should check out. Breakfast will be covered at the B&B but we are interested in lunch, dinner, snacks, ice cream etc. Also any fun places to grab a drink, maybe listen to music?

We know the Traverse City area well in terms of restaurants (we love A Cook's House and Stella in particular). For the other part of our trip we'll be in Sutton's Bay....anywhere we should check out there?


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

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  1. I cannot speak from experience, as I *never* seem to make to Charlevoix long enough to have a meal. But, just to get you started, here are three places that I consistently hear good things about: Scovie's Gourmet, Terry's Place (particularly for fresh whitefish), and Esperance Wine Shop.
    Also on my radar in Charlevoix is the newly opened Roquette Burger Bistro. Here is a link to a local news article:

    How far are you looking to venture? Would Bay Harbor, Petoskey, or Boyne City be included in your target area or are you hoping to stick to Charlevoix?

    Have you been to Hanna Bistro or Phil's on Front in TC? If so, what did you think?

    13 Replies
    1. re: tokyo

      I have had the fish at Terry's Place and thought it was very good. Pleasant little spot on a side street.

      Nifty little attraction in the Charlevoix area: Greensky United Methodist Church.

        1. re: tokyo


          I ate at Phil's last weekend. The food we had was very well done - a stunning morel appetizer, grouper main and whitefish main - both served with fresh asparagus. The ambience was a little on the loud side, so I wouldn't call it a great romantic spot (if that's what you are looking for), at least until it thins out a little and the band starts playing ....

          better meal in my opinion is served at Mission Table on the Mission Peninsula. Simply outstanding pork belly appetizer. The highlight was a main of veal breast and sweatbreads. This is a much quieter and more romantic atmosphere.

          1. re: Markcron

            Thanks Markcron. That's good to hear about Mission Table. Someone tore into it a while back -maybe even on this board?- and it was enough to make me second-guess the place. It's the kind of restaurant that seems like a natural fit for northwest Michigan's agricultural bounty and I'm rooting for it to succeed.

            1. re: Markcron

              Phil's sounds good. We went to Mission Table last summer and enjoyed it (although we liked A Cook's House a lot more. You can't beat seeing the chef walk out to the garden, snip a few herbs and then turn to you and tell you it's for your entree. Now that's fresh!).

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

              1. re: Elyssa

                Phil's is just ok IMO. Cooks is great and Stella very good.

                If you are up for the drive La Becasse (Maple City - Glen Arbor) was even better than Cooks last summer. About a 30 min drive from TC

                1. re: jock

                  I heartily second (or third) both La Becasse and Stella's!!

                  1. re: Markcron

                    I ate at La Becasse last Thursday, as the GM at Cooks House had recommended it. I was quite disappointed. Beet gazpacho was excellent but beyond that - it was quite uninspiring. Crabcake was ordinary/bland, local whitefish with a nut crust was a bit soggy, the crust added very little; morel risotto was a total fail - bland and overcooked, table next door was disappointed by the Barrimundi (sourced from??) - described it as "tired fish" (i.e. not particularly fresh).
                    Berry crumble dessert was actually quite good. Presentation of the food was poor. The aircon in the room on a hot night actually did not work nearly well enough leaving us to fight the bugs on a rudimentary patio.The bathroom was not up to standard.
                    Overall it seems like Guillaume may be a good cook - but that the demands of running a busy resto are dragging him down both front and back of house.
                    As so often happens - I did not send back the risotto because by then it was too late (they were slow too) and it would have totally inconvenienced the group dining. My bad.

                    1. re: marcharry

                      I was there the following night. Not quite as good as last year but overall still very good. Pate was chunky and very tasty. You would probably have to go to France to find better. Gravlax was also very good. Rabbit with mustard sauce was excellent. I too was disappointed in the risotto but for a different reason. Mine was tasty and not overcooked. I just don't think cream belongs in risotto.

                      They also have an excellent wine list that is quite fairly priced.

                      Service was attentive without being intrusive; just right for the setting.

            2. re: tokyo

              We likely will go to Petoskey at some point. We've been there once before but I actually think one of our favorite restaurants has closed, so I'm open to new ideas.

              1. re: Elyssa

                In Petoskey, Chandlers, Whitecaps and Andante are very nice. You can't go wrong with any of Stafford's places, Perry Hotel and Bay View Inn. City Park Grill is very good also and more casual. It has a famous bar where Hemingway hung out. One of our favorite places is a bit of a drive - Douglas Lake Bar & Steakhouse on Douglas Lake near Pellston, with a grat up north ambiance. The New York in Harbor Springs is always on our list also.

                City Park Grill
                432 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI 49770

                1. re: sammyo

                  I believe Andante closed...unfortunately. My boyfriend called looking to make a reservation and said they closed. We had a very memorable meal there 2 summers ago, so it's too bad.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    In Andante's place is Palette Bistro. The jury is still out on this new venture by the owners of City Park Grill. Right next door to Palette Bistro is the newly opened Twisted Olive Cafe. I've enjoyed lunch there, the breakfast options sound promising, but they have some service issues they neeed to work out at this point.

            3. I sometimes go to the Harbor Springs area, and 3 places I always try to hit:

              1) Red Mesa Grill in Boyne City
              2) The New York Restaurant in Harbor Springs:
              3) Leg's Inn in Cross Village for great Polish food!

              Leg's Inn is a bit of a drive from Charlevoix but it's a beautiful drive through the 'Tunnel of Trees" M119. Maybe make it a lunch trip. It overlooks Lake Michigan, and has outdoor dining.


              1. Someone recommended the Rowe Inn to my boyfriend in Charlevoix. Any thoughts?

                Rowe Inn Restaurant
                6303 E Jordan Rd, Ellsworth, MI 49729

                3 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa

                  I haven't been there but I've heard great things...

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Used to be excellent. Heard it's a bit pricey for the quality these days-but-this is where the former owner of Tapawingo got his start.
                    In Boyne City-Cafe Sante, ask for Ned, tell him The Wine Counselor sent you. If you enjoy wine go to the Boyne City wine shop down the street from Cafe Sante- ask for Ed, mention The Wine Counselor sent you. Have fun!

                    1. re: schaf1

                      The prices don't seem out of line for a place that's considered fine dining and highly regarded. The menu on their website has most apps under ten, entrees from mid twenties to upper thirties and they have a prix fixe special on Sundays, three courses for $25.