Named by Bon Appétit as one of the Top Five Foodie Towns in America, and enjoying renown as the summer vacation spot of celebrity chef Mario Batali, Traverse City offers a delicious diversity of culinary wonders. Combining fresh ingredients and local traditions with international flavors, some of the area’s most delectable cuisine can be found within walking distance of Traverse City Film Festival 2013 venues. Next to the State Theatre, you’ll find Red Ginger, a favorite among locals who gather in its chic interior for sushi, cocktails, and eclectic pan-Asian cuisine. Amical, also neighboring the State, serves bistro-style French fare, offers an extensive wine list, and has one of the best patios in town. Across the street is Phil’s on Front, where you can experience fine dining and artisan desserts in an affordable and friendly atmosphere, and Poppycock’s, with its imaginative martini list, live music, and contemporary American menu that also includes several inspired vegetarian dishes. New to the scene are Georgina’s, a tiny Asian-Latin fusion taquería that has the whole town talking about its exotic flavors and The Little Fleet, Traverse City’s first food truck pavilion, which includes an adjoining bar. For a quick yet artisan-quality lunch between films, try the quintessential Grand Traverse Pie Company, Mary’s Kitchen Port (home of the famed Turkey Gobbler sandwich), EuroStop, or Bay Bread. One only has to venture slightly beyond the Front Street district to experience Trattoria Stella, serving authentic Italian farm-to-table cuisine in the romantic Victorian architecture of the Grand Traverse Commons. For waterfront dining and a cocktail on the bay, try Apache Trout Grill, or for a rural setting, head a few miles out of town to Boone’s Long Lake Inn for its legendary seafood and prime rib.
On Old Mission Peninsula, pull off the road to taste the sweet berries of local farms, many of which also sell homemade pies and other delights. For American fare paired with a handcrafted brew in a friendly rustic atmosphere, check out Jolly Pumpkin. For a more fine dining experience, try the locally and organically grown flavors of Mission Table or The Boathouse, located on Bower’s Harbor. In Leelanau County, have lunch at one of the many restaurants in Suttons Bay or Leland, and for one of the most beautiful waterfront meals you’ll ever have, have a bite at Knot Just a Bar in the cozy village of Omena. While in Glen Arbor, be sure to grab a burger and a beer on the patio of Boonedock’s, a summertime staple for locals.
Find more about these and other great Traverse City restaurants in our Northern Michigan Restaurant Guide.