Finding a Traverse City Restaurant for Your Vibe
There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, more disheartening for us at Traverse City Wine and Beer Tours than when one of our guests gets into the van before a tour and says, “We are having such a nice time so far! Last night we went out for dinner at Olive Garden!”
Traverse City is home to some of the best restaurants in the country and there are so many different types of restaurants to choose from that there is simply no excuse to head to a chain restaurant during your stay. The most difficult aspect of choosing which restaurant to try is finding which joint has the best vibe and food for you and your crew. Since we know every restaurant and watering hole in town, we’ve put together some options for almost every need – from five-star dining to the All-American burger joint.
Best Healthy Restaurant in Traverse City
If you’re hoping to mind your mid-section, there are several places in Traverse City that allow patrons to enjoy a delicious, yet guilt-free meal. One of my favorites is Taproot Cider House, located downtown Traverse City on Front St. They’re extremely conscious about their farm-to-table mission, sourcing all of their ingredients from right here in Northern Michigan. Their best salad is the Traverse City salad, with its sizable portions and noticeably fresh ingredients. While pretty much everyone in town has a version of the Traverse City salad, Taproot certainly has the best. For those in your group who are less concerned about their waistlines, they also have some incredible personal pizzas. The chicken pesto, in particular, is a dish worth indulging in. A relaxed, rustic setting is perfect to catch up with old friends without the need to dress to the nines.
Best Burger Joint in Traverse City
This choice is pretty easy. Bubba’s is an institution in Traverse City, located on Front Street and home to the aptly named Bubba Burger. In addition to the Bubba Burger, they also have the best tater tots in the world, which are even more delicious when dipped in Bubba sauce. There’s really no point in having a burger without a cold beer, so Bubba’s keeps a large selection of craft beer in-house to satisfy all of your Michigan beer tastes. Another relaxed venue, complete with TVs to take in the sports match of your choosing, this is a perfect place to unwind after a busy day of shopping and climbing the sand dunes, or a pre-tour lunch or dinner meet-up spot. Baseball hats and M-22 sweatshirts are as fancy as anyone expects you to dress at Bubba’s, which makes it a very welcoming place indeed.
Best Pizza Place in Traverse City
If you prefer your food in the shape of a circle and covered in cheese, The Filling Station is the place to go. Located just outside of downtown off 8th Street, The Filling Station offers excellent views of Boardman Lake to pair with your pizza and beer. A large menu of pizza and salads, as well as some delicious microbrews, means fans of pizza and beer will find themselves in a special terrestrial-based Heaven. The Cock O’ the Walk is a personal favorite for pizza, and the Walla Walla IPA is a perfect companion. The Filling Station is another venue endorsing a “Traverse City Casual” dress code, where anything more put together than sandals and Traverse City Beach Bums t-shirt is concerned overkill.
Best Fancy Restaurant in Traverse City
When local men need to score some brownie points with the wife, there’s no place better than Stella’s in the Commons to get gussied up and eat something you can’t pronounce. If you’re visiting Traverse City and want to treat yourself to the very best, Stella’s in the place to go. Their menu is all top-quality, with an adventurous dish for every pallet. Stunning pasta dishes, premium cuts of lamb, incredible steaks and even brains and liver on offer for the more adventurous guests are just a sampling of the range of cuisine you’ll have to choose from. If their food menu is large, then their drink menu can only be described as expansive. Wines, beer, and spirits from around the world represent an excellent opportunity to sample a beer from Estonia or a vodka from Argentina. The drink menu is a pretty fascinating read in and of itself, but the incredible thing is that the servers possess a staggering amount of knowledge of every beverage in the menu. If you’re not sure what to try, your server can make a few very astute recommendations. You’ll want to wear a button-up and some decent pants, guys, but in Traverse City that combination equates to a tuxedo. Ladies, here’s your excuse to go crazy and dress to impress!