Top 10 Restaurants for Dinner in Traverse City

Top 10 Restaurants for Dinner in Traverse City

  • Casey Kiley-Terzano
  • 09/14/23

Traverse City has some pretty stellar restaurants, and it's not the easiest to narrow it down to just ten. I honestly could have made a list of 20, and you would have enjoyed all of the suggestions. I like to eat out, try new things, and have developed a couple favorite spots. To get kickstarted in Traverse City's dining hotspots, here are some fabulous options. Be warned, that if you are visiting in summer, you may want to think about reservations a month or so in advance! These places fill up quickly, and often don't have availability in the evening, even during the weekdays, or could have up to a 2.5 hour wait time. 

The Cooks' House 

This restaurant offers farm-to-table cuisine with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, with only a handful of tables inside for a great intimate experience. They also offer a tasting menu that you can chose to pair wine with each course. You won’t be disappointed. 

Trattoria Stella 

Located in the historic Village at Grand Traverse Commons, this Italian restaurant offers delicious pasta dishes and a great wine selection. We recommend taking extra time to wander the shops in the Commons while waiting for your reservation. 

Jolly Pumpkin

This is a pub-style restaurant out on Old Mission Peninsula. This is a local joint that really is a great experience. Check out their menu online! 


This French-inspired restaurant offers delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as an extensive wine list. If your lucky, you can land a spot on their patio. 

West End Tavern

This is one of my favorite patios in town. Sits right on a marina, and the food never disappoints! They offer a pretty great happy hour, which you can check out on their website

Nittolo's Pizza

If you are itching to get out of downtown Traverse City, this pizza and seafood spot is definitely worth visiting in Lake Leelanau. They do have live music out on the patio in the summer. Beware, you don’t have cell reception out here, but sometimes that’s a good thing! 

Red Ginger

This Asian-inspired restaurant offers delicious sushi, noodle dishes, and cocktails. Classy, clean, and vibrant. 

Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery

This barbecue restaurant offers delicious smoked meats and craft beers, as well as live music and a fun atmosphere.

Mama Lu’s

Interested in street tacos? This place offers incredible tacos, and their house margarita will not disappoint. Locals always order the street corn too! Limited tables, and but worth the wait. If you make a reservation, you can wander downtown while waiting for your table to be ready. 

North Peak Brewing Co.

This brewery and restaurant offers delicious craft beers and pub fare, as well as a fun, lively atmosphere. My favorite menu items are the oriental mozzarella sticks and the black and bleu salad.  

With the list above, I tried to give you a little variety. We've got a couple brewery pubs, asian infusion, classy and intimate, french, italian, and a couple good views. All of these restaurants are hoppin' almost year round, and I hope you enjoy them as much I have over the years! 

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