These restaurants may not be the newest, or the trendiest. They may have already received accolades many times over. So why highlight them? Because we know there are plenty of you out there who still haven’t gotten around to trying them out. They’re the kind of iconic institution that you keep telling yourself you’re going to try, just as soon as you get the time. Well, it’s a new year and the time couldn’t be better. Here are some of the very best, most celebrated restaurants in Michigan that you must go to before you die.
17) The Root
The Root has received praise from just about every media outlet in Detroit. And for good reason. Chef James Rigato’s approach to utilizing locally sourced farmers and brewers to stock his kitchen has started a farm-to-table movement across the state and his empire is growing. Last year, he opened another restaurant, Mabel Grey, in Hazel Park to much acclaim.
16) Trattoria Stella, Traverse City
Stella is a darling of national food publications, like Bon Apetit and Wine Spectator, for its focus on high-caliber rustic Italian cuisine and unique wine cellar, which sits inside a former insane asylum.
15) Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor
The sandwich menu is vast, as its selection of take-home deli meats, cheeses, and local products. It's no wonder President Barack Obama makes it a regular stop when he's in the state.
14) The Cooks' House, Traverse City
Another Traverse City gem, this spot is favorited by celeb Chef Mario Batali, for its local ingredients and regional dishes that pay particular attention to lake fish.
13) Slows Bar-B-Q , Detroit
This Corktown spot is largely considered the trendy restaurant to start the whole Detroit trendy restaurant craze. When you go, you'll know why, with its to-die-for BBQ, specialty sauces, and wide range of local brews.
12) Sleder's, Traverse City
This classic joint has been around since 1882, even during prohibition. That's reason enough to check out this storied establishment.
11) Roast, Detroit
Calling all carnivores. Celeb Chef Michael Symon opened this place in the Westin Book Cadillac in 2008 and it has since gained a reputation for its amazing selection of steaks and burgers. Pictured above, the porterhouse for two (or maybe more like 3 or 4).
10) San Chez Bistro, Grand Rapids
This Spanish-style tapas place can be tough to get into, but once you do manage to get a seat, you'll know why. Staff are extremely courteous and the food, well, pretty creative. Picture here, a deconstructed seared duck breast, with grilled Brussels sprouts.
9) American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit
These two establishments enjoy a century-old rivalry. You've got to make sure to stop by both to see for yourself which really is the best Coney dog of the two.
8) Al-Ameer Restaurant, various locations
With a huge Arab American population, you know you're going to run into some pretty authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. This spot can be found in various locations in metro Detroit.
7) Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth
All-you-can-eat fried chicken. German Beers. And a quaint, family-friendly, European-themed atmosphere. Yes, you guessed, we're talking about Bavarian Inn.
6) Old Tavern Inn, Niles
One of the oldest watering holes in the country, Old Tavern Inn is also the oldest business in all of Michigan. Better check it out, while hidden gems like these are still around.
5) Buddy's Rendezvous, Detroit
There's a debate as to who was the first to create the Detroit square pizza, but most would agree that Buddy's is the best.
4) Ambassador, Houghton
You thought pizza could only come in one shape in Michigan. Well, there's more to it than the Detroit square. This UP destination is famous for its tostada pizza, which, you guessed it, tastes and looks like a larger version of the Mexican-inspired tostada.
3) Lehto's Pasties, St. Ignace
This pasty shop has been around since 1947 and is loved for its moist, flaky crust, well-seasoned filling, and homemade essence.
2) La Dulce, Royal Oak
One of metro Detroit's newer establishments, this place looks and feels like you're stepping into a storybook. And when you try the Spanish tapas, you'll feel like you're in Heaven.
1) Golden Harvest Restaurant, Lansing
Go here if you're in search of the perfect breakfast spot. Think triple berry French toast, a savory Hash Bash, rib-sticking biscuits and gravy as just few of the morning goodies that come out of its kitchen.
And so, there you have it. Making your mouth water yet? Tell us, since we know you have so many favorites on your list, where else should Michiganders be dying to try?