Whitefish, that flaky, savory stuff that seems to drive all of Northern Michigan wild, is in high demand as usual. Every restaurant this side of US-10 shouts its own praises—best whitefish in the state! But where can you find the very best of Northern Michigan whitefish, really? We’ve got you covered.
Read on this month as we mine the top 10 vote getters from 2016’s Red Hot Best nominations for the best places to eat whitefish Up North.
13671 South West Bay Shore Drive, Traverse City | 231.947.7079
Patio doors swung wide open to welcome an early summer breeze off the bay, the dining room at Apache Trout Grill bustles with wait staff serving platters of Red Hot Best Apache Whitefish to hungry patrons. The restaurant’s interior has a comfortable lodge feel with floor-to-ceiling polished wood, rustic furniture and requisite taxidermy, but the tens of thousands of diners that flood Apache’s dining room and expansive outdoor patio come for the view, and the whitefish.
Netted fresh from the deep water basins of Lake Superior, the North’s favorite native salmonid is artfully reincarnated by the Apache kitchen crew, flash-fried with a crunchy panko crust, pecan-crusted with cherry amaretto sauce, served in bright Baja-style tacos or smoked and folded with fresh herbs in a delicious appetizer dip. Apache’s menu ranges well beyond its piscean delights with signature burgers, barbecue and thick-cut steaks all washed down with local and West Coast wines as well as house cocktails like the Sangria de Leelanau.
Generations of locals and resorters flock to Leland for lightly breaded fresh whitefish fried “Bluebird Style.”
In a trinity of tasty sea creatures, The Cove pinwheels whitefish fillets and stuffs them with a rich mix of shrimp and crab.
Long Lake’s bustling steakhouse serves this native fish simply seasoned and broiled.
Great Lakes Whitefish
Topped with luscious crabmeat, the whitefish at The Boathouse is garnished with roasted tomato, artichokes and lemon beurre blanc.
Almond Crusted Whitefish
Rolled in crushed almonds, pan seared and served with Frangelico butter sauce and cherry purée.
Order your whitefish crusted with crushed nuts or grated Parmesan and fresh herbs or have it blackened Cajun-style.
Whitefish & Chips
Scalawags masters the classic pub-style fry with crunchy battered fish, fries, slaw and hush puppies.
Cedar Planked Whitefish
Cawthorne’s carries on the North’s favorite retro preparation of cedar plank–roasted whitefish served with piped potatoes and lemon caper butter.
Charlevoix’s Villager Pub expertly batters and fries fresh whitefish carried across the street from John Cross Fisheries.
Red Hot Best winners were originally published in the June 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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