321 Bay St., Petoskey | 231.348.3321
The panoramic glass in Palette Bistro’s dining room blends a line between Little Traverse Bay in a frothy December gray-scale and plates of seared scallops with roasted peach pancetta and bright green arugula. Rotating local art exhibitions hang beside cozy low-top tables, where patrons sip garnet glasses of cru beaujolais and nosh on glazed quail with roasted corn relish and risotto. Chef Jeremy Pomeroy and his culinary team embrace a fusionistic, pan-Mediterranean style with seasonally rotating paellas and risottos, entrées like pork porterhouse with chorizo vinaigrette and sherry vinegar. Small plate offerings include sautéed halloumi with crystallized pistachio and micro greens, or John Cross smoked salmon over local greens with crispy chickpeas and lemon-curry dressing. The beverage menu is anchored by an affordably diverse Euro-centric wine list, proprietary cocktails like The Grand with Grand Marnier, elderflower liqueur and Cava, as well as half-a-dozen Michigan craft draughts from the likes of Petoskey Brewing, Founder’s and Short’s.
201 E. Front St., Traverse City | 231.943.2850
Mingle at the Enomatic where 50-plus international wines pour forth, and then sit down to the bright flavors of Lebanese mezze.
329 E. State St., Traverse City | 231.252.8001
Chef Adam McMarlin, formerly of Bay Leaf and The Cooks’ House, serves up sublime housemade charcuterie, designer poutine, and handmade pastas.
303 N. Joseph St., Suttons Bay | 231.271.1175
The third point in a triangle that includes the eponymous farmstead and bakery, this Suttons Bay cafe serves literal farm-to-table fare, craft cocktails, local and international vino.
308 Belvedere Ave., Charlevoix | 231.547.9261
Chef/Owners Darren and Kelly Rinaldi serve seasonal oysters, seared big eye tuna, steaks, and a weekly sushi menu in their converted Victorian two blocks north of the Charlevoix strip.
422 E. Mitchell St., Petoskey | 231.881.9800
Street food small plates like pork belly tacos and rib tips with waffles get washed back with a glass of Spanish bobal or proprietary cocktails like the Bourbon Harvest at this chicly appointed Petoskey hangout.
202 S. Lake St., Boyne City | 231.459.4215
The monks have set up shop on the coast of Lake Charlevoix, spreading the gospel of bottle-fermented Belgian dubbels and badass burgers with bacon jam or platters of crispy Brussels sprouts.
130 State St., Harbor Springs | 231.526.2967
Relocated from its former digs at Boyne Mountain, Pierson’s now calls downtown Harbor Springs home. Hit the boutiques then sit down to a cold pint and a wild mushroom pizza.
Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. [email protected]