Enjoy dinner with a view at these waterfront restaurants in Northern Michigan.

Walloon Lake Inn

4178 West St., Walloon Lake | 231.535.2999

Stare hard at the azure expanse of Walloon Lake from a window table and you might glimpse the ghost of a steamboat ferrying the Hemingways to Windermere Cottage, their summer haunt on the West Arm. The vintage reverie is pleasantly interrupted, however, with a freshly shaken gin martini and a fragrant arugula salad garnished with smoked trout, striated radishes and crispy shallot chased by a succulent Wagyu Delmonico painted in red wine demi-glace. With full frontal views of Walloon Lake’s main basin, Walloon Lake Inn’s dining room is decked out in thick dark upholstery, luxe leather chairs straight from a London social club and a religiously polished baby grand piano to play up the patina of lakeside decadence. The menu is concise, reflecting the seasonal flow of local proteins and produce like pastured lamb shank with yellow corn grit cakes or sautéed local whitefish with beets, pea shoots and chili butter. A curvy custom bar houses an extensive collection of small batch bourbons and the wine list is populated by West Coast steakhouse cabernets and a representation of rieslings and white blends from emerging Tip of the Mitt wineries. (Pictured above)


471 Stephan Bridge Rd., Grayling | 989.348.8462

If eating a perfectly seared flatiron steak beside a crystalline trout stream is your thing, book a table at this iconic Grayling lodge to fuel up for the evening rise.


198 Frankfort Ave., Elberta | 231.352.9843

Flip-flops, blackened fish tacos and an ‘Elbertarita’ served in a frosty Mason jar accessorize the view of salmon boats slipping out of Betsie Lake.


302 E. River St., Leland | 231.256.9971

In a bend on the blue-green Leland River, a cold bottle of grower champagne begets rabbit ravioli and seared duck breast with kale, caramelized onion and garlic confit.


14039 Peninsula Dr., Traverse City | 231.223.4030

Sidle up to the raw bar for a feast of fresh-shucked oysters and tuna poke then treat yourself to foie gras chaud-froid and an idyllic eyeful of sailboats bobbing in Bowers Harbor.

Legs Inn


6425 N. Lake Shore Dr., Cross Village | 231.526.2281

Make a sausage-and-sunset pilgrimage to this 1920s icon for smoky kielbasa, house-made pierogi and an endless panorama of Lake Michigan.


795 Front St., Bay Harbor | 231.753.2122

Fox & Rose’s stone patio overlooking Bay Harbor’s glittering yacht basin is July’s ground zero for ice-cold rosé and bright summer salads.


102 E. Bay St., Harbor Springs | 231.526.6201

Access your inner Gatsby to devour crispy perch sandwiches and excessively garnished Bloody Marys while watching a parade of polished teak sail past the Harbor Springs waterfront.


10990 Douglas Lake Rd., Pellston 231.539.8588

Sparkling water and miles of wilderness shoreline frame this tucked-away steakhouse with a cult following for its filet au poivre.

Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. dining@traversemagazine.com // Dave Weidner is a freelance photographer based in Traverse City. dweidnerphoto@gmail.com.

Northern Michigan Restaurants

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner