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5 Amazing Dinner Spots in Traverse City

by Tamarack Lodge on Mar 1, 2022 4:04:05 PM

Traverse City, Michigan boasts many fine dining establishments, which serve up a variety of cuisines, all in elegant settings. Whether you’re trying to impress a first date, celebrating a major accomplishment, or just want a good dinner out, these five restaurants are some of the best in Traverse City.

Boathouse Restaurant

A 20-minute drive to Boathouse Restaurant will transport you from the bustle of the city to a relaxing spot near the water. Waterfront views accompany extensive food and wine menus, of which you and your company will undoubtedly find many tasty options.

The dinner selections appropriately feature a variety of seafood, ranging from luxurious oysters and caviar to more common (but still delicious) yellowfin tuna and shrimp cocktails. For any landlubbers with you who prefer not to venture out to the sea for dinner, beef, bison, and elk abound.

The wine menu contains more than 100 selections from across the country and the world. Of course, mixed drinks and spirits are also available if you’d rather.

Many of these foods are farm-to-table whenever possible, although finding sea scallops or elk around Michigan farms is rather unlikely. Do ask the kitchen staff where the walleye is from, though, as they might even know the person who caught it.


Amical brings Old World dining to downtown Traverse City, offering a variety of European recipes from a Front Street location where you can view the bay.

Dinner options here may be more limited than at other establishments -- expect only about a dozen entree choices plus a fixed three-course menu of the day. Those options span diverse tastes, however, as they include everything from Duck Confit and Beef Bourguignon to Roasted Chicken and Risotto. Several salads are also enough for a lighter meal and especially appeal to any vegetarians in your group.

Don’t forget to save some room for dessert. The Old World cooks knew how to make a delicious Raspberry Creme Brulee or Chocolate-Caramel Tart, after all.

Apache Trout Grill

Apache Trout Grill was started by a fisherman who liked to cook (and eat). The staff has been cooking up tasty dishes ever since the restaurant opened in 1994, although you might not want to ask the cooks for their personal fresh catches -- they tend to be better with a knife than with a pole now.

As expected, the foods at Apache Trout Grill feature seafood with an emphasis on fish. Whitefish is featured on almost every section of the menu (Starters, Handhelds, and Entrees), and you’ll likewise find others. The trout and walleye, brought in from Lake Superior, are favorites among the regulars.

You’ll also find a decent array of meats, salads, and grilled cheese for the kids. The trout, walleye, and other fish are the primary reason to come here, though.


Chef Giorgio Lo Greco grew up in the kitchens of Sicily’s finest restaurants, and he brings that experience to PepeNero. The recipes, atmosphere, wines, and culture are all heavily infused with Italian characteristics.

The menu at PepeNero doesn’t stand out for its variety or complexity, but rather for how well Chef Giorgio’s team executes the simple dishes from Italy. Linguini, Raviolini, Otto Chicken, and Spanish Octopus (an outlier) combine fresh ingredients in perfect proportions to create dinners that aren’t to be missed. Of course, the dishes are paired with a range of Italian and American wines.

A large part of making these dishes so good is simply preparing them fresh. The pasta, sauces, and almost everything else are made in-house -- so you won’t find an identical flavor anywhere else.

If you don’t know what something on the menu is, ask your server. They’ll happily explain the Italian language in plain English, even if pasta doesn’t sound quite as exotic without the Italian accent.

Taproot Cider House

For a decidedly different dinner experience, make the 15-minute drive out to Taproot Cider House. Light fare fills the stomach just enough to subdue the cider’s effects. Apple cider is naturally the main attraction here, at least when there’s not live music (which takes place regularly).

The ciders include both alcoholic and sweet ciders, which appeal to a variety of tastes. Cider is also heavily used in cooking and can be found in everything from the chicken’s marinade to the salad’s glaze. Be sure to get a cup of the House Cheddar Soup with whatever you order -- cheddar cheese and apple cider is a Northern classic.

Traverse City Dining

No matter what you’re looking for in a fine dining experience, it’s close to Tamarack Lodge in Traverse City. 

Tamarack Lodge is your home away from home. We are honored to offer you a unique gathering place built in honor of those who cherish long-lasting traditions and spending quality time with friends & family in beautiful Northern Michigan. While you are here you will savor the ambient nature of the crystal clear lake, serene hiking trails, and the beauty of getting back to the simpler moments life has to offer. We invite you to come experience the nature of Tamarack Lodge by visiting our website or calling us at (877) 938-9744