12 Michigan Restaurants with Stunning Scenic Views
Memorable dining is often about the Pure Michigan view you can pair with the cuisine. Here are ways to soak in the scenery with your meal, any time of year.
Whether you dine on the patio or at an interior seat with a window view, you're just steps away from the Lake Superior waves. Savor the Pitmaster's Pie of smoked brisket, pork and vegetables, baked in a wine sauce and topped with mashed potatoes, or the savory ribs that make up the dish named Douglas Houghton's Anchor. Book an on-site room with a water view, then explore nearby Brockway Mountain Drive and The Jampot, a shop run by a local skete of monks that offers a wide selection of preserves, jams and jellies.
One of the state's more established vineyards is part of the viewscape at Tabor Hill's on-site restaurant. The fruit of the vines is featured in pairings like one harvest dinner course of buttery Chardonnay served with buttery lump crab bread pudding, fall apples and butternut squash sauce. The regular menu is also locally sourced, and you can make dinner a vacation with a comparative tasting through the 16 stops on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
The 16-story tower at this resort is more than a local landmark, it's one of the state's classiest restaurants and arguably the best 360-degree sunset view out the pinnacle's floor-to-ceiling windows. Chef Bryan Petrick is known for his steaks and homemade pasta with Bolognese. Sunday brunch and happy hour cocktails are also draws. The resort itself makes for a perfect gateway to a string of farm markets; on-site there’s a spa, three championship golf courses, a beach club and multiple pools.
Cozy is the hallmark of this restaurant and inn, where you can warm yourself by a crackling fire while gazing over what feels like the grounds of your private castle estate. The 15-acre property was developed just 30 minutes from Lansing for auto baron Irving Jacob Reuter and his wife Janet, and the view still includes their pergola, swimming pool and gazebo. After a formal meal upstairs, retire to the English pub for a nightcap on the lower level.
5. Irisdescence – Detroit
This AAA-rated four-diamond restaurant is perched on the top floor of MotorCity Casino Hotel, and it's widely considered to have the best skyline view of Detroit. The cool vibe echoes the renaissance happening across the city, the dim lighting makes it a popular date night spot. There's also the sumptuous food, prepared by a chef trained at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants.
Your view starts when you board the horse and carriage taxi at the ferry docks, extends through shady island pathways and culminates in a sunset view over the Straits of Mackinac from the Portico - just off the bar inside a former library where a real wood fire crackles on cool nights. The restaurant shares space with the Inn at Stonecliffe, a circa-1911 mansion designed by a high-society architect. There's white-tableclothed dining generally preceded or followed by a hike to the stone outcropping called Sunset Rock, especially popular for engagements, and make a S'more or two in the blazing fire on the wide lawn.
On chilly nights, heat lamps and a roaring fireplace keep dinners toasty even in the wide sunroom, in fact, Rose’s offers lakeside dining overlooking Reeds Lake any time of the year. The summer view is dotted with sailboats, while the winter view consists of ice skaters and fish shanties. For the table, watch for the popular wood-fired pizzas and weekly wine specials.
The Au Sable River gurgles past the windows, and the trout on the menu comes fresh from these waters fly fishermen consider holy. This restaurant that reviewers consistently say “feels like home” is a local secret, but it's also small enough that reservations for dinner are a good idea. Plan an overnight stay to take fly fishing lessons and spend time on the water.
9. Arcadia Bluffs – Arcadia
The Scottish links course has been named among the best in America, in part for the stunning Lake Michigan vista you'll catch from the Dining Room at Arcadia Bluffs, open to golfers and non-golfers alike. The restaurant boasts maybe the most dramatic lake view on the state's west coast, fine dining and live bagpiper music at dusk. The wine inventory is another star, guests can choose from among hundreds of bottles displayed in temperature-controlled cases with glass doors.
10. The Highlands – Harbor Springs
During winter weekends, catch an unusual lift to the top of The Highlands' North Peak for an especially romantic perch at an Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner. Here cozy fires burn in the surrounding snow and candles light up the room on the white linen-decked tables. Even in the dark, you can experience the illuminated ski runs, distant valley towns and even the lights of the Mackinac Bridge. Live music is also part of the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinners, as well as set-menu meals that end with dessert.
Classic Sicilian food is served directly on the Grand Haven City Beach in this contemporary beauty newly built on the spot of the original Bil-Mar built in 1952. Dinner on the deck is a favorite in this popular beach town, but so is the bar with a backsplash that emulates the waves of the lake right out the windows. The restaurant is notable for its wood-fired pizzas, small plates and farm-fresh fare.
The vista from Lakeview Restaurant makes for one of the state's best colorful views. Down a valley over Lake Bellaire is also a stunning view. In the fall, dinner can be paired with chairlift rides offering yet another perspective of the forest and lake. Fall golf is popular enough for both a challenge and a view that staff jokes it's a “four-hour fall color tour by foot.”