This past summer, Traverse City added another accolade to its list being voted the Top Foodie City by Livability.com. The search began with the 200 most livable cities- yes Traverse City was named one of America's Best Places to Live- and then the criteria was considered. From farmers markets and independently owned restaurants to quality of life and cost of living, Traverse City reigns when it comes to "foodies [flexing] their taste buds". Whether it be the award winning restaurants, wineries, farm markets, dairies, or cherries, Traverse City has something for everyone. The Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau has certainly done their part by creating the Tasty Traverse Self Guided Foodie Tour which touches on locations in both Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. The WOMP and LPVA websites are great places to start for those wishing to try the local libations.
The opportunities are endless when it comes to the places your taste buds may take you, but in my opinion its the unlisted locations that are the true foodie finds. As if you need any more options, here are a few of my favorites (all located in Traverse City):
Trattoria Stella - 1200 W Eleventh Street - (231) 929-8989
Located in the basement of the historic building previously known as the Northern Michigan Asylum, Stella- as we locals refer to it- embodies the farm-to-table philosophy. Chef Myles Anton (2010 James Beard Award semi-finalist for "Best Chef, Great Lakes") has cultivated close relationships with local farmers and producers and uses their products daily. His creative spin on Italian fare and an ever-changing menu has made the restaurant a success since its opening in 2004. For the bride looking to get married in Northern Michigan, Trattoria Stella caters too!
Amical - 229 East Front Street - (231) 941-8888
Located directly on the famous Front Street with stunning views of West Grand Traverse Bay, Amical is a quaint bistro specializing in European cuisine. Although the inspiration for their cuisine has evolved since opening in 1994, their food remains just as delicious and their staff just as friendly. Whether you stop in for lunch on their Front Street patio, for dinner next to the fireplace after a long day's work, or come in on a Sunday for their full menu brunch, you won't be disappointed.
Red Ginger - 237 East Front Street - (231) 944-1733
The newest of my favorite dining venues in Traverse City, Red Ginger opened its doors in November 2007. Since then, it has made quite the statement. With their ever-so-successful happy hour from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday and the addition of the outdoor dining area, Red Ginger is only a couple doors down from Amical but couldn't be more different. Chef Dan Marsh's passion for Asian cuisine is evident and his modern take on classic Asian dishes- think Pad Thai, Bento Boxes, and Sushi- makes Red Ginger a restaurant I keep coming back to. Soon-to-be brides should consider their Lotus Room- located above the restaurant- as a potential Rehearsal Dinner or Reception location.
Photos courtesy of Trattoria Stella, Mlive.com, Amical, Michigan.org, Red Ginger & Cornerstone Architects