Top Restaurants - 30 min read

26 BEST Restaurants in Grand Rapids (Brews, Tacos, Steaks and More!)

Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper, Updated September 24, 2022

Disclosure: Town & Tourist may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this article, at no additional cost to you.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is located on the Western side of the mitten. The city sits along the Grand River, just east of Lake Michigan. As the second largest city in the state, Grand Rapids (GR) has a solid artistic culture filled with art, dance, symphonies, and opera performances. The town welcomes almost a million visitors yearly, from tourists to business travelers.

For years Grand Rapids has been labeled America’s Best Beer City. While that is undoubtedly still a popular opinion, the city has grown up. GR has evolved as a hot spot for restaurants and food. Yes, several taprooms, breweries, and gastropubs make the top restaurant lists. However, the local restaurant scene encompasses a gamut of cuisines and restaurant concepts.

As more and more restaurants create menus with local farm produce and meats, you’ll find that even the breweries and gastropubs are creating elevated food experiences. Farm-to-table, multi-ethnic fare, and vegan/vegetarian options are represented in the River City.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find a great restaurant in Grand Rapids. Next time you are traveling through the city or searching for a fantastic meal, keep this list in mind.

Contents

1. Bistro Bella Vita

Credit: Yelp

Address: 44 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 222-4600

The downtown Bistro Bella Vita is adored by locals and visitors to Grand Rapids. The self-proclaimed “modern European” restaurant opened its doors in 1996.

Since then, the culinary team has continued to create exciting menu options and cocktails that arouse the taste buds. Head Chef Dan Blanchard leads the charge by executing new and seasonal dishes.

What to Eat at Bistro Bella Vita

Diners can’t stop, won’t stop ordering the Beef Brisket Bourguignon served in a mushroom red wine jus with farm-sourced potatoes. The most talked about Pasta entrees are the Rigatoni Bolognese prepared with a Northern Italian meat sauce and fresh parmesan, and the Black Spaghetti with shrimp, crab, olive, caper, Calabrian chili, and a dollop of mascarpone. The wine and spirits menu is also excellent.

Why Should You Eat Here

When the food is as excellent as the service at a restaurant, you know you are eating at the right place. Bistro Bella Vita presents its entrees, cocktails, bottles of wine, environment, and organization with the utmost respect to its customer.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Beef Brisket Bourguignon
Cuisine: French, Italian, Modern European

2. The Chop House

Credit: Yelp

Address: 190 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 451-6155

Anniversaries, birthdays, and life milestones are best when they are celebrated at The Chop House. A Grand Rapids anchor since 2004, The Chop House is considered one of the best choices for steak.

After dinner, the restaurant welcomes guests into its La Dolce Vita lounge, where they can sip a spirit or port, taste a dessert and smoke a hand-rolled cigar. The Chop House experience is decadent.

What to Eat at The Chop House

Depending on your meat cut of choice, order the one you love. It’s an excellent choice for steak lovers as the dry-aged beef (28 to 34 days) is expertly cooked. The “accompaniments,” aka sides, are top-notch. Find out why the creamed corn is spectacular. Finish your meal with the Crème brûlée cheesecake.

Why Should You Eat Here

This restaurant is centrally located when you have an evening out at the DeVoss Performing Arts Center. The restaurant makes certain its guests leave on time to make their show, or whatever is beyond dinner time. The La Dolce Vita lounge is a bonus for those who don’t have plans and rounds out the night.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$$$
Specialty Dish: Classic Prime Steak
Cuisine: Steakhouse

3. The Mitten Brewing Co.

Credit: Yelp

Address: 527 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504Phone number: (616) 608-5612

Lifelong friends and homebrewers Chris Andurs and Max Trierweiler envisioned creating a comfortable hangout to watch a game (Detroit Tigers!) and have a beer among friends. In 2012, their dream became a reality when they debuted The Mitten Brewing Co., where patrons can do just that. The restaurant, set in the historic Engine House #9, serves beer and artisan pizza.

What to Eat at The Mitten Brewing Co.

Untraditional pizzas such as Pesto Chicken topped with pesto and baked pulled chicken, The Deluxe with ham, pepperoni, house sausage, red onions, and green peppers, and the Pizza Flight that gives you the option to sample up to six pies.

Why Should You Eat Here

The vintage atmosphere of the Victorian Engine House #9 is a chic place to gather. The founders restored the old building to maintain its historic bones while serving specialty pizzas and craft beers.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Pesto Chicken Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza, Brewery

4. Donkey Taqueria

Credit: Yelp

Address: 665 Wealthy St. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 259-9483

The mission at Donkey Taqueria is to serve great and innovative Mexican street food. Paul Lee, owner and founder set out to accomplish that goal when he opened up this restaurant in 2009.

Donkey Taqueria serves one-of-a-kind artisan tacos, flavorful Mexican fare, and crafted cocktails in an old gas station building that was recently remodeled. Here you eat multiple street tacos since they are small. Locals recommend you try several.

What to Eat at Donkey Taqueria

The Taco Al Pastor has marinated, roasted pork shoulder with grilled pineapple, cilantro, and onion, and the Taco De Barbacoa is filled with locally sourced lamb roasted in maguey leaves with habanero-lime onion, cilantro, and queso cotija.

You’ll be most surprised by Taco De Bruselas, a unique taco with fried Brussels sprouts, macha corn, bacon, jalapeño mayo, and queso cotija.

Why Should You Eat Here

The unique takes on Mexican street food make Donkey Taqueria a winner. The restaurant makes its corn tortillas in-house. You will be served a spread of salsas for tasting. Tequila fans will enjoy the lengthy tequila offerings. And the best is that they are open for brunch.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Street Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican

5. Stella’s Lounge

Credit: Yelp

Address: 53 Commerce Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Phone number: (616) 742-4444

Founders Michele and Mark Sellers opened Stella’s Lounge in 2010 after their first successful restaurant concept Hopcat hit the Grand Rapids food scene. Stella’s Lounge is a restaurant and turns into a bar scene for 21+ at 10 p.m. The vibe is super cool, with murals, an alternative rock jukebox, and retro video arcade games at 25 cents.

What to Eat at Stella’s Lounge

Known for the burgers and whiskey bar, Stella’s Lounge is gaining tremendous popularity for its newer vegan and vegetarian menu options. You’ll want to try the beer-battered Avocado Nuggets or housemade Vegan Chickpea Wings made from garbanzo beans and tossed in your choice of Buffalo Hot, Mild, BBQ, or Sweet Chili sauces.

The Veghead Nachos with Cuban black beans, vegan chorizo, and spicy queso dip are delicious! The Sweet Potato Burrito is filled with rice, black beans, vegan ranch dressing, onion, and more in a spinach wrap.

Why Should You Eat Here

The Stella’s Lounge mood is eclectic and offers a distinct atmosphere. While there is plenty of meat and poultry-based menu items, this restaurant bar really delivers on making vegetarian and vegan bar food available. And, especially if you are a whiskey drinker, the variety of selections is wide.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Vegan Bar Food: Veghead Nachos
Cuisine: Burgers and Bar

6. Palio

Credit: Yelp

Address: 545 Michigan St. NE, Suite 102, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 719-3554

When you want to eat a plate of pasta, go straight to Palio Ristorante, where you will be served the highest quality of housemade Italian food. It is the next best thing to Italy when your location reads Grand Rapids.

In 2017, Palio opened the Grand Rapids location. The first location resides in Ann Arbor. The concept is to prepare classic Tuscan dishes in a relaxed eatery.

What to Eat at Palio Ristorante

Polpetta di Vitello e Maiale (veal and pork meatballs). Bolognese with fresh housemade pappardelle, a veal and pork meat sauce, tomatoes, sage, and lemon. Parmigiano di Pollo, a crispy chicken, topped with three kinds of Italian chees and red sauce and served with fresh spaghetti. Pollo Mostardo, a roasted chicken, goat cheese with crispy pancetta with sides of Palio’s famous corn custard, fig mostarda, and greens.

Why Should You Eat Here

Palio creates flavorful and balanced versions of the desired Italian classics by making the fresh pasta in-house, firing up pizzas in its industrial gas stone pizza oven, and growing and using fresh herbs from its on-site herb garden.

The service is impeccable and always available to recommend a glass from its curated wine and grappa lists. And just like sitting in a ristorante in Italy, guests are offered a complimentary Limoncello digestif.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Polpette pizza
Cuisine: Italian

7. Butcher’s Union 

Credit: Yelp

Address: 438 Bridge St., Grand Rapids, MI 49504Phone number: (616) 551-1323

Butcher’s Union is a popular gastropub on the west side of town that opened in 2017. Brothers and partners David and Paul Reinhert have made themselves a name with Butcher’s Union and O’Toole’s Public House, located on Bridge St., with a different take on pub food.

The menu at Butcher’s Union focuses on meat, fish, and chicken. Be on the lookout for the brothers’ next restaurant venture in Grand Rapids.

What to Eat at Butcher’s Union

A favorite dish includes its untraditional Beef Stroganoff, a smoked brisket in an apple cider demi with crème Fraiche with roasted carrots, cippolini onions, pickled beech mushrooms served over housemade spaetzle.

Another must-try is the BU Banh Mi with a crispy pork belly, Vietnamese pickles, and jalapeño on a griddled brioche. Salmon Ceviche is served with fresh apples, radish, cilantro, and jalapeño with lime tortilla chips.

Why Should You Eat Here

Locally-sourced farm produce (Peach Ridge Farms and Visser Farms), and meat cuts (River City Meats, Snake River Farms, Kessler Family Farms, Miller’s Chicken) are prepared to give diners a memorable eating experience.

Butcher’s Union also features a Shareable Menu that invites you to try several items. **Butcher’s Union does not take reservations but offers a waitlist service on its website.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Beef Stroganoff and a whiskey
Cuisine: Gastropub, Whiskey Bar

8. Reserve Wine & Food

Credit: Yelp

Address: 201 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 855-9463

Reserve Wine & Food is more money (Urban slang for outstanding) than hype. Situated in a renovated old bank building in the heart of Grand Rapids, Reserve Wine & Food began serving wines and classic and seasonal cuisine in 2010.

The exceptional team behind this restaurant’s ongoing success includes Luke Verhulst, Executive Chef, Peter Marantette, Certified Sommelier and General Manager, and Pastry Chef Rawan Shatara.

What to Eat at Reserve Wine & Food

This restaurant is known for its seasonal menus, which change throughout the year. The Moulard Duck Breast is served in a pickled cherry and fennel sauce on a bed of Moose Lake wild rice. Deep Fried Pork Chop with creamed sweet corn, grilled stone fruit on arugula with a hot pepper Italian agrodolce.

Corn Ribs with squid ink aioli and saffron butter are fun starters to share. Happy hour is time for Reserve’s ultimate Cheese & Charcuterie boards.

Why Should You Eat Here

The exclusive wine cellar, ongoing wine tastings, and chef’s dinners are a lot of fun. If you are a wine enthusiast, this restaurant is for you. Reserve prides itself on a farm-to-table concept of working with local farmers and winemakers. The culinary team is passionate about creating extraordinary seasonal dishes.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$$
Specialty Dish: Moulard Duck Breast
Cuisine: Wine bar and Restaurant

9. Maru Sushi Bridge St.

Credit: Yelp

Address: 415 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504Phone number: (616) 608-0789

Maru Sushi is known for its diverse menu. Led by founder Robert Song, an esteemed sushi chef, with Chef Moon Yang, Maru’s Director of Culinary Arts, Maru Sushi opened its doors in 2009.

Both gentlemen grew up in South Korea and have brought their aspirations, background, and experience to create this Asian bistro inspired by Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean cooking and presentation.

What to Eat at Maru Sushi

The Maru food tour (spicy) starts with the elevated Firecracker Shrimp (seasoned with Japanese seven peppers), Shishito Peppers, Flaming Crab roll with a “burn sauce,” Soy Joy roll (spicy tuna, salmon, Fantasy sauce in soy paper), and the Spicy Beef Ramen.

For brunch, check out the Filipino Ube waffle, Sweet Potato Hash with fried kimchi, and the Morning Glory roll (tamago, chicken apple sausage with a Firecracker sauce.

Why Should You Eat Here

Many cultures and flavors come together at Maru. Maru offers a sushi bar, a Happy Hour, and an Asian fusion brunch. Although hot and spicy items are prevalent on the menu, plenty of other offerings are suited for more mild palettes.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Blue Mango Roll
Cuisine: Sushi Bar, Asian Fusion

10. Real Food Cafe

Credit: Yelp

Address: 2419 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512Phone number: (616) 241-4080

Since 2000, Real Food Cafe’s owners Frank and Renee Amodeo have welcomed Grand Rapids locals into their diner just like family. The Eastern Ave location is their first restaurant, and a second recently opened near 4 Mile.

Patrons continue to put Real Food Cafe at the top of their lists when it comes to eating hometown classics at a traditional diner, eating at the counter on red cushioned chrome stools, and waiting as long as it takes to be seated at a table.

What to Eat at Real Food Cafe

You must try Renee’s original recipe for any one of the pancake stacks on the menu (Cinnamon Roll is a favorite); the Monster Omelet is for meat lovers (bacon, housemade sausage, and ham), for a real treat order the Irish Benedict (made with crisp corned beef), the Philly Cheese Steak skillet and a Lumberjack Breakfast hit the spot. It’s been recommended to start breakfast or lunch with Real Food’s Cinnamon Roll!

Why Should You Eat Here

Breakfast is served all day. The cafe bakes homemade goods available for takeaway and made-to-order cakes and pies for special occasions. Families find the restaurant an easy choice for meals with an affordable children’s menu. Real Food Cafe is a cash-only restaurant (local checks accepted).

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $
Specialty Dish: Cinnamon Rolls, Irish Eggs Benedict
Cuisine: Breakfast and Brunch

11. The Green Well

Credit: Yelp

Address: 924 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506Phone number: (616) 808-3566

The Green Well (GW), part of the Bistro Bella Vita restaurant group, opened in 2007 with the vision of inspiring memorable food in a relaxed ambiance. GW is known to locals and visitors as one of the worthy-to-visit gastropubs in East Hills, serving excellent seasonal pub dishes with an international flair. There is always something new to taste and try at GW.

What to Eat at The Green Well

The Green Well Curry is made with a spicy green curry and shitake mushrooms, with a choice of protein: red meat, chicken, tuna, shrimp, or tofu.

GW’s Falafel sandwich is created with crispy quinoa, marinated red peppers, spinach, feta, and an herb vinaigrette. You can’t go wrong with the Green Well burger or the Mac N Cheese plate. Round out the meal with Truffle Fries and a craft beer.

Why Should You Eat Here

The combination of a super casual atmosphere and elevated fare at The Green Well is a crowd pleaser. The seasonal menu keeps you interested and inspired to return. In mild weather, dine out on the patio.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: The Green Well Curry
Cuisine: Gastropub and Burgers

12. San Chez Bistro

Credit: Yelp

Address: 38 Fulton St., W Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 774-8272

In Spain, sharing tapas is a way of life. When owners Dan Schneider and Cindy Schneider debuted San Chez Bistro to GR in 1992, their tapas restaurant became instantly successful. Traditional tapas such as empanadas, a board of jamón and queso, spicy gambas, and tostones fritas were served to a welcoming GR food community.

What to Eat at San Chez

The Paella (served after 3 p.m.) is the superstar of the menu. Add chicken, chorizo, shrimp, octopus, and/or scallops to this traditional Spanish rice dish.

Other unique tapas: Bistec Con Pimienta (peppered steak with a manchego cream sauce), Queso De Cabra (baked goat cheese, tomato sauce on garlic toast), Alcachofas A La Parilla (sauteed artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers), Atun En Escabeche (Jamaican jerk seared Ahi tuna with a sweet mango sauce).

Why Should You Eat Here

The overall experience, service, and community at San Chez receive high marks from locals and daytrippers into the city. The restaurant owners have carefully considered its menus, including vegetarian options, brunch, happy hour, sangria, classic cocktails, and a curated Spanish wine list.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Paella
Cuisine: Tapas

13. The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

Credit: Yelp

Address: 187 Monroe Ave NW, Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 776-3230

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck is more than the world-famous celebrity and Michelin-starred chef “Wolfgang Puck” name associated with this restaurant. His signature dishes are delicious, the atmosphere is inviting, and anything but pretentious.

Set in the beautiful space of Amway Grand Plaza overlooking the Grand River, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck is all about invoking taste and a memorable food experience inspired by Chef’s upbringing.

What to Eat at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

You won’t be able to stop eating the Shanghai Noodles (wok-fried pork, vegetables, and the perfect balance of sambal and oyster sauces), Meatloaf (smoked bacon and meat with a Port wine glaze and a potato puree). Ask if the Chef’s childhood comfort food Frikadellen is available.

Why Should You Eat Here

Eating at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck is going to be epic. Whether you order one of the famous pizzas and Asian Chicken Salad, his housemade Truffle Chips, or the Meatloaf, you can rely on the highest quality of food and presentation.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Meatloaf, Shanghai Noodles
Cuisine: International

14. Two Beards Deli

Credit: Yelp

Address: 38 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 719-3802

Owner Scott Schultz decided to open his deli sandwich and salad shop in 2012 after 25 years of working as a chef. Tailoring a menu and appealing to various dietary needs, Schultz determined he would offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and mainstream sandwich offerings. His playful business nature is why you’ll see nearly 100 menu items named after celebrities with beards and beard styles.

What to Eat at Two Beards Deli

Vegetarians opt for The Levar Burton (a grilled Caprese tofu with basil veganaise on marble rye) or A Woody Harrelson (grilled sundried tomato wrap with vegan bacon, pickle shreddies, jalapeno, chipotle veganaise).

For meat lovers, The George Carlin (corned beef, salami, and a horseradish cheddar spread on marble rye) or The George Clooney (grilled sandwich with chicken, bacon, swiss and cheddar, roasted tomato garlic mayo). On your way out, treat yourself with a brown butter Rick Krispy treat.

Why Should You Eat Here

Two Beards Deli is neighborly and convenient when you need to grab a quick bite to eat. The portions are generous and available in half or full-size orders. This local joint is a great resource if you are hosting and need to cater to a large group at work or a casual home event, or if you are just passing through GR.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: The George Clooney
Cuisine: Sandwiches and Wraps

15. Knoop Rooftop Beer Garden

Credit: Yelp

Address: 131 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Phone number: (616) 456-6200

Knoop Rooftop Beer Garden is part of the Canopy Dining at Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown. Both hotel guests and locals enjoy a happy hour or a night out with friends at Knoop’s high-end rooftop garden for more than beer and cocktails.

The decor is modern, and the menu honors Dutch and German small bites. The outdoor couch loungers and indoor community tables give this restaurant bar friendly and relaxed vibes.

What to Eat at Knoop

Easy for sharing, Knoop offers a spectacular Pretzel Flight with toppings (hop salt and everything) and dips (siracha honey, beer cheese, ground mustard, and buffalo bleu), the jalapeno, bacon, and cheddar Hushpuppies, Shaved Filet Poutine, Tempura Fried Mushrooms, and Smoked Salmon (if available). Also, ask about Knoop’s Chef’s Plate – it always is a nice touch.

Why Should You Eat Here

This is a no-fuss restaurant bar that caters to out-of-towners and GR residents. Its beer and cider beverage program features Michigan-based breweries, including Witches Hat, Blake’s Cider Mill, Bell’s Brewing, and Austin Brothers. Additionally, Knoop is committed to sourcing ingredients locally from Tolman Meats, Farm Country Cheeses, and Field and Fire Bakery.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: The Pretzel Flight
Cuisine: German and Bar

16. Terra GR

Credit: Yelp

Address: 1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506Phone number: (616) 301-0998

Terra GR is one of those Michigan restaurants that honor its state by serving Michigan craft draft beer and local farm-fresh ingredients. This Reeds Lake restaurant was established in 2012 by owner Ken Sung. He worked with chefs to create a diverse menu that took its own spin on what best exemplifies farm-to-table in Michigan state.

What to Eat at Terra GR

Great communal starters are Mussels in nduja butter (a spicy cured pork and peppers spread) and wine with a baguette, and Blistered Shishito (with sweet corn, bacon lardon, sunny egg, leek cream cheese, and chili breadcrumbs).

Brunch entree must-haves are the Breakfast Pizza and Hair of the Dog Bowl (sausage, gravy, cheddar buttermilk biscuits, scrambled eggs, and lots of flavors). Definitely, you should order the Spicy Beet Margarita.

Why Should You Eat Here

This hip restaurant caters to all palettes. Terra GR is dedicated to its farm partners to ensure its guests are served the freshest and most organic ingredients from the state. Terra GR also serves a great and lengthy menu of local craft beers. Its superior handcrafted cocktails utilize local spirit distilleries.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Hair of the Dog Bowl on the brunch menu
Cuisine: American bar

17. The Old Goat

Credit: Yelp

Address: 2434 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 Phone number: (616) 288-6976

Owner Corey Demint was looking to bring a different kind of restaurant to his Alger Heights neighborhood. He made that happen when The Old Goat opened in 2015. This restaurant has a community feel with a cheerful atmosphere, live music, and classic eats.

Demint’s tongue-in-cheek touches give customers a fun restaurant experience. If you like his other restaurant, The Electric Cheetah, you won’t want to miss out on The Old Goat.

What to Eat at The Old Goat

Best “snacks” on the menu are the Deviled Eggs (different flavors each week) and The Bubbly Brown (an original goat cheese-Boursin artichoke dip with a fresh hot loaf of bread).

Must eats: the Jambalaya in a smoked tomato broth, the house-smoked Brisket Sandwich on a grilled pretzel roll, and the Goat’za pizza topped with goat Boursin cheese, artichoke, blistered tomato with a balsamic glaze. The Old Goat’s hot soups are winners from A to Z.

Why Should You Eat Here

The overall atmosphere steals guests’ hearts. Framed illustrations of goats, nostalgic transferware dishes, and live music create a fun dining environment. The menus are seasonal, so folks keep returning to try the latest and greatest Goat dish.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Deviled Eggs, Jambalaya
Cuisine: American

18. Sanitary Fish & Marketplace

Credit: Yelp

Address: 2468 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505Phone number: (616) 363-8419

Sanitary Fish is a hole-in-the-wall seafood counter frying up the freshest and most delicious fish for lunch and dinner. In recent years, new owner and partner Martha Reyff took over the fish market after the business closed. Sanitary Fish Market has been a seafood-to-go landmark in Grand Rapids since the 1950s.

What to Eat at Sanitary Fish

The fried seafood is never overly fried or greasy. You choose the seasonings such as Cajun Spices, Old Bay, Garlic Vinegar, Sea Salt, and The Works (everything!). Fried perch is one of the tastiest fish, especially with a side of Sanitary’s in-house tartar sauce.

Why Should You Eat Here

This seafood fry joint has a full seafood menu, including shrimp, cod, catfish, perch, oysters, scallops, and clams, to name a few. Sanitary serves you a lot for your buck.

You can get a loaded sampler of half pound each of shrimp, perch, cod, wing dings, fries, and cole slaw for $25. It’s an easy way to feed the whole group. Stop by the nearby liquor store to grab a beer or bottle of wine for your meal.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Lake Perch Special
Cuisine: Seafood

19. Founders Brewing Co.

Credit: Yelp

Address: 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 776-1195

The Founders Brewing Co.’s tried and true inspirational history adds to its favorability within the brewing industry and among its patrons. It started in 1997 when partners Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers opened a relatively small brewery and followed up with a Founders taproom.

The guys wore many hats in the early years, including bartenders in the bar. Today Founders Brewing is one of the most beloved breweries and restaurants in Grand Rapids.

What to Eat at Founders Brewing Co.

Aside from selecting a beer flight, there are plenty of food pairings to heighten the flavors, including Beer Cheese Dip (cooked up with Centennial IPA and Red’s Rye IPA) with a hot pretzel, The Cuban Sandwich (in-house bourbon barrel smoked pulled pork topped with smoked ham), and a side of Mac & Ale Cheese (creamy cheese sauce made with Red’s Rye IPA) topped with fried onion.

Why Should You Eat Here

The food and craft beer pairings are extraordinary. Founders Brewing Co. posts its on-tap menu daily on its website so you can plan ahead. As a restaurant, the owners are dedicated to sustainability, protecting the environment in their brewing process, and partnering with local arts organizations and clean water initiatives.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: A flight of beer with the Beer Cheese Dip and Hot Pretzel
Cuisine: Brewery, Munchies, and Sandwiches

20. Grove

Credit: Yelp

Address: 919 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506Phone number: (616) 454-1000

Grove is one of the original restaurants in Grand Rapids to bring the farm-to-table concept to diners. The restaurant opened in 2011 and recently went under a two-year closure to create a different kind of dining space after the COVID pandemic hit.

Executive Chef Jeremy Paquin and Chef de Cuisine Devin Cook work following the regional farming seasons to create and serve fresh, seasonal, and incredible food.

What to Eat at Grove

Mushrooms (Lion’s Mane and Oyster in a remoulade) and Zucchini (yellow squash with almond, olives, and coriander). The Beef Tartare (fresh horseradish, smoked leek, and Beemster cheese) is an unexpected delight.

Hamachi Collar (if available), Potato Crusted Fish (with hints of ginger), and the Pork Belly Chop (with plum, sesame, honey, and chili). The Mr. Green Genes is a bright cocktail to start out your evening.

Why Should You Eat Here

Grove’s redesign is a recommitment to its mission of creating an elegant and intimate dining experience. The menu is small but mighty, and the Grove service is excellent. Check out the Grove’s special tasting menu events.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Any Vegetable on the menu, Beef Tartare
Cuisine: American

21. MDRD

Credit: Yelp

Address: 187 Monroe Ave. NW, 27th Floor in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 | Phone number: (616) 776-6425

Located in the beautiful setting of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, MDRD sits above the city with an incredible panoramic view. MDRD is esteemed for its Spanish tapas dishes for an adventure in eating. Executive Chef Stephan VanHeulen pulls together flavorful and authentic dishes inspired by Spanish classics.

What to Eat at MDRD

Salmon Con Trufa (a cold-smoked salmon with truffle, honey, and cream in a puff pastry), Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimp, chili, and fennel sofrito), and the Galician-style grilled Pulpo A La Gallega (octopus).

For your mains, consider the Raya Al Limon skate wing with Little Neck clams, Paella to share, and the Secreto Iberico (an Iberian secret pork steak with romesco and Black Mission Figs).

Why Should You Eat Here

The Spanish tapas and dishes are complex and unique. In addition, an evening spent at MDRD is gorgeous. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the unforgettable view of the Grand River. It’s the perfect setting for a marriage proposal and a celebration.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Cost: $$$
Specialty Dish: Salmon Con Trufa, Paella
Cuisine: Spanish

22. City Built Brewing

Credit: Yelp

Address: 820 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 155, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 805-5755 

City Built Brewing was born from a love of homebrewing. In 2015 Edwin Collazo enthusiastically found his calling when he opened the taproom and restaurant.

Today it is one of GR’s most sought out establishments. Inspired by his family’s Puerto Rican roots, the kitchen serves small dishes on par with Collazo’s craft beers.

What to Eat at City Built Brewing

Pastelillos, a Puerto Rican meat turnover, Bori Balls! (bacon and spiced rice croquettes), Yucca Fries (seasoned hand-cut Cassava Roots), Pork Belly tacos, Tostones (fried plantains), and always the Puerto Rican Rice (created with Red Rice, Pigeon Peas, and bacon).

Why Should You Eat Here

City Built Brewing has a unique menu different from the breweries in Grand Rapids. City Built’s Puerto Rican menu is essential to the owner’s vision. His grandparents created a family environment around the traditional Puerto Rico foods, and he has done the same at the brewery.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Bori Balls and Pastelillos
Cuisine: Brewery, Puerto Rican

22. Cherie Inn

Credit: Yelp

Address: 969 Cherry St. SE., Grand Rapids, MI 49506Phone number: (616) 458-0588

Everything about the breakfast nook, Cherie Inn, has a little bit of Grand Rapids history. This is one of the oldest restaurants since it opened in 1924. Today it remains open for business in a 100-year-old building in the Fairmont Square District.

Even the charming decor and tin ceiling are original pieces. Closed Monday and Tuesdays, Cherie Inn begins welcoming guests to an early start for breakfast.

What to Eat at Cherie Inn

Cherie Inn Breakfast (Cinnamon French Toast, eggs, and choice of meat side), Blueberry Granola Pancakes (with fresh blueberries and housemade granola), Crab Cake Benedict (Blue Crab), and Sausage Bake Scramble served open face on a croissant.

Why Should You Eat Here

Cherie Inn makes a Gluten-Free pancake option and will make Mickey Mouse Pancakes for any age. There is also a specific kids menu and a light fare lunch menu. For as long as Cherie Inn has been open many GR locals have not eaten there. Get in line now.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Cinnamon French Toast
Cuisine: Breakfast and Brunch

23. Little Africa Cuisine

Credit: Yelp

Address: 956 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 222-1169

Little Africa Cafe is a family-owned eatery specializing in Ethiopian cuisine. Cooked with the freshest ingredients, Little Africa Cafe does prepare food seasonally.

You will be served a bowl of warm water to rinse your fingers before digging into the Ethiopian dishes and platters. This cafe is widely known to vegans and vegetarians and makes the injera gluten-free at no additional fee.

What to Eat at Little Africa Cafe

Red Lentil dish (a spicy blend of curry and cayenne), Alicha (fresh veggies, potato, cabbage, green beans, and ginger), Shiro (mild pea flour sauce with Little Africa’s spices) and Soy Curry. T

he best part is you eat the different food with the served injera or flatbread. Spicy Tomato Soup is a great one for colder days. Also, you must sip the seasoned Ethiopian Tea, a spiced and slightly sweet hot tea.

Why Should You Eat Here

You don’t have to be vegetarian to eat here. The beauty of Little Africa’s menu is that it caters to a broad audience of palettes. The bonus is that you are served a wonderful meal prepared by the owners. This spot only accepts cash. Call ahead to confirm Little Africa Cafe is open when you want to dine.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $
Specialty Dish: Group Platter with Red Lentils, Shiro, and Soy Curry
Cuisine: Ethiopian, Vegetarian, Vegan

24. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

Credit: Yelp

Address: 140 Ottawa Ave. NW., Suite 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49503Phone number: (616) 239-7158

Rooted in North Carolina, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is spreading its wings and has been in Grand Rapids since 2020. Owned by Steve Frabitore, Tupelo Honey offers its guests a place to hang out and enjoy home-cooked southern food. You would never know it as a chain restaurant by its small-town feel.

What to Eat at Tupelo Honey

Fried Green Tomatoes (panko-crusted in a red pepper sauce served over heirloom grits with goat cheese), Buttermilk Biscuits with blueberry jam and whipped butter, Tupelo’s signature Honey Dusted Fried Chicken (granulated honey), and the famous Sriracha Honey Fried Chicken & Waffles (fluffy buttermilk waffles).

Why Should You Eat Here

It’s a favorite stop in Downtown GR. When you order the biscuits, proceeds benefit and aid Tupelo employees in need. The biscuits are cathead (each is the size of a cat’s head) which hail from the Mississippi Delta. These biscuits are the best in town.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Honey Dusted Fried Chicken
Cuisine: Southern, American

25. Brewery Vivant

Credit: Yelp

Address: 925 Cherry St. SE., Grand Rapids, MI 49506Phone number: (616) 719-1604

The microbrewery and scratch kitchen is a revered local haunt. And that is not because Brewery Vivant took over an old funeral home building from the 1940s. The owners-brewers Kris and Jason Spaulding, wanted to create a space that embodies “bon vivant.”

In 2010, they refurbished the historic building to welcome the community for a social time while sipping a Belgian-inspired beer with food cooked from scratch.

What to Eat at Brewery Vivant

Looking for a great snack to accompany your IPA? It’s got to be the Duck Confit Nachos (topped with brie, tomatoes, onions, and cracklins (fried skin pieces).

Heartier menu items include the Daily Poutine (flavor of the day such as bacon), the Cuban Sandwich (mojo pulled pork, tasso ham, Farm Hand, which is Brewery Vivant’s Flagship Beer, and Gruyere cheese on a ciabatta), and the pub’s Schnitzel (panko-fried pork loin with dijon spaetzle).

Why Should You Eat Here

Brewery Vivant is like a European beer hall but set in a chapel building complete with original stained glass and high steeple ceilings. The indoor seating style features large picnic tables where guests in large and small groups can sit amongst one another. If beer isn’t your thing, these guys serve a few different options, such as a G&T, Bloody Mary, and hard ciders.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost:
$$
Specialty Dish:
Duck Nachos
Cuisine:
Belgian, Pub

26. Littlebird

Credit: Yelp

Address: 95 Monroe Center St. NW., Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Phone number: (616) 419-4168

Littlebird is a cozy restaurant set in the bustling area of the Monroe Center Downtown. Opened in 2017, Littlebird has a strong team that guides the nest.

Owners and married couple Sarah Wepman and Joel Wabeke sought to create a modern yet intimate dining space. The food, helmed by Wabeke, is superb, and guests enjoy the kitchen’s unique and unexpected flavor notes.

What to Eat at Littlebird

Brunchtime calls for the Sweet Potato Hash with curried lentils, seasonal vegetables, goat cheese, pickled Fresno chiles, and a side of Curry Fries featuring beef curry chili, aged cheddar, scallion, furikake, and yellow mustard.

Littlebird’s Classic French Omelet is superior. As for dinner, the Quail, which is topped with a fruit compote, is excellent, and go with the Cheeseburger & Fries (two smash patties, and you can also add pork belly to this sandwich).

Why Should You Eat Here

The location is central to many day and evening activities in Grand Rapids. You can spend a few hours at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and pop over to Littlebird for a late lunch or early dinner.

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Cost: $$
Specialty Dish: Sweet Potato Hash with the French Omelet
Cuisine: American Brunch and Dinner

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