It doesn’t matter when you travel, a big part of being on vacation revolves around food. In the Petoskey Area, the tastes are delicious and there are tons of options. Before or after you hit the slopes, the shops, the trails, the casino or the wineries, make sure to check out some of these suggestions for a terrific culinary experience this winter.

Small Batch, Harbor Springs – When you wake up in Harbor Springs, you may want the Rise n Shine (herbed eggs, cheddar, caramelized onion, Sriracha aioli, on grilled brioche) or maybe the Omelet du Jour. Nothing disappoints in this darling restaurant that shares space with their own bakery. You can only imagine how good their cupcakes taste.

Stafford’s Pier, Harbor Springs – Long a Harbor Springs favorite, “The Pier” has taken on a more casual atmosphere throughout. Enjoy fabulous flash fried perch, mouth-watering sandwiches or the creamy Stafford’s chowder (shrimp, scallops and clams) to take the chill off. Or take advantage of Happy Hour from 4 to 6pm with bacon cheese fries for the kids and succulent oysters Rockefeller for you.

Vernales, Harbor Springs – You’ll find nothing but prime and choice cuts of beef at Vernales, where they were voted Michigan’s Best Steakhouse by MLive. The Wagyu beef is tender and flavorful. Vegetarian? Go for the loaded Brussel sprouts or the wild mushroom flatbread. Nightly winter specials offer an added value.

Palette Bistro, Petoskey – The forest floor may sound like something in a land conservancy ad, but at Palette Bistro, it’s a marvelous soup with roasted mushrooms, stewed leeks, cream, and Fustini’s white truffle oil. Give your taste buds a real treat and take advantage of the three-course tasting menu available nightly.

Sage at Odawa Casino, Petoskey – Someone may want to share your Sage Signature roasted mushroom gnocchi – don’t let them, because you’ll want more. The surf and turf (steak and lobster tail), offers the best of both worlds in this fine dining restaurant. At the other end of the spectrum, the Waas-No-Dé Buffet is casual with a huge selection to satisfy the whole family.

Terrace Inn, Petoskey – Open Friday and Saturday nights in the winter, the Terrace Inn serves up a hardwood planked whitefish that is hard to beat. Pair it with the heirloom beet salad and inn-made chocolate raspberry lava cake for a magnificent dining experience. Be seated between 5 and 6 pm for a buy-one, get-one deal.

Red Mesa Grill, Boyne City – They put the Mmmmm in margarita with all the flavors of the rainbow. Sizzling fajitas (steak, chicken, shrimp and portobello mushroom) are always a hit, and those with a taste for something unusual will want to try the Peruvian armadillo eggs.

Aonoch Mor Moonlight Dinner, Harbor Springs – Perfectly seasoned French onion soup, roast beef tenderloin au poivre, and more await you at this spectacular event that includes a sleigh ride and candlelight. You’ll want to make a reservation.

Cafe Sante’, Boyne City – You could eat three meals a day here and you may well want to do so. Incredibly light quiche Lorraine for breakfast, duck French onion soup for lunch and then perhaps a tasty dinner of pappardelle Bolognese. Monday nights mean tantalizing eggplant, pepperoni or Italian sausage $5 wood-fired pizzas (not available 12/26/18 – 1/1/2019) so you can treat your friends, too.

See? LOTS of options (and so many more than we could list here). Be sure to catch our next blog for some recommendations on the more casual bars and diners to visit.

In the meantime, start planning your next getaway to the Petoskey Area. There’s winter fun and a room that’s right for you.

About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, Alanson and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has ‘been there — seen that’ when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.