Being less than four square miles, you might be wondering if Mackinac Island has enough food options to satisfy your taste palate during a long weekend. Fear not, you'll be surprised to learn that the island is actually a foodie’s paradise offering something for all tastes and budgets. And since the island's prime season is April to October, most restaurants take advantage of outdoor seating offering stunning views while you dine.
We had the pleasure of staying at Mission Point Resort and Hotel - a lakeside retreat on 18 acres of the island's sunrise coast. The resort itself is home to four unique restaurants so you don't have to walk far to indulge in a delicious and memorable meal. Read on to discover seven of my top recommendations for dining while visiting Mackinac Island.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Mission Point Resort during our stay which included meals at their restaurants on site. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I won't keep you hanging and instead I'll start with hands down my favorite meal of the trip! Chianti features traditional, house-made Italian dishes served up each night for dinner from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. in a fine dining atmosphere. All of their pastas and sauces are made in house and many of the herbs and spices used in their dishes are sourced from the ground's gardens. Begin the evening with a cocktail in the Library then enjoy a romantic meal paired with a glass of your favorite Mission Point wine on the lake-view porch with live piano entertainment playing in the background. I ordered the fettuccine a la carbonara with pancetta and am still dreaming about it to this day. This was by far one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had! My husband ordered the filet minion and we split the lemon bar for dessert. They do switch their menu out regularly to incorporate the freshest ingredients for each season. The service was impeccable and one of the waiters even serenaded the couple sitting next to us for their one year anniversary. Definitely a night to remember!
Round Island Bar and Grill
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner - each more delicious than the next! Round Island Bar & Grill is a family-friendly culinary hub that features all day dining options. This was our go to breakfast spot each morning with a full hot and cold buffet and made to order omelet station. With both indoor and outdoor seating options, you can sip on a signature drink from their cocktail garden while overlooking the Lake Huron shoreline. Round Island is where we decided to have dinner our first night on the island and it provided the warmest welcome to the resort's culinary scene. I went with the seared scallops with a coconut-curry sauce and asparagus tips on a bed of edamame and cilantro-lime rice and my husband chose the pasta that was on special that night for the Run Mackinac eight mile race happening the following morning. We also split the Michigan cheesecake with a side of berry sorbet (have you noticed a theme yet when it comes to dessert?).
Bistro on the Greens
When the sun is shining on Mackinac Island there is only one place to go. Bistro on the Greens offers stunning views on their outdoor patio (open weather permitting) along with delicious summer pub-themed dishes. The restaurant overlooks the Greens of Mackinac, Mission Point's picturesque 18-hole putting course which is a great after-dinner activity. The bistro offers a full bar along with a lounge area overlooking the straits complete with fire pits. Be sure to grab a cocktail and take it out on the course with you. I had to try the signature lavender hibiscus lemonade which was almost too pretty to drink and my husband started the night with a New Day IPA which is brewed specially for Mission Point. We started our meal with an appetizer of fried calamari followed by the chicken salad and fried perch sandwiches. This place definitely gets my vote for the best overall atmosphere and is a great way to spend a summer evening.
Boxwood Coffeeshop and Cafe
Boxwood Coffeeshop and Cafe is the perfect grab-and-go stop before heading to your next adventure on Mackinac island. Start your morning with an artfully crafted lattes paired with a made-from-scratch croissant or lemon bar. My husband had an early tee time at the The Jewel golf course one morning during our trip and this was the perfect spot to grab a quick breakfast which we ate in our horse and carriage taxi ride on the way to the course. We also stopped here for lunch before our bike ride around the island and enjoyed a boxed lunch on the picturesque Mission Point lawn in one of the resort's 81 white Adirondack chairs.
The Grand Hotel
Your visit to Mackinac Island isn't complete without a trip to the infamous Grand Hotel. If you don't want to pay the $10 admission fee to gain access to the grounds (which you totally should!) there are still a number of dining options with no admission fee required. Just a short walk down Grand Hill you'll find the Gate House serving up traditional bar fare in a casual atmosphere. You can sip a cocktail on their outdoor patio with views of the hotel from afar while dining on salads, sandwiches, and my personal favorite, the Gate House nachos. Next door is Sushi Grand offering the island's only fresh, made to order sushi bar. If you simply can't make up your mind, the Sushi Grand menu is also available to order from while dining in the bar at the Gate House. If you're looking for a more upscale lunch option, try The Jockey Club located just off the first tee at the Jewel Golf Course and with seating on their insta-worthy patio.
This was another can't miss spot for me and made the perfect lunch stop our last day before we boarded the ferry to head home. This is one of the most popular bars on the island with a great nightlife scene and prime location on the water. Unfortunately they don't take reservations, so to avoid an extremely long wait I suggest going on an off day right when they open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. We only had to wait about 10 minutes and were rewarded with a seat on their upper deck overlooking the iconic pink umbrellas. The second time we came we put our name in for dinner outside which had about an hour wait and then just spent some time walking around the shops downtown. We decided to split the pretzel sticks and shrimp tempura tacos which were recommended by our server and certainly didn't disappoint. My husband also ordered their surf and turf special which looked equally delicious. Complete your meal with a signature Pink Pony Punch or Lilac Lavender Lemonade. They are also known for their whitefish dip and burger. Pony up!
Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery
This was a new location that popped up since our last visit to the island so we had to stop in. Such a fun spot with tons of seating and an outdoor patio which is where we sat. They have a few of their own beers on tap brewed in partnership with Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City. But I simply had to order the Painted Turtle which is a cocktail flight with all four of their signature cocktails all named after different Mackinac Island references. So cute and honestly some of the best drinks I tried! For dinner we had the Mediterranean flatbread and a burger which were both delicious.
This is a cute little hot dog and burger shack located right along the water. Nothing super fancy in terms of food (hey I love a good hot dog) but makes a good stop if you're just looking for something quick without a long wait so you can spend more time exploring. You'll order at a walk up window (cash only) and they have a big lawn with lots of picnic tables to enjoy your food by the water.
Mary's Bistro Draught House
This is another location that opened relatively recently on the island. They have a both indoor and outdoor seating and their patio is located right on the water. We stopped in for lunch and I both ordered the cherry chicken salad sandwich. The chicken tortilla soup was also a favorite of mine! Mary's is known for having one of the biggest draft beer selections with over 50 different beers and cocktails on tap. They also take reservations so this is a good option for dinner if you're trying to avoid a long wait.
One of my favorite parts of staying overnight on the island is the quiet, peaceful mornings before everyone arrives for the day on the ferries. There are several places to grab a coffee and walk the streets which has quickly become my favorite routine. If you have a favorite Starbucks drink like I do there is one on the island. However, if you're looking for something a bit more local, I would suggest Watercolor Cafe - an adorable shop located at the end of the marina. You must try their signature iced lilac latte for the true Mackinac Island experience. They also serve up breakfast and lunch which I definitely want to come back and try.
You can't walk down Main Street without the smell of freshly made fudge wafting from multiple storefronts. In fact, you might be a bit overwhelmed by just how many fudge shops there are. This is truly a staple on the island and makes a great souvenir to take back home. While I personally love the original Murdick's fudge shop established in 1887 and offering 23 flavors of their original recipe, you'll have to let your taste buds decide. It's also an experience in itself to see how the sweet treat is made and you can wander in one of the stores to watch as they fold the gooey goodness over on the marble slabs.
If you're needing to cool down from your bike ride around the island, stop in to Good Day Cafe or Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor at the Grand Hotel for an ice cream cone. Good Day Cafe serves up Moomer's homemade ice cream which is one of my all time favorites based in Traverse City. If you can't decide on just one flavor (I don't blame you they are all so yummy) try one of their ice cream flights. Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor also has some amazing flavors to choose from (I had the Carmel turtle cheesecake!) and you don't have to pay to hotel grounds fee to go here.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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