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15 Must-Try Restaurants in Grand Rapids

Enjoy amazing food at our favorite spots around the city.

Grand Rapids is a bustling Michigan city just east of Lake Michigan. People flock to the town to explore the several art museums, tropical conservatory, and the several fantastic craft breweries that surround the area.

chef finalizing dish at grand rapids michigan restaurant

As the second-largest city in the state, Grand Rapids sees hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. While the breweries are a significant area attraction, you can’t miss their diverse food scene.

With so many restaurants to choose from, it can be challenging to pick and choose which ones to try. Luckily, I’ve explored the Grand Rapids food scene and know just the places you need to try.

Best Restaurants in Grand Rapids

  1. Butcher’s Union
  2. Reserve Wine & Food
  3. Terra GR Restaurant
  4. Founders Brewing Co
  5. Donkey Taqueria
  6. Leo’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar
  7. San Chez A Tapas Bistro
  8. Bistro Bella Vita
  9. The Mitten Brewing Company
  10. Rose’s
  11. Noto’s
  12. Sandy Point Beach House – Grand Rapids
  13. Mertens Prime (formerly New Hotel Mertens Brasserie)
  14. The Chop House Grand Rapids
  15. The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

Check out my list of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids, Michigan, below!


Butcher’s Union

438 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: 616-551-1323
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Just northeast of downtown Grand Rapids is Butcher’s Union. This restaurant on Bridget Street NW is a modern gastropub that looks very upscale but is a reasonably casual eatery.

The restaurant features leather booths and old-school wooden bars. It’s the perfect place to gather with friends or make new ones.

Butcher’s Union is known for its meat and whiskey selection, but they have more than just those two items on their menu.

The cuisine is everything you’d typically find in a gastropub. There’s steak, salads, soups, chicken wings, and more. My favorite was their roasted pork with clams and the kale and pear salad.


Reserve Wine & Food

201 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-855-9463
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In the heart of downtown on Monroe Avenue is Reserve Wine and Food. This elegant restaurant is the perfect spot to stop before you head to a performance at the nearby theaters or when you want to celebrate a birthday.

Even if you’re going to just pop in for a nice glass of wine, it’s worth visiting. Reserve Wine and Food feature sophisticated farm-to-table cuisine.

I love this restaurant because it has a vast menu. There are salads, pasta dishes, steak, seafood, and my favorite, charcuterie boards.

You can’t come here without having a glass of wine and building a charcuterie board. If you’re still hungry after that, the lamb ragu is a tasty option.


Terra GR Restaurant

1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616-301-0998
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You’ll find Terra GR Restaurant about two miles from downtown near Reeds Lake. This rustic yet modern restaurant features an open kitchen that you can see from almost every table in the place.

Terra GR Restaurant is a laid-back joint where you can enjoy elegant meals without feeling like dressing to the nines.

Terra GR Restaurant serves farm-to-table cuisine that looks and tastes like something out of a super expensive restaurant.

Its menu features wood-fired pizza, pasta dishes, other entrees, etc. It even has brunch service! Everything here is fabulous, but the smoked bacon pizza is to die for.


Founders Brewing Co

235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-776-1195
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Founders Brewing Co. is located south of downtown on Grandville Avenue SW and is one of the most popular breweries and restaurants in town.

If you love craft breweries like me, you’ll love grabbing a beer and bite to eat here. The brewery is welcoming, features industrial decor, and the staff is knowledgeable about the beers they serve.

This spot has food that pairs well with all their beers on tap. You can go for a salad, appetizer, sandwiches, or pizza.

I recommend ordering a flight of its beer so you can sample several, and the beer cheese dip is the perfect appetizer. Another favorite of mine is its devil dancer.


Donkey Taqueria

665 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-259-9483
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In between the south and east hills neighborhoods of Grand Rapids, you can find Donkey Taqueria. Even if you’re staying downtown, you’re only 1.3 miles from the restaurant.

This joint is in an old service station and features brick walls, concrete flooring, and subtle hints of Mexican decor.

Donkey Taqueria is one of the best places in the city for authentic and modern Mexican food. The tacos are my favorite, and you can order pork, lamb, carnitas, beef, or chicken, but I recommend the lamb.

They also have burritos, bowls, and tostadas if you prefer that. Whatever you order, you can’t miss out on any of their margaritas.


Leo’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar

60 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-454-6700
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Leo’s Seafood is on Ottawa Avenue downtown, across the street from the Grand Rapids Art Museum. If you’re looking for the best seafood in town, then this is it.

The restaurant is sophisticated, with white linen table cloths, high ceilings, and the perfect mood lighting in the evening and at night.

When you first glance at the menu, you’ll notice that it’s enormous. Leo’s has almost every type of seafood, steaks, and other entrees that you can enjoy.

The wild mushroom escargot is my favorite appetizer here, and the whitefish from Lake Superior is delicious. If you’re dining with friends, getting a bottle of wine to share is perfect.


San Chez a Tapas Bistro

38 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-774-8272
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Within walking distance of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is San Chez a Tapas Bistro. The restaurant is filled with vibrant colors, a large staircase, and an even larger bar, the perfect place for a cocktail and tapas.

San Chez is a comfortable joint that’s a great place to relax after a long day of exploring. San Chez is open for breakfast, lunch, and tapas service every day, making it an easy restaurant to work into your itinerary.

The empanadas and patatas bravas are my favorite. I love this restaurant since it’s a safe restaurant for people with any food allergies to eat because they provide separate menus.


Bistro Bella Vita

44 Grandville Ave SW # 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-222-4600
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Minutes from the Grand River downtown is Bistro Bella Vita. The restaurant is stunning and is a great place to enjoy Italian and other Mediterranean food in Grand Rapids.

Bistro Bella Vista is warm, welcoming, and a relaxed restaurant to enjoy lunch or dinner at. When looking at the menu here, you’ll notice they have many options.

They have everything from pizza to pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches, and everything in between. The burrata is the perfect appetizer.

I also love the Greek filet mignon and spicy pork meatballs. Check out their lengthy wine list to see what pairs well with your meal.


The Mitten Brewing Company

527 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: 616-608-5612
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The Mitten Brewing Company is a little off the beaten path but a great place to enjoy a cold beer and meal. The brewery is near West Grand on Leonard Street NW.

Something that sets this brewery apart from others in town is that it’s in an old Victorian-era firehouse! If you love baseball, you’ll love all the old-school baseball memorabilia on the walls.

Most people come to this brewery to enjoy craft beers, but it has fantastic food too. You can order a pizza or sandwich and build your own sandwich.

You have to try the Mitten Pale Ale when you’re here since it’s the brewery’s classic beer. It goes great with a traditional pepperoni pizza or Italian sandwich.


Rose’s

550 Lakeside Dr. SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616-458-1122
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I love dining at restaurants on the water, and Rose’s fits the bill in Grand Rapids. You’ll find the restaurant on Lakeside Drive SE on Reeds Lake.

Rose’s is casual and has plenty of outdoor seating to accommodate many guests. The historic interior feels like an elegant boathouse.

The food at Rose’s is a combination of several cuisines. You’ll find American, Mediterranean, and Italian dishes on the menu.

The menu also features plenty of seafood and unique cocktails. The blueberry balsamic glazed salmon and parmesan-crusted chicken are my favorite entrees. Rose’s caramel corn is the perfect snack or dessert to end your meal.


Noto’s

6600 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: 616-493-6686
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Noto’s is a restaurant that’s farther from the city center. It’s in East Grand Rapids, only about ten minutes from its main airport.

The restaurant is elegant and has a lot of old-world charm. Inside, there’s a huge wine room, a banquet hall, and a dining room with floor-to-ceiling stonework.

When you dine here, you’ll get to feast on Italian cuisine. You’ll find all your favorite classic Italian dishes on the menu.

Noto’s meatballs are the best way to start your meal. From there, the gnocchi and picatta are some of the best entrees. Your server can help you pick the perfect glass of wine to pair with your dish.


Sandy Point Beach House – Grand Rapids

822 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-420-7724
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Sandy Point Beach House is on Ottawa Avenue NW downtown. It’s only a few minutes away from Lookout Park if you walk.

It’s a wonderful restaurant where you can come as you are to enjoy a meal and even a drink if you want.

The space is pretty modern except for the bright red chairs that add a pop of color. The menu is filled with steaks, seafood, burgers, and other classic American dishes.

The seafood chowder is perfect on a chilly day or whenever you’re craving soup. Other popular dishes are the classic burger, mussels, and pan-seared salmon.


Mertens Prime (formerly New Hotel Mertens Brasserie)

35 Oakes St SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-551-1713
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Mertens Prime is a chic French bistro and steakhouse that sits in a historic former hotel in downtown Grand Rapids.

I love this restaurant for a nice dinner to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or simply a nice date night. The restaurant features beautiful tile work throughout, which adds to the sophistication of the joint.

If you eat here with a friend, you should start your meal with the charcuterie board for two and some cocktails.

After that, my favorite French dishes here are the ratatouille stuffed peppers, cassoulet, and sirloin steak. You can’t forget to order the roasted garlic mashed potato puree as a side dish.


The Chop House Grand Rapids

190 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-451-6131
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The Chop House is across the street from Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse downtown. The restaurant takes pride in pampering every person who steps through the door.

I won’t lie; they do a fabulous job at making you feel like the most important person in the room. The place is elegant and has intimate lighting.

This is the type of restaurant you go to when you want a high-quality steak and fresh seafood. The seafood platter is perfect for sharing and enjoying while deciding which entree to order.

The best steak on the menu is the black Australian wagyu ribeye if you ask me.


The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-776-3230
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Last but not least is The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. Located inside the Amway Grand Hotel, this is one of the few restaurants that provide you with beautiful views of the Grand River via its floor-to-ceiling windows.

The restaurant is elegant, with wood floors and deep brown and black paint throughout. The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck features a unique combination of several types of food.

There are chicken wings, pizza, salads, seafood, and more. The meatloaf is delicious, but this is the place you have to save room for dessert. The warm vanilla beignets and pumpkin swirl cheesecake are divine.

If you’re not familiar with the chef, you can learn more about Wolfgang Puck here!


Final Thoughts

Grand Rapids has a restaurant for almost every occasion and everyone’s palate. Whether you’re looking for a classy establishment to celebrate at, a casual spot for a quick meal, or something in between, these are the best restaurants in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Don’t forget to take a brewery tour in the city if you’re over 21 or book tickets for the art museum regardless of your age during your stay!

If you’re traveling through Michigan, be sure to check out the best restaurants in Kalamazoo. Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.