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Our Favorite Places to Eat in Kalamazoo

Where to eat in the area for a fantastic meal.

Kalamazoo, Michigan, also known as Paper City, is a small town that’s nice to stop by when you’re traveling through the state. It’s not too busy, and the hotel accommodations are nice if you need to take a break. 

What’s even better is that during my stay there, I found some hidden gems as I was researching the best restaurants near me. That’s the fun of going to new places: finding new cuisine you haven’t tried before. My idea of a quality restaurant focuses on fresh ingredients and variety. 

The decor doesn’t have to be stunning, but if you can taste the love in the food, you have a winner. All of these restaurants meet the expectations of both tourists and locals alike. 

four women enjoying healthy salad with wine at a restaurant in Kalamazoo

I wasn’t disappointed in my search for where to get food in Kalamazoo because I tried everything from Italian to seafood to Mediterranean and more. It was a pleasant experience, and I compiled all of my top choices for your convenience.

Check out our list of the best restaurants in Kalamazoo, Michigan!

Best Restaurants in Kalamazoo MI

  1. Rustica
  2. Shawarma King
  3. Zooroona
  4. Kalamazoo Beer Exchange
  5. Food Dance
  6. Crow’s Nest
  7. Theo & Stacy’s Downtown
  8. Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
  9. Cravings Deli
  10. Ray Ray’s Italian Beef & Sausage
  11. Principle Food & Drink
  12. University Roadhouse
  13. Hunan Gardens
  14. Comensoli’s Italian Bistro & Bar
  15. Martell’s
  16. HopCat
  17. Erbelli’s Gourmet Pizza

Rustica

236 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-492-0247
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Rustica is a quaint restaurant specializing in rustic European cuisine. Locating Rustica was a breeze since it’s right inside of the Kalamazoo Mall. They commit to using local farmers and vendors to facilitate the use of sustainable, fresh, and local products. The overall ambiance is very communal and inviting. 

It was apparent that Rustica blends influences from Spain, Italy, France, and other European countries in their dishes. Their wine and beer selection is extensive also. The Braised New Zealand Lamb Shank and House-Made Ricotta Gnocchi received positive reviews from locals. They don’t disappoint when it comes to quality and exceptional service. 


Shawarma King

2925 S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269-226-9700
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You can find the Shawarma King restaurant in the U District, serving delicious gyros, shawarma, falafel, and more, made from scratch. The vibes are casual and laid-back, and the restaurant layout is cafeteria-like, with the option to order from either the menu or choose the buffet.

Their specialty is Greek cuisine and other Mediterranean influences. I liked the hummus, okra, lentil rice, shish kabobs, Pita bread, and more. You can also ask any of the friendly waiters for recommendations if you find that you’re stuck. Drop by if you’re near the mall. You’ll love it!


Zooroona

1710 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Phone: 269-382-4444
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Zooroona is a grill house that serves classic Middle Eastern fare. They’re located in the West Douglas neighborhood, and they’ve been a community staple for years. The decor was majestic and whimsical all at the same time. It was a festive environment, great for hanging with friends. 

The food was elegantly prepared and presented. There seemed to be so much attention to detail with each dish. If you’re unfamiliar with the cuisine, you can always get the Zooroona Tapas. It consists of 10 plates, allowing you to sample a lot of the menu. My favorite dish was the Mediterranean Street Fries.


Kalamazoo Beer Exchange

211 E Water St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-532-1188
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Located at the three corners of the Arcadia, Haymarket, and East End districts, you’ll find the fun and innovative Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. Right away, you’re drawn in by the unique setup of the restaurant, which has a stock exchange-like atmosphere. 

Uniquely, the price of the beer is set on a supply and demand basis, which creates an ever-evolving happy hour. The food is just as dynamic as the beer, as this place serves a bunch of classics like burgers, fajita nachos, chili cheese fries, beer-battered fish, soups, and much more. In my opinion, this is the perfect hangout with friends or co-workers. 


Food Dance

401 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-382-1888
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Food Dance just has a fresh feel to it. From the moment you enter the restaurant, you get a sense of the care that goes into the food from the farm to the plate. It’s a casual place with a spacious and inviting atmosphere. It has a huge bar area as you move to the back of the restaurant.

They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but be sure to make reservations for dinner. I couldn’t quite put a finger on their culinary style, and maybe this is the point. They served a little of everything, such as Sesame Ginger Salmon, Seared Scallops, Cider-Brined Chops, Fried Green Tomatoes, Mediterranean Feta, and many international delicacies.


Crow’s Nest

816 S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269-978-0490
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Crow’s Nest is a unique breakfast spot with a two-story setup that has a very subdued and upscale appeal. Overall, the atmosphere is charming, and the decor gives character to the place as a whole. The restaurant is near the United Way social services organization.

This fan-favorite restaurant serves lunch dishes as well. The mouth-watering pecan french toast was unlike anything I’ve tasted before, and the Merrijack Omelette was divine. They tend to give out generous portions, which is always appreciated. This is a Kalamazoo restaurant that gives you bang for your buck.


Theo & Stacy’s Downtown

234 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-388-5025
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Theo & Stacy’s Downtown is where you go when you want to experience bonafide Greek and American cuisine. From the restaurant setup to the friendly vibes and attentive servers, you understand that family is essential to the establishment. It makes sense because the restaurant has been family-owned since 1973. 

While they serve delicious American burgers, Greek Burgers, English-style steak, Grilled cheese, and more, I chose an authentic Gyro. The flavors were so deep and rich it felt like a small piece of Greece. The locals say it has become a weekend ritual to stop by when traveling back to the University of Michigan campus.


Bell’s Eccentric Cafe

355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-382-2332
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Bell’s Eccentric Cafe is the perfect destination for beer lovers. When you first reach the establishment, it doesn’t seem like much from the outside. However, once you’re inside, you’re able to witness the barn and medieval theme of the decor. Find Bell’s Eccentric Cafe inside of the Kalamazoo Building with Bell’s General Store and a fish market. 

Although you’re in what seems like a bar, the food is more upscale in terms of creativity and presentation. And even though beer is king at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, the food doesn’t lag too far behind. With menu items such as a spicy burger, fried chicken sandwich, nachos, chili, and more. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. 


Cravings Deli

229 W Kilgore Rd, Portage, MI 49002
Phone: 269-447-5111
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Cravings Deli is near the Air Zoo and Aerospace Museum and inside the Pacific Rim Foods grocery store. It’s a modestly decorated section that focuses on bringing guests their quality Pan-Asian fixings. The atmosphere is calm, and sometimes they play soft music while you dine. 

Their specialties are Banh Mi, Shoyu Ramen, Bubble Tea, Lemongrass pork chops, and other Asian fusion dishes. The Shrimp Tempura Udon is popular and well known for being full of bold flavors. Cravings Deli is a great spot to grab good Asian food at reasonable prices. Their ingredients always seem to be fresh, and the dust staff accommodates any special requests or food allergies. 


Ray Ray’s Italian Beef & Sausage

1715 Miller Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Phone: 269-381-6138
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The first thing that stood out to me was Ray Ray’s had Chicago decor all over the restaurant, making for a cheerful environment. They serve university students and anyone else that wants to come in for a casual and quick bite in a cozy environment. They’re right by the barbershop, so you can’t miss it.

It’s a nice barbecue restaurant serving Italian-style hot dogs and sandwiches. There’s a diverse menu with original creations and Chicago classics. The food was so full of flavor, and everything was cooked perfectly. I had the Capone burger with the Mac n cheese, which was excellent. I recommend you visit if you’re ever on campus. 


Principle Food & Drink

230 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-743-6563
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Principle Food & Drink is located in the Kalamazoo Mall in West Michigan. They source their ingredients from the local farms, and they take pride in hospitality. Principle Food & Drink enjoys bringing people together over great good and exceptional service. The space is comfortable and gives rustic-chic vibes. 

They serve New American Classic foods, and the fresh flavors are consistent. The presentation of the food is also high on their list of priorities. The confit duck wings seem to be one of the most popular dishes. Aside from this, You won’t be disappointed if you give them a chance to wow you!


University Roadhouse

1332 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Phone: 269-345-7990
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The University Roadhouse has been a campus staple for almost three decades in Kalamazoo. Bring your family and friends to enjoy hot and fresh food in a casual atmosphere. They can accommodate both large and small groups, and they offer catering services as well. 

It’s an excellent gathering place that serves contemporary American cuisine. They focus on making creative, high-quality, affordable dishes that are fun and delicious. They prepare all of their food from scratch, putting a lot of thought into the little details. The restaurant also has signature cocktails, happy hour, and a $6 Monday burger special. Don’t hesitate to visit!


Hunan Gardens

5059 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: 269-373-1188
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Hunan Gardens is off of West Main St with a bright red sign that you can’t miss. The restaurant is roomy inside and very clean throughout. There was a great tea selection, and the service was very fast. The decor was simple, but I appreciated how it all came together and added to the ambiance. 

With excellent food made to order, Hunan Gardens is one of the best Kalamazoo restaurants. It’s a family-owned establishment with authentic Chinese cuisine with Taiwanese influence. They can also provide you with gluten-free options. Hunan Gardens also has a nice drink selection to accompany the menu.


Comensoli’s Italian Bistro & Bar

762 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Phone: 269-345-6755
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Comensoli’s Italian Bistro & Bar is where to get food in Kalamazoo, especially genuine Italian. You can smell the marinara when you’re coming through the door! The decor is cute and makes the atmosphere serene and inviting. Outdoor seating is available as well. They are in a shared location with Symphony Financial Services. 

They have an extensive martini selection and a variety of wines to choose from. The family recipes that they bring to the menu include handmade pasta and meatballs with pizza made from scratch. I recommend the mussels in white wine butter. They have healthy options and great desserts as well.


Martell’s

3501 Greenleaf Blvd, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269-375-2105
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One day I researched where to eat in Kalamazoo, and I was looking for a place that also had a nice view. Not only does Martell’s have a patio overlooking Willow Lake, but they have live music playing every Tuesday. They bring charm and character for sure. 

Chic vibes, friendly service, and mouth-watering prime rib made this restaurant a 10/10 on my list of the best Kalamazoo restaurants. The food is made from scratch and creative as well. The mushroom soup is also so creamy, and it has a perfect consistency. You can’t go wrong trying any of the dishes – you’ll always leave full and satisfied. 


HopCat

300 E Water St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Phone: 269-210-0075
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HopCat is a brewpub that features a kit of woodwork, making the place feel rustic and warm. The restaurant has a nice open space. Plus, the fireplace is a beautiful addition to the decor that makes it feel more upscale. They have TVs around with sporting events playing all day. 

The service is exceptionally fast, and the cocktails are tasty. Reviews state that the Buffalo Rolls and Cheese Ale Soup are phenomenal, and they pair well with any white wine or beer on the menu. They serve brunch as well as lunch and dinner. Drop in for a memorable experience!


Erbelli’s Gourmet Pizza

6214 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Phone: 269-375-0408
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Located on Stadium Drive, just northeast of Harding’s Market, Erbelli’s Gourmet Pizza is worth checking out. Erbelli’s is like a bistro that serves you their award-winning pizza with a twist. The ambiance is casual, the decor modest, but the handmade pizzas are the focal point. 

They have traditional-style pizzas as well as homemade sauces, sub sandwiches, and fresh pasta. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you feel your taste buds perk up from the smell of the fresh-baked bread and handmade pasta cooking. My favorite dish was the Inferno sub and the Erbelli’s favorite pizza, which had mozzarella, double pepperoni, double spicy capicola, and double sausage. 


Final Thoughts

If this list didn’t pique your interest about where to eat in Kalamazoo, I don’t know what will! 

I know that everyone likes different dining options, and there’s a chance you weren’t intrigued by anything in particular on the list.

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 Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.