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7 Must-Try Lansing Restaurants | Where to Eat in Lansing, Michigan

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Michigan’s capital city is Lansing. Whether your mission is to cross off another capital from your bucket list, attend a game at Michigan State University, or check out the city’s automotive history, you’ll find some great spots through your way in exploring Lansing Restaurants.

With options ranging from world-class BBQ to the authentic Mediterranean and everything in between, Lansing restaurants have a variety to please everyone in your group. 

Check out this local’s guide to the best places to eat in Lansing, Michigan but we don’t recommend reading on an empty stomach! 

Visiting other cities in Michigan? Check out our foodie guides to the following cities:

Top 7 Best Lansing Restaurants

Best Lansing Restaurants for Pizza

The Cosmos

1200 North Larch // +1-517-897-3563

Located in Lansing’s Old Town neighborhood, Cosmos is a blend of sci-fi and other-worldly pizza pie. Cosmos makes their pizza in a wood-fired oven that results in charred and slightly smoky edges on a thin and crispy crust. It’s brushed with olive oil when it comes out of the oven to keep the rim moist and flavorful.

restaurants in Lansing

Images of early sci-fi comic books top the tables, science fiction comic murals decorate the walls, creating old-school science-fiction comic book décor circa 1960.  Starburst chandeliers add to the space-themed design.

Cosmos don’t try to do everything; they stay focused on appetizers, salads, and pizza while doing them exceedingly well. Cosmos is all about house-made — dough, sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, and yes, even the duck sausage.

One of my favorite appetizers is the stuffed corn fritters with a cream cheese filling, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. They are served on jalapeno aioli and topped with tomato jam.

Lansing restaurants

For both pizza and dessert donuts, Cosmos offers a mystery flavor – the Trust Us. If you have trust issues, it isn’t for you. When ordering the Trust Us, trust the chef to make you something unusual. What you’re getting is a mystery until it arrives at your table. The Trust us changes daily so you’ll always be in for a surprise.

I was bold enough to try the “Trust Us,” and I wasn’t disappointed. The wood-fired oven cooked the chorizo, red onion, mozzarella cheese, and roasted tomatoes. Then they topped the pizza with shredded lettuce and jalapeno aioli, reminding me of a taco.

DDD Duck Sausage Pizza had its start as a “Trust Us” pizza. It was so popular after it appeared on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives they added it to the regular menu.

Pro Tip:

  • When ordering the Trust Us pizza tell your server about dietary restrictions, and they will advise if you should make another selection, but they won’t tell you what it is. That’s part of the fun!

DeLuca’s

2006 West Willow Street // +1-517-487-6087

DeLuca’s has been a Lansing institution for more than 50 years. It started in 1960 as Willow Bar for Lansing’s automotive workers and evolved into DeLuca’s Restaurant. While DeLuca’s menu includes all my Italian favorites, the pizza stands out.

where to eat in Lansing

To keep pace with the changing times, they created specialties like Spinach Pizza and Tuna Pizza. In the Spinach Pizza, they replace the tomato sauce with a cream sauce, and in addition to mozzarella, they use ricotta and Romano cheese.

Be sure to accompany that pizza with a green salad, as DeLuca’s is also known for its house-made dressings, Blue Cheese, Ranch, 1000 Island, Italian, and Balsamic Italian.

DeLuca’s is a complete Italian restaurant, so you’ll find manicotti made with house-made crepes and lasagna. Many of the desserts are house-made too, like the chocolate cake and Italian dessert specialties. You’ll also find spumoni ice cream, which is hard to find in Lansing.

Pro Tip:

  • DeLuca’s is closed on Sundays.

Fast Casual Lansing Restaurants

Zaytoon Mediterranean

940 Elmwood Road // +1517-203-5728

Zaytoon, Arabic for olive, serves Mediterranean cuisine focused on the Middle East and Greece with an American twist. “Fast Food – Cooked Slow,”– it’s a healthy alternative to fast food. The counter-service venue provides a casual atmosphere; the attentive servers bring your selections to the table and check-in at regular intervals.

They emphasize from-scratch cooking with fresh Michigan ingredients, never frozen. Making hummus, for example, is a slow three-day process, soaking the chickpeas, then boiling them, and finally, after cooling overnight, they’re made into silky-smooth hummus served with pita. For a little kick, order the spicy version. Round puffy rolls accompany the hummus.

best Lansing restaurants

Zaytoon’s most popular dish is the garlic-flavored chicken shawarma. Chef-owner Sam is the only one who knows the secret marinade recipe. In one of our conversations, Sam said, “I should probably write it down, just in case.” Enjoy the chicken shawarma as a meat plate with sides or as a wrap. The dish comes with hummus, rice, and a choice of soup or salad. House-made garlic sauce is a favorite condiment.

restaurants in Lansing

Pro Tip:

  • Many dishes including the chicken shawarma, kabobs, eggplant, and cauliflower are gluten-free. At Zaytoon, the chef has even switched the bulger (wheat) in the tabbouleh for quinoa to make it gluten-free.

Best Lansing Restaurants for Date Night

The English Inn

677 South Michigan Road, Eaton Rapids (7 miles south of Lansing) // +1-515-663-2500

Located seven miles south of Lansing on the banks of the Grand River, The English Inn is on Michigan’s State Register of Historic Places. Sitting on 16 acres, beautifully manicured gardens and hiking trails provide the perfect place for an after-dinner walk.

The Inn rich with history was constructed in 1927 for Irving J. Reuter, then General Manager of Oldsmobile Corporation, and his wife. Original white ceiling tiles, stain-glass windows, and a roaring fireplace help maintain the building’s history.

French cuisine stars here — escargots, baked brie, and French onion soup. The fig galette, a vegan preparation, has mission figs baked in puff pastry and pistachios sprinkled on top. Red pickled onions cut through the subtle sweetness of the figs.

Chateaubriand for two is a sixteen-ounce center-cut beef tenderloin; the server carves at your table. Tomato Florentine and a mushroom cap duxelle come as sides. The daily vegetable and a ruffled mountain of whipped potatoes complement the meal.

where to eat in Lansing

Voted one of the most romantic inns in America, live piano music plays softly in the background during dinner contributes to the romantic ambiance. When celebrating an anniversary, your server will present a scrolled lithograph of the English Inn tied in a red ribbon as a remembrance of your celebration. Definitely one of the best Lansing restaurants.

Pro Tip:

  • Feel free to look around the Inn. The open-door policy indicates if the overnight room door is open, you may go in and explore.

Best Lansing Restaurants for Comfort Food

Soup Spoon Café

1419 E. Michigan Avenue// +1-517-316-2377

Soup Spoon Café highlights soup and its accompaniments — sandwiches and salads. However, a variety of pasta dishes, game and seafood choices are equally delicious.

The chef handcrafts six soups daily. They always have French onion soup and seafood chowder. Daily they make a cream-based soup, a broth-based soup, a vegan, and a seasonal soup. The issue is with over 200 soups in their recipe collection your favorite probably won’t be there on a return visit. The solution is you’ll find an equally delicious new one next time you visit.

With over 20 sandwiches to choose from, sandwiches are a café specialty. Wolfe Meats, a brand of deli meats developed in-house offers corned beef, pastrami, and roast beef.

One of my favorite sandwiches is the lamb sliders. If you expect a patty made from ground lamb, you’ll be surprised with bite-sized pieces of braised lamb drizzled with a Greek yogurt-mint sauce and topped with feta, served on butter-toasted Brioche buns.

best Lansing restaurants

Pro Tip:

  • If you can’t decide among the six nightly soup offerings, try the soup flight. Choose four soups for your flight accompanied by French bread. It’s perfect for a light supper and a fun way to sample several soups.
where to eat in Lansing

Best BBQ in Lansing

Meat. Southern BBQ and Carnivore Cuisine

1224 Turner Street // +1-517-580-4400

The barbeque aroma hits hard. Dry-rubbed, slow-smoked up to 18 hours with cedar, Meat Restaurant located in Lansing’s Old Town neighborhood is indeed all about the meat — beef brisket (lean or fatty), pork ribs, turkey, wings, pulled pork, and Texas hot links.

Best Lansing restaurants

I love the Cherry Bomb Sauce on the Trailer Park Bruschetta, so I request some for the meat too. They used to put it on the table with the rest of the housemade BBQ sauces, but people drank it. Now it’s served on request. All of their sauces are made from scratch except the ketchup.

Five sauces remain on the table — vinegar-based Vin 666, coffee-based Black Magic, Buffalo-garlic-infused Hot Garlic, Dijon-spiked Carolina Mustard, and the traditional, sweet, and tangy tomato-centered Jazzy Q sauce with mild spice.

You won’t miss the lack of lettuce or desserts on the menu, as traditional sides with a twist more than fill the gap: jalapeno cilantro coleslaw, bacon, and blue cheese potato salad, and made-to-order mac and cheese. Take leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch; the entrée weighs a pound.

restaurants in Lansing

If you’re starving try their “ultimate carnivore food challenge.” If you can eat The Boss Logg Meatwich, with one side, the made-to-order mac, and cheese, with two types of meat, you’ll get it for free, along with a t-shirt, a complimentary beer, and your photograph on the wall! However, understand, eating the Boss Logg is no small accomplishment, with 18 layers including two burger patties, bacon, pork, brisket, cheddar, American and Pepper Jack cheese, fries, bacon gravy, hot garlic sauce, jalapenos, and a sunny-side-up egg.

Pro Tips:

  • Meat’s closed on Mondays. Sometimes they run out of meat and close early.
  • Sunday afternoon at about 3:00 p.m. is a great time to visit. Typically waiting is minimal at that time.

Saddleback BBQ

1147 South Washington // +1-517-306-9002

Here the BBQ is personalized. They post your pitmasters’ names, so you know who stayed up all night to smoke that meat. A sign also lets you know what type of wood they used to smoke that night. The variety of wood types are one thing that makes Michigan BBQ different. You’ll frequently find apple and cherry woods used, as Michigan is a top producer of these fruits.

where to eat in Lansing

My favorite dish is the brisket tacos. The briskets bark comes from the rub featuring cayenne pepper and brown sugar.  A favorite side is the corn cake that comes with each entrée. The hint of sweetness balances out the meat’s smokiness. Wash it down with one of the cold local artisan beers.

Pro Tip:

  • Saddleback BBQ is closed on Sundays.

Which of these Lansing restaurants do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below! 

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Tony

Monday 4th of October 2021

Deluca's is literally the worst pizza joint in the area and word is they're going out of business, too. And while the English Inn can be make for a fun night out, it's food is just a shade better than average at best.

Angie

Saturday 4th of April 2020

I'm really excited to try both of the BBQ places, Soup Spoon, & The Cosmos pizza & duck fat truffle fries!! I trust this list because the 2 places on this list that I have eaten at are DELICIOUS!! Those are DeLuca's & Zaytoons. That makes me feel confident that you know good food. I have read great reviews for places that had awful food & drinks. That's when I stopped trusting reviews on Yelp! Thank You for the recommendations.

Christiana Acha

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

If it's food, count me in! I currently do not live in the states but I'm counting down the days until I get the chance to pay a visit. I would definitely be looking forward to visiting a couple of these Lansing, Michigan restaurants

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