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10 Must-Try Grand Rapids Restaurants | Best Restaurants in Grand Rapids MI

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Grand Rapids, located on the Grand River and east of Lake Michigan, is a romantic destination that offers a wide range of romantic activities, including dining at one of the many restaurants, eateries, and bars. Despite its reputation for numerous breweries, Grand Rapids also has some great restaurants for celebrating special occasions.

Restaurants are a necessary amenity and staple for visitors traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, restaurants are essential when deciding where to take clients, friends, or even dates.

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids

While there are a few classic fine-dining restaurants in Grand Rapids, such as The Chop House, Granger’s, many of the best places to eat in Grand Rapids are casual eateries. These restaurants still offer the great food and service you’d expect from a high-end restaurant, but with a more relaxed and informal décor and ambiance.

There are numerous restaurants in Grand Rapids, so choosing one can be a daunting task. So I’ve popped together this list of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids that locals and visitors, including myself, have loved.

The 10 Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids

Bistro Bella Vita

44 Grandville Ave SW # 100 // +16162224600

It’s no surprise that Bistro Bella Vita is one of the best Grand Rapids restaurants. If you want a place with high quality of service, atmosphere, and food – this is it. The staff was extremely accommodating and was willing to answer all my questions about the menu. 

The restaurant serves up seafood and dishes featuring organic products. In addition, the menu has unique seasonal offerings, such as wild mushroom risotto and grouper with roasted parsnips, fennel, and lemon-garlic butter. In addition to their entrees, diners can select a wine from an extensive list. 

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Wild Mushroom Risotto

I highly advise you to try the Cozze al Vino Bianco – small-sized mussels cooked in a white wine sauce with basil pesto. It is one of those dishes that you won’t stop talking about.

A lovely Italian restaurant like Bistro Bella Vita has one of the most romantic settings you’ll ever find. It’s right next to Harmony Brewing and also overlooks the Grand River. 

All that setting results in some incredible views of the city. You want to get there early enough to enjoy mesmerizing sunsets in Italian style.

Cork Wine & Grille

1600 Galbraith Ave SE // +16169490570

Cork Wine & Grille is a fine casual dining establishment and one of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids located in Cascade Township. Apart from award-winning wines,  the menu offers fresh seafood and catch of the day fish crafted into creative gourmet specialties in a charmingly elegant atmosphere.

The place is an excellent choice for a romantic dinner or business/social event. Hand-crafted signature cocktails or an award-winning glass of wine complement the delightful seasonal cuisine served with Midwest hospitality.

Cork not only gives you a great environment and service but so much variety in their menu. I have been there numerous times, and my latest visit was no disappointment. 

From the salads to the steaks to even the soups, each item tastes different from the other. The mussels and oysters have significantly been my favorite dishes. If you’re ever feeling hungry, give their lamb shank or bone-in chicken a try too!

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Mussels

So, If you’re looking for delicious, quality food in a relaxing atmosphere, Cork Wine & Grille is the place to be. 

Divani

15 Ionia Ave SW Suite 130 // +16167749463

Divani Restaurant, located at 15 Ionia Ave, is a popular destination that features excellent food in a vibrant atmosphere and attracts a lively crowd. Divani is the perfect place to visit any time of the year with its outdoor seating, 2-for-1 Mondays specials, and happy hour. 

A modern contemporary atmosphere permeates the interior of this restaurant, located on the second floor of the Grand Action building behind Amway Grand Hotel Plaza.

Whether it is a business lunch or a romantic dinner, the setting is perfect for any occasion. The food is always prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients, and there are always new specials each week. 

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This is the perfect restaurant for those looking for a romantic atmosphere and setting. The food here is fantastic, probably some of the best in Grand Rapids! Their food is excellent; there is a wide variety of fine wine, cocktails, and desserts to choose from.

When visiting Divani, I recommend ordering the duck appetizer, beef tenderloin, and gourmet cheese platter. Or, if you have some time to drink and enjoy yourself for a while, I recommend the duck entree or pork chop entree. They are both very soft in texture and will melt in your mouth!

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Duck Appetizer

Ju Sushi and Lounge

1144 E Paris Ave SE #9 // +16165755858

Ju Sushi and Lounge is a fantastic spot for a casual, laid-back evening out. Situated near the Bonefish Grill, they serve up some of the finest handmade sushi, sashimi, and Asian fusion fare in town. 

The restaurant has a cozy interior decorated with black floral wall art and a white bar with three separate dining rooms, high ceilings, and large windows. Enjoy your meal while watching the food being prepared in a hibachi kitchen.

Some of Ju Sushi and Lounge’s signature dishes include their seafood and vegetable tempura, hibachi grilled salmon, eel rolls (also known as unagi), mango mahi-mahi, and a variety of different types of nigiri such as spicy scallop/avocado/mayo Nigiri, spicy salmon/avocado/carrot Nigiri, shrimp tempura/spicy mayo Nigiri.

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Eel Rolls

Ju Sushi and Lounge is an enjoyable place to go with friends or on a date. It is just as suitable for a family dinner as for a date night. There is a very reasonable happy hour menu, and it is popular with the locals. 

Plus, the friendly staff is eager to share their recommendations with sushi newbies who are a little shy when ordering on their own.

The Green Well

924 Cherry St SE // +16168083566

If you’re looking for an upscale brunch or dinner with a twist, Green Well is the place to go. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, with its own location in the heart of downtown, Green Well is operated by the same group that owns Grove, an excellent vegetarian restaurant. 

Green Well is a green restaurant, as in it serves healthy and environmentally friendly food. Their environmentally friendly, fair trade policies are something the owners and staff are very passionate about. 

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Green Well Dish
Vegetarian lentil loaf and gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Green Well offers up a vibe that, for once, doesn’t feel like you’re dining in a school lunchroom. The lighting’s on the shady side, which leads to some good conversations. Enough natural light makes its way in through the floor-to-ceiling windows that you don’t feel like you’ve been dropped in some underground bunker of an eatery.

There’s plenty for those who abstain from meat from the lentil loaf entrée to the grilled cheese sandwiches, salads with roasted sweet potatoes and black beans, and a daily veggie bowl. And even better, nearly everything can be prepared gluten-free.

Leo’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar

60 Ottawa Ave NW // +16164546700

With its contemporary décor, soaring ceilings, and soft lighting, Leo’s offers an attractive yet casual ambiance in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. 

On the menu, you’ll find fresh seafood, prime steaks, and meat dishes, as well as salads and vegetable dishes. The pasta is prepared artisanally, using fresh garden ingredients and the finest tomatoes from Leo’s owned tomato fields at its farm in northern Michigan.

Leo’s uses locally sourced ingredients to serve exquisite food that will dazzle your senses and delight your taste buds. Try the cheese tortellini or the mussels in Pernod sauce for a starter, and go for the center cut veal chop and seared scallops for the main course. 

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Cheese Tortellini

Leo’s friendly staff and great ambiance quickly made this restaurant one of the best Grand Rapids restaurants!

Noto’s Old World Italian Dining

6600 28th St SE // +16164936686

Noto’s Old World Italian has been Grand Rapids’ premier choice for the best of Italian cuisine since 1970. Noto’s serves guests “family style” in large portions to go along with a full bar and banquet facilities. You will notice subtle differences in their old-world Italian dishes being served at Noto’s. They use the freshest ingredients and have crafted a menu that is not deep-fried.

The menu at Noto’s Old World Italian reflects the same sense of casual elegance. The menu includes signature dishes with an extensive selection of pizzas and pasta portions and other unique entrees such as sirloin steak, chicken alfredo, pan-seared sea scallops, veal parmigiana, and veal al Bianco.

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Chicken Alfredo

When you walk into the restaurant, you will instantly recognize a relaxed atmosphere that makes you want to stay longer. Everything about the restaurant is pleasant and welcoming, from the fresh flowers at your table to the light music playing overhead. 

While taking my order, the waitress also gave me a brief lesson on the menu and then left me with my water and fresh bread while I looked at it in more detail. I was surprised at how attentive our waitress was, considering it was so busy; she never hesitated to refill water or inquire if we needed anything else.

Noto’s Old World Italian is a favorite upscale Italian restaurant among locals in Grand Rapids. So, it’s no surprise that the restaurant was named one of the best Italian restaurants in Grand Rapids.

Osteria Rossa

16 Monroe Center St NE // +16169889350

Osteria Rossa is an Italian restaurant that’s run by Italians, serving authentic Italian cuisine. It has a brick-adorned industrial-chic space filled with classic paintings, and my experience at Osteria Rossa was nothing short of amazing on all levels. From the service to the food to the ambiance, I couldn’t have asked for more.

The interior has a sleek, retro style that’s increasingly becoming more popular in restaurant design. The restaurant is brick on two sides with a wood ceiling and dark brown hardwood floors.

There are hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas, tapas, and authentic Italian cuisine at this restaurant. You’ll find fresh ingredients and dishes made from scratch on the menu, including homemade pasta and sauces, fresh seafood, prime beef and veal, and wood-fired pizzas.

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Italian Pasta

It has that classic Italian vibe to it, and the food is delicious. This is not your average pasta and sauce spot. The best part, however, is the live music and ambiance. 

Rockwell Republic

45 Division Ave S // +16165513563

The Rockwell Republic has an excellent location inside the historic Heartside District, which is considered one of the most eclectic and artistic neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. The concept behind the Rockwell Republic is to create a fun, comfortable place that serves Asian fusion food.

Most of their ingredients are locally sourced and grown in Michigan. They also have signature cocktails that are also crafted from fresh ingredients by top mixologists in Grand Rapids.

Bringing Asian flavors into an American-style restaurant creates an enticing experience unlike any other restaurant in Grand Rapids. 

The Rockwell Republic is a great restaurant for date night or large groups and families dining together. Located in the historic Heartside District, it’s also an excellent option for those looking to enjoy the local live music, local spirits, local beer on tap, and an extensive whiskey menu.

While rooted in the flavors of Southeast Asia and North America, Chef Timmy Malloy’s creations are also distinctly comfortable and familiar.

Encompassing a range that includes straightforward finds like the warm tangle of fried chicken wings, an elevated take on a classic BLT featuring crispy duck confit, and a pot roast sandwich with pulled beef shoulder braised with red wine and stock until it breaks open succulently in your mouth. 

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Fried Chicken Wings

The Rockwell Republic is one of the best Grand Rapids restaurants, with a consistent and wide-ranging menu of delicious food, a decadent cocktail list, and tasty beers on tap.

San Chez A Tapas Bistro

38 Fulton St W // +16167748272

San Chez Bistro offers a nice mix of different dishes that keep the flavors in this Mediterranean eatery exciting and fun. The menu shares a decent amount of Spanish cuisine, with influence from Latin American and Mediterranean sources, so there’s a little something for everyone. 

In addition, the restaurant specializes in small plates and tapas meant for sharing among family and friends.

Chef Serafin’s Mediterranean-inspired menu provides variety and creativity along with an affordable price. In addition to the tapas-style menu in San Chez Bistro, you can enjoy the cozy ambiance and friendly service in their inviting interior decor.

The restaurant serves an array of delicious plates designed for sharing like freshly baked flatbread, assorted olives, roasted red peppers, calamari and octopus, vegetarian and meat specialties of shish kabobs, skewers with lamb or chicken, paella overflowing with seafood such as scallops and mussels, along with delicious desserts like churros with chocolate sauce. 

Best Restaurants In Grand Rapids: Calamari

San Chez Bistro is one of the finest restaurants in Grand Rapids. The moment you walk in, it feels like you’re in another country. The food is excellent, and the service is even better. The guacamole and chips are out of this world! 

Summary Of The 10 Best Grand Rapids Restaurants

Grand Rapids is somehow still an underrated foodie destination, and that is far from reality.

The city bursts with culinary diversity, farm-to-table ingredients, and innovative cuisine championed by thoughtful and renowned chefs.

I’ve spent years exploring Grand Rapids’ bars and restaurants for its award-winning craft beer, delectable treats, decadent desserts as well as creative, inventive dishes that have made this city one of the best places to eat in the Midwest.  

There’s nothing you can’t find here. Whatever you need to cook, whether you need to buy the right ingredients or you want a specific dish. No matter how picky your palate is, Grand Rapids has various food for you to enjoy.

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