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Best Michigan Food | 15 Michigan Dishes You Must-Try

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Want to learn about the best of Michigan food? You’ve come to the right place!

People from Michigan love to eat, and there’s no doubting it. But, of course, it probably has a lot to do with the cold winter months, so it is no surprise why many people are drawn to eating hearty and delicious dishes. 

It’s as if they need that extra food to keep a tad warmer when the weather gets bad.

If you plan to visit Michigan anytime soon for a road trip or to watch a football game, there are many foods you should not miss out on. 

But, of course, the same refers to moving to Michigan. You cannot call yourself local until you taste out all the city’s specialties, and there are a lot!

The 5 Must-Visit Restaurants In Michigan

With so many places to choose from, it can’t be easy to decide on your own. That is why I give you a list of five must-try restaurants in Michigan!

Let’s get started!

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor, 734-663-3354

If you don’t mind waiting in line to get your food, Zingerman’s is well worth the trip. This Ann Arbor favorite has long stood as the town’s most famous restaurant. In addition, University of Michigan alumni have been known to order meals from Zingerman’s from across the country.

So no matter what sort of meat, cheese, and topping combination you crave, you’ll find it on the menu at Zingerman’s.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, Kosher, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American, Deli

Pegasus Taverna

558 Monroe St., Detroit, 313-964-0869

A visit to Detroit must add a stop in the city’s famous Greektown, a neighborhood named for the many Greek immigrants who made Detroit their home in the 20th century and brought all the flavors with them. 

The menu at Pegasus Taverna includes plates of lamb chops with rice and potatoes and Greek specialties like pastitsio, spanakotiropita, and moussaka.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, and Gluten-Free Options.
  • Cuisines: Mediterranean, Greek

Mabel Gray

23825 John R Rd., Hazel Park, 248-398-4300

James Rigato’s tiny Hazel Park restaurant has earned some serious local and national recognition. However, the best way to experience the intimate spot is to taste its menu, letting Mabel Grey turn local Michigan ingredients into passionate and flavorful stories.

You may get empanadas filled with red chile and beer-braised Michigan venison, sweet potato, pecorino and chive, octopus a la plancha with mangos, avocado, and macadamia nuts, and pickled ginger. The regular handwritten menu varies daily, allowing this restaurant to create a menu around its bounty of ingredients.

  • Special Diets:  Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American

Voyager

600 Vester St., Ferndale, 248-658-4999

Just a few miles from the city of Detroit, located in the Ferndale neighborhood, there’s a quiet, low-key spot all about seafood.

At Voyager, you’ll find great food – I recommend trying the oysters – and excellent service!

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American, Seafood

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

15 E. Kirby St. Suite D, Detroit, 313-818-3915

Named for the green liqueur that carries the same name, this fantastic restaurant near the Detroit Institute of Art has seven-foot garden installations and the abundance of fresh, local ingredients that fill the menu, from a bright Burrata to winter’s warming squash soup. 

The chef at Chartreuse Kitchen And Cocktails takes full advantage of products coming out of local urban gardens and farms. Pair these great meals with well-curated wines and cocktails for the perfect date night.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American

Best Michigan Food

The Midwest is recognized for its comfort food, and Michigan indeed can’t be left out.

From cheesy pizza and sweet cocktails in Detroit to fudge and meat-filled pasties in the Upper Peninsula, here’s what you should try when visiting here!

Detroit Pizza

If cheese is your thing, this Detroit-style pizza will be your new favorite meal once you try it.

First introduced in 1946 by a small place called Buddy’s Rendezvous, this square, deep-dish, cheesy pizza can now be found everywhere in the state.

Michigan Food: Detroit Pizza

Coney Dog

Coney dogs aren’t unique to Michigan, but Detroit puts its spin on these hot dogs, as they did with pizza. They are made of a beef hot dog, chili sauce on top, and finished with some mustard and onions. 

Firstly brought to the city by immigrants, coneys are now available in Detroit and surrounding suburbs.

Michigan Food: Coney Dog

Wet Burrito

The wet burrito is famous on the west side of Michigan but a mystery in various other parts of the country. 

This is made by taking a burrito, topping it with enchilada sauce and lots of shredded cheese – and the result is a delicious wet burrito.

Michigan Food: Wet Burrito

Pasty

All Michiganders will tell you that their delicious pasty is a staple across the entire state. Students have it on their lunch breaks, parents make it as a brunch, and then freeze the leftovers for later, and it’s served at parties.

Michigan Food: Pasty

A pasty is a pastry stuffed with different fillings. Some of the most common fillings include beef, pork, or chicken, cooked with carrots, onions, and tomatoes. Locals further like to top their pasties off with some gravy or ketchup.

You can get this meal nearly everywhere in Michigan, just like the pizza I already mentioned.

Double-Baked Rye Bread

Double-baked rye bread is as popular in Michigan as bagels are in New York. So often imitated, this version of rye bread is different than any other and was first created by Jack Goldberg, the owner of Stage & Co. Deli in the 1950s. The tradition was continued by his son named Steven. 

Michigan Food: Double-Baked Rye Bread

The seedless rye bread is baked for about 80 percent of the way, and then baked again until it has a golden, crunchy outside with a soft, yet sturdy center. They often combine it with corned beef and other deli meats.

Almond Boneless Chicken

Americanized Chinese cuisine may not be traditional Asian fare, but one dish, in particular, has become a popular Michigan Chinese food. 

Michigan Food: Almond Boneless Chicken

Almond Boneless Chicken is a dish of deep-fried, crispy, boneless chicken covered with a thick, dark brown mushroom gravy, with crushed almonds and scallions on a base of iceberg lettuce.

Although it’s unknown where the dish originated, it has been a staple on most Chinese food menus in southeastern Michigan for decades.

Whitefish

Surrounded by the Great Lakes, Michigan has plenty of delicious fish. Whitefish is a local favorite, often found in Lake Charlevoix. This lovely semi-seasonal place is in the northern part of the state, where many Michigan residents choose to spend the summer.

Michigan Food: Whitefish

The freshly caught whitefish can be served in many ways; fish-and-chips-style, pan-roasted, or even made into a dip. But the locals say that the best way to enjoy the fish is probably smoked.

Dinty Moore

It’s no wonder that Detroit has a deli sandwich that originated from there. This oversized triple-decker sandwich is stacked high with corned beef, covered with rich Russian dressing, crisp shredded lettuce, and ripe tomato. 

It’s delicious and fulfilling, worth trying!

Chipati

People outside Ann Arbor may not embrace the Chipati with the same enthusiasm as the locals. Still, this simple salad made from lettuce, mushrooms, cheese, and peppers stuffed in a thick, oversized, freshly baked, and still-warm pita is a must-try. 

Michigan Food: Chipati

The secret is in the sauce that they serve as a dressing and a dip for the bread. The sauce is rumored to be a mixture of hot sauce, ketchup, and ranch dressing, but nobody has confirmed it yet.

Greek Salad

Detroit’s Greek immigrant population is so significant that it’s no surprise that Greek diners, often referred to as Coney Islands, are overflowing everywhere in the state. They served mainly hot dogs, chili, and fries, but they expanded their offer, eventually making another Michigan classic, the Greek salad. 

Michigan Food: Greek Salad

Different from the no-lettuce version you’d find in restaurants in Greece, the Michigan favorite tops are freshly chopped lettuce with crumbled feta cheese and beets, peperoncini, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, olives, and tomatoes. 

Michiganders create their variations by adding grilled onions, gyro meat, or grilled chicken on top. Additionally, each Coney Island takes its stab at a Greek dressing.

Cudighi Sandwich

Although it originated in northern Italy, cudighi sausage is primarily cooked and served in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ground pork shoulder is seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, red wine, seasoned further with garlic, allspice, and red pepper flakes, and when they add black pepper, it enriches the flavors even more.

Michigan Food: Cudighi Sandwich

The sausage is most commonly served in a sandwich, topped with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, then placed on a bread roll. These tasty sandwiches can be found in most pizza places and restaurants in the area, sometimes served with the addition of fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, or roasted peppers.

Interestingly, Italian immigrants started making the sausage, which was first called gudighi and the story goes that they derived it from cotechino, a fresh Italian sausage.

Pinconning

Pinconning is a traditional semi-hard American Colby-style cheese. It’s named after Pinconning, Michigan, where it was first created by Dan Horn in 1915. This type of cheese is aged up to 120 months, giving Pinconning a unique savory flavor. 

It’s made from cow’s milk, and it’s available in mild, medium mild, medium sharp, sharp, extra sharp, and super sharp varieties.

The texture changes with aging, but it’s usually creamy, rich and open. It’s recommended to use it in dishes such as mac & cheese and soufflés.

Olive Burger

The olive burger is an American type of burger originating from Michigan. It’s made with ground beef, oil, white buns, mayonnaise, and pitted green olives. The meat patties are cooked, topped with a mixture of olives and mayonnaise, then placed in a burger bun, with no other condiments.

Some like to add a bit of olive brine to the olive-mayo mix, while others put the mayonnaise on a bun, and the patties are topped with olives. 

There are many arguments about the origins of this burger, and some people claim that Olympic Broil in Lansing made the first olive burger in the 1960s. Others say it was made much earlier at the Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs in Grand Rapids.

Cherries

This “Cherry Capital of the World” has a national festival in honor of the cherry every summer, with a week packed with events celebrating this sweet red fruit. 

Over 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherry crop comes from the state of Michigan. There are numerous cherry orchards in the area, and several shops focus only on foods prepared with cherries, like marmalades, candies, and salsa.

Michigan Food: Cherries

Poutine

Poutine is the delightful mix of fries and fried cheese curds, all topped with brown gravy. This delicious and amazingly savory dish is a dish of comfort food that can be found throughout Michigan, even though it originated as Canadian food.

Poutine has become an elevated recipe and can be made in many different ways, including toppings and various combinations of flavor. As a consequence, Poutine is emerging as its own category of food.

Michigan Food: Poutine

Conclusion

When it comes to distinct food culture, Michigan offers a lot. The state is home to many diverse recipes celebrated for uniqueness and taste, from deep-dish pizzas and burritos to all kinds of desserts. 

The various festivals and cultural differences offer visitors much more than a dining experience. Instead, these foods are an experience in itself that has made Michigan savory dishes famous worldwide. 

Have you ever tried any of the foods or restaurants named above? Let me know what you think in the comment section below, and don’t forget to check the articles I’m about to mention!

5 Must-Try Restaurants in Chelsea, Michigan.

5 Best Must-Try Restaurants In Holland, Michigan.

7 Must-Try Lansing Restaurants.

11 Must-Try Upper Peninsula Restaurants & Bars.

7 Best Traverse City Restaurants

8 Best Things To Do & 7 Best Restaurants in Ludington MI

10 Must-Try Grand Rapids Restaurants

10 Fun Things To Do In Holland

Best Mexican Food In Holland MI


Which of these Michigan foods do you want to try first? Let us know in the comments section below!

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