Holland, Michigan sits at the crossroads of traditional Europe and modern Michigan. Stop and smell the tulips during the annual Tulip Festival in May, where you can enjoy over six million tulips in full bloom. If you can’t visit in May, you can still participate in other Dutch-themed activities throughout the year, like watching the manufacture of wooden shoes and Delftware, touring an authentic Dutch windmill, or visiting two museums to learn about Dutch history and culture. And after learning about Holland, Europe, you should definitely take the time to learn about the restaurants of Holland, Michigan.
Forbes named Holland one of the “Prettiest Towns in America.” Holland is a beautiful setting for a summer beach day on Lake Michigan, leading to climbing the dunes or viewing Big Red, Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse. Take in Michigan’s fall foliage along South Shore Drive or, in December, visit the Kerstmarkt, Holland’s answer to a European, outdoor Christmas market.
Any time of the year, you’ll enjoy the wide variety of food the town has to offer, everything from traditional Dutch fare to an all-American steakhouse in the restaurants of Holland. In the Netherlands, you’ll often here the phrase, “You’re not much if you’re not Dutch.” The restaurants of Holland, Michigan will prove that saying wrong.
5 Must-Try Restaurants in Holland, Michigan | Best Restaurants in Holland, Michigan
Best Dutch Bakery Restaurant in Holland, Michigan
360 Douglas Avenue // +1 616-396-2253
For some authentic Dutch dining, visit deBoer Bakkerij Restaurant, a family-run bakery for four generations, that also added breakfast and lunch service in 2008. High ceilings and big windows make for a light and airy atmosphere.
For breakfast, the Opa’s corned beef hash is my favorite. The chef grills tender pieces of corned beef mixed with fresh chunks of potatoes. They top it with two eggs any way you want them. Serving it with your choice of house-made toast finishes the dish.
The beef croquettes, a staple in the Netherlands, come seasoned with a standard blend of Dutch spices, combined with a Dutch seasoned béchamel. After cooling, they’re rolled into a three-inch stick, breaded, and then deep-fried. Croquettes come with Dutch mustard for dipping. In this Holland restaurant, you’ll see why croquettes are so popular.
Scratch-made soups prepared from fresh ingredients rotate seasonally. The Dutch pea soup is on the menu year-round. Pair it with the pigs in the blanket for a traditional Dutch lunch.
On the menu and in the bakery, blueberry and almond cranberry scones will lure you in, along with those tempting sticky buns. Accompany those pastries with coffee that they roast in-house, and you’ll have some of the best Dutch fare this side of the pond. And remember, if you take your spouse or significant other to this unique Holland restaurant, you don’t even have to go “Dutch treat.”
- Buy some house-made bread or pastries from their bakery to enjoy a bit of Holland at home.
- They only serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday; lunch service is not available.
Best Breakfast in Holland, Michigan
12450 Felch Street // +1 616–294-1692
The retro 1950s diner décor, updated for the new century, is fresh and clean, with lots of white and retro teal blue in a contemporary shade. A 1950s console TV, topped with a living room lamp, greats you in the lobby. Cosmos Starburst light fixtures illuminate the space while teapots and toasters adorn open shelved room dividers to achieve an open floor plan. A top view of 15 toasters from the last century is framed to provide a conversation starter.
Anna’s House works with local producers, and a recent change in the menu makes use of only organic eggs. Indicators next to menu items let you know if it is gluten-free, dairy-free, or if a vegan version is available. They have a separate kitchen specifically to prepare meals for those with allergies.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you might even require chocolate for breakfast. I know I do! Anna’s House has an innovative dish to conquer that early morning chocolate craving, the chocolate quinoa breakfast bowl. Fresh blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and toasted coconut color-block the top of the plate. Cinnamon, real maple syrup, walnuts, and pecans come mixed into the warm chocolatey quinoa. The dish has a distinct chocolate flavor without being overly sweet. A dark chocolate sauce drizzle tops it all off. Choose from a side of steamed almond, soy, or two-percent milk served in a silver pitcher so that you can pour it over at just the right time in just the right amount.
Anna’s skillet is another favorite. It starts with red-skinned potatoes and cubes of ham. They mix in onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Gooey melted cheddar cheese holds it all together. Then it is topped with green onion. It comes with two cage-free organic eggs cooked any way you like them. Locally made toast completes the meal.
Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have the best breakfast in Holland, Michigan at Anna’s House – Holland.
- They don’t take reservations on the weekend. They close by 3:00 p.m.
- Anna’s House – Holland only serves breakfast and lunch.
Best Waterfront Restaurant in Holland, Michigan
216 Van Raalte Avenue // +1 616-396-0600
Located on the shores of Lake Macatawa, Boatwerks offers a waterfront outdoor seating area where you can enjoy Michigan’s amazing sunsets over dinner. You can dock your boat on their pier or their deep-water port. It’s easy to envision the Amsterdam canals in this Holland waterfront restaurant.
The restaurant has a casual, boating theme with industrial-style ceiling and lights. Boat motors hang from the exposed brick walls. Mural-sized historic images of the Lake Macatawa, Lake Michigan, and Holland, Michigan decorate the walls. The restaurant sports exposed beams and brick, like the landmark boat-building factories that stood along the Lake Macatawa shores. The restaurant’s bar top is reminiscent of hand-made wooden boats from a bygone era, with the alternating dark mahogany boards and the light wood inlays.
You’ll find Michigan favorites like Lake Superior Whitefish served as an appetizer in the form of a dip with fresh vegetables and pita chips, or as an herb and panko-crusted entrée topped with a citrus dill cream sauce. The entrée comes with black rice and a mixture of spring vegetables. The menu also features other Michigan fish, like walleye, perch, and salmon.
The Great Lakes signature salad features Michigan dried cherries. The foundation is baby kale and arugula, topped with candied pecans, Danish blue cheese, and red onion. A house-made red raspberry vinaigrette tops the salad. The chef makes all of their dressings from scratch.
A variety of steaks – ribeye, New York strip, and filet – round out the entrée menu. If you are looking for lighter fare, burgers, pizza, and salad are also featured. In any case, Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant is the place to go for dining in Holland, Michigan.
Pro Tip: Weather permitting, plan to eat on the patio. It’s fun to watch the boating activity on Lake Macatawa.
Best Brew Pub in Holland, Michigan
66 East Eighth Street // +1 616-355-6422
New Holland Brewing is a brewpub, so I’d be negligent not to mention the Dragon’s Milk, a bourbon barrel-aged stout. Over the years, they’ve offered over twenty versions of the Dragon’s Milk Reserve. My favorite had cherries. On a positive note, something new is always available; however, sadly, your new preferred variety will be gone too soon.
They use Dragon’s Milk in several ways at the restaurant. You’ll find it in a beer-lovers cocktail, paired with a dish, or incorporated into a menu item as an ingredient. The bourbon flavor in the beer makes it a good beer for bourbon lovers and red wine lovers will enjoy the bold flavors.
The Cuban sandwich, made with Smoked Michigan pork shoulder, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, chili mustard, and both sweet and spicy pickles is made in-house. The sandwich bread is similar to that of Mexican tortas.
Don’t pass by the pesto grilled cheese sandwich with tomato bisque. The sandwich, made from sourdough bread spread with arugula pesto and gooey melted provolone cheese, is an all-American comfort food lunchtime favorite. A thick house-made tomato bisque accompanies it, and is perfect for dipping.
A couple of desserts are worth a mention here — the apple crisp and the Dragon’s Milk brownie. The apple crisp starts with apples from local farms, Michigan cherries, and oatmeal crumble, topped with a bourbon caramel sauce. The Dragon’s Milk brownie comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a Dragon’s Milk chocolate sauce topping it off.
In keeping with the Dutch tradition of fine beers and ales, this Holland, Michigan restaurant will evoke the feelings of relaxing with a meal or a drink in the town center.
Pro Tip: Plan to visit when you can take a tour of the brewery. It’s a fun add-on to your dining experience.
Best Steakhouse in Holland, Michigan
Diagonal planks of light wood line the walls. A western theme with cowboy murals adds to the saloon vibe. A diner once wrote his name on a dollar bill and pinned it to the wall, and a tradition began. Today, hundreds of dollar bills decorate the walls. They are collected regularly, so unlike some restaurants where this practice occurs, it’s not overwhelming. The dollar bills are collected and donated, and to date local charities have received over $250,000 in donations. Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon takes pride in giving back to the community.
Known for their chicken corn chowder, the chef flavors it with carrots, celery, corn, and chicken, resulting in a thick, creamy chowder served with yeasty dinner rolls.
In addition to the typical steakhouse sustenance, you’ll find a wide selection of Mexican choices, like guacamole and chips or burritos. They serve a tasty ground beef and cheese burrito, wrapped in a flour tortilla covered in burrito sauce and melted cheddar jack cheese, and then topped with cilantro, corn, and black bean salsa.
Tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream accompany the dish. You may not get the strong Dutch vibe here, but this is one of the best restaurants in Holland, Michigan.
- On weekends, I strongly suggest reservations.
- Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon closes on Sundays.
Which one of these restaurants in Holland, MI do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Amy Piper is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and blogger. A native of Michigan USA, she has traveled to 41 countries and 42 states, most recently adding New Mexico to the list. She aspires to go to Antarctica and finally visit all seven continents. She specializes in food and multi-generational travel, frequently traveling with her husband, daughter, and two granddaughters. Follow her on Twitter @amythepiper.