Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, Glen Arbor is a charming lakeside town in northwest Michigan. This popular summer destination is known for its stunning beaches, coastal scenery, boutique shops, and fantastic dining options. From casual cafes to fine dining rooms, Glen Arbor restaurants offer delicious cuisine for every palate.
If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Glen Arbor, I’ve put together this guide to highlight my favorite local eateries. Whether you’re craving classic pub fare or an upscale meal, you’ll discover remarkable flavors at these must-visit restaurants.
1. Art’s Tavern
Address: 6487 W Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
Situated right on the water just west of downtown, Art’s Tavern is a Glen Arbor institution. This classic pub and grill serves up satisfying comfort food like burgers, wraps, nachos, and wings alongside stunning views of Sleeping Bear Bay.
I always go for their signature tavern burger topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar, bacon, and onion rings. Art’s offers a solid beer list with 14 rotating Michigan craft brews on tap.
The laidback nautical-themed interior and pet friendly deck create a welcoming spot to unwind. With friendly service and gorgeous lakefront scenery, Art’s Tavern is a favorite for casual dining and drinks after a day of beachgoing or hiking.
2. Cherry Republic
For delicious meals featuring local, Michigan-made ingredients, visit Cherry Republic. This gourmet market and restaurant sources many products from Michigan farms, orchards, and producers to create their globally-inspired dishes.
Menu highlights include the grilled chicken cherry salad, Michigan cherry chicken wings, and the Republic cheeseburger with Michigan blue cheese and tart cherry ketchup. Save room for their signature cherry pie topped with crunchy streusel.
Dining rooms decked out in cherry red provide a cheery spot to savor your food. The adjacent marketplace sells all kinds of specialty foods and gifts showcasing Michigan-grown cherries. For creative, fresh fare in a fun atmosphere, Cherry Republic is a top pick.
3. La Becasse
For an elegant fine dining experience in Glen Arbor, book a table at La Becasse. Set along the shoreline on top of a bluff, this restaurant at the Homestead Resort overlooks Lake Michigan.
La Becasse specializes in sophisticated French cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. Standout dishes include the espresso-crusted filet mignon with truffle mashed potatoes, seared scallops in a lemon caper beurre blanc, and their classic beef wellington.
The six course tasting menu is the ultimate way to indulge. With white tablecloths, extraordinary service, and stunning vistas, La Becasse offers one of the area’s top upscale dining experiences.
For creative farm-to-table cuisine in an artsy ambiance, dine at Blu. This intimate restaurant crafts their ever-changing menu around the freshest locally sourced ingredients.
Dishes I’ve enjoyed include cherry barbecue salmon, pan seared chicken with a cedar planked mushroom risotto, and raclette-topped steak frites. Blu has an excellent wine list featuring many Michigan bottles to complement your meal.
Charming candlelit wood tables plus vibrant wall murals set the cozy, artsy tone. In nice weather, ask for a seat on the garden patio surrounded by lush greenery. For an exquisitely executed dining experience in a one-of-a-kind setting, Blu is a top choice.
5. The Homestead
The charming Homestead Resort offers several restaurant options perfect for any occasion. For an indulgent breakfast or brunch, visit the Sunroom which showcases stunning lake views and sumptuous menu items like lemon ricotta pancakes, smoked salmon eggs Benedict, and chilaquiles loaded with savory toppings.
Lunch in their casual log-cabin inspired Chuck Wagon BBQ & Grill features bison burgers, bbq pulled pork sandwiches, and other satisfying fare best enjoyed on their lakefront patio. Visit the Main Dining Room for an elegant dinner of expertly prepared steak and seafood entrees.
With exceptional dining choices and idyllic lakefront setting, The Homestead is a top spot for memorable meals in Glen Arbor.
6. The Bluebird
For shareable plates and handcrafted cocktails in a chic setting, visit The Bluebird restaurant at the Lake House resort. The globally influenced menu features small plates ideal for sampling and sharing, like tuna poke nachos, Korean fried chicken wings, and charcuterie boards loaded with specialty meats, cheeses, and accompaniments.
Cocktails like their cucumber jalapeño margarita and hibiscus gin and tonic are exquisitely balanced. The stylish interior with pops of blue, outdoor fire pits, and twinkling harbor views create a swanky ambiance. For a trendy night out with unique shareable bites and drinks in Glen Arbor, The Bluebird delivers.
7. The Cantina
For freshly prepared Mexican food and festive island vibes in Glen Arbor, visit the Cantina. This breezy restaurant crafts all your favorites like enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos using high quality ingredients.
I always go for the Baja fish tacos with citrus coleslaw. Their fresh guacamole prepared tableside is a must-try appetizer. The Cantina offers an extensive selection of tequila flights and margaritas like their blueberry lemonade and habanero mango varieties to complement your meal.
Vibrant tropical decor, strung lights, and large windows overlooking the harbor create a laidback, vacation atmosphere. For authentic flavors and fun island energy, the Cantina is Glen Arbor’s top choice for Mexican cuisine.
8. Village Cheese Shanty
No trip to Glen Arbor is complete without a stop at the Village Cheese Shanty for incredible sandwiches and gelato. This European-style cafe crafts specialty sandwiches on freshly baked bread using quality ingredients like Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.
Popular picks include the pear and brie panini and the Godfather packed with ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone. Make sure to leave room for their out-of-this-world gelato in flavors like tiramisu, pistachio, and lemon cream.
Picnic tables, flower boxes, and charming string lights provide a delightful ambiance for outdoor dining. For mouthwatering sandwiches and silky gelato in Glen Arbor, the Village Cheese Shanty is a must-visit.
9. Apache Trout Grill
The Apache Trout Grill provides an incredible fine dining experience overlooking Glen Lake. Here you’ll savor expertly crafted dishes featuring locally caught trout, whitefish, and other fresh seafood.
Menu standouts include the pan seared scallops with asparagus risotto, trout almandine topped with toasted almonds, and their seafood boil loaded with lobster, shrimp, mussels and corn on the cob. Apache Trout Grill has an extensive wine list to complement their cuisine.
With gorgeous lake views, top-notch service, and exquisitely prepared food, Apache Trout Grill is my choice for a refined yet relaxed upscale dinner in Glen Arbor.
10. M-22 Grill
Specializing in smoked meats, the M-22 Grill is the place in Glen Arbor for mouthwatering barbecue. Their Texas-style smoker churns out incredibly tender brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, and ribs.
I like to sample a variety by getting the smoked meat platter with all my favorites. Be sure to try their collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread, and other perfect barbecue accompaniments.
With picnic tables both indoors and on their deck, M-22 Grill provides a laidback, family-friendly dining spot. The smell of their smoker alone is enough to entice you in. For authentic smoked meat flavors, M-22 Grill is Glen Arbor’s top barbecue joint.
From cozy cafes to waterfront fine dining, Glen Arbor offers no shortage of fantastic restaurants highlighting local flavors. When planning a trip to this charming beach town, be sure to dine your way through my favorite eateries above.
You’ll discover an amazing array of cuisine that captures the tastes of northern Michigan. Happy eating on your next Glen Arbor getaway!