Top 8 Best Restaurants to Try in Rochester, Michigan

The Owl House’s salad, Rochester / Source: Flickr

Rochester, Michigan is a charming town north of Detroit known for its small-town vibes, parks, and historic downtown. While not a huge city, Rochester boasts a thriving food scene with fantastic restaurants to suit any palate. From upscale fine dining to hip bistros to mom-and-pop diners, eating your way through Rochester is a delicious way to experience the city.

Here is a guide to the best restaurants in Rochester that you don’t want to miss.

1. Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar

Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar / Source: Flickr

Address: 304 S Main St, Rochester, MI 48307

No visit to Rochester is complete without stopping by the classic Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar. Serving homemade ice cream since 1948, Red Knapp’s has old-fashioned sunken barstools at a counter where you can watch them make waffle cones and milkshakes. Their classic flavors like Superman and Cookie Monster are creamy and dreamy.

Red Knapps milkshake / Source: Four Square

You can also enjoy classic diner fare like hot dogs, burgers, fries and sandwiches. With its 1950s decor and jukeboxes playing hits from the era, stepping into Red Knapp’s feels like going back in time. It’s an iconic Rochester institution.

Knapp’s Burgers / Source: Only In Your State

2. Rojo Mexican Bistro

Rojo Mexican Bistro / Source: LunaTech3D AE

Address: 401 N Main St, Rochester, MI 48307

For contemporary Mexican cuisine in a hip setting, check out Rojo Mexican Bistro. This vibrant restaurant serves tacos, fajitas, burritos and chimichangas loaded with flavorful meats, cheese, beans and fresh toppings.

Signature items include the shrimp quesadilla with cheese and pico de gallo and the Rojo Burrito with steak, rice, beans, pico de gallo and guacamole. Their diverse cocktail menu goes beyond the standard margarita with fruity, tangy options.

Menu of Rojo Mexican Bistro / Source: MenuPix

Rojo also has a nice patio for al fresco dining. The modern space filled with colorful decor creates a lively ambiance for a festive meal.

3. The Owl House

The Owl House / Source: Spoon University

Address: 75 Marshall St, Rochester, NY 14607

For craft cocktails in a cool historic building, make your way to The Owl House. Rochester’s first speakeasy requires entering through a nondescript door into an apothecary-themed 1920s bar.

Handcrafted cocktails like their Corpse Reviver #2 and Owl House Old Fashioned are carefully mixed by expert bartenders. A small food menu offers cheese boards, flatbreads and snacks to complement the drinks.

Peas & carrot salad at The Owl House / Source: Flickr

The intimate, dimly lit space fills up on weekends, so arrive early. For a taste of old world glamour with excellent drinks, don’t miss this unique Rochester nightlife destination.

4. The Meeting House

The Meeting House / Source: The Meeting House Rochester

Address: 301 S Main St, Rochester, MI 48307

Located downtown in a converted church, The Meeting House provides upscale rustic dining with farm-to-table fare. The menu changes with the seasons but offers artfully composed dishes like pan seared scallops, roasted half chicken and chestnut pappardelle pasta.

The Meeting House’s chicken dish / Source: The Meeting House Rochester

Their craft cocktail program includes seasonal ingredients in drinks like the Squash Me, a fall libation with bourbon and squash syrup. Exposed brick walls, stained glass windows and the original church pews add character. A patio provides al fresco dining.

5. Lockhart’s BBQ

Lockhart’s BBQ / Source: Detroit Free Press

Address: 202 E 3rd St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

For authentic southern barbecue in a casual setting, Lockhart’s BBQ is the spot. Pitmaster Lockhart hails from Texas and smokes meats low and slow over oak wood.

The tender brisket, pulled pork, sausage and ribs come with your choice of homestyle sides. Or try barbecue plates to sample different smoked meats. Round out your meal with retro sodas and homemade banana pudding.

Lockhart’s beef brisket / Source: Lockhart’s BBQ

With picnic tables and blues music, Lockhart’s offers a down-home barbecue joint vibe worth the short drive to Royal Oak. It’s some of the best barbecue you’ll find in the metro Detroit area.

6. Rochester Chop House & Bar

Rochester Chop House & Bar / Source: Sean McIntyre

Address: 306 S Main St, Rochester, MI 48307

For expertly prepared steaks in an elegant setting, Rochester Chop House & Bar is a leading choice. This contemporary steakhouse serves premium hand-cut steaks like bone-in ribeyes, filet mignon and NY strip.

Also find seafood like lobster tails, salmon and ahi tuna along with classic steakhouse sides. Appetizers include lump crab cakes and jumbo shrimp cocktail. Their wine list features over 200 varieties from around the world. Desserts are made in-house daily like their signature salted caramel bread pudding.

Rochester Chop House’s dish / Source: Tripadvisor

The polished interior with dark woods and white linens creates a sophisticated yet welcoming ambiance. Attentive service completes the fine dining experience.

7. Sinbad’s Restaurant and Marina

Sinbad’s Restaurant and Marina / Source: Sinbads

Address: 100 St Clair St, Detroit, MI 48214

On the Detroit River in nearby St. Clair Shores, Sinbad’s provides fresh seafood with amazing views. Situated right on a marina, the nautical-themed restaurant serves fish caught right from the Great Lakes along with steak, chicken and pasta entrees.

Sinbads dishes / Source: Detroit Free Press

Popular picks include their “Super Bowl” of Mussels steamed with wine, garlic and butter and their Signature Grouper seasoned with their special spice blend. Their patio located right over the water is perfect on warm days. Expect incredible food and views at this metro Detroit seafood favorite.

8. 5th Tavern Bloomfield

5th Tavern Restaurant / Source: OpenTable

Address: 2262 S Telegraph Rd Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Just outside Rochester in Bloomfield Township, 5th Tavern Bloomfield is an excellent neighborhood tavern and pizzeria.

Their pizza has chewy, buttery crust with traditional or creative topping combos. Appetizers like fried ravioli, wings and nachos are perfect for sharing. Salads, wraps and subs round out the menu.

5th Tavern’s dishes / Source: OpenTable

Their large outdoor patio with picnic tables is ideal for dining al fresco. With reasonable prices, great food and a relaxed pub vibe, Bloomfield Tavern is worth the quick drive from Rochester.

Whether you’re craving barbecue, seafood, Mexican food or a juicy burger with a craft beer, Rochester has no shortage of excellent dining establishments to satisfy your appetite. From longtime institutions to trendy new spots, Rochester’s restaurants feature high quality cuisine, creative drinks, and inviting atmospheres.

So bring your appetite and get ready to experience the delicious diversity of Rochester’s food scene.

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