Top Golden Palate® Dining in the Beautiful Petoskey-Harbor Springs-Walloon Lake Area of Northern Michigan

After spending several days in the beautiful Petoskey-Walloon Lake-Harbor Springs area of Northern Michigan, I have compiled a list of top choices for Golden Palate dining in the area! Enjoy great food, and friendly, small-town ambience with excellent cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh and local!

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  1. Barrel Back Restaurant (Walloon Lake)

4069 M-75
Walloon Lake, MI

Owned by the same family as the adjacent luxury boutique hotel, the Hotel Walloon and nearby Walloon Lake Inn, Barrel Back Restaurant is a hip, fun, family-friendly spot situated above Tommy’s, a cool water-skiing and wake-boarding pro shop overlooking beautiful Walloon Lake. The menu consists of simple foods, prepared carefully, including pizza in the wood fired pizza oven, a wood fired grill, and a wood fired rotisserie smoker. Barrel Back is a first-come establishment–guests often enjoy relaxing in the park, having a drink at the bar, or checking out Tommy’s downstairs during the busiest periods. Enjoy a full bar with up to 23 beers (and one sparkling wine) on tap, plenty of bottle beer options, an array of liquor, and a great wine list. Most menu items are available as gluten-free or vegetarian when requested, and there is a great selection of kids items. Locals enjoy coming to watch the sunset over the lake while enjoying a great meal.
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2. Chandler’s- A Restaurant & Symon’s General Store

215 1/2 Howard St.
Petoskey, MI

Chandler’s- A Restaurant opened its doors in December of 1999, just behind the historic Symons General Store building. Chandler’s has three dining areas, each with its own unique ambiance. The main dining room is cozy and intimate, with only 50 seats (plus a few at the bar, with rustic brick floors and wood walls covered with local artist Kevin Barton’s colorful paintings. Guests may also enjoy dining in the wine cellar, surrounded by over 5,000 bottles of wine. In the warmer months, the charming brick courtyard is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal al fresco. Under Executive Chef Tommy Kaszubowski, Chandler’s kitchen serves progressive American cuisine with menus that change seasonally with daily menu additions, including salads, sushi, sandwiches, and more. The dinner menu offers a dynamic selection of cuisine from fresh cuts of beef to daily fish creations. And be sure to enjoy a drink while you’re here! Whether it’s a glass of wine from our extensive wine list, a sip of your favorite bourbon or scotch, or one of our signature cocktails. Chandler’s- A Restaurant is open every day of the year. Lunch is served daily from 11:00AM to 4:00PM with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner is from 4:00PM to 11:00PM nightly.

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Symon’s is a family-owned specialty grocery store, deli, and wine cellar located in Petoskey, MI’s historical Gaslight District. Since 1956, Symons has been a destination for wine lovers, cheese connoisseurs, and foodies alike. Many have said that entering the building is akin to taking a step into the past, with its original wood floors, embossed tin ceiling, nostalgic candy selection, and other old-fashioned charms, and is the go-to place in Petoskey for gourmet products both local from Michigan (jams, chocolates, maple syrup, and more) and imported products from around the world. Symon’s is also home to Petoskey’s original cheese counter, featuring the finest imported and domestic cheeses with many  accompaniments, including sweet and savory spreads, olives, nuts, honeys, and charcuterie. The wine cellar has been called one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” by Food and Wine magazine, and features over 400 different wines, with everything from a local Riesling to imported wines from Tuscany. Symon’s is a great place to host a party as well.

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3. Julienne Tomatoes Deli & Bakery

421 Howard St.
Petoskey, MI

A cute place to eat in the heart of charming downtown Petoskey, serving breakfast and lunch, and featuring fresh baked goods. Expect great recipes using 
locally grown ingredients and service with a smile. Breakfasts include pancakes, French Toast, farm fresh eggs, sandwiches, and more! Lunch options include a variety of fresh salads and great sandwiches! Open 8-4 daily, Monday-Saturday.

Julienne Tomatoes is committed to serving fresh, locally-sourced products and housemate soups and participates in the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities 
”Taste the Local Difference” campaign & support over 20 Michigan Companies and 15 Local Farms.


4. The New York Restaurant

101 State St.

Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Opening in 1904, the ground floor of the Leahys’ New York Hotel consisted of a large lobby with a bar (for gentlemen only). The hotel proved to be a tremendous success. Prohibition forced the closing of the bar which then became the dining room. The upstairs dining room was used for parties, dances, and meetings, while the smaller rooms became shops and display rooms. For a number of years after it ceased to be a hotel, the corner of State and Bay Streets was the location of Johnston’s Coffee Shop and served as a meeting place for the local business community as well as vacationers. In 1977 the first floor was converted into its present configuration as The New York Restaurant and the second floor was made into residential condominiums. Matt Bugera, Chef/Owner of The New York Restaurant continues the longstanding tradition of hospitality, featuring excellent food, award-winning wine list, and craft cocktails in comfortable surroundings. Menu highlights include: Vietnamese Duck Meatballs, Smoked Whitefish Ravioli, Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, “The Best Wedge Ever” Salad with Chopped Hearts of Romaine with House Made Creamy Roquefort Dressing. Applewood Smoked Bacon, Red Onion, and Tomato, Roasted Beet Salad with Mixed Greens, Red Onion, Goat Cheese, and Spiced Pecans, and House Made Cherry Vinaigrette for starters. Entree highlights include Lake Whitefish with Orange Fennel Salad, Broiled or Sauteed with Capers, Tuna Nicosia with Mixed Greens, Oil Packed Italian Tuna, French Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, Kalamata Olives and a Deviled Egg with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette, Filet Mignon, Char-Grilled Ribeye,
Roquefort Butter and Fried Onions, Roasted Half Chicken with Lemon and Tarragon, French Bean and Potato Salad and Natural Juices, Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs with our house made Cherry BBQ Sauce, Mojo Slaw and Mashed Potatoes, Lamb Shank- Slow Roasted and Served with Mashed Potatoes and Natural Juices, Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast Sauteed to your liking with Farm Market Seasonal Fruit and Lemon Sauce, and Stuffed Bell Pepper with Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous and Manchego Cheese, and Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce.






5. Palette Bistro

321 Bay Street
Petoskey, MI 49770

Palette Bistro features an eclectic menu of Mediterranean Cuisine influenced by Spain, France, and Italy with stone-fired dishes, a European-centric wine list and Michigan craft beers. Palette was the dream of Wineguys Restaurant Group owner, Robert Keedy to create a casual, upscale, Mediterranean restaurant. Bob, along with his wife Mary, Dick and Laura Dinon, Patrick Faylor, and Executive Chef John Norman, bought the space and created two dining rooms with magnificent panorama views of Little Traverse Bay. Lunch Monday – Saturday 11:30 am to 3 pm, Dinner Monday – Thursday 4 pm to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday 4 pm to 10 pm, and Brunch 10-2 Saturday & Sunday.


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6. Stafford’s Bay View Inn

2011 Woodland Ave.
Petoskey, MI

The historic Roselawn Dining Room is open seasonally for breakfast, lunch & dinner and their famous Sunday Brunch. Guests enjoy original country Inn favorites as well as regional dishes prepared by a culinary team boasting a combined 100 + years of experience with the Stafford’s family. The Bay View Inn menu features time-honored classic dishes along with current trend entrées overlooking the water! Be sure to check out sister restaurants, The Crooked River Lodge (Alanson), The Noggin Room Pub and H.O. Rose Dining Room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel (Downtown Petoskey), Stafford’s Pier Restaurant (Harbor Springs), Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant and The Drawbridge Bistro in Charlevoix.



7. Teddy Griffin’s

50 Highland Pike Rd
Harbor Springs, MI

Teddy Griffin’s is known for its warm ambience, Irish lore, Red Wings hockey memorabilia and delicious food. Enjoy award-winning steaks, fresh Great Lakes fish, barbecue ribs, and pastas. In the pub, enjoy lighter fare, from salads to sandwiches, as well as pizza. Enjoy your favorite sports events on one of 12 flat screen TVs! Teddy Griffin’s is also known for their wine list and has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award since 2003!




8. Twisted Olive Cafe 

219 Bay St.
Petoskey, MI


A local’s favorite overlooking Little Traverse Bay, Chef Lee Fortune leads a tour of the Mediterranean Coast with a Northern Michigan Twist. Open Daily 8A to 10P, serving Cafe & Bistro Menus from 8A to 3P, Refresh Menu of light bites from 3P to 5P, and the Evening Menu 5P to 10P. Twisted Olive has a popular daily Happy Hour 3P to 6P at Bar and on the Patio. The evening menu features an assortment of salads, including Roasted asparagus, mixed greens, sunnyside duck egg, toasted bread crumbs, lemon and parsley vinaigrette, Panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, mesculin greens, sour dough croutons, and basil vinaigrette with optional fresh mozzarella, daily soups, starters including Blackened Daily Fish Tostadas, Steamed Mussels with herbs, white wine, pernod, cream, and roasted tomatoes, ground veal meatballs, a charcuterie plate, escargots, eggplant dip, and swordfish crudo. Entrees include 45 day dry aged ribeye with bourbon glaze, cipollini onions, and sweet potato mash Local John Cross Walleye pan seared walleye, warm potato salad, lemon, yogurt and dill dressing, daily pasta, Moroccan-rubbed local lamb, and Veal Saltimbocca.


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9. Vernales

3018 M 119
Harbor Springs, MI

Considered among the very best steakhouses in all of Michigan, Vernales is really three distinct venues in one! The Chop House is the perfect casual dining destination perfect for couples, families, friends, and large groups. The Wine Cellar features a temperature controlled cellar room, and intimate seating perfect for a date-night with someone special. The Sports Bar & Patio are perfect for fun times, watching the game, and the popular happy hour.  Vernal serves lunch and dinner daily.


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10. Walloon Lake Inn (Walloon Lake) (affiliated with Barrel Back and Hotel Walloon)

4178 West St.
Walloon Lake, MI

This beautiful historic inn, established in 1891 has been completely refurbished and is home to some of the best gourmet cuisine in Northern Michigan in a spectacular setting overlooking Walloon Lake. Enjoy live piano music, a great wine list, full cocktail bar, and summer dining 7 days a week as well as al fresco dining overlooking the lake. Starters include the following Small Plates: Chilled Sweet Corn Bisque, Red Cabbage Cured Salmon, Cauliflower Risotto with Brussels Sprouts, Beets, and Crispy Brown Butter, Foie Gras Ganache, Truffle Fries, and Oysters on the Half Shell. Salads include Shaved Spring Carrot with Micro Greens, Candied Pecans, Crumbled Bleu Cheese, and Buttermilk-Tarragon Vinaigrette, Fresh Mozzarella with Marinated Tomato, Balsamic Pearls, Pistachio Crumb, and Basil Oil, and Grilled Romaine Caesar with Charred Corn Salsa, Spanish Anchovy, Boiled Egg, and Crispy Parmesan. Entrees include Porcini Crusted Local Whitefish with Mushroom Risotto, Truffled Micro Greens, and Asparagus-Basil Coulis, Lobster Pappardelle, Char-Grilled Beef Tenderloin Filet, and Cumin Crusted Rack of Lamb. Enjoy excellent service and a wonderful ambiance to pair with the gourmet cuisine with creative “molecular gastronomic” influences of Chef Simeon Perron. Walloon Lake Inn is proud to feature products from the following local farms: Bear Creek Organic Farm, Coveyou Meadows, Harger Creek Ranch, Broken Arrow Ranch, Michigan Mushroom Market, and The Chefs Garden.

About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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