Food trucks? Check
Bar food? Check
It really doesn’t matter what kind of experience you want, what kind of food you’re looking for if you need a quick snack, a family dining experience, or a romantic evening out. Walk around the blocks of downtown Traverse City and you’ll find a surprising diversity of food and experiences.
There are well-established restaurants, like Mode’s Bum Steer that have been serving up steaks since 1975, and Red Ginger has been rolling up sushi since 2007. But the restaurant scene is ever-changing. A new crop of restaurants has recently made its debut and they bring even more diversity. Here are four that are new to the downtown scene.
Bahia (pronounced: bah-Ee-ah, silent h) is a Spanish-inspired restaurant whose name in Spanish means Bay, which is very appropriate for Traverse City. Located on Union Street, they serve in a tapas-style. The restaurant is up-scale with a focus on the food. The beauty of Bahia is the intent is to try different food and share it with others. The food and conversation about the food become the focal point of the dining experience. While the menu will change, some of the more popular items include Ratatouille, Croquettes, Prawns and the Al Pastor served on a corn shell. And leave some room at the end for the Bunelos, the Spanish donuts served warm with powdered sugar and cinnamon caramel. It’s a great way to wrap up the meal.
Barrio brings a Mexican cuisine to downtown. This is a regional restaurant chain with 15 locations in Michigan and Ohio. Located on Front Street across from J&S Hamburger, Barrio has a youthful and vibrant theme. You can choose from daily specials or build your own tacos and choose from a long list of proteins and toppings. Just a warning that if you like highly processed guacamole that you can take in through a straw, you won’t find it here. The guac has big chunks of avocados that make it tougher to eat but is delicious. The menu has a nice selection of varied flavors, and many have a real spicy bite. While you are there check out a nice selection of margaritas.
The Tasting Room is located next to the Boardman River on Union Street. As of this writing The Tasting Room is waiting on its state liquor license, but that’s not keeping the kitchen from creating a wide assortment of salads, soups and sandwiches. Perhaps their signature menu item is woodfired oven baked pizzas. Build your own pizza or go with suggested creations like Spinach Artichoke, Margherita, Meatball Pie, or the Breakfast Pizza. The outdoor fireplace creates an atmosphere that is warm and friendly.
Artisan Waterfront Restaurant & Tavern was created with a recent major renovation of the Delamar Hotel. The food is Great Lakes-inspired with an emphasis on farm-fresh and sources regional farms whenever possible. Wagyu beef burgers and Wagyu hangar steak will please the meat-eaters, while the Grilled Kale “Pinsa” may appeal to the vegetarians in the family. All the food is served with one of the best views of West Grand Traverse Bay.
These are just the newest restaurants in downtown Traverse City. There are many tried-and-true dining experiences throughout the region.