When people ask me about planning their visit to Mackinac Island, their first question is usually “what are the best Mackinac Island restaurants?” As a foodie myself, I get that. Mackinac Island is also a relatively small island with only so many options. I promise you this, there are plenty of places to eat on Mackinac Island and the food is incredible.
Through my various trips to the island over the years I have eaten at nearly every restaurant. I am firm believer that each Mackinac Island dining experience is different in its own way, while keeping elements of the island alive. One of the most common dishes you will find is white fish. You will find it cooked differently by each place, in dips and wanting more. Besides the fudge craze, I would argue that white fish is the most popular dish on Mackinac Island.
I picked my favorite 13 Mackinac Island Restaurants, and they range from budget to higher end pricing, but they are all delicious in their own ways. Although I couldn’t include every restaurant on this list, I want you to know that pretty much everywhere has great food. I just wanted to zero in on my absolute favorites.
Mackinac Island Restaurants: Breakfast
There are a lot of places to eat on Mackinac Island that serve breakfast. In fact, most of the hotels have a restaurant that offers breakfast and/or some sort of continental fare. If you aren’t looking to venture too far to eat (I.E. outside your lodging) then you could dine in.
I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite Mackinac Island restaurants for breakfast, but after my last visit, I know I got it right.
The Chuckwagon has been serving delicious food on Mackinac Island for about 60 years now and consistently has a line out the door. The good news is, you won’t have to wait long because the turnover is quick. As far as Mackinac Island restaurants go, The Chuckwagon is one of the most budget friendly places to eat. They are only open for breakfast and lunch but that’s ok. They have perfected both meals.
They make an incredible homemade corned beef hash for breakfast that should not be missed!
The Grand Hotel
If you are staying at The Grand Hotel, then your breakfast is included and you should DEFINITELY eat here. The Grand goes all out for each meal and its rather quite impressive when looking at competing Mackinac Island Restaurants. You can opt to do the buffet or order of the menu. To be honest, I have never done the breakfast buffet here (but I will on my next visit) because the menu looks so incredible! You’ll find breads, pastries, steaks, eggs your way, fruits, parfaits, meats, cereals, sweets, etc. They offer a very well rounded menu or you can get the buffet.
Believe me when I say, The Grand Hotel knows what they are doing when it comes to food and they do it well. You will be SO happy you ate here.
Mackinac Island Restaurants: Lunch
There is a plethora of lunch options when it comes to Mackinac Island restaurants. You walk down Main Street and all the side streets, and there is just so much to choose from. Lunch was the one category I really struggled with in narrowing down my favorites because I genuinely LOVE lunch everywhere on the island. I picked the below five places because they are different and I feel like they elevate my visits.
Technically Doud’s is not a restaurant BUT a market. However, I am including this in my line up of Mackinac Island Restaurants because they offer so much food and beverages and you can have a picnic. In fact, during the warmer months it is not uncommon to see the grass at Marquette Park overlooking the boats and Lake filled with people having a picnic.
Doud’s opened in 1884 and if you are a recurring visitor to the island, you have seen the changes and renovations they have done, which are on another level. You can find prepared sandwiches and salads, fresh fruits, pop/juice/wine/beer, snacks, and even food for regular use if you are living on the island or having a longer stay and want to cook. Doud’s is not just a grab and go, it is also a real grocery store with a multitude of options.
Finding sushi among Mackinac Island restaurants is a little surprising but the food was sensational! I have walked past the Sushi Grand for a long time and never thought to eat there, but gave it a go on this visit and was impressed. The inside of the restaurant looks like it is straight from Japan and you can see sushi being rolled while you eat.
When you sit down the waitress brings you a hot towel, which I thought was a nice touch because it was so cold out.
I took a little bit of a different route while dining here and went with ramen and a chicken roll versus fish. Reason being: I wanted to try something different – and it paid off. I am forever impressed with the non fish sushi.
Mighty Mac Hamburgers
You would think getting a burger would be just like everywhere else. But I promise, it is different at Mighty Mac Hamburgers. 2018 was my first venture into Mighty Mac and I can say with certainty, they DO have the best burger when it comes to Mackinac Island restaurants. Did I also mention that they are extremely budget friendly? I believe my entire lunch was under $10!
Grand Luncheon Buffet
Served in the main dining room, The Grand Hotel lunch buffet is a great choice for those visiting the island. Lunch is served before the 6:30 pm dress code starts, you can see the hotel without paying the entrance fee AND you can enjoy the longest porch in the world that the main dining room sits off of.
Depending on how hungry you are, The Grand Hotel lunch buffet could be a late lunch/early dinner scenario. Served daily from 12:00-2:00 and has so many options to choose from. I gravitate towards desserts (always had a sweet tooth) so this was definitely for me. In addition to the massive dessert selection, there are hot and cold stations and endless options to choose from.
Ice House BBQ
I actually just dined at the Ice House BBQ on my fall trip to Mackinac Island and I did not stay for an entire meal but just went for the whitefish dip. I had asked around the island who they thought had the best and continually Ice House BBQ came up. My old favorite was at Yankee Rebel and it came out pipping hot with cheese. This item is no longer on the menu and so the search continues.
However, when this dip came out I immediately did not want it because it was not hot. But I gave it a shot. To be honest though, it was really amazing. I would have went back the next day to get it again but we went on their last open day.
Mackinac Island Restaurants: Afternoon Tea
Its a time honored tradition to have afternoon tea at The Grand Hotel. Since afternoon tea is served in the Parlor, it is not really one of the many Mackinac Island Restaurants. However, afternoon tea is truly a meal in itself and a treat to experience. The tea presentation is extremely generous, so I would suggest coming hungry. I have gone a few times and it is truly more than enough food for a lunch.
One of the things I love about this afternoon tea is that they offer a plethora of tea selections and keep your tea full PLUS they give you champagne.
Mackinac Island Restaurants: Dinner
Dinner is my favorite meal, and when it comes to Mackinac Island Restaurants, they don’t disappoint. You can go as casual as you want and dine in a bar with live music or get dressed to the nines. The experience is entirely up to you, but I would say to try it all. Dining around the island really gives you a feel for the place.
My two favorite dishes here are the Mackinac whitefish oscar and the Grand pecan ball!
Jockey Club is actually my favorite restaurant on the entire island. The service is spectacular and the food is even better. The location of this Mackinac Island restaurant is quite beautiful. It sits on the first tee of The Jewel, which is the 18 hole golf course at The Grand Hotel. Despite the cold weather, I opted to dine outside on the patio, which was covered and offered heat. The views are just as grand as the food.
For dinner we tried a variety of dishes on this visit and loved it all! I can’t stress enough that you must eat here when visiting Mackinac!
Round Island Bar & Grill
Located on east side of the island inside Mission Point Resort, Round Island Bar and Grill is offering its guests Michigan favorites and comfort food. Round Island is one of the best Mackinac Island restaurants for offering that really delicious comfort food that isn’t overdone. If you are seeking dishes like a grilled cheese, meatloaf, fish and chips, a local salad, or even spaghetti and meatballs, this is your place.
Tucked way up in the island, past The Grand Hotel, is Woods Restaurant. You will need a taxi to get there or you can walk the 30+ minutes into the island (although if you are dressed and nice and have fancy shoes on, I would skip the walking). Some say Woods is the fanciest of Mackinac Island restaurants. I think it is definitely up there. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, we opted to dine indoors because it was cold. I would strongly argue we lucked out because their was a piano player who played during out entire meal and it was just beautiful.
The service at Woods Restaurant is top notch and the food matches! I went for an nontraditional entree dish and got crispy chicken schnitzel! I was so impressed with how it was cooked to perfection! My two other favorite dishes are the squash soup and buttermilk pecan cheesecake!
I’ll let you in on a secret .. once upon a time over a decade ago I worked here! But that does not alter or change how I feel about the food at the Pink Pony. I genuinely enjoy the food and the bar setting. I would argue its the best bar on the island and works well as Mackinac Island restaurants counterpart.
Narrowing down what to order here can be challenging since the menu is bigger and the food is fantastic .. but some of my favorites are: french onion soup, beer battered whitefish and chips, prime rib, tacos, ribs, and the coconut shrimp!
Same thing with breakfast at The Grand, if you are a guest of the hotel, dinner is included, and you should absolutely eat here! The Grand Hotel main dining room has the only tradition among Mackinac Island restaurants that requires a relatively formal dress code after 6:30 pm. This isn’t just in the dining room, but throughout the hotel as well. You’ll appreciate this tradition though as you see everyone come through looking lovely.
For dinner there are 3 menus that will rotate throughout the season. Each meal comes with an appetizer, soup or salad, entree, and a dessert! Served upon beautiful china, the patterns are unmistakably part of The Grand Hotel.
I have had dinner at The Grand Hotel for dinner a few times, and each time I tried something new and the food was incredible. I also want to note that the service is really incredible.
I am torn on a favorite entree dish but I can tell you without certainty that my favorite dessert among all Mackinac Island restaurants is the Grand Pecan Ball. It is a must!
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