Dining out overlooking the harbor - Marquette, Michigan
Many of Marquette's best restaurants and pubs are in the downtown area and overlooking the harbor. There are several parking lots sprinkled throughtout downtown and along the nearby lower harbor/marina area. So whereever you park, most everything is within walking distance.
Within walking distance are a good variety of dining options from cafes to pubs to fine dining. On the latter, we accidentally stumbled into Elizabeth's Chop House which is two doors down from Vierlings Restaurant, a place we've dined at a few times and enjoyed. Being next door to Vierlings (and having a relatively unexceptional exterior) we figured the Chop House would be in the same dining "price range." But upon entering it was soon apparent this was a “fine dining” establishment - door woman/coat checker, white linen tablecloths, fine glass goblets, shining silverware, leather chairs, etc.
After being seated by the hostess on the dining deck overlooking the harbor, our waitress arrived with our menus and recited the specials in practiced elocution devoid of a “yooper accent.” I thought “well this is going to cost us” and tentatively opened the menu as Jo’s eyes widened as she was doing the same thing. The cheapest thing on the menu was a chicken entre for $33; Whitefish, a Lake Superior favorite, was $39. In our restaurant reviews around Lake Superior, the Angry Trout in Grand Marais, MN and Fitzgerald’s in Eagle River, MI offer outstanding Whitefish dinners, excellent service, and lakeside views at a price in the low to mid teens. After a quick consultation, Jo and I did something we've never done before - apologized to the hostess for being out-of-town "rubes" and left the restaurant after being seated. For us, the fine dining ambience just wasn't worth paying two to three times the price.
In fairness to the Chop House, it gets very good reviews for the quality of food and service. So if you are visiting Marquette and your tastes have been cultivated to fine dining in larger cities, you'll want to dine there . . . as it is considered by many to be "the" place for exceptional food and service. But for those travelers and Marquette visitors, who like us, squeeze a nickel a little harder, the places we profile below will have more appeal.
Marquette Restaurant and Pub Reviews
The Vierling Restaurant has been at its downtown location for over one hundred years. In 1995 they expanded operations becoming one of Michigan's first brewpubs.
A very attractive dining & pub ambience and in addition we found the brews and the dining fare top quality at a reasonable price. Lake Superior Whitefish is one of their specialties; we found their burgers and chef's salads quite good too.
Donckers is another landmark Marquette dining establishment. Founded in 1896 and at the same location since 1914, this funky place is a combination full-service soda fountain, confectionary, coffee house, and deli-style restaurant. Great food, great service.
The soda fountain, confectionary, and coffee house are on one level; the deli-style restaurant is on the upper level. One of the few restaurants that were open on a downtown winter Sunday afternoon; we are glad we discovered it. To see more pictures and our Donckers restaurant review go here.
Portside Inn. Owner Operators Matthew and Rachel Fay have been serving at this location for over 30 years The Portside is an intimate little place with lots of character, including a fish aquarium and other nautical appointments. As it was a sunny day, we elected to eat on their deck. Deck dining is limited to sandwiches, wraps, pizza and appetizers. If you want a full dinner menu you have to dine inside. We were fine with sandwich baskets and a side salad. Jo had her favorite burger with mushrooms and swiss cheese. Lettuce, onion, and tomato slices were included on the side as optional amendments. I ordered their special Shakatcha, an italian flatbread creation with ham and salami plus lettuce, tomato and onions. We both ordered side salads which were crisp and included a variety of veggies. Our sandwiches were excellent, served timely and hot. Good portion size and we both took home half our sandwiches for our lunch the next day. We both ordered a pint of dark ale and were not disappointed. Suitably cold and with head on top.( I hate warm beer and if there isn’t a head it often means the taps haven’t been cleaned recently.)
Links to above and other higher rated Marquette Cafes, Pubs & Dining places
Marquette Area Summer and Fall Events - 2015
Pioneer Days - July 5th - 11th
Da Yooper Tourist Trap - An entertaining and educational visit in nearby Ishpeming
UP 200 Dog Sled Race - Marquette's most famous and popular winter festival
Going east towards Munising and Pictured Rocks . . . More waterfalls, hiking pages, and scenic attractions from Munising through Tahquemenon Falls to Sault Ste. Marie.
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2015
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Lake Superior Circle Tour Route