South Haven is a tiny town that’s chock full of charm set within West Michigan. It’s also referred to as the Catskills of the Midwest for its scenic splendor and easily one of the best places to visit in Michigan. The local cuisine here is known for being fresh because it’s grown right in the area and there are plenty of South Haven restaurants to taste the flavor!
In recent years South Haven has developed its own foodie identity with a noticeable increase of some seriously fabulous spots for feasting.
Go and enjoy all the eclectic eats they have to offer before the crowds find out. You’ll find fast and casual cuisine, fine dining fare and everything in between. Get to know all the most craveable culinary hotspots with these amazing South Haven restaurants.
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The Best South Haven Restaurants
Taste is mostly known for mouthwatering small plates and martinis. It’s conveniently located in the heart of downtown and is an elevated experience. Everything is made from scratch and each dish is a delightful modern take on a classic plate.
They offer sandwiches and sushi rolls alongside tapa style tasting options. Though getting a few different bites to share here is really the most fun.
The chef’s choice of mac n cheese changes each week and it always comes highly recommended for a reason. They offer an impressive program of carefully crafted cocktails (that you can even get to go!) as well as an extensive selection of global wines and a couple of local craft beers.
Kitchen 527 is a little neighborhood watering hole offering gourmet pub grub, Hamburgers, sandwiches, and fried chicken are the main focus, though it’s best to start any feast off with one of the fried apps here, like green tomatoes or spicy pickles.
The Cajun Catfish Po Boy served with Hush Puppies is packed with all those savory Southern flavors and for anyone that’s a fan of bacon the BBBBLT will be a dream. The cocktails menu is super fun as well with inventive twists on all the classics.
This is the original Clementine’s, a legendary fixture of South Haven. It’s set inside the old Citizens Bank building and has a rich history within the city. Inside there’s a quaint saloon vibe that we absolutely adore, decked out with antiques, tin ceilings, and wooden trim.
Vintage black and white photographs cover the walls, and the whole place feels like a celebration of the city’s past and present.
At Clementine’s they serve up fresh seafood fares and classic American comfort foods. Sections of this extensive menu include Oodles of Noodles, Burger Bunch, Fish Market, Grill Craze, Hen House, and Munchies. Basically, we believe there is truly something for everyone at this iconic and quintessential eatery of South Haven.
Black River Tavern
This lowkey spot has some of the most spectacular views looking out over the iconic South Haven harbor and lighthouse. It’s an easy going joint that’s billed as a bar and grille, with exposed brick covered in vintage memorabilia. The outdoor seating is often the main draw, though the tasty American grub, craft beer on tap, and pool table aren’t too shabby either.
They often host festive community events like local live music, comedy shows, and trivia nights. The Perch Dinner is their signature dish and the self proclaimed best in town (not that we’re arguing).
Maria’s Taste Of Italy
Maria’s is a long standing family run South Haven restaurant, offering a little taste of Italy right in South Haven. The homemade sausage and meatballs are the stars of any meal here. The recipes used have been passed down for generations, and are packed with all kinds of authentic flavor.
As far as wine goes, there’s no shortage here and you can even order a flight or a sampler to try a few different pairings.
Everything feels super affordable for the quality of the fare, and the atmosphere is relaxed yet refined. Of all the carefully crafted pasta, the Lasagne is usually the fan favorite, though you can also get seafood, sandwiches, and pizza.
The Lodge is often packed with friends and families catching up over a cold one. The patio space is covered in shaded picnic tables and is a lovely place to spend a few hours outside as the weather allows. Inside, the ambiance is simple, with a typical sports bar feel as there are plenty of big screens hung on walls playing the big game.
There’s a new Mac n Cheese every week here, and ideally, we always hope for the jalapeno. There are plenty of shareable plates, gourmet sandwiches, and vegetarian options to pick from and pair with a craft beer on draft.
Phoenix Street Cafe
- Price: $$
- Cuisine: American, Cafe, Vegetarian
- Address: 523 Phoenix St, South Haven (GPS)
- Website: Link
For delicious breakfast foods any time of day in downtown South Haven, head to Phoenix Street Cafe. Family recipes and daily specials make it a much-loved must-visit. The inside feels warm and friendly, with different colored walls adorned in art and rafters covered in string lights.
They’ve got all the classics here, from Eggs Benedict to Chicken and Waffles. There are even a few vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, like the Tofu Scramble. Homemade desserts are baked fresh each day, so it’s a good place to try and save a little room for something sweet.
Tello Italian Bistro
This cozy Italian joint feels upscale without any pretense. It’s the best place to enjoy a leisurely meal accompanied by warm candlelight and soft jazz in South Haven. Every dish boasts authentic flavors, and they’re all handmade from scratch, including the Bolognese, which takes over eight hours, and pizza dough which is made fresh daily.
The Whole Pig Pizza, Vegetable Risotto, and Black Tonnarelli are a few of the tastiest plates here, and everything can even be made gluten-free.
Set within South Haven’s most famous golf course, the verdant views from the floor-to-ceiling windows of this eatery are reason enough to go. They serve inventive American cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere, and the elegant environment offers an old-school flair.
The gourmet plates that grace this simple meal often rotate based on which ingredients are the best seasonally. As such, there’s always a new surprise to try. The Prime Rib Sliders and Salmon Siciliano are some of the standout mains for a meal at this elevated establishment.
Bunde’s is a cute South Haven restaurant staple that’s well worth stopping into during your adventures around town. The outside is just as quaint and kitschy as the inside, and that plus the pretty artisan pastries make for some seriously Instagrammable photo ops.
Everything is baked fresh by hand daily, and the simplest ingredients are used in the old European tradition.
They serve Starbucks beverages, and we love to pair them with the Bagel Sandwich or Individual Quiche for a delightful afternoon pick-me-up. Pro-tip, get here early before all the good stuff sells out!
The top Mexican restaurant in South Haven is Los Ranchos. The specialty here is taquizas, but they’ve got all the authentic eats you may expect, including quesadillas, tacos, and burritos, packed with traditional south-of-the-border flavor.
You can even order their coveted meats by the pound, including the carnitas, al pastor, and fajitas. The atmosphere is modern and festive, and the full bar adds to the ambiance, offering several exciting margarita creations.
Crane’s Pie Pantry
What’s better than a pie pantry and winery all-in-one? Crane’s is a cult classic spot in South Haven and a local tradition since 1972. People travel from all over to taste the time-honored delicacies created here. It’s located just outside town, nestled among the rolling green hills of their family fruit farm.
While they’re famous for their handmade pies made with fruit fresh from the orchard, the full-service restaurant offers a whole host of other farm-to-table fares. Gourmet sandwiches and various snack selections are available, including a Meat and Cheese Board and their famous Sloppy Joe.
Though you can go for a flight of pie slices plus wine tasting, you surely won’t be disappointed.
Not exactly what you may think of when looking for the best South Haven, Michigan restaurants. However well worth a stop. This freestanding cafe is a cute spot for breakfast or lunch in South Haven. The java selection is carefully curated, using only the best fair trade, organic beans available. Don’t worry, though. They’ve got more than just your average coffee shop spread of baked goods, which are phenomenal.
The menu has freshly made sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. The Earth Mama and the Mediterranean are both especially enticing. The front porch is delightful for al fresco dining. Otherwise, there are counter seats at the window or a few white tablecloth tables in the back.
- Price: $
- Cuisine: American, Diner, Breakfast
- Address: 05110 Blue Star Hwy, South Haven (GPS)
- Website: Link
Dave’s Landing is the favorite family diner in town. The ambiance is clean and classic, with a cozy feel. Breakfast and lunch fare is available anytime here, and everything is good quality for an affordable price. It has a real neighborhood vibe, where your coffee cup will never be empty, the food feels home-cooked, and everything is served with a smile.
The Friday Night Fish Fry is always a good and fun way to partake in a local pastime. The Pancakes and Omelets are both fan favorites here.
Momma’s TJM BBQ
There’s nowhere better to go for a quick and fun bite near South Haven than the hidden gem Momma’s TJM BBQ.
It’s set only slightly out of town, but trust us when we say it’s well worth the jaunt. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by gorgeous greenery, you’ll find a funky-looking airstream caravan covered in cartoon pigs.
Their claim to fame is that Pulled Pork is made Michigan style, which lives up to all the hype. They have over 30 years of experience carefully smoking meats until tender and flavorful, for everything from the Rib Tips to the Chicken Sandwich. Don’t skimp on the sides here, whether it’s the baked beans or mac n cheese.
Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen
Six Chicks Scratch Kitchen is mainly known for making classic American comfort foods. The space is super simple with a country farm feel. Since they have some of the best breakfasts in town, it’s a relief that they serve it all day long.
The Biscuits and Gravy, Corned Beef Hash, and the Six Chicks Casserole all come highly recommended. They also offer a variety of outstanding omelets and sweet concoctions straight off the griddle. The portions are heaping, and the fares are hearty, so be sure to show up hungry here.
Maple Grove Grill
Maple Grove offers casual bar and grill eats in a super laid-back setting. The burgers are the main draw here, Jerry Grove is world famous, and easily the most popular pick served with grilled onions, bacon, and swiss cheese on texas toast. It’s a simple menu full of no-frills fare, which always cures those cravings for good old-fashioned home cooking.
This spot has quite a history in South Haven, as the original Maple Grove tavern was built way back in 1933, and it’s been passed down and taken over by a few different local families ever since.
South Haven Brewpub
This is South Haven’s first ever brewery, responsible for bringing the craft beer craze to these ends of Michigan. They’re located right along the beautiful Black River in the historic Old Harbor Village, so the atmosphere is both scenic and comfortable.
More than just their impressive small batch beers, they offer a full menu that’s well worth a stop, even if ales and lagers on tap aren’t your things.
They have plenty of pizzas to choose from, wraps, tacos, and burgers. We love to get a few small plates here and share a snack, like the Fried Cheese Curds or Beer Cheese and Pretzels.
For excellent Chinese food in South Haven, this is the local go-to. The service is great, and it’s fun to go in the early afternoon for the specials, which are excellent value and include fried rice, crab rangoon, and a fortune cookie in every meal. You can also order some takeout for a cozy evening at home.
All the food is fresh and flavorful, and there’s a wide array of vegetarian options to choose from as well. The decor is decidedly old school which adds to the family-run, hole-in-the-wall feel of the joint. We know everyone has their usual order for a spot like this, but the Sesame Chicken is especially nice here.
Potatoes Plus 2
This little soul food cafe is the hidden gem of South Haven and a classic case of don’t let the unassuming facade fool you. Every dish is finger-licking good and made from scratch in a traditional home-cooked style.
While the menu is simple, you can’t go wrong with any order. They have locally caught fish, a few kinds of chicken, and a different special each day.
The sides are either collard greens or cornbread. Their signature is, of course, the potatoes, all served with butter, chives, and sour cream. They come in six different ways, including Surf, Turf, and Veggie, though you can also build your own custom spud creation.
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