12 Best Restaurants in Lansing, Michigan

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Lansing, the capital of Michigan, is home to a vibrant and diverse food scene. From new American cuisine to ethnic staples, Lansing offers delicious dining options to satisfy any palate. In this article, we highlight the 12 best restaurants that visitors and locals alike should not miss when in Lansing.

Restaurant NameCategory
The English InnBest Fine Dining
Maru Sushi & GrillBest Italian
Red LobsterBest Seafood
Korea HouseBest Korean
Thai PrincessBest Thai
Golden HarvestBest Vegetarian/Vegan
Punjab Indian CuisineBest Indian
Golden HarvestBest Breakfast
Peanut BarrelBest Burgers
El OasisBest Mexican
DeLuca’sBest Pizza
Dagwood’s DeliBest Sandwiches

The list includes established fine-dining institutions as well as some of the city’s best hidden gems and newer hotspots. We cover various cuisines and price points – from quick breakfast bites to white tablecloth dinners. When compiling this list, important criteria included food quality, service, ambiance and value. Of course, diner reviews and ratings on sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp also played a role.

So whether you’re in town for work or play, peruse our picks of Lansing’s 12 most exceptional, must-try restaurants that offer wonderful culinary experiences.

1.Best Fine Dining: The English Inn

Name and Location: The English Inn

History and Significance: Nestled downtown since 1993, The English Inn brings old world British charm and hospitality to its elegant dining rooms through polished service and scrutiny to detail in preparing fine English and Continental dishes that stand as Ann Arbor’s standard for fine dining.

What to Expect: With menu cornerstones like crisp beef Wellington, seafood Thermidor in lobster sauce, banoffee pie and tableside beef tartare preparations, The English Inn provides white tablecloth dining focused on time-honored techniques that keep its cuisine impeccably executed.

Visitor Information: Located at 300 S Thayer St. Serving dinner nightly 5pm-9pm. Reservations strongly recommended. Smart casual dress code. Valet parking available behind off Willard St.

Situated in the heart of downtown Lansing, The English Inn exudes old-world charm and elegance. Illuminated by chandeliers and a fireplace, the dining room provides an intimate atmosphere. The menu focuses on Continental cuisine and specializes in prime steaks and seafood.

Standouts include the bone-in filet mignon and honey pecan salmon. Fine wines complement the plates well. With exemplary service to match the upscale setting, The English Inn is perfect for celebrating special occasions or business dinners. The Sunday brunch buffet draws quite the crowd for the hearty breakfast fare and build-your-own mimosas.

2.Best Italian: Maru Sushi & Grill

Name and Location: Maru Sushi & Grill

History and Significance: Maru Sushi & Grill provides contemporary stylings on traditional Japanese fare from fresh sashimi and specialty rolls to Korean bibimbap bowls and mango crème brûlée across two levels of hip downtown space since 2018.

What to Expect: The vibrant, expansive dining rooms fill nightly with young trendsetters indulging in tuna crispy rice, pad thai udon noodles and other Japanese fusion plates washed down with house sake, Asian-inspired cocktails or perhaps a frosty beer tower.

Visitor Information: Located at 210 S First St downtown. Lunch and dinner daily. Street side metered parking available but limited, otherwise use nearby decks/lots for fee.

Maru Sushi & Grill is a popular local spot, fusing Japanese flavors with Italian flair. From tasty pasta dishes to flavorful sushi rolls, the diverse menu has something for every palate. Diners rave about the spicy salmon tartare, featuring fresh raw salmon tossed in a Japanese chili sauce.

The Maru roll with spicy crab and avocado is also a favorite. Beyond the signature sushi, pasta lovers adore the linguine with savory smoked salmon in a light cream sauce. With its sleek decor, Maru brings fine dining to a fun and lively atmosphere. Its fresh take on Italian and Pacific Rim cuisine keeps locals coming back again and again.

3.Best Seafood: Red Lobster

Name and Location: Red Lobster

History and Significance: America’s largest seafood restaurant chain, Red Lobster first opened in 1968 then grew exponentially over 50+ years to 700 locations systemwide offering casual New England-inspired seafood dishes from its trademark cheddar biscuits to Admiral’s Feast mixed platters.

What to Expect: Families keep returning for the all-you-can-eat shrimp, crab-stuffed flounder, lobsterita cocktails and other pop seafood menu staples served up in the nautical-themed dining rooms. Daily early bird specials offer discounted meal deals.

Visitor Information: Located at 3745 Washtenaw Ave. Open daily 11am-10pm. Call-ahead seating available though most times no reservations. Free parking in large shared plaza lot. Kids’ menu with crayons.

Craving ocean delights? Look no further than Red Lobster, America’s largest seafood chain. Given its expertise in creating delicious seafood dishes for over 50 years, it’s no surprise Red Lobster takes the prize for best seafood in Lansing. Dive into tender Maine lobster tails baked in buttery goodness or opt for crispy fried shrimp and scallops.

Fan favorites include the lobster-artichoke dip, Walt’s Favorite Shrimp, and savory salmon in creamy parmesan sauce. Daily lunch specials provide wallet-friendly options for midday meals too. With most seafood flown in fresh daily, you can’t go wrong with Red Lobster’s high-quality dishes at reasonable prices.

4.Best Korean: Korea House

Name and Location: Korea House

History and Significance: In operation for over 25 years, family-owned Korea House shares the traditional flavors of Korea through regional dishes like dolsot bibimbap, Korean fried chicken and steamy stone pot soups prepared by specialists in Korean cuisine.

What to Expect: Diners savor the restaurant’s signature Korean barbecue featuring thin-cut beef and pork grilled tableside to wrap in lettuce leafs alongside plentiful banchan small plates. Lunch sees business crowds while evenings bring families.

Visitor Information: Located downtown at 415 N 5th Ave. Open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Free small surface lot behind building otherwise area street parking or public decks/lots nearby. Cash preferred.

Explore the flavors of Korea at Korea House, run by a family dedicated to sharing excellent traditional cuisine. Their banchan – a colorful array of small dishes like kimchi, potato salad and spicy cucumbers that come with every meal – shines. Barbeque takes center stage here; sizzling meats like bulgogi and galbi bring maximum Korean flavor.

Their soondae blood sausage and enormous pancakes offer adventurous eaters some unique touches. For something mild yet comforting, order the bodulgguk, a creamy potato soup. Set in a modest building, Korea House feels off-the-radar but offers an authentic taste of Korea without pretense.

5.Best Thai: Thai Princess

Name and Location: Thai Princess

History and Significance: Family-owned Thai Princess has shared authentic Thai flavors and hospitality from its quaint ethnic storefront nestled off Main St for over 25 years, earning devoted local following for its scratch preparations using selective imported ingredients.

What to Expect: From spice-laced curries, tender satay skewers and crisp egg rolls to warming tom yum soups, this hidden gem nudges diners to travel beyond pad thai through skillfully executed dishes guaranteed to satisfy those craving Southeast Asian cuisine.

Visitor Information: Located at 211 N Ashley St just off E Liberty. Open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Street parking or public decks/lots nearby. Cash preferred. Take-out available.

Thai Princess transports diners to the exotic flavors of Thailand without ever leaving Lansing. Artful presentations and fragrant curries will satisfy both casual diners and connoisseurs of Thai cuisine. Dishes like pad Thai, Thai fried rice and basil chicken cater to more familiar Americanized tastes.

However, the extensive menu really lets the bolder diner travel through Thailand’s range of tastes. Explore dishes like Pla Lard Prik – fried fish topped with spicy garlic chilies – or sukiyaki hot pot with thinly sliced meat and vegetables cooked at the table. Five levels of spice mean all diners can handle the heat they desire. Elegant decor with traditional Thai carvings and silk furnishings complete the delightful experience.

6.Best Vegetarian/Vegan: Golden Harvest

Name and Location: Golden Harvest

History and Significance: An Ann Arbor breakfast and brunch institution for over 35 years running, unpretentious diner Golden Harvest slings fresh, hearty comfort food daily from fluffy pancakes and crispy corned beef hash to eggs spun into five-cheese omelets or loaded skillet scrambles.

What to Expect: Expect efficient counter service dishing out scratch preparations of breakfast plates both traditional and creative while regulars swap neighborly banter over bottomless mugs of hot coffee refills down the counter. Cash only.

Visitor Information: Located downtown at 306 S State St. Open daily 7am–3pm. Arrive early to beat rushes. Only counter plus some adjacent table seating available. Cash payment required.

Golden Harvest ranks high for fresh, creative vegetarian and vegan offerings that appeal to herbivores and carnivores alike. Their diverse menu spans sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and bowls built on farm-to-table ingredients.

While supporting sustainable agriculture, Golden Harvest crafts clean, satisfying plant-based cuisine. Stars include the buffalo cauliflower wrap, Rising Harvest bowl loaded with quinoa and mushrooms, and vegan spinach artichoke pizza. Smoothies, juices and soy lattes round out wholesome, meatless options.

The bright, laid-back cafe makes vegetarians and vegans feel right at home. But with food this tasty and fresh, Golden Harvest draws meat-eaters and veggies alike.

7.Best Indian:Punjab Indian Cuisine

Name and Location: Punjab Indian Cuisine

History and Significance: Serving Ann Arbor since 2008, Punjab Indian Cuisine brings rich authentic Indian vegetarian dishes influenced by Punjabi cuisine to locals through flavorful curries, mouthwatering baked breads and other specialties crafted by specialists in Indian cooking.

What to Expect: Diners delight in fragrant chicken tikka masala, pillowy garlic naan hot from the tandoor oven, crisp samosas and other complexly spiced Indian fare capable of catering well to gluten-free, vegan or nut-free diets if requested. Lunch buffets allow sampling.

Visitor Information: Located at 3065 Boardwalk Dr. Open daily for lunch and dinner including weekday lunch buffets. Order at counter then seat yourself. Big surface lot offers free parking. BYOB welcome.

Foodies seeking authentic Indian flavors visit Punjab Indian Cuisine, run by Chef Ranjit Singh. Named after the fertile Punjab region spanning India and Pakistan that grows nutrients for rich curries and tandoori dishes, this Lansing fixture captures the essence of real deal Indian food culture.

Staples like aromatic biryani, tikka masala and sizzling tandoori chicken do not disappoint. Goat curry and fish options also provide pleasant deviations from standard Indian restaurant staples. Basmati rice and hot fluffy naan beg to sop up those rich sauces.

Servers graciously guide new diners through the menu. Traditional paintings and textiles lining the walls immerse visitors in Indian culture. Punjab Indian Cuisine stands above most Midwest Indian restaurants with memorable flavors and gracious hospitality.

8.Best Breakfast: Golden Harvest

Starting the day off right begins with breakfast at Golden Harvest. More than your average eggs and bacon, Golden Harvest offers wholesome morning dishes focused on creativity and nutrition.

Options include build-your-own omelets and tofu scrambles along with burritos stuffed with potatoes or chickpea chorizo. Light or hearty, their breakfast sets the stage for an energizing day.

Of course, classic egg preparations make appearances too for those who prefer traditional starts – just with an extra punch of flavor. Round things out with a fresh juice, smoothie or soy latte. Golden Harvest’s laid-back, plant-focused cafe creates a calm oasis amidst Lansing’s bustling downtown for the perfect morning fuel stop.

9.Best Burgers: Peanut Barrel

Name and Location: Peanut Barrel

History and Significance: A longtime college town staple near University of Michigan campus, Peanut Barrel serves gourmet burgers and craft beers nightly alongside sandwiches, ribs, buffalo wings and other pub grub prepared from quality ingredients since opening its cozy subterranean location in 1976.

What to Expect: Families split towering burgers dripping with toppings while students guzzle house microbrews and munch hot pretzels between games of darts or billiards on the restaurant’s lower level. Signature PB&J and funky chicken wing flavors rotate weekly.

Visitor Information: Located at 521 E Liberty St. Open daily for lunch through late night. Limited street metered parking otherwise public decks/lots nearby. Separate lower level with games for 21+.

Peanut Barrel tops the list for sheer burger excellence according to locals. What began as a tiny bar in downtown Lansing gained immense popularity for its signature house-ground patties stacked with creative toppings. Today “The Barrel” occupies a cavernous building to meet demand. Loyal fans rave about the Snickers burger, crowned with melted chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanuts.

The barbecue and ranch chicken burger also earns acclaim. While the burgers take center stage,Peanut Barrel’s menu has expanded over the decades to include sandwiches, tacos, pizza and more beer options to complement the main attraction. The laid-back pub atmosphere makes it a great spot to catch the game or gather with friends for a decadent burger night.

10.Best Mexican: El Oasis

Name and Location: El Oasis

History and Significance: Family-owned neighborhood favorite El Oasis brings hearty, authentic Mexican flavors to Ann Arbor in a humble storefront location since 1988 via family recipes for enchiladas, tacos loaded with rich meat fillings, fiery chili rellenos and more lovingly prepared daily.

What to Expect: Locals pack into the simple colorful space to feast on sizzling fajitas or complex mole poblano while remaining floats and margaritas help cool spicy palates. Staff eagerly guide new diners through the menu specialties in this unpretentious local gem.

Visitor Information: Located at 307 N 5th Ave. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-10pm for lunch and dinner. Limited lot behind restaurant otherwise nearby street or public parking decks/lots. Cash preferred.

Authentic Mexican finds its home at El Oasis, family owned and operated with pride and care. Traditional techniques create intense flavors in an unassuming strip mall location.

Handmade corn tortillas, slow roasted meats and scratch salsas speak to their credibility and consistency. Simple yet perfect tacos overwhelm with deeply layered tastes – especially standouts like lengua (beef tongue) and chorizo with potato.

Hearty meat dishes and chili-laden plates dominate. But lighter options like grilled fish or shrimp cocktails balance out the gut-busting fare. Top off your family-style feast with classic flan or tres leches cake. El Oasis delivers genuine Mexican eats and hospitable service at budget prices.

11.Best Pizza: DeLuca’s

Name and Location: DeLuca’s

History and Significance: Running since 1959 on the edge of University of Michigan’s central campus, DeLuca’s serves generously portioned pizzas cradling creative ingredient combinations alongside submarine sandwiches, salads, and Italian standards like lasagna to its collegiate clientele and neighborhood regulars.

What to Expect: The quintessential college town pizzeria experience complete with vintage tin ceilings, well-worn booths, provolone oozing pies and cold, cheap pitcher beers enjoyed by generations of loyal patrons over six decades. Expect satisfying if not mind-blowing food.

Visitor Information: Located at 2006 Hogback Rd. Open daily for lunch through late night. Free parking lot. Online ordering plus delivery and takeout available. Separate gluten-free kitchen area.

DeLuca’s vibrant pizzeria crafts pies that keep college students, families, doctors and construction workers coming back. Their bubbly, golden-brown crusted New York style pizzas boast California flair with unique flavor combinations. Popular menu mainstays include The Big Kahuna topped with spicy chopped chicken and pineapple and the attention-grabbing breakfast pizza with bacon, sausage, and eggs.

Gluten-free and vegan options also make appearances. Garlic cheese bread, wings, pastas and salads round out the extensive menu covering all bases. No matter your dietary preference, DeLuca’s offers Made-from-Scratch food and good times perfected over their 60+ years in Lansing.

12.Best Sandwiches: Dagwood’s Deli

Name and Location: Dagwood’s Deli

History and Significance: Loved for over 35 years, Dagwood’s crafts mile-high sandwiches layered with quality Boar’s Head meats and cheeses plus homemade spreads then serves them alongside soups, salads and bakery items daily to committed locals from its petite brick storefront location.

What to Expect: Sandwich aficionados rejoice in choosing bodacious sandwich combinations on freshly baked breads stuffed with flavors and textures galore. Soups like chicken noodle or chili provide soulful accompaniments for these outsized quality creations.

Visitor Information: Located downtown at 401 E. Liberty Street. Order at the counter during hours 11am–9pm daily then dine at few counter seats or take sandwiches to go. Street parking available nearby.

Dagwood’s Deli constructs truly giant sandwiches bearing its namesake from the classic comic strip Blondie. These creations bring rave reviews for both flavor and formidable stature. Favorites include the Bobby with layers of corned beef, swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing.

The Rachel crams hot pastrami between swiss, sauerkraut and housemade thousand island – a definite win. For vegetarians, Dagwood’s offers a Caprese sandwich loaded with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinaigrette on focaccia. Salads, pickles and deli sides like pasta or potato salad complete the experience. Dagwood’s provides quality meats and cheeses between bread sliced fresh in-house to construct these meaty marvels.

Strange Matter Coffee brews Lansing’s best artisan coffee, hands down. The baristas take pride in sourcing quality beans to craft specialty espresso drinks, pour overs and cold brews. Yet they welcome newcomers by explaining various preparation styles and making recommendations.

Food offerings include biscuits, scones, toast and granola baked in-house to complement the stellar drinks. Beyond caffeine, Strange Matter doubles as a music venue and art gallery to build community. The cozy coffeehouse atmosphere fuels creativity and connection. Swing by this passionate coffee shop for your daily dose of smooth brews, culture and camaraderie.

Conclusion


From white tablecloth downtown spots to friendly neighborhood gems, Lansing’s restaurants cater to any budget or craving. The city’s dining scene continues expanding as young chefs and entrepreneurs invigorate local culture. The establishments on this list represent long-time staples along with relative newcomers stirring up excitement with their fresh takes. Food critics and everyday diners agree on their praise for these restaurants going beyond expectations.

Lansing rewards residents and visitors with memorable meals if you know where to look. Use our handy guide to discover the city’s 12 most beloved, must-try restaurants that will delight your taste buds. Feel free to share your own favorites if you disagree or believe others also deserve recognition. With such culinary variety, excellent food awaits in Michigan’s capital city.

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