Ice Breaker Festival - Three Blondes Brewing - South Haven, Michigan
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17 BEST South Haven Restaurants to Excite Your Taste Buds

Whether you spend the day on the sandy beaches along the Lake Michigan shore, biking the Kal Haven Trail State Park, or browsing unique downtown shops, your trip to South Haven isn’t complete without getting a taste of the local fare. And there are plenty of South Haven restaurants to choose from.

From award-winning boathouses with intriguing views to fine dining in the woods, from centuries-old recipes to handmade dishes and desserts, from the affordable to the pricey, there’s something for every palate and pocketbook in this waterfront community.

South Haven, Michigan
South Haven, Michigan | photo via @edgellcottage

South Haven Michigan Bars & Grills

Captain Lou’s Boathouse & Grill

278 Dyckman Ave, South Haven, MI 49090

Named one of the top Michigan waterfront bars, Captain Lou’s is a can’t-miss place to eat and drink. Offering 21 Wolverine State-made craft brews, wine, and specialty drinks (Frozen Rum Runner, anyone?), this rustic, Black River-side boathouse can quench your thirst and whet your appetite.

Taste the famous fried perch, house-made salmon dip and pita chips, or popular burgers as you enjoy passing boats, live music, and the swimsuit and flip-flop-welcome attire.

Taste

402 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

Made-from-scratch, chef-inspired recipes give Taste its unique take on small-plate cuisine.

From Chef’s Choice mac-n-cheese, potato pancakes, salmon, and tuna tartare to blue gill, Korean chicken barbecue, sushi, and fish tacos, you’re sure to find something for everyone. There are even dairy-free, garlic-free, egg-free, and vegan options.

Kitchen 527

527 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

If you have a hankering for burgers, sandwiches, or hand-breaded fried chicken, pull up a chair at Kitchen 527. This eat-in or carry-out restaurant has low prices but high-quality, unique offerings.

Fried green tomatoes, smoked rainbow trout spread, and quinoa sweet potato patties are just a few of the affordable menu items.

Harbor Light Brewery - South Haven, Michigan
Harbor Light Brewery | photo via @edgellcottage

Black River Tavern

403 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

Like most pubs, you’ll find usual menu items here — wings, nachos, mozzarella sticks, fish and chips, burgers, fries, chili, and draught beer on tap.

But what makes this tavern unique is a calendar packed with year-round live music, comedy shows, and private-party bookings, as well as Trivia Nights, Guinness beer glass engraving, and March Madness bracket challenges.

And if you really enjoy your visit, you can pick up some BRT merchandise before you leave.

Idler Riverboat & Dockside

515 Williams St #10, South Haven, MI 49090

Once part of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, the Idler made its way to its permanent home in South Haven in 1981. The floating riverboat restaurant has entertained guests ever since with an outdoor and indoor seating area.

The summer menu includes many seafaring favorites, like sweet pepper crab soup, calamari, smoked whitefish dip, N’Awlins shrimp, and blackened fresh catch of the day.

Maple Grove Grill & Bar

72040 M-43, South Haven Charter Twp, MI 49090

Family owned for over 40 years, the Maple Grove Grill & Bar is a local hot spot. It has served over 250,000 burgers (and counting!) with grilled onions and mushrooms, bacon, green olives, and a variety of other toppings along with gouda bites, mini corn dogs, chicken tenders, and lake perch to everyone’s delight.

Bring your friends, your family, and your appetite to this little, out-of-the-way joint for food and service that’s well worth the drive.

Ice Breaker Festival, South Haven - Winter Festivals
Ice Breaker Festival – Three Blondes Brewing | photo via @threeblondesbrewing

South Haven Brewpub

515 Williams St, South Haven, MI 49090

This small-batch microbrew is known for its variety of flavored suds — from an oatmeal/chocolate/peanut butter stout to a caramel/earthy herb amber — and seasonal beers, like Sangre Naranja, Brewberry Pancake, and SoHotoberfest.

Every beer aficionado is covered. There’s even house-made root beer and ginger beer. Plus, the menu has a whole host of family fare, including burgers, salads, tacos, wraps, and pizza. Sit back and enjoy the view at the South Haven Brewpub on the Black River.

Three Blondes Brewing

1875 Phoenix St Suite B, South Haven, MI 49090

As the name implies, this craft-beer creation was started by three South Haven-raised blonde sisters.

Along with 16 hand-crafted beers on tap (with names like Trees and Seas, Dill With It, and the popular Boom Boom Betty), there are hand-crafted eats, like Korean Brussels sprouts, braised beef, and hand-tossed pizza.

To add to the fun, there are Blondomes (aka, igloos) with Adirondack chairs for outdoor hangouts in the cool weather.

Clementine’s

500 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

A family-owned South Haven fixture since 1981, this spacious eatery has a relaxed vibe with home-cooked meals made with high-quality ingredients. There are plenty of menu options for every budget. These range from Clem’s O-Ring Burger and Thai Chicken Linguine to Tin Pan Walleye and Roscoe Ribeye.

Sherman's Dairy Bar, South Haven - Kal-Haven Trail
Sherman’s Dairy Bar | photo via @rach_bogo

Authentic International South Haven Restaurants

Maria’s Taste of Italy

330 Center St, South Haven, MI 49090

Maria’s truly is the Taste of Italy … including a 100-year-old family recipe for Italian sausage where the owner/chef uses a measuring spoon that has been passed down for over five decades.

The menu is filled with homemade favorites, like lasagna, meatballs, pizza, ravioli, and breadsticks. But patrons also rave about Maria’s gelato — there are nine flavors to choose from — cannoli, and mouthwatering pies.

Su Casa Restaurante

206 Center St, South Haven, MI 49090

With specialty cocktails from Latin America, generous portions, and affordable prices, this authentic Mexican restaurant has been delighting foodies since 1986.

You’ll find everything that you’d anticipate — nachos, taco salad, quesadillas, and burritos. Plus, the menu features a little of the unexpected, such as made-to-order avocado dip, German hearty beef and pork stew, and hand-molded corn shells.

This restaurant is named Su Casa for a reason — it’s a place where you’re sure to feel at home with the great food and friendly service.

Sherman’s Dairy Bar

1601 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream … especially Sherman’s. Made one batch at a time with nothing artificial, this rich, creamy frozen dessert is loaded with fresh ingredients, like strawberries, sweet black cherries, pecans, locally-sourced cream, Mackinac Island Fudge, and coconut.

No hot summer day is complete without a cold, refreshing sundae, cone, or scoop of South Haven’s own Sherman’s ice cream.

Tello Italian Bistro

524 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

Everything on Tello Italian Bistro’s menu seems to tell a story. The authentic Bolognese sauce takes eight hours to prepare to bring out the best flavor. The Neapolitan-style pizza is the original style of the Italian pie created in Naples in the 1700s.

And, the tiramisu is made daily from scratch to give you the perfect end to your meal. You can enjoy other hand-crafted favorites, like butternut squash ravioli, salo’s calamari, and vegetable risotto as well.

Cafe Julia - South Haven, Michigan
Cafe Julia | photo via @lorraine0677

Cafes in South Haven Michigan

Phoenix Street Café

259 Broadway St, South Haven, MI 49090

Looking for chicken and waffles? Or maybe savory quinoa with roasted almonds, carrots, sauteed mushrooms, and broccoli? What about a BLT loaded with a half-pound of bacon?

Then you’re brunch (with, perhaps, a signature Bloody Mary or mimosa) is waiting for you at the Phoenix Street Cafe. Only open from Friday to Tuesday, this family-style restaurant has been in the heart of South Haven for over 20 years.

Note: The cafe is currently in the process of reopening in a new South Haven location — the former The Congregation Taphouse & Eatery on Broadway St.

Cafe Julia

561 Huron St, South Haven, MI 49090

Want a quick bite or a sweet treat on the go? Cafe Julia is for you.

Choose from seven freshly-prepared sandwiches, three breakfast options, espresso, coffee, tea, or a boatload of cookies and cakes — including gluten-free and vegan selections.

There’s even a kids’ menu with old standbys, like grilled cheese and PB&J. Located just minutes from the beach, the cafe is open seven days a week.

Chomp Gourmet Hot Dogs - South Haven, Michigan
Chomp Gourmet Hot Dogs | photo via @psydz

South Haven Fine Dining & Quick Bites

HawksHead Restaurant

523 Hawks Nest Dr, South Haven, MI 49090

Whether you just finished a round of golf on the top-rated course or are looking for fine dining, HawksHead is the place for you.

You’ll find gourmet-inspired dishes like duck confit poutine, filet mignon, Lake Superior whitefish, and brown butter cake along with panoramic views of the wooded landscape. Bring your appetite for this seasonal dining experience.

Chomp Gourmet Hot Dogs

402 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

“Gourmet” and “hot dogs” don’t usually go together, but at Chomp, you’ll beg to differ. Whether you choose the all-beef dog or Beyond Meat vegan brat, there are over 10 specialty combinations — like the Detroit Coney or Chicago-style.

Or, if you’d like to concoct your own, there’s a choose-your-own option for which you can pick three of your favorites, including blue cheese, steak sauce, and cream cheese. Grab a dog to go at Chomp while you’re exploring South Haven Michigan!

12 Corners Winery - South Haven, Michigan
12 Corners Winery | photo via @edgellcottage

Dine Until You’re Heart’s Content at South Haven Restaurants

Whether you’re a foodie, aficionado, or just love to eat, there’s a variety of nourishment, spirits, and fun in this beachside town.

You can pack a picnic using quality meats and cheeses from a local market. Go right from the beach to a laid-back waterfront bar. Or, gather a group and enjoy entertainment and eats that are just a couple blocks away or a short drive down the road. You’ll find it all in South Haven.

In addition to delicious restaurants, you’ll find a fantastic selection of South Haven hotels and lodging options to make your Southwest Michigan getaway comfortable and unforgettable.

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