Lansing is the lovely state capital of everyone’s favorite mitten, Michigan. Lansing has a sprawling cultural scene, that has only improved since I grew up here many years ago. There is plenty to see and do all over town, from museums to hikes to historical landmarks, and some delicious Lansing restaurants to eat at.
These bustling streets make it quite easy to work up an appetite, and lucky for all of us, Lansing is simply bursting with delicious dishes to discover with plenty of fabulous restaurants in Lansing. There’s something for every foodie to find here, from authentic global fares to local comfort cuisine.
Best Restaurants in Lansing, Michigan
Meat Southern BBQ and Carnivore Cuisine
Aptly named Meat, this Old Town eatery is the epitome of carnivore cuisine in Lansing. Chow down on all the Southern-style grub you can dream of, from meat plates of beef brisket and pulled pork to the meatwiches like the Hot Mess.
Plenty of craft beers are on tap to help wash down each dish. There are six different sauces, so try each to find your favorite. The space has a modern yet homey feel and is decked out with plenty of kitschy decors to keep it interesting.
The savory sides always have an elevated twist, like the jalapeno cilantro coleslaw, bacon blue cheese potato salad, and customizable mac and cheese. It’s safe to say you won’t ever see a salad grace the menu here.
Come hungry, and if you’re in the mood for a delicious but difficult dare, ask about the Ultimate Carnivore Food Challenge. This is one of the best Downtown Lansing restaurants and only a short drive away from one of the best Lansing breweries!
The Cosmos is the place to go for the perfect pizza in the city. These gourmet specialty pies are thin crust cooked to a crisp in their state-of-the-art wood-fired oven. Classic cocktails, craft beer, and an extensive wine list are available.
The sci-fi decor is fun and goes great with their out-of-this-world culinary creations. There are retro arcade games to play, colorful comic book murals, and an expansive patio for enjoying plates alfresco.
Some of the signature fares include the Pineapple Prosciutto and the Runny Egg. Everything is made in-house, from the dough to the sauce, and the simple menu focuses on what it does best a beautiful artisan slice.
If you’re an adventurous eater, try the “Trust Us!” the chef will make you a unique and inventive meal that changes up every day.
Soup Spoon Cafe
- Cuisine: Cafe
- Address: 1419 E Michigan Ave, Lansing (GPS)
- Price: $$
- Website: Link
Soup Spoon Cafe is an adorable spot for any meal of the day. It’s most famous for its legendary stews and broths. A selection of six savory soups is handmade each day with seasonal ingredients from a rotating recipe collection of over 200.
They offer traditional choices like Chicken Noodles and French Onion and some more creative concoctions such as the Curried Apple Pork Stew and Vegan Spicy Cabbage. They also boast other options: salads and sandwiches that complement the namesake eats, plus pasta, meats, and seafood.
Many flock here for a tasty breakfast as well. One of the most fun things to do here is to order a soup flight! It comes with four of the six daily creations and some delicious French bread for dipping.
Pablo’s Old Town
Strolling Old Town is one of the best things to do in Lansing. While you’re there, make sure to check out Pablo’s! For mouthwatering authentic Mexican, Pablo’s Old Town is a beloved local institution and one of the best restaurants in Lansing.
It’s an informal eatery where the enticing flavors speak for themselves. The inside features exposed brick and brightly colored walls, and there’s a small outdoor patio to enjoy.
It’s a surprisingly good spot to go for breakfast, with classic choices such as Chilaquiles and Huevos Rancheros. Regardless of the order, whether it’s tacos, tortas, quesadillas, or burritos, these street-style fares are stuffed with your choice of filling, including grilled steak, shredded pork, chorizo, cactus, veggies, fish, and more. Be sure to try the homemade hot sauce here as well.
Zaytoon is a long-standing fixture in Lansing. The name is Arabic for olive, and they’re serving up Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fares with a modern flair. There are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, though the house specialty of tender chicken shawarma comes with rave reviews.
The Traditional Combo is a favorite for those seeking authentic eats. It includes mujadara, borgul, hommous, baba ghanoush, tabbouli, falafel, and a grape leaf. Everything is made from raw and local ingredients, so the food feels healthy while still served up in a fast-casual setting. There’s a smoothie bar for fresh juice to go with your dining delicacies as well.
The Ocean Crab
The Ocean Crab is a contemporary hotspot for fresh seafood. It’s a spacious environment full of light natural woods and a cute nautical theme. They cook up everything from fry baskets to po’boys.
The Seafood Gumbo is a savory favorite, as are the special boils as who doesn’t love a more interactive meal. These meals include shrimp, mussels, lobster, crab, and crawfish. It’s ordered by the pound, and they’re made with all the traditional spices and seasonings, plus corn and potato.
The sushi side of the menu offers a la carte options, handrolls, and regular rolls. Indulge in more elaborate eats with the Salmon Roe, Ika Squid, Eel, or Masago Sushi.
Speaking of sushi, I can’t make a best restaurants in Lansing list without mentioning my favorite sushi restaurant that I have been visiting since high school. Yes, my high school turned college sushi place of choice for years was Sansu.
Now it’s been a long time since my East Lansing days, but Sansu has only grown in popularity. It’s not only the best sushi restaurant in East Lansing, but the whole Lansing area in general.
Just off Hagadorn Rd, not far from MSU campus is this delicious sushi spot. They offer all the sushi staples, plus specialty rolls like the Striped Dragon Roll and Snowman Roll – all must trys!
The People’s Kitchen
For a beautiful weekend brunch or a feast of creative comfort foods, the People’s Kitchen is easily one of the best restaurants in Lansing. The ambiance is industrial chic with plenty of quirky and contemporary touches.
Think elaborate chandeliers, glass-colored walls, a giant Jiffy Lube sign, and a Pee Wee Herman painting. If this funky vibe isn’t enough of a draw, the menu here has many mouthwatering meals.
Lunch has yummy handhelds like the Smoked Salmon Tart, dinner features fancy mains including Cauliflower Steak, and brunch boasts Belly and Grits. No matter the time of day, an array of creative cocktails are on deck.
EnVie is a popular French bistro with an ever-changing menu of European-inspired eats. The grub is gourmet, and the beverages are bespoke. The dining experience feels exciting and familiar all at the same time.
Go for a quick lunch or a romantic dinner. Both feel easy and enjoyable in this adorable space. The mains range from Filet Mignon and Seafood Risotto to Meatloaf and a Fried Chicken Bowl.
The Dirty Fries are some of the best around. Try the Veggie ones, which come with smoked gouda mornay, crispy brussels sprouts, blistered tomato, onion, mushroom, and goat cheese. The atmosphere features a modern flair with white walls, black tablecloths, and exposed brick.
Cask and Company
- Cuisine: Sushi, Tacos, and everything in between
- Address: 3415 E Saginaw St, Lansing (GPS)
- Price: $$
- Website: Link
Cask and Company is a neighborhood pub beloved by all and a fantastic East Lansing restaurant. It’s a casual spot with a warm and comfortable ambiance, though the food often feels elevated. It’s a popular place for gatherings in Lansing, especially on game day, with the abundance of big screens.
Fresh craft cocktails and local beers on draft make it just as enjoyable to pop in for a delicious drink. The menu is extensive, with grub from around the globe, including sushi, burgers, flatbreads, and noodle dishes.
Some excellent plates for sharing include the Deconstructed Bruschetta or the Philly Roast Beef Egg Rolls.
This no-frills eatery is open 24 hours and is a long-standing fan favorite in Lansing. The self-proclaimed hippest little diner around, you can go any time of day (or night) and be certain to find an egg-based creation that cures your cravings. It’s a comprehensive roster of American diner classics.
There’s a range of omelets, benedicts, and biscuits on the savory side, and for any sweet tooth, chow down on pancakes, French toasts, or waffles. They offer tempeh as a protein choice, so it’s easy to make any meal veggie-friendly here.
The Hippie Hash is probably its most famous dish. It has a charmingly retro atmosphere, with red vinyl booths and checkered floors.
Bowdies Chophouse may be on the fancier side of dining out in Lansing, but that hasn’t stopped it from earning a reputation as one of the best places to eat in town. It’s a premier steakhouse that uses all the highest-quality cuts of meat to deliver if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply treat yourself.
The space has a rustic elegance, and they serve simple classic cocktails to pair with each plate. If steak isn’t your preference, there are plenty of other lighter bites to enjoy, like the pan-seared trout or half-roasted chicken.
It’s a great place to get a starter, though picking just one can be the hardest part. We like to go with the Seared Scallops or the Bone Marrow.
This is the premier farm-to-table place in all of Lansing. The menu changes based on seasonal availability, so it’s always an exciting experience.
They work directly with local farmers to create the freshest food possible. Open for lunch and dinner. They offer small plates, large plates, and burgers, all boasting impressive flavor combinations that are healthy and organic. Each dish is named after how it is cooked.
If you’re not too hungry, try the Crust, a black garlic coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin with cranberry jalapeno salsa and cider jus. Otherwise, chow down on the Poach, crispy Lake Superior walleye, smoked celery, and chamomile shrimp broth.
Crunchy’s is an old-school hotspot with down-home digs that keeps everyone coming back for more. It was the original craft beer bar in Lansing and is known for its epic weekend karaoke nights.
The focus is on cravable comfort foods, some of their own creation like the famous Pizza Nugs. The fact that you can order a bucket of food here says it all, and sometimes that’s just what’s needed.
It’s such an eclectic menu, so there’s something for everyone, from burgers and wraps to tacos and pizzas. The beer is of an equally impressive variety, with craft drafts from all over the country appearing on taps. You can’t miss this famous spot as it’s one of the best East Lansing restaurants.
This brewpub has creative pub fares and a few beautiful brunch offerings, making Hopcat a hotspot on the Lansing foodie scene. The massive beer list is the claim to fame, with over 40 delicious drafts on tap at any given time.
The shareable selections make ideal snacking, from the Smoked Salmon Dip to the Buffalo Rolls. Mains include sandwiches, smash burgers, tacos, and mac and cheeses. Don’t fret if you’re meat-free. There are plenty of plates to pick from, like the Crunchy Buddha Bowl.
It has a funky neighborhood feel, with local artwork adorning the walls and twinkle lights twisted around sticker-clad columns.
The Black Cat Bistro
Head to the Black Cat Bistro in East Lansing for New American eats. It offers a contemporary atmosphere of relaxed elegance. The Sunday brunch has become quite the local tradition.
Their main aim is to provide a high-end meal at an affordable price for a perfectly balanced experience out on the town. Be sure to pop in for a happy hour here, which usually consists of half-off apps, discounted mules, and drafts. Wine Up Wednesday is especially popular, with entire bottles for a small portion of the price.
The snacks are all delicious, from the poutine to the bruschetta. You can’t go wrong with any pasta dishes for more of a feast.
The English Inn
At times, when you least anticipate it, you stumble upon a corner of the globe where time appears to have frozen in place. In this special place,, where the fast-paced world is left behind and the lingering flavor of a delightful Burgundy is all that matters.
The English Inn, situated along the Grand River in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, is that place. This is one of the best restaurants in Lansing if you looking for a fine dining experience. Have a special event, need lots of space for a part? This is the place. Pair their signature rib eye with a wine off their extensive and award winning wine list, or go fancy with escargot. They have it all here!
Nip N Sip Drive In
- Cuisine: Drive In
- Address: 2603 N East St, Lansing (GPS)
- Price: $
For an old-school drive-thru joint offering classic American eats like burgers, wings, subs & shakes check out Nip N Sip Drive-In. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s delicious. Order right from your car and have your food brought out to you – just like in the bygone days! Make sure to order the Hammy Sammy and Jalapeno Poppers (if you’re not counting calories that is).
What is Lansing Known For?
Lansing is the capital of Michigan and home to Michigan State University, one of the most well-known universities in the country. There are plenty of small towns that make up the “Greater Lansing Area.”
What are some of the most iconic restaurants in Lansing?
There are a few Lansing institutions of note. Most notably was DeLucas, a pizza restaurant that operated in Lansing for over 60 years, but sadly that is now closed. Other iconic places are The Peanut Barrel, Meat Southern BBQ, Golden Harvest, and El Oasis Food Truck.
Where are the best restaurants in Lansing for date night?
The English Inn, Sansu, The Creole, Capital Prime, The People’s Kitchen
Where are the best restaurants in Lansing that deliver?
Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern, Leo’s Outpost, and El Oasis all deliver. DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub all operate in Lansing.
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