Looking for the best places to eat in the New Buffalo, Michigan area? Check out this list of the best restaurants, dining views, and delicious desserts in the New Buffalo/Michigan City (IN) area.
New Buffalo, Michigan, is a charming town nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan. Located just 90 minutes from Chicago, the peaceful relaxed atmosphere & beautiful sandy beaches make New Buffalo a popular Midwest destination.
Michigan City, Indiana, located just across the state border from New Buffalo, is another gem on the southern shores of Lake Michigan.
Michigan City offers a mix of outdoor activities, shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The city is also home to portions of Indiana Dunes National and State Parks.
If you’re reading this, I am guessing you already know most of the information above and are looking for the best places in the area to eat! I am sharing the best New Buffalo & Michigan City restaurants – from casual to fancy, pricy to inexpensive, outdoor eating, water views, dessert, drinks, and more!
And yes, I have actually eaten at the majority of the restaurants on this list. And the restaurants on this list that I haven’t tried quite yet are on my foodie bucket list!
New Buffalo Restaurants
1. The Stray Dog
One of our favorite restaurants in the area, we have never had a bad meal at The Stray Dog! The food (classic American fare like burgers, sandwiches, and salads) is delicious, the service is excellent, and the theme is fun! And it is just a short walk from the beach.
The Stray Dog has an awesome rooftop, but the only downside (for us at least) is that the rooftop is 21+, so you can’t sit outside if you have kids with you.
2. Beer Chruch Brewing Co.
Enjoy woodfired pizza & award-winning brews at this unique dining location with a great atmosphere that was formerly a Civil War-era church. Enjoy lunch or dinner any day of the week or check out the Sunday Funday Brunch.
Beer Church is another restaurant with a great outdoor patio, and they recently expanded their outdoor “beer garden” with an upper-level deck, so there is now more outdoor seating available.
As with Stray Dog, all of the outdoor seating at Beer Chruch is 21+, so you will have to sit inside if you have children with you.
3. Bentwood Tavern
Located in the Marina Grand Resort, this upscale restaurant features a seasonal menu of farm-to-table dishes, craft cocktails, and an extensive wine list.
We have not been to Bentwood Tavern yet, but we have some friends who have eaten there and felt that it was a bit overpriced for what you get.
Bentwood Tavern is newly renovated for summer 2023. Make reservations if you plan to eat here during the summer months or on a weekend, as it is very popular. If the weather is nice, sit outside and enjoy the marina views!
4. Brewsters Italian Cafe
This cozy Italian restaurant offers classic dishes like pasta, pizza, and seafood, as well as a good selection of wine and coffee drinks. They have a nice outdoor patio with heaters for cooler days.
I recommend making reservations if you want to eat here because the first time we went (on an uncrowded afternoon) they acted surprised that we had not made reservations.
5. Casey’s Bar & Restaurant
Casey’s is conveniently located on Whittaker Street in downtown New Buffalo.
This casual sports bar and grill serves up American pub fare like burgers, wings, and sandwiches, as well as craft beers and cocktails. We ate at Casey’s in the winter, but they do have a large patio for warmer days and often have live music in the summer.
Overall, we thought the food and service were so-so, but the cheese curds and onion rings were excellent. I would go again for drinks and apps in the outdoor seating area!
This iconic burger joint has been a local favorite since 1975 and is known for its juicy, hand-pattied burgers and homemade onion rings.
We had seen the large billboards advertising Redamak’s many times and finally decided to give the classic restaurant a try! The restaurant is HUGE and has a nostalgic feel. We thought the food was pretty good and the prices were reasonable.
One thing to note – they are a cash-only establishment, so make sure to bring cash or a personal check or be prepared to use their ATM.
7. Sonny D’s Bar & Grill
Sonny D’s opened summer of 2023. It is on the corner of US 12 and Whittaker Street.
We tried it for the first time in December 2023 and enjoyed it. The ambiance was nice and the food was really good. We ordered a chicken sandwich and a burger with fries and both meals were excellent.
We are excited to go back in the summer and sit on the spacious patio along Whittaker Street.
8. Song Asian Cuisine
Serving both Chinese and Japanese food, Song Asian Cuisine is your go-to for sushi and other authentic Asian food. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options.
I have not personally tried out Song, but friends of ours frequent the restaurant and said, “The sushi is excellent. Some of the other dishes can be hit or miss. The service is outstanding, and the restaurant has a fun atmosphere.”
9. Villa Nova Pizzeria
Villa Nova Pizzeria is a family-owned Italian restaurant.
The menu at Villa Nova Pizzeria offers a wide variety of Italian dishes, including pasta, salads, sandwiches, and of course, pizza. The pizza is made with a thin, crispy crust and topped with fresh ingredients like mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and various meats and vegetables.
So far, we have only ordered Villa Nova pizza to go, but we would love to dine in next time because both the indoor and outdoor seating areas look charming.
10. Rios Mexican Grill
Rios is one of those hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are super simple but have incredible food. The burritos are amazing, and everything tastes fresh. The prices are reasonable and the portions are good.
Rios Mexican Grill #1 is in New Buffalo. It’s a small building with no indoor dining. There are a few outdoor tables, but most people opt for takeout. There is another Rios location in Michigan City.
Rios is very popular and can get really busy, so try to go at an off time if possible.
11. Terrace Room Restaurant
Terrace Room Restaurant is located in the Harbor Grand Hotel. This elegant restaurant offers a variety of made-from-scratch, upscale dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, as well as an extensive wine list.
The restaurant partners with local farmers and makers to create weekly features, selecting items based on harvest time.
The staff is knowledgeable and professional and the atmosphere of the restaurant is lovely. There is a quaint outdoor terrace with water views, or you can dine inside.
Terrace Room gets very busy, so I recommend making reservations well in advance if possible.
12. Skip’s Restaurant & Catering
Skip’s Restaurant & Catering is an award-winning, family-owned steakhouse that has been serving New Buffalo residents and visitors for 50 years.
From hand-carved steaks or prime rib to seafood or crusted chicken breast, Skip’s has a good variety and is a great option if you are looking for a high-quality meal.
Skip’s is north of downtown between New Buffalo and Union Pier.
13. Ghost Isle Brewery
Ghost Isle Brewery is a family-friendly restaurant, craft brewery, and bar. The brewery is spacious, has a contemporary vibe, and offers a lot of seating, both indoors and on an outdoor patio overlooking wetlands.
The brewery offers a variety of craft beers, all made on-site with high-quality ingredients. Some of the standout beers include the Ghost Isle IPA, the Blueberry Wheat Ale, and the Coconut Porter.
In addition to beer, Ghost Isle Brewery also offers a selection of food and appetizers. We have eaten at Ghost Isle one time with our two young kids. We had to eat inside and did not have the best service. And the food wasn’t very good, BUT I would go back for drinks and an appetizer on the patio because it looked fun and vibrant and had great views.
14. Hummingbird Lounge
The Hummingbird Lounge is a cozy and intimate cocktail bar located in New Buffalo, Michigan. The lounge has a stylish and sophisticated interior and also offers seating on an outdoor deck and garden.
The lounge offers a variety of expertly crafted cocktails, all made with high-quality ingredients and premium spirits. Wine and Mighigan-made beer and cider are also available.
Hummingbird Lounge also serves food – a selection of locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and proteins, served in shareable size portions.
Hummingbird Lounge offers a kid’s menu and is family-friendly until 8 pm and then transitions to adults-only by 9 pm.
Breakfast & Brunch
15. Jackie’s Cafe
Jackie’s Cafe is a cozy and charming breakfast and lunch spot located in New Buffalo, Michigan. The restaurant has a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options.
The food at Jackie’s Cafe is served fresh, made-to-order, and created by the famous Chicago Chef, Jackie Shen. The restaurant also offers a selection of coffee and tea.
Check out Jackie’s Back Door Bakery for treats, desserts, and to-go meals.
16. David’s Delicatessen & Coffee
David’s Delicatessen is a family-owned deli located in New Buffalo, Michigan. The deli has been serving customers since 1985 and is best known for its Reubens and sandwiches.
The atmosphere of the deli is cozy and casual, with a friendly and welcoming vibe.
The menu at David’s Delicatessen offers a variety of classic deli sandwiches, including tuna, corned beef, salami, ham, and turkey. The sandwiches are made with fresh, locally-sourced, high-quality ingredients, and can be customized to your liking.
The deli is a popular breakfast spot as well. The breakfast menu includes bagels, breakfast sandwiches, coffee, espresso, tea, muffins, and pastries.
Coffee & Dessert
17. Oinks Dutch Treat
This family-owned restaurant is known for its homemade ice cream and other sweet treats. They also serve up classic diner fare like burgers, hot dogs, and fries.
We love Oinks – there is a huge variety of ice cream flavors and the unique decor and ambiance make it fun and memorable.
18. Twisted Frozen Yogurt
Twisted Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop conveniently located on Whittaker St. in New Buffalo.
Customers can choose from a rotating selection of frozen yogurt flavors. After selecting your frozen yogurt flavor, you can toppings, which include fresh fruit, candy, cereal, and dozens of other options.
You pay by ounce, so you can choose as many different flavors and toppings as you want.
The frozen yogurt is gluten-free and made with clean ingredients. There are also dairy-free, vegan-friendly, and sugar-free options available. They also offer pup cups for your furry friends, as well.
I haven’t tried Twisted yet because I didn’t know much about it before writing this, and we always go to either Oinks or Nancy’s, but I am trying it out next time we are in the area!
Nancy’s is close to New Buffalo Beach and offers Chicago-style hot dogs, typical beach shack food, and a huge variety of ice cream flavors.
The food is not gourmet, but for the prime location and crowds that Nancy’s gets, I think the prices are fair. Nancy’s can get very busy in the summer, and the service is kind of hit or miss, so be prepared to potentially wait a while for your food.
The restaurant has some indoor seating, but it is pretty crowded. Most people opt to order at the outdoor window and either sit on the outdoor patio or take their food to go.
We love the ice cream at Nancy’s, and the “famous” strawberry shakes do live up to the hype. The onion rings and cheese curds are our favorite food items on the menu!
Normally I wouldn’t recommend a chain restaurant/coffee shop, but the Starbucks in New Buffalo is unique because it is located in the beautiful Michigan Mercantile Building and features a huge mural along the side and back of the building.
Make sure to check out the Mick Klüg Farmstand, a third-generation family farm market in the building behind Starbucks. The market opens in the summer and offers hand-harvested fruit, vegetables, flowers, cider, and baked goods.
If the weather is nice, sit out back in the beautiful courtyard and enjoy your coffee and fresh produce!
Michigan City Restaurants
1. Bartlett’s Fish Camp
Bartlett’s Fish Camp is a seafood restaurant located along Trail Creek near Washington Park Beach in Michigan City. The restaurant has a rustic and welcoming atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options.
The menu at Bartlett’s Fish Camp features a variety of seafood dishes, all made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Some of the standout dishes include the fish tacos, the shrimp po’boy, and the lobster roll.
The restaurant also offers a selection of craft beers and wines to pair with your meal. Bartlett’s Fish Camp is known for its friendly service and reasonable prices, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
We went to Bartlett’s Fish Camp on a summer evening after spending the day at the beach. I am not a big seafood person, but I enjoyed the chicken sandwich and the outdoor dining with a view!
2. Matey’s Bar & Restaurant
Matey’s Bar & Restaurant is a large establishment with a fun and colorful atmosphere.
The lower level of the restaurant is an indoor sports bar. The Tiki Deck section of Matey’s is a large Florida Keys-themed outdoor deck with views of Lake Michigan. An upper-level deck, the Crow’s Nest, is the highest point of the establishment and offers the best views.
The menu at Matey’s features a variety of American food, including fried appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and seafood. Matey’s also offers a selection of beer, wine, margaritas, daiquiris, and cocktails.
We have eaten at Matey’s twice. The restaurant wasn’t the cleanest, the service was so-so, and the food was not great in our opinion.
3. Bridges Waterside Grill
Bridges is a dockside restaurant serving sandwiches, wraps, burgers, seafood, salads, vegetarian & gluten-free food.
The restaurant is located along Trail Creek with views of a historic Amtrak bridge. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the public beach at Washington Park. The majority of the restaurant seating is outdoors, but there is an indoor section as well.
We have eaten at Bridges a couple of times. The views are decent, the outdoor seating is nice, the food is good, and it is very family-friendly.
4. Sunset Grille
Sunset Grill is on Washington Park Beach in Michigan City. This seasonal concession and rooftop cantina is a great place to get drinks or a quick bite to eat during a day at the beach.
Expect a basic menu and no thrills, but the rooftop area is comfy & spacious and has great views of Lake Michigan and the beach (especially at sunset)!
5. Panini Panini
Panini Panini is a European-style bistro in Michigan City, and it is a very popular lunch spot.
The menu features a mix of classic European food, sandwiches, pastas, and a variety of desserts. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available on the menu.
The restaurant is cute and cozy inside, and there is a small outdoor patio. The food is delicious and tastes very fresh. Anytime we have been there, we have found that everyone who works there is so friendly!
6. Leed’s Public House
Leeds Public House is a nice restaurant & pub located in a 100-year-old building in downtown Michigan City. The building has been completely renovated and is beautiful inside.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor bars and a spacious outdoor patio with a fire pit.
The menu includes a good variety of quality food options made from locally sourced ingredients, as well as 14 beers on tap, wines, and craft cocktails.
We ate at Leed’s Public House in early spring before the patio was open. I enjoyed the ambiance of the beautiful, historic building and thought the food was really good. I would eat there again!
7. El Cajete
El Cajete is a family-owned restaurant that serves fresh, authentic Mexican food made with recipes from Atlixco, Mexico.
The restaurant isn’t fancy, but the food is really good, and the margarita I had was perfect. I recommend the queso dip as well. The complimentary chips and salsa were good too.
El Cajete has great prices. We were pleasantly surprised with how inexpensive our meals and margaritas were. We will be back!
8. Shoreline Brewery
Shoreline Brewery is family-owned and independently run by its original founder. It is located less than a mile from Washington Park Beach in Michigan City.
The brewery has a charming, historic vibe, both on the exterior and interior.
In addition to craft beer, Shoreline also offers crafted cocktails, wine, and mules. The brewery also serves a wide variety of American food and is a family-friendly and smoke-free environment.
9. Fiddlehead Restaurant
Fiddlehead is located in downtown Michigan City. The restaurant offers a warm and cozy atmosphere and serves up classic American dishes.
The menu offers a wide variety of options, including grass-fed burgers and steaks, lobster rolls, salads, and many unique choices. Gluten-free and vegan options are available as well.
I have not eaten at Fiddlehead yet, but my brother-in-law has dined in and said the food, ambiance, and service were all very good.
10. Holly’s Restaurant & Pub
Holly’s Restaurant and Pub is a cozy and casual family-owned-and-operated restaurant. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The menu at Holly’s features a variety of classic American dishes, including burgers, sandwiches, homemade soups and salads, and seafood. There are select Mexican specialties and BBQ favorites as well. Holly’s is well-known for its French Dip sandwiches.
In addition to the main menu, Holly’s also offers a selection of appetizers, soups, and desserts, as well as a variety of beers and cocktails. The restaurant is known for its friendly service and reasonable prices, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
Breakfast & Brunch
11. The Lighthouse Restaurant
Lighthouse Restaurant is across from Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, making it a good place to eat before or after shopping.
The menu at The Lighthouse Restaurant features a variety of breakfast and dinner options. Breakfast is served all day.
The interior of the restaurant is decorated with a lighthouse theme. There is also seating available on the outdoor patio.
My husband took our boys out to breakfast at the Lighthouse Restaurant and said that both the food and the service were great.
12. Lakeshore Coffee & Specialties
Lakeshore Coffee & Specialties is located next to the outlet mall in Michigan City. A large selection of coffees and treats have been served here for over 25 years.
Choose your favorite drink from the full-service espresso bar prepared by trained baristas. Pair it with a fresh pastry, baked good, or breakfast sandwich.
Lakeshore Coffee & Specialties also serves Italian-inspired lunch paninis prepared to your liking.
Both indoor and outdoor dining options are offered, along with always free Wi-Fi.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best New Buffalo or Michigan City restaurants with water views?
There are multiple New Buffalo and Michigan City restaurants with water views:
- The Stray Dog
- Bentwood Tavern
- Terrace Room
- Sunset Grille
- Bartlett’s Fish Camp
- Bridges Waterside Grille
- Matey’s Bar & Restaurant
Best ice cream in New Buffalo?
Oink’s Dutch Treat is the best place to get ice cream in New Buffalo. But shakes at Nancy’s are excellent as well.
What are the best wineries & breweries in the New Buffalo area?
There are several great wineries and breweries near New Buffalo, Michigan:
- Beer Church Brewing Co. (New Buffalo)
- Ghost Isle Brewery (New Buffalo)
- Journeyman Distillery (Three Oaks, MI) – about 7 miles from New Buffalo
- Shoreline Brewery (Michigan City, IN) – about 10 miles from New Buffalo
- Greenbush Brewing Co. (Sawyer, MI) – about 11 miles from New Buffalo
- Round Barn Winery (Baroda, MI) – about 20 miles from New Buffalo
- Gravity Winery (Baroda, MI) – about 22 miles from New Buffalo
- Cultivate Brewing Company (Berrien Springs, MI) – about 22 miles from New Buffalo
Do I need to make reservations for restaurants in the New Buffalo area?
If there is a restaurant that you are very set on trying, I would recommend that you call ahead and ask if you can make reservations, especially if you want to dine at one of the fine-dining restaurants on this list.
The Stray Dog is a very popular New Buffalo restaurant but does not take reservations.
Which restaurants are within walking distance from New Buffalo Beach?
Any restaurant on Whittaker St. in New Buffalo would be a short walk (0.3-0.6 miles) from New Buffalo Beach. This includes Nancy’s, The Stray Dog, Casey’s Restaurant, Brewsters Italian, David’s Delicatessen and Coffee, Starbucks, and Beer Church Brewing Co.
The Terrace Room (0.4 miles), Bentwood Tavern (0.8 miles), Hummingbird Lounge (0.6 miles), and Oink’s Dutch Treat (0.7 miles) are also within walking distance.
If you are willing to walk a bit further along the highway (there is a sidewalk), Redamak’s is a 1-mile walk from the beach, and both Jackie’s Cafe and Rios Mexican Grill are about 1.2 miles away from the beach in the opposite direction.
I hope you enjoyed this list of New Buffalo & Michigan City restaurants!
Let me know which is your favorite and what you ordered!😋