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Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Chicago, Illinois
3 posts
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Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

We've been to South Haven a couple of times already and haven't been that impressed with the dining choices. For instance, Clementine's always has a long line of people waiting to get in, but we weren't impressed with the food. Any suggestions for good food at a decent price in either downtown South Haven or outskirts ?

We're planning on going in a few weeks.

Thanks!

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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Clementine's
Clementine's
1,211 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Taste
££ - £££, Sushi, American, International
Clementine's
££ - £££, Seafood, Pub, Soups
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
43 posts
26 reviews
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1. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

I am in South Haven frequently and the quality of dining changes from year to year. Tellos, a bit north of town on North Shore Drive almost to the highway, is generally consistantly good from year to year. The Italian food there is creative and delicious but Tellos suffers occasional lapses in service. This, frankly, drives me crazy when I dine in a restaurant. The decor is dark but comfortable, easy on the eye.

The North Beach Inn, all the way at the southern end of the north beach peninsula, is also serving Italian. Their food is different than Tellos, lighter, the menu has non-Italian options too. In summer the outside porch is nice for sitting and eating too. NBI is under new management, so if you suffered some of the hijinx of the last two decades there, try again. Service is generally excellent, but the decor is tacky, beachy, ill-advised, the outside now peppered with unsightly beer banners and other eyejunk. They serve a great breakfast there too.

Fish Tale, directly across the street from NBI, is just the old 3Pelicans with a new name. Same old tasteless dinners at high prices. Best view of any restaurant in town, though, (river views) and I always recommend the outside deck for lunch (hard to screw up), and especially the great potato skins. The staff is young unskilled college kids, working hard, bearable on the deck but makes you pull your hair out if you are spending the big dollars to sit inside for some awful/pricey dinner.

Captain Lou's Cantina, smack under the drawbridge, is the coolest place for a burger and beer. No healthy food options at all though, none, nil, zilch.

Thirsty Perch on Broadway isn't good, period. Awful food, smoky

air, always. Skip it.

Breakfast or lunch at Phoenix Street Cafe is always wonderful.

Skip the Harborside Bistro on the marina/park corner of Phoenix.

It's terrible, consistantly.

Hawkshead is the big performer in 2006. It's had some struggling years but has put it all together this year. It's at the golf course.

Fabulous meals (the seared tuna, OMG!), knowledgable service,

serene decor. I eat there every time I go to SH.

If you want to drive a bit further, The Blue Moon and Everyday people Cafe in Douglas are both outstanding. Especially EPC, which is the best restaurant in western MI, IMHO. Outside of SH there is also Su Case, a great mexican place, in Fennville. Also The Bistro in Paw Paw, fabulous.

That help?

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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Captain Lou's
Captain Lou's
256 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Phoenix Street Cafe
Phoenix Street Cafe
343 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Phoenix
Phoenix
Central Arizona, AZ
HawksHead Restaurant
HawksHead Restaurant
198 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
43 posts
26 reviews
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2. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention The Idler. This is that old, creaky riverboat at the Old Harbor Village. That place is wonderful for the young set (or anybody) who enjoy cocktails and some upbeat music while docked in the river. Sit upstairs and do that. Downstairs is the restaurant, which I heartily caution you about. I haven't eaten there in many many years, since I got a very bad case of food poisoning there. It's filthy (you can see inside the disgusting gally kitchens), it stinks, but they imagined themselves a white-tablecloth type of restaurant and the prices were high. It's a dump. Don't eat there.

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Old Harbor Inn
Old Harbor Inn
168 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Chicago, Illinois
3 posts
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3. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Windy City Girl,

Thanks so much for all the info you provided. I'll print this off and take it with us when we go.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
19 reviews
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4. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

I think WCG is hitting the mark. Two additions or comments. Phoenix Street Cafe is opening for dinner, if not now, soon. They'll also have a cocktails. The people that run that will make it top notch. Rumor has it Tello's is moving into Phoenix st. cafe's old building. Hawkshead would be my choice, or head to Saugatuck Douglas. Mermaid is fun on the waterfront for lunch there. Everyday people and Bluemoon are my favorites.

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Phoenix Street Cafe
Phoenix Street Cafe
343 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Phoenix
Phoenix
Central Arizona, AZ
HawksHead Restaurant
HawksHead Restaurant
198 Reviews
South Haven, MI
Saugatuck
Saugatuck
Allegan County, MI
Chicago, Illinois
3 posts
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5. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Rono,

Thanks for your added input. I've added your suggestions to my list.

Destination Expert
for South Haven
Level Contributor
828 posts
258 reviews
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6. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

not much to add to the above experts....agree wholeheartedly on hawkshead....delightful food, great service, lovely atmosphere....

tellos has a great wine list & salad but i've found the service sub par...personally i love clems....can't go to south haven without the short peg of onion rings and the delish walleye!! sorry you didn't care for it....we put our names on the list then wander the town or recharge with iced lattes at the bear claw or the real deal at julias....vineyard pizza is an dank atmosphere but my older kids just HAVE to eat there when they come with us...not a bad pie....skip the pasta though *ICK*

i love a beer in the sun at capt lou's......but a healthier lunch would be a picnic from the north shore deli just up the street....take it to packard park for the best view in town!!!

and phoenix inn has the best breakfast....dont' miss the "haven fries"

and the only thing they forgot is topping it off with a visit to shermans for ice cream!!

chicago west suburbs
1 post
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7. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

It has been a while since this post started, but ...

We just visited South haven Saturday, January 27 looking at rental properties. We had an excellent lunch at the new Tellos in town. Very good fresh Italian at very reasonable prices. It was mid afternoon so they were not busy but service was good and friendly. A nice addition to downtown dining choices. I must also say that I agree with nearly all of the posts on the other in town establishments both good and bad. At least they are consistent!

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South Haven
South Haven
Van Buren County, MI
Chicago, IL
1 post
2 reviews
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8. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Seawolf Restaurant and Bar is by far the best food in town. They are only open in the summer (May-Oct??) They are North of town and specialie in seafood, steaks and wine, The chef is from Chicago and he is GREAT!

Terry Cliber

San Jose

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Chicago
Chicago
Illinois
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

Sea Wolf has NOT been mentioned by me or the other posters on this forum topic because we have been kind. We have only spoken of the restaurants we recommend highly. Dinner at The Sea Wolf is priced WAY beyond it's muddy unpaved lot, skanky decor, untrained service, pompous/clueless owner (he'll come a-braggin about himself to your table, trust me) and terrible food. It cost 3-4 times as much to eat in this flea-bag, old-highway dump as anywhere else mentioned and it's absolutely not worth it. (Whew, glad I got that out of my system.)

Don't eat thereAnd the attached "inn"? OMG, have you seen the movie Psycho?

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
19 reviews
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10. Re: Need dining recommendations for South Haven area

So princess, How do you really feel ; )