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BEST DINING

Posted

Appetizers

Houlihan’s

Runners-up: Tavern on the Square and Beggar’s Banquet

The Houlihan’s chain location inside the Lansing Mall wasvoted Best Appetizers, after winning last year for Best Happy Hour. Most likelyit’s for the same reason: The Houlihan’s happy hour features select gourmetstarters for $6, including the lettuce wraps, the calamari and the sushi-ishtuna wontons. There are also a variety of small plates selections andhalf-sized salads that allow you to make a meal out of nothing but appetizers.5732 West Saginaw Highway, Lansing. (517) 323-3550


Asian food

Sansu Sushi & Cocktails

Runners-up: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Thai Food FromLamai’s Kitchen

The Best Asian Food winner, Sansu Sushi & Cocktails, isan event dining experience. When you visit, make sure to request the room inwhich you can sit in the shoeless section, which is basically an elevated areawith leg holes that give you the appearance of sitting on the floor. Dailyspecials allow newbies to gingerly work their way through the menu, and their 40-footlong sushi bar puts it in the running for the longest in town. Sushi not yourthing? They have a full menu of traditional cooked Asian food as well. 4750 S.Hagadorn Rd,, East Lansing. (517) 333-1933


Atmosphere

Golden Harvest

Runners-up: Dusty’s and Enso

Lansing loves it some Golden Harvest. The badassbreakfast/lunch place won in four categories, the most out of any otherrestaurant: Best Atmosphere, Best Bang for Your Buck, Best Diner, and BestBreakfast. Owner/pirate-at-heart Zane Vicknair and his band of cooks andwenches (ahem, waitstaff) have navigated the tchotchke-packed eatery into aLansing weekend mainstay. The line out the door of patient, friendly peopleseven days a week tells the rest of the story. And giving directions to afirst-timer couldn’t be easier: Just look for the Jolly Roger flag flying outfront. 1625 Turner Street,Lansing. (517) 485-3663


Bang for your buck:

Golden Harvest

Runners-up: Dagwood's, Nip n' Sip


Bar food

The Peanut Barrel

Runners-up: Dagwood’s and Irish Pub

The Peanut Barrel won for both Best Bar Food and Best Patiofor the second straight year. While the famous Rodeo Burger and chicken dishesare a cut above the rest of the late-night bar food fare, that patio ispractically a mid-Michigan institution. Seeing people on the patio has become asubiquitous a symbol of spring as the first robin—but earthworms have nothing ona cold draft beer. 521 East GrandRiver Ave., East Lansing.
(517) 351-0608


BBQ

Smokey Bones BBQ and Grille

Runners-up: Turkeyman and BYBQQ Downtown

For Best BBQ, our readers went with Eastwood Towne Center’sSmokey Bones BBQ and Grille, a chain restaurant owned by the Darden Restaurants(Red Lobster, Olive Garden). One cool service feature is its two sauces — thebrown-sugar-and-chili-tasting Original and corndog-like Carolina Mustard — thatarrive warm in syrup jars. And if you’re not a barbecue aficionado, there’s aswell combo platter that gives you a little of everything. 2401 Lake LansingRd., Lansing. (517) 316-9973


Bread/bakery

Roma Bakery

Runners-up: Great Harvest and Panera

Featuring everything from paczkis to pasta, Roma Bakery wasvoted for Best Bread/Bakery. For 35 years, Roma has specialized in a hugeselection of gourmet and European foods, groceries and bakery goods — and someof the best smells in town. Want something that will spice up dinner a littlebit tonight? Need a specialty cake? Just looking for a doughnut? Roma is theplace to get it. 428 North Cedar St., Lansing. (517) 485-9466


Breakfast

Golden Harvest

Runners-up: Sawyer's Pancakes, Fleetwood Diner


Burger

Bonnie’s Place

Runners-up: Peanut Barrel and Red Robin

Bonnie’s Place believes in putting the ham back intohamburger: Their half-pound burger is topped with a quarter-pound of finelyshaved ham, plus American cheese, Swiss cheese and whatever condiments youlike. (Spend the extra 50 cents to make it deluxe, and you get crisp lettuceand thick slices of tomato.) If the burger doesn’t fill you up, the generousportions of french fries and/or crisp onion rings will ensure you don’t leavewith an empty tummy. One more bonus: The waitstaff is exceptionally friendly.If you think bar food is synonymous with bad food, check out Bonnie’s Place andyou’ll think twice. 415 E. Saginaw St., Lansing. (517) 482-4404.


Causal dining

Deluca’s

Runners-up: Soup Spoon Cafe and Golden Harvest

Even though Deluca’s Restaurant has a full menu, thisItalian restaurant in north Lansing is synonymous with the word “pizza.” Forthe second year in a row, Deluca’s took top prize for Best Pizza, supplementingthat honor this year with Best Causal Dining as well. A Deluca’s pie is loadedwith toppings so thick you can sometimes barely see the cheese, and therelaxed, friendly waitstaff make this a pleasant night out any night of theweek (except Sunday, when they’re not open). 2006 W. Willow, Lansing. (517) 487-6087.


Chili

Beggar’s Banquet

Runners-up: Mayfair and Harrison Roadhouse

Remember in “Fried Green Tomatoes” how the secret of lifewas “in the sauce”? The secret of the chili at Beggar’s Banquet is in thespices: not just the chili powder, but the liberal sprinkling of cayenne pepperthat gives the dish a little something special. While many chefs toss groundbeef into their chili, Beggar’s Banquet uses shredded beef. The result issatisfyingly spicy without being so scorchingly hot that your tongue dials9-1-1. 218 Abbott Road, East Lansing. (517) 351-4540.


Cocktails

The Exchange

Runners-up: Tavern on the Square and Chrome Cat

The Exchange has 23 types of red, white and sparkling wineto choose from, eight single malt scotches, 20 specialty martinis, and a hostof high-end liqueurs that’ll buzz you up 10 ways ‘til Tuesday. No wonder theywere voted Best Cocktails. Oh yeah, there’s always live entertainment to keepyou moving and there’s never a cover. The chillaxing lounge upstairs is alow-key seating in which to share a bottle of bubbly with your friends or justpeople-watch the crowd below. 314 East Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 319-4500


Cup of Coffee

Biggby

Runners-up: Gone Wired Cafe and Mama Bear’s

With nearly two dozen locations in mid-Michigan and over 100franchises in the United States, Biggby — not Beaner’s, ya damnedreactionaries! — could have also been voted Most Prevalent Cafe in addition toBest Cup of Coffee. Biggby has kept many a caffeine habit alive and kicking,and led many mid-Michiganders to ask “Star-whats?” Its easy-to-navigatebeverage board and uber-friendly baristas make ordering a Skinny Skinny MochaMocha as easy easy as pie pie. 270 W Grand River Ave., East Lansing. (517)332-1471


Desserts

Grand Traverse Pie Company

Runners-up: Roma and Sugar Shack

Sure, Grand Traverse Pie Company has a whole menu ofsandwiches and soups, but our readers voted the Traverse City-based chain forBest Desserts. It’s all about, in a word, pie. Six types of cherry pie, fivekinds of apple pie, and different types of berry, peach, lemon meringue, creampies, and a revolving selection of seasonal pies enable you to go into GrandTraverse every day for a month and not get the same dessert twice. Go on — wedare you. 1403 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing. (517) 203-3304


Diner

Golden Harvest
Runners-up: Fleetwood Diner, Old Town Diner


Fries

Dagwood’s

Runners-up: McDonald's, Peanut Barrel


Gourmet Restaurant

Dusty’s Cellar

Runners-up: Knight Cap and Troppo

Dusty’s Cellar, voted Best Gourmet Restaurant, has slowlymade the transition over the years from a trendy restaurant to anall-encompassing, one-stop-shop upscale dining adventure. Dusty’s features anarray of seasonal dishes, along with special tasting events that allow you topair food with wine or beer. They offer private dining rooms and catering aswell, allowing you to create a unique dining experience for you and severaldozen of your closest friends. The in-house wine cellar and French bakery addto this restaurant’s European charm. 1839 West Grand River Ave., Okemos. (517)349-5150.


Italian:

Emil's

Runners-up: DeLuca's, Bravo!


Mexican:

Los Tres Amigos

Runners-up: El Azteco, Pablo's


Middle Eastern Food

Woody’s Oasis

Runners-up: Sultans and Aladdin’s Frandor

This year Woody’s Oasis won for both Best Middle Eastern andBest Vegetarian/Vegan Food. Woody’s has four locations in the Greater Lansingarea: on Grand River in East Lansing (which includes a full bar); in Okemos;the original location on Trowbridge; and the newest location, inside theInternational Center on MSU’s campus. If you somehow find you still can’t makeit to any of these, Woody’s products are also featured in a number of otherlocations around town, including Gone Wired Cafe and Better Health Foods. 970Trowbridge Rd., East Lansing. (517) 351-2280


New Restaurant

Michigan Brewing Co.

Runners-up: Enso, Downtown Doghouse and Maru Sushi

After keeping most of us on the edge of our seats for over ayear and a half, MBC finally opened last year. Apparently it was worth thewait. With a menu heavily leaning on fish and things that go well with theirlocally handcrafted beer, this satellite location of the Michigan BrewingCompany in Webberville has been slowly tweaking both beer and food menus sinceopening. Kudos to Maru Sushi, Downtown Dog House and Enso, which our readersalso welcomed to the scene. 402 S. Washington Sq., Lansing. (517) 977-1349.


Patio:

Peanut Barrel

Runners-up: Dublin Square, El Azteco


Pizza:

DeLuca's

Runners-up: Pizza House, Cottage Inn


Sandwich shop

Jersey Giant Subs

Runners-up: Jimmy Johns and Soup Spoon Cafe

You won’t need a lot of money to get a lot of food at oneof the many Jersey Giant Subs locations around town. The subs are piled highwith the meats and vegetables of your choice. For example, the Jersey Devilincludes roast beef, ham, turkey breast, salami, pepperoni, cheeses, capicola(Italian ham), prosciuttini (more spicy ham) and the additional fixings of yourchoice. Fifteen inches of that ought to tide over even the heartiest appetitesfor a while. Locations at 3019 E Saginaw St, Lansing (517) 351-1616; 529 EGrand River Ave, East Lansing (517) 332-2969; 3700 W Saginaw St # 2, Lansing (517) 323-6800; 2546 E JollyRd, Lansing (517) 327-1843; 3525 S Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Lansing(517) 882-2300; 1866 W Grand RiverAve, Okemos (517) 347-8400; 13157 Schavey Rd, Dewitt (517) 669-5452; 516 S Clinton St, Grand Ledge (517)622-4855; 2900 N Williamston Rd, Williamston (517) 655-9303; 23112 Allen Rd,Trenton, (734) 362-0575.


Seafood

Mitchell’s Fish Market

Runners-up: Red Lobster and San Su

If you like your fish to spend a couple weeks in thedeep-freeze before it makes it to your table, steer clear of Mitchell’s FishMarket. “We get deliveries six times a week,” says dining room manager JohnO’Meara, “so all the fish is fresh.” Top sellers include the ginger crustedAtlantic salmon, the hoisin-glazed yellowfin tuna and the Shang Hai seafoodsampler. Shang Hai is Mitchell’s signature way of preparing fish: First, it’ssteamed with fresh ginger and scallions, then it’s served with sticky rice,spinach and ponzu (rice wine soy sauce). You can even take home some seafoodfrom the restaurant’s Catch and Carry counter — although if you’ve got acraving for Asian carp, you’re out of luck. 2975 Preyde Boulevard, Lansing.(517) 482-3474.


Sports bar

Tripper’s

Runners-up: The Nuthouse, Champps and Buffalo Wild Wings

Billiards, arcade games, jerseys framed on the wall,photographs of stadiums, big-screen TVs — lots of them — conspire to makeTripper’s a favorite hangout for the big game. Beyond televised spectaclesthough, there’s plenty to do at Tripper’s, including games for those withoutmuch athletic ambition. The charity poker room gives couch-potato warriors avenue in which they can compete without breaking a sweat while contributing toa good cause. Plus, the bar is large and fun, the food is delicious, and withgreat-looking and friendly staff who make innovative and colorful drinks,Tripper’s is the perfect complement to a game (or an evening out) that has goneinto overtime. 350 Frandor Ave.,Lansing. (517) 336-0717.


Steak

The Knight Cap

Runners-up: Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steak House

There is no doubt that our voters think The Knight Cap hasthe Best Steak in Lansing — it received nearly three times as many votes as thesecond-place finisher. All beef is growth hormone- and antibiotic-free, is cutdaily in-house, and seasoned with a special blend of spices dubbed “blackmagic.” Every day there is a choice of six cuts, including the phenomenal SteakMedici, with additional steak specials to mix things up. 320 East MichiganAve., Lansing. (517) 484-7676.


Sushi:

Sansu

Runners-up:Ukai, Ai Fusion


Takeout

Bangkok House

Runners-up: Famous Taco and Rice Kitchen

City Pulse readers must have a yen for Thai food, becauseBangkok House was voted this year’s Best Takeout. Cheap, fast, and consistentwith the spiciness level, Bangkok House is a popular favorite call-in fordowntown workers who want something on the go besides cheeseburgers and chilidogs. And once you know your way around the menu, it’s easy to find items that willhelp you if you’re staying on the healthy side of things (Pad Thai, thevegetarian dishes) or if you don’t care about your calories (anything withcoconut milk). 420 East Saginaw St., Lansing. (517) 487-6900.


Vegan/vegetarian:

Woody's Oasis

Runners-up: Mama Bear's, Better Health Food Store

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