Just got back from a long weekend up Nort, around Charlevoix and Petoskey. Most of the places are pretty touristy and indistinguishable and uniformly overpriced, but one stood out because it was of very good quality: Whitecaps in Petoskey, where I had lunch and cocktails with a college (Michigan, Go Blue!) buddy while the wives shopped. Nice spot, tables outside with a scenic overlook of Little Traverse Bay so you don't feel so guilty drinking away a nice afternoon.
We ordered five appetizers: fried calamari, which was an excellent rendition. Nice and fresh, not rubbery in the least, with a garlicky crust and tart homemade marinara. Smoked whitefish spread - eh, just ok have certainly had better. Beef carpaccio, which was decent but unspectacular and a skimpy portion. Escargot, very tasty and garlicky and swimming in butter and toasted parmesan cheese. Lastly, a crabmeat cocktail - served in a martini glass with mango, avocado, and mascarpone cheese. The cheese was an unusual touch but it worked, very tasty little dish. This meal is still memorable four days later, can't say that about anyplace else we ate. Good, attentive service too - which is also unusual thereabouts.
215 Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770