Special occasions call for an elegant ambiance and exceptional cuisine. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, residents and visitors can discover elegant restaurants celebrating innovative culinary preparation and presentation. Explore the following five restaurants that offer exquisite cuisine and service to make your next special occasion a memorable one.
With a globally inspired, chef-driven menu and a highly curated collection of wines, Divani is a must-visit destination in Grand Rapids.
Entrees are sumptuous specialties ranging from barbecued Maple Leaf Farms duck with sweet potato, lima bean, and sweet corn succotash to a pan-seared 6-ounce filet mignon with a green peppercorn demi-glace. Lighter fare includes vegetable risotto and shrimp and grits.
With its robust selection of reds and whites, Divani delivers exceptional wines to pair with its dishes. Just ask the wait staff for recommendations. Classic cocktails blend with bartender creations bearing intriguing names, such as Pick Your Poison and Poprock Punch.
For larger gatherings and special celebrations, Divani offers several private event spaces by reservation. These spaces are ideal for wedding receptions, dinners, and other activities.
Address: 15 Ionia Ave. SW, Suite 130
Introduce your taste buds to the culinary traditions of northern Michigan at Forty Pearl. Initially opened by Ed and Robert Brengman as a tasting room for the pair's award-winning wines, Forty Pearl has since become a hub for culinary innovation under the direction of Executive Chef Taylor Boeschenstein.
The dishes at Forty Pearl reflect an abundance of fresh ingredients and creative preparations. The freshest catches from Michigan abound on the menu with specialties like a yellow belly lake perch and Faroe Island salmon. Handhelds include the venison burger with bacon-onion jam and garlic aioli.
Desserts are something you genuinely shouldn't pass up. For example, the chocolate fudge brownie is a stellar creation, featuring a decadent chocolate brownie topped with peanut butter chips, caramel, sea salt, and vanilla whipped cream.
Forty Pearl takes pride in offering guests an exceptional selection of wine, craft beer, and cocktails. From Pinot Noir to Riesling, you'll find just the right wine to pair with your meal.
Address: 40 Pearl St. NW
Haute at Mertens Prime
Experience Grand Rapids from new heights at Haute, the rooftop deck at the French brasserie Mertens Prime. The 49-seat deck offers guests unobstructed, 180-degree views of the Grand Rapids skyline from nine stories above the city. Its popularity as one of the most romantic dining spots in Grand Rapids hasn't waned since Haute opened to the public in 2018.
A special rooftop menu allows guests to sample small plates in a tapas-inspired style. Creative interpretations of the French-Canadian specialty poutine will delight diners of all food persuasions. The São Paulo version delivers bursts of flavor with garlic chimichurri, sirloin, and lemon accompanying the delectable cheese curds. The steak frites selection pairs a perfectly cooked 10-ounce sirloin with hand-cut frites served with bearnaise or chimichurri sauce.
For lighter bites, sample the Camembert and truffle cheeses from Marin Farms accompanied by a house-made spread. Indulge in shrimp cocktail or a half dozen or dozen oysters. Wrap up your dining experience with a sweet bite of beignets and a freshly prepared milkshake.
Haute's spritzes are simply refreshing and elegantly crafted. Haute's beverage artists start with a base, add Champagne and a little sparkling water, and serve a drink that's as festive as the occasion you're celebrating.
Seating at Haute is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The restaurant staff makes one table open for reservation on limited dates. These reservations come with a pre-paid food and beverage minimum. Guests can also book the Haute dining space for private events.
Haute is open seven days a week, weather and event dependent, beginning at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. on the weekends.
Address: 35 Oakes St. SW
Leo's Seafood Restaurant and Bar
Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Leo's Seafood Restaurant and Bar invites guests to experience an intimate and elegant dining destination. Since opening in 2004, Leo's has taken pride in sourcing quality ingredients, carefully crafting menus, and offering various curated wines, cocktails, and local craft beers.
As you explore the menu, you'll find extraordinary dishes that resound with a balance of flavors and ingredients. Lunch options include a host of sandwich and entree selections such as seafood, Jambalaya, pesto chicken, and a halibut sandwich. Exceptional seafood stars in several dynamic dishes on the dinner menu ranging from shrimp and crab risotto to steamed Maine lobster. Heartier specialties include a New Zealand rack of lamb served with dried cherry demi-glace.
Leo's is open for dining service Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Parking is available in the Monroe Center parking ramp located above the restaurant.
Address: 60 Ottawa Ave. NW
Pronounced Madrid, this lavish Spanish-inspired restaurant will treat you and your date to a phenomenal dining experience. Located on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, the ambiance will have you celebrating Spanish food and drink in grand form.
A curated selection of tapas features the freshest ingredients in imaginative flavor pairings. Expressive entrees include specialties such as roasted Iberian pork belly, beef tenderloin steak with piquillo pepper and black garlic sauce, and a piquant interpretation of paella.
A medley of cocktails offers libations to suit any special occasion, and wines from the impressive wine list reflect the finest Spanish wines. End your dining experience on a sweet note with a decadent dessert. Don't pass up the Crema Catalana, a luscious baked custard infused with citrus and cinnamon and accented with a caramelized sugar crust.
Host your next gathering at the private event space. The experience also includes access to the private balcony overlooking the city and a chef-curated tasting menu.
Address: 187 Monroe Ave. NW
The next time you're seeking a special place to celebrate an equally special occasion, make your reservation at one of the above fine dining establishments in Grand Rapids. What did you think about our list of restaurants? Is there one you think we should include? Write to us and let us know. At Goodman Acker P.C., our personal injury lawyers take pleasure in sharing information about the dynamic businesses and cultural attractions that call our Grand Rapids community home.