The capital of Lansing, Michigan is one of the cities in the state with a wide selection of restaurants and cuisine types. However, if you’re just passing through you might not know where to find any of the stellar local restaurants hidden among all of the chains.
I believe that Lansing has a lot of authentic ethnic spots scattered throughout the city because of the nearby Michigan State University in East Lansing which brings a large number of international students annually. So whether you enjoy trying new foods, like having variety, or want to stick to American classics there is something here for you!
I lived in East Lansing for 7 years so this blog covers all of the best restaurants in Lansing that I was eating at time and time again!
1. Soup Spoon
Peep inside the lamb sliders! PC: Soup Spoon Cafe
This cute little brick-front cafe is a Lansing classic! Not only do they serve a variety of different homemade soups but their menu has a wide range of unique sandwiches and entrees.
Their bar has many Michigan beers on tap, craft cocktails, wine, and a fine whiskey menu featuring many regional distilleries.
I usually would go for lunch because the prices are a lot lower than the dinner menu but the food is just as tasty from either menu! I recommend ordering the empanadas, lamb sliders (so juicy!), or goat cheese points for appetizers.
As far as the entrees are concerned, try the Vegan Mushroom Ravioli that’s flavorful and addicting. The East Side Chicken is another nice choice that has a unique combination of ingredients! Or go for the Voodoo Pasta if you like cajun spice.
See their menu here to explore the rest!
Soup Spoon Cafe is open every day except Sunday from 8 am to 9 pm.
2. Golden Harvest
Golden Harvest is a diner open for brunch with funky and eclectic decor inside and out. If you are a foodie, this is one of the best restaurants in Lansing and also a Michigan hidden gem that you must try!
Their food is killer, the portions are massive, prices are decent, and they have a rotating specials menu with unique combinations to try.
If you come randomly during the weekends you will need to bring some patience and make sure you aren’t starving. Expect at least a 1-2 hour wait and an additional hour to get your food served. It’s such a small space that the only place you can wait is outside.
However, if you time your visit right and go during the week or get there at least 30 minutes before they open you should be able to get in without a wait.
Note: They only accept cash payments.
3. Bell’s Greek Pizza
The spinach and feta is by far the best flavor! PC: Bell’s Greek Pizza
Bell’s Greek Pizza is one of the best restaurants in Lansing for pizza!
It’s a student favorite that is most famous for its pizza-by-the-slice that comes in several different flavors that vary depending on the day. They also sell traditional greek dishes and grinders.
My favorite is the Greek pizza that has spinach and feta. If you want your pizza super fresh and customized order a deep-dish pie. The ingredients are always quality!
Some of the best sides I’ve eaten from Bell’s are the stuffed grape leaves, tiramisu, and baklava.
If you come on Wednesday you’ll get 50% off all individual slices!
They also offer a really good gluten-free crust too.
Bell’s Greek Pizza is open Sunday to Wednesday from 10 am to 11 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 1 am.
4. Lansing Brewing Company
A beer flight is the best way to get out of your comfort zone! PC: Lansing Brewing Company
Lansing Brewing Company is one of the best restaurants in Lansing for a fun atmosphere that is perfect for watching sporting events or socializing. They serve elevated bar food and craft beers including beer flights and it’s conveniently located across from the Lansing River Walk downtown.
The space is modern industrial and there is a nice outdoor seating area that has a fireplace.
I love trying the pale ales and hard ciders that are on tap by ordering a flight before committing to a glass.
You have to try the Paved Gold Cheese Dip to start things off! It comes with wonton chips and soft pretzel bites to dip in the beer cheese.
Their main entree menu is huge and everything I’ve tried is good so it’s always hard to decide but if I have to narrow down my suggestions I would say either the OG Chicken & Waffles, Gabe’s Mac N Cheese, or the Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese if you want something very savory and indulgent.
It can get busy during big games and around lunchtime so come early or make a reservation! Even if there is a wait it has never been a bad experience for me and once seated the food seems to come in a decent time.
They are open every day from 12 pm to 11 pm.
See Lansing Brewing Company’s menu here.
5. East Cafe
This just scratches the surface of how many dishes they have! PC: East Cafe
If you want authentic Hong Kong and Chinese East Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Lansing for it!
The dishes aren’t too greasy, they use fresh herbs and spices in all of their dishes, and the quality of the meat seems much higher than the Americanized Chinese restaurants that tend to feel processed and mushy. The prices here are also fantastic for the large amounts that are served to you.
The menu is thoroughly overwhelming so there are sure to be more than enough options to find something you’ll love! I personally enjoy the basil beef with green beans. The flavor is SO unique and the basil comes straight from their garden.
The spice level here will not be tamed unless you ask so pay attention to the spice levels listed next to each dish on the menu.
Again, there are so many choices so have a look at their reviews or menu here!
East Cafe is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 am to 11 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 11 pm.
6. Meat BBQ
I always end up getting a little of everything because it’s too hard to narrow it down!
Meat BBQ was featured in Diners Drive-in and Dives in 2017 and on the TV shows Triple D and Campus Eats on the Big10 Network.
It is any meat lover’s heaven, you will want to try it all! Their website says that no good story started with, “I was eating a salad”, and I think most of us can agree with that.
I have been here many times and the slow-smoked BBQ meats and sides are all amazing!
The best choices are the Hot Mess Sandwich, wings, made-to-order mac and cheese, and meat plates. The menu has a vegetarian section that lists only the drink options – bonus points for the subtle humor there!
On the menu is also the option to take part in The Carnivore Challenge: Eat the Boss Logg (18 layers) with 1 side & 2-ingredient Mac-N-Cheese. Winners get the meal for free, a t-shirt, beer, and your picture on the wall.
One time my friend and I created our own eating competition to see who could finish the most food and we practically did eat the whole menu. Let’s just say I didn’t feel the best after working through countless dishes but it was a fun experience nonetheless!
7. Brody Square
Look at that yummy lineup! PC: Brody Caf
Alright, so this is an odd one out on this list of best restaurants in Lansing as Brody Caf is actually one of the dining halls inside Michigan State University. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it is actually open to the public!
If you aren’t a student you can pay just $12 USD to eat at much as you want from 8 different food stations throughout the hall. A majority of the food is prepared fresh to order and what isn’t is prepped the day of, so it’s not just sitting. It’s all really delicious, affordable, and perfect if your group is indecisive.
My favorites are the Italian pasta dishes from CIAO! and the comfort food from Homestyle. I also never leave without getting an ice cream cone from the sweets section!
Their hours change based on the semester so check out their website here for current information. You can park at the Kellogg Center Parking Garage right across the street.
8. AI Fusion Sushi & Grill
That’s a lot of sushi! PC: AI Fusion Sushi & Grill
AI Fusion Sushi & Grill is a Korean and Japanese restaurant in Lansing tucked away in a parking lot so you won’t be able to see it from the main road.
They make some of the most delicious and fresh sushi rolls that I have found anywhere in town and they also have fish and chicken dishes, don/bop bowls, udon noodles, yakisoba, ramen, and more!
The Sancho Roll with shrimp tempura, avocado, jalapenos, cucumber, crab, baked mozzarella cheese, spicy mayo, eel sauce, and Siracha is one of my favorites!
The space is open, airy, and calming so the overall dining experience here is really enjoyable.
AI Fusion also has lots of daily specials that you can see here. The best one is 25% off your total bill if you dine in on a Monday.
On Monday through Friday, they are open from 11:30 am to 9 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 9 pm.
9. Sultan’s Restaurant
Lamb seared to perfection! PC: Sultan’s Mediterranean Restaurant
One of the best restaurants in Lansing for Mediterranean food is Sultan’s Mediterranean Restaurant! Out of all the restaurants on this list, Sultan’s is by far my most frequently visited!
This restaurant used to have a few locations in the Lansing area for the past 20+ years and after a couple of them shut down I was worried that it would close permanently but thankfully they moved the remaining one into a more happening location on E Grand River Ave so I hope it will thrive!
You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu but I can’t help from always getting the chicken shwarma plate with rice and veggies, homemade hummus with pita bread, and crushed lentil soup. Sometimes when something is SO good there’s no reason to mix up your order!
The prices are low especially if you come for lunch or order a combo and the portions are beyond generous. If things haven’t changed since my last visit pita refills are free!
Sultan’s Mediterranean Restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm and Sunday and Monday from 3 pm to 7 pm.
10. Fleetwood Diner
Such a classic diner look! PC: Fleetwood Diner
The retro Fleetwood Diner has a lot of character which makes it the one of best restaurants in Lansing with a unique setting where you can enjoy a traditional American breakfast, lunch, or dinner at any time of the day since they are open from 7 am to 11 pm.
It’s a fun experience because you are able to see the griddle from your booth or from seated right at the counter.
Their menu has a slew of options including breakfast staples like waffles, pancakes, omelets, or their own Hippie Hash creation. I have to note that the coffee here is excellent too!
For lunch or any dinner, entrees like burgers, gyros, sandwiches, and homestyle dishes are the most popular.
The servers here have always been attentive and friendly to me when I’ve visited which makes it feel more communal.
11. Jerusalem Bakery
Don’t overlook this hole-in-the-wall! PC: Jerusalem Bakery
Jerusalem Bakery is a small Middle Eastern restaurant with a small grocery section.
I have never eaten a full meal here but their pita bread is some of the best I’ve had and is made fresh daily!
It is fluffy, perfectly chewy, and delicious when dipped in their homemade hummus that is topped with paprika and olive oil. It’s great to take to-go and enjoy throughout the week.
If you have time to dine their samosas, chicken shawarma, fattoush salad, and cheese bread seem to be the most highly rated on their menu.
Jerusalem Bakery is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sunday they close early at 5 pm.
12. Cask & Company Kitchen & Bar
All of their food comes nicely presented! PC: Cask & Company
Cask & Company Kitchen & Bar is a modern sports bar-style restaurant that really has it all on its menu. From Mexican to Sushi to American and even Indian, the food here is definitely more elevated than your typical bar food!
The group that I went with shared the garlic fries (delicious) and all ordered different mains – everyone loved their food!
I had a sushi roll but I almost ordered one of their burgers because they looked incredible too!
I’ve never gotten cocktails from here but the menu also is extensive and the reviews all mention them being top-notch!
Cask & Company Kitchen & Bar is not one of the restaurants in Lansing to miss out on but you’ll need reservations in the evenings as it fills up!
They are open every day from 11 am to 10 pm.
A HopCat burger is NOT complete without their cosmik fries!
Even though HopCat is a franchise, a majority of its locations are in Michigan. The only other ones outside of Michigan are in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
In the Lansing area, you will find HopCat located on MSU’s campus. It is a popular brunch spot for hungover college kids on a Sunday so I recommend making reservations.
What I appreciate about HopCat’s menu is the non-traditional takes on popular dishes and they also have a wide range of craft beers. I’d recommend the Cosmik Fries, Roasted Red Pepper Gouda Bisque, Madtown Grilled Cheese, and any of their burgers.
14. Dusty’s Cellar
Their outside space is so cozy! PC: Dusty’s Tavern and Tap
Dusty’s Cellar is technically in Okemos but just 10 minutes east of East Lansing right on Grand River Ave.
Dusty’s establishment is unique in the sense that they have an upscale wine room and next door to the wine room is the more laidback tavern.
However, both have impressive menus with traditional and sophisticated flavor combinations. I am always excited to try something new each time!
From the wine bar, the Maple Miso Chicken really stands out for me! It is such a well-rounded and flavorful dish.
On the taproom menu, I loved the Bavarian pretzel sticks, chicken wings, Dusty Cobb Salad, and turkey pretzel sandwich.
If you want you can take home some wine, beer, and treats or shop for a gift from their small cellar store.
15. Maru Sushi & Grill
Maru Sushi is one of the best restaurants in Lansing that has great sushi, hibachi, and a hip and modern vibe. They are on the pricier side with rolls ranging between $12-22 USD on average.
They have a nice range of appetizers too and you can never go wrong with gyoza and edamame. The rest of the menu is strictly nigiri + sashimi, rolls, specialty rolls, and a handful of other entrees.
I’ve tried various rolls from here and they’ve all been fresh and flavorful! If you aren’t into sushi try the hibachi teriyaki glazed chicken, it’s a super satisfying dish!
The chefs here are more than willing to help accommodate any food allergies.
I’ve never gotten cocktails from here but their mixed drinks look awesome too! They also uniquely serve makgeolli (mahk-oh-lee) which is Korea’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.
The restaurant is small and typically packed during popular eating times so waiting times to get your food can be a bit long but it’s worth it! Especially if you’re planning to sip on some cocktails and talk the slow pace won’t be as bothersome.
16. Pizza House
PC: Pizza House
Pizza House is one of the casual restaurants in Lansing that offers deep-dish pizzas and other Italian dishes.
To be honest, I have never actually tried their pizza (seems overpriced and has very mixed reviews) but the reason I love Pizza House is for their chicken alfredo! The alfredo sauce is made in-house and it is dreamy! It’s served with a side of garlic bread.
Pizza House is one of the few restaurants in Lansing that stays open very late. Their hours are 10:30 am to 4 am from Monday to Sunday.
Final Word on the Best Restaurants in Lansing
Thanks so much for reading all about my personal favorite restaurants in Lansing! I hope you are hungry and ready to feast at some of the area’s best eateries. If you are local to Lansing or are traveling around Michigan I have more related content on my site. I’ve included a few favorites to get you started!