Most recent visit September 2013
South Haven doesn't have a ton of restaurants but it does have a lot of visitors, especially on the weekends even in the fall. So instead of trying to go for lunch, we rode our bikes first and then stopped by around 4pm, there was still a 10-15 minute wait but that's nothing compared to the normal hour wait if you get there at a normal meal time
Clementine's is a large, family friendly restaurant with a pretty quick turnover as the food comes out quite quickly.
Favorite Dish: We started off with Clem's Homemade Onion Rings which are served on a wooden peg. David ordered a Calamity Jane's favorite fresh tomato basil focaccia bun stuffed with thin sliced beef, melted pepper jack cheese and roasted red peppers ($9.50), I got a Brewmaster Burger, with melted white cheddar and Ruppert's dark ale caramelized onions on grilled sourdough bread ($8.95). You get a salad, soup or choice of potato, I got the curly fries. The food was good, just not remarkable, and certainly not worth an hour wait. It reminds me a bit of the type of food served at a Chili's or TGIFriday's, burgers, salads, appetizers, some steak and fish dishes.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Hans and I had a craving for BBQ Ribs & Chicken, so I looked for a restaurant close to our Motel and found RANCH HOUSE RIBS. It was just down the road from our Motel on M-140.
When we got there, it didn't look like much and we hesitated about going in at all. I went in to check it out and I was in heaven as it smelled so good in there. Seems they have their own smoker out in the back and they make their own BBQ sauce. The owner was a sweet lady who was very welcoming and told us to "y'all come on in".
They had a simple menu on the wall and they had 1/2 slab of ribs for $11.75 and 1/2 chicken for $7.25.
Hans had the ribs and I had the chicken. The dinners came with two sides and you could choose from - potato salad, cole slaw or baked beans.
My half chicken was huge and it was smothered in BBQ sauce. Hans had about seven meaty ribs which were also smothered in BBQ Sauce. It was so much food that we took the rest back for an evening snack as we had a microwave in our motel room.
This place, tho small, was so busy with mostly carryout by the locals and two local police officers even came in to buy some BBQ.
Wednesday, September 11. 2013
Hans and I were in the mood for chinese food and the CHINA BUFFET was about a ten minute drive from our Motel. The restaurant is plain looking from outside but the inside was decorated very nicely and mainly had booth seating which I like.
We both started with the peel and eat tiger shrimp. They offered two kinds of soup but neither looked very appetizing and the pots were half empty.
From the buffet tables I chose coconut shrimp, egg roll, sweet & sour chicken, chicken with broccoli, beef fried rice, green beans with garlic butter sauce. For dessert I had almond cookies.
The dinner buffet was $8.85 and they offered a senior discount of 10%.
All in all, it was pretty good, but they didn't refill some of the items and some of the items were not very appetizing looking.
Monday - Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Children under 10 $3.50
Monday - Thursday 4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Children under 10 $4.75
Friday & Saturday 4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday All Day Buffet
11:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
80 degree days in October are rare so we stopped to eat here because of the large outside patio. As we were sitting down, we heard several tables around us complaining about the amount of time it was taking to get their food but we weren't in any big rush and it was such a nice day to be sitting outside. I'm guessing they must get their business from unsuspecting daytrippers like us because they couldn't possibly sustain business with locals.
Favorite Dish: After hearing all the complaints, we decided to order just a couple of appetizers, the mac and cheese bites were fine as were the chicken wings but we could see the guy cooking them in the shed behind the patio and everything we saw was being taken out of frozen bags. I can do that at home! The nachos were bland, just nacho chips with melted cheese and some tasteless chicken. Wish I had read the Yelp reviews before coming here, 7 out of the 9 reviews were 1 star!
The Chocolate Cafe has the best Mocha I've ever had! They take melted chocolate and pour it into the steaming pitcher with milk and make a delicious mocha! They also top it with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a cherry! Yum! I also had their Death By Chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some friends had told me about this but I wasn't sure. It's a HUGE piece of cake that feeds 2-4 people. They say that it weighs a pound and a half. It was so moist and delicious! You must try it! They also have a very large selection of chocolates as well as salads, soups and sandwiches. The atmosphere is also fun and they have outdoor courtyard seating.
Favorite Dish: The Mocha was the best! Rich and creamy!
The Phoenix Street Cafe was voted the best place for breakfast and lunch in South Haven in 2009. That's probably all you need to know, but my friend Brian eats there almost every day of the week with his closest friend. As a special treat during my visit, Brian (and his wife Ann, who does not herself dine there on a daily basis) allowed me to join him. It was excellent, exactly what everyone wants in a family restaurant. The waitresses know all the customers and their preferences.
The menu was pretty standard, although I found it interesting that they offered a tofu scramble (summers only). The Greek omelette was a pleasant addition to the menu, and in a nod to cholesterol-watching clients, you could request Eggbeaters or egg whites.
Favorite Dish: The French toast I had was a marvel. My only tiny issue was that the standard syrup wasn't Vermont Grade A. Brian has remedied this by bringing his own bottle, which they keep behind the counter for his visits.
Be sure to see the four photographs
Mickey and I are still talking about our experience with ice cream in South Haven. It's always a TRADITION when I go on vacation to have ice cream in that area and to take a photograph of me with the cone in hand and/or mouth. Those of you who have seen my pages already know that is true. Now, for my strong statement: Ice cream here at Captain Neomo's is the BEST ice cream that I have ever eaten bar none. Now, that does not inclue GELATO in Italy.
This is the most unlikely place, we thought, to try ice cream. Who ever heard of eating ice cream at a place called Captain Nemo's??? Yet, when on vacation, it is always wise to listen to the locals. So, we were going to give it a try. Oh, my, oh, my....what a treat. It must be because Captain Nemo's is celebrating their 29the year of business!
We were warned to only choose the BABY SIZE, and we could not imagine why. Then, once we order the BABY SIZE, we completely understood. As you can see from the first three photographs, Baby really means enormous.
Favorite Dish: The cool thing about Captain Nemo's is that they let you have a spoon size portion of any flavor that you wish. It is always good to try before you purchase.
Mickey ordered [after trying] MILKEY WAY as in Milkeyway candy bar. Mickey is not as crazy about ice cream as I am, but this time, she raved on and on about how incredible it was.
I ordered COCONUT ALMOND FUDGE which tasted just as an Almond Joy candy bar does!
I actually find myself daydreaming about this delicious flavor.
In addition to the fabulous ice cream, we have to mention to great service. The girls who work here are so friendly and so helpful. As you can see from photo #2, our waitress was delightful and had such a great smile.
On the second night of our stay, we originally planned to eat at Maria's Taste of Italy (affectionately known as Maria's); however, we did not arrive until after they closed. [ closed at 9:00 pm] But, we knew from the locals that we must eat here; thus, on our last afternoon in South Haven, we chose Maria's to eat lunch.
This is a BYOB so if you want wine, bring your own and plan to pay a cork fee. We were not interested in wine for lunch; instead, we had diet Pepsi [mine with its two slices of lemon].
This is a typical Italian neighborhood restaurant that I always enjoy. It has exposed brick walls, crisp white eyelet valances on the windows, and only about 10-12 tables. It is located in The Old Swiss Bakery Shop and has only been open for about three years. In that short time, it has established itself as a popular local establishment, and it is frequented by many tourist.
Maria's is known for its pies from Crane's Orchards, it's delicious breadsticks, its hand tossed pizza dough and homemade sauce, true Italian Gelato desserts, homemade Italian Sausage and homemade meatballs and, especially, their best selling Lasagna (mozzerella, provolone, romano, and parmesan cheese, the richest ricotta, and their homemade Italian sausage with their famous marinara sauce).
After looking at the menu, our mouths were watering.
Favorite Dish: Mickey ordered their homemade MEAT RAVIOLI, tender pasta pillows stuffed with beef and cheese and topped with their marinara sauce and cheese and then BAKED. As the photo indicates, it was topped with their famous breadstick.
I ordered the decadent FETTUCCINE ALFREDO made of Fettuccine pasta topped with their alfredo sauce, mozzarella and provolone, and then BAKED. It, too, had a famous breadstick that was freshly baked and covered with garlic butter and parmesan cheese.
Yum and Yum again. Needless to say, we walked this off by going to the walking trail and clipping off five miles!
Both Mickey and love Italian and never tire of it. So, when we were discussing a place to eat, we both agreed it would be an Italian Restaurant! We asked at our B&B, and we were given two suggestions. We selected Tello Italian Bistro, which was within walking distance of where we stayed.
If you were selecting this restaurant based on the outside, you might be reluctant. It is quite plain and "nothing to write home about". Some would say that it has that "urban Chic" look. [See Photo #4] But, looks are deceiving. It was so good that we ate there twice!
The inside of the Bistro is rather dark with deep reds and golds on the walls. The arrangements consist of booths on one side of the tables and chairs on the other. The first night we are there was about 7:30, and the second night was about 8:30. The service on the first night was better. But, the food was excellent on both nights!
Both nights we enjoyed just delicious wine. Mickey had a Chianti Classico, and I enjoyed a Fenn Valley Winery Michigan Blush. We both "raved" about our choices.
On both nights, we decided to share.
It was difficult to make choices since the menu had such delightful selections.
They offered "Gli Antipasti" [appetizers] such as Bruschetta, crab cakes, shrimp, calamari, soups, and truffles.
In addition, there were "Primi Piatti" with such items as Risotto [rice] Black truffles and fettucine, dried cherries, gorgonzola, toasted walnuts in spaghetti!, Bolognese with roasted pork and beef, Butternut squash ravioli, Gnocchi verdi, Lasagne al forno, Spaghetti e polpette [house-made Marinara sauce with meatballs or Italian sausage.
Their Secondi Piatti offered Rabbit, Veal scappati, Mint Lollipops [Rack of lamb marinated in mint pesto], Filetto di manzo [filet mignon, gorgonzola encrusted and seared with an arugula walnut pesto], Salmone alla griglia, among many others.
They also offer Tello Pizze:
Sophia with fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, basil, sharp provolone, extra virgin olive oil
Cinque Formaggi with mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmigiano, and goats milk cheese with basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Vegetariana with Mozzarella, goats milk cheese, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, parmigiano, extra virgin olive oil.
Sicily which consists of Goat cheese, Sopressala sausage, fire roasted tomatoes, anchovy, crushed red pepper, extra virgin olive oil.
They also offer coffee and desserts, which we did not partake of because we were too full from the delicious food.
Favorite Dish: On the first night because we were not real hungry, we had our wine and a shared pizza. We chose the MARGHERITA with its extra virgin olive oil, fresh Roma cheese, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and garlic. It was terrific with a perfect crust. See the first photo.
Mickey and I. on the second night, shared PENNE CON PORCINI
[ Porcini mushrooms, beef tenderloin, roasted tomatoes, crmelized onions, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese]. Needless to say, it was just marvelous. That same evening, she had a vegetable soup [which was fair], and I had a salad [which was less than fair].
Except for the less than stellar salad, the food here was par excellent.
On our first day in South Haven, and after a visit to the Maritime Museum and a walk on South Pier, we knew we were hungry. We had done some reading before we left home, and we knew that one of the spots that we wished to try would be Clementine's.
Thank goodness we were here in the off season because we have heard that during the summer, and especially on weekends, there is a line formed outside this popular restaurant. Instead, in early September, we walked in, asked for a booth, and was immediately escorted to our prime location.
I, being a lover of beautiful architecture, was amazed by the look of the outside of Clementine's. It is located in the old Citizen's Bank building . This restaurant has been in this building since 1982. The inside is just as historic. There is a tin ceiling, heavy wood trim, a bar that looks like an old time saloon, and there are antiques everywhere. The walls seem to be filled with black/white photos from South Haven's early days.
The service was prompt and efficient. Mickey and I usually share our meals because neither of us eat huge portions. The waitress was quite accommodating and not only let us share, but she split the portions equally before serving them to us. Now, that might not seem like a "big deal", but it is.
Favorite Dish: Mickey and I ordered diet pops [and mine always has to have two slices of lemon!]
First, we shared a delicious salad made of fresh sliced apples, baby spinach and walnuts with bleu cheese crumbles and sliced red onions. They offer added charbroiled chicken or charbroiled shrimp for $3.00 more, but we declined. Our salad was about $6.00.
Next, we shared what they call Senorita's Quesadilla" which consists of a crispy tortilla with monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, tomatoes, lettuce, green onions and homemade salsa for $6.95. We could add either fajita chicken or tender steak slices for a few dollars more; however, we both love the cheese Quesadilla. [See Photo #2]
Because we wished to save our appetites for ice cream later in the afternoon, we declined their wonderful sounding desserts.
All-in-all, we enjoyed our lunch at the famous Clementine's.
It's interesting to note that they also have another restaurant called Clementine's Too that is located on the St. Joseph River.
As explained in my Inn tip for South Haven, the continental breakfast was brought up to our room each morning. The first morning we wanted to get an early start so we had them bring it up at 7:30 a.m. Sue was still sleeping so Rich accepted the food and took the picture in the bathroom so as to not wake Sue up quite yet. The next morning we opted for a much more reasonable time of 8:30 a.m. after a long day before of sightseeing.
The breakfast choices each day were either coffee or tea and then either orange, cranberry or V8 juice. Several different choices of yogurt were available and then there was a piece of toast with butter/jam and 3 pieces of pastry for each of us, along with a good assortment of fresh fruit. All in all a lot of breakfast.
Sue picked out a couple of spots to eat Friday evening in South Haven and this is actually the first one we found. From the outside it didn't look that exciting so we ventured a little further into town along the harbor to find another place. Well that other place had been leveled to the ground a few years back and even though it was right by the harbor nothing but green grass has replaced it. Another restaurant in town had a 1 hour wait so nearing the end of a very long day we went back to the Thirsty Perch and sat down for dinner at our usual week day bed time hour of 9:30 p.m. I had to remind myself and Sue that we had gained an hour when we crossed into Michigan earlier in the day so in reality it was still only 8:30 p.m.
Favorite Dish: The watering hole and grille, as it says from the bill I saved, was very dimly lit and as I don't like using a flash when I take food pictures I only got a shot of the sign outside, so you will have to imagine and bar at the back of the place when you walk in with general seating on the left and right hand sides for about 60 people and a larger area farther to the right for overflow or other parties.
Sue opted for the Friday Night Fish Fry which included the local sea food speciality of, you guessed it, Perch. It was lightly fried and came with a side of fries and very good cole slaw.
I chose the blackened chicken with a cherry sauce. It was really quite good for such a down home establishment.
All in all the food was much better then the outside of the building looked and the wait staff was pleasant
When we arrived at the Inn on Friday night we noticed that most of the tables were taken for dinner so we figured we would make reservations for our 2nd night at the Inn. We finished our day of touring at about 7:00 p.m. in the evening and took a little rest before we headed downstairs for dinner at 8:30 p.m. We were given a seat by the front windows looking out over the 10th tee of the golf course, which is the sunset side. It had been cloudy for most of the day, but we did enjoy a partial sunset from our spot in the restaurant.
We each ordered wine with dinner which is something we only do in very nice restaurants and then even then it is usually only one of us who has a drink. I believe that Sue had a red wine from Argentina, while I opted for a glass of white from Spain. After that we had some fresh bread which came with a dipping mixture of pesto, garlic and olive oil.
Favorite Dish: Sue ordered the Surf and Turf since the last lobster we had in Las Vegas wasn't really all that good. About the only thing we were surprised at is that they did not bring warm melted butter with the lobster and it took us a little while to get the waitpersons attention. After we did she brought the butter straight away. The lobster was average, but the steak was very tender and melted in you mouth.
I had the raspberry chicken with goat cheese which was really good. I love raspberries and I love goat cheese so the combination was superb. The red potatoes and vegetables were very fresh and complimented the chicken very well.
Each meal came with your choice of salad or soup. We both opted for soup. Sue had the fresh vegetable and I ordered the cup of lobster bisque for $2 more.
We finished dessert with a local specialty a blueberry creme brulee. I've had better brulees' but never a blueberry one.
You won't find adventurous dining at Crane's, but you are in for a treat...if you like freshly-prepared baked goods (they make four different kinds of muffins daily, each with the freshest of seasonal fruit, often from their own orchards, and a multitude of pies, and absolutely to-do-for apple-butter bread), and enjoy seeing various historical bits and bobs. The ladies' room alone took me ten minutes because I was enthralled by the kewpie doll posters. The cider is really terrific, and a dollar buys you an endless glass of it.
Favorite Dish: I'm told the donuts are excellent, but I ran out of room. The rhubarb-raspberry pie, though, was definitely worth writing home about, and my office staff raved about that apple-butter bread (which froze well, allowing me to bring back this preservative-free treat).
This is a great place to eat in South Haven.
Be prepared for a wait. We were there on a Thursday evening about 8 o'clock and still had to wait a half hour. Clementine's is only a couple of blocks from the marinas and is right in the center of many cute and chic boutiques and other stores.
You can also enjoy a pleasant cool breeze coming from the lake on a summer evening.
If you go to Clementine's on your birthday you will get a free dessert. We had the chocolate peanut butter pie. Excellent!
Favorite Dish: Three of us had three different steaks and they were great. Our cousin ordered the shrimp platter which was delivered with a beautiful presentation and was wonderful as well. We ordered the large stack of onion rings - yum!