Willow

4.8
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92 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Willow sits perched on historic Bay St. overlooking the beautiful waters of Little Traverse Bay in downtown Harbor Springs. The restaurant boasts an airy dining room with a rustic, yet modern atmosphere that pays homage to the beauty of Northern Michigan. Helmed by Chefs Chris and Daniel Rutkowski, the menu embodies Modern American cuisine with an authentic approach to farm-to-table cooking, in which ingredients drive the menu. Rutkowski’s style is simple, but creative and refined, with a lean on his Midwestern roots and expansive culinary rapport. At the bar, Willow is complemented by a thoughtfully sourced wine and craft cocktail program that focuses on seasonality and the freshest local ingredients.
What 92 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.9
service
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Detroit
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We were looking for a NEW years Eve dinner while staying at Boyne Mountain. The drive in the snow was little dicey, but it was worth it! The Brussel sprout appetizer was amazing! My husband had the lobster bisque, also amazing. He had the filet and I had salmon, the salmon was seasoned cooked to perfection...it won that course. Finished with chocolate cherry cheesecake...divine!

MP
New York Area
39 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Stunned how expensive this place was. Family of 5 and $600... We went on New Year’s Eve and no prices were listed or mentioned to us by the waiter. First time there. Should we have known somehow? Excellent quality but not worth what we ate

t
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I love this restaurant ~ the ambiance, service and the food is awesome!

RC
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I had one of the best meals we have ever had. Great chef and restaurant!

OT
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Willow

Cool place with AMAZING food and service! We started off with the cheese plate and brussel spouts. I also had a drink called the Honey Bear. Everything tasted wonderful. We then moved on to our entrees; beef short rips and lobster w/noodles. Again, the meal was amazing. We’ll definitely be back again!!

RP
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best restaurant in Michigan!!! Amazing food and service. Both Chefs Chris and Dan are amazing sourcing local gems and preparing the highest quality entrees

LB
Detroit
31 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a gem. Delicious food and presentation. Very cozy environment. Great service. Very pricey but we felt it was worth it. We will be back

m
Detroit
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

delicious food, expertly prepared. Very small portions, in order to fill up you'll need an appetizer or two and a salad/soup with your entree. This will put you at over $100 pp. before wine/cocktails

F
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hands down our favorite Harbor Springs restaurant!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely. Filet mignon was absolutely delectable. A wonderful meal. Well done all the way round

I
Las Vegas
24 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

AS always the food at willow was sublime!!!

b
Detroit
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Willow is a gem to experience - service was exceptional, and the noise level was conducive to having a conversation without shouting. Seasonal menus keep it interesting for return visits. Staff give a damn at every level of the operation. Rest room is immaculate.
The only anomaly was the plastic foliage on the tables, which made me wonder if there are less-than-fresh substitutes elsewhere in the food or prep... but that's a fairly minor quirk in an otherwise excellent dining experience.

L
Cleveland
75 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Consistently awesome. We made sure to come up north again this season, primarily to dine again at Willow, which we did on two of three nights. The cheeseboard, a must for two or more is wonderfully composed of great cheese and delicious accompaniments. For dinner we had the steak and pave potato, the short rib tortoloni and on another night the potato gnocchis, all of it perfection. The crafted cocktails are creative and daring and the wine selection superb. When there is a CIA schooled chef in the kitchen you can trust you'll have a good experience. (Oops I thought I’d submitted this sooner.)

GB
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love it......

The enthusiasm and talent of the chef staff is outstanding. The menu choices have been unique and terrific.

DW
Indiana
45 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fine dining with the freshest ingredients within steps of the harbor: this is one of our favorite spots in Northern Michigan and a much-appreciated addition to the area. The halibut was perfectly prepared, and the tomato and cherry salad an intriguing combination of flavors. Congratulations to the chef and staff for the creative menu and skillful execution.

BS
Detroit
6 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wonderful dinner at Willow over Labor Day weekend! My wife had the scallops, I had the halibut. Both spot on. Our waiter was charming. The place was packed & very busy. The cheese plate as a starter was outstanding. Very nice selection of 3 cheeses. A bit pricy, but a wonderful meal nonetheless. When weather is good, I would love to sit at the table out front.

OT
Memphis
2 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

No wait with reservations. Outstanding food and wait staff.

D
New York Area
44 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Very limited menu and exorbitant prices. Especially for the portion sizes.

w
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

several weeks ago we had an excellent meal at Willow. This last visit, we ordered the same dishes but the quality was way below our last experience. So despite the wonderful service, ambiance, etc. the food disappointed. Given the price of menu offerings, I would suggest working on consistency. Thank you for all your efforts to bring quality dining to Northern Michigan.

A
Indiana
61 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience, especially for foodies. The pasta was excellent.
The chef coming out was a nice touch.
Perfect location.
Will go back.

S
Cleveland
10 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the atmosphere and appreciated the local variety on offer. Great place to eat for small sharing plates and for a main course. High quality choices from a place where the whitefish is usually on offer at all restaurants. Try this for something different in a town full of whitefish platters

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outdoor private table was nice.

CT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

The best food and one of the best dining experiences I have had in Michigan

JR
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

To find such a stellar dining establishment in a small, northern Michigan town is astonishing. Chef Chris Rutkowski has coupled inspired creativity with impeccable presentation and execution in this Harbor Springs, MI restaurant. The service is attentive and informed without being overbearing.

I began my meal with the Crispy Potatoes, which were perfect...just the right amount of crunch and flavor while being accented by a light lemon aioli. My main, the Lobster & Corn Caramelle was ethereal, with handmade sheets of pasta wrapped around ricotta and decorated with sweet lobster. Deciding whether to consume it on site, or leave half to take home for a next day treat was a tough decision, but my wife took that decision out of my hands by finishing my meal on the spot.

Owner and Chef Chris is a delightful and engaging personality, who takes the time to visit with his diners while sharing his enthusiasm for his culinary creations.

I cannot say enough good things about Willow. To experience the outstanding treats Chef Chris creates is a privilege which my wife and I look forward to repeating soon. Can't wait!

RJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience2

Another overly pretentious, farm to table-ish restaurant--highly overpriced and not very comfortable. We had a reservation but were promptly greeted by a gendarme at the door who refused to let us sit in a comfortable table because those were reserved (how do you get that kind of reservation?) so we were squeezed between two large tables against the wall all evening. The server was actually a real person so she engaged us, and was friendly and made the evening, but the thing with Harbor Springs in the summer is that it is over-run by 1-percenters and the prices go completely bonkers. The food was good, but nothing to rave about. I had the lobster which was really far less than you would find on a Boston lobster roll, nestled in with under-cooked (I know, al dente, but this was actually uncooked) fresh pasta and some inexplicable sweet filling like a dessert. The seating was really uncomfortable and the noise level was so bad we could barely hear each other, even though we were seated side by side.

For the money, stick with one of the more established places nearby. This one is still finding itself.

M
Detroit
37 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

GrandSlam!!! Yes Chris and Dan created a spectacular evening. We began with a Heirloom tomato salad with brioche soaked in a cherry tomato juice. A few red cherries dotted the plate. My plate was grilled shishito peppers on homemade Naan bread with a pine nut custard. Both had such unique flavors perfectly blended. Dinner we both had Atlantic Halibut accompanied with a basil purée, chanterelles and then they poured a heirloom tomato consommé over the dish. The Halibut was prepared perfectly with a light brown crust. We were served by Carrie/Kerry (not sure of spelling-sorry!). She was attentive not overbearing and allowed us to enjoy our cocktails without trying to rush us out. Yes she allowed us to DINE, unique to many servers currently. Finally let me comment on desert-I don’t remember all the ingredients but was served in a unique glass bowl with a custard. A perfect ending to wonderful dining experience.

OT
Tampa
11 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wanted an early dinner before attending the car show in the Park.
Dinner was amazing and the owner and staff were very pleasant and informative!

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic experience at Willow!

D
Detroit
4 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding every time. The best dining experience in Harbor Springs. Super talented diverse kitchen staff. Many rising stars are preparing the hand crafted excellence. Fresh pasta dishes are sublime.
A true chef inspired dining destination. Gracious hospitality awaits you.

F
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was spectacular, the service was outstanding. I being a foodie appreciated the chef who came out to ask us how our meal was, we had a wonderfully interesting conversation where he shared a lot of his techniques. I will be trying some at home, I highly recommend Willow Ofer any occasion.

B
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Anniversary

SF
St. Louis
3 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience. Food and service were fabulous. A bit expensive but would highly recommend. We’ll definitely go back the next time we are in Harbor Springs.

L
Columbus
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a great choice for a special event. You can't make these dishes at home...

GC
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed an early dinner seated outside on their large wood private table. All we can say is that everything was perfect. Atmosphere looks over the ships/boats in the bay. Friendly devoted staff timed everything to our request. Unique flavors were for everything we ate and drank. Easy access to free parking within a 1-2 min. walk makes the exit home a treat. Will be back for sure.

EB
1 review
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience3

My wife and I enjoyed our anniversary at Willow. The service was excellent though the portions were very small. Our server was highly attentive and courteous. We were a little disappointed with the limited menu. All in all, we enjoyed our dining experience. EB.

RP
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Chris and Dan the chef and owners are creating the most spectacular dishes in Upper Northwest Michigan! The dining experience is as good as New York and San Francisco. They source almost everything locally! If you love food and wine you have to go there....

F
Phoenix
114 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food is out of this world! My wife had the lobster/pasta dish which she highly recommends and I had the Filet which was cooked perfectly and outstanding. We split the charred grilled chopped caesar which was huge and very tasty. But you pay a price to dine here which is why I don't think it will last. A bottle of Justin Cabernet (retail $20) was $60! and lamb chops were $66.00? Needless to say we ordered a couple glasses of wine and nursed them through dinner. We don't mind spending money on a good dinner but this was a bit much.

OD
Columbus
33 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Halibut special was outstanding. Pasta dish was interesting but slightly undercooked and gummy. Seasonal plate was a nice way to start the meal. Third visit to Willow and have enjoyed the meals each time.

F
Milwaukee
14 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wow! One of the most amazing meals of my life. This is a treasure of a restaurant and I would go back time and time again.

The grilled peach salad was delightful, the Brussels sprouts are delectable, and the ahi tuna small plate was divine.

We enjoyed both the scallops and fillet for dinner.

The meal was the stuff Dreams are made of. The staff was helpful, gracious, and worked to accommodate our food allergies.

I can’t wait to come back.

AL
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Nice waiter. Clean and comfortable atmosphere. Apologetic about the Slow service. Forgot our surprise anniversary champagne... already had been paid ahead of time. We never received it. For the price, it needs to be a better experience.