Great Lakes Seafood Dives

Text by the editors of Coastal Living

The Bluebird Restaurant & Bar, 101 River St., Leland, MI; 231/256-9081 or leelanau.com/bluebird . The Bluebird, one block from Lake Michigan in this fishing village-turned-tourist town, has evolved into a white-tablecloth institution. Or at least the dining room has. The bar, with its more casual menu, remains a relaxed throwback to the restaurant's 1927 roots as a sandwich and soda shop (with the addition of a wine list). Definitely try the fried whitefish, either the sandwich or the platter. On later visits you might explore the smelt, perch, or walleye. (2004)

Jolly Roger Seafood Restaurant, 1737 E. Perry St., Port Clinton, OH; 419/732-3382. "Lake Erie's finest perch & walleye," claims a sign at this otherwise modest little place in the Lake Erie Islands summer resort area. We won't disagree. Locals line up out the door for tender, juicy fried perch and walleye, which come with excellent waffle-cut fries. (2005)

New Sandusky Fish Company, 235 E. Shoreline Dr., Sandusky OH; 419/621-8263. The New Sandusky Fish Company serves huge fried-fish sandwiches smothered with tartar sauce. Choose walleye, bass, perch, or catfish. A frog leg dinner with a side order of clam strips makes a tasty alternative. No seating is available inside, but nearby benches and gazebos overlook Sandusky Bay. (2007)