Restaurant Guide

Restaurant Guide Index:

(List of Recommended Restaurants from Various Sources)

Arizona: Phoenix | Tucson

Arkansas

California: Los Angeles | Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego | San Francisco/Bay Area

Colorado: Denver

Idaho

Iowa

Kansas: Kansas City

Louisiana: New Orleans

Missouri: Kansas City | St. Louis

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Mexico: Albuquerque | Las Cruces

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City | Tulsa

Oregon: Portland

Texas: Austin | Dallas/Fort Worth | El Paso | Houston | San Antonio

Utah

Washington: Portland | Seattle

Wyoming


This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others. I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.


Geographic Coverage: This list came about as a result of search tools that were available on the old Urbanspoon.com web site so that I could compile a list of what I thought might be the best restaurants in any city, region, or state. The “best” is subjective, with a high priority given to ethnic restaurants and regional specialties in each state (it is what I would look for when traveling, and I do not claim anything more than this).

Urbanspoon was purchased by Zomato.com, and I found that the former search tools were no longer available (nor is there anything similar on other web sites). As a result I am planning to limit the geographical coverage to the states I was able to research while Urbanspoon was on line. Of course I use other sources to complete the list, but the skeleton of it was only possible while Urbanspoon was available.

The following are states I have researched on Urbanspoon with the plan to eventually include in the Restaurant Guide, but which are not yet published:

Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin


Note: Steve’s Restaurant Reviews (the ones I have personally visited) are found  Here

Restaurant Guide–Iowa

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Alton

Sfumato Pizzeria–4995 Carnes Dr. (Pizza) Open Thu-Sun only (5 to 9 pm).  Reviewers say this is thin crust artisan pizza that is as good as the pizza in NY and NJ. (6-13-19)

Amana

Millstream Brau Haus–741 47th Ave. (German) Open Daily.  Recently opened in the building that used to be Colony Inn (which many said was the best restaurant in Amana). Described as German “beer” food (not as upscale as Ronneburg). Burgers, brats, schinitzel sandwich. (3-23-19)

Ronneburg–4408 220th Trl. (German) Open daily (closes at 7 pm; 8 pm on weekends).  People give it better reviews than Millstream, and say the German food is traditional as it is in Germany, but most people here get the family style meal to get the best out of the experience. Note: Ox Yoke Inn which is next door is similar but has more choices on the American side of the menu (if you don’t want German food). (3-23-19)

Ames

Botanero Latino–604 E. Lincoln Way (Colombian) Closed Sun (Yelp now says it is open daily).  The food seems to be excellent with dishes which are served in very few restaurants in the US. However, it is a small place run by one man, and service can be slow. (3-7-19)

Cafe Beaudelaire–2504 Lincoln Way (Brazilian) Open Daily.  Probably the best thing about this restaurant is that it specializes in Brazilian sandwiches, etc. that are not expensive, making it easy to come back and try other things. The Brazilian hamburger is a favorite of customers. (3-7-19)

Grandpa Noodle Gallery–926 S. 16th St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  This place has real honest to goodness Chinese noodle dishes. The main negative the reviewers have is the price (but it doesn’t seem too bad for healthy fresh food). (3-7-19)

Safari Cuisine–217 S. Duff Ave. (African & Middle Eastern) Open Daily (opens at 1 pm on Sun).  Middle Eastern food with an African influence. Sambosas are the specialty. Okra stew is said to be excellent. (3-7-19)

Taste Place–223 Welch Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say this is the most authentic Chinese food in Iowa (it is Sichuan style and is said to be hardcore, with some dishes served in hot chile oil). (3-7-19)

The Cafe–2616 Northridge Pkwy. (American) Open Daily.  Upscale restaurant that looks a little bit high priced. It looks like an excellent place for breakfast. (3-7-19)

The Spice–402 Main St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Seems to be legit Thai food, but on some dishes you should tell them it want it the authentic Thai way (usually this involves making it more spicy). Panang curry, ginger dishes, and basil dishes are especially recommended. Reviewers say in some cases dishes can be customized. (3-7-19)

Ankeny

Siam Table–757 N. Ankeny Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily.  What looks promising about this place is that the recommended dishes are the classic Thai favorites (red curry, etc.) and that you can order it spicy if you wish (in much of the Midwest spicy dishes are dumbed down). (3-7-19)

Burlington

Billy Sims BBQ–2750 Mt. Plesant St. (BBQ) Open Daily.  This is a chain barbecue restaurant with a strong presence in Oklahoma. If the franchises in other states can keep up the same standards, though, I would certainly recommend it. Reviews indicate that this location does that. Probably ribs and pulled pork are best, and I think the sauce is one of the best. (3-23-19)

La Tavola–316 N. 4th St. (Italian) Closed Sun.  Italian home cooking–reservations only. Some reviewers say the food is bland (I have found authentic Italian to be more “bland” than American style, but to me it’s just not over-spiced). (3-23-19)

McConnell Cafe–208 N. 4th St. (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Popular for breakfast–quiche is recommended (so it’s more on the high end side of the food scale). (3-23-19)

Cedar Rapids

Little Bohemia–1317 3rd St. SE (Czech) Closed Sun & Mon.  People say the service is sometimes not good and prices are high, but you can come here to get “amazing Czech cuisine.” (4-24-19)

NewBo City Market–1100 3rd St. SE (Food Vendors) Lunch Thu-Sun, dinner Thu & Fri.  Located in the New Bohemia District, this is a (primarily) Czech style food court with small stands serving specialty items. Some of the businesses include The Sausage Foundry (sausages), Big Boy Meats, Roasters Coffee House, or even Dumpling Darling (Korean dumplings). (4-24-19)

Pho Mai–2315 Edgewood Rd. SW (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Seems to be the highest rated Asian restaurant in CR. (4-24-19)

Popoli–101 3rd Ave. SW (Italian) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  May be different than the typical Italian restaurant because this seems to be closer to real Italian style (spinach artichoke dip, Berkshire pork chop, wedge salad, mussels in red sauce are some of the choices). Some of the prices seem to be higher than at Cobble Hill, but each item is a la carte, so you can order as much or as little as you want. (4-24-19)

Rodina–1507 C St. SW (American) Closed Mon & Tue (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  A story in The Gazette says it offers Midwest comfort food, but it is located in the “Czech Village” district of Cedar Rapids, and part of its mission is to bring attention to simple food that has Czech and German origins. Meals are served family style (with vegetables put on plates in the middle of the table) and the vegetables served are seasonal. Note: Czech Village also has a variety shops, restaurants, a museum, etc. (4-24-19)

Sykora Bakery–73 16th Ave. SW (Czech) Breakfast Mon-Sat, lunch daily.  This is supposed the place to go for kolaches, but also has meals (such as pierogi and goulash). (4-24-19)

The Lost Cuban–209 3rd St. SE (Cuban) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it’s not just a novelty, but really good Cuban food. The Cuban sandwich is a good place to start (especially at lunch). (4-24-19)

Note: Cedar Rapids has a bona fide fine dining restaurant (Cobble Hill) which is not cheap but Iowa gives you this type of food for better prices than you would find elsewhere. (4-24-19)

Clear Lake

Seven Stars Family Rest.–2309 3rd Ave. S. (American) Open 5 am to 8 pm daily.  Good quality diner style food. For breakfast people like the combo (bacon, eggs, & pancakes). Hot beef sandwich is probably the specialty of the restaurant. Coconut-raspberry cake is very popular. (6-13-19)

Clive

Coaches Kolaches–8527 University Blvd. (Czech) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  These are not fruit kolaches, but sausage, ham, cheese, etc. that you can eat for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. They are said to be quite good. (6-13-19)

Council Bluffs

La Carreta Rosa–622 S. Main St. (Mexican). Has both American and Mexican style tacos (which seem to be the real deal). It seems that for other items you can get the authentic style if you want it. Reviewers say this is definitely one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Omaha area. (3-13-19)

Davenport

California Pho–3559 W. Kimberly Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Very popular and highly rated restaurant. Many like the vegetarian pho–even those who are not vegetarians. (3-23-19)

Exotic Thai–2303 E. 53rd St. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  NE Thai style (Isan). (3-23-19)

Village Corner Deli–1030 Mound St. (Sandwiches) Lunch only (closed Sun).  They pay as much attention to the bread as to the meats, and this is one thing that makes them popular. (3-23-19)

Des Moines

A-Dong–1511 High St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Authentic Vietnamese with a large menu. (Takeout only 7-17-20)

Gazali’s–1205 25th St. (Lebanese) Open daily except Sun evening.  Authentic food. Has specials of halal meat (depending on what is available). Family run and does not dumb down the food to appeal to a mass market. (Dining room is open 7-17-20)

Local Bites Food Court–700 Locust St. (Food Court) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  I found this by searching for Indian food (India Pointe is here). I don’t know what other restaurants/food stalls are here, but they seem to give you good food at low prices (but you will get it on paper plates). (Dining room is open 7-17-20)

Proof–1301 Locust St. (New American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Fine dining restaurant, but has the advantage that prices in Iowa seem to be much lower than comparable restaurants in other areas. Serves Iowa steak, but other items are Spanish influenced (such as Spanish pork loin). (Takeout only 7-17-20)

Dubuque

Bierstube–1301 Rhomberg Ave. (German) Closed Sun.  Wienerschnitzel, cabbage soup, red cabbage, beef rouladin, bratwurst, goulash, chocolate cake, and ice cream are recommended (but schnitzel is particularly popular). (6-13-19)

Lina’s Thai Bistro–2055 Holliday Dr. (Thai).  Good flavor and spices, but some say the meat is obviously from factory farms and poor quality (so vegetarian meals may be recommended). Most say this is the most authentic Asian food in Dubuque. (6-13-19)

Fort Dodge

Gaga & Hoo Korean–368 Country Club Dr. (Korean) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Good reviews, and photos make it look genuinely interesting. (6-13-19)

Hacienda Vieja–217 S. 25th St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Urbanspoon indicated it was authentic, but not so much on Yelp. To me it looks better than average (especially for the Midwest). (6-13-19)

Grimes

Sassy Souk’s Asian Cuisine–3600 SE Crossroads Dr. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This area of the country is not known for its authentic Asian food, but at least some of it can be flavorful as this restaurant is said to be. Basil dishes are recommended. Also has pho (this is probably their most popular dish). (3-7-19)

Iowa City

Bao Chow–201 S. Clinton St. (Dim Sum) Closed Sun.  Only serves Chinese style dumplings, but they are said to be very good and a wide variety is available. (1-16-20)

Her Soup Kitchen–625 S. Dubuque St. (Soup & Sandwich) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  I wanted to include an American restaurant on the list, and this one had very good reviews–it seems that if you are not a big fan of soup and sandwiches, this place will surprise you and exceed any expectations you probably have. (1-16-20)

Jiang Hu Asian Street Food–110 E. Court St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Xian street food that reviewers say is the closest thing to “real” Chinese food in Iowa City. Good reviews, but descriptions of items are a little hard to follow. Most of the food is spicy, but you can make it more spicy by adding your own chiles (if you want it authentic Chinese style). One reviewer who has tried multiple items recommends sao zi as possibly the best item. (1-16-20)

Oasis Falafel–206 N. Linn St. (Middle Eastern) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Falafel is the signature dish, but other items such as hummus, kafta, etc. are good also. I like the fact that vegetarian meals get as good reviews as the meat items. (1-16-20)

Soseki Cafe–227 S. Dubuque St. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  A full menu Japanese restaurant with good ramen, gyoza, etc. as well as sushi. (1-16-20)

Sun Cafe–1681 S. 1st Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  The consensus of reviewers seems to be that this is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Iowa City. They moved in late 2019 and the address I listed is from their web site (which I think is the new address). (1-16-20)

Thai Spice–1210 S. Gilbert St. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch (closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Very popular and overwhelmingly good reviews. (1-16-20)

Le Mars

Archie’s Waeside–224 4th Ave. NE (American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Has a varied menu of American dishes, but reviewers say the notable item here is the steak (it is dry aged and they say it is definitely some of the best in Iowa). (6-13-19)

Bob’s Drive-Inn–Hwy 75 S. (Hot Dogs) Open Daily (some sources say it’s closed in winter).  Hot dog with loose meat is the specialty. Also has other items such as taco salad and chicken strips. (10-20-17)

Ottumwa

Appanoose Rapids–332 E. Main St. (Steaks) Closed Sun.  Tenderloin is the specialty. Burgers, sides, and drinks are also good. Menu includes items such as chicken marsala. (3-23-19)

Juanita’s–537 Church St. (El Salvador).  Small restaurant with authentic Central American food that is very popular with customers. Pupusas. (3-23-19)

Red Sea Eritrean and Ethiopian–323 E. Main St. (Ethiopian).  Good reviews, and I think this is because it is authentic and not dumbed down. (3-23-19)

Remsen

Golden Pheasant–44028 Hwy 3 (Steaks).  Many say it’s the best steak in the western Iowa/Omaha area. Located just e. of Le Mars. (6-13-19)

Sioux City

Da Kao–800 W. 7th St. (Vietnamese) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Authentic with good food, according to many. Many say the pho lacks flavor, but they like other dishes such as Vietnamese pancakes (and they order the pho because it’s the best in the Sioux City area). (3-13-19)

Diamond Thai–515 W. 7th St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Small family run Thai that is cash only unless you spend over $15. Reviews are mixed but mostly good. Some say the food is not spicy enough and that the curry is runny (but noodles and stir fried dishes seem to be popular). (3-13-19)

Table 32–100 S. Virginia St. (New American) Closed Sun.  With a good selection of items and good reviews for them, the result is a very popular restaurant. Some popular items include lobster bisque, steak sandwich, pork chop, chicken remoulade, etc.). (3-13-19)

Note: South Sioux City, Neb. has the best reviews for Mexican food (Mi Rancherita and others)

Spirit Lake

Gingham Inn–100 Hill Ave. (American).  Specializes in pan fried chicken. Peach pie is also recommended. Reviewers say skip the salad bar unless it comes with your meal. (10-20-17)

Storm Lake

Giovanni–723 Lake Ave. (Italian) Open daily except Sat lunch.  I don’t put many Italian rests. on the list but this one seems to be worthy. It’s a place in a small enough town that the owner can put his best effort into every meal and apparently give a large number of them something very memorable. (10-20-17)

Lakeshore Pho–1411 E. Lakeshore Dr. (Vietnamese).  Reviewers say it is also Thai, and that the pad thai is probably the best dish here. Pho is beef and it looks as if they don’t have other varieties (chicken, vegetarian, etc.). (10-20-17)

Little Vientiane–805 Flindt Dr. (Lao) Closed Wed.  Good reviews for the food and many customers say it is authentic. From looking at the photos, though, I am guessing that if you really want authentic Lao style you need to tell the server and order it that way. This definitely seems worth a shot for Lao food. (10-20-17)

Waterloo

Newton’s Paradise Cafe–128 E. 4th St. (New American) Open daily except Sun evening.  Typical Iowa cuisine, but it’s locally sourced. BLT is popular. Best time to come seems to be breakfast (opens 6am). (6-13-19)

West Des Moines

Banana Leaf–5515 Mills Civic Pkwy. (Thai) Open Daily.  Although it has sushi and apparently some Americanized Chinese dishes, its primary focus is Thai food (and it has good reviews). Basil dishes are said to be good. (Dining room is open 7-17-20)

Heavenly Asian Cuisine–225 5th St. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Authentic Chinese food (owners are from Shanghai but food includes Sichuan style, northern Chinese, and Cantonese style dim sum). Tangerine chicken is one of their popular dishes. (Takeout and delivery only 7-17-20)

Mi Patria–1410 22nd St. (Ecuadorian) Closed Sun.  Said to be authentic by those who have lived in Ecuador. Possible pitfall is that some of the food may be Peruvian and not as good as the Ecuadorean dishes. (Dining room is open 7-17-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Iowa)

Des Moines Register (Eat Your Way through Cedar Rapids)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Iowa)

Zomato (Des Moines)

 

Restaurant Guide–Nebraska

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Bellevue

IPho #1–2403 Towne Center Dr. (Vietnamese) Open until 7 pm (closed Sun).  Some say it is excellent, and some say the quality and menu choices are excellent but some items are lacking in the Vietnamese herbs and flavoring they should have. Still, though, it is inexpensive and good. (Takeout only 7-18-20)

Korean Grill–1408 Harlan Dr. (Korean) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say it has a true Korean taste. (Takeout only 8-22-20)

Ono Pinay Kitchen–2221 Madison St. (Filipino & Hawaiian) Lunch only (open Tue-Fri).  Those who seem to know say the Filipino food is authentic. Also has a few Hawaiian dishes (Hawaiian plate lunch style). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Quick Bites Soul Food–105 W. Mission Ave. (Soul Food) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say the food has very good flavor and maintains a consistent quality. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Columbus

El Mezcal–1012 23rd St. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  I am not sure if it authentic, but it serves plate dinners (not just tacos, etc.) and reviews are good. (6-12-19)

Restaurant Vallarta–1153 23rd Ave. (Mexican) Closed Mon & Tue.  This seems to be the most authentic Mexican restaurant in town, but it only serves tacos, tortas, etc. (not plate or combination dinners). (6-12-19)

Fremont

Huey’s Smokehouse BBQ–2204 N. Bell St. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  One of the best barbecue restaurants in Nebraska–a good place to experience Nebraska style BBQ (which I think is close to Kansas City style). Brisket, turkey, ribs, and pulled pork all get excellent reviews. (6-12-19)

Tortilleria Anita Y Taqueria–207 S. Bell St. (El Salvadorian) Closed Sun.  Has food from El Salvador that reviewers like. (6-12-19)

Gering

Tea Garden–3485 N. 10th St. (Thai).  Reviewers say the Thai food is authentic, and the other food is very good (Chinese, Japanese, even an American breakfast with biscuits and gravy). (6-1-17)

Grand Island

Everest Fusion Indian and Nepalese Cuisine–5012 3rd Ave. (Indian & Nepali) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  People who try the Nepalese dishes say they are quite good and some are very much like Chinese food (but with subtle differences from both Chinese and Indian food). Indian food here is said to be good also. (1-16-20)

Farmer’s Daughter–105 N. Walnut St. (American).  Described as food that a person’s grandmother would have made. Popular for breakfast, but lunch is said to be equally good (I don’t know if it’s open for dinner). Hot beef sandwich is especially recommended. Reviews from 2019 and later, though, indicate that they frequently run out of the daily special and/or items that the reviewers wanted to try unless you get there at noon or shortly thereafter. (1-16-20)

Noodle House–2004 N. Broadwell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Good reviews, but some indicate that the flavor might be adjusted slightly for American tastes (still very good, though). Has pho and vermicelli dishes. (1-16-20)

We Love Pupusas–1201 S. Locust St. (Salvadoran) Closed Tue.  The reviews seem to be unanimous that the food is delicious (and those who have been to El Salvador say it is authentic). (1-16-20)

Hastings

Odyssey–521 W. 2nd St. (American) Closed Sun.  Has the best reviews in Hastings on Yelp. Steaks and hamburgers seem to be the most popular items, but menu has a lot of other choices. (6-13-19)

The Back Alley Bakery & Restaurant–609 W. 2nd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  The most notable item here is the cinnamon roll (definitely recommended). The regular menu changes daily and includes such items as quiche, panini, potato leek soup, Asian tuna salad sandwich, and a long list of desserts. (6-13-19)

Kearney

Dash Pizzaria a Flippin Sweet Joint–3905 2nd Ave. (Pizza) Open daily except Sun evening.  This seems to be the most popular restaurant in town with locals, because they say it actually has flavor (as opposed to what passes too often for good food in Nebraska). The Flippin’ Sweet Burger Joint is also very popular in town. (Dining room is open-web site says hours are variable 8-29-20)

Everest Indian and Nepalese–5012 3rd Ave. (Himalayan) Closed Mon.  People appreciate that you can get exotic food in Kearney that is good, and it seems to live up to the standards of being the real deal. However, I saw about 5 items that were reviewed, meaning either that the menu is not very diverse or that there are only a few things that most people order. This seems to be a popular stop for people from Colorado and other places who have a lot of Nepalese restaurants. (Dining room is open 8-30-20)

Suwannee Thai–1420 W. 24th St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon.  Good food with fresh vegetables. Most don’t seem to want food spicy or order it that way, so I don’t know if those who want it Thai spicy can get it. Many say, though, that this may be the best Thai in Nebraska. The problem here seems to be one person in the kitchen turning out orders when there are often more customers than the kitchen can handle. (Takeout only 8-30-20)

Lincoln

Amu Manu Ramen Bar–121 Centennial Mall S. (Japanese) Closed Sun evening.  I am not quoting the reviewers exactly, but what I understand is that this is probably not great ramen by west coast standards, but on a cold day on the Nebraska plains this soup makes an excellent meal. For me this would be a lower priority than the other Asian restaurants on this list, but is one I would try if I had the chance. (Temporarily closed 7-18-20)

Daffodil Mediterranean–5500 Old Cheney Rd. (Persian) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Serves Persian food, and not just kabobs (the plate dinners look very good from the photos). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Hub Cafe–250 N. 21st St. (New American) Open 7:30 am to 2:30 pm; Dinner Thu-Sat (closed Mon & Tue).  This is a “Farm to Fork” restaurant with both higher prices and higher quality than most other places. Has some interesting items such as Moroccan mint tea, avocado and preserved lemon toast for breakfast, gyros, huevos rancheros. Breakfast is served all day; lunch available after 11 am; brunch on Sat & Sun. (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Imperial Palace–701 N. 27th St. (Chinese) Open daily except Sat lunch.  Has a “secret” menu with authentic Chinese food (just ask for the Chinese menu). Seems to specialize in spicy food (northern Chinese and Sichuan style). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Lan House–1226 P St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Home of authentic lanzhou (hand pulled) noodles. Noodle dish is served with a very overwhelming amount of chile oil, but it is not overwhelmingly spicy, just oily (much as I have found authentic Sichuanese food to be). A Journal-Star article recommends the soup instead of the noodle plate (it is not covered in chile oil). Has many other items besides its specialty noodle dishes, and these are said to be very good as well. (Takeout and delivery only 7-18-20)

Mr. Hui’s–3255 Cornhusker Hwy. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Said to be mostly real-deal Chinese and Taiwanese food (Chinese food is mostly spicy Sichuan style). (Takeout and delivery only 7-18-20)

Sebastian’s Table–8340 Glynoaks Dr. (Tapas) Dinner only (closed Mon).  The main theme here is Spanish style tapas, with upscale food on small plates. Albondigas (meatballs) seems to be the most popular dish. Also has regular dinners including steak (but the toppings and seasonings are Spanish style). Has paella. I think there are limited items here that would fit into my normal price range for being on this list. (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Stur 22 Lounge–2110 Winthrop Rd. (African & Caribbean) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Doesn’t just offer some of the well known Caribbean dishes, but has a wide choice of Caribbean and African dishes (and people say they are glad they tried them). African stew is recommended. (Takeout and delivery only 7-18-20)

The Oven–201 N. 8th St. (Indian) Open daily except Sun lunch.  This is not a buffet restaurant–you order from the menu, and they emphasize quality over quantity. Has specialties from Bhutan as well as Indian food (Bhutanese food is said to be more milk or cream based than the regular Indian curry based food). Malai kofta has good reviews. Several reviewers recommend the vegetarian Thali (sampler plate). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Vung Tau–2708 Y St. (Vietnamese) Open 10 am to 7 pm (6 pm on Sun)–closed Mon.  Reviewers say the pho is better than in Omaha. Also serves vermicelli bowls, and apparently has other items (but I could not find a menu on line to verify this). (I think it is takeout only 7-18-20)

Norfolk

El Rodeo–107 W. Norfolk Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.  Serves authentic Mexican street tacos. This and burritos are the most popular items. (I don’t know whether the dining room is open 8-30-20)

North Platte

Merricks Ranch House–1220 E. 4th St. (American).  This is a diner with home cooked style food. Some of it is a hit with reviewers and some isn’t, but overall people like it. With items such as BLT getting good reviews, it indicates that it is the basic, simple items that they do the best. (3-13-19)

Tempura–221 E. 6th St. (Japanese) Closed Mon.  Sushi restaurant that also serves Bento boxes and Chinese food. All have good reviews, but the Chinese food is made to American tastes. (3-13-19)

Ogallala

Golden Village–105 E. 1st St. (Chinese) Open daily except Mon evening (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Probably Peking is the restaurant that serves off-the-menu authentic Chinese food, but I am not sure (so I’m including the name and address of this restaurant in case it is the right one). (1-16-20)

Peking–112 E. A St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 1:30 to 4 pm). A post on Chowhound indicated that there was a Chinese restaurant in town that served authentic Chinese food if you requested it (it may not be on the menu). There was no name given, but it is the one “on the east side of town” (both Chinese restaurants are actually on the east side of town). Reviews on Yelp seem to indicate it is Peking, but I’m not sure. (1-16-20)

Omaha

American GI Forum–2002 N St. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening & Mon. This is a non-profit veteran organization that serves either authentic Mexican food or very good Tex-Mex (according to different reviewers), but in any case they say it is very good, tastes homemade, and is cheap. (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen–721 S. 72nd St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Authentic Chinese food (the authentic food is Sichuan style). I don’t see any comments about how spicy it is, so I imagine if you want it spicy you have to ask for it. Has daily specials written on a board. There is an Americanized menu if you want it, but Sichuanese food is what they do well. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

China Garden–8441 W. Center Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  One of the three supposedly authentic Chinese restaurants in the city. This one is Sichuan style (like Blue & Fly), but apparently you have to ask for the Sichuan menu or you will get Americanized food. For those who know the system, though, it gets good reviews. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Crystal Jade–7255 Cedar St. (Malaysian) Open Daily.  Serves several Asian cuisines, but Malaysian food is the specialty. Good dishes include amazing chicken and lemak. Has pad thai which sounds different from the Thai version, but it does not have great reviews. Popular with vegetarians because it has quite a few menu choices. (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

Laos Thai–4520 S. 24th St. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closes 7 pm on Sun).  Cash only, but has very low prices. Has several types of curry and has a few dishes not found in many Thai or Lao restaurants in the US. Reviewers say some of the curries are more like a thin soup (I think it is because they have different types of curry, and probably some without coconut milk). (Takeout only 7-18-20)

Lithuanian Bakery–7427 Pacific St. (Bakery) Open 11 am to 5 pm (4 pm on Sat); closed Sun.  Popular for their sweets, but also serves sandwiches and other lunch items. The Napoleonas torte is their specialty. (Not sure if dining room is open–has recently started taking on-line orders through Goldbelly 7-18-20)

Mercy Thai–4741 S. 96th St. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say it is hard to find real Thai food in the Midwest, but this one is. Furthermore, it follows the real Thai spicy scale. Most popular dish seems to be the drunken noodles (some others may be just as good but I don’t see reviews for them). (Takeout and delivery only 8-22-20)

New Gold Mountain–6750 Mercy Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Has authentic Cantonese style food, and apparently you are handed an authentic menu without having to ask for it. They have dim sum which is very popular at lunch time, but I cannot tell which days it is served (it looks as if it is only on Sunday). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

The Drover–2121 S. 73rd St. (Steaks) Open daily except Sat lunch & Sun lunch.  This is a popular old-school Omaha steakhouse with good reviews. Whiskey steak is the specialty (most people say it is very good, and enhances the flavor). Down sides for some people are the service, prices, and side dishes. The salad bar somewhat makes up for the side dishes, though. Steaks run about $45 (filet is less expensive). (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Upstream Brewing–514 S. 11th St. (American) Open daily (open until 11 pm Fri & Sat).  Some say that if there is such a thing as typical Nebraska food, this is the place to find it. Pot roast, meat loaf, beer cheese soup, burgers, and steak with mushroom sauce are popular. One reviewer, though, says they have too many things on the menu to do anything really well. (Dining room is open 7-18-20)

Scottsbluff

El Molcajete–1013 E. Overland (Mexican).  Reviewers say it has good food with red and green sauces (not Tex-Mex). I’m not sure it is completely authentic, but it certainly seems to be the closest you will find within a number of miles in NE and WY. Reviewers also say the food tastes home made. (3-13-19)

Wonderful House–829 Ferdinand Plaza (Chinese) Open Daily.  American style Chinese food that seems to have a few items that may have at least a few elements of being authentic (such as hot pot dishes). People like the freshness and flavor, and the fact that they serve hot tea seems to set them apart from other restaurants in this part of the country. (3-13-19)

South Sioux City

Mi Rancherita–1512 Dakota Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it is authentic with dishes such as mole verde, pozole, etc. Drinks are excellent as well (horchata, fruit drinks, Mexican Coke). (I think the dining room is open 8-30-20)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Nebraska)

Google Maps

Lincoln Journal-Star (15 Best Asian, African, and South/Central American Restaurants)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Nebraska)

Zomato (Omaha)

 

Restaurant Guide–St Louis

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Missouri


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Alton, IL

Morrison’s Irish Pub–200 State St. (Irish) Closed Mon.  An Irish pub that puts as much emphasis on the food as it does the drinks (has a very interesting menu selection). Note: temporarily closed–due to reopen in Sep. 2019 (7-5-19)

Creve Coeur, MO

Mayuri–12513 Olive Blvd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Very good south Indian food with thali available. However, customers are disappointed if they get the buffet or if they order north Indian food (this restaurant is best for south Indian). Dosas are recommended. (6-21-19)

Edwardsville, IL

Bann Thai–4 Club Centre Ct. (Thai) Open Daily.  Probably what makes it stand out is that they have many good dishes that are not on the menu of most Thai restaurants (so it is a good place to experiment with new dishes). (7-5-19)

Cleveland-Heath–106 N. Main St. (New American) Open Daily.  Serves locally sourced food. Some dishes are Asian (ginger tofu, etc) and Mexican (tacos, etc). The Asian dishes get better reviews, though. Everything here is healthy and good (at least if you appreciate fresh flavors as opposed to things being highly salted or spiced). (7-5-19)

Eureka

Super Smokers BBQ–601 Stockwell Dr. (BBQ) Open daily to 7 pm (8 pm on weekends).  Gil recommends this is one of the best he has tried. Ribs, pulled pork, and brisket are all said to be among the best anywhere. (2-6-19)

Granite City, IL

Itty-Bitty–512 E. Chain of Rocks Rd. (American). A small diner with good burgers, fish sandwich, chicken and dumplings, etc. Breakfast is also popular. (4-21-17)

Petri Cafe–1416 20th St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only. I found the following information about this restaurant that is interesting: (1) it has been in the same family since 1946, (2) serves a bowl of chili that is very popular and seems to be a good representation of the regional style here, (3) Hungarian cabbage soup is another very popular dish. The bottom line is that it is an authentic diner that may have ethnic roots. The fish sandwich is another recommended dish. (2-6-19)

O’Fallon, MO

Asian Cafe–1260 Bryan Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  For those looking for authentic Vietnamese, this is a good find for those in the suburbs. (2-23-19)

Sugarfire Smokehouse–9955 Winghaven Blvd. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Seems to be one of the best bets for barbecue in the St. Louis area. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and turkey are recommended. Note: there are other locations in the metro area, but this is one of the ones with the best reviews. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Thai Kitchen–8632 Mexico Co. (Thai) Open Daily.  Authentic flavors and spice level. Ginger stir fry is one of the recommended dishes. Some reviewers say this is the best Thai in the St. Louis area, or even the state. (2-6-19)

Olivette, MO

Sugarfire Smokehouse–9200 Olive Blvd. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closes at 8 pm Fri & Sat).  One of the top barbecue restaurants in SL, but the reviews are more inconsistent than some of the other restaurants. Pulled pork and brisket have good reviews (and many like the smoked turkey). Many say the sauces are one of the big draws, and desserts are a must. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Overland, MO

Chef Ma’s–2336 Woodson Rd. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  A small restaurant in an old Taco Bell that has a short menu of the owner’s special dishes (mostly Hong Kong and Cantonese style). Braised tofu is popular. Prices are very cheap (probably the cheapest in St. Louis for authentic Chinese food). Note: apparently some items are pictured on the wall but are not listed on the menu. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

Haveili Indian–9720 Page Ave. (Indian) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 4 pm).  Probably the most authentic Indian restaurant in town, based on the reviews of people from Indian. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Sides of Seoul–10084 Page Ave. (Korean) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say this is one of the best Korean restaurants in the Midwest. Small place where you order at the counter. (5-23-19)

St. Charles, MO

Big Woody’s BBQ–1821 Zumbehl Rd. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  This is apparently one of the best rated BBQ places in the SL area, but is a little bit off the radar of most people. Ribs and pulled pork are recommended. People are also complimentary of the side dishes. (6-12-19)

Hendricks BBQ–1200 S. Main St. (BBQ) Open Daily.  This is considered one of the top barbecue restaurants in SL, but Yelp reviews are not quite as high as some others. It is still very good, though. The strength here is that you don’t just go for the BBQ–it is a family restaurant and the total meal (with sides and dessert) is a very good dining experience. (6-12-19)

Spiro’s–2275 Bluestone Dr. (Greek) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Upscale restaurant with Mediterranean food, but the most popular items are Greek (such as the saganaki). I think you have a choice of very expensive dinners or more moderate (but still good) ones. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Tango–2012 Campus Dr. (Argentinian) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Empanadas are the specialty. (6-12-19)

St John, MO

El Comal–8724 St. Charles Rock Rd. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Owner is from Oaxaca and has a few Oaxacan items on the menu, but can prepare a few others by special request (reviewers say they were very happy with this food). (2-6-19)

St. Louis, MO

Anthonino’s Taverna–2225 Macklind Ave. (Greek & Italian) Closed Sun.  Serves both Greek and Italian food, and reviewers say both are excellent. Most go for the Italian food, though, because there are more menu items and many say this is some of the best Italian food they’ve ever had (pizza is the most recommended item). Greek menu is limited. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

Blues City Deli–2438 McNair Ave. (Sandwiches) Open 10:30 am to 3 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Said to have very good sandwiches that would bring you here just for that, but it has the added attraction of live blues music Sat. and on Thursday evening. (Takeout only and I think no live music for the time being 7-7-20)

Bulrush–3307 Washington Blvd. (New American) Open 4 pm to 7 pm (Wed-Sat only).  Owner formerly had the Curious Kumquat in Silver City, NM. Has a seasonal menu. Food is said to be a home cooking style “Ozark” cuisine. (Dining room is available only for a very limited number of groups, there is one seating per evening, and reservations are required. The hours posted–4 to 7 pm are for takeout orders. 7-7-20)

Chaparritos–2812 Cherokee St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  A highly rated authentic Mexican restaurant, but one which is not upscale and does not charge alta cocina prices (this restaurant specializes in tacos and similar dishes). (Delivery only according to Yelp 7-7-20)

Italian on the Hill (these are some of the most famous Italian restaurants in the city):

  • Cunetto House of Pasta–5453 Magnolia Ave. Closed Mon; closed Sat & Sun lunch. Best known for its chicken spedini (but locals order quite a few other dishes). The house salad is very highly acclaimed. (Takeout only 7-7-20)
  • Guido’s–5046 Shaw Ave. Open daily (dinner only). Best known for its pizza. People also recommend their tapas and the salad. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)
  • Lorenzo’s–1933 Edwards St. Closed Mon (dinner only).  Northern Italian style. Risotto, penne with eggplant, and gnocchi are some of the specialties.  (Dining room is open 7-7-20)
  • Trattoria Marcella–3600 Watson Rd. Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Menu is very representative of “St. Louis style” Italian food. The popular dishes here are the Italian standards–lasagna, ravioli, rigatoni, etc. (Dining room and patio are open 7-7-20)

Nixta–1621 Tower Grove Ave. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Reviewers really like the mole negro, and everything else seems to be good as well. Alta cocina food that is authentic in the “modern” tradition of Mexican food. The menu on Yelp showed the mole as costing $29, but a lot of other dishes are considerably less expensive. (Dining room and patio are open 7-7-20)

Onesto Pizza–5401 Finkman St. (Italian) Dinner only (open daily).  Has a full menu, but it’s best known for its east coast style pizza. (4-1-19)

Pappy’s Smokehouse–3106 Olive St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  World class BBQ, especially the ribs and burnt ends (according to reviewers). Line is long but customers say don’t panic–you will get a table. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Sidney Street Cafe–2000 Sidney St. (Fine Dining) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Excellent food at expensive prices. The owner is the grandson of the couple who opened La Tertulia in Santa Fe (the best New Mexican food I have ever experienced). Some sources say the restaurant serves some of the dishes from La Tertulia, but there are none listed on the Feb. 2019 menu  (but a possibility would be the chef’s tasting menu). Still, I’m listing the restaurant in case they have other choices on other menus. (Dining room is open 7-7-20)

The Shaved Duck–2900 Virginia Ave. (Soul Food) Open Daily.  This appears to be a very upscale restaurant but does not have “fine dining” prices. Meatloaf and BBQ (ribs, pulled chicken, etc.) are some of the most popular entrees. Cornbread, mac & cheese, and smothered fries are recommended side dishes. There is not a dish to avoid, but some say the burnt ends are not up to KC standards. In 2019 this was the number 1 rated restaurant on Yelp in the St. Louis area. (2-6-19)

Wei Hong–3175 S. Grand Blvd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Cantonese food (has authentic Chinese menu). Reviewers recommend the dim sum. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

University City, MO

Cate Zone–8148 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Sichuan style food that can be fiery hot (ask about it if you’re not sure). Reviewers say the food is excellent. (5-23-19)

Dao Tien–8600 Olive Blvd. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon (and closed between 2 and 5 pm).  Broken rice with pork chop is the favorite. Large menu. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Private Kitchen–8106 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Some call this upscale, but it is mainly because they have some upscale dishes such as Peking duck. It specializes in Shanghai style food, though, so a good choice is the Lion’s Head soup or the soup dumplings. One diner also mentioned the baby pork rib in plum sauce. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Salt + Smoke–6525 Delmar Blvd. (BBQ) Open daily (open late night).  One of the top barbecue restaurants in SL. Probably the biggest strength here is that all meats are good, so order something you normally would not choose at other restaurants. (5-23-19)

Tai Ke–8604 Olive Blvd. (Taiwanese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say this is the real deal. It has cheap prices and a large menu. Dishes are a little different from those in most Chinese restaurants, but they have many “safe” dishes along with the more adventurous ones. Web site says this is Taiwanese street food. (Takeout and delivery only 7-7-20)

Wei Hong Seafood Restaurant–7740 Olive Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm (closed Tue).  Authentic Cantonese food. Has dim sum, but reviews seem to indicate that the St. Louis location has better dim sum. (Takeout only 7-7-20)

Wildwood, MO

Thai Bistro–2436 Taylor Rd. (Thai & Lao) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Tue-Sun.  People say the food is flavorful and owner talks to customers to see if they want anything specially prepared. Reviewers say the pad thai is especially good (I see this a lot for restaurants which serve Lao food). (2-6-19)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (St. Louis)

Gil’s Thrilling (and filling) Blog

Google Maps

St. Louis Magazine (St. Louis Italian Food)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (St. Louis)

Zomato (St. Louis)

 

 

Restaurant Guide–Missouri

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Kansas City | Saint Louis


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Branson

Black Oak Grill–601 Branson Landing Blvd. (American) Open Daily.  Locally sourced meat makes this a good choice, according to reviewers. Pot roast and chicken fried steak are favorites. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Botanas–3515 W. Hwy 76 (Mexican) Open Daily.  Flavorful Mexican food that emphasizes authentic recipes (this is not a Tex-Mex restaurant). (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Farmhouse–119 W. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 8 pm.  Popular for a traditional American style breakfast or for items such as chicken fried steak, pork loin, etc. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Gettin’ Basted–2845 W. Hwy 76 (BBQ) Open Daily.  Said to be good for St. Louis ribs and burnt ends. Some say the sauce is too sweet and the sides are not very good (corn brulee is said to be good, though). (Takeout and delivery only 6-29-20)

India Clay Oven–2005 W. Hwy 76 (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00pm).  Some think the food is a little bland, but most agree it is good and by far one of the best restaurants in Branson. Some also comment that the flavor is improving (not as bland as when it first opened). (Takeout only 6-29-20)

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen–545 Branson Landing Blvd. (Southern) Open Daily.  Reviews tend to range from the food being very good to food that is ordinary, but most seem to like it. Sometimes there is a long wait to get in, and the price seems to be a little high. Based on the reviews I would say the best dish is the chicken and dumplings. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Pie Five Pizza–482 Branson Landing Blvd. (Pizza) Open Daily. I usually try to stick with traditional style pizza, but apparently this place is good because of doing the opposite. They have things such as cauliflower crust and toppings such as barbecue chicken. Reviewers say it is healthy and very good. (Temporarily closed 7-19-20)

Thai Thai–1615 W. Hwy 76 (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  The best recommendation for this restaurant comes from the many reviewers who say it is “good” and not just “good for Branson” (some have even been to Thailand and say the food here is good). The dish with the most negative reviews, though, seems to be the pad thai. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Vasken’s Deli–3200 Gretna Rd. (Mediterranean) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  A healthy alternative to many of Branson’s restaurants. Specializes in wraps and Middle Eastern style sandwiches (gyros, Italian beef, etc.) but also has more American style sandwiches such as reuben and pastrami. Side dishes such as hummus, tabouli, etc. are available. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Cape Girardeau

Chan’s–1159 N. Kingshighway St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Popular because it has an authentic Chinese menu (people say the Americanized menu is nothing special). Authentic food includes spicy dishes such as ma po tofu. (6-13-19)

Katy O’Ferrell’s–300 Broadway St. (Irish) Closed Sun.  Irish pub with good food (the usual Irish favorites). (6-13-19)

Little Kitchen–1036 N. Sprigg St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Serves authentic Chinese food (apparently is Cantonese style). Seems very good, but there are so few reviews I can’t confirm this. (6-13-19)

Rice Noodle Cai–1017 Independence St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Has several styles of authentic Asian noodles, as well as some not so authentic non-noodle dishes (General Tso’s chicken, etc.). Noodles are cheap, and seem to give a good taste of Chinese comfort food. (6-13-19)

Note: Some restaurants seem to have excellent food but are in a higher price range. These include 36 Restaurant and Bar (New American) and Celebrations (Regional and seasonal food). (6-13-19)

Carthage

El Quetzal–129 S. Main St. (Guatemalan) Open daily except Sun evening.  The “core” cuisine is Guatemalan, but also serves food from Mexico and El Salvador (pupusas, etc.). Very good reviews by people who seem to know the difference between authentic and Americanized food. Also has a bakery (pan dulce, etc.). (1-8-20)

Cassville

The Farmer’s Daughter–18947 State Hwy. 37 (American) Closed Tue, closed Sun evening.  American food that has actual color (as in the vegetables being green when they are supposed to). Has standard items as well as dishes such as beef stroganoff. Desserts are recommended. (1-8-19)

Chillicothe

El Toro–108 Washington St. (Mexican).  Serves Mexican food with real red and green sauce (not American style). People love the flavors, and say the steak burrito and the chicken are good choices. (5-23-19)

Nico’Z–612 2nd St. (New American) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Fri only.  The menu doesn’t sound like anything special, but reviewers say it is the way the food is prepared that makes it popular. Mostly serves sandwiches, salads, and wraps. (5-23-19)

Clinton

Shawnee Mound BBQ–112 W. Rives Rd. (BBQ) Lunch Thu-Sun; dinner Thu-Sat.  Customers say it is great barbecue in a little shack. Pulled pork, sloppy joe, brisket, and ribs are recommended. (2-5-20)

Smiths Restaurant Express–1719 E. Ohio St. (American).  Serves typical Midwestern food, mostly fried (pork tenderloin and chicken are popular). People think it is better than most of the alternatives, though. Pie is what people like best here. (2-5-20)

Columbia

Bamboo Terrace–3101 W. Broadway (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Apparently it has some authentic dishes (reviewers say it has an authentic Chinese menu). Apparently a lot of Chinese students eat here. Some say the seafood is not fresh, though. (1-26-20)

Bangkok Gardens–811 Cherry St. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch, closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  It is said to have the complex flavors found in good Thai food. Some say skip the pad thai and try the curries. Some also say the spice level is not quite there if you get the default version. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Cafe Poland–807 Locust St. (Polish) Closed Mon (closes 7 pm on Sat & Sun).  Pierogi are popular, but has all the popular Polish dishes. (Takeout only 6-29-20)

FlyOver–212 E. Green Meadows Rd. (New American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Small plate restaurant that has its own recipes for dishes (mac & cheese, country fried steak, etc). It looks as if it is a unique experience that people enjoy. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Ms Kim’s Fish & Chicken Shack–1416 Hathman Pl. (Southern) Closed Sun & Mon.  This is the place to come if you want fried food (chicken, catfish, etc.). Sides are said to be very good as well. (1-26-20)

Nourish Cafe–1201 E. Broadway (Health Food & Smoothies) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  Healthy food and drinks. Some items are a little pricey but reviewers say it is fresh and delicious. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Pho Quan–1301 Vandiver Dr. (Vietnamese) Closed Sat & Sun (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Some say the pho does not have the depth of flavor found in big city restaurants, but other items on the menu are generally better. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Seoul Taco–1020 E. Broadway (Korean) Open daily (late night Thu-Sat).  Supposedly it has both traditional Korean food and Korean fusion (such as the taco). The gogi bowl is the most Korean dish served, but tacos and burritos with Korean flavors are also offered.  (1-26-20)

Szechuan House–22 N. 9th St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Reviewers do not hesitate to say it is authentic, but of course Sichuanese food is normally very spicy. It offers some non-Sichuanese items that are not spicy for those who would prefer this. (4-20-19)

Cuba

The Fourway–102 W. Washington Ave. (Mediterranean) Closed Sun & Mon.  This place has an interesting concept–it has a few Middle Eastern dishes (kabobs, spinach pie, etc.) along with burgers with a Mediterranean seasoning. (7-5-19)

Fulton

China Palace–512 Court St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Food is American style, but reviewers say it has a very good flavor. (4-20-19)

Fontenot’s Po’boys–505 Nichols St. (Cajun) Closed Sun & Mon.  Reviewers like the food and say it very good for Cajun food this far north. (4-20-19)

Hannibal

Jet’s Palace–2905 Palmyra Rd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Americanized Chinese food, but reviewers think the twice cooked pork is as good as authentic food. (2-5-20)

LaBinnah Bistro–207 N. 5th St. (Mediterranean) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  The name is Hannibal spelled backwards, and the menu seems hard to categorize but reviewers say the food is very good. Has steaks, seafood, African, Turkish, and other types of food. (2-5-20)

Wayne BBQ–218 N. Main St. (BBQ) Closed Sun & Mon.  Customers say brisket is the specialty and is very good. (2-5-20)

Harrisonville

Thai Pepper–2010 N. Hwy 291 (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say the default food is Americanized and too sweet, but as for it spicy (and Thai style if you want) and it will be good. (4-1-19)

Jamesport

Gingerich Dutch Pantry–118 S. Broadway St. (Mennonite) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Mon (to 8 pm), Fri & Sat (to 7 pm); breakfast Mon only (these are winter hours 2019).  Amish style home cooked food. Has several buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the menu includes a large choice of items (also serves daily specials). Serves Mexican food Mon. evenings. (3-3-19)

Jefferson City

Das Stein Haus–1436 Southridge Dr. (German) Open daily (dinner only).  The menu is limited but the Wienerschnitzel, Jagerschnitzel, and cabbage roll are recommended. (No information about whether the dining room is open 6-29-20)

Paddy Malone’s–700 W. Main St. (Irish) Dinner only (open Tue-Fri).  Popular Irish pub–fish and chips are said to be very good. (Takeout only 6-29-20)

Sawaddee Thai–2215 Missouri Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say it has good food, but it is not anywhere close to Thai spicy (they still enjoy the flavor though). Some on Urbanspoon said it has big city quality Thai food. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Joplin

Carmine’s Wood Fired Pizza–524 S. Joplin Ave. (Pizza) Closed Sun & Mon. Reviewers say it is true Neapolitan style pizza. (Takeout only 6-29-20)

Eagle Drive In–4224 S. Hearnes Blvd (American) Open Daily.  Known for its gourmet burgers (including lamb and elk), gourmet hot dogs, and goulash fries. Has falafel salad and other Middle Eastern dishes. (2-5-20)

MEs Place–1203 Broadway St. (Soul Food) Lunch Tue-Sat, dinner Fri & Sat.  While this is not an upscale restaurant, the setting is very nice and reviewers say the food is better than is typically found with this type of restaurant. Fried chicken and ham are the most recommended items. (2-5-20)

Mythos–1306 S. Range Line Rd. (Greek) Closed Sun.  A Greek restaurant that has traditional dinners such as moussaka and kabobs (not just a gyro place). Note: M&M Bistro has similar food and gets similar reviews (but specializes in Middle Eastern food in general and is not a Greek restaurant). (2-5-20)

Thai Time–1804 E. 32nd St. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  Looks good. Reviews don’t say it uses MSG (but they point out that other Thai restaurants in town do). Pad ga-prao, pumpkin curry, mango curry. (No information about whether the dining room is open 6-29-20)

Lebanon

Bandana’s BBQ–1015 S. Jefferson Ave. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it has good BBQ (up to Kansas City standards). Ribs, brisket and chicken are good. Note: Several locations throughout Missouri. (5-23-19)

Sushi House–747 S. Jefferson Ave. (Japanese) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the best Asian restaurant in town. Sushi and bento boxes are both popular. (5-23-19)

Lincoln

Charley’s Buffet–23785 Hwy B (Mennonite) Open 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm Fri & Sat only.  Amish home cooked style food served in a buffet (so bring an appetite!). Save room for dessert–cake, pie, cookies, cinnamon rolls, etc. Lincoln is located south of Sedalia on US 65. (3-3-19)

Neosho

Pad Thai–204 N. Neosho Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sat, closed Sun dinner.  This seems to cater to local tastes but those who like “real” Thai food say that the food is very healthy although lacking in flavor. I think this can be partially or wholly remedied, though, by asking for the food to be more Thai style, and especially that they make it more spicy. (1-8-20)

The Bar B Q Joint–410 S. Neosho Blvd. (BBQ) Open Mon-Fri 11am to 6pm.  Reviewers say this is a “destination” restaurant for BBQ in SW Missouri. Brisket and ribs are said to be the best items (with pulled pork getting some people’s votes). They many times run out of one or more of the BBQ items before closing time. Seating inside the restaurant is limited. (1-8-20)

Nevada

White Grill–200 N. Commercial St. (American) Open daily (incl. breakfast).  This was the No. 1 rated diner in Missouri on Urbanspoon. Ingredients are fresh. Onion burgers are popular. People also like the vanilla Coke. (1-8-20)

Nixa

Morning Day Cafe–105 S. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 4 pm.  This is really a breakfast restaurant but is open until 4 pm. Recipes are unique (the way they make pancakes, muffins, etc.) and is said to be very good. Also has drinks (mimosa, Bloody Mary, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Yi’s–312 N. Massey Blvd. (Korean) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  Small eatery that gives a good taste of Korean food. I don’t see that they have all the side dishes I normally see in Korean restaurants, but food here seems to be good. (No information about whether the dining room is open 6-29-20)

Ozark

Lambert’s–1800 W. Hwy. J (American) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  Touristy place with home cooking style food (I don’t see many raves for the food but they say it is solid). Barbecue is one of the options for meat (others are chicken fried steak, chicken and dumplings, etc). It is geared for people who want all you can eat (including their Pass Arounds). Smaller meals are available but may not be worth it. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Poplar Bluff

Bread+Butter–2586 N. Westwood Blvd. (New American) Open daily except Sun evening (serves breakfast).  Food is fresh and healthy (bread is freshly baked). The bacon is said to be thick cut and much better than average. (7-5-19)

The Wine Rack–1212 N. Westwood Blvd. (New American) Closed Sun.  Has items such as veggie burgers and Tuscan herb chicken. Has a good selection of drinks (wine, coffee, etc). (7-5-19)

Republic

Village Pottery Cafe–127 S. Walnut Ave. (American) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Good place to eat if you want something healthy and are tired of fried food (wraps are popular). (7-5-19)

Saint Joseph

Il Lazzarone–1628 Frederick Ave. (Pizza) Open Daily.  Wood fired pizza– many think it’s worth a drive from KC or Omaha to eat here. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Oriental Restaurant–918 S. Belt Hwy. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the only Asian food in quite a large area around St. Joseph. The food is American style, but reviewers say it is good. Serves pad thai and curry, so although it is not advertised very much their authentic dishes may be Thai ones. (Takeout only 6-29-20)

The Cabbage Roll–2641 Lafayette (German) Closed Sat & Sun.  Apparently they serve very authentic German food with some Polish items between 11 am to 2 pm weekdays. Friday evening there is apparently a buffet which is the most popular time with customers (they request reservations since the food is fresh and they need to know how much to cook). (Dining room seems to be open 6-29-20)

Saint Robert

Bulgogi House–1018 Missouri Ave. (Korean) Closed Sun.  There are several Korean restaurants around Fort Leonard Wood, but this one seems to be the most authentic and the favorite of Korean people. Suggestions include champong (their specialty dish), soft tofu soup, chajangmyung, bulgogi. (5-23-19)

Ichiban–240 Marshall Dr. (Japanese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Mostly known for sushi, but cooked dishes are good as well. (5-23-19)

Mama Mia’s–101 Comfort Inn Blvd. (Mediterranean) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm (7 pm on Mon).  Good food with authentic Mediterranean flavor (according to reviews). Gyro and chicken gyro are popular. (This is mostly a Greek restaurant) (5-23-19)

The Hub–106 VFW Rd. (German) Lunch Wed-Fri; dinner Wed-Mon.  My take from the reviews is that it is not a place to find out how food tastes in Germany, but enough people like it that I’m confident the food is good. (This restaurant serves full meals, in contrast to Ursula’s in Waynesville that is a German sandwich/ deli restaurant). (5-23-19)

Sedalia

Ivory Grille–317 S. Ohio Ave. (American) Closed Sat lunch, closed Sun & Mon.  This has the best reviews of any place in town. Fine dining restaurant (serves steaks, fish, seafood, stuffed chicken breast, etc.). (4-1-19)

Springfield

Asia Express–2462 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  They start cooking the pho at 5:30 am, and reviewers say it makes a difference in the flavor (tofu pho is also recommended). Vermicelli bowls are also popular. (7-5-19)

Bao Bao–2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Sun evening and Mon.  Said to have authentic Chinese food (with a Chinese menu and a regular menu). One recent reviewer, though, said the chef has changed and some of the food is not the same. It still has good reviews, but I want to give this caution just in case the authentic food is no longer available. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Buckingham BBQ–2002 S. Campbell Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Reviewers say the barbecue is excellent (much more than just good for Springfield). Burnt ends are especially recommended. Baked beans are the most recommended side item. There are several locations throughout Missouri. (I think the dining room is open at a reduced capacity 6-29-20)

Cafe Cusco–234 E. Commercial St. (Peruvian) Open Daily.  Good reviews. They seem to have food that people consider to be delicious and authentic. (3-3-19)

Casper’s–601 W. Walnut St. (American) Lunch Mon-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat.  Chili, milk shake (this is a diner from the 1960’s). (7-5-19)

City Butcher and Barbecue–3650 S. Campbell Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 6 pm.  This may be the best BBQ in town, and some say it is the best in the state. Food is served on butcher paper. Recommended that you go early because they run out of items. Burnt ends and brisket are recommended. Apple pie is a must try. This is a Central Texas style BBQ place. (Takeout only 7-19-20)

Farmers Gastropub–2620 S. Glenstone Ave. (Gastropub) Open daily except Sun evening.  This looks like a good healthy alternative to the predominant fried and country style food. (7-5-19)

Hong Yen–2922 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Wed.  This seems to be the place to come for a greatly expanded Vietnamese menu (has bun bo hue). (No information about whether the dining room is open 6-29-20)

Karai Ramen–640 W. Republic Rd. (Japanese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Reviewers say it is both authentic and delicious. It looks as if it is worth a try. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Leong’s Asian Diner–1540 W. Republic Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  This is the original place for Springfield cashew chicken, and according to the web site the family still operates the restaurant. From what I can see of the menu, though, there is nothing I would call authentic Cantonese. (7-5-19)

Pho Kim–3433 S. Campbell Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Recommended place for pho and banh mi. Like Hong Yen, said to be very authentic with a wide choice of menu items. (Takeout only 6-29-20)

Thai Express–948 S. Glenstone Ave. (Thai) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  People who are concerned about authenticity as well as flavor seem to think this is possibly the best Thai restaurant in the city. This is a small restaurant with low prices (this is a bonus, but the food is the real attraction). (Takeout only 6-29-20)

That Lebanese Place–338 E. Commercial St. (Lebanese) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Has all the standard dishes, but also serves Lebanese “street food” (Pepper Joe, made with ground beef and veggies on pita). Falafel is apparently very authentic. (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Tortilleria Perches–1601 W. Sunshine St. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & closed Mon.  Authentic Mexican food (or at least the closest you will probably find in Springfield). Some comment that some dishes are spicy (implying that the other restaurants do not have any spicy dishes). (Dining room is open 7-19-20)

Triple Eight’s–1710 S. Kansas Expwy. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9:30 pm (closed Mon).  Has an authentic menu, and this seems to be the place where the Chinese university students frequent to get food from home. Xiao long bao is recommended. Specializes in Taiwanese and Sichuan cuisine. (Dining room is open 6-29-20)

Washington

Sugarfire Smoke House–512 W. Front St. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  This is a branch of one of St. Louis’ premier barbecue restaurants. Pulled pork and ribs are recommended at this location. Sides are said to be some of the best in the BBQ world. (7-5-19)

Waynesville

Ursula’s Schnitzelhaus–311 North St. (German) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Deli and sandwich shop specializing in schnitzels and German side dishes. Note: The Hub in St. Robert serves full German meals. (7-5-19)

West Plains

Bootleggers BBQ–1464 Gibson St. (BBQ) Closed Sun & Mon.  A barbecue place you will probably want to try if you are in the area. Brisket and pulled pork are recommended. Has three sauces: house, KC sweet, Memphis heat. (3-3-19)

Red Apple Grill–42 Court Square (American).  Old fashioned soda fountain restaurant (hamburgers are popular). Probably good not as much for the food as the atmosphere. Pork tenderloin sandwich is said to be good, though. (3-3-19)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Branson Shows (Branson Landing Restaurants)

Chowhound (Missouri)

Culture Trip (Top 10 Restaurants in Cape Girardeau)

Egullet

Roadfood

Trip Advisor (Springfield)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Missouri)

Zomato (Springfield)

 

Restaurant Guide–Montana

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Anaconda

Gallicano’s Pizzeria–118 E. Park Ave. (Pizza) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Reviewers say the pizza here is the best food in Anaconda, and rates high compared to all other pizza. It is said to be authentic New York style pizza. (1-24-20)

Bigfork

Pocketstone Cafe–444 Electric Ave. (American) Open daily 6 am to 3 pm.  The best reviews are for breakfast–serves Northwest style fresh food (strawberry pancakes, several types of egg scrambles, etc.). Breakfast tacos are also available. (7-5-19)

Big Sky

Lotus Pad–47 Town Center Ave. (Thai) Dinner only (open daily).  Flavors are pretty close to traditional Thai but the spice level is not (order it spicy if you are used to medium spice levels at other restaurants). Reviewers like the curries, but the pad thai is not very popular. Some recommend getting the daily special, whatever it is. (1-24-20)

Billings

A Taste of Asia–111 S. 24th St. W. (Lao & Vietnamese) Open Mon-Sat 11 am to 8 pm.  Lao food seems to be what they do that is the most authentic, but Vietnamese (particularly pho) is what is most popular with customers. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Harper & Madison–3115 10th Ave. N. (New American) Open Tue-Sat (breakfast & lunch only).  Popular place for breakfast–somewhat upscale, quiche is one of the recommended dishes. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Imperial Thai–216 N. Broadway (Thai) Closed Sun.  Reviews seem to be uniformly positive, saying this is the best Asian food in Billings. Curries are recommended. Some dishes have kaffir lime. Owners also have Asia Garden in Sidney, MT. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

J P Kitchen–805 24th St. W. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Probably more authentic style Chinese food than the other restaurants in town. Menu is limited, though. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Okinawa Sushi–1414 Main St. (Japanese) Open Daily.  Has udon and other dishes besides sushi. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Black Eagle

Borries–1800 Smelter Ave. NE (Steakhouse) Dinner only (open daily).  This restaurant has been open literally for “generations,” and is a “local legend.” It is a steakhouse that also serves Italian food. This is an old style “supper club” restaurant, and serves old style steaks. It appears that they way it works is that you get a steak with minestrone soup, toasted ravioli, and spaghetti (you can also get chicken or fish instead of steak). (5-7-19)

Bozeman

Jam!–25 W. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 3:30 pm.  Serves upscale breakfast, including fresh squeezed orange juice. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Pakeezah Authentic Indian–34 N. Bozeman Ave. (Indian) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Some say this is the only authentic Indian restaurant in Montana. Some like it because the food is actually spicy (but I suppose you can have it less spicy if desired). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Sweet Chili Asian Bistro–101 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say this is one of the best Thai places anywhere. Food is described as “fusion,” though, and I’m not sure how authentic it is. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Whistle Pig Korean–25 N. Willson Ave. (Korean) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Good reviews, and many say this is comparable to big city restaurants. Varied menu (not just Korean BBQ, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Butte

Annie’s Cafe–815 E. Front St. (American) Breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; dinner Wed-Fri.  Popular place for breakfast & lunch. Serves typical breakfast dishes, but they do them very well (according to reviewers). From the photos I would say to order the omelet. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Casagranda’s Steakhouse–801 S. Utah Ave. (Steakhouse) Dinner only (open daily).  Seems to be one of the best steakhouses in Montana (but has other items also, such as chicken, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Freeway Tavern–2001 S. Montana St. (American) Open Daily.  This is a dive bar that is famous for one thing–the pork chop sandwich (the pork chop is battered in what looks like tempura and is called the “Wop Chop”). (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Pekin Noodle Parlor–117 S. Main St. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Old style Chinese food (get sweet and sour, ginger shrimp, tofu with veggies, house special fried rice). It’s best if you can order several items and eat them family style. Orders come with a choice of rice or noodles (reviewers say get the noodles). Each table is in an individual room. Go for the experience more than the food (rest. is 100 yrs. old–all with the same family). (Delivery only according to Google Maps 6-28-20)

Columbia Falls

Laurie’s Deli–330 9th St. W. (Sandwiches) Closed Sun.  Recommended place for soups and sandwiches. Uses house made bread, and cuts the meat for your order. (2-6-19)

Tien’s Place Oriental–329 9th St. W. (Chinese).  I don’t really think this is a “recommended” Chinese restaurant–just one of the best choices in the area. Food is Americanized, but the Szechuan style dishes are probably the closest to real Chinese food. (2-6-19)

Conrad

Home Cafe–408 S. Main St. (American) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  People say breakfast is excellent. Omelettes are recommended (Denver, sausage, etc.). (5-7-19)

Deer Lodge

Sesame Wok–1007 Village Ln. (Thai) Open Daily.  This is a double restaurant–Chinese Garden (Chinese) and Sesame Wok (Thai). Thai is what most people like–Singapore noodles, pad thai, curry, etc. (6-25-19)

Yak Yak’s–200 Main St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Good reviews for both breakfast & lunch (omelet is popular for breakfast). (6-25-19)

Dillon

China Garden–130 N. Montana St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Most of the menu consists of Americanized dishes, but look for the more authentic ones (such as clay pot dishes). (5-24-19)

Fiesta Mexicana–510 N. Montana St. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 10 pm.  Dining room is in a converted bus (this probably saves on heating bills in the winter). Authentic style food–tacos, burritos, etc. (I didn’t see a single picture of anything smothered in cheese). (5-24-19)

Sparky’s Garage–420 E. Poindexter St. (American) Open Daily.  This seems to be a favorite with locals. Serves burgers, sandwiches, etc. Has special items such as fried green tomatoes. Everything is made on site (including the salad dressing). (5-24-19)

East Glacier Park

Two Medicine Grill–314 US 2 (American) Open Daily.  Good quality (not always found in tourist towns where they have very little repeat business). Recommended items include breakfast (blueberry pancakes, omelets, etc.), bison burgers, and pie. (6-25-19)

Evergreen

Pho Ly–2141 US Hwy 2 East (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Pho is described as top notch–serves other Vietnamese dishes as well. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Gallatin Gateway

Cafe at the Inn–65840 Gallatin Rd. (American).  Good food in a beautiful setting. Mostly known for its breakfast. Some items have green chile. Update 2019: Now only available to guests at the lodge. (6-25-19)

Gardiner

Grizzly Grille–1016 Scott St. (New American) Closed Sun.  This is a food truck (you have to eat outdoors on a picnic table but it has a great view). Eclectic menu including ramen (reviewers say it is not Japanese style but it is good with a less fatty broth). (6-25-19)

Yellowstone Grill–404 Scott St. (American) Breakfast Tue-Sun; lunch Tue-Sat (I think in winter it is closed Tue).  Breakfast is popular–best items are the more upscale ones (eggs Benedict, Mediterranean omelette, blueberry pancakes, etc.). (6-25-19)

Glendive

Li’s Chinese–1615 W. Towne St. (Chinese) Open daily except Sat lunch.  Dishes listed are Americanized, but owners are from San Francisco and reviewers say the food is good. Many people have cautioned, though, that they sometimes close early and do not follow the posted hours. (1-24-20)

Great Falls

Maple Garden–5401 9th Ave. S. (Korean).  I don’t know if it has the best Asian food in Great Falls, but it has the greatest consensus of diners that the food is good. Also has Chinese food, but it specializes in Korean. (5-7-19)

Pho Vi Tai–3212 10th Ave. S. (Vietnamese). Opened in 2019, so they may still be working out some bugs. Most say the food is good, and some comment that they now have some truly authentic Asian food in Great Falls. Both pho and vermicelli dishes are recommended. (5-7-19)

Suki Cafe–1229 10th Ave. S. (Thai).  Food is Thai and sushi, but the Thai food gets better reviews. People say it has “good Thai flavors” (so I would probably get curry or a stir fried dish). (5-7-19)

Note: Also see Black Eagle and Ulm for steakhouse recommendations.

Hamilton

A Thaiger–no address listed but it is close to Backroad Cider (Thai) Lunch Tue-Fri (serves until 1 pm), dinner Tue-Sat. This is a food truck (which is apparently how small towns are now able to get ethnic and more exotic food than before). Good reviews–some say this is the best food in town. (6-25-19)

Spice of Life–163 S. 2nd St. (New American) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Wed-Thu. Some good dishes include French onion soup, Cajun pasta, wild salmon, chicken alfredo, halibut and steak. Reviewers say it is worth stopping here. (6-25-19)

Taste of Paris–109 N. 4th St. (French) Closed Sun evening & Mon. Bistro style French food. French onion soup, pear salad, crepes, and desserts are some of the popular items. (6-25-19)

Helena

Mediterranean Grill–42 S. Park Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Good reviews for the food, but they frequently run out of items (probably a result of being located far from large metro areas). Has some unusual items such as Turkish desserts. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Ristorante Bella Roma–22 N. Last Chance Gulch St. (Italian) Open daily except Sun lunch.  Its old location was offbeat–the chef only gave two choices for the entree, and it changed daily. There is now a larger but still limited menu-diners say everything is excellent, cooked from scratch, and authentic. Some recommend the four course meals (expensive but a memorable experience). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Suki Cafe–15 W. 6th Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the only Asian restaurant in town with good reviews that is open for lunch. It has Thai and Japanese food (mainly sushi). Like its sister restaurant in Great Falls, the Thai food looks like a better bet. If you order the Japanese food, the salmon gets good reviews. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Toi’s Thai–423 N. Last Chance Gulch St. (Thai) Lunch Thu & Fri, dinner Wed-Sat.  Green curry is recommended (but not many dishes have the same level of popularity). Overall the restaurant has quite a few supporters. Don’t order the food spicy unless you really want it that way. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Hungry Horse

Carolyn’s Cafe–8930 Hwy. 2 East (American) Open 7am to 2 pm daily.  Located in a gas station, it’s especially popular for breakfast (huckleberry pancakes are a local favorite). At lunch huckleberry pie is popular. Everything is made in house. (7-5-19)

Kalispell

Brannigan’s Pub–101 E. Center St. (Irish) Open Daily.  Irish pub with food that gets good reviews. (I think the dining room is open 6-28-20)

Knead Cafe–21 5th St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Has the usual breakfast favorites, but with a British twist (scones, corned beef hash, Welsh eggs, etc. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Pho Ly (see Evergreen, MT)

Thai Palace–319 Main St. (Thai) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Sun).  Owners are from Thailand and return periodically (so food is authentic). Reviewers say price is an issue, though, and it’s better to go at lunch. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Lewistown

China Garden Kitchen–316 W. Main St. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  American style Chinese food, but reviewers say it is very good, fresh, and flavorful. (Takeout only 6-38-20)

Livingston

Big Sky Thai–102 Rogers Ln. (Thai) Closed Mon. It is worth taking note anytime there is a five-star Thai restaurant in Montana, and this has the reviews indicating it is one. Curries are recommended. (4-1-19)

Crust & Crumb Bakery–1106 W. Park St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Open for breakfast & lunch, but most people seem to go for lunch. Chicken soup and turkey bacon wrap are examples of the items served. The pie is very popular. (4-1-19)

Faye’s Cafe–415 E. Lewis St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (open Sun-Wed only).  Upscale restaurant that is popular for breakfast. (4-1-19)

The Wok–102 N. 2nd St. (Chinese).  Reviewers say the owners do their best to offer authentic Chinese food within the limits of being in rural Montana. Good ratings for the food. (4-1-19)

Yellowstone Valley Lodge–3840 US 89 S (American) Open Daily.  This is a steak restaurant located in a lodge that reviewers say is very worthwhile. Not only are the steaks a good taste of Montana food, but they are apparently less expensive than at other restaurants. Other main dishes are served, and the same care goes into the side dishes as the entrees. Note: this is located south of the town of Livingston. Closed in winter. (4-1-19)

Lolo

Bamboo Chopstix II–11400 Hwy 93 S (Chinese) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Tue-Sun.  This was apparently the new location for the former Hong Kong Chef in Missoula where I ate and really enjoyed the food. Now it has a new name and different hours, but good reviews (and is said to have some authentic dishes). (7-5-19)

Lolo Creek Steakhouse–6600 Lolo Creek Rd. (Steaks) Dinner only (open daily).  This restaurant is more expensive than my normal guidelines, but seems to be worth it for a good example of Montana’s “national food” (steaks). (7-5-19)

Missoula

Edelweiss Bistro (at Bayern Brewing)–1507 Montana St. (German) Closed Sun.  The emphasis is definitely on the beer, but they also serve schnitzels and German cucumber salad (also potato salad). The customers seem to be very satisfied. It also seems that they have the best beer in Missoula. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Five on Black–325 N. Higgins Ave. (Fast Food) Open Daily.  This restaurant fits the “fast food” category only in that it is pre-prepared and you are served quickly. The food is fresh and good quality, and is Brazilian inspired (has some items with Brazilian flavors). Reviewers say this all works and it is very good. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Masala–206 W. Main St. (Indian) Closed Sun & closed Sat lunch.  Info says it is both Indian and Nepali. Definitely seems to serve some different and unique dishes not normally found in Indian restaurants. Quality is said to be excellent most of the time (with occasional misses). Has good vegetarian options. I don’t think it has a buffet. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Vietnam Noodle–2100 Stephens Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say there is a large menu selection, and this is legit Vietnamese food. Pho has mixed reviews (reviewers say Vietnam Grill at 420 N. Higgins is better for pho). (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Shelby

The Griddle–311 Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  Everything for breakfast is said to be good, but eggs, bacon, muffins, and omelettes are the most popular. Burgers are popular at lunch. (5-7-19)

Saint Mary

Johnson’s Cafe–21 Red Eagle Rd. (American) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Fried chicken, bison steak, veggie burger, omelette, and huckleberry ice cream pie are recommended. (No info about whether the dining room is open or whether it is takeout only 6-28-20)

Sidney

Asian Garden–115 E. Main St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Serves Chinese food (Americanized), but the thing to get here is the Thai (green curry, yellow curry, chicken coconut soup, etc). (1-24-20)

Stevensville

Marie’s Italian–4040 US 93 N. (Italian).  For some reason there are several Italian restaurants in town, but this restaurant north of town is the one that gets the most rave reviews, serving upscale food that you will likely remember for some time (I don’t know the prices here–they are likely to be fairly high but lower than comparable restaurants in major cities). (7-5-19)

Mission Bistro–225 Main St. (American) Dinner Wed-Sat; brunch Sun.  Reviewers say it has very high quality food. Menu changes all the time. Salads are not to be missed. (7-5-19)

Three Forks

Iron Horse Cafe–24 N. Main St. (American) Open Daily.  Casual restaurant that serves steaks, but seems to specialize in sandwiches and other popular items such as Sunday night all you can eat catfish. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Peking–10 N. Main St. (Chinese) Open daily except Sat lunch.  The food is described as authentic (in the flavors, etc.) and can legitimately be called the best food in town. (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Pompey’s Grill–5 N. Main St. (Steaks) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Expensive, but I think the food here qualifies as a “local specialty.” Steak, prime rib, bison, etc., but also has some less expensive items. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Ulm

Beef N Bone–19 Ulm N. Frontage Road (Steakhouse) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Voted by readers of the Great Falls Tribune as the best steakhouse in the area (Ulm is about 10 miles SW of Great Falls). The premise of the restaurant is that the best meat is that which is close to the bone (and this is what they serve). Some of the steaks are quite large (enough for at least two people). The steaks here are less expensive than similar cuts at other restaurants, though. (5-7-19)

West Yellowstone

Euro Cafe–237 Firehole Ave. (International) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  This would probably be a better breakfast than at other places because you get more variety (such as crepes, scones, etc). However, some reviewers say not to expect European quality–just a good choice for a tourist town in Montana. Place is small (only has 8 to 10 tables). (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Red Lotus–19 Madison Ave. (Chinese) Only open May-Oct.  In addition to the Americanized menu they have a Chinese menu (with authentic food such as ma po tofu and Chinese green beans). Photos of the food honestly look like something from San Francisco (and get excellent reviews). (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Whitefish

Cafe Kandahar–3824 Big Mountain Rd. (Modern American) Dinner only (open daily).  World class food that I imagine is very expensive, but it’s on this list because the restaurant is very highly recommended. Food is fusion style, and everything is local and organic. You can come in jeans. Some reviewers describe it as small with limited seating. (Located at the ski area north of town). (Takeout only 6-28-20)

Loula’s Cafe–300 2nd St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Probably the most popular breakfast place in town. Food looks fresh and organic (although reviewers don’t say it is organic). Chicken pot pie is one of the recommended dishes. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Orient Express–6155 US 93 S. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Best Asian in the valley–goes beyond standard (Americanized) Chinese dishes. Satay beef noodle soup is popular. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Willow Creek

Willow Creek Cafe–21 Main St. (American) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  Best known for its ribs, but people rave about the steaks also. Serves good vegetarian meals as well. (7-5-19)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Google Maps

Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls Steakhouses)

Trip Advisor

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Montana)

Zomato (Missoula)