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. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

Bigfork

Pocketstone Cafe–444 Electric Ave. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  The best reviews are for breakfast–serves Northwest style fresh food (strawberry pancakes, several types of egg scrambles, etc.). Breakfast tacos are also available. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

Big Sky

Lotus Pad–47 Town Center Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun (in winter might serve dinner only).  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. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Imperial Thai–216 N. Broadway (Thai) Open Daily.  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 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Black Eagle

Borries–1800 Smelter Ave. NE (Steakhouse) Dinner only (closed Mon).  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). (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

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. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

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”). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Uptown Cafe–47 E. Broadway St. (American) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Beef wellington and duck with huckleberry sauce are some of the recommended items. Has daily lunch specials with items such as chicken pot pie and beef stroganoff. Dinner is more upscale. (Dining room is open–dinner is temporarily discontinued because of staff shortage 9-20-21)

Cameron

Driftwood Bar & Bistro–31 Sagebrush Way (American) Dinner only (closed Wed & Thu).  I’m including it on the list because of its reviews, and the food looks interesting (salmon tacos, reuben, burger with jalapeno & pepper jack cheese. Specials are ribeye steak on Tue, prime rib on Sat, open face prime rib on Sun (which is about half the price as the regular prime rib). (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Columbia Falls

Laurie’s Deli–330 9th St. W. (Sandwiches) Open 8:30 to 4 pm (closed Sun).  Recommended place for soups and sandwiches. Uses house made bread, and cuts the meat for your order. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Tien’s Place Oriental–329 9th St. W. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  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. (Dinner only 9-20-21)

Conrad

Home Cafe–408 S. Main St. (American) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  People say breakfast is excellent. Omelettes are recommended (Denver, sausage, etc.). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Fiesta Mexicana–510 N. Montana St. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 9 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). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Horse Prairie Stage Stop–11800 MT-324 (Bar & Grill) Open daily including breakfast (closed from 2 pm to 5 pm).  Very good reviews and what they have seems to be high quality. Steaks are the most highly recommended item, but it seems to have a full range of items, and reviews for all of them is good. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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)

Forsyth

The Joseph Cafe–147 N. 9th Ave. (American) Open daily 8 am to 2 am.  Good reviews. Steaks and burgers are popular, but has other recommended items such as tomato basil soup, salad with fresh greens, rosemary fries, hot dog with aioli, etc. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Gardiner

Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ–375 US 89 S. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Wed-Fri).  Good reviews for the BBQ. Brisket, pulled pork, and cole slaw are the most recommended items. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Grizzly Grille–1016 Scott St. (New American) Closed Tue & 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). (Takeout only 9-20-21)

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.). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Great Falls

Maple Garden–5401 9th Ave. S. (Korean) Open Daily.  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. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Pho Vi Tai–3212 10th Ave. S. (Vietnamese) Open Daily. 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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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

Hamilton

A Thaiger–102 S. 2nd St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 1 to 4 pm). Good reviews–some say this is the best food in town. I think it started out as a food truck and now has a permanent location with dine-in service. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Hungry Horse

Carolyn’s Cafe–8930 Hwy. 2 East (American) Open 7am to 1:30 pm (closed Mon & Tue).  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. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Kalispell

Brannigan’s Pub–101 E. Center St. (Irish) Closed Sun & Mon.  Irish pub with food that gets good reviews. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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 Sun & Mon.  American style Chinese food, but reviewers say it is very good, fresh, and flavorful. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Libby

Smoking Gun BBQ–312 Mineral Ave. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 5 pm (closed Sat-Mon).  Good reviews. Pulled pork with Memphis sauce, cornbread, baked beans are recommended. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Faye’s Cafe–415 E. Lewis St. (American) Open 8 am to 11 am (closed Fri).  Upscale restaurant that is popular for breakfast. Web site says they stay open until they have served 40 people or 11 am (whichever comes first). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

The Wok–102 N. 2nd St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  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. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Yellowstone Valley Grill–3840 US 89 S (American) Dinner only (closed Mon).  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. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Lolo

Bamboo Chopstix II–11400 Hwy 93 S (Chinese) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Tue-Sun.  This is 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). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Vietnam Noodle–2100 Stephens Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed 2:30 to 4:30 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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Shelby

The Griddle–311 Main St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Everything for breakfast is said to be good, but eggs, bacon, muffins, and omelettes are the most popular. Burgers are popular at lunch. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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. (Operates mid-May to late September only 9-5-21)

Sidney

Asian Garden–115 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Serves Chinese food (Americanized), but the thing to get here is the Thai (green curry, yellow curry, chicken coconut soup, etc). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Stevensville

Marie’s Italian–4040 US 93 N. (Italian) Dinner only (open Fri-Sun only).  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). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

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. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Whitefish

Cafe Kandahar–3824 Big Mountain Rd. (Modern American) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  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). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

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 (closed Mon & Tue).  Best known for its ribs, but people rave about the steaks also. Serves good vegetarian meals as well. Willow Creek is a short distance SW of Three Forks. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

 

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)

 

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