Looking for the best restaurants in Montana? Here’s our selection of the top places to eat in the Big Sky Country.
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Bozeman is a great place to experience Montana’s culinary marvels. You’ll find plenty of restaurants to choose from, but here are three to put at the top of your list.
Little Star Diner
The Little Star Diner is incredible. My summer evening at this foodie paradise easily became a highlight of my last I-90 road trip.
This restaurant caught my attention while I was looking into Bozeman’s culinary scene. They’ve earned high praise for an impressive variety of dishes from Eggs Benedict, to Falafel, to Gnocchi.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that their eclectic menu is entirely organic, fresh, and locally sourced. Add to this their beautiful, downtown location, and you’ve got a pretty solid candidate for a lovely evening!
My Experience at Little Star Diner
Frankly, it took effort not to be impressed with Little Star Diner from the get-go. Let me explain.
I headed to Little Star Diner after exploring downtown Bozeman on foot. But I got a bit lost, so I called for directions.
The Little Star Diner suddenly appeared a block away so I hung up while the phone was still ringing. I hadn’t reached the door when the hostess was calling me back.
Their first-floor entrance was packed with happy patrons. But despite the hustle, I was warmly welcomed and seated within minutes.
The diner was filled with a trendy crowd of young professionals enjoying a night on the town. I found myself noticeably underdressed, but you’d never have known it from the staff.
First Rate Food at Little Star Diner
I opted for an adventure and an IPA. Soon a handsome dish of fried carrots appeared with a can of MAP Peaks to Prairie.
The risk was worth taking. Savory, sweet, and tangy all come together in this delectable dish. The Little Star Diner uses crispy shallots, spicy fish sauce, cashews, and cilantro to challenge your view of what carrots can do.
The beer was great too! Peaks to Prairie has a robust flavor that offers a well-balanced, satisfying hop intensity.
What blew me away was the pasta. The Tagliatelle with Cherry Tomato Sauce was delicious. The inspired combination of tender pork sausage and subtle tomato sauce, topped with grated peppercorn gouda was truly praiseworthy.
Dessert was no different: Hazelnut cake with chocolate coconut ice cream. The presentation was fantastic and the flavors were wonderfully unique.
The taste of hazelnut permeated the entire cake. You could tell that the nuts had been finely ground and incorporated into the batter
The thick, creamy chocolate coconut ice cream paired remarkably with the cake. This was one of those rare occasions where the dessert challenges the entree for centerstage.
Final Thoughts on the Little Star Diner
I had no idea that two of my dishes were gluten-free until reviewing the menu later. The fried carrots and the Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream were delicious and were created entirely without gluten.
Little Star’s service was remarkably considerate. I used much of the meal as an opportunity to FaceTime with my family. My server instinctively watched for the best way to serve me without disturbing my conversation.
Montana Ale Works
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Montana Ale Works hit the mark. This restaurant served up delicious food that our whole family enjoyed.
Our kids flipped when they learned about Montana Ale Works’ root beer. This brewpub has its own root beer and keeps it on tap. The delicious treat was a great way to celebrate a fun-filled day of learning.
Montana Ale Works has plenty of the real stuff too. With over 40 craft spirits and 35 Montana beers on tap, the real trouble is choosing your fancy.
This award-winning restaurant has earned a reputation as the place for casual, upscale dining. You can find all kinds of delicious options on the menu, but you know us. We were only after one thing.
Jennifer and I weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to grab a wild game burger before returning home. We ordered the Monarch Elk Burger, a hearty combination of North American Elk, melted gruyere, tomato jam, arugula, and truffled porcini aioli.
Our girls devoured Montana Ale Work’s enormous Smashburgers. All of it was amazing.
Great Food at a Great Location
Storm Castle Café
Start your day strong at Bozeman’s top breakfast and burger place. Storm Castle Café is where the locals go for delicious comfort food.
Huge portions and an all-day breakfast menu have made this eatery an MSU favorite. Storm Castle is renowned for their Monte Cristo and their French toast. People also rave about their mimosa milkshakes.
On your way to Yellowstone National Park? Don’t miss the chance to experience these culinary wonders.
Firehole Bar-B-Que Co., West Yellowstone
Firehole is best known for their brisket, Mac n’ Cheese, rack ribs, and smoked turkey. They’re also famous for their huckleberry soda, huckleberry ice cream sandwich, and huckleberry frosted cookies.
Yellowstone Perk, Gardiner
You’d be hard-pressed to find a way better coffee shop than Yellowstone Perk. This bistro is known for its incredible eats and its ideal north-gate location. Roadtripping parents appreciate the Perk’s quiet atmosphere, quality souvenirs, and super-knowledgable staff.
Delicious breakfast burritos and huckleberry lattes are the Perk’s most popular breakfast items. Yellowstone Perk is also known for its yummy vegetarian options like their veggie panini and veggie breakfast burrito.
Delectable bison burgers, bison nachos, and bison tacos have made the Perk a popular place to have lunch. Folks enjoy pairing their meal with a huckleberry lemonade or even some huckleberry ice cream.
Horn & Cantle, Big Sky
Lone Mountain Ranch holds a culinary gem. Horn & Cantle is renowned for Montana-style fine dining.
This rustic, log-cabin restaurant has a long tradition of serving remarkable Western entrees. Beloved dishes include bison steaks, wild game bolognese, and elk chop with smoked marrow butter.
Feeling adventurous? Why not take on their famous Tomahawk 40 oz bone-in beef steak?
You can find amazing eats in the cities surrounding Glacier National Park. Three of the best restaurants in Montana can be found here.
Mercantile Steak, Kalispell
Mercantile Steak stands tall among the best restaurants in Montana. More than most, this place has a claim on the title of the best steakhouse in the Treasure State.
Mercantile’s popovers are incredibly popular, but they also serve a mean Mac ’n Cheese. You can add either lobster or prime rib bites to this delectable pasta.
But it’s the meat that takes center stage at Kalispell’s grand steakhouse. Bone-in bison ribeye, smoked prime rib, and roast prime rib consistently wow patrons. Popular desserts include their peanut butter mouse and their bread pudding.
Above all of these qualities, Mercantile Steak is consistently praised for excellent service. Enjoy incredible food and live music at their historic building in downtown Kalispell.
Buffalo Café, Whitefish
Whitefish’s Buffalo Café is the place to go for Western comfort food in a comfy setting. This family-friendly eatery is known for its warm-hearted staff, huge portions, and affordable prices.
The Buffalo Café is best known as a quality breakfast spot. Folks love their huckleberry pancakes and their breakfast pie. The menu includes several gluten-free options as well.
The DeSoto Grill, Kalispell
The DeSoto Grill stands out as one of the most unique BBQ places in the West. They offer a remarkable assortment of BBQ-inspired BLTs and Hoagies to enjoy with Montana’s best craft beer.
DeSoto’s PBJ Pork Belly Bites are highly praised, but the Supercharged BLT and the Porkbelly BLT are the real hard hitters. People also rave about the collard greens and cornbread.
Finally, the DeSoto has a fantastic setup in a historic blacksmith forge. This restaurant’s upbeat vibe and attentive staff have made the DeSoto the place to go for a great evening out.
Zoo Town is the place to go for the best restaurants in Montana. This college town is known for its culture and culinary delights.
Make a date to try the best pizzas in Big Sky Country. Biga Pizza uses fresh pizza dough to produce original creations in their enormous brick oven.
Biga is renowned for their crazy pizza options. Would you like to try a sweet potato-bacon-maple-chipotle pizza, or perhaps the prosciutto and fig combination?
Missoula’s best pizza place is also loved for their abundance of vegan and gluten-free options. Their vegan soups are especially praised.
Not into weird pizza? Biga Pizza also serves traditional pizza, fresh salads, beer and wine.
The Notorious P.I.G. BBQ
The best BBQ in Missoula is served at the Notorious P.I.G. Enjoy top-notch brisket, try tip, and ribs with a glass of local craft beer.
P.I.G.’s sides are nearly as loved as their BBQ. Their baked beans, deviled-eggs-potato salad, applesauce, and fire-and-ice pickles are as much a part of the experience as the meat itself.
Patrons also appreciate the array of sauces that grace every table. You can make each dish your own by adding the sauce that fits your fancy.
Keep your eye out for surprise additions to the menu. Duck and wild game often grace this eatery’s delicious list of entrees. The Notorious P.I.G. has two locations in Missoula, Montana.
Plonk Missoula is a top choice for upscale cocktails. Their robust cocktail, wine, and beer menu has earned them a place among the best restaurants in Montana.
Plonk is best known for their excellent martinis and delicious small-plate options. They also offer a strong selection of mezcal cocktails and quality IPAs.
Enjoy a date night on Plonk’s beautiful rooftop patio. Plonk’s excellent drinks can also be enjoyed in Bozeman, Montana.
Montana’s historic mining hub holds several of the state’s most colorful restaurants. These three unique stops stand out among the best restaurants in Montana.
Butte’s chief steakhouse is known for generous portions and large, hearty steaks. This local favorite is also loved for its pasta and sushi dishes.
Folks especially appreciate the ribeye and filet mignon. Casagranda’s Bowtie Mac n’ Cheese is their most popular side.
It’s hard to resist this restaurant’s appeal. Their historic warehouse location is only minutes away from the Hebgen Children’s Park.
Mr. Hot Dogs
This place is on my bucket list! Mr. Hot Dogs is one of Montana’s best-loved hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
Despite its name, Mr. Hot Dogs is most loved for their Italian food. Their delicious, home-made lasagna and spaghetti have won hearts for decades.
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But that’s not to say that you should ignore the hot dogs. Mr. Hot Dogs starts its masterpieces with freshly made hot dog buns. These Chicago-style beef dogs are loaded with good stuff.
Their menu of nearly two dozen gourmet dogs boggles the imagination. Be advised, Mr. Hot Dogs is a cash-only business with limited seating.
Pork Chop Johns
Here’s a local favorite that redefines the word “pork chops”. Pork Chop Johns brings the other white meat to the American burger scene.
People go hog wild (sorry couldn’t resist) over their pork chop sandwiches. Pork nuggets with garlic dipping sauce is another winner.
This place is also known for thick creamy milkshakes. You can find Pork Chop Johns at their two locations in Butte, Montana.
Montana’s capital city has plenty of quality restaurants to choose from. Fine dining, authentic street tacos, and Cajun comfort food can all be found here.
Few Montana restaurants hold a candle to Lucca’s. This exemplary restaurant is known for outstanding food and excellent service.
Lucca’s specializes in Italian cuisine, and they’re best known for their seafood and veal dishes. Their intimate, downtown location is a perfect place for a date night or a special occasion.
El Vaquero Taqueria
Helena holds a culinary oasis, a place to get authentic Mexican street eats. El Vaquero Taqueria serves fantastic food in enormous portions.
People are most taken by their burritos, salsa, carnitas, and enchiladas. El Vaquero is a small eatery with picnic seating, so you may want to order your food to-go.
Cravin’ cajun? Café Zydeco is a place to get the real deal even the Rockies.
Zydeco’s beignets are their most popular item. But they’re also loved for their hush puppies, shrimp and grits, and Po’boys.
Café Zydeco honors the armed forces with a military discount. They can also be found in Bozeman and Billings.
Great Falls boasts three of Montana’s best restaurants. Enjoy world-class burgers, bbq, and brews at these top-notch eateries.
Great Fall’s famous burger dive is known for gourmet hamburgers and hearty American breakfasts.
Roadhouse Diner’s award-winning burgers have been making news since 2017. You may have seen them win Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network.
Patrons appreciate their Lowrider Burger, Widow Maker Burger, and Pub Burger. Try Roadhouse Diner’s Elvis Fries, complete with Cheez Whiz and brown gravy.
SMOKED. American Barbecue
Experience barbecue at its best at SMOKED. Great Falls’ best barbecue is known for great food and a commitment to customer service.
People love SMOKED’s brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. They also appreciate how many gluten-free and dairy-free options are available as well.
SMOKED is only a block away from beautiful Riverside Park. Members of the armed forces enjoy a special discount every Tuesday.
Mighty MO Brewing Co.
Enjoy local craft beer at Mighty MO Brewing Company. This family-friendly brewpub is a great place to enjoy unique pub grub while listening to live music.
Mighty MO produces a variety of brews, but they’re best known for their IPAs. The Hazy Cloudburst and their Lip Ripper are their most celebrated IPAs.
This Montana brewpub has a soft spot for Mac n’ Cheese. They serve no less than four Mac n’ Cheese pizzas and three gourmet Mac n’ Cheese bowls.
The Magic City is rich in enchanting restaurants. Here are three restaurants that you won’t want to miss.
Carverss Brazillian Steakhouse
Carverss is setting the standard when it comes to steak. This top-tier restaurant is earning a reputation for its original meat dishes.
Diners feast on a variety of options including top sirloin, sweet & spicy chicken, garlic steak, and parmesan steak. Carverss experienced waiters are ready to guide you through the best pairings from their wine list.
This is a great place to go if you love rare meat. But Carverss is also known for its enormous salad bar. Be sure to order Carverss‘ delicious Piña Colada.
The Burger Dive
Billings is home to Montana’s best burger shack. The Burger Dive is a quirky diner that pushes the limit on American cuisine.
The Dive’s award-winning burgers include their Juicy Lucy, Date with Jim Beam and Coke, and their Blackened Sabbath Burger. The Huckleberry Burger, their most popular creation, features 1/3 pound Angus burger covered with their Huckleberry chili barbecue sauce, bacon, goat cheese, roasted red pepper mayo, and arugula on a fresh hamburger bun.
Burgers are only part of the equation at the Burger Dive. The dive is also known for their creative hot dogs, fries, and malt milkshakes. Just a note, The Burger Dive is a place for burger enthusiasts and foodies. If you’re looking for something conventional then go to McDonalds.
Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill
Experience Billing’s craft culture at Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill. This industrial chic brewpub is known for its inventive eats and inexpensive drink flights.
Last Chance features a range of handcrafted ciders and beers. Several of their ciders are made with locally grown apples and beets. Their barrel-aged ciders include bourbon and chardonnay varieties.
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Cider flights are the big draw at this cider pub. For $10 you can take a flight of four ciders or beers.
Diners also appreciate Last Chance’s inventive menu. They’ve added their own twist to classic American pub grub.
The Last Chance Nachos are a popular example of what you can expect. A base of cheese-covered, all-corn tortilla chips is topped with pickled radishes, vegetables, and jalapeños. Garlic pinto beans, queso fresco, shredded red leaf lettuce, lemon-lime cream, avocado-lime crema, and pico de Gallo complete this eclectic appetizer.
On the Open Road
A Big Sky Country road trip is a great way to discover the best restaurants in Montana. Many of the state’s best eats can only be found outside the city limits. Here are five roadside treasures to try on your next adventure.
Lolo Creek Steakhouse, Lolo
Lolo holds one of Montana’s top steakhouses. Lolo Creek Steakhouse and Distillery is an exemplary restaurant that’s known for its steak, seafood, and craft spirits.
Lolo Creek has earned high marks for their perfectly grilled steaks. Even more impressive is the renown they’ve earned for their king crab and lobster dishes
This steakhouse offers a large selection of cocktails and beer, including their own handcrafted spirits. Their Haunted Waters Bourbon Whiskey took gold at the John Barleycorn Awards (2021).
People enjoy Lolo Creek’s huckleberry whiskey and their huckleberry honey vodka. The Huckleberry Moscow Mule is Lolo Creek’s best-loved cocktail.
Lolo Creek Steakhouse is one of the best, family-friendly restaurants to be found along the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail. You can find them next to Traveler’s Rest State Park and the Holt Heritage Center.
Iron Horse Café & Pie Shop, Three Forks
This eatery is known for comfort food, particularly its French Dip, its Bison Burger, and its Biscuits and Gravy. But it’s their pie that put this place on the map.
Iron Horse’s homemade pies change daily. Favorites include their Maple Bourbon Pecan, the Three Berry Huckleberry, and their Huckleberry Cheesecake.
Iron Horse Cafe’s main street location is on the Lewis and Clark Trail and is only minutes away from the Headwaters Heritage Museum. Veterans and first responders enjoy a special discount at this veteran-owned restaurant.
Here’s the place for the garlic-lover in your family. Anaconda’s top Italian restaurant has a reputation for quality food and warm-hearted service.
People appreciate O’bella!’s chicken marsala, bolognese, alfredo, and calamari. But it’s the garlic breadsticks that have made this place a local favorite.
Try the Black Truffle Mac n’ Cheese if you’re feeling adventurous. O’bella! is located in downtown Anaconda, near Anaconda State Park.
Piccola Cucina Ox Pasture, Red Lodge
Who would expect to find a world-class Italian restaurant in Central Montana? The Piccola Cucina is a culinary superstar that boasts locations in New York, New York; Ibiza, Spain; and even the town of Red Lodge.
To say that the Piccola Cucina is special would be an understatement. Few restaurants can match the flavor and fun that’s found here.
The Piccola Cucina’s authentic Sicilian food is regarded as the best Italian food in Montana. Their Lasagna, Ravioli, and Gnocchi are three of their most-loved dishes.
Their delectable desserts and cappuccinos are well-praised. Both the tiramisu and cannoli are prepared right beside your table.
People are even more taken with the electric atmosphere and incredible service. The servers aren’t the only ones who sing and dance at this place so come ready to party.
Ma’s Loma Cafe, Loma
Fill up at one of Montana’s best mom-and-pop restaurants. Ma’s Loma Cafe is a great place to enjoy comfort food with heartfelt service.
Ma’s is locally famous for its homemade pies and its all-day breakfast menu. Diners also enjoy their steaks, sandwiches, and homestyle Mexican food.
This family-friendly restaurant also has a drive-through option! You’ll find Ma’s Loma Cafe along the Lewis & Clark National Historical Trail, a few miles outside of Fort Benton.
The Burns Creek Inn, Savage
Visit one of Eastern Montana’s best pubs. The Burns Creek Inn serves some of the tastiest pulled pork in the state.
You can enjoy a traditional pulled pork sandwich or get adventurous with pulled pork tacos. They also feature an extensive menu of large, flavor-packed burgers.
Burns Creek Inn is a family-friendly establishment that’s known for its superb service. Join them on the first Friday of each month for prime rib.
Your 30 Best Restaurants in Montana
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the 30 best restaurants in Montana. Do you have a question or a restaurant to add to the list?
Happy traveling and Bon Appetite!
©️ Copyright Brian A. Warren 2023