Montana is known for its stunning and diverse landscape, which includes the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the Glacier National Park. Therefore, it is a popular destination for those who enjoy the outdoors. Although it is lesser-known for its cuisine, there are many outstanding places to eat in this state. It means there are plenty of options to try during a visit to Montana. The options range from casual eateries to fine dining venues, and there are restaurants to suit all budgets. There are also options to suit all tastes, with menus including traditional American dishes to option inspired by cuisine from across the globe. Therefore, you will find something to please everyone when dining out in this state. Here are the 20 best restaurants in the whole of Montana to help you decide where to eat while you are in the state.
20. Ptarmigan Dining Room, Browning
The setting of a restaurant can have a significant impact on the overall dining experience, and it is the setting of the Ptarmigan Dining Room that makes it stand out from the competition. It is set within Many Glacier Hotel, which sits in a lakeside position, so diners can enjoy water views throughout their meal. The restaurant is predominantly a steakhouse with 7, 10, and 14-ounce prime rib options. However, there are also fish dishes and burgers on the menu. Diners can choose beverages from craft cocktails and microbrew beers menus to accompany their meal.
19. Uberbrew, Billings
Billings is known as the brewery district of Montana, so you will find various breweries if you visit this location, and some of them serve food. If you are a fan of gastropub-style food and the relaxed atmosphere of these types of restaurants, then one of the best options in Montana is Uberbrew. There is a menu of hearty dishes, including sausages and burgers, or diners can choose from the bar snacks menu. As you would expect from a venue of this type, there is a fantastic and diverse selection of craft beers available to wash down your meal.
18. Gallatin River Lodge, Bozeman
One of the best features of the Gallatin River Lodge is its setting, as it is a luxurious boutique hotel surrounded by the natural beauty of Bozeman, including the Gallatin Range and the Bridger Mountains. The menu consists of mountain cuisine with a modern twist, and the dishes are created using a combination of western ingredients, local spice, and old-world techniques. There is a focus on using local and organic produce.
17. The Fieldhouse, Billings
An interesting fact about The Fieldhouse in Billings is that it is the only green-certified restaurant in the region. Chef Ben Harman is at the helm of this restaurant, and he has created a menu that focuses on sustainable ingredients served in creative ways. There are both satisfying crowd-pleasers on the menu, alongside dishes that boast unusual ingredient and flavor combinations. It is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, so you can enjoy a meal at this venue no matter what time of day you are in the area.
16. Plonk, Missoula
Plonk is a wine bar in Missoula, so many of the visitors to this establishment simply visit to spend an evening enjoying a few glasses of wine. However, it also serves food, and it has grown an excellent reputation for the gastronomic delights on offer. There are appetizers, main meals, shared plates, and tapas available. The dishes vary from classics, such as steak tartare, to internationally-inspired dishes, such as massaman curry. As you would expect from a wine bar, there is an extensive and diverse wine list. If you are not a wine enthusiast, there are other alcoholic beverages available, along with hot beverages and cold drinks.
15. Yellowstone Valley Grill, Livingston
Due to the popularity of Yellowstone Valley Grill, it is necessary to make a reservation at least two weeks in advance. If possible, try to get a patio seat so that you can fully appreciate the views across the Yellowstone River and the Absaroka Range. The menu consists of freshly prepared Napa Valley cuisine that is made using sustainable local ingredients. It also boasts an extensive wine list.
14. Madison Crossing Lounge, West Yellowstone
Madison Crossing Lounge is housed in a 1918 former school building. The school building was converted to create a classy bar and restaurant. Predominantly, the menu consists of American classics with a contemporary twist. Examples from the menu include the huckleberry burger, bison nachos, and portabello mushrooms stuffed with elk. There are also fish options on the menu, and the dessert menu boasts mouthwatering options such as blueberry and white chocolate bread pudding.
13. Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Bozeman
Rainbow Ranch Lodge is an upscale lodge in Bozeman in the Gallatin Valley, and it has an attached gourmet restaurant. The lodge and restaurant sit by the river and are surrounded by woodland, so diners can enjoy gorgeous river views and watch the wildlife in the trees. Meat dishes feature highly on the menu, and the options combine local ingredients with international flavors. Some examples from the menu include wild game tagine, bison steak with mushrooms, and elk rubbed in harissa.
12. Whitefish Lake Restaurant, Whitefish
Golf clubs are not usually known for having high-end steakhouses, but that is not the case at Whitefish Lake Golf in Whitefish, Montana. The Whitefish Lake Restaurant is housed within a log cabin at the golf club, and it has become a favorite for locals when they are celebrating a special occasion. Steaks are the main options on the menu, although there are also other cuts of meat. Although it is a high-end steakhouse, the log cabin setting gives the restaurant a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
11. Chico Inn Restaurant, Livingston
The restaurant at Chico Inn is well known in the Livingston and Paradise Valley region. It is the main restaurant at the Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa. One of the most popular times to visit is for Sunday brunch for a casual morning meal. However, it is open for dinner and serves hearty yet refined dishes, such as the beef Wellington for two people. A cheaper option at the restaurant is the Poolside Grill, which serves pizzas and sandwiches and has live music on Fridays.
10. 2nd Street Bistro, Livingston
The 2nd Street Bistro is set in The Historic Murray Hotel in Livingston, Montana. Like many of the best restaurants, there is a focus on using locally-sourced ingredients. Although the food is top-notch, the bistro has a relaxed vibe. It is a great option for vegetarians, as there are more vegetarian options on the menu than the average restaurant in Montana.
9. Nova Café, Bozeman
An unusual feature of Nova Café in Bozeman is the map in the entranceway that shows you the origins of the food you will eat. The style of this restaurant is best described as retro-contemporary, and it has a relaxed vibe. There are items on the menu that you might not see served anywhere else, such as bison chorizo and forbidden rice salad with lemongrass and ginger. It is a fantastic option for vegans, as there is a separate vegan menu.
8. Follow Yer' Nose BBQ, Livingston
For those who prefer casual dining venues, one of the best restaurants in Montana is Follow Yer' Nose. Originally, this eatery was nothing more than a portable smoker in a parking lot. However, as the venue's popularity grew, it moved to a large covered patio that has stunning views of Paradise Valley and the surrounding mountains. It is now known as one of Montana's liveliest BBQ joints. As you would expect from a venue of this kind, the menu is meat-heavy. There are more than 40 craft beers to choose from to accompany your meal.
7. Over the Tapas, Bozeman - Permanently Closed
Opting for a tapas restaurant is the perfect choice if you want to sample a variety of dishes and flavors. One of the best tapas restaurants in Montana is Over the Tapas, which you will find in Bozeman. Although the chef uses local ingredients, Spanish cuisine is the main influence of the menu at this tapas restaurant in Montana. There are Iberian classics, such as paella, empanadas with chorizo, and patatas bravas. Diners can enjoy sampling various dishes in a relaxed and fun setting.
6. The Depot, Missoula
If steak is your go-to meal when dining out, then there are few places better to eat than The Depot in Missoula. It is a classic Western steakhouse with a dark wood interior and a nostalgic atmosphere, thanks to the Larry Pirnie artwork on the walls. The restaurant is best known for its charred meat options, although there are also fish and seafood options on the menu. There is an extensive wine list and a full bar that boasts 18 beer varieties on tap, so there are various drinks options to accompany your meal.
5. Feast Raw Bar & Bistro, Bozeman
A highlight of visiting Feast Raw Bar & Bistro in Bozeman is visiting the raw bar, which features seafood such as oysters and clams. There are also raw sharing plates on the menu. However, not everything on the menu is raw, as there is a diverse selection of dishes, including globally inspired options and local favorites. The dishes are made using locally-sourced and sustainable products, and the restaurant has become famous for its seafood options. Overall, it is one of the best options for seafood enthusiasts in Montana.
4. Pearl Café, Missoula - Permanently Closed
Best Things Montana lists Pearl Café as one of the best places to eat in the state. Pearl Cash is the restaurant's chef-owner, and she has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Pearl Café is a French-style bistro with a modern menu. Many of the dishes on the menu are cooked over an open flame. Steaks, seafood, and platters of cheese and charcuterie all feature on the menu, and there is an excellent wine list.
3. Johnson's of St Mary World Famous Restaurant, St Mary
Johnson's of St Mary World Famous Restaurant is set in a log cabin that sits above the town of St Mary. It has separate lunch and dinner menus, with the dinner menu offering large burgers and sandwiches. If you visit for dinner, there is a more extensive menu, which includes various cuts of steak and a few seafood options. This restaurant has a more casual feel than many of the best restaurants in Montana, so it is a great place to eat with the family to chat, laugh, and enjoy a hearty meal.
2. Abruzzo Italian Kitchen, Whitefish
Abruzzo Italian Kitchen is a trattoria in Whitefish that combines comfort and hospitality with an upscale fine dining experience. It opened in 2017 and has become a hit with the locals. The menu includes homemade pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and traditional Italian meat dishes. There are also excellent wine and cocktail lists. Diners at this restaurant eat in comfortable booths, and there are seating areas for large groups. The friendly service from the welcoming staff also adds to the overall dining experience at this trattoria.
1. Belton Chalet Grill & Taproom, West Yellowstone
According to Lonely Planet, one of the best restaurants in Montana is Belton Chalet Grill & Taproom. Located in West Yellowstone, Belton Chalet Grill & Taproom is one of the top fine dining options in West Glacier. It is housed in a historic building that has a taproom adjoining the main restaurant. The dishes are created using locally sourced ingredients, so the menu changes according to the availability of ingredients. Although it is a fine dining option, there is a fun element to the restaurant as the waitresses wear Swiss milkmaid restaurant. After enjoying your meal, you can soak in the relaxed vibe in the taproom.
Aside from having delicious food, there are also 20 amazing places to live in Montana.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn