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The 10 Best Restaurants in Missoula, Montana
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The 10 Best Restaurants in Missoula, Montana

Picture of A. J. Samuels
Updated: 9 February 2017
Missoula’s restaurant scene reflects the local, independent spirit that makes the city a haven for outdoor adventurers, artists and hippies. Successful chefs and restaurateurs that would be comfortable in higher-profile cities have chosen Missoula as home, reflecting a fierce pride towards the city. From pizzerias and steak houses to fine-dining hot spots, here is our updated list for the best restaurants in Zootown.
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Red Bird Restaurant & Wine Bar

Missoula’s Red Bird – located in the historic Florence Hotel Building downtown – celebrates Montana-grown food through expertly prepared fine-dining. Using local produce and animals, Red Bird employs a frequently changing seasonal menu paired with an extensive wine list to create ‘true Montana cuisine.’ An in-house butchers cuts local bison, pork, lamb, and poultry, and makes his own charcuterie. The locally raised bison tenderloin, succulent and juicy, frequently appears on the menu. Residents looking for a celebratory night out succumb to the candle-light dining room and surprising daily specials.

Red Bird, 111 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT, USA +406 549 2906

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00pm to 10:00pm

Biga Pizza

For an artisanal approach to pizza making, visit chef Bob Marshall’s Biga Pizza. At this locale, even the standard pepperoni pizza is brushed with olive oil and fired in a brick oven. Marshall uses a selection of seasonal ingredients to craft the best pizza in Missoula. He caters to vegan and vegetarian eaters, using an array of local produce to make non-traditional combinations that are exciting to see on top of a pizza. The sweet potato, bacon and maple chipotle pizza comes topped with toasted hazelnuts and a delicious sweet, spicy and savory maple-chipotle drizzle. With sandwiches, calzones and salads that carry the same inventiveness, you could eat here every night of the week and not be tired of it.

Biga Pizza, 241 W Main St, Missoula, MT, USA +406 728 2579

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 9:30pm. Friday: 11:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Saturday: 5:00pm to 10:00pm

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Catalyst Café & Espresso Bar

What started as a coffee cart in 1991 has expanded to Missoula’s favorite place to enjoy all-day breakfast and delicious coffee. Cage-free eggs are served alongside cheddar potato or green chilli and pepperjack potato casseroles, nice alternatives to the standard hash browns. Catalyst attracts students from the nearby University of Montana with their tasty and quick omelets, salads and sandwiches. This spot is adorned with local art and has a second-level mezzanine great for people watching. Look for daily specials such as the crowd-pleasing bread pudding.

Catalyst Café & Espresso Bar, 111 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT, USA +406 542 1337

Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:00am to 3:00pm. Saturday-Sunday: 8:00am to 3:00pm

The Pearl Café

Consistently crowned Missoula’s best restaurant, The Pearl Café also carries accolades for its service and romantic dining. Owner Pearl Cash combines French cuisine with regional goods for unforgettable meals. Local ingredients such as Idaho trout and Snake River steak often appear on the menu. The trout, filled with a Dungeness crab stuffing, heads a surprising list of seafood options including a stew loaded with local fish, shrimp, scallops and shellfish. The Pearl’s European tradition crossed with local flair is evident from the wine list: traditional French wines are offered alongside varieties from nearby Washington and Oregon. For date night, enjoy the polished décor and inviting atmosphere with one of the best meals in Missoula.

The Pearl Café, 231 E Front St, Missoula, MT, USA +406 541 0231

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00pm to 9:00pm

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The Notorious P.I.G.

Since opening in April 2015, Notorious P.I.G. has become Missoula’s best new restaurant, and the undisputed home of the best barbecue in the city. Although an extension of family-run barbecue restaurants in St. Louis, chef/owner Burke Holmes combines the best regional traditions under one roof. Barbecue classics like Texas-style brisket and Memphis-inspired pulled pork sandwiches are served alongside pastrami reminiscent of Manhattan, and smoked cranberry-cayenne chicken wings. Holmes smokes the meat in-house over local cherry and apple wood, and the smell of slowly cooking cuts fills the area beside the Clark Fork River from early morning until they run out, which is frequent considering their newfound popularity. Specials such as Cuban sandwiches and mac n cheese have diners regularly lining up out the door.

The Notorious P.I.G., 247 W Front St, Missoula, MT, USA +406 926 1344

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11:00am to 8:00pm. Sunday: 11:00am to 4:00pm

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The Silk Road

Chef Abe Risho’s ‘global tasting experience’ combines an incredible range of dishes from Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. He has taken his favorite dishes from around the world and made them into small, tapas-style plates so that diners may experience multiple dishes and regions in one meal. Such a meal can consist of Canadian poutine, Mexican ceviche, Austrian pork schnitzel, and Indian slow-braised lamb. The success of this spot on Missoula’s ‘Hip Strip’ has even garnered its own spice line and separate spice shop. Local diners are excited by the incredible offerings of The Silk Road, and visitors to Missoula are bound to appreciate the take on the best the world has to offer, all on one plate!

The Silk Road, 515 S Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT, USA +406 541 0752

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5:00pm to 10:00pm

The Depot

Highly-touted as the best beef in town, this classic western steakhouse is also recognized for some of Missoula’s best seafood. The casual atmosphere and cowboy artwork create the feeling of old Missoula, while the locally-sourced cuts and fish supplant the city’s new-found reputation as a foodie destination. Guests can enjoy the full menu in the restaurant’s dining area – including The Depot steak: an eight-ounce tenderloin topped with Alaskan king crab – or choose from the bar menu in the deck area, including a tasty sirloin steak sandwich. During warmer months, the sliding doors make for a pleasant, open-air deck that is good for grabbing a drink and some bar snacks before cutting into a carefully prepared piece of meat.

The Depot, 201 Railroad St W, Missoula, MT, USA +406 728 7007

Hours: Monday-Friday: 4:00pm to 2:00am. Saturday-Sunday: 5:00pm to 2:00am

Scotty’s Table

Located in the historic Wilma Theater, Scotty’s Table is a farm-to-table American bistro. The restaurant’s sustainable philosophy incorporates Montana free-range and organic products, making Scotty’s a staple of Montana cuisine and creating some of the freshest dishes in Missoula. Perfect for dinner before a show, Scotty’s also serves an up-scale brunch menu on the weekends, including dishes such as short ribs with an over-easy egg and basil aioli, and duck confit. While the menu frequently changes over the seasons, favorites such as the cioppino – a stew of prawns, mussels, clams, and seasonal fish – cause a local uproar when they are taken off the menu, showing the popularity of this Missoula institution.

Scotty’s Table, 131 South Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT, USA +406 549 2790

Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:00pm to 9:00pm. Saturday-Sunday: 9:00am to 2:00pm, 5:00pm to 9:00pm

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Caffè Dolce

Dolce’s locally roasted coffee and house-made desserts are enough to keep customers coming back again and again, but this restaurant also serves Missoula’s best Italian food. At their neighborhood location a few blocks from the University of Montana, Dolce serves house-made pasta, cured meats and delicious seasonal entrées such as roasted quail and grilled flank steak. The dining room has high Venetian walls, a painted ceiling and large windows that fill the locale with natural light, making for a casual but elegant experience. Enjoy the braised pork or classics like the penne marinara, reminiscent of the best Italian kitchens but distinctly Missoula-made with local ingredients. Dolce’s popularity has spread to the Southgate Mall, where customers can enjoy the restaurant’s espressos, paninis and baked goods.

Caffè Dolce, Southgate Mall, 2901 Brooks St, Missoula, MT 59801 +1 406-549-4914

Caffè Dolce, 500 Brooks St, Missoula, MT 59801 +1 406-830-3055

Burns St. Bistro

A visit to Burns St. Bistro is worth it for the brunch burger alone, a tender beef patty topped with a fried egg and candied bacon. This, along with their popular egg offerings (and a seasonal menu that offers 20-plus new menu items every week) have earned the restaurant nods as the brunch favorite, and one of the best restaurants in town. Located on Missoula’s west side, Burns St. Bistro also includes a weekday breakfast menu as well as delicious sandwiches and salads. Local ingredients and unexpected offerings, such as the kingpin – a pork and kimchi quesadilla – make this locale special. Highly regarded for their specials, Burns St. Bistro’s current Ethiopian dinner menu is available Friday and Saturday nights during the fall, providing an extensive menu that makes for one of the most delicious and unique dining options in Missoula.

Burns St. Bistro, 1500 Burns St, Missoula, MT, USA +406 543 0719

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7:00am to 2:00pm. Friday: 7:00am to 2:00pm, 5:30pm to 9:00pm. Saturday: 9:00am to 2:00pm, 5:30pm to 9:00pm. Sunday: 9:00am to 2:00pm

Luke Reppe