- Lani Seelinger
West Yellowstone, Montana is a gateway to Yellowstone National Park and, despite its small size, it has a lively dining scene. Here are our top picks for the 10 best restaurants and cafes in town.
Spain has shared its tapas tradition around the world, and in West Yellowstone, you can get Spanish tapas at Cafe Madriz. The chef and owner imports all the necessary ingredients, like Manchego cheese and Serrano ham, for flavors as authentic as possible. The way to eat tapas is to order a table full of small plates that everyone shares. If you need a bigger meal then try the paella for the table instead (or as well as).
Cafe Madriz, 311 N Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 9245
Woodside Bakery is a wonderland of sweets and sandwiches. One look at their pastries, cakes, and doughnuts, and you’ll know that this is not a place to come if you’re on a diet. If you’re going out on a long hike, they’re happy to pack bag lunches to go, complete with a sandwich, chips and, of course, one of their delicious cookies. It’s a popular place, especially at breakfast when you can expect to find a line.
Woodside Bakery, 17 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 7779
Arrowleaf Ice Cream Parlor
Don’t be fooled by the name. Arrowleaf Ice Cream Parlor, while certainly known for its homemade ice cream (the parlor has been around for 26 years, so you know it’s doing something right), serves light lunches too. Choose from menu choices such as sandwiches or chili, but leave room for the namesake treat. The local specialty is huckleberry ice cream, best served in an extravagant Huck Finn sundae.
Arrowleaf Ice Cream Parlor, 27 N Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 9776
The Buffalo Bar
The Buffalo Bar has 12 rotating beer taps, and such is the homespun emphasis it always trys to have the best regional beer available for patrons. Their food menu has a couple of very hearty breakfasts and all the tasty bar food you could possibly ask for. Their specialty, of course, is in their name; this is a great place to try buffalo meat, whether in the form of tacos, a burger, a salad, or even a sausage.
The Buffalo Bar, 335 US-20, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 1176
Running Bear Pancake House
Running Bear Pancake House gets its name from an incident that happened when the building was being built. A bear got into the construction site and took off running when the workers showed up that morning. While better known for pancakes than wildlife now, Running Bear also offers other breakfast classics, and the large sandwiches are just the sort of comfort food you’re missing while you’re away from home.
Running Bear Pancake House, 538 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 7703
Lakeside Lookout Bar & Grill
Lakeside Lookout Bar & Grill is located in the middle of some truly gorgeous countryside and has an intrepid chef whose dishes blend regional favorites with exotic flavors. Everything is sourced as locally as possible, including the draft beer list, where you’ll find a number of local microbrews, and the specialty cocktail menu, where you’ll see a number of huckleberry inspired drinks.
Lakeside Lookout Bar & Grill, 14355 Hebgen Lake Rd, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 5168
The Book Peddler
Once you’ve found The Book Peddler, a local bookstore, go to the back of it, and there you’ll find the café of every book lover’s dreams. It’s small and cozy, and once you try their breakfasts or panini, you’ll know why so many people visit every day. Their menu is quite short, which is just evidence of the care that goes into each item. Their scones, baked fresh every morning, will have you coming back throughout your stay, and their coffee is rumored to be the best in town.
Book Peddler, 106 N Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 9358
Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon
At Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon, they take pizza very seriously. They pride themselves on all of the care and time that goes into every pizza, and you’ll be very thankful for it too once you sink your teeth into one. You’ve heard of craft beer; this is craft pizza. You can choose one of their delicious topping combinations or build your own, or if you decide to dig deeper into their menu, you’ll find plenty of other excellent choices there. Add in frequent live music and great drinks, and you have yourself a great couple of evenings set up.
Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon, 14 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 4400
Madison Crossing Lounge
It’s not everywhere that you can get an elk meatloaf, but Madison Crossing Lounge is one of those places, and you’ll regret it if you don’t try it before leaving. Another high point in West Yellowstone’s fine-dining scene, Madison Crossing Lounge combines upscale flavors in both food and drink with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. Beer lovers will find their menu of local draft beers and great national microbrews to be especially inviting. If possible, save room for dessert and try the luscious blueberry white chocolate bread pudding.
Madison Crossing Lounge, 121 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 7621
Bar N Ranch Restaurant
At Bar N Ranch they know that the perfect summer evening basically consists of a cook out with a close group of friends, coals dying down in the background as the sun sets. You may not be able to get that every night, but you’ll get as close as possible here. They have a tantalizing menu of meat dishes (and veggies, vegetarians shouldn’t worry), but you can also borrow one of their grills yourself and act as chef for a night. Either way, you’ll love the western-themed decorations and the satisfied feeling you’ll get after your meal.
Bar N Ranch, 890 Buttermilk Creek Rd, West Yellowstone, MT, USA, +1 406 646 0300