Founded in 1854 and located right in the heart of the USA, Omaha is steeped in history, which has helped create a culturally diverse area. The city’s culinary scene is equally varied, with restaurants that serve New American cuisine to others that serve up French and Peruvian inspired fare. Here is a new look at some of the delectable eateries to discover in Omaha, Nebraska.
The multi-award-winning Block 16 is a popular eatery featuring farm-to-table street-style fare infused with international flavours. Locally owned by Paul Urban and Jessica Joyce, this restaurant seeks out the best quality ingredients from local sources, with an emphasis on humanely raised and preservative-free items. In order to highlight the finest produce, the team at Block 16 changes the menu frequently, which in turn means that guests can always look forward to something new. Some tasty selections include the croque garçon, which is a burger with cheese, ham, farm egg, mustard and truffle mayo on ciabatta, and the Canadian classic, poutine, which is fries covered with cheese curds and gravy. Block 16 also offers several vegan options, plus a selection of beer and wine.
Boiler Room Restaurant
Established in 2009 by Chef Paul Kulik, the Boiler Room is an exquisite restaurant featuring New American and French cuisine in a unique environment: an old boiler room. Housed in the old Bermis Bag Building, built in 1887, the beautiful interior was carefully designed to honour the history of the space. Diners will see the blending of the old with the new. As for the cuisine, the chef creates the delectable dinner menu daily, to reflect the freshest ingredients from local purveyors. One highlight is a wagyu rib-eye steak from Morgan Ranch, served with a flavoursome combination of braised flageolet beans, grilled lion’s mane mushrooms, confit onions and bordelaise sauce. Scrumptious desserts and handcrafted libations, accompanied by an extensive wine list, are also available.
Opened in 1965 by Frank ‘Dinker’ Synowiecki, Dinker’s Bar is a well-loved bar and fast-casual eatery serving up classic American bar fare. A friendly place that is frequented by locals and tourists alike, this joint boasts the best hamburger in Omaha. Try the famous haystack burger topped with American cheese, honey-smoked ham and a free-range fried egg, served on a grilled Kaiser bun, with a side order of fries, for a true Dinker’s Bar meal. There are also many other tasty edibles available, including salads and sandwiches, as well as a full bar with many speciality libations. Be sure to have cash on hand, as Dinker’s is a cash-only venue.
Established in 2001 by Executive Chef Cedric Fichepain, Le Voltaire is a delectable eatery specialising in classic French cuisine, with dishes representing all the regions of France. With a charming interior representative of the South of France, diners can feast upon a host of options, all made with the best ingredients found locally and regionally. Choice dishes that will be sure to make mouths water include the classic escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in a delicious sauce of garlic, butter and parsley); paupiette de veau (veal scaloppini stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomato and bacon); and bouillabaisse de Marseille (seafood stew). Le Voltaire also features desserts, such as crème brûlée, and an award-winning wine list, with the largest selection of French wines in Nebraska.
Le Voltaire, 569 N. 155th Plaza, Omaha, NE, USA, +1 402 934 9374
Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare
Established in 2003 by Nicola Collier-Nick, Nicola’s Italian Wine and Fare is a charming eatery specialising in Italian cuisine. Located in the Old Market District, this cosy restaurant features a warm and rustic interior, where guests can savour a flavoursome array of lunch and dinner items, from soups and salads, to panini to pasta to entrées. Enticing options that will satisfy many appetites include portobello ravioli in a garlic cream sauce, topped with asiago cheese and fresh parsley, and lobster ravioli in marinara, topped with parsley and lemon zest. Nicola’s also has an innovative take on the classic lasagne, with a recipe from the Mediterranean region — layers of prosciutto, mozzarella, chopped eggs, bechamel sauce and noodles, topped with ragu and meatballs. Nicola’s also features an impressive selection of wine and liqueurs.
Sage Student Bistro
Part of the Institute for the Culinary Arts, the Sage Student Bistro is essentially a classroom where culinary students learn about running a successful restaurant. It gives them the opportunity to perfect their skills in several areas, including cooking, baking, customer service, and supervising staff. Open to the public when school is in session, this bistro offers delicious standard lunch and dinner menus, plus a weekly student-designed prix fixe dinner menu. Featuring contemporary American cuisine, highlights from the Fall 2014 menu include gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, parmesan, truffle and mizuna, and beef cheek with carrots, parsnip, turnip, potatoes and leeks. A unique experience, reservations are recommended for the dinner service.
Located in the Old Market Passageway, V. Mertz is a fine dining establishment featuring contemporary American cuisine and an impressive international wine list. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, the menus, which include à la carte, five- and eight-course, plus a prix fixe, change frequently to highlight the area’s freshest produce and meats available. With something for everyone, including vegetarian and gluten-free options, quality choices may include roasted duck breast with steel-cut oats, summer brassicas, shallot and mustard, and for dessert, chocolate and yogurt cake with candied almond, thyme and chocolate ice. The intimate space, complete with exposed-brick walls, creates a lovely ambiance perfect for a rendezvous with friends or a romantic outing.
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