Though its food scene is often overlooked, South Dakota is home to a number of outstanding restaurants that look set to put the state on the map as a dining destination. From European-style pastries by an award-winning chef, to ‘fine diner’ eats in downtown Rapid City, discover the best restaurants in South Dakota.
For hearty, wholesome all-American fare in retro, nostalgic surroundings Phillips Avenue Diner in downtown Sioux Falls is a must-stop on any South Dakota culinary tour. Though it looks like a typical greasy spoon from the outside, Phillips Avenue Diner inside is a treasure trove of 1950s Americana with tiled floors and retro-style vinyl booth and counter top seating while golden oldie tunes drift through the air. The diner’s menu is dominated by comfort food classics, think hearty breakfasts, burgers and dogs, sitting comfortable alongside signature favorites like pork belly mac ‘n’ cheese and ‘Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf’ with red pepper cream sauce and tabasco onion strings.
Serving upscale seasonal New American fare in the heart of downtown Sioux Falls, Parker’s Bistro was opened in late 2009 by owner Stacy Newcomb-Weiland. A beautiful building constructed in 1901 that was originally home to a memorial masonry business has been converted into a truly stunning space. A sidewalk patio lit by twinkling lights is complemented by a narrow dining room with an intimate, welcoming vibe while an open kitchen allows guests to see the restaurant’s chefs in action. Try an appetizer of pork belly with celeriac, pickled celery, sunflower seeds and arugula followed by the scallops with coconut curry and fried spinach.
Serving some of the best traditional Italian cuisine in the Sioux Falls area, Spezia is a local and family owned restaurant that first opened its doors almost 20 years ago. A trendy, contemporary bar area welcomes guests and is perfect for a pre-dinner drink selected from the restaurant’s extensive and predominantly Italian wine list, while a beautifully understated dining room, full of rustic, warm Mediterranean colors and natural wood illuminated by pretty string lights, sets the scene in which to enjoy Spezia’s signature steak, pasta and seafood dishes, the charbroiled Angus rib eye, parmesan roasted walleye and French Acadian chicken linguine are just a few delicious options.
Murphy’s Pub & Grill has been a Rapid City landmark since first opening in 1933, though a 2011 renovation which saw its home, a former garage first opened in 1911, transformed into an upscale gastropub has ranked the age-old watering hole amongst the best restaurants in the state. A casual-chic take on a traditional public house defines Murphy’s interior and guests are entertained by live music as they gather with friends to chow down on upscale pub grub like Dakota pulled pork and cranberry coleslaw sliders, seven different types of mac ‘n’ cheese and signature entrées like elk stroganoff with pearl onions, Portabella mushrooms and corkscrew pasta.
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Dakotah Steakhouse, Rapid City | Courtesy of Firehouse Brewing Co.
Located on the outskirts of Rapid City, Dakotah Steakhouse first opened its doors in 2011 with the mission of offering diners in the Black Hills area a unique dining experience that celebrates the region’s rich ranching history. The restaurant resides in a grand ranch-style building with a huge metal buffalo sculpture, crafted by local artist John Lopez, which welcomes diners into rustic, inviting interior with dramatic wooden beams, a roaring three-sided fireplace and comfy booths. Meat lovers will delight in Dakotah Steakhouse’s steak-centric menu and its legendary 28 ounce, bone-in rib-eye cowboy steak is a must-try, though diners will find plenty of other mouth-watering options like lamb chops and elk ravioli.
Firehouse Brewing Co in Rapid City first opened its doors in 1991 and boasts the honor of being South Dakota’s first ever brewpub. Located in one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the gorgeous, former Rapid City firehouse built in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the pub and restaurant features an onsite microbrewery visible from its classy-casual dining room and bar and Firehouse Brewing Co even counts President Barack Obama amongst its past clientele. Classic pub grub gets the gourmet treatment with dishes like Gorgonzola ale soup and bacon-wrapped pork medallions served alongside sandwiches, burgers and steaks, perfect washed down with one of Firehouse’s own brews.
One of Coffea Roasterie's signature coffees | Courtesy Coffea Roasterie
Opened in 2013 by pastry chef Chris Hanmer, CH Pâtisserie serves delicious European-style pastries and other sweet eats in downtown Sioux Falls location. A smart, chic and urban space welcomes guests to try chef Chris’ award-winning creations like peanut butter and jelly bonbons, dark chocolate tart, vanilla bean éclairs and pumpkin spice macaroons and with regularly changing menus new and exciting flavors are guaranteed with every visit. CH Pâtisserie also provides an online store and shipping service and will soon offer class in the art of pastry-making or locals in Sioux Falls.
Tally’s Silver Spoon’s location in downtown Rapid City has played host to diners in various incarnations since the 1930s and today the iconic setting is home to chef, owner and Le Cordon Bleu graduate Benjamin Klinkel’s culinary creations. Combining the classic comfort food and vibe of the all-American diner with fine dining, Tally’s Silver Spoon describes itself as a ‘fine diner’ where ‘cherry pie and foie gras coexist’ with a lunch menu full of familiar favorites like Philly steak and cheese, chicken fried steak and cheese soup and a fancy dinner menu featuring dishes like curried mussels rouille, root beer bison and Wagyu tenderloin it certainly delivers.
A long-standing steakhouse located on the outskirts of South Dakota’s state capital Pierre, Cattleman’s Club Steakhouse was first opened in 1986 by Myril Arch whose family still runs the restaurant today. Set in acres of rolling land overlooking a creek, Cattleman’s Club Steakhouse has welcomed guests from across the globe during its nigh-on 30-year history and sells around 60,000 pounds of its quality, aged beef each year. Its dining room is homey, traditional and unpretentious: a no-frills interior that ensures guests aren’t distracted from the main event, a menu full of USA choice top sirloin beef aged, trimmed and seasoned to perfection.
Opened in Aberdeen in 1999, Mavericks Steak & Cocktails is a popular, casual steakhouse that boasts claim to the biggest selection of fresh, hand-cut steaks in the city. A spacious dining room, modern yet with rustic charm, entices guests to relax in comfy, cozy booths to sample Mavericks’ much-loved fare while a lively bar area is ideal for watching sports with friends over a beer or two. Many steak options are offered including New York strip, filet mignon and, for the daring, the whopping 48 ounce, aptly named ‘Gut-Buster’, though guests can also opt to chow down on tasty dishes like baby back ribs, steamed jumbo shrimp and bacon cheeseburger.