Welcome to a foodie’s guide to the best Missoula restaurants, one of our favorite cities in the entire United States. You may be familiar with Missoula thanks to A River Runs Through It, a jaunt you took through town on your way to Glacier National Park, or perhaps you’re a local making sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. Missoula is one of the best kept secrets in the west and we’re here to make sure you eat the best it has to offer. Whether you’re spending time fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or simply living the small-town life, we hope you end your day with something delicious.
12. The Patio at Rattlesnake Market
Tucked away in the beautiful Rattlesnake neighborhood of Missoula is one of the lesser-known places to eat– the Rattlesnake Gardens Market & Cafe. This is everything you want in a cozy, quaint, neighborhood cafe, where they serve up dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Menu offerings include casual items like burgers and sandwiches as well as dressed-up favorites like steak frites and sockeye salmon with risotto. Make reservations on their website.
11. Five on Black
Five on Black is one of the best Missoula restaurants that will satisfy your fast-casual needs. We love coming to this Brazillian-influenced restaurant for food that’s fast, fresh, healthy, and consistently delicious. Choose your base (we like to do a mixture of greens and brown rice), protein (the rotisserie-cooked chicken is moist and flavorful), vegetables (sweet potatoes are a must), sauce (if you don’t get the spicy coconut you’re doing it wrong), and toppings (give us all the chimichurri and farofa). And don’t pass on one (or three) of their Brazillian cheese rolls.
10. Michi Ramen
If you’re in search of savory, comforting ramen in Missoula, head straight to Michi Ramen on Front Street for the best in town. After walking down a flight of stairs you’ll be led into their dimly lit, cozy dining room and bar. The menu may feel overwhelming with nine different ramen orders to choose from, but the chicken katsu ramen is one of the most signature orders at Michi. Made with a glorious concoction of both chicken and pork broths to only enhance the flavor of the katsu fried chicken, poached egg, roasted garlic, and a healthy serving of noodles, this is the ramen you’ll want after a cold day on the mountain or a sun-drenched afternoon on the river.
9. Zoo Thai
Next time you’re craving noodles, stir-fries, and flavor-filled curries, schedule in a dinner at Zoo Thai, the best Thai restaurant in Missoula. Whether you’re dining in their patio and soaking in the scenes of downtown, or enjoying a meal inside, the food here is thoughtfully prepared with vibrant, fresh ingredients in an upbeat, friendly setting. Start with the satay gai (chicken skewers with cucumber relish and peanut sauce) and the som tom salad (grilled shrimp on a tangy green papaya salad). The pad see ew is our favorite noodle dish, and if you’re looking for the best curry on the menu order the khao soi.
8. Market on Front
Market on Front is known for their legendary, locally-loved breakfast burritos. Picture fluffy, delicate scrambled eggs paired with crispy bacon, shredded cheese, and breakfast potatoes, all wrapped in a grilled tortilla wrap with chipotle aioli. It’s the stuff dreams are made of and the perfect preface to a day in Missoula.
7. The Greek Pastry Shop- #1 GYROS
The Greek Pastry Shop, otherwise known to locals as “#1 Gyros” is one of the best locally-loved Missoula restaurants. You’re here for the gyros, made with fluffy white pita bread, juicy meat with a crispy grilled finish, fresh lettuce and tomato, and feta cheese, all assembled to perfection. Make sure to grab an order or two of their feta fries– perfectly savory and crispy french fries served with a healthy dose of feta. This gem is family-friendly and affordable with incredible service– a must-visit in our book!
6. Biga Pizza
Every city whether big or small isn’t complete without a staple pizza joint, and the local favorite among Missoula restaurants is unanimously Biga Pizza. There’s something so enticing about their perfectly chewy hand-tossed crust, adorned with generous amounts of topping from Italian meats to fresh vegetables to nine different cheeses. Our favorite order is a half caramelized goat cheese pizza (caramelized onions, goat cheese, fresh herbs, mozzarella, roasted garlic and olive oil) and half Sicilian (Italian sausage, mascarpone, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, roasted garlic, and olive oil) for a combination that dreams are made of. Order one of their fresh salads to start and be prepared for a wait- especially on the weekends!
While dining at Plonk, you’ll feel as if two worlds are colliding, when small-town vibes meet the chic, sophisticated “big city” feel that the atmosphere, aesthetic, and menu of Plonk provides. Open seven days each week, this Missoula restaurant is perfect for an elevated gastronomic experience without the stuffiness. The food here is flavorful, fresh, and detail-oriented. Plonk’s menu changes seasonally, so you won’t likely find the same menu items each time you’re visiting, but we recommend asking for the chef’s recommendation and treating yourself to a couple of appetizers, an entree, and dessert of course.
4. The Catalyst Cafe
If we could only recommend one breakfast or brunch spot in Missoula, it would be the Catalyst Cafe. Open from 7-3:00 daily, they serve breakfast & lunch in the hearty of town, and although there are several menu options to choose from we highly recommend the three egg omelet, huevos rancheros, and the chilaquiles. Feeling extra hungry? Order any entree with a side of their popular cheddar potato casserole.
3. Tagliare Delicatessen
For those in search of a fantastic sandwich in Missoula, Tagliare Delicatessen is 100% your best bet, serving some of the most memorable and delicious sandwiches can find for miles. Affectionately named after beloved rock bands, the sandwiches at Tagliare are made with high-quality meats and cheeses which are housed on bread from Le Petit Outre (our favorite bakery in town). Favorite sandwiches include The Kiss (prosciutto, provolone, fig & walnut chutney, arugula, and olive oil) and The Misfit (turkey, hot sopressata, spicy garlic aioli, fig walnut chutney, swiss, pepperoncini, and spinach). They also have an amazing selection of local and imported goods including homemade pasta sauces, oils, cheese, and charcuterie.
2. The Notorious P.I.G. BBQ
The Notorious P.I.G. BBQ is our favorite place to eat in Missoula for a deliciously meat-centric meal. Pitmaster and owner Burke Holmes is native to the Midwest but fell in love with Montana and the art of fly fishing. After training with several world-renowned BBQ experts across the country, he made his way back to Missoula combining favorite renditions of barbecue including Memphis-style ribs, Kansas City burnt ends, Texas-style brisket, New York City pastrami, and the list goes on. It will be hard to find anything you dislike here because they compromise on nothing. All of the meats and sides are prepared to perfection. Plan accordingly and eat here during lunch hours to have your full pick of the offerings (they often sell out) and prepare yourself for some of the best barbecue you’ll have in the state of Montana.
1. The Camino
The Camino has only been in Missoula for a few years, but the Mexican cuisine at this downtown spot is one of the very best in town. You’ll want to make a reservation ahead of time (especially in the summer) so you don’t miss out on this extraordinary Mexican restaurant. Make sure and start your meal with the chips and house salsa (plus guacamole if you’re extra hungry) and although you certainly can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, the tostada de atun, conchinita pibil taco, and carne asada tacos are filled to the brim with texture and flavor.
Bonus: Best Desserts in (and near) Missoula
Because after scouring and searching for the best Missoula restaurants, we couldn’t possibly leave you high and dry when it comes to dessert options. Below is our giude of the best picks for a sweet tooth craving while in or near Missoula including bakeries, ice cream shops, etc.
5. Bernice’s Bakery
For one of the most beloved dessert spots in town, check out Bernice’s Bakery. They have an impressive case of treats including gorgeous cupcakes, brownies and bars, cookies, and pie. Everything is made fresh and the staff are exceptionally thoughtful to help you decide from their many delectable options.
4. Big Dipper Ice Cream
We love this nostalgic Montana ice cream shop with its friendly walk-up walk up window in the heart of Missoula. There are dozens of flavors at this popular ice cream spot, so pick something that speaks to your heart and don’t forget a waffle cone!
3. Le Petit Outre
The best bakery in all of Missoula is Le Petit Outre, a beautiful and quaint bakery off the main drag of town offering house-made bread and pastries including pain au chocolat croissants, lemon poppy ginger scones, hazelnut shortbread, and one incredible chocolate bouchon. Le Petit Outre is beautiful place to stop and grab a sweet or savory treat any day of the week.
2. Sweet Peaks Ice Cream
Our favorite ice cream in Missoula can be found at Sweet Peaks. This clean, bright, vibrant storefront (always employed with the kindest employees) serves ice cream with an artisanal approach using Montana dairy and high-quality regional ingredients. Favorite classic flavors include the chocolate love and salty caramel.
1. Windmill Bakery (Temporarily Closed)
One of the best homemade dontus you will every consume is from The Windmill Village Bakery, which is a 30-minute drive from Missoula in the tiny town of Ravalli, perfect if you’re A) on your way to Glacier National Park or B) committed to sampling the best donuts in the world. This bakery makes a fantastic variety of baked goods, but the homemade raised glazed donut are the reason you’re here. This family owned business is often closed, so call ahead to make sure they are open before you make the trek there.