Where to Eat in Missoula, Montana

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Welcome to the western Montana mountain town of Missoula, only 2.5 hours south of iconic Glacier National Park and where nearly unlimited outdoor adventures will call you. However, what may surprise you most in this vibrant town, also passionate about its live music and culture, is its food.

Come to Missoula to play outside, then settle in to enjoy an impressive variety of cuisine that will impress you with its execution, flavor, and flair. In this guide, learn more about the must-visit eateries for memory-making meals.

From cafes to brewhouses to bistros serving farm-to-table rotating specialties—Missoula has it all. Learn about local dishes to try and the best restaurants to visit. So, settle in and taste some of the finest flavors of Missoula.

Must-try local dishes in Missoula

Due to its abundance of grazing lands, a must-try for meat eaters visiting Missoula is ordering up a filet or trying a bison burger. If steak is on your agenda, head riverside to FINN for a T-bone and terrific view. Or drive 20 minutes south of town to Lolo Creek Steakhouse, where while you wait—this restaurant does not take reservations—visit its distillery to sip on spirits while you gaze at its big sky surroundings. Otherwise, order a bison burger at a place like the Iron Horse Bar & Grill.

Stuffed donut ice cream sandwich Missoula
credit Gather and Go Travel

To top off your savory with something sweet, complete your meal with nearly anything huckleberry, Montana’s handpicked wild summer berry, that tastes like a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry. Get a slice of pie that shows off these tangy berries nearly anywhere in town. Or stop by favorite ice creameries like Sweet Peaks or Big Dipper to cool off and scoop up their spin on this seasonal Montana specialty in a cone.

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Then, when you need to wash it all down, head to one of Missoula’s many excellent breweries like Big Sky Brewing Co. or Imagination Nation Brewing, scattered throughout town and featuring craft beers, laid-back digs, and often—live music.

Best breakfast spots in Missoula

Breakfast burrito market on front Missoula Montana
credit Gather and Go Travel

Start your day right with breakfast at one of Missoula’s best spots in the heart of downtown. Hit Basal on Higgins Avenue for breakfast bowls, oatmeal, or a healthy smoothie. Or walk around the block to order breakfast sandwiches and coffees to dine in or takeaway at the centrally located Market on Front Street.

Or head south and settle into a booth at Paul’s Pancake Parlor, a classic diner serving breakfast comfort food favorites like omelets, scrambles, and you guessed it—pancakes, some of the best in town coming in nearly more than a dozen variations.

Top lunch spots in Missoula

Caras park Missoula Montana
credit Gather and Go Travel

When lunchtime rolls around, Missoula offers several options to satisfy your cravings. If you are lucky enough to be in town on a Wednesday in the summer, stop by the Out to Lunch food truck fest in riverside Caras Park. There, select from a variety of vendors, listen to live music, and settle in to enjoy your meal next to the Clark Fork River. Highlights include sandwiches and Vietnamese coffees from Bahn-Mi-ssoula and donut ice cream sandwiches from Stuffed 406.

Stuffed 406 food truck Missoula
credit Gather and Go Travel

Otherwise, indulge your appetite for BBQ at the Notorious P.I.G., a barbecue joint serving smoked meats like pulled pork and juicy brisket. Pair their homemade sauces and meats into a sandwich and complement it with sides like smoked mac and cheese and coleslaw.

Banh mi sandwich Missoula
credit Gather and Go Travel

Or opt for a crowd favorite—pizza. The best in town, hands down, is Biga Pizza. It offers unique, local, and seasonal twists on traditional flavors, like the Flathead Cherry or the Caramelized Goat. Eat your pie with Biga’s equally outstanding salads in their Main Street dining room, or take it to go.

Dinner destinations in Missoula

As the sun sets over this mountain town, soak in the last of the day’s rays as you head to your dinner spot, ideally scoring an outdoor table if you can. Downtown, try Top Hat Restaurant & Bar, where dinner highlights include craft brews, fish tacos, and red dahl. After your meal, and depending on the night, catch a show at the Top Hat’s next-door live music venue.

Nomatic
Banh Missoula food truck
credit Gather and Go Travel

If you are in town on a Thursday in the summer, head to Caras Park for an extension of Missoula’s Wednesday food truck fest, Downtown Tonight. There, indulge in a multi-course meal sampling from different vendors while enjoying live music and shopping from local artisans.

Patio at rattlesnake market Missoula Montana
credit Gather and Go Travel

Visit Missoula’s Upper Rattlesnake neighborhood to enjoy an al fresco meal at the upscale, though still relaxed Patio at Rattlesnake Market. Expect craft brews, delicious appetizers like buffalo cauliflower, and mains like slow-cooked pork with polenta and cod and chips.

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While in the neighborhood, detour for a flight, light snacks, and wood-fired pizzas at Ten Spoon Vineyard & Winery, a five-minute drive from the Patio at Rattlesnake.

Vegan and vegetarian options in Missoula

For visitors with a love for plant-based cuisine, Missoula offers a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options. From dedicated vegan eateries to restaurants with extensive veg-friendly menus, you will be pleased with the breadth of choice.

One standout organic restaurant in Missoula is the Green Source. Its menu mainly features vegetarian and vegan options, from hearty grain bowls to creatively topped waffles. Also, pick up freshly made smoothies or cold-pressed juices.

For vegetarian cuisine steeped in subcontinent spices, head to Masala, an Indian restaurant offering mouth-watering vegetarian dishes like green lentil daal, chana masala, and saag paneer, along with favorite meat curry standbys.

Then, satisfy your sweet tooth at Tandem, known for its delicious collection of vegan donuts, cupcakes, and custom cakes. Though—know you can also come here for their vegan breakfast toasts and lunch soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Conclusion: Enjoying the flavors of Missoula

Missoula, Montana, is undoubtedly a paradise for food lovers. From hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall eateries to vegan and vegetarian options, the city has something to offer every palate. Whether your preference leans toward comfort food, international cuisine, or unexpected fusion dishes, Missoula’s culinary scene will inspire and satisfy you.

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About Janice, the Author

Janice in Valletta square credit Danielle Cassar photography
Janice in Valletta square
credit Danielle Cassar photography

Janice Moskoff is a travel writer and blogger at Gather and Go Travel, a blog inspiring families, adult friends, and couples to explore US and international destinations and to get outdoors. She has visited over 50 countries and nearly 40 US states. Her writing has been featured in Afar, Fashion Magazine, Going, Walkers Britain, and more. Follow Janice from Gather and Go Travel on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

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