Written by Brianna Denman

Food cannot be relocated to the far corners of basic necessity or outrageous luxury, not in Missoula anyway. Here it has become so much more. Food in Missoula is art, the center of many events, it assumes the role of memory and we pine over past moments in relation to this one fabulous steak or that one amazing piece of pizza.

In response to such a culinary-centered culture, Missoula has stepped up its game and boasts an extensive number of deliciously diverse restaurants among its many attributes. Here we’ve assembled a selection of some of the most unique and quintessential Missoula establishments. While this is by no means an extensive list of all the great places Missoula has to offer, it gives you a glimpse of the possibilities awaiting you the next time you eat out.

Tamarack Brewing Company

Local craft beers accompany fantastic food indicative of Montana’s style and substance. With two distinctive levels and a view of Caras Park, this restaurant and brewery possesses an ambiance that captures the Missoula spirit and makes your meal memorable in all the right ways. Recommended: The Fish Tacos – a big portion with an even bigger taste, there’s no way you’re leaving these leftovers behind.

Five on Black

A Brazilian style grill that doesn’t mess around, Five on Black presents a tantalizing option that is healthy on multiple levels – body, wallet, soul – you name it. The casual atmosphere thrives on energy and, after indulging in a meal here, so will you. Recommended: No matter what combination of ingredients you choose, the Mango BBQ sauce will light up your palate and get your body in gear and ready for the next adventure.

Biga Pizza

Amazing pizza with off-beat, and yet on-point, combinations not found anywhere else, Biga Pizza holds strong at the top of the list for local favorites. Recommended: The Prosciutto – while it may seem like an odd choice, the cacophony of flavors will dance across your tongue in perfect harmony and always leave you craving more.

Iza Asian Restaurant and Tea Bar

An intimate setting where delicious local ingredients and Asian recipes intertwine to create a beautiful moment centered on relaxation, peace, and of course, phenomenal food. Recommended: The Indo Peanut Noodles: Rich in flavor, this culinary delight will invigorate the senses and is a great dish for any peanut lover.

The Empanada Joint

This funky hole-in-the-wall establishment offers a big punch for your taste buds. With authentic Argentine flavors that pull from a rich culinary history, this eatery stands out as a unique fixture in Missoula. Recommended: Try an empanada, any empanada. No seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

Caffe Dolce

The building is a work of art and the food follows suit by tasting sensational and looking, almost, too good to eat. Recommended: If you’re here for breakfast, make sure to try the Toasted Baguette with Bacon, Tomato and White Cheddar. It’s a lighter option that pairs perfectly with your morning coffee.

Paul’s Pancake Parlor

Exuding an old-school diner vibe, Paul’s fare is classically American. While they serve food all day, Paul’s is known as a fantastic breakfast joint and always draws a crowd on weekends due to its exceeding popularity. Recommended: Any of the pancake options are sure to please but if you’re a pancake aficionado, you really can’t go wrong with Paul’s Sampler which features buttermilk, sourdough, chocolate chip, and blueberry pancakes.

Romeo’s Italian Kitchen

While the décor hints at Italian country side, the food bypasses subtlety and presents culinary treasures true to its Italian roots each and every time you visit. Recommended: Chicken Alfredo Panino Wrap – delicious pasta in a compact presentation, this nod to Italy will transport you to a countryside filled with flavor and saturated with a rich, culinary heritage. No luggage required.

Montana Club

Perhaps the epitome of Montanan cuisine, the Montana Club satisfies any craving with a wide selection of salads, burgers, steak, as well as many other great options. Their cocktails are always outstanding and the atmosphere has a casual lodge-feel that is especially homey in the winter. Recommended: The Mushroom Swiss Burger is pure culinary delight. Always well-executed, it is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.

The Buttercup Market and Café

Quirky and cute, this little café offers up local food goods and products in addition to their excellent coffee and delicious assortment of breakfast and lunch items. Recommended: While they create many wonderful dishes including gluten free and vegetarian options, they’re homemade soups are utterly sumptuous, especially on those colder Missoula days.

Sushi Hana

Possibly the most popular sushi restaurant in Missoula, Sushi Hana’s menu contains a plethora of delicious choices for the sushi and non-sushi lover alike. The atmosphere is casually chic, and so is the food. Recommended: The Rock and Roll – a fun sushi roll of unagi and avocado, you simply won’t be able to get enough.

The Catalyst Café and Espresso Bar

The food here is exceptional, the portions are huge, and the atmosphere has all the splash of a big city, with all the charm of a small town. Recommended: The Chilaquiles – an utterly unique breakfast option reminiscent of a Mexican dish, but with a flair and attention to healthy ingredients that has Missoula written all over it.

Plonk Wine

A sophisticated but edgy, upscale and yet flirty wine bar, Plonk serves up a whole lot of class with its selection of fine wines, creative cocktails, and gourmet food. There’s a lively energy that permeates every corner and makes this a true hot spot in the heart of downtown. Recommended: The Chef’s Cheese Board offers six cheeses from multiple countries for you to sample and amps up any cocktail hour with a heady combination of flavors.

Market on Front

A modern aesthetic meets barn wood, creating a combination only conceivable in Missoula. Here you’ll find a deli, coffee bar, restaurant, and corner market all in one, with artisan food and local flavors taking the spotlight. Recommended: The Caprese sandwich – a stunningly delicious option that is a bit on the lighter side, making it perfect for those lazy, summertime days.

Sean Kelly’s Stone of Accord

Reminiscent of an Irish pub, this delectable restaurant focuses on comfort and class. Self-described as “Irish fare with Montana flair,” an elegant array of mouthwatering flavors deliver a unique Missoula experience infused with old-world charm. Recommended: Go traditional and try the Corned Beef and Cabbage. There are very few, if any other places, that do it in Missoula and Stone of Accord does it exceedingly well.