Missoula, Montana is home to beautiful views, friendly people, and incredible food. Whether you’re just visiting and don’t know where to start, or you live here and want to switch things up, you can’t go wrong with these 10 dishes and drinks!
Liquid Planet Grille: Biscuits & Gravy
The Liquid Planet Grille sits right across the street from the University of Montana campus, making it a hit with students and faculty alike. Aside from having killer sandwiches, fries and tots, this joint is also home to some of the best breakfast dishes out there. We’re talking about biscuits & gravy. This savory dish is the perfect way to fulfill your growling tummy in the morning (or any time of the day for that matter). Two flakey, buttery biscuits get topped with rich sausage gravy infused with the earthy flavors of sage and rosemary. As if it can’t get any better, the good folks behind this masterpiece top it all off with candied bacon. Yes, candied bacon! You don’t want to miss out on this one. I know you’re drooling just thinking about it. I sure am.
Biga Pizza: Flathead Cherry Pizza
If you are a lover of pizza, or just food in general, then Biga Pizza is for you. Aside from tasty salads, antipasto plates, sandwiches and calzones, Biga creates some of the most incredible pizzas out there. From classics like cheese or pepperoni, to more exotic flavors like maple chipotle or fig and prosciutto, there is something for everyone. There is one pizza on the menu, however, that stands out above the rest. The Flathead Cherry Pizza is from another world. The homemade sausage, smoked gouda cheese, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant garlic oil is paired with a sweet cherry chutney to create a mouthwatering combination that is finally cooked to perfection in a brick pizza oven. It might sound unconventional for a pizza, but the juxtaposition of the savory sausage against the sweet cherry chutney, completed with two creamy cheeses is sure to satisfy anyone’s pizza craving!
Jaker’s Bar and Grill: Scones and Honey Butter
Whether you’re looking for a delicious steak dinner, or an endless soup and salad lunch, Jaker’s has it all. The item on the menu that just tops it all off, however, actually comes to your table courtesy of the restaurant. Instead of classic bread and butter with your meal, the fine folks at Jaker’s offer something much more dreamy. Scones and honey butter. It sounds simple, but these aren’t just any scones. Soft, sweet, decadent, and paired with honey butter that melts in your mouth. You might actually find yourself full before your meal comes, because it’s impossible to have just one….or two…. or four.
Top Hat Lounge: Chicken and Waffles
The Top Hat Lounge is a special joint located in downtown Missoula. They host a variety of events, concerts and shows. While you’re soaking up some entertainment, don’t forget to check out the menu. From small plates, to burgers with locally sourced meats, the Top Hat offers some tasty combinations with crazy fresh ingredients. If you’re looking for a little snack or flavorful meal, you cannot go wrong with the chicken and waffles. The waffle has a hint of sweetness that comes from a vanilla batter. The chicken comes in the form of perfectly fried little nuggets of heaven. To make this dish even more irresistible, it comes with maple rosemary butter and some maple syrup. The perfect combination of sweet and savory that you’ll come back for time and time again.
Thomas Meagher Bar: Pub Nachos
Pronounced “Mahr Bar,” this Irish Pub knows how to satisfy an appetite. Meagher Bar has a wide selection of tantalizingly good dishes, from a range of mac and cheeses, to wings, bruschetta, and pasties. They have a trivia night and a beer bingo night; both offering prizes and drink specials. So why wouldn’t you want to go here? It gets better though. The hidden gem that you MUST try from the menu is the Pub Nachos. The regular nacho toppings are all there, from onions, black beans and tomatoes, to jalapenos, cheese and salsa. But what makes these bad boys really special is the Irish Beer Cheese Sauce. Not to mention, you can switch out the boring tortilla chips for Doritos. Yes, I’m serious. This giant plate of Dorito, Irish Beer Cheese Sauce nachos will give you an entirely new perspective on nachos. So try them.
Big Dipper Ice Cream: Dusty Dale
It’s no secret that Big Dipper Ice Cream is home to some of the best sweet treats in town. With lines flowing all the way to the street, it seems that customers will bear any type of weather to get a taste of the famous ice cream. Have you ever tried cardamom ice cream before? How about El Salvador Coffee ice cream? Big Dipper’s homemade ice cream comes in just about any flavor you can think of, and they’re all incredible. If you’re a fan of chocolate, there is one concoction that you don’t want to miss out on. The Dusty Dale is a combination of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, malt powder and whipped cream. The variety of textures creates a creamy, crunchy, chewy, soft, crazy delicious party in your mouth. It is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day, or just to enjoy and rich and sweet treat any time of the year.
Taco Sano: Breakfast Burrito
Taco Sano is a locally owned burrito shop that focuses on using fresh and local ingredients, and homemade sauces for a Mexican food experience unlike any other. The breakfast burritos are an item on the mouthwatering menu that can make any Monday morning brighter. Not to mention, they are accompanied by free coffee! The burritos start with scrambled eggs, to which your choice of juicy meat can be added. Choose from BBQ brisket, pulled chicken, ground beef, Pacific salmon, or pulled pork. Next comes the cheese, salsa, your choice of homemade sauce (my favorite is cilantro lime), and finally potatoes and sautéed veggies. This is no ordinary breakfast burrito, so start your day happy and swing by Taco Sano, on the Hip Strip yo.
James Bar: Sweet Potato Tots
James Bar is a cool little spot tucked away in the heart of downtown Missoula. Dimly lit, chic, and classy, but with a rustic, friendly and approachable feel, James Bar offers an eclectic menu with some ridiculously flavorful food. From comfort food such as smoked gouda mac and cheese or shepherd’s pie, to quinoa cakes and lobster sliders, James Bar has something for any type of diner. The “Local Legend” on the menu that is a must-try comes in the form of sweet potato tater tots. These babies come piping hot to your table and are crispy and golden on the outside, but unbelievably creamy on the inside. There is no way to do these things justice with words, because they are honestly that good. As if they can get any better, you have the option of dipping sauces, from classic ketchup, to mango ketchup, ancho ketchup or caper tartar sauce. So whether you’re staying for dinner, or just grabbing a drink and a snack, make sure to ask for some sweet potato tots.
Doc’s Sandwich Shop: Doc Holiday
Doc’s Sandwich Shop is located in the Higgins Building in the center of downtown Missoula. Known both for the crazy names of their sandwiches, as well as their genius sandwich creations, Doc’s is the perfect lunch joint. You can try a Doctor Strangelove if you’re in the mood for a meatball and marinara sandwich. Or maybe you’d like a Doctor Doolittle if you like chicken salad with some unique and yummy mix-ins such as apples. If nothing sounds quite right then you can “write your own prescription” and choose all the fixings yourself. But before you dive into that, the sandwich that you MUST try is the Doc Holiday. Referencing the festive Thanksgiving ingredients in the name of the sandwich, the Doc Holiday is the best combination of familiar holiday foods for us all. The multi-grain bread is stacked high with fresh sliced turkey, herby stuffing, cranberry sauce, lettuce and mayo. It is Thanksgiving dinner rolled into one perfect sandwich that can be enjoyed any day of the year, and it never disappoints.
Montana Distillery: Blood Mary
After trying all of the incredible food that Missoula has to offer, you’re probably going to be in need of a drink. The Montana Distillery is a unique micro-distillery, bar and tasting room that offers some of the highest quality vodkas out there. A laundry list of flavors is available, from pepper to ginger, and bacon to huckleberry. This isn’t artificial flavoring either. Montana Distillery’s vodka is made from all-natural, fresh ingredients, creating the most authentic flavor possible. The menu of specialty drinks will keep you busy for hours, but the one thing you have to try is a Bloody Mary. This customizable drink allows you to pick your vodka (I like pepper and bacon) to add to their homemade Bloody Mary mix, topped off with a variety of garnishes. This drink is aromatic, so flavorful and truly the perfect way to end a busy week.