Don’t tell me what a place is like—just show me the food.

Good food reveals a lot about any destination and nowhere is that more true than good ol’ Montana.

Driving from the top of the state down to its southernmost corner, I discovered Montana’s wintertime cuisine has as much heart as the sky is big. After eating so well on my journey across the Treasure State, I compiled my own list of culinary treasures below. (Given that my sample size was limited to a mere 10 days, you are most welcome to leave other nominations in the comments.)

. . . and if it seems to you that all these things involve meat and sugar, well . . . it’s Montana, people.

My Top Ten Must-Have Montana Meals (in no particular order):

  1. Huckleberry Macaroons, Polebridge Mercantile, Polebridge, Montana (Worth that extra drive north!)
  2. Bison Meatballs, Haskill Station, Whitefish, Montana (Labelled an appetizer but a solid meal)
  3. Breakfast frittatta, Hidden Moose Lodge, Whitefish, Montana (Best breakfast in the state, hands down)
  4. Steak and Potato Pasty, Joe’s Pasty Shop, Butte, Montana (Miner’s delight–get it with gravy!)
  5. Lifty Dog, Yeti Hot Dogs, Big Sky, Montana (Two words: cheese and bacon)
  6. Elk Burger, Slippery Otter Pub, West Yellowstone, Montana (I love this place & their menu)
  7. Bison Potstickers, Montana Ale Works, Bozeman, Montana (Also try the parmesan pepper fries!)
  8. Rancher’s Pizza, Mackenzie River Pizza Co, Butte, Montana (Western-style pizza extraordinaire)
  9. Buckwheat pancakes, Running Bear Pancake House, West Yellowstone, Montana (Read here)
  10. Sleigh Ride Dinner, Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana (The best way to eat steak in winter)

Comments

  1. Katrina
    Thompson Falls, Montana
    February 3, 2013, 5:26 pm

    While in Butte, you missed out on the Pekin – 100 year old Chinese restaurant still ran by the same family, Pork Chop John’s delux, the wop chop at Muz and Stans, the best burger and fries ever at Matt’s and Lydia’s homemade raviolis…yes, you missed out on a whole buffet of history served with a side of ‘yous guys’.

  2. Thomas
    United States
    February 3, 2013, 10:50 pm

    While in the Flathead you missed The Echo Lake Cafe near Bigfork. Voted by the valley as having the “Best Breakfast” in the Flathead many years in a row.

  3. Donna Hull
    http://myitchytravelfeet.com
    February 4, 2013, 10:47 am

    Do you like pancakes, Andrew? The next time you’re in Montana, I’ll take you for breakfast in the Bitterroot (valley) for pancakes that will literally melt in your mouth at Memories Cafe in Corvallis.

  4. Acer Liquid C1 GPS
    Australia
    February 4, 2013, 9:13 pm

    When visiting a place or country for the first time, you really want to eat and experience how they foods are. Right? You want to know what makes it so special and delicious and if you could copy and have one in your home. http://www.backcountrynavigator.com/

  5. Jim
    Texas
    February 7, 2013, 1:18 am

    You never had a burger at the “bull dog” in whitefish MT.
    You have not lived.

  6. Corinne
    Schweinfurt, Germany
    February 8, 2013, 12:52 pm

    I go to Montana often…I’ll have to try these on my next trip! Great ideas.

  7. David
    Minnesota
    April 2, 2013, 7:09 pm

    Sushi fans owe it to themselves to stop at Wasabi in Whitefish; for a decadent sampler, try the Tokyo platter.

  8. Jacki Schonbachler
    Missoula, MT
    August 7, 2013, 5:39 pm

    Andrew, come to Missoula and experience a Mo Burger at the Mo Club or even at the Oxford.

    • Andrew Evans
      August 8, 2013, 4:43 am

      Added to my “must-eat” list. Thank you! AE

  9. Nico
    In the woods of the North Fork.
    August 11, 2013, 11:08 am

    The Huckleberry Macaroons from pole bridge are really good but have you had their Huckleberry bar? It Takes a gallon of huckleberry juice to make a sheet of it so they don’t make it everyday and when they do its limited so you have to get there early. If they have them, buy a few; you’ll thank me.

  10. Mike Fantasia
    Libby, Montana
    August 19, 2013, 5:50 pm

    I’ve had some of your top ten, all good choices! But the best is a 2″ steak cooked over coals in my fire pit, 12 miles east of Libby, Montana.

  11. Lindsey J.
    North Dakota
    September 21, 2013, 10:46 pm

    The huckleberry macaroons from Polebridge were the best sweets I’ve ever tasted. To call them cookies doesn’t do them justice. For a place like Polebridge which is off the grid and (almost!) off the map, they are *definitely* worth the drive. Although my mother was partial to their Bear Claws…