Omaha is a city that loves food. There are a lot of great, locally-owned restaurants producing creative dishes. If you’re short on time and wondering what the best restaurants in Omaha are, you’re in luck. I’ve already sought out the answer.
2022 UPDATE: This post was first published in January 2018 and has been updated in July 2022 following the announcements of restaurant closures. If you see an error, please comment or email me.
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I can’t tell you what’s my favorite restaurant in Omaha is, because it’s like picking a favorite child. Can’t be done. So, here are my favorites, the ones I’d tell you are the best of the best.
Best Omaha restaurants for breakfast
Want the trendy breakfast or brunch spot? You’re going to want to go to the (4) Saddle Creek Breakfast Club in the Dundee neighborhood or (5) Early Bird in Blackstone or its new, second location at Shadow Creek Towne Center in Papillion.
Staying on the topic of brunch, there are a couple of fun options that have nearly-bottomless mimosas (buy a certain amount and the rest cost a penny). Check out (6) Herbe Sainte, a Cajun restaurant in Aksarben Village, and (7) Timber at Countryside Village. Both have outdoor seating options. Brunch in Omaha is typically Saturday and Sunday only.
Just want a good donut? The best are at (8) Olsen Bake Shop, just a bit north of Omaha’s zoo.
Best restaurants for lunch & dinner
You can’t go wrong with places like the charming (9) Stirnella in the Blackstone or (10) Dante Pizzeria Napoletana in West Omaha. They’re nice enough for a date nice but they’re not going to drain your checking account.
If you’re in the Old Market, try lunch at (11) M’s Pub or (12) La Buvette. Get the lavosh at M’s, order a bottle of wine at La Buvette. Wait, I guess we’re talking about lunch, huh? Just get yourself a glass.
If you’re looking for restaurants to impress someone, though, you’ll want to make reservations at (13) The Boiler Room or (14) V. Mertz in the Old Market. Both have amazing food and beautiful atmosphere.
Further out west, I’d recommend (15) Dolce or (16) Au Courant Regional Kitchen. Try the tasting menu at either of them. I’ve tried them both and they’re great. I’d describe their menus as creative fine dining.
One restaurant on my to-visit list is (17) Avoli Osteria, which I’ve heard this is THE place to truly wow people. The cuisine Northern Italian.
If you’re in the mood for sushi, there’s a city-wide debate on who does it best: (18) Yoshitomo in the Benson neighborhood or (19) Umami Asian Cuisine. They’re both super creative and popular. I prefer the more low-key sushi restaurant, (20) Matsu Sushi.
For a bit more casual, pub or gastro-pub options, I’m partial to (21) Crescent Moon near the Blackstone and (22) Blatt Bar + Table (there are several locations, I like the original near TD Ameritrade Park). Side note: The Crescent Moon also has a fun German bar downstairs and a Belgian bar off the main room.
(23) Block 16 is probably the most popular casual restaurant in Omaha, though. There’s a reason why there’s nearly always a line at Block 16. It’s that good.
I’m partial to the Croque Carcon burger, and not just because Alton Brown deemed it one of the best in the world (though, I do feel like his opinion means something).
Don’t want to wait for a great burger? Try (24) Stella’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue – though, come to think of it, there’s probably going to be a wait there, too. Try (25) Dinker’s. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall, but don’t be scared off by the exterior. It’s popular, been around for more than 50 years.
For good soul food, head to (26) Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering, which has relocated to inside the Accelerator Building. Get the fried chicken, and save room for sweet potato pie.
Find great restaurants by Omaha neighborhoods
It’s tough writing a post like this in Omaha, since we have fantastic new restaurants, as well as some long-running establishments that are nostalgic favorites. I’ll go through some of the neighborhoods in Omaha and share my restaurant recommendations, beyond the list above.
Old Market and Downtown restaurants
(27) Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare
I’m partial to this tiny Italian restaurant on the edge of the Old Market. The food is so fresh and so good. Reservations are a must, and if the weather is nice, sit out on the patio.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Nicola’s.
(28) Via Farina
There’s something cozy about this very contemporary place. It must be Via Farina’s giant wood-fire oven. Whatever you order, it’s going to be the most satisfying meal in memory, without feeling like you overeat. They portion things well.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Via Farina.
(29) Wilson & Washburn
This is my favorite restaurant to go to if I’m attending a show at The Orpheum. It’s a gastropub with an impressive beer list. Vegetarians, I recommend the beet burger.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Wilson & Washburn.
(30) Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine
I nearly cried when I heard Ahmad was closing his restaurant in the Old Market. That was over a year ago and luckily, he reopened it near Dundee, and it’s just as good as it ever was. Ahmad is great with recommending dishes, plus this is a vegetarian’s dream restaurant.
Read TripAdvisor review for Ahmad’s.
(31) Chaikhana Bar & Shishkabobs
A surprise hit with my family, this restaurant tucked in a strip mall north of Blondo Street is a gem of a restaurant. Chaikhana specializes in eastern European cuisine, and as close as you’re going to get to Russian food in Omaha.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Chaikhana.
(32) Dario’s Brasserie
NOTE: The owners of Dario’s has announced the restaurant is slated to close in October 2022.
Want to feel like you’re in a European bistro for a night? Go to Dario’s located in the Dundee neighborhood. With all the amazing things on the menu, I feel a little silly telling you to order fries, but they really are that good. They compete with the best fries I’ve had in my life – in Brussels – they’re that good.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Dario’s.
(33) Modern Love
Omaha has become known for its steaks, but we do venture away from meat from time to time. Modern Love is a vegan restaurant at Midtown Crossing that is top notch, and will impress even the biggest meat eater in your group. It’s seasonally-based, so I’m not sure which dish to recommend (I was impressed with the mac and cheese).
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Modern Love.
(34) Salween Thai
Now with four locations, it’s easier than ever to get the best Thai food in Omaha. My notoriously picky kids even dig into Salween Thai.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Salween Thai.
West Omaha Restaurants
There are a lot of great West Omaha restaurants, but a few stand out.
(35) Porky Butts BBQ
I’d make the drive over and over again to get some barbecue from Porky Butts. They have a devoted fan base, and the reason? Award-winning barbecue.
Read TripAdvisor reviews for Porky Butts.
(36) Trucks & Taps
Omaha has a lot of food trucks. A LOT. And most are pretty good. A few of the best are found regularly at Trucks & Taps, an outdoor bar and food truck stop. There are enough choices for everyone’s taste, though my kids are usually too picky to enjoy it.
Be sure to download the app Together A Great Good so you can do good while dining out! Some of these restaurants will donate a percentage of your bill to the charity of your choice. Restaurants on this page that contribute include: Au Courant, Block 16, and V. Mertz.
Find great Omaha restaurants by cuisine
Sometimes you crave something and it doesn’t matter which side of Omaha the restaurant is located. For those craving something specific, here are my suggestions for the best of the best:
This post was first published in January 2018 and was updated 2022 to reflect closings and address changes.
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