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55 Essential Restaurants In Omaha Nebraska (Updated 2023)

55 Essential Restaurants In Omaha Nebraska (Updated 2023)

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.

2023 UPDATE: This post was first published in January 2018 and has been updated in January 2023 following the announcements of restaurant closures. If you see an error, please comment or email me.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking the link, I receive a small referral stipend.

Best restaurants in Omaha, Nebraska

Pick a neighborhood: Omaha restaurants near me

If you’re not from Omaha, it’s going to matter where you’re staying when it comes to choosing a restaurant. I’ll go through some of the most popular neighborhoods in Omaha and point out where my favorites are located.

Old Market and Downtown restaurants

I’m including North Downtown (NoDo) restaurants on this list as well as a few that time may consider South Omaha. Pretty much, “downtown” is anywhere from the Missouri River west to about 20th Street…give or take. This part of town is close to Creighton University.

The Old Market is typically the Omaha neighborhood most visitors go to due to its proximity to hotels, concert venues and arenas, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

  • Blatt Bar + Table
  • Block 16
  • Fizzy’s Fountain
  • La Buvette
  • Louie M’s Burger Lust
  • Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare
  • Olsen Bake Shop
  • Shuck’s Oyster Bar
  • The Boiler Room
  • Via Farina
  • V. Mertz
  • Wilson & Washburn
  • Upstream Brewing Co.
Pizza at Via Farina

Benson Restaurants

If you’re not familiar with Benson, it’s time to get to know this neighborhood in the north-central part of Omaha. Benson has small, locally-owned restaurants that bring in crowds of fans.

  • Au Courant Regional Kitchen
  • Burrito Envy
  • Ted & Wally’s
  • Virtuoso
  • Yoshitomo

Dundee Restaurants

Dundee neighborhood is one of the city’s most historic and smallest of areas (when it comest to retail and restaurants). Still, it’s a great place to dine! It’s close to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in particular.

  • Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine
  • Amsterdam
  • Good Lookin’
  • Pitch

Blackstone Restaurants

Blackstone District has grown tremendously in the past few years. What once was a strip of dive bars and apartments is now one of the hottest places to hang out.

  • Early Bird
  • Stirnella Bar + Kitchen
The Midtown Omaha restaurant, Brazen Head Irish Pub, decorated during the holidays.

Midtown Restaurants

Midtown Omaha has been my stomping grounds for years when my kids were young, so this is the area I’m very familiar with. I love my eaters in Midtown!

  • Brazen Head Irish Pub
  • Chaikhana Bar & Shishkabobs
  • Crescent Moon Ale House
  • La Casa Pizzaria
  • Lisa’s Radial Cafe
  • Lithuanian Bakery
  • Modern Love
  • Saddle Creek Breakfast Club
  • Salween Thai
  • The Committee Chophouse
  • Timber
  • Vietnamese Asian Restaurant

West Omaha Restaurants

It’s hard to define the borders of West Omaha — it really depends on who you ask. For the purpose of this blog post, West Omaha is most of the metro located west of Interstate 680 that cuts north to south through the city.

  • Bailey’s
  • Dante
  • Dolce
  • Kinaara Restaurant
  • Overeasy
  • Pacific Eating House
  • Porky Butts BBQ
  • The Corner Kick
  • Trucks & Taps
  • Twisted Cork Bistro
Food at Trucks & Taps

North Omaha & Northwest Omaha Restaurants

North Omaha is generally the Florence neighborhood on north to nearly-Fort Calhoun area. Northwest is pretty much everything north of West Omaha.

  • Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering
  • Finicky Frank’s
  • Mangia Italiana
  • Wave Bistro

Bellevue Restaurants

Bellevue, Neb., is its own community, no doubt about it. But, I often lump it into “Greater Omaha Metro” because it’s so close.

  • Stella’s
  • Umami

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.

What food are you looking for: Omaha restaurants by category

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:

I am working on a round-up of great Omaha restaurants for vegetarians, but it’s not ready for this list yet. So, while you wait, I recommend trying Modern Love, a great vegan comfort food restaurant at Midtown Crossing.

A vegan Philly sandwich with jalapeños on top served at Modern Love

Add these new restaurants in Omaha to your list

Opening a new restaurant is not easy, but dozens have made a run in the last few years. Time will tell if they last long enough to be added to this list. Do your part and visit few and let me know how they area!

FAQs of Omaha Dining

Which restaurant is best for special occasions?

The answer will vary depending on who you ask. For me, I’ve celebrated birthdays at Finicky Frank’s; an anniversary at V. Mertz; and publishing my first book at The Boiler Room. I’d say if it’s extra special, go with V. Mertz or The Boiler Room.

If your special occasion calls for a large group — say, a rehearsal dinner — then I have a whole list for you to check out.

Greenery and string lights dangle from ceiling by the V. Mertz sign

Who serves the best steaks in Omaha?

People will fight on this one. Omaha has many classic Italian steakhouses, you know, kinds that serve mostaccioli with your steak. I think the predominant classic steakhouse of choice is The Drover, which opened in 1968. That was the place we’d recommend to touring performers back when I worked at O-Pa.

As for me personally, the most recent steak that knocked my socks off was served at The Committee Chophouse.

What food is Omaha known for?

Yes, we have Omaha Steaks. Besides steaks, though, Omaha is known for being the city that originated the Reuben sandwich and butter brickle ice cream.

Nebraska is known for corn and this thing called a Runza sandwich. It’s like a bieroc, or if you don’t know what that is, it’s essentially bread stuffed with beef, cabbage and onions. It’s a lot better than it sounds. There’s a local fast food chain called Runza, we love it so much.

Is Omaha a foodie town?

Yes, absolutely. Part of the reason is Metro Community College’s culinary program, which has been churning out some truly innovative graduates who stick around and open amazing restaurants like Finicky Frank’s.

Omaha has also attracted out-of-state chefs who’ve relocated here, or have at the very least, chosen to open a restaurant here. Two that come to mind are vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz and sushi chef Keen Zheng.

What’s a good restaurant near CHI Health Center Omaha?

If there’s a big concert in Omaha, it’s likely at CHI Health Center Omaha in downtown Omaha. The closest entertainment district to the arena is The Capitol District, which has a few bars and restaurants to choose from. DJ’s Dugout is going to be your bar & grill option in the bunch.

The Old Mattress Factory is also within walking distance to CHI Health Center Omaha. It’s pub food, as well. The food is nothing special but it’s a large space and can accommodate crowds. Just another block away is my favorite option, Blatt Bar + Table.

Many people opt to find a restaurant in the Old Market, though. It’s still within walking distance.

Where’s the best lunch in Omaha?

The answer will depend, obviously. If you’re looking for a restaurant in downtown Omaha and not on a time crunch for lunch, try Block 16 or M’s Pub.

If you’re hungry for pizza but want just a few slices, Omaha has several excellent pizza shops choices from New York-style to thin crust. Omaha staples like Zio’s Pizza and La Casa Pizzeria have lunch menus with two-slice options.

Brunch is a whole other thing, so I’ve made an entire post highlighting some of Omaha’s best brunch spots.

Which restaurants are open on Christmas Day?

To be honest, there isn’t a lot open on Christmas Day 2022 but there are a few great ones:
West Omaha: Bravo Italian Kitchen*, Kona Grill
Downtown Omaha: J. Gilbert’s – Wood Fired Steaks & Seafood*, Sullivan’s Steakhouse*, Texas de Brazil*
Council Bluffs: 360 Steakhouse inside Harrah’s Council Bluffs*
Elkhorn: Backlot Pizza + Kitchen*
Note: Restaurants with the * are accepting reservations via Open Table.

What restaurants can accommodate a large group?

There are plenty of Omaha restaurants to choose from when it comes to accommodating a large group. For a more intimate group of less than 15, look to restaurants like Sullivan’s Steakhouse or Dundee Dell.

For even larger groups, consider Charlies on Lake or Upstream Brewery. I compiled a large list of Omaha restaurants that welcome large groups, so check that out for more ideas.

This post was first published in January 2018 and was updated 2022 to reflect closings and address changes.

A roundup of the best Omaha restaurants with innovative chefs, unique dining experiences and unforgettable desserts.

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20 Cheap Travel Destinations Across America For Fun-Filled Vacations - Partners in Fire

Sunday 17th of October 2021

[…] If you’ve always wanted to stand in two places at once, take a stroll over the beloved Bob Kerrey Pedestrian bridge connecting Council Bluffs to Omaha. Train-lovers will enjoy the free-of-charge Union Pacific Railroad museum featuring 150 years of history and interactive exhibits. Or enjoy budget-friendly family vacation classics like disc golf, mini-golf, bowling, indoor go-karts, public art, and bike trails. Although there are plenty of great places to eat in Council Bluffs, many of the best restaurants in the region are across the river in Omaha’s Old Market.  […]

Paul Grimmond

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

What about? Stokin Goat 158th Maple Twisted Fork 10th Howard Taxi's 120th Blondo

Sophia

Thursday 7th of May 2020

I just happened upon your blog while looking for local restaurants to support during COVID-19, and I appreciate your diligence in updating the list so it aligns with the current situation. I have one addition to add to this list: Tasty Pizza. It is a quite small restaurant with amazing prices and the most delicious pizza that I have ever had. Their crust is similar to a delicious baguette, a perfectly crisp outside with a soft inside, and, frankly, I would buy loaves of it. They top this delectable base with a myriad of scrumptious toppings, creating what I believe to be the perfect pizza. I can't recommend them enough. They are open for takeout during the quarantine, so dine, indulge, and support a wholesome local business.

Kim

Friday 8th of May 2020

Tasty Pizza has been on my to-try list for so long, I'm a little embarrassed I still haven't been there!

Sue Townsend

Sunday 22nd of March 2020

Modern Love Saddle Creek Breakfast Club Block 16

All my faves because they are veg* Friendly!!

Jill

Saturday 21st of March 2020

Yummy 1- farmhouse 2. Dinkers 3. Anthony’s

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