Omaha’s Old Market is a historic neighborhood with brick streets, quirky shops, and an abundance of restaurants. If you’re new to Omaha, or rarely visit the Old Market, it’s not always the easiest decision on figuring out where to eat. Since I love food and the Old Market, I’ve made this guide to help you pick a good restaurant.
Update: This post was updated in February 2020 to reflect a restaurant closure.
Where is the Old Market in Omaha?
The Old Market is located in downtown Omaha, Neb. It runs from Farnam Street on the north side to Jones Street on the south side, and from 10th Street on the east side to 13th Street on the west side. The main intersection is 11th and Howard – head there to get an iconic photo for Instagram.
Driving & Parking in the Old Market
Old Market can be a headache for drivers, but if you go in prepared, you’ll do just fine.
Old Market driving tips:
- – Most of the main streets of the Old Market are two-way. HOWEVER, many of the streets around those main streets are one-way…and some just stop being two-way. Pay close attention to street signs! The main drag, Howard Street, is two-way.
Old Market parking tips:
- – Just expect to pay for parking. You’ll get very frustrated trying to find that elusive free parking spot. (Tip: Head to the 10th Street bridge heading south from the Old Market toward The Durham Museum.)
- – Parking meters are everywhere. Meters run until 9 p.m. Time limits vary, but if you download the app, you should be able to add to it at least once if you’re dinner runs long.
- – You do not need to pay meters after 9 p.m., Sundays, or federal holidays.
- – Meter maids are quick to ticket cars. I used to live in the Old Market. They get you every time. I don’t care to share how many tickets I’ve gotten due to expired meters. Just make sure you keep track of time.
- – Meters aren’t your only option. There are parking lots in the Old Market – some with rates as low as a $1/hour. See all the downtown parking options here.
Guide to Old Market restaurants
I’ve made recommendations below based on living and working near the Old Market for more than 10 years. While I try to make recommendations for locally-owned restaurants, I have to sprinkle in a few chains just because. I’ll let you know which ones are chains, though.
Also, I will admit, this is not a comprehensive list of all restaurants, cafes, and bars in the Old Market. There are some places I just won’t recommend, either because I’ve never been there and I’m unsure of its reputation for service, or I’ve been and I don’t like it.
You’ll just have to guess why I left a place off. 🙂
Related post: 33+ Must-Try Restaurants In Omaha
Best restaurant for large groups
I’ve hosted a few gatherings for large groups in my lifetime, and they were held in the Old Market. My top recommendation is Upstream Brewing Co., which can accommodate a large group and, if you plan ahead, you can have a large part of the second floor for your group.
I held my husband’s surprise 30th birthday party there. While it is a brewery, it’s more of a brew pub-restaurant, and it’s family-friendly.
Best restaurants for a family
It might surprise you, but Upstream Brewing Co. is a pretty family-friendly restaurant. Besides a great kid’s menu, there is weekly entertainment. We love catching the magic show on Tuesdays.
If you go for weekend brunch, though, there is no kid’s menu. If the weather’s nice, try to snag sidewalk seating to people watch.
Plank Seafood Provisions – If your kids will eat fish, this is a good pace to go!
Zio’s Pizzeria – Ask for some pizza dough while you wait. It’s the best make-shift playdough you can find.
Related post: 8 Kid-Friendly Restaurants In Downtown Omaha
Best date night restaurants
La Buvette Wine & Grocery will always have a special place in my heart. This charming French restaurant & wine shop is comfortable and cozy. You can easily pretend you’re in a small wine bar somewhere in France. It’s first come, first serve so hover by the table you want to snag.
Le Buillon is another great French restaurant, and a bit more upscale than La Buvette. They specialize in farm-to-table cuisine.
Jams American Grill – Contemporary American food
Monarch Prime & Bar – You can get really decadent here.
M’s Pub – This is one of the oldest and more respected restaurants in the Old Market. I haven’t been there since it reopened after a devastating fire, but I hear it’s as good as ever.
Nicola’s Italian Wine & Faire – This place has the best outdoor patio. This is a small restaurant, so make reservations.
The Boilerroom Restaurant – The creativity in the kitchen will impress you.
The Oven – Cuisine from northern India and Bhutan
V. Mertz – The romantic atmosphere at V. Mertz is second to none.
Related post: 25+ Omaha Date Night Ideas
Breakfast in the Old Market
I’m a sucker for brunch at Upstream Brewing Co. It seems at least once a year, we go there on a Saturday in the summer, right after we’ve shopped the farmer’s market.
You bet I get a mimosa when I have brunch at Upstream.
Billy Frogg’s Grill & Bar – I know! It’s a bar. Word is that the breakfast is pretty good, though. I’ve been here for lunch with my kids – this quirky place is pretty family-friendly in the daytime.
Scooters Coffeehouse – This is a local chain with pretty good coffee and pastries.
WheatFields Express – This is a pretty good option for breakfast, though the menu will overwhelm you.
Casual restaurants in the Old Market
Stokes Grill & Bar has never had a dud of a dish. This Tex-Mex restaurant has some scrumptious enchiladas (Sharon, what do you put in them??), filling salads (Koko’s Harvest Salad), and the best tortilla chicken soup I’ve ever had.
If the weather’s nice, be sure to ask to sit outside.
Craft Sliders + Beer – I like the beer selection here.
Poke Boba House – Fresh, healthful food served up in a cute little restaurant.
The Monster Club – This is a horror movie-themed restaurant. I haven’t been to it yet, but it has its fans. It’s also one of Omaha’s quirkiest restaurants.
Roja Mexican Grill – The salsa is addicting at Roja.
Trini’s Mexican Restaurant – I love the atmosphere at this restaurant and the salsa is so good.
Urban Abbey – More bookstore with a cafe, this is a place to get a light snack or coffee.
Best Old Market restaurants for sushi
I’m a fan of Matsu Sushi Japanese Restaurant. The sushi is top-notch and pretty reasonable.
Blue Sushi Old Market – Head here if you want sake bombs. Go during their Happy Hour; it’s held daily but time vary.
Hiro 88 – The Happy Hour specials on Sundays are great here.
Where to go for dessert in the Old Market
I’m a die-hard fan of Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream. It’s worth waiting in line to get a scoop. I recommend sampling a few of their creative flavors before settling on a choice. Keep in mind that a “single scoop” is actually, like, two scoops so you can request two flavors.
I usually just go for a dish or waffle cone, but this is the place where you can try a choco taco or, sometimes, get a donut sandwich with ice cream in the middle. Wear your stretchy pants.
Brownie Bar – This is pretty new, but they dropped off some samples at my office recently and I can’t wait to visit the shop!
Chocolat Abeille – Chocolate that’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Hollywood Candy – If you can make it past the candy aisles, there is an old-fashioned soda fountain in there.
Old Market Candy Shop – I go here for my truffles fix.
Best Old Market bars for drinks
I highly recommend getting a drink and sitting outdoors at Mr. Toad’s – it’s fun and a prime location for people watching. You’ll love it! They string up lights and you can people watch all day long. The interior is pretty cozy too.
Brickway Brewery & Distillery – Another Omaha brewery you should check out.
Dubliner Pub – It always feels like St. Patrick’s Day here. There’s often live music on weekend nights.
Laka Lono Rum Club – I haven’t been to this tiki bar yet, but I’ve heard it’s a fun place to go. They have flaming drinks, y’all.
The Berry & Rye – This is the craft cocktail lounge you’ve been looking for.
Thunderhead Brewing Taproom – One more microbrewery to add to your list.