Everyone’s taste buds are different. This list isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of the “best” restaurants in Omaha. Look at it more as a “beginner’s guide” to eating in Omaha.
I’ve eaten at all these restaurants unless noted.
Where are the best restaurants?
This might get me in a little bit of trouble.
If you are looking for a local restaurant with a unique dining experience and good food, you should probably look for something east of 72nd Street. Don’t get me wrong. There are great, local restaurants west of 72nd but not as many. There are a lot more chain restaurants in west Omaha.
I wanted to test my theory a bit so I looked at TripAdvisors top 10 restaurants in Omaha (a list I don’t agree with) and 9 out of 10 restaurants were east of 72nd Street.
Downtown, Dundee, Benson, and Blackstone are all vibrant neighborhoods with great local restaurants. If you are visiting and don’t know what to eat, just pick one of those neighborhoods, walk around, and stop into a place that sounds good to you.
Now that I’ve offended everyone west of 72nd Street, let’s take a look at some specific categories of restaurants.
New York City is known for pizza. Texas has barbecue. Omaha is known for steak. Ask ten people where the best steakhouse is and you will probably get 5 different answers.
The Drover – This is my favorite steakhouse. It’s know for it’s whiskey filet. I won’t say it’s the BEST steak in town, but when you add in the atmosphere and iceberg lettuce salad bar, it takes the top spot.
Other popular steakhouses include Brother Sebastian’s (rated the best steakhouse by our local newspaper – I don’t agree), Omaha Prime (for more of a fine-dining steakhouse experience),
If you love prime rib, give The Pink Poodle in Crescent, IA a chance.
If you ask some people about their favorite steak in Omaha, they will say the one that comes off the grill in their backyard. You can buy a great cut of meat at most grocery stores in Omaha. After you’ve moved here and settled in, give it a shot (and if you start with a great cut of meat, the only seasoning you need is salt and pepper).
Omaha has almost all the major fast-food chains.
Below are a few of the local fast-food chains you may have never heard of.
Runza – Known for the “Runza” sandwich. A “Runza® Sandwich features fresh-baked bread stuffed with ground beef, onions, our secret blend of spices, and yes, cabbage.” I really like Runza and the fries are really good as well.
Another thing Runza is known for is its “Temperature Tuesday” promotion. Every Tuesday in January and February, the temperature at 6 a.m. is the price you’ll pay for an Original Runza® Sandwich when you buy medium fries and a drink.
Don & Millies – If you are looking for a greasy (in a good way) fast food burger, then check out Don & Millies.
My go to meal is the Double Don (#3). If you want to try something different, order a Cheese Frenchee. It’s basically a grilled cheese sandwich that has been coated in batter and deep fried. It’s delicious.
My wife says they have the best fast food ranch in town. I should mention that ranch dressing is a thing in Nebraska. It’s a whole separate food group. People dip everything in ranch dressing.
Pepperjax Grill – This place specializes in Philly Cheesesteaks.
Romantic / Fine Dining
If you are looking for a romantic night out, here are a few of my favorites.
- Le Bouillon (Downtown)
- Boiler Room (Downtown)
- Au Courant (Benson)
- Avoli Osteria (Dundee)
- Le Voltaire (West Omaha)
If you are looking for fine dining options, any of the places above could qualify. I would call the list above more upscale than fine dining.
If you are looking for a true fine dining experience, Omaha doesn’t have a ton of options. The one place that stands out is in the Old Market in the Passageway.
- V. Mertz (Downtown)
Unfortunately, Omaha doesn’t have many great seafood restaurants but here are two that stand out.
Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar (3 Locations)
Plank Seafood & Provisions (Downtown – Old Market)
It might sound crazy but Omaha has some amazing sushi restaurants. Here are two of the best.
Blue Sushi – You don’t go here because it has the best sushi. You go here because it’s a great dining experience. There are two locations in the Omaha area. But try the Old Market location and if you go with a group, consider dining upstairs. Blue Sushi is also really popular for happy hour.
Decent Food / Good Atmosphere
Dario’s (Dundee) – Great food and a lot of Belgian beers to choose from.
El Basha (Midtown) – Mediterranean
Thai – Salween Thai (a little bit of a dive)
Jaipur – Really good Indian food. And don’t forget to try the jalapeno beer.
Porky Butts BBQ (West Omaha) – BBQ is one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, I’ve never been that impressed with BBQ in Omaha. A couple years ago, this place opened and it is the best BBQ I’ve had in Omaha.
A Few More Options
Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille (West Omaha) – If you are in the mood for chicken wings, give this place a try. Since I’m not a wing guy, this recommendation is based on people I know loving this place.