The Best Omaha Steakhouses
The Drover has been well known for its secret whiskey marinade recipe for decades. Visitors love its Nebraska bone-in rib-eye, strip steak and two sizes of filet; you can get any steak dipped in that secret sauce if you ask. The salad bar – one of the first in Omaha – is loaded with classic ingredients dished out on cold metal plates, an especially nice touch. Travelers who want the full Drover experience, complete with dim lights and cowboy memorabilia, for less than rib-eye prices might consider ordering a burger. The burgers come in several varieties, including (during lunchtime) a patty melt on rye or a chili-cheddar onion burger.
The Committee Chophouse
Travelers staying inside the newly renovated Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in the popular Blackstone District often don’t leave the property for dinner, considering one of the city’s newest – and perhaps hottest – steakhouses is right inside the hotel. The restaurant serves vintage cuts of beef, like a Delmonico and a porterhouse steak, as well as seasonal entrees like sweet corn risotto and a fantastic burger topped with blue cheese fondue (among other ingredients). The Cottonwood Room, which sits next door to the steakhouse, serves a full list of original craft cocktails and wine. Upstairs, in the Orleans Room, travelers love to try the hotel’s version of a Reuben; legend has it the sandwich was invented at the hotel in 1925.
Visitors have been coming to the family-owned Johnny’s Café, a staple of South Omaha located near the former site of the famous Omaha Stockyards, since 1922. After a century in business, the steakhouse is currently run by the third generation of the Kawa family. Johnny’s Café is known for its hand-cut steaks that are aged on-site. Travelers love that one-of-a-kind vintage decor almost as much as the beef: Rib-eyes, T-bones and prime rib are among diner favorites. Just about everything at this family-run original is made from scratch, including soups, sauces and a beloved Italian salad dressing.
The Best Restaurants in Old Market Omaha
Boiler Room Restaurant
Locals and visitors alike love what chef Tim Nicholson does at the Boiler Room Restaurant, one of the city’s finest spots to eat. Enjoy its seasonal, locally focused menus and the memorable romantic atmosphere when you dine here. The offerings on the dining room menu and the craft cocktail menu rotate regularly. Visitors will always find a farm-to-table selection of meat, vegetables and more to pair with one of the more than 500 bottles in its well-regarded wine cellar, recognized by Wine Enthusiast. Chef Nicholson, a James Beard Award semifinalist, runs the large open kitchen, and the second-floor dining room gives guests a bird’s-eye view.
La Buvette started in the 1990s as a deli counter and specialty grocery store. Today this French-style spot is a full-blown restaurant that visitors love for its slice of Parisian charm in the heart of Omaha’s Old Market district. Weathered stone floors and brick walls lined with bottles of affordably priced wine pair with a menu of sandwiches, salads, meat and cheese plates, and more to make La Buvette popular with locals, too; it attracts a vibrant crowd of regulars. In the summertime, patrons love sitting on its outdoor patio, which is perfect for a glass of wine and people-watching.
V. Mertz has been an Old Market staple for romance and special occasions for Omahans since the 1970s. Visitors to Omaha love it for its romantic atmosphere, the standout tasting menu and its focus on local, seasonal ingredients. V. Mertz keeps current with adventurous wine pairings – thanks to sommelier Matthew Brown – and memorable craft drinks. You’ll find it all in what many consider the city’s most stunning dining room, located off an underground passageway.
When celebrity chef Alton Brown visited Omaha, he named Block 16’s Croque Garcon burger his favorite in the country – and he has not stopped talking about this popular Omaha gem since. Chefs and co-owners Paul and Jessica Urban serve up high-end street food favorites with daily specials and a focus on seasonal and local ingredients. They are also building a greenhouse to grow their own produce. With Block 16 known for lunchtime lines that can stretch down the block, visitors love its classic Block Burger, the poutine burrito and of course the Croque Garcon (topped with ham, a sunny-side up egg and more).
The Best Hidden Gem Restaurants in Omaha
Omahans looking for a more casual spot in the Old Market often look toward Le Bouillon, a converted 19th-century produce warehouse that has been one restaurant or another in the neighborhood since the 1970s. Travelers find themselves delighted with the bright atmosphere, the French-inspired menu and a bottle from the neighboring Howard Street Wine Merchant. An upscale happy hour at Le Bouillon is another popular experience for visitors to Omaha.
Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen
Tucked inside a strip mall across from Omaha’s well-known Nebraska Furniture Mart, Blue & Fly is the place to find delicious, traditional Chinese cuisine. Among the favorite dishes of guests are mouthwatering chicken, mapo tofu, tomato and egg, and candied sweet potatoes. For diners feeling less adventurous, this bright and clean restaurant also offers a long list of American-influenced takes on Chinese cuisine.
Visitors can expect a line at Coneflower Creamery, Omaha’s “farm-to-cone” ice cream shop where every single ingredient is homemade – even the sprinkles. But the line feels worth it when you encounter the friendly staff and generous portions of flavors like Butter Brickle, double chocolate and coffee. The flavors at Coneflower are seasonally driven – sweet corn is a summertime favorite, for example – and many of the ingredients come straight from the owners’ garden. Try a warm cookie ice cream sandwich if you’re feeling especially decadent.
Dinker’s Bar and Grill
The Dinker’s Haystack Burger is famous citywide; even folks who aren’t from Omaha find themselves drawn into this tiny dive to try one. This 6-ounce sirloin steak is topped with American cheese, honey smoked ham and a fried egg. Many travelers agree with the locals who have been going to Dinker’s since it opened in 1965 that this burger is in contention for Omaha’s best burger. French Fries, onion rings and other quick bites are also served up at this eatery. Note, however, that Dinker’s is a cash-only establishment.
Price range for entrees: $4 to $9.75
Address: 2368 S. 29th St., Omaha, NE 68105
Details: no website; 402-342-9742
Even – or perhaps especially – the most seasoned travelers rave about David Utterback’s Yoshitomo: a petite neighborhood sushi restaurant dishing out some of the most interesting and high-quality food in town. The restaurant does serve a menu of creative rolls, but the real focus is on handcrafted small plates, nigiri and the limited omakase service – a multicourse curated experience that runs year-round and is a hot ticket in town. You can enjoy your pick from the extensive wine, sake and beer list while dining at Yoshitomo.
The Best Italian Restaurants in Omaha
A mix of longtime local regulars and out-of-town visitors seek out this west Omaha Italian gem, known for its hyper-seasonal menu, wood-fired pizza and handmade pasta. The Italian-only wine list and cooking techniques bolster this Italian restaurant’s authenticity. Diners find it appropriate for family dinners and date nights alike. The fun, vibrant atmosphere and the bar’s original cocktail and mocktail list also merit a stop here.
This small eatery, situated in the heart of Omaha’s historic Dundee neighborhood, draws a cast of local regulars but also has become a destination for visitors. Diners at Avoli Osteria appreciate its focus on northern Italian cuisine and wine, including homemade pastas, locally raised proteins and a popular seasonal burrata appetizer. What can’t be found locally is imported from Italy, according to the owners. Chef Dario Schicke runs a tight ship, and servers here are praised for being prompt and knowledgeable.
The Best Mexican Restaurants in Omaha
Travelers and locals already love the newly opened Hacienda Real in Omaha, which joins two locations of the restaurant in Nebraska’s capital city, Lincoln. In particular, patrons rave about the house-made salsa, the various enchiladas, and the fast and friendly service. The bright and cheerful Omaha location, which is locally owned by the same Nebraska family, also features margaritas, Tex-Mex classics like Chile Colorado and even a handful of Mexican breakfast items served all day.
Enormous seafood platters known as parrilladas are the specialty at El Dorado, a favorite place for families in the surrounding neighborhoods of south Omaha – and an experience for any traveler looking for a fun food experience in a vibrant dining room. The stacks of fresh shellfish and fish come loaded on top of a platter perfectly sized for a party, complete with garnishes, homemade tortillas and sauces. There’s also a list of tacos, enchiladas and combination platters to try, and the margaritas come almost as large as the portions of food. Visitors say they enjoy the friendly service, the reasonable prices and the live mariachi music on select evenings.