Top 10 Best Places to Eat In Billings Montana
I’ve got to say choosing only 10 great spots to eat in Billings produced an existential crisis within my very soul. Okay, well maybe not to that extent, but it is a lot of responsibility. Billings has an abundance of really great restaurants ranging from the high class to those great little hole-in-the walls that you only hear about from well-informed locals. Needless to say it was tough for me to only pick 10. I will preface this list by saying that I tried to pick from a range of restaurants and yet I know many greats will be left out. To that I say, I’m sorry, but please add your favorites to the comments sections for others to see. Also, Pickle Barrel would have been at the top of my list, but sadly, she is gone now and I can only dream of her…
Hands down, Stella’s will always be my favorite for breakfast. This breakfast restaurant serves the best comfort food. We’re talking cinnamon rolls the size of your face and fresh squeezed orange juice that will soothe you to your very core. While Stella’s is considered traditional breakfast food, it is the quality and extremely friendly atmosphere that draws crowds of locals in every weekend. I would suggest Stella’s after you’ve had a great night out sampling all the breweries downtown.
Savory meat filled meals can be enjoyed at The Rex alongside fresh local beers on their tap. They specialize in Angus beef and seafood so if you love an exceptional steak, The Rex is where you should dine in Billings. The atmosphere is that of being in an old timey saloon without being cheesy because it is located in a very cool turn of the century building within the historic district of Billings. The Rex also has relaxing patio for use in the warmer months.
Montana Brewing Company is my favorite for great beer alongside scrumptious bar food. This is my comfort food. The atmosphere is extremely friendly, the beers are always great, and smiling people are constantly coming and going. The brewery is located in downtown Billings which gives you a great jumping off point for a day of shopping or a night of bar hopping (hey, I rhymed). I have never had a bad meal at Montana Brew Co., or a bad beer for that matter.
I’ll admit that I am extremely partial to any restaurant specializing in Mexican food, but Don Luis is my favorite in Billings. Don Luis is not the only place serving up Mexican food in Billings, but theirs to me is the absolute best. The atmosphere is cozy, and as you could guess, it has a Mexican theme to it. Don Luis, as the restaurant advertises, comes from a small village in Mexico where he learned these recipes from his mother, and I guess that is why they are so ridiculously delicious. I have never had a bad meal at Don Luis and am never disappointed.
The Granary makes my list for great Billing’s restaurants for quality and elegance. If you are like me, you don’t spring for a high priced dinner very often and when you do, it better be worth it. The Granary is worth it. The menu is rotated quarterly to ensure the ingredients are fresh and patrons can have a new experience throughout the year. It’s also located in a pretty cool building that use to serve as the milling department for Billing’s polytechnic institute until WWII, and that alone is worth a trip.
Jakes is a delectable steakhouse with two locations in Billings; downtown and also on the West End. They are on the higher end of the price range (if you are on my budget, anyways) but they are worth it if you want a really great steak. Also, all the sides are included at Jakes, where other high-end restaurants like to charge for every additional side. Jakes is definitely not for the vegetarian crowd, but they do offer a wide range of starters, salads, and seafood for those that don’t drool over a giant hunk of beef.
Known as much for the wine list as the food; Bin 119 has a great atmosphere and two patio areas for those perfect summer days. Bin 119 likes to tout their excellent quality of seasonal food that fits into an eclectic menu that will suite almost all tastes. Bin 119 opens from 11:00am till 10:00pm most nights of the week while serving a Sunday brunch, which I would recommend. The bar stays open after dinner service has ended and they have an extensive beer and wine list to choose from. Bin 119 also has several vegetarian options for those who seek to find delicious meatless fare in cowboy country.
A super delicious, laid back, hometown restaurant, which serves all their food on locally made tortillas. That’s right, locally made tortillas in the heart of Big Sky Country. If you were looking for a fresh, quality place to have lunch then I would recommend Rockets. They serve wraps, salads, and homemade root beer. Rockets is decently priced and a healthy, gratifying option for a quick lunch. I should also mention the service has always been undoubtedly friendly.
Pug’s is an Irish pub located in downtown. I have never been to Ireland so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the food, but I can vouch that it is really delicious. They serve typical Irish pub style food such as meaty sandwiches, and my personal favorite, fish and chips. It also serves Irish staples such as corned beef and cabbage that are worth a try and of course Guinness and Harp on draught. The pub tends to get pretty rowdy on St. Patrick’s Day of course, but the one punch and you’re out rule tends to keep the atmosphere friendly and welcoming other days of the year.
Ciao Mambo is an Italian restaurant with three locations throughout Montana. In Billings Ciao Mambo is located along historic Montana Avenue. Ciao offers an extensive range of Italian dishes to choose from and their wait staff is able to suggest wines that complement the meal, which is handy if you are like me and have no idea. The prices are not too steep but I would suggest making reservations for dinner because Ciao is very popular and fills up quickly. Known for their pasta and delicious bread offered before every meal, Ciao is a great place to go for date night or even a casual night out with friends. The only thing I don’t understand is their tagline “where even the pasta is sexy”, huh?
Photo Courtesy of Dino Abatzidis