People in Omaha love to eat.
This year, especially, the city has lots of new dining options to choose from, and new places keep opening. But we love food here enough that lots of old standbys are still among our favorites.
There are varied ethnic choices — Greek, Ethiopian, Czech, Cuban, Moroccan, Indian, Korean, Chinese — along with standards such as Italian, comfort food, gastropubs, Mexican and, of course, tons of beef. We've included a sampling of new and old for you to consider.
This list isn't comprehensive, and there are lots of other good places in Omaha that we didn't have room to mention. Think of this list as a jumping-off point to begin your own culinary adventure.
For a more comprehensive look at Omaha's food choices, visit omaha.com/dining.
New Gold Mountain
15505 Ruggles St.
This tiny hole in the wall in west Omaha is, unexpectedly, a great spot for dim sum, Chinese breakfast, and lots of other authentic Chinese dishes. They have a small Vietnamese section on their menu and serve some of the best pho — noodle soup — in town. The pan-fried turnip cake, on the dim sum menu, is especially delicious. Information: 402-496-1688. Prices: dim sum $15 to $25 depending on the number of dishes ordered, dinner entrees $10 to $25, for a whole Peking duck.
3201 Farnam St.
This new, contemporary pan-Asian spot appeals to diners looking for a savory pan-Asian lunch with lots of umami (the Asian “fifth taste”). The soups, one ramen and one udon, are great. Homemade broth is the base for both soups; the ramen finishes with savory flavor and the udon, sweet. Those looking for Americanized Chinese will like the spicy-sweet Pana wings and entrees like teriyaki beef. Information: 402-934-7262. Prices: $15 or less.
Dante Ristorante Pizzeria
16901 Wright Plaza, in the Shops at Legacy
Though “pizzeria” is in Dante's name and it does Neopolitan-style well, don't forget about everything else on its menu — chef Nick Strawhecker's take on bolognese sauce served over house-made pasta is unforgettably good. It's also Nebraska's first certified Neopolitan pizzeria, and its huge, wood-fired oven cooks most dishes on the menu. Information: 402-932-3078. Prices: $15 or less to $25.
3572 Leavenworth St.
A true hole in the wall, Mother India serves up some of the tastiest Indian standards in Omaha.
With just under 20 seats, Mother India is almost always full, though an outdoor patio provides a pleasant spot to sit when the weather is nice. Try the chicken tikka korma and naan fresh from the oven. Information: 402-763-2880. Prices: $15 to $25.
5203 Leavenworth St.
Chef Jennifer Coco, nominated for the James Beard culinary award, left her longtime position at the Flatiron Cafe, an Omaha standard, to open her own place, and she did it right. Located inside an old neighborhood grocery store, J. Coco is incredibly popular with the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods, and it makes sense why: A great cocktail list and a well-priced menu make it easy to come back. Try the short rib tacos, the wagyu burger or the Iowa lamb two ways. Information: 402-884-2626. Prices: lunch under $25, dinner $25 to $50.
Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar
6207 Maple St.
Lot 2 is leading the pack when it comes to fine dining in Benson, an old Omaha neighborhood that's recently seen regrowth. A vibrant atmosphere, great service and simple, modern food make it an instant hit. We love the cheese and meat board, the bangers and mash and a creative, lightly dressed kale salad. Information: 402-504-4200. Prices: $25 to $50.
1110 Jones St.
Chef Paul Kulik takes exquisite care to make sure all the dishes that come out of his kitchen look beautiful, ooze with creativity and taste fantastic. His restaurant, in a renovated boiler room inside the 100-year-old Bemis Bag building, has atmosphere to spare and an excellent craft cocktail bar. Information: 402-916-9274. Prices: cocktails $15 or less, dinner $40 or more.
220 S. 31st Ave., in Midtown Crossing
Chef Clayton Chapman lets the seasons drive his cooking at his farm-to-table restaurant where regional meat and produce are key. The food is refined, yet approachable. The Green Restaurant Association also named the Grey Plume the greenest restaurant in the country before it even opened. Everything inside, including much of the wood, is reclaimed or energy-efficient. Information: 402-763-4447. Prices: $25 to $40 or more at dinner.
Tacos el Peligro
5133 S. 25th St.
This hidden gem of a taqueria serves tacos that are as authentic as you can get for mere dollars each. Try the al pastor, which is cooked in a secret sauce on a spit and topped with sweet pineapple. Another good choice: tender beef cheek. All the tacos are topped with fresh onion and cilantro and nestled in homemade corn tortillas. Information: 402-733-9554. Prices: less than $10 for lunch, dinner or a late-night snack.
4422 Cass St.
Nestled behind a gas station and a Chinese restaurant, Lalibela is worth seeking out for the adventurous eater. Huge platters of food — available with meat or vegetarian — come served with injera, Ethiopian flat bread that diners use as a spoon to scoop up all the different delicacies. Everything bursts with spicy, full flavor, and the experience of eating here is a memorable one. Service, too, is friendly and efficient. Information: 402-991-5662. Prices: $10 to $25.
Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria
5021 Underwood Ave.
A neighborhood favorite that attracts a vibrant, age-diverse crowd, Pitch's thin crust pizza cooked in a coal-fired oven keeps regulars coming back for more. Owner Willy Theisen, who founded Godfather's Pizza, got back into the pizza business with this midtown spot. The 'shrooms pizza, drizzled with flavorful truffle oil, is a crowd favorite. Information: 402-590-2625. Prices: lunch under $25, dinner $25 to $40.
2121 S. 73rd St.
Omahans love their meat, and if you're looking for what many consider the best steak in town, you'll find it at the Drover. It's the whiskey steak, which the restaurant douses in a secret spicy, whiskey-based marinade and grills to your desired temperature. Each steak is soaked to order for about 15 minutes before it's grilled so you taste both the whiskey and the Certified Angus Beef. Information: 402-391-7440. Prices: steaks from $23.95 to more than $40.
Cocktails and Wine
La Buvette Wine and Grocery
511 S. 11th St.
An Old Market favorite, La Buvette has plenty of French charm and a wine selection worth perusing. Owners Mark and Vera Mercer have created a wine bar and restaurant with a cult following. Their cheese and meat plate is the perfect accompaniment to wine that comes both by the glass or the reasonably priced bottle. A rotating dinner menu includes French classics done well. Go to Buvette for the classic food and wine, and stay for the people watching and atmosphere. Information: 402-344-8627. Prices: $25 to $40.
Upstream Brewing Company
514 S. 11th St.
With two locations in Omaha, Upstream Brewing Company has a solid menu of bar food, including a few upscale items, and is known for its wide array of house brewed ales. The seasonals, often on special, are usually creative, and the accompanying menu is full of food that pairs perfectly with an ice cold beer. The flagship location in the Old Market is the one we mention here, but there's another in west Omaha, at 17070 Wright Plaza. Information: 402-344-0200. Prices: $25 or less for lunch, dinner $25 to $40.