Choosing a limited number of restaurants for a list like this is an almost impossible task. There is endless great food in Nebraska, whether you’re looking for a greasy spoon diner or a high-end foodie paradise. We narrowed down the thousands of restaurants to these 20 that we think everyone should try. We aren’t talking about your local bar where you get a burger every week out of habit; these are the places you’d drive hours to get to because the food is
just that good.
Bella Italia, Cozad
The story behind Bella Italia is almost as good as the food. Italian immigrant Shadi Aboushady was working as a chef in New York when he fell in love, got married, and moved to her hometown of Cozad. There the couple opened Bella Italia, an authentic Roman-style Italian eatery.
114 W 7th St Cozad, NE 69130
Block 16, Omaha
This "farm-to-table street food" establishment is one of famed chef Alton Brown's favorite Omaha eateries. He places it in his top five burger places - no small compliment coming from a guy who eats for a living.
1611 Farnam St Omaha, NE 68106
Bohemian Cafe, Omaha
If you grew up in a German or Czech family within driving distance of Omaha, chances are you've visited the Bohemian Cafe. If you haven't, make it a priority. This is authentic old-world food served up in a quaint (and just as authentic) interior, complete with costumed servers. This regional favorite has been going strong since 1924.
1406 S 13th St Omaha, NE 68108
Brother Sebastian's Steakhouse, Omaha
If the idea of eating mouth-watering steaks and drinking exceptional wine in a monastery sounds appealing, Brother Sebastian's should be at the top of your foodie bucket list. Not only is the food exceptional; the monastic theme makes for a very relaxed eating experience.
1350 South 119th Street Omaha, NE 68144
The Chocolate Bar, Grand Island
A cafe and bakery by day, a dessert and cocktails hotspot by night, The Chocolate Bar is a fun addition to Grand Island's dining options. Stop in for breakfast or lunch, or come by in the evening for a decadent slice of something chocolatey paired with a red wine or gourmet coffee.
116 W 3rd St Grand Island, NE 68801
Danish Baker, Dannebrog
While this place serves delicious pastries along with breakfast and lunch items, they've developed a cult following for their unbeatable pizza. Pizza is only on the menu on Thursdays, and the wait time is easily over an hour - but it's well worth the wait. A large pizza from the Danish Baker weighs around five pounds, and you're charged by the pizza size, not by the number of toppings. We'll have ALL the toppings, please.
114 Mill St S Dannebrog, NE 68831
Dish serves comfortable classic meals in a classy atmosphere. It's the perfect place for a first date, special occasion, or just because you don't feel like cooking. Be sure to try the salmon with polenta - amazing!
1100 E O St Lincoln, NE 68508
Drifter Cookshack, Crawford
If you're into highfalutin food or fancy-pants decor, you're out of luck here. The Drifter Cookshack serves real food in generous portions, and it all happens in the modern wild west. The restaurant is a restored log cabin chock full of cowboy and high plains memorabilia. Come for the experience AND for the food, because both are excellent.
263 Sandcreek Rd Crawford, NE 69339
The Drover, Omaha
This classic Omaha venue has been dishing up unbelievable whiskey-marinated steaks for decades. The Drover is considered a landmark, and one of the best places in Omaha to get your steak fix.
2121 S 73rd St Omaha, NE 68124
Emporium Coffehouse & Cafe, Scottsbluff
You might not expect a place called a "coffeehouse & cafe" to serve gourmet fare, but the Emporium does just that. From down-home dishes to modern haute cuisine, this place is a true gem. It was named one of Nebraska's ten best restaurants, a title that is well deserved.
1818 1st Ave Scottsbluff, NE 69361
The Flippin' Sweet, Kearney
The Flippin' Sweet was named by Midwest Living Magazine as one of the top 27 pizza places in the Midwest, the only Nebraska restaurant to earn a spot on that list. This converted garage serves creative taste combos and delicious craft beers, using local ingredients whenever possible.
203 E 25th St Kearney, NE 68847
Honest Abe's Burgers and Freedom, Lincoln
Honest Abe's serves creative, fun burgers and fries ("freedom fries," at that) with a playful personality. One of their selections is called the "Greatest Burger Ever," and reviewers say it lives up to its name.
840 N 70th St Lincoln, NE 68505
Ivanna Cone, Lincoln
Doesn't the kid in you just light up when you see an ice cream place? Ivanna Cone wants to feed your inner child some of the most delightful homemade ice cream ever. This family owned and operated ice cream shop makes its own waffle cones every day - a fact that's hard to miss when you walk in and are immediately treated to the delicious aroma.
701 P St #101 Lincoln, NE 68508
Los Jalapenos, Lexington
It's hard to find good Mexican food in Nebraska, but Los Jalapenos nails it. Your meal doesn't even come with silverware, in fact - you eat your hands and scoop with fresh tortillas, the way nature intended.
2003 Plum Creek Pkwy Lexington, NE 68850
The Mixing Bowl, Gering
Everything that comes out of the kitchen at The Mixing Bowl has a little bit of love included (no extra charge). This undeniably sweet place serves traditional midwestern German-inspired meals, house-made pastries, and gourmet coffee. Locally-sourced ingredients are used whenever possible. Did we mention the homemade ketchup? Oh, my.
1945 10th St
Gering, NE 69341
Modern Love, Omaha
"Swanky vegan comfort food" is Modern Love's motto, and they definitely provide that. Even meat eaters have been known to rave about the 100% animal-product-free meals at this unique restaurant.
1319 S 50th St Omaha, NE 68106
Ole's Big Game Steakhouse, Paxton
Ole's serves up good midwestern food, but what really makes it stand out amongst all of the steakhouses is its unconventional decor. The interior is filled with big game hunting trophies, including the heads of an elephant, a buffalo, and a giraffe. Ole's has been around since 1933 and is something of a regional legend.
123 N Oak St Paxton, NE 69155
Runza, Multiple Locations
We weren't sure about including a chain restaurant on this list, but Runza is a special case. It's a Nebraska staple, and despite it being fast food, it really is a place every Nebrsakan should try at least once.
Sin City Grill, Grand Island
This Vegas-themed restaurant features burgers with fun names like Phat Elvis, The Lounge Lizard, and One Eyed Jack. This is a slick concept pulled off perfectly; being inside is like walking into a whole other world. A tasty, tasty world with thick milkshakes and amazing fries.
410 W 3rd St Grand Island, NE 68801
Suwannee Thai Cuisine, Kearney
This authentic Thai eatery has been going strong since 2010. They adjust the spice level to your individual tastes, so even if you don't like super-spicy foods you can still enjoy the delicious noodles, curry, and a ton of other exotic dishes.
1420 West 24th Street Kearney, NE 68845
What do you think of these selections? Which restaurants would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!