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Beyond the familiar names of national chains like Cracker Barrel, Panera Bread, and Red Lobster lies a culinary landscape waiting to be discovered. You may not think of Bismarck or Mandan, North Dakota as culinary destinations, but hidden within their charming streets are a myriad of independent local gems that beckon the adventurous food enthusiast. These are the places where the true essence of the region comes to life, flavors are crafted with care and passion, and unforgettable dining experiences await.
I want you to embark on a delectable journey through Bismarck, and to help you do just that, I am uncovering the 21 best places to eat in Bismarck and Mandan that go far beyond the predictable chains. From cozy cafes serving up mouthwatering breakfast delights to intimate bistros specializing in farm-to-table cuisine, Bismarck boasts a vibrant food scene that captures the essence of the area’s rich culinary heritage.
Step away from the generic and embrace the unique. Prepare your taste buds for a symphony of flavors inspired by the bountiful local produce, the pristine waters of the Missouri River, and the warm hospitality of the region’s residents. Whether you’re a local looking for a new favorite haunt or a visitor seeking an authentic culinary adventure, these independent local gems will leave you satiated, delighted, and craving for more.
In compiling this list, we’ve taken into account the quality of the food, the ambiance of the restaurant, and the overall dining experience. We’ve also taken into consideration the reviews and recommendations of locals and visitors alike. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the 21 best places to eat in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Where is Bismarck
Bismarck, situated in the upper western portion of the United States, proudly holds the title of North Dakota’s capital city. Nestled in Burleigh County, this charming destination sits along the eastern bank of the majestic Missouri River. While Fargo may take the crown as the most populous city in the state, Bismarck has its own distinct allure and is quickly gaining recognition as a must-visit locale.
One of the city’s standout features is its idyllic setting. The flowing waters of the Missouri River grace Bismarck with natural beauty and provide a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Boating, fishing, and scenic hikes along the riverbanks offer ample opportunities for adventure. But what truly sets Bismarck apart, in my opinion, is its flourishing food scene. When it comes to exploring a new place, indulging in delectable cuisine can elevate the experience to new heights, and Bismarck doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
Picture yourself savoring mouthwatering dishes crafted by talented local chefs, each plate a work of art showcasing the region’s flavors. As you venture through the city, you’ll discover Bismarck’s culinary landscape is as rich and diverse as its captivating history and vibrant art scene. So, if you’re a food lover seeking a remarkable gastronomic adventure, Bismarck’s exceptional dining establishments will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your palate.
Where is Mandan
Just a few miles across the Missouri River from Bismarck, Mandan, North Dakota, is a captivating city with its own unique charm. This picturesque destination is located in Morton County, on the western bank of the iconic Missouri River.
One of the most notable aspects of Mandan is its close connection to the natural beauty of the Missouri River. The riverfront, adorned with scenic parks and recreational areas, provides an inviting setting for outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in various activities. From leisurely strolls along the riverwalk to picnics in the parks and water-based adventures, Mandan caters to those who seek tranquility and serenity amid the picturesque landscape.
In addition to its natural wonders, Mandan boasts a rich historical heritage that echoes the stories of the past. The city takes immense pride in preserving its cultural legacy through numerous museums, historic sites, and events that pay homage to its Native American roots and pioneer history. Exploring the city’s historical landmarks offers visitors a chance to delve into the captivating narratives of the region and gain a deeper understanding of its significance.
For those seeking a taste of Mandan’s culinary delights, the city does not disappoint. From hearty Midwestern fare to inventive dishes showcasing local flavors, the dining scene in Mandan offers a delightful fusion of tradition and innovation. Whether you’re indulging in the comforting classics or savoring contemporary culinary creations, you’re sure to be delighted by the city’s culinary offerings.
Understanding Their Food Scene
This area’s food scene is heavily influenced by local cuisine, which reflects the city’s ethnic heritage. The city’s food culture is a mix of German and Norwegian dishes, with a variety of red meats from local ranches, bread and pasta from local durum wheat, and steaks and burgers in creative styles.
The local cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Bismarck is known for its fresh, local meats and fish, including buffalo, pheasant, and even walleye. From what I have seen, the city’s restaurants take pride in using fresh, local ingredients to create delicious dishes that are unique to the region.
Bismarck’s food scene is also known for its variety of dining options. From fine dining restaurants to casual eateries, the city has something to offer for every taste and budget. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, and Asian, as well as classic American fare.
Another unique aspect of Bismarck’s food scene is its focus on sustainability and farm-to-table dining. Many of the city’s restaurants source their ingredients from local farms and ranches, supporting the local economy and reducing their carbon footprint. I love this as in Wisconsin, we lose one family farm a day. When you support a farm-to-fork restaurant, you are supporting the 8-15 small farms that they use.
Let’s talk Breakfast
After all, they say it is the most important meal of the day, right? Bismarck does not disappoint when you check out the offerings they have.
1. Cappuccino On Collins (Mandan)
Need to get your cuppa? Try the oldest independent coffee shop in town! With coffee beans roasted locally and expertly brewed to perfection, Cappuccino On Collins is a delightful haven for coffee enthusiasts. Located in the heart of Bismarck, this charming café offers a warm and inviting atmosphere to start your day on a caffeinated note. The aroma of freshly ground coffee fills the air as baristas skillfully craft your preferred coffee concoctions.
2. Copper Dog Cafe (Mandan)
Located in the heart of Bismarck, Copper Dog Cafe is a charming establishment known for its delectable waffles. This cozy café offers a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can indulge in a breakfast favorite that is sure to satisfy your cravings.
From classic Belgian waffles topped with fresh berries and whipped cream to creative flavor combinations like a cinnamon apple or Nutella banana, Copper Dog Cafe takes waffle indulgence to new heights. Pair your waffle with a cup of their expertly brewed coffee, and you have the perfect recipe for a delightful breakfast experience.
Pro Tip: If you are craving protein, you can have protein powder added to your waffle, or get the egg, ham, and hashbrown gem like I did. While it isn’t as pretty as the waffles, it is beyond tasty.
3. Brick Oven Bakery (Bismarck)
When it comes to pastries in Bismarck, Brick Oven Bakery is a true gem. This artisan bakery crafts an array of delectable pastries that are baked to perfection. Step into the bakery, and you’ll be greeted by the irresistible aroma of freshly baked goods.
From flaky croissants and buttery Danish pastries to mouthwatering fruit tarts and indulgent chocolate eclairs, Brick Oven Bakery offers a delightful selection to satisfy any pastry lover’s cravings. Pair your pastry with a cup of their specialty coffee or tea for a truly delightful breakfast treat.
4. Anima Cucina (Bismarck)
Situated in downtown Bismarck, Anima Cucina is a hidden culinary gem that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Italy. It changes through the day, but it makes for a perfect place to start off. A large variety of fresh pastries is nice, but try the yogurt – it was incredible.
5. Kroll’s Diner (Bismarck and Mandan)
For a taste of classic American diner fare with a North Dakota twist, look no further than Kroll’s Diner. With multiple locations in Bismarck, this local favorite has been serving up comfort food since 1972. Step into Kroll’s and you’ll be greeted by the nostalgic decor reminiscent of a bygone era. The menu features hearty dishes like burgers, sandwiches, and steaks, as well as German and Scandinavian specialties influenced by the region’s heritage.
Don’t miss their famous knoephla soup, a local favorite that is sure to warm your soul. Kroll’s Diner offers a casual and friendly atmosphere where you can enjoy a satisfying meal that embodies the essence of North Dakota’s culinary traditions.
Each place brings its own unique flavors and ambiance to the table, ensuring that your breakfast experience in Bismarck will be memorable and delicious. So, venture out and discover these delightful eateries that add to the culinary tapestry of the city.
I love eating at fancy places when they have lunch available. It can be a budget-friendly way to experience amazing food. Here are some of the best options to tempt your tastebuds.
6. Craftcade (Bismarck)
When lunchtime rolls around, satisfy your cravings with a visit to Craftcade. This unique establishment offers a delightful combination of delicious food and classic arcade games, creating a fun and vibrant dining experience. While their wood-fired pizzas take center stage, Craftcade’s menu also features a variety of other mouthwatering options.
From creative toppings and flavor combinations to traditional favorites, their pizzas are crafted to perfection, with a crispy crust and flavorful ingredients. Keep in mind that the arcade games can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers, but the friendly staff is always ready to assist and make your visit an enjoyable one.
7. Space Aliens Grill (Bismarck)
Embark on a cosmic culinary adventure at Space Aliens Grill. This extraterrestrial-themed restaurant offers a dining experience that is out of this world. Step into the vibrant dining room adorned with colorful alien decor, and prepare to feast on a menu that boasts a wide range of delicious options.
From burgers and sandwiches to salads and appetizers, Space Aliens Grill has something to please every palate. Don’t forget to try their signature dishes like the Alien Burger or the Martian Melt. It’s a dining experience that is sure to satisfy both your hunger and your sense of adventure.
8. Stonehome Brewing Company (Bismarck)
If you’re looking for a lunch spot that combines great food with craft beer, look no further than Stonehome Brewing Company. This local brewery and gastropub offers a welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a tasty meal alongside their handcrafted beers.
Their menu features a variety of flavorful dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. From mouthwatering burgers and sandwiches to flavorful salads and shareable appetizers, Stonehome Brewing Company offers a satisfying lunch experience for beer enthusiasts and food lovers alike.
9. Peacock Alley (Bismarck)
For a lunchtime experience that combines history and culinary excellence, head to Peacock Alley. Housed in a historic building, this iconic restaurant exudes charm and elegance. Step into the timeless ambiance and savor a menu that showcases a fusion of classic and contemporary flavors.
From gourmet sandwiches and salads to hearty entrées and seafood specialties, Peacock Alley offers a diverse range of options that are sure to please discerning palates. Enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere and indulge in a memorable lunch experience surrounded by the rich history of Bismarck.
10. Laughing Sun Brewing Company (Bismarck)
For craft beer enthusiasts and music lovers, Laughing Sun Brewing Company is a lunchtime destination not to be missed. This local brewery features a lively atmosphere with live music performances, creating a vibrant backdrop for your meal.
Pair their handcrafted beers with a diverse menu that includes a fusion of flavors from around the world. From sandwiches and wraps to artisan pizzas and creative appetizers, Laughing Sun Brewing Company offers a delightful dining experience that celebrates both craft beer and live music.
Pro tip: plan your visit so you can also do ax throwing!
11. Blarney Stone Irish Pub (Bismarck)
If you have a hearty appetite and a love for Irish cuisine, the Blarney Stone Irish Pub is the perfect lunchtime destination. This lively pub is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, and it serves up generous portions of classic Irish dishes.
Feast on favorites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, or corned beef and cabbage while enjoying the friendly ambiance and perhaps even a pint of Guinness. The Blarney Stone Irish Pub is a place where you can indulge in delicious comfort food and experience a touch of Irish hospitality.
Pro Tip: Check out the shepherd’s pie – it comes in a bread bowl and is delectable!
12. Fireflour Pizza (Bismarck)
When it comes to lunchtime, Fireflour Pizza offers a unique experience that combines artisan pizzas with an inviting outdoor patio. This Neapolitan-style pizzeria takes pride in crafting pizzas using traditional techniques and high-quality ingredients. The result is a thin, crispy crust topped with flavorful combinations of fresh ingredients.
Whether you prefer a classic Margherita or a more adventurous flavor profile, Fireflour Pizza has something for everyone. Enjoy your pizza al fresco on their charming outdoor patio, which adds to the overall dining experience.
13. Paradiso Mexican Restaurant (Bismarck)
If you’re craving Mexican cuisine for lunch, Paradiso Mexican Restaurant is a top choice in Bismarck. This vibrant eatery offers a menu filled with authentic flavors and vibrant dishes. From sizzling fajitas and flavorful enchiladas to freshly made guacamole and salsa, Paradiso Mexican Restaurant delivers a taste of Mexico in the heart of Bismarck. The colorful and festive atmosphere adds to the dining experience, making it an excellent spot to enjoy a flavorful lunch with friends or family.
14. Sickies Garage Burgers (Bismarck)
For a quick and satisfying bite during your lunch break, Sickies Garage Burgers is the place to go. This burger joint offers a menu filled with mouthwatering burger creations that cater to every taste. From classic cheeseburgers to gourmet options piled high with toppings, Sickies Garage Burgers has a burger for everyone.
Pair your burger with their hand-cut fries or indulge in their famous “garage sauce” for an extra flavor boost. With its fast and friendly service, Sickies Garage Burgers is a go-to spot for a satisfying and convenient lunch.
15. Yim Siam Thai Cuisine (Bismarck)
If you’re in the mood for Thai cuisine, Yim Siam Thai Cuisine is a top-notch choice. This charming restaurant brings the flavors of Thailand to Bismarck, serving up a menu filled with authentic Thai dishes. From aromatic curries and stir-fries to flavorful noodle dishes and refreshing salads, Yim Siam Thai Cuisine offers a diverse range of options that cater to various palates. Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors and spices of Thai cuisine, and enjoy a memorable lunchtime experience in this cozy eatery.
These lunchtime establishments in Bismarck offer a wide range of flavors and dining experiences. Whether you’re craving wood-fired pizzas, classic Irish fare, or international cuisine, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite in this vibrant city. So, explore these lunch spots and indulge in the culinary delights that Bismarck has to offer.
Date Night Dinners
Whether you choose a waterfront dinner, an upscale experience, an interactive grill, or a cozy and intimate setting, these top-notch establishments in Bismarck will undoubtedly make your date night special. So, make a reservation, dress up, and embark on a culinary adventure that will create cherished memories and deepen your connection with your partner.
16. Huckleberry House (Bismarck)
For a memorable date night dinner with a picturesque setting, Huckleberry House is the perfect choice. Situated by the water, this restaurant offers stunning views that create a romantic ambiance. Indulge in a menu that showcases the flavors of the region while savoring the breathtaking surroundings.
From locally sourced steaks and fresh seafood to flavorful vegetarian options, Huckleberry House caters to a variety of palates. Let the flavors tantalize your taste buds as you enjoy a romantic evening dining on the water’s edge.
Pro tip: check out the apps and share a few. I LOVED the Grilled Beef Skewer and Hasselhoffs.
17. The Walrus Restaurant (Bismarck)
When it comes to an unforgettable date night dinner, The Walrus Restaurant sets the stage for an exceptional culinary experience. Known for its elegant and refined ambiance, this upscale establishment offers a menu that features a fusion of flavors from around the world.
From perfectly seared steaks and expertly crafted seafood dishes to innovative vegetarian options, The Walrus Restaurant takes pride in delivering a sophisticated dining experience. Immerse yourself in the upscale atmosphere, impeccable service, and delectable flavors that make The Walrus Restaurant a top choice for a memorable date night.
18. Bistro 1100 (Bismarck)
Discover an unforgettable dining experience at Bistro 1100 in Bismarck. This upscale gem offers an enchanting ambiance and a fusion of flavors from around the world. Indulge in perfectly seared steaks, expertly crafted seafood dishes, and innovative vegetarian options, all delivered with precision and artistry.
With attentive service and an extensive selection of fine wines and craft cocktails, Bistro 1100 promises a memorable culinary journey for special occasions or intimate date nights, leaving a lasting impression on your taste buds and your heart.
19. Kobe’s Japanese Steakhouse (Bismarck)
If you and your date appreciate the artistry of Japanese cuisine, Kobe’s Japanese Steakhouse offers a unique dining experience. This teppanyaki-style restaurant features an interactive and entertaining hibachi grill, where talented chefs showcase their culinary skills right at your table. Watch as your meal is expertly prepared, with sizzling meats, seafood, and fresh vegetables.
Additionally, Kobe’s boasts a sushi bar, where you can indulge in a selection of freshly made rolls and sashimi. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoy the theatrics of the hibachi grill, and savor the flavors of Japan for an unforgettable date night.
20. Butterhorn (Bismarck)
If you’re seeking an upscale dining experience for your date night, Butterhorn is an excellent choice. This refined restaurant offers an elegant and intimate setting, perfect for a romantic evening. The menu showcases a fusion of flavors, with dishes made from locally sourced ingredients and a focus on seasonality.
From expertly cooked steaks and fresh seafood to beautifully plated vegetarian options, Butterhorn delivers a culinary experience that delights the senses. Immerse yourself in the sophisticated ambiance, impeccable service, and exquisite flavors that make Butterhorn a top destination for a memorable date night dinner.
21. Pirogue Grill (Bismarck)
For a date night dinner that combines excellent food with a cozy and inviting atmosphere, Pirogue Grill is a hidden gem worth discovering. This charming restaurant specializes in creative American cuisine with a focus on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu features a range of dishes that showcase the chef’s culinary expertise, from flavorful appetizers and hearty entrées to delectable desserts.
The warm and intimate ambiance of Pirogue Grill sets the stage for a memorable evening, allowing you and your date to savor the delicious flavors and enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed setting. Some of the standout dishes at Pirogue Grille include the bison tenderloin, the seared scallops, and the duck confit.
Roasted beets with Wisconsin goat chees and spiced pecans made for an incredible appetizer and then the sauteed North Dakota bison medallions with bordelaise sauce rocked it out of the park.
These date night dinner destinations in Bismarck offer a range of culinary experiences, from waterfront dining to upscale elegance and interactive grilling. Whichever establishment you choose, you can expect an exceptional dining experience that will make your date night memorable. So, indulge in the flavors, ambiance, and company as you explore the vibrant dining scene of Bismarck.
Bonus: Are you Vegan? Try NoodleZip (Bismarck)
Experience a culinary delight tailored for vegans at NoodleZip, a gastronomic paradise in Bismarck. Embrace the vibrant flavors of plant-based cuisine, as NoodleZip takes pride in crafting a menu that caters exclusively to vegan preferences.
From delectable vegan noodle dishes infused with aromatic herbs and spices to an array of tantalizing plant-based toppings and fillings, NoodleZip offers a feast that satisfies not only your taste buds but also your ethical choices. Whether you’re a devoted vegan or simply seeking a mouthwatering vegan dining experience, NoodleZip promises to be a haven of flavors that celebrates the best of cruelty-free culinary artistry.
Final Thoughts on Places to Eat in Bismarck
After reading this, I hope you agree that Bismarck’s food scene makes it a great place for any foodies to place on their map. They don’t have just good food there, they have GREAT food, and all that I have tried came with a side of friendly service. So, venture forth and indulge in the gastronomic wonders that await you in this hidden gem of the Upper West. Your taste buds will thank you, and your memories of Bismarck’s remarkable food scene will endure long after the final bite.