Sure, Missoula has the usual chain restaurants that most big cities have. But what Missoula adds is a deliciously diverse selection of local eateries that add to the cultural landscape as well as the city's history.
Take the Oxford Saloon, for instance, which has been serving hearty entrees with colorful names for more than 100 years. In the morning, try the "˜He Needs "˜Em,' Oxford-ese for brains and eggs. And anytime is a good time for a "˜Married Man.' That's one of the Oxford's famous beef sandwiches. Grab a table or sit with the locals at the counter for down-home fare served 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Looking for a good watering hole? Head to the Rhinoceros bar, which invites beer-lovers to, "˜Charge in and Get Your Horn Wet.' The bar boasts that its 50 beers on tap is the largest variety under one roof in all of Montana.
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Bernice's Bakery, a Missoula hotspot for 30 years, is best known for its organic coffees. This eco-friendly business cherishes the environment as much as its menu, and invites customers to do the same. Bernice's even packages its backed goods -"“ which include vegan wedding cakes and homemade granola -"“ in organic containers.
Cafe crawlers can stop next at Le Petit Outre for European-style indulgence, such as a cinnamon roll, made with boiled potatoes for a softer crumb and currant-spiked cinnamon paste. During the summer months, watch for employees making deliveries by bicycle. The cafe spared nothing for its new location; Claude Randot, a French master oven builder, contributed his expertise to the project.
For a slightly upscale yet unpretentious dinner, Scotty's Table puts an American twist on Continental fare, serving up bounty from local growers in a charming, bistro environment. Or perhaps pull out all the stops at The Keep, Missoula's modern, hill-top castle, "where the only thing we overlook is the Missoula valley." Start with sesame-seared ahi, followed by a 12-ounce, grilled strip of Montana buffalo topped with Gorgonzola compound butter. The wine list offers plenty of splurge-worthy options as well.