Travel Tips for Eating in Livingston
- Some restaurants in Montana include a mandatory service charge with the bill, but not all. Tipping is of course at the customer’s discretion, and the service charge is not considered a tip. A point of interest worth noting when deciding whether or not to tip is the fact that under state laws, employers aren’t bound to share any of the service charges with the employee who did the serving. At least not as extras that is, but more as part of the employee’s wages. With that in mind many employers will have a tip pool that is equally shared, although the service charges are unlikely to be seen as add-ons to the server’s wages.
- Tipping is fairly customary in Livingston, and that’s not just in restaurants. Taxi drivers, waiters and bar staff, to name but a few, all usually get tipped according to local culture.
- The majority of people offering tips in restaurants in earnest do so according to the tune of 10-20% although this obviously depends on the level of service given.
Ten Best Restaurants in Livingston
You are certainly spoiled for choice when trying to find the best restaurants in Livingston, we have highlighted a few of our favorites.
- Tru North Café
- Livingston Bar and Grille
- Gil’s Goods
- Yellowstone Valley Grill
- Pinky’s Café
- The Rib and Chop House
- Faye’s Café
- 2nd Street Bistro
- Fiesta En Jalisco
- Elemental Kitchen
1. Tru North Café • Main Street • $$
Main Street is one of Livingston’s food ‘hotspots’, and sure enough this is exactly where you’ll find the exquisite Tru North Café.
This place is a great option for a delicious and highly satisfying breakfast, brunch, or lunch in Livingston, or you could just stop by for one of the restaurant’s signature coffee creations like the already legendary ‘stormcloud’.
One of the selling points of the Tru North Café is the friendliness and accommodating nature of the hosts. On top of that, the ingredients used in the dishes at the café support local farming, and organic produce that are handpicked by the proprietor from local markets.
This is evident in the dishes, and also comes from the fact that the owner did his homework on what people in the town liked before opening up during the time of lockdowns in 2020 in a bid to escape urban containment.
As far as the fare goes we are talking mouth-watering breakfast, brunch, and lunch goodies like the Breakfast Burrito—a flour tortilla filled with fluffy eggs, spicy sausage, black beans, cheddar cheese, potatoes, pickle, and red onion. Mmmm.
Check out the menu for other similar delights. The café opens daily from 8 am-3 pm and 9 am-1 pm Sundays.
2. Livingston Bar and Grille • Main Street • $$
The typical warmth & charm of Livingston is evident at the Bar & Grille. You won’t find breakfast or lunch here as they don’t open up until mid-afternoon. But what you will get is a range of unique food and drink served up in a casual yet elegant setting.
Like all the best local establishments in the town, there are a few unique, homemade touches to the establishment’s approach. Their happy hour runs from 4 to 6 pm, and we always offer dinner specials.
The fact that the restaurant is housed in a historic building and features a classic Brunswick back bar does it no harm whatsoever.
The reasonably-priced cuisine comes with an extensive wine menu, local craft beers, and a helping of signature cocktails. An ideal choice for singles, couples, and families alike looking for a decent meal or alternatively for anyone who just fancies a glass of wine and an appetizer at the bar.
The establishment opens Thursday through Sunday, 4.30 pm-9 pm
3. Gil’s Goods • West Park Street • $$-$$$
If wood-fired pizza, burgers, soups, deli fayre, draft beers and cocktails sounds like your thing, then check out this establishment located in the town’s historic Murray Block.
Alongside the heavy-on-flavor pizzas, the restaurant also does salads, sandwiches, desserts, and other bakery items as you can see from the menu. Their drinks list including extensive beer, wine, and cocktail options as well as some creative coffee and tea selections.
Vegetarian and vegan options are also catered for in this busy establishment, which reportedly still manages to provide quick service.
The restaurant opens Thurs-Sun, 12-8 pm for food, with bar service until 10 pm—so overall Gil’s is a great lunch, dinner, pastry & coffee, or casual drink and snack option in Livingston in the main part of the town.
4. Yellowstone Valley Grill • Main Street • $$$
If you fancy heading out of town a little you’ll find the Yellowstone Valley Lodge, where the restaurant is located.
The impressive-looking lodge near the Yellowstone River features its own on-site farm-to-table restaurant, where you can sample some of the best succulent and diverse fine dining options in the region, which includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
If you are a fan of cuisine along the lines of succulent braised lamb, spicy chicken, crisp, fresh salads, and sophisticated wines and craft beers.
You’ll be right at home in the unique location surrounded by amazing Yellowstone scenery.
One of the restaurant’s main priorities is to source and use only local, regional, and most importantly, sustainable ingredients.
Each dish is carefully created to get the most out of the individual ingredients and how they complement each other overall. You can take a peek at some of the lodge’s prime culinary creations HERE.
The restaurant operates between 5 pm and 10 pm, Monday-Sunday, and it is highly recommended that you make a reservation first.
5. Pinky’s Café • South Main Street • $$
Pinky’s Café is reportedly one of the best breakfast and brunch joints in the town. The café opens Friday through Tuesday between 7.30 am and 2 pm and creates menus on a weekly basis.
This family-run business is something of an institution in Livingston, and it takes great pride in the great service provided, aside from the amazing food options.
The food in Pinky’s is described by the owners as ‘creative comfort food, cooked from scratch’. Think freshly-baked, homemade bread and beef from a local ranch alongside breakfast and lunch favorites and classics like eggs benedict, omelets, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and waffles–to name just a few of the hearty delights the café has on offer.
6. The Rib and Chop House • East Park Street • $-$$
This Livingston eatery is an American-style steakhouse and bar, specializing in Cajun & Creole cuisine and catering to lunch, dinner, and late-night specials.
This is quite a modestly-priced family steak house that nevertheless serves huge portions of great food in a truly Montana-style atmosphere.
The business relocated not too long back to one of the old railroad receiving warehouses just a few feet away from the main line of the Montana Rail Link.
The food and service are highly commended and there are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, as well as gluten-free options.
As you can see from the menu though, there is no shortage whatsoever of steak, seafood, and fried chicken options along with salads, desserts, coffee, etc., etc.
The service staff members at the Rib and Chop House are reportedly very efficient, friendly, and helpful with the menu–making sure that everyone enjoys a full dining experience.
7. Faye’s Café • East Lewis Street • $-$$
Faye’s Café is another local institution for breakfast and lunch. Everything is always freshly prepared before opening, and this place is a quirky and homey, local favorite spot.
Located in a massive old school building called the Shane Center, the unique and exciting fayre features local cuisine as well as Italian and Fusion. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free are all covered at Faye’s.
It’s all breakfast, brunch, and lunch at this cafe. It’s also quite a bit about enjoying the job and being creative, as you can see from the daily specials on Faye’s Cafe Livingston Facebook Page.
The food is delicious and the eatery has a unique atmosphere. Opening hours are short, sweet, and fulfilling for Faye’s. It is open Saturday through Thursday 8 am-10 am.
The establishment has a thing about serving a set amount of people every day, they prepare for 60 and they serve 60 and then they close!
Check out the menu to see special delights at the café such as Huckleberry Bacon, enchilada omelet, and poppy seed potatoes.
8. 2nd Street Bistro • North 2nd Street • $$$$
The food at this establishment has an excellent reputation and has two decades of blending the finest French cuisine with local dishes.
Think 4-course meals including such delights as poached artichoke hearts and duck egg ravioli topped with asparagus. Or maybe some French onion soup with rich beef broth, Caesar salads, a perfectly-cooked lamb rib, or some thin-sliced Wagyu beef steaks…just to touch the tip of the iceberg.
Make sure to check out the monthly menu to get the bigger picture.
This is an ideal special occasion restaurant with a semi-formal and civilized atmosphere. On top of that, the establishment provides quality service, amazing food, and a large and moderately-priced wine list with both French and domestic bottles.
Head Chef Brian Menges opened the Bistro in the Historic Murray Hotel at the heart of downtown Livingston almost two decades back.
The Bistro is committed to the idea that great food and wine make for a satisfying life, as well as providing locally sourced cuisine and wines wherever possible.
9. Fiesta En Jalisco • West Park Street • $$
Apparently, this is a western chain with nine different locations across the states but it comes highly recommended by locals.
What you’ll find here is great Mexican food at reasonable prices—served in huge portions. This is a fun place to go for a birthday as the staff dons big Mexican Hats and sing happy birthday in either Spanish or English.
The Fiesta Menu features Mexican specials and favorites like Carne Tapatia, Pollo a La Diabla, steak Mexicano, Enchiladas, Quesadillas and Los Burritos. It doesn’t stop there though and the menu is quite a bit more extensive.
10. Elemental Kitchen • South Main Street • $$
The food in this establishment looks wholesome, hearty, and creative. From full-on meals to sandwiches, burgers, snacks, and drinks–you’ll be spoilt for choice and pleasantly surprised to happen across this menu.
Blackened salmon avocado BLT, anyone? Or maybe a healthy and fortifying ‘Power Bowl to set you on your way.
The purpose of the establishment is to combine ingredients that balance the five flavors of sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and umami on one plate or in one bowl. Another prime concern of the owner is to incorporate the best of the season.
The Elemental Kitchen opens Mon-Sat sometime between 11.30 am and 9 pm with a couple of hours closing between 2.30 pm and 5 pm. So it’s lunch, dinner, and beverages as the order of the day.