Visiting a new place is an exciting affair. You must have prepared an itinerary, covered all the tourist spots that you must visit, and the shopping locations that cannot be missed. But have you paused and wondered where you might need to make a pit stop for a quick bite to taste local flavors?
If you hadn’t thought of it already, don’t worry. We got your back! In this article, we will cover all the best restaurants in Helena.
Travel Tips for Eating in Helena
Helena is a food lover’s paradise and rightly so, thanks to the variety it has to offer to residents and tourists alike. Here are a few facts you must know before eating here:
- The best time to visit Helena, Montana is during the months of June and September. You will get to experience good weather with pleasant temperatures.
- Helena is known for its food trucks. You will find many small but smashing on-the-wheels eateries serving a wide plethora of cuisines – from Vietnamese and Southeast Asia to Belgian.
- When in Helena, ask a local for food recommendations. You will get to explore and taste delicacies that residents enjoy the most. Do not miss out on the local brews! These are outstanding.
- Helena has a number of bistros in its downtown area that serve everything from tacos to barbecues and bakes, made from freshly procured local farm produce. You can also visit the local market to check out their seasonal produce.
- If you happen to visit the place in February, do not miss out on the Feb Fest. This annual chocolate and bakery festival, held right before Valentine’s Day every year is a dessert lover’s dream come true.
The 15 Best Restaurants in Helena
So, without further ado, let’s check out the Best Helena restaurants you cannot miss during your trip.
1. Brewhouse Pub & Grille | 939 Getchell St, Helena, MT 59601 | $-$$
Whether you’re back from a long day of hiking at Glacier National Park or from a river cruise, this is one of Helena’s must-visit restaurants. This place offers a relaxed and friendly vibe that pairs well with the locally brewed beers and quintessentially American pub culture it offers.
You can choose a spot at the lively bar or in the dining room. But be sure to try out the best the joint has to offer – from salads to burgers, pasta, and pizzas. Some of their top items on the menu include Queen’s Fish Halibut and Brewhouse Bratwurst loaded with sauerkraut and stone-ground beer mustard. It’s served on a hoagie bun.
The upstairs and downstairs have different menus, be sure to sample both and find out the difference for yourselves. If you happen to visit in the summer, you might just get lucky as the Brewhouse’s outdoor patio remains open for visitors. You can sip on some beers and take in the view. Great burgers, great fries, and great service – need we say more?
2. Bad Betty’s Barbeque | 812 Front Street, Helena, MT 59601 | $$
If you love barbeque and are up for it anytime, Bad Betty’s Barbeque is the place to be. This family-run eatery is a true blue urban barbeque joint located in the heart of Helena. It has been serving traditional and fusion barbeque that blends the best of both worlds in delectable fusion food.
No matter the tender meat you choose to order, Bad Betty’s Barbeque is an order at the counter, quick-serve restaurant. The meat is stacked on white bread with copious servings of sides, pickles, and onions here.
Some of their customer favorite dishes are Redneck Taco plate with Pulled Pork, Rack of Spare Ribs Platter, Brisket Sandwich and Texas Style Moist Brisket.
Rest assured, the pulled pork that this place serves on a bed of Dirty Rice topped with coleslaw is full of deep, smoky flavor. The Pulled Pork, Brisket, Ribs, Tri-Tip, and Sausages will also make you come back for more.
3. Cafe Zydeco | 990 Cannon Street, Helena, MT 59601| $-$$
If you are craving some delicious Cajun food, Cafe Zydeco is the place to be. With three locations in tow, Zydeco has been serving scrumptious Southern food that truly upholds their motto, ‘Git some South in your mouth.’
Their bestsellers are the Seafood Gumbo and Jambalaya, Cajun Gyro, Fried Seafood Basket, Crawfish po’boy, Spicy Creole Jambalaya packed with chicken, shrimp, and Andouille sausages with sides that include sweet potato fries and fried oysters.
MSN.com voted Cafe Zydeco at the 4th spot for the best Cajun and Creole food in the country and rightly so. This place lives up to the expectation.
4. Lucca’s Italian | 56 N Last Chance Gulch Helena, MT 59601 | $$-$$$
If you live in Helena and are tired of the same old dining options, Lucca’s fine-dining Italian restaurant is the place to be.
Voted ‘Best Restaurant’ in all of Montana by Business Insider magazine, this restaurant offers just 15 tables for gourmet foodies. But the place is certainly worth the reservation.
It offers delectable dishes like the shrimp and scallops pasta, New York steak with blue cheese, pan-fried fillet of wild-caught walleye, and a double dessert to choose from. Accompanied by the maitre d’s recommendation of wine from a long list of hand-picked wines, this restaurant is one of the most popular diners in town.
5. On Broadway | 106 E Broadway Street, Helena, MT 59601 | $$-$$$
Keeping up with the tradition of the original concept of the Italian Grocer, On Broadway continues to share the passion for serving the community with exquisite Italian food. Situated in downtown Helena in a 19th-century building, this casual sit-down restaurant with a high ceiling, all-glass front, all brick and wood interiors offers a rustic, warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Be it his special entrees or vegetarian delights, Chef Clint delivers a gastronomical gala in every bite! What’s more, they make their pasta every day that goes into the Italian-style dishes their menu has to offer. Their desserts are an equally delectable, melt-in-the-mouth affair. Make the most of your Thursday night with some live jazz music at On Broadway. No reservations are necessary!
While the restaurant’s specialties are the in-house prepared Italian pasta and West Coast fusion seafood cuisine, try the prosciutto and angel hair pasta with rich Jarlsberg cheese sauce and the pan-blackened yellowfin tuna with green aioli for extra kicks. The teriyaki tuna kebabs and sauteed Cajun shrimp are also a hot favorite.
6. Mediterranean Grill |42 South Park Avenue, Helena, MT 59601 | $-$$
An authentic Greek restaurant with an exquisite wine menu and deliciously fresh salads, get a taste of the perfect lip-smacking Mediterranean meal at Mediterranean Grill. The exemplary start to an even more exemplary course, just one meal at this establishment is enough to have you hooked.
Mediterranean Grill entices you to celebrate their menu with dishes such as the Baked Rigatoni with Bolognese Meat Sauce, Mini Lamb Brochettes, and Seafood Linguine.
No matter how stuffed you may be, do not miss out on their desserts. Whether you’re in the mood for some Tiramisu, Baklava, Creme Brulee Cheesecake or Kunefe, satisfy every desire at Mediterranean Grill. We promise you will return for more, the next time wanting to try everything else on the menu you couldn’t try the first time!
7. Bullman’s Woodfired Pizza |1130 Helena Ave, Helena, MT 59601 | $$
Try out some local flavors whilst on your trip. Bullman’s Pizza is Helena’s first and only wood-fired pizza restaurant here. They pride themselves on slicing their meats, shredding their cheese, and offering their freshest produce for salad ingredients.
Their authentic and traditional Neapolitan-style pizza with quality fresh toppings will leave you asking for more. Besides pizzas, they also serve salads, sandwiches, and appetizers.
If you happen to stop by, try the Rocky Mountain Pizza, Greek Salad, Glacier Pizza, and Flatbread Pizza and we’re sure your tummy will thank you for it.
8. Karmadillos Southwestern Cafe |139 Reeder’s Alley Helena, MT 59601| $-$$
Mexican food is way more than tacos and nachos, hands down! If you haven’t enjoyed Mexican cuisine before because of the bold flavors, it’s time to give it a second shot and we promise, you won’t be disappointed.
With an outdoor seating deck with umbrellas, lunchtime is delicious enchiladas time at Karmadillos. If you like Southwestern food, you can choose from a variety of items such as the Pork Burrito Wet Style with red and green sauce, Dundee Bandera Enchiladas, and Vegetarian Gorditas.
A word of caution about their famous Hot Karmadillos Taco sauce – it will set your tongue on fire but your heart yearning for more. Make sure you go slow with it or skip it if you can’t tolerate hot food.
9. Ristorante Bella Roma | 22 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601 | $$$-$$$$
Frequently cited as the absolute best Italian restaurant in town, this establishment makes and serves outstanding food in a great atmosphere, with a decent wine list to boot.
Visitors can treat themselves by sitting outside on a delightful Helena summer evening and sampling such delights as the ‘Sfornatino Taleggio e Funghi’—baked Taleggio cheese with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Portobello mushrooms.
Or perhaps a spot of Bresaola, Arugula e Parmigiano salad; Pappardelle al Ragu—you get the picture, right? This is authentic and quality Italian cuisine, as can be seen from the MENU.
Here you can expect the pasta to be properly al dente, and the sauce to be rich, flavorful, and expertly prepared. The atmosphere is enhanced not only by the great choice of background music but also by the service—which comes highly recommended..
The food is served in such a way as to allow the savoring of each course without feeling rushed in any way. The Bella Roma has an extensive wine list that offers its own suggestions for what to pair with each dish.
10. The Silver Star Steak Company | 833 Great Northern Boulevard, Helena, MT 59601 | $$$
The atmosphere at this Helena eatery is that of an upscale steakhouse. The restaurant has an extensive and reasonably diverse menu which includes dishes like beef stroganoff—which is reportedly well-prepared and served in plentiful measures at this establishment.
You can expect breadsticks, lush salads, and great steak with a variety of side dishes. The wine list at this steakhouse is extensive and the staff is attentive and friendly. The place can get quite bustling sometimes which makes it difficult to get served without a reservation.
If mouth-watering onion rings and great beer are your thing you’ll most likely enjoy this establishment’s wares and vibe.
Think filet mignon, whiskey beef strips, asparagus, green beans, and mashed potatoes. The menu is extensive and the portions are huge—so make sure you bring your appetite if you dine here.
11. Steve’s Cafe | 1225 East Custer Avenue, Helena, MT 59601 | $$
If top-notch Italian restaurants or Steakhouses are not entirely your thing you might warm to the delicious, homely, and moderately-priced menu at Steve’s Café.
This is a casual-style Café that has nevertheless won a variety of awards and accolades including the Best Breakfast in Helena Award.
You can find breakfast delights like scrambled eggs with a large diced ham entree topped with sausage gravy, generous portions of hash browns, and sliced tomato. Maybe the house-made apple sausage with eggs & pancakes sounds up your street.
Steve’s Cafe is nothing fancy on the outside and inside looks like a straight-ahead diner. But what you do get is good food and reasonable prices at this popular local breakfast spot.
The food is reportedly always well-prepared and presented with great service, and Steve also has another location aside from this one over on North Montana Avenue.
12. Shellie’s Country Cafe | 1803 Cedar Street, Helena, MT 59601 | $$
Shellie’s is one of those Montana establishments that looks somewhat non-descript on the outside, located in the same building as a gas station and a casino.
This is certainly a diamond in the rough, though with your typical diner atmosphere and menu, only with superb food.
Breakfast is a specialty with homemade, real patty sausage and perfectly-cooked eggs. The food always comes out of the kitchen piping hot, and the place can get quite busy although the staff does their utmost to take care of everyone.
The menu includes a large breakfast selection that could be classed as a typical diner food menu in terms of lunch and dinner.
Customers generally report their experience as good value for money with friendly service and top, locally-produced cuisine that doesn’t break the bank.
13. Nosh Cafe | 105 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601 | $$
Nosh is a café-style eatery in the heart of Downtown Helena. Operating since 2017, the emphasis is on good food that also leans more towards the healthy side of cuisine.
Nosh has a passion for serving up delicious and wholesome food as you can see from the MENU, and the establishment provides both lunch and dinner.
Nosh isn’t big or fancy but the vibe is reportedly very welcoming and it is evident that the food is made with lots of care and attention. Nosh is a pleasant spot for lunch and the sandwiches are filling.
The Chicken and Waffles is something of a specialty and reportedly something of a ‘must-try’.
The place can get busy and seating is limited so choose your time carefully if you want to visit this popular local brunch spot serving giant waffles with eggs, sausage and avocado.
There are also several types of maple syrup on the menu if you prefer your waffles that way.
14. MacKenzie River Pizza Company | 1110 Road Runner Street, Helena, MT 59602 | $$-$$$
This pizza joint is a popular local go-to and offers great pizza, salads, soups, sandwiches, and a wide range of beers.
There is plenty of seating both inside and out, and once you try the humble pie and the bear tooth sausage regular crust you’ll never look at pizza the same way again.
The service is always on-point even though the number of patrons is high. You can even enjoy gluten-free crusts here that you might just find surprisingly good. The pizzas are reportedly above average and the sandwiches hearty.
The creamy Italian salad dressing also goes down well with many customers opting to buy some to take home. The bar section serves a selection of local microbrews and there is a children’s menu.
All of this goes on amidst the rustic-style décor. In all this is a nice place to enjoy a decent pizza with family and friends.
15. Benny’s Bistro | 108 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601 | $$$
Settled in the heart of downtown Helena, Benny’s Bistro is often another contender for the best restaurant in Helena. The establishment uses only the best locally-grown ingredients and presents them in dishes fused with Spanish, Indian, Asian, and Italian cuisine flavors.
Open for both lunch and dinner, Benny’s Bistro is a must-eat and is often reported as one of the best dinner places in Helena for either. The restaurant has a lounge-like vibe to it that fits perfectly with the internationally-inspired, small-plate style of serving.
Imagine Thai Green Curry that is creamy and thick, bursting with flavor, and served with Basmati rice. If that’s not your cup of tea there’s always the Montana Stroganoff, made with locally-raised beef.
Benny’s also offers lunch specials 11.00 am-3.00 pm before re-opening at 5.00 pm for dinner service.
The award-winning tomato basil soup is another specialty and the restaurant also offers a range of wines, and home-baked bread, pies, and desserts.
Good Food Warms The Heart And Feeds The Soul
When it comes to restaurants in Helena, you’ve got tons of varied options to choose from. Be it Italian, American barbeque, or Mexican, it is going to be tough to make a choice of which cuisine you want to eat.
Nonetheless, nothing brings people together like good food, so make the best of your trip and tease your taste buds as you experiment with new flavors.