When you think about Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and Old Faithful are bound to come to mind. However, you’d be mistaken to think that these are the only attractions the area has to offer.
Yellowstone National Park is also a great destination for foodies. Let us show you the hidden gustatory finds that will have your taste buds tingling. We also include food and drink tours where you can get your aperitif.
Recommended Food & Wine Tours in Yellowstone
- Jackson Hole Winery • 5 hours • 5 stars
- Bozeman Spirits Distillery • 2.5 hours • 4.5 stars
- Madison River Brewing • 1-2 hours • 4.5 stars
- Dry Hills Distillery • 1-2 hours • 4.5 stars
- Katabatic Brewing Company • 1-2 hours • 4.5 stars
Travel Tips for Eating in Yellowstone
While the lure of the outdoors, wildlife, and stunning geological formations are what most people come here for, tourists are pleasantly surprised by the food options available.
Here are some interesting facts to help turn your outdoor adventure into an adventure for your tastebuds:
- If you’re planning to visit the park, make sure to have a filling breakfast to fuel your excursion. You can also pack a picnic to enjoy the great outdoors while enjoying a good meal. There are restaurants and other dining options in the area where you can get baked goods, sandwiches, and snacks.
- Bringing food will also come in handy if you get stuck in traffic. Like other visitors admiring the wildlife, you’ll want to pull over and watch.
- Half of the food served in Yellowstone is locally and sustainably produced.
- Local folks like to experiment with different menu items based on the season and their availability. If you’re looking forward to sampling a particular delicacy, look into when such ingredients are plentiful and in season.
- Huckleberries are a local favorite so you must try them when you visit. They grow in abundance in Montana and are served and enjoyed with everything. Huckleberries are in season from the middle of August to mid-September.
- Try the huckleberry pancakes and huckleberry margaritas at the infamous Old Faithful Inn. You’ll also find huckleberry ice cream cones at Mammoth Hot Springs.
- You may get the idea of doing some huckleberry picking yourself. Unfortunately, the activity isn’t open to tourists since huckleberry patches are coveted by local residents.
- Bring your dreams of campfire cooking to life at Yellowstone National Park. Pack marshmallows, hotdogs, and burgers. An easy trick to a fireside meal is to wrap onions, potatoes, and carrots in foil and leave them to cook on the coals.
- Indeed, there’s nothing like open-flame cooking to make ordinary meals seem exciting again.
- If you’re open to trying new meats, reserve a meal for farm-raised bison meat, a leaner alternative to beef. Bison burgers, bison meatloaf, elk sliders, lamb sliders, and bison bratwurst are available in most of the local restaurants.
- Montana is blessed with several distilleries that make incredibly smooth liqueurs, wines, and beers.
Keep an eye out for locally brewed beers as well since Montana has a wide array of up-and-coming breweries that you can’t afford to miss.
- If you’re eyeing certain restaurants for your visit, make sure to check if they’ll be open on the dates when you’ll be here. Some restaurants are only open during certain months and seasons while some only open during specific mealtimes like lunch and dinner.
- When you’re inside Yellowstone National Park, you’ll find the most dining options in Old Faithful. It has 2 general stores and 5 restaurants that stay open from April to early November.
Prices start at $8 with quick service, full service, and fast-casual dining styles. If you need picnic supplies, you can buy some at one of the park’s general stores.
The 5 Best Restaurants in Yellowstone
For the best can’t-miss restaurants in Yellowstone, here are our recommendations:
1. The Buffalo Bar • 335 US-20 West Yellowstone, MT 59758 • $-$$
If you missed out on the wildlife in the national park, the Buffalo Bar will make up for it. This place lives up to its name with its burly taxidermy decor and a menu that complements it.
There’s buffalo in the tacos, burgers, burritos, chili, meatballs, quesadilla, and meatloaf. If you’d rather skip the buffalo, you can gorge on their moist, marinated, and slow-roasted meats that are simply a slice of heaven in your mouth. The salmon, shrimp, and salads are tantalizing menu options as well.
The bar offers a selection of local brews, wines, and a wide array of whiskies that come from distillers within the vicinity. You can grab a drink and check out the pool table, dartboard area, and casino machines in the lounge.
Come here for a fun atmosphere, exceptionally good bar food, and cozy interiors.
Recommended: Spaghetti pie and buffalo balls
2. Firehole Bar-B-Que Co. • 120 Firehole Avenue, West Yellowstone, MT 59758 • $-$$
Looking for the best barbeque in West Yellowstone? Firehole Bar-B-Que Co. is the place to be. You can explore Yellowstone National Park and drop in for their famous smoked brisket platter and buffalo sausage.
Firehole is famous for serving the best barbeque and their fresh house-smoked meats that are available by the pound on a first come first serve basis.
This popular go-to American barbeque joint has limited seating so make sure to be there early to get the best seats and the best meats. You can hang around their picnic tables placed inside and outside their dining area.
From their pulled pork sandwiches, plump pork ribs, white cheddar mac and cheese to their in-house sauces, Firehole Bar-B-Que is the home of filling and delicious comfort food.
Recommended: Anything grilled
3. Madison Crossing Lounge • 121 Madison Avenue, West Yellowstone, MT 59758 • $-$$
A good cocktail list, great-tasting locally sourced food, and a well-stocked bar — that’s the best recipe for some and they’ll surely find it in Madison Crossing Lounge. This family-owned and operated business is located in the heart of town where the first school in West Yellowstone once stood.
With a menu that offers an extensive variety of amazing seasonal options, they have a nightly menu, an exquisite wine list from around the world, tap and bottled beer, eclectic cocktails, fine whiskey, and indulgent food that is bound to impress.
Start by ordering the charcuterie platter. Follow it up with their stuffed pork chop that’s juicy, well-cooked, and simply irresistible.
You can also indulge in their well-plated entrees, burgers, soups, and salads. Finish your meal with their mouth-watering blueberry white chocolate bread pudding that is rich, decadent, and prepared in-house.
Recommended: Bison Brisket Nachos
4. Ernie’s Bakery Sandwich Shop and Deli • 406 Highway 20 West Yellowstone, MT 59758 • $$
Three minutes away from Yellowstone National Park is Ernie’s Bakery Sandwich Shop and Deli. With a rustic and cabin-style ambiance, this modest food outlet has been around for over 30 years.
If you’re looking to take a break from barbecues, buffalo meat, and other comfort food, Ernie’s has a great selection of freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and breakfast items. They also have options for vegetarians.
Since they also serve conveniently packed boxed lunches, this is the perfect stop before a full day at the park.
Ernie’s opens at 7 AM and closes at 2 PM so you’ll want to come early to enjoy their delicious fare. They’re almost always fully packed. If you want to skip the long lines, order ahead by calling 406 646 9467 and you can come over to pick your food up.
Recommended: Ultimate breakfast sandwich
5. Las Palmitas • 21 N Canyon Street, West Yellowstone, MT 59758 • $
Las Palmitas is one of the must-visit food destinations on your trip to West Yellowstone.
Why? Talk to any local you bump into and ask about West Yellowstone restaurants. The first thing they’ll suggest is the “Mexican Taco Bus,” also known as Las Palmitas.
Cruise down Canyon Street and you won’t miss this huge white taco bus with menu options on the windows. With delectable Mexican, Latin, vegetarian, and vegan fast food options, this food outlet’s street tacos are fresh, delicious, and simply addicting.
Don’t forget to sample their chicken enchiladas and pork and shrimp tacos.
The dining area inside the bus is limited and fills up quickly but you can also eat at one of the many picnic tables surrounding the bus. Judging by the constant throng of people crowding around their bus window, this has got to be one of the most popular places in Montana.
Recommended: Shredded Beef Quesadilla
Yellowstone: A Destination Outdoorsmen and Foodies
From the great outdoors to the great food waiting indoors, Yellowstone doesn’t disappoint. Now that you know that Yellowstone isn’t just a destination for outdoor adventures, we hope you’ll plan an itinerary that includes some of these great dining places.
If you’re a foodie like us, you’re sure to have a memorable and tasty trip that’s highlighted by huckleberries, bison meat, great barbecue, and more.