Dining out in Montana is often associated with wild game, antlers on the walls, and BBQ pits galore.
Some of the best restaurants in Gardiner MT meet that description – but some have other qualities you’ll love, like fine local wines and brews, imported recipes and sparkling drinks, elegant atmospheres, and much, much more.
Travel Tips for Dining Out in Gardiner, Montana
When you head out to the best restaurants in Gardiner MT, you’ll want to remember a few things for the best experience possible for everyone.
Tipping in Montana
- As in most places in the United States, restaurants in Gardiner MT are run by folks who largely succeed on tipping as a part of their everyday wage. The average tipping fee most folks pay in Gardiner is between 15 and 20%, with high-quality service, amazing food, and lovely atmosphere pulling in the top fee or even higher, if you can afford it.
Peak Restaurant Hours & Meal Times
- Most restaurants in Gardiner have standard American timeslots for dining. Peak hours for breakfast usually run between 8 and 10 am, lunch peak hours run between 11 and 2 pm, and dinner is usually between 5 and 8 pm. Outside these hours, you’ll find restaurants generally run quieter and less busy, so if you prefer a more laidback atmosphere, off-peak hours are your best bet.
- Be sure to read restaurant menus before going out for a meal to verify the choices you’re most interested in are on the meal menu slot you’re headed for. Many restaurants shift their breakfast menus somewhere around 10 am to the lunch, and lunch menus around 2 to 3 pm into the dinner menu. Portion sizes and prices change, along with available menu selections, when these menu shifts occur.
- Most restaurants that serve breakfast will be open by at least 8 am, but those that only serve lunch and dinner with more likely to open between 10 am and noon. Dinner-only restaurants and bars usually open around 5 pm, while breakfast and lunch-only dining establishments will typically close by 3 pm.
- Serve both lunch and dinner, they may well have a couple of hours between the two when they close to clean, sanitize, and prepare the next meal selections and menus.
The 8 Best Restaurants in Gardiner MT
Whether you’re looking for a casual, quick bite, or a multi-course sit-down meal, you’ll find that Gardiner Montana is home to plenty of amazing, delicious choices in all price ranges.
- Wonderland Cafe and Lodge
- The Corral – Lodging and Burgers
- Yellowstone Pizza
- Iron Horse Bar & Grille
- Cowboy Lodge & Grille
- Grizzly Grille
- Rusty Rail Lounge & Casino and Yellowstone Mine Restaurant
- Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room
1. Wonderland Cafe and Lodge • 206 Main St, Gardiner, MT • $ – $$
One of the most popular restaurants in Gardiner MT is the Wonderland Café and Lodge. This place is great for a quick bite of burgers, fried pickles, and other country and casual favorites.
The restaurant and lodge are located in the heart of downtown Gardiner, near the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The café and lodge are named for their next-door neighbor, a place often called the Wonderland since the early 1900s when the park was established.
The cafe is a restaurant, coffee house, lounge, and bakery, offering plenty of locally sourced and seasonally available ingredients made into delectable meals any time of day.
The restaurant is green certified, too, and a part of the farm-to-table movement. You’ll find a range of homemade baked goods, made from scratch soups, delicious burgers, salads, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options of all sorts.
Some of the most popular choices include elk chili, cortado salad, jalapeno cornbread, poutine, grilled chicken sandwiches, elk chili mac, the Wonderland burger, lake trout, Montana ranch ribeye, grains and tofu, and the caldera burger.
On the drink menu, you’ll find imported reds, whites, sparklings, and rosés, local craft beers and ales, cocktails, sake, and a variety of non-alcoholic choices like sodas, teas, juices, coffees, and kombuchas.
2. The Corral – Lodging and Burgers • 711 Scott St Gardiner, MT • $ – $$
The longest-standing business in Gardiner happens to be The Corral, a local favorite burger joint with reasonable prices and amazing farm-to-table meal options the whole family will love.
Their specialties are buffalo burgers and bacon cheeseburgers, and they welcome patrons with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, wheelchair accessibility, gluten-free menu choices, vegetarian options, and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for the whole family.
The menu includes a range of delicious choices in the casual dining establishment where kids feel at home. Some of the top selections include elk burgers, bison burgers, onion rings, fries, grilled cheese, and tomato soup.
3. Yellowstone Pizza • 210 Park St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$
One of the most popular pizza restaurants in Gardiner MT is the highly praised Yellowstone Pizza. From the restaurant, you can see into Yellowstone National Park, watching the sunset at the end of the long day.
They offer convenient and comfortable seating, takeout, vegetarian pizzas, vegan options, wheelchair accessibility, and televisions to help keep the kids entered after a long day of hiking and exploring.
On the menu, you’ll find an assortment of apps like cheesy breadsticks, toasted ravioli, and chicken wings, along with salads, pasta selections, and, of course, their popular, tasty New York style pizza. Order a pre-selected pizza or build your own, including gluten-free options.
You’ll find sodas, sweet and unsweet tea, and lemonade (add huckleberry to anything for a little extra).
Note that the restaurant is seasonal – open only during peak months for local tourism between May and September.
4. Iron Horse Bar & Grille • 200 Spring St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$
One of the best restaurants in Gardiner for late-night meals, grown-up drinks, and a cozy atmosphere is the Iron Horse Bar & Grille.
Overlooking the Yellowstone River with unspoiled views of the mountains, the Iron Horse is perfect for outdoor dining and drinks, conversation, and amazing Montana food choices.
The patio is the perfect spot for your evening chat over a pile of elk nachos and mugs of local craft beers, or a plate bison meatloaf and mulberry margaritas. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the local wildlife wandering the river banks – think bear, moose, and elk.
The vibe at the Iron Horse is a historic, Western joint with oddities and memorabilia decorating the walls.
The menu includes a number of favorites for locals and tourists alike, including elk tacos, buffalo burgers, pulled pork, Rocky Mountain trout, and vegetarian options. You’ll also find a range of local craft beers and specialty cocktails for the grown-ups.
The restaurant is open from May to September, serving lunch between 12 and 3:30 and dinner from 4 to 9 pm.
5. Cowboy Lodge & Grille • 208 Stone St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$
Located in the heart of downtown Gardiner, the Cowboy Lodge & Grille is a family-owned and operated business with a staff made up of locals and international students primarily.
The restaurant is right near the North Entrance of Yellowstone, close enough to walk to the Roosevelt Arch and all the fun opportunities in downtown Gardiner – like shops, outfitters, and horseback riding stables. The Yellowstone River is right there, too, easy to see.
You’ll find the atmosphere cozy and Western, with a great selection of meal choices to dine on. Some of the most popular options include Wildfire Mac & Cheese, BBQ Bourbon Bacon Pork Sliders, Deep Fried Vermont Cheddar, Wild Game Chili, buffalo burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, country fried steak, and the Foot Long Wild Game Chili Cheese Dog.
You’ll enjoy wine by the glass, local craft beer, locally crafted cocktails, soda, coffee, or tea.
6. Grizzly Grille • 1018 Scott St., Gardiner, MT 59030 • $$
Just near Yellowstone’s North Entrance, the locally owned Grizzly Grille welcomes patrons to a world of unique fusion flavors blending Asian and local cuisine to create a unique and exciting menu.
Everything is made fresh daily and served indoors and outdoors as you prefer. The restaurant is open every day except Tuesdays and Sundays, from 11 am to 8 pm, serving up their unique specialties.
The menu includes items like rice bowls, ribs, nachos, ramen, tacos, wraps, noodle bowls, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, fish and chips, and classics sides like salads and fries.
For the bowls and wraps, you get to build your own, too, choosing your protein among shrimp, pork, bison, steak, or veggie, then your sauce, and finally a veggie-based topping or three.
They have a few breakfast selections as well as canned sodas, slushies, and huckleberry lemonade.
7. Rusty Rail Lounge & Casino and Yellowstone Mine Restaurant • 901 Scott St, Gardiner MT • $$ – $$$
For a truly local, Western atmosphere, head over to the Rusty Rail Lounge and Yellowstone Mine Restaurant for a classic combination of family-friendly and grown-up fun in one.
The classic Old West vibe grants a relaxing atmosphere for dining and drinking with friends and family any time afternoon or evening.
The menu features a variety of great choices like microbrews, wine, imported beers, and specialty cocktails at the bar and lounge, while the restaurant serves up fine dining offerings of steaks, seafood, pasta, salads, and more. During the summer, they also serve up a breakfast buffet that the whole family will love.
The restaurant serves dinner daily from 4 to 9 pm, while the lounge and bar are open from 12 pm to 1 am. If you’re up for a little other fun, drop by the casino for some gaming.
8. Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room • 163 Chico Road, Pray, MT • $$$ – $$$
While Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room at the Chico Hot Springs is a little further out, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for some fine dining and a chance to soak in local hot springs at a high-quality hot springs resort.
The elegant, historic dining room welcomes patrons with a warm, chic vibe that raises comfort levels while you take time out to pamper yourself.
The menu completes the job with offerings like Trout Almondine, Petite Filet Oscar, Prime Rib, Flat Iron Steak, Filet Mignon, Beef Wellington, Crab Cakes, Rainbow Trout, the Flaming Orange dessert, and a selection of fine local Montana wines – their selection recognized regularly by the Wine Spectator Magazine.
They also offer family-friendly options for diners at the Poolside Grille in the traditional saloon, wine tastings in the elegant Tasting Room or Wine Cellar, and options for private dinners for groups between 6 and 16.