Visiting Bismarck, North Dakota, and looking for the best places to eat while in the city? Check our guide for the best restaurants as well as recommendations on what to order in North Dakota’s capital. Also, read our post on 21 Fun (and Free) things to do in Bismarck.
Welcome to Bismarck, North Dakota’s capital, located on the banks of the Missouri River!
Bismarck has grown a lot from its humble origins as the Crossing to the popular state capital and a modern, vibrant city. And along with this growth have come a host of restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines, comparable to those in major food cities of America.
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Living in Houston has made us accustomed to an exciting and ever-changing dining scene and honestly, we did not know what to expect as we embarked on our trip to North Dakota. But the city has an impressively diverse food scene. We could spot everything from chic cafes, gluten-free eateries, coffee shops, fine dining restaurants, and international foodie spots.
Bismarck’s food scene is very much locally influenced – that means a variety of red meats from local ranches, breads and pastas from local durum wheat, steaks and burgers in creative styles, and a strong mix of German and Norweigian dishes that reflect the city’s ethnic heritage.
Best Restaurants in Bismarck
We visited Bismarck as part of our North Dakota road trip and tried several dining options in Bismarck as well as nearby Mandan area. Here is our guide to some of Bismarck’s top eateries based on our short but thorough stay in the city! Along with eateries, diners, and restaurants, we have also tried to cover a variety of bars and pubs in this post.
Try the famous Knoephla Soup at Kroll’s Diner
Kroll’s Diner is one of the legendary eateries in Bismarck. Opened in 1969, the diner quickly became famous for serving German food and North Dakota specialties like the knoephla soup and Fleischkuechle, a savory deep-fried ground beef pastry. They also serve many other German specialties, a nod to the German heritage of North Dakota.
The diner has many locations throughout the state. We especially loved the one in Mandan for its vintage charm. We visited Kroll’s for breakfast and loved their skillets as well as the chocolate chip pancake. The eatery has even featured in Food Network’s Best Breakfast in the USA List.
Try the daily specials at the Little Cottage Cafe
Another great place to try the knoephla soup, fleischkuechle, and other German foods. The cafe has a vintage 1960s diner feel plus has a great wallet-friendly menu. Their home-style cooked food is totally worth the trip. Conveniently located on Main, they are a good choice from breakfast to dinner.
Order a beer flight at the Laughing Sun Brewery
Laughing Sun Brewery has been consistently voted one of the best in Bismarck and that’s why it was on the top of our list. The brewery is kid-friendly before 9 pm and that’s why we went there for lunch. We loved the decor, the brews, as well as the food. The Brewery also has live music events at various times during the month.
Dine in the shadows of famous personalities at the Peacock Alley
Peacock Alley is Bismarck’s most iconic steak house. It is located in the lobby of the former Patterson Hotel and has hosted many famous personalities including former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Lyndon Johnson. The restaurant features many vintage photographs on the wall from that era. On a visit, you should really try our the steak cuts – they have the perfect balance of juiciness and tenderness.
Drink like the Irish at Blarney Stone Pub
Blarney Stone Pub is the only authentic Irish Pub in Bismarck. Located on Main Avenue opposite the Rail Depot and adjacent to the Dakota Stage Theatre, this pub is located in a historic building. The exposed brick walls, rich wood paneling, and counters lend to the Irish pub atmosphere. They also serve a variety of food that goes beyond the regular bar menu and includes favorites like the Irish stew and bread pudding. The variety of draft beers on tap is sure to satisfy varying taste buds. Tip: You need to be 21+ to enter!
Visit Terra Nomad for brunch
Terra Nomad offers the quintessential hipster cafe experience in downtown Bismarck. The vibe of this cafe is more Pacific Northwest than Midwest and you can order holistic options like chia pudding and quinoa salad. They also have a variety of cookies and pastries. This is a great option to visit from breakfast to lunch and their vast drinks menu is sure to satisfy even the more exacting coffee aficionados.
Dine-in outer space at the Space Aliens Grill & Bar
The Space Aliens Grill & Bar was an instant hit with our kids. This outer space-themed restaurant has futuristic interiors – you will see aliens, spaceships, rockets, and more throughout the restaurant. The food is good and the menu items are named after space objects. The restaurant also has few arcade games and kids of all ages love it.
Stop for a coffee and a smile at Coffee Break
Stop in this quaint cafe for your morning cup of coffee and you will be off to a great day. Their coffees are piping hot, come fast, and are budget-friendly. They also have coffee beans, so this is the place to stock up on your supplies. The decor is also really pretty!
Taste the bison medallions at Pirogue Grille
Looking for an elegant place for date night or just a nice place to have dinner? Visit the Pirogue Grille. The restaurant has a really great interior – think exposed bricks, warm wood detailing, and pristine white table cloths – so cozy and romantic! They have a vast menu from drinks to desserts and the restaurant is a great place to order bison meat.
Try the wood-fired pizzas at the Toasted Frog
If you want a really good wood-fired pizza or martini in downtown, then visit the Toasted Frog. This eatery also has locations in Fargo and Grand Forks and is good to visit for its atmosphere and an extensive menu of pizzas, chicken wings, burgers, and more. You can also order local delicacies like elk burger and the chicken dumpling soup. They have some really unique martinis on the menu including dessert martinis like key lime pie martini and lemon cheesecake martinis.
Sample the Neopolitan pizza at FireFlour Pizzeria & Coffee Bar
Another pizza place located in Downtown Bismarck! They have really light airy crust Neopolitan style pizzas. Along with pizzas, you can also order coffee and cookies at the coffee bar. They also have a good selection of craft beers and desserts – their affogato is delicious!
Enjoy a splurge-worthy dinner at the Butterhorn
Butterhorn is an upscale restaurant that serves up delicious French and Italian inspired dishes. They serve several small plates and while the portions are not huge, the taste is always spot on and delicious! It’s great for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.
Try the charcuterie board at Anima Cucina
If you love charcuterie boards, then you must try the one at Anima Cucina. Located opposite the iconic Patterson Place Hotel, Anima Cucina is a sister restaurant of FireFlour Pizzeria. This downtown Italian deli-style restaurant has a great selection of meats and cheeses. They also have excellent wines and an extensive menu of Italian dishes.
Try the American fare at the Bistro
Bistro 1100 is located inside a carriage house and serves excellent American food. Their burgers and sandwiches are really good and the eatery often has live music on weekends. Its located right next to the Laughing Sun Brewery, so you can grab a beer too while you are at the Bistro.
Order a bowl of noodle soup at Noodlezip
For a fresh, hot, steaming cup of pho or ramen, visit the Noodlezip in downtown Bismarck. They have multiple vegan options as well and cater to a variety of tastes. The soups are especially comforting on a cold fall or winter night!
Enjoy the prohibition era atmosphere at 510.2 Speakeasy
Looking for a hidden cocktail bar in downtown Bismarck? Try to locate the 510.2 Speakeasy! Along with the prohibition theme, you will find unique drinks and an intimate atmosphere. Perfect to impress a date! Alternatively, you can also visit their sister bar – the Luft Rooftop Bar for beautiful views over Bismarck as well as good drinks and food.
Catch a game at the Elbow Room
The Elbow Room, located downtown, is one of Bismarck’s most popular sports bars. It’s a great place to hang out, watch a game, and have a drink or two with your friends. However, the bar can be quite crowded on weekends and it is more popular with younger crowds.
Eat the icecream at FOMO 10/40
If you are visiting the city on a hot day – or like us, love ice cream – then you should definitely visit FOMO 10/40 creamery. They have really amazing flavors of Italian style gelato ice cream named after different countries and you can get them in a waffle cone. Plus you will be supporting a local business!
That’s it. Our list of the best of the best eateries in Bismarck. I’m pretty sure we missed some fantastic dining spots in the city – so if y’all know of any that should be on the list, just leave us a comment and we can add it right back in!
Disclaimer: We visited Bismarck and several other destinations in North Dakota as part of a paid campaign with North Dakota Tourism. All opinions, local businesses, and activities recommendations are our own.