Omaha’s 10 Great Cultural Restaurants: Food Lover’s Guide to Nebraska Dining
Omaha, located in the very heart of the USA on the Missouri River, is home to several high quality cultural institutions such as the Joslyn Art Museum or the Durham Museum, in addition to more local spots, such as the historic Old Market area. Commonly associated with succulent steaks, Omaha’s dining scene has a lot to offer: these are some of the most exciting cultural restaurants in the Nebraskan city.
The Boiler Room
This social, vibrant restaurant is housed within the old Bemis Bag building, which was built in 1896. The Boiler Room offers visitors a delicious mix of contemporary American and French cuisine. The fresh, invigorating menu changes on a daily basis as Chef Paul Kulik sources local, farm-produced ingredients for preparing his dishes. The restaurant also offers a comprehensive wine list and an exotic array of cocktails. The dining experience itself is a visual treat; The Boiler Room’s designers having maintained as much of the original décor as possible. The semi-decayed interior alludes to days gone-by with a hint of nostalgia and post-industrial romance; rusting metal and weathered walls all add to the cultural clout of this fascinating structure.
The Boiler Room, 1110 Jones Street, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 916 9274
This exciting seafood restaurant features several fresh dishes, driven by the seasons, and focuses on delivering delicious dishes made from sustainable stocks. Taita is situated in the Benson area of Omaha and offers choices that include varieties of meat, as well as fish, served in a Japanese style with a Peruvian infusion; salmon tiradito, squid, scallops, majinola wagyu brisket and Plum Creek Farms chicken are just some of the tasty dishes prepared by Chef Jose Dionicio and his team. Visitors can also enjoy a fine selection of wines and cocktails while enjoying the colourful murals covering the walls of this vibrant venue.
Taita, 6109 Maple Street, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 558 2482
Sage Student Bistro – Institute for the Culinary Arts
This venue provides diners with the opportunity to eat food prepared by some of the finest youth culinary talents in Nebraska. The Sage Student Bistro is part of the Institute for the Culinary Arts and is open while students are in session. The bistro is a customer-focused classroom, where students hone and perfect their culinary skills, preparing fine dining cuisine for members of the public. There are weekly menus and student-designedprix fixe specials on offer, as well as a standard menu that includes modern American-style dishes, with a French flourish, designed to give visitors a variety of meat and fish options, all complemented by seasonal herbs and vegetables.
A French bistro in the very heart of the US, La Buvette does a great job at conjuring up a true European spirit for its diners with a changing – and evolving – menu that presents a range of inspired, continental delicacies: trout amandine and mussels tarragon are only some of the fresh options that have previously been featured. Nestled in a historic building where rows upon rows of wine bottles sit proudly in front of the stone-clad wall, La Buvette managed to combine French chic with urban modernity. All this, topped with a bottle from their extensive wine list, is a failsafe way to experience a touch of France – in Omaha.
La Buvette, 511 South 11th Street, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 344 8627
McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe
This is a vegetarian restaurant with a difference; aside from scrumptious vegetarian cuisine, McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe also serves chicken and seafood dishes. The restaurant takes pride in serving all-natural, fresh ingredients, including non-refined flour or sugar, taking great care to ensure customers know what ingredients are served. Using organic products where possible, McFoster’s sources around half of its ingredients from organically grown stocks and recycles all its glass, tin, paper, aluminium, and plastic. The restaurant is housed in a red brick-and-tile house that looks like it’s just jumped out of a fairytale – but it’s actually a former petrol station.
The Grey Plume
For those who take equal pleasure in eating and in experiencing new flavours and styles of drink, this is the perfect venue in Omaha. The Grey Plume, which has the honour of being the first Certified Green Restaurant in Nebraska, provides some of the best mixed drinks in the city, acting as a perfect appetiser or accompaniment to their delicious selection of modern American cuisine. The staff are known for being well versed on dishes, and offering excellent standards of service and attentiveness. The interior of the restaurant is elegant with a twist: simple, dark wood furniture and raw wood flooring goes sublimely with the restaurant’s red, vintage roster and abstract art that decorates its main wall.
Described as Omaha’s best Italian restaurant, Dante Pizzeria is the city’s first authentic Neapolitan restaurant. Diners can enjoy pizza in its original form, cooked over wood-fired ovens, as first developed in Naples, Italy. There are also several other delicious Italian specials on the menu, offering authentic, rustic Italian cuisine that has been prepared with fresh ingredients from local farmers. Chef Nick Strawhecker is an Omaha native, successfully opening his own restaurant after years travelling and gaining experience across the US and Italy. He has been awarded a position as one of Omaha’s 40 under 40, celebrating the success of young entrepreneurs from the city. Another exciting aspect of this restaurant is its authentic indoor bocce court, one of the only courts in the country.
Dante Ristorante Pizzeria, 16901 Wright Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 932 3078
The Flatiron Cafe
Open since 1995, this Old Market restaurant provides a delicious selection of modern American dishes, with fragrances of French, Italian, Polish and Asian cuisines placed throughout the menu. The Flatiron Cafe provides delicious meals including grilled artichoke pierogi, pan-seared trout and orange glazed roasted duck. The restaurant, housed within the old flatiron building close to Omaha’s Orpheum Theater, has been featured in the 100 American Fare Restaurants in the Country in 2013 and received rave reviews and accolades from magazines and newspapers across Omaha and Nebraska. Managed by the Jamrozy family, Flatiron takes pride in continually adding high quality and exciting additions to its wine list, including sparkling and champagnes.
The Flatiron Cafe, 1722 Saint Marys Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 344 3040
Located in the Old Market Passageway, this restaurant offers diners the chance to sample delicious contemporary American cuisine in sophisticated surroundings. V.Mertzshowcases an exposed brick interior offering a rustic, romantic and intimate dining experience. The succulent Long Island Duck Duet, served with soft Moroccan couscous and the sweetness of grapes and dates, is a great choice, as is the fresh Pacific cod, prepared in the tantalising melange of green apples, oyster mushrooms and bean ragout. For dessert, try the chocolate and almond pave for a slice of sweet heaven.
V.Mertz, 1022 Howard Street, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, +1 402 345 8980
Upstream Brewing Company
This bar-cum-restaurant takes its name from the name ‘Omaha’ itself: in a Native American language, this translates to ‘upstream’ or ‘against the current’. The owners claim that this is a reflection of the restaurant itself, which goes against current trends. The HYPERLINK “http://www.upstreambrewing.com/” Upstream Brewing Company focuses on ensuring that a fresh collection of handcrafted beers keeps blessing the premises since the venue’s creation in 1996. The dishes on offer at Upstream include mouth-watering steaks, daily seafood and a sumptuous selection of sandwiches. They also have a large selection of award-winning beers, freshly brewed on-site in a variety of exciting flavours, including the sweet tasting Raspberry Lager.
By James Norman