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Omaha Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


bilrus
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I'm really a big fan of a broad array of food types(anything asian, italian). I tend to stay away from steak restaurants, etc. However, I'm searching for a good burger place and I also haven't found any good Mexican restaurants (not tex-mex). Does anyone have any Japanese/sushi favorites?

I have been to, and liked, La Casa, Marks, Espana and Taste.

Thanks for the suggestions so far...

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Sushi Ichiban on Dodge St by Children's Hospital is where I had my first wasabi burn.

There is a weird little wine bar around 52nd St just north of Dodge St that's okay. Watch out for the red head that shows up in her pj's, though.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Sushi Ichiban on Dodge St by Children's Hospital is where I had my first wasabi burn.

Is that the one in the old IHOP?

I'm glad to see so many of the same places are still around. I'll add an extremely dated recommendation for Zio's Pizza (various locations). And you *have to* go to Mister C's, not so much for the food (which is Omaha-style Italian steakhouse...prime rib with a side of spaghetti) but for the whole experience.

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Definitely, definitely try Riveras. Awesome, made-from-scratch Mexican.

There's a good barbecue place way, way north, off the Irvington exit called Big Jack's Barbecue Shack.

You might also like Lo Sole Mio or Pasta Amore for Italian.

The Bread Oven has two locations. They make terrific baguettes and croissants. Dharma Bread, sold only at Wohlner's market in midtown, is an excellent sourdough.

Feel free to PM me with questions.

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I can second Dinker's Bar. Actually, it's around 26th and Martha. Be careful on some Saturday nights, the military reservists haunt there on their drill weekends, and we can get pretty tuned up there.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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You might also like Lo Sole Mio or Pasta Amore for Italian.

I tried Pasta Amore and I really didn't like the pasta that much...I had gnocchi with marinara. The gnocchi was good enough but the sauce tasted curiously like Ragu. Is Lo Sole Mio more of the same, or is it better. I have heard it recommended before, but I was a little hesitant after Pasta Amore.

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Another vote for Bohemian Cafe.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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The Indian Oven (10th and Howard). If you enjoy Indian food, I think it is one of the better Indian restaurants in the town Another good spot for Indian is The Sitar (2819 S 125th - - they have a lunch buffet, but their dinner menu is really good too).

If you would like Italian try Malara's (2123 Pierce) Marino's (79th & Harrison, I believe), or Lo Sole Mio (3001 S 32nd).

For Mexican, I would recommend Gudalajara (20th & L. good pozole and tortas) or maybe La Mesa in Bellevue (605 Fort Crook Rd - try the Chile Verde or Chile Colorado; Chilaquiles are good as well) or El Alamo (4917 S 24th).

Nettie's (7110 Railroad) between South Omaha and Bellevue is a favored (not mine, though) spot for Tex-Mex fare...if you like that kind of thing and want to hang in the Old Market, hit Trini's (1020 Howard St).

For Mexican fusion/traditonal-updating try Stoke's (646 N 114th), I really enjoy this place as an eating spot amongst my less food-knowledgeable co-workers.

If you like Czech, then the Bohemian Cafe (1406 S 13th. not my favorite type of food. good for what they do. used to be better. people rave about the liver dumpling soup. whatever you get make sure your sides are dumpling and sweet and sour cabbage).

For pizza try Don Carmello's (3558 Farnam) or Franks Pizzaria (132nd & Dodge Street, Westridge Shopping Center). New York "style" places.

For an awesome burger in an old diner setting hit Louie M's Burger Lust (1718 Vinton St - limited hours. only open until 3, also open for dinner on friday & saturday. love the chili cheeseburger).

Two diner/homecooking joints: Big Daddy's Diner (1901 Farnam huge portions, everything from scratch, breakfast all day long - love this place) or Richies Chicken & Hamburger (3528 Center St - great fried chicken, very nice charred burgers - very small place and smoking is allowed in the entire establishment, if that's an issue). Richie's would have to be my pick for best burger in town. Get a double cheese w/ bacon - they are choice! Stella's (106 Galvin Rd S) out in Bellevue has decent burgers, too.

If you like Thai food The Thai Cafe (42nd & Dodge - good larb, spring rolls and tom kha gai. very customer-friendly). They used to be Jit's Thai out by the Crossroads Mall.

King Fongs is good for old 50's-style Cantonese/Hunan (315 1/2 S 16th - - - I like the decor better than the food sometimes, but really enjoy their Egg Fo Yong).

If barbecue is your thing try Harkert's (48th & Center - - VERY limited seating), Amarillo in Bellevue (303 Fort Crook Rd - very good sausage) or for a very special treat go to Uncle Ernie's Beer Bait & BBQ out in Cedar Creek, Nebraska (these guys have a lot of awards under their belt for their chow, the atmosphere is lousy, but who cares. strongly recommend their pulled pork/pork sandwich).

Joe Tess's fresh fish (24th past Q fried carp (yes, carp). try a double rib sandwich w/ jacket fries and extra pickles and don't forget the hot sauce. very fresh fish, the people that own it own a hatchery as well and the fish is freshly fabricated each morning).

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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A little off the subject of restaurant recommendations for Omaha, but has anyone from the area read the restaurant reviews in the local paper? I was suprised at how absolutely horrible those reviews are...they look more like an opportunity for a guy to get a free meal for his wife and kids. I couldn't tell if the guy was critiquing the place or just writing a short advertisement.

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I've lived in the realm of the Omaha Weird Herald for nearly 3 decades.

Their food section has always been that bad. I apologize for my people.

Oh, and on the topic of Malara's, occasionally their service is surly at lunch. Good food, surly service.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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A little off the subject of restaurant recommendations for Omaha, but has anyone from the area read the restaurant reviews in the local paper?  I was suprised at how absolutely horrible those reviews are...they look more like an opportunity for a guy to get a free meal for his wife and kids.  I couldn't tell if the guy was critiquing the place or just writing a short advertisement.

Reviews in the OWH are worhtless.

Check out the couple of free publications:

City Weekly

and

The Reader.

They both have substantially better reviews. One of the reviewers, Ken Mayer, in particular comes across as fairly knowledgeable about food.

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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Has anyone been to Kimson Seafood for vietnamese food (78th and Cass)? I have been there a couple of times now and think their food stands up pretty well. They have a lot of the standard dishes, like pho, rice noodle dishes, etc. I would recommend giving this a try if you like Vietnamese food.

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I'm wondering if anyone has any good restaurant tips.

Well if you've been to Espana and Taste, you've already found about 10% of the good restaurants in Omaha ;-)

Here's a quick run down of some of the better restaurants in Omaha from popular consensus of fellow foodies:

Ahmad's (Persian, Old Market - 10th & Howard)

Das Rhineland (German, Old Market - 10th & Howard)

The Indian Oven (Indian, Old Market - 10th & Howard)

V Mertz (Nouvelle, Old Market - 10th & Howard)

M's Pub (American, Old Market - 11th & Howard)

Vivace's (Italian, Old Market - 11th & Howard)

Upstream (American, Old Market - 11th & Jackson)

Ted & Wally's (Ice Cream, Old Market - 12th & Jackson)

Waterfront Grill (American, Council Bluffs - Ameristar Casino)

Flatiron Cafe (Nouvelle, Downtown - 17th & Howard)

Bohemian Cafe (Eastern European, Downtown - 13th & Williams)

Howard's (Mexican, South O - 13th & I )

Lo Sole Mio (Italian, 32nd & Oak)

Espana (Tapas, Benson - 60th & Maple)

Hiro (Japanese, Eagle Run - 132nd & Maple)

Blue (Japanese/American, Eagle Run - 144th & Maple)

The Vietnamese Restaurant (Vietnamese, NFM Campus - 72nd & Dodge)

Jams (American, 78th & Dodge)

Le Voltaire (French, Pepperwood Village - 156th & Dodge)

Firebirds (Steakhouse, Village Point - 168th & Dodge)

Brother Sebastian's (Steakhouse, 120th & Pacific)

TasTe (California, Rockbrook Village - 109th & Center)

Pasta Amore (Italian, Rockbrook Village - 109th & Center)

Jaipur (Indian, Rockbrook Village - 109th & Center)

Sushi Japan (Japanese, Oakview Area - 144th & Center)

Grand Fortune (Chinese, 176th & Center)

The Tasting Room (Wine Bar/Bistro, 180th & Center)

Other popular spots that I like, but other may not enjoy...

Dinker's - For the best cheap burger in Omaha, a little greasy, but tasty

Nettie's - A bit of a dive Mexican joint for some chili that might knock you on your butt

Trini's - Crappy Mexican, but dirt cheap, owned by the same ppl who own Butsy's

The Taj - For quick, easy and cheap Indian

Zio's - One of the better pizza's in town with lots of choices for toppings

Don Carmello's - Another decent pizza place

Bene Pizza & Pasta - I love getting a fresh roasted garlic & sausage pizza from here

Famous Dave's - MPLS BBQ :-)

Boyd and Charlie's - Decent, not great BBQ, but my wife likes their Corn Pie

Brass Grille - The have some awesome sandwiches

Barrett’s - Their philly cheesesteak (made with philly cream cheese) and the pork sandwich

Cheeburger Cheeburger - Yummy burgers with 32 toppings to choose from and great shakes & malts

HuHot Mongolian Grill - Basic Mongolian, a little american-ified, but better then most

Kona Grill - Just go for happy hour with 1/2 price apps

Great Harvest - If you like incredible dense bread

Have never been, but hear good things about:

Stokes

King Fong

The Pink Poodle

Amarillo

Fleming's

Fernando's

Genji Japanese Steakhouse

The Brazen Head

Places that I've heard mixed things about, or I just don't like, so approach with caution:

Mister C's

Omaha Prime

The Passport

The Pink Poodle

The Sitar

Charlie's Seafood (AKA Charlie's On The Lake)

Charleston's Restaurant

Cici's Pizza

Butsy LeDoux's

The French Cafe

Sushi Ichiban

Back to Guangzhou

Colton's Woodfired Grill

RoJa

Other interesting things to know about some specific locations:

As indicated above, the Old Market has the highest concentration of good restaurants in Omaha.

South Omaha is the place to go for good Mexican.

The Dundee area has some nice little restaurants with a very loyal crowd.

The French Cafe doesn't really serve French food. The only place in Omaha that does is Le Voltaire and supposedly Cafe de Paris. I've never been to Cafe de Paris, but I've heard it's really expensive, the food's not bad, the service sucks and various interesting tid bits about the owner.

Butsy LeDoux's used to be a pretty good restaurant, but they've seemed to have been on a steady decline for a couple of years. It's a bad sign when it's a Saturday night and your place is empty. I haven't been there in about 5 years, so I'm not sure if they've regained their footing or not.

The Pink Poodle is supposed to have great prime rib, but I've heard it can be over cooked at times and their service is poor.

The Sitar had some health code issues in the past and was one step away from being shut down. They received the lowest passing grade 4 inspection in a row.

Sushi Ichiban isn't bad, but it's not the best and for the money, I'd rather go to Sushi Japan or Hiro. Blue is a bit over priced in my opinion and they are a little more fusion then Japanese.

I don't like Thai food, but I always hear people talk about Thai Spice.

If you eat at Grand Fortune, ask for their Cantonese menu. They don't tend to offer it to people who are not Asian. They also have Dim Sum on the weekends.

Back to Guangzhou also serves Dim Sum, but it was pretty bad when I went. It's a shame because the restaurant is beautiful and they do a pretty good job with their presentations. The owner is also trained in the art of tea ceremonies which I'd like to try, but I'm not sure I want to go back.

Yes, The Vietnamese Restaurant is really called The Vietnamese Restaurant. I've tried to convince the owner to change the name, but he won't budge. It's located RIGHT next to Nebraska Furniture Mart, close to Mrs. B's. It's in the small shopping strip at the north entrance on 72nd.

Firebirds is a chain, but sadly to say, it's one of the better restaurants in Omaha. Same goes for Upstream Brewing Co.

Wohlner's is a great grocery store, but a bit out of the way if you don't live in that area.

Absolutely Fresh is supposed to have the best retail seafood, but I think they give their best stuff to area restaurants and the average consumer is picking from the leftovers. Or at least that's been my experience with the 120th location.

Whole Foods Market has the best Gelato in Omaha, and I've tried them all. Their pre-made food can be excellent at times and just so-so at others, but they always have a great selection. Their meat case is impressive with dry aged beef, bison and goobs of sausage to choose from. They carry or are planning to carry over 400 types of cheeses. Their wine selection is pretty good. They are about the only place in Omaha that offers soba and udon noodles in their bistro area.

The Omaha Wine Company sell's a TON of wine that you won't find anywhere else in Omaha. John, the owner, personally know about half of the population in Napa, but he can be a bit pompous at times. They're also a bit pricey.

At 180th & Center there are 2 wine shops, 1 on each side of Center Street. Vino 100 sells 100 wines under $25. The Tasting Room has a bit of a different selection, but also features a bistro with some decent food. Both places offer tastings. While you're in the area, the Hy-Vee at 180th & Q has a *great* selection of wines. They're not difficult to find wines, but it's difficult to find all the wines they carry in one location. Chances are if they don't have it and The Omaha Wine Co. doesn't have it, it's probably not in Omaha.

=======================

UPDATES:

12/15/2005

- Added The Brazen Head to Never Been, but Good Things

=======================

Edited by snekse (log)

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

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I also read in either the Lincoln Journal Star or the Omaha World Herald that there is an oyster bar, or a bar with oyster specials on Wednesdays somewhere west of 120th.

This was in the past two weeks, but google, journalstar.com and omaha.com are all failing me.

Snekse, is there a reason you listed Pink Poodle twice?

Oh, also, I don't know if you have tried the Brazen Head, but the last time I went there, I ordered apple mango chutney to go with my pork chops, and got apple sauce. Their happy hour beer specials were reasonable, though.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I also read ... there is an oyster bar, or a bar with oyster specials on Wednesdays somewhere west of 120th...

The only place that I can think of that has an oyster bar is Absolutely Fresh. From the looks of an article in The Reader, that's probably the place.

Let us know who it is!
Snekse, is there a reason you listed Pink Poodle twice?

Because I've mostly heard good things about it, but I also wanted to express reservations about recommending it.

Oh, also, I don't know if you have tried the Brazen Head, but the last time I went there, I ordered apple mango chutney to go with my pork chops, and got apple sauce. Their happy hour beer specials were reasonable, though.

I've heard great things about the Brazen Head, but I've never been. It slipped my mind when I posted. I'll go back and add it.

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

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If y'all folks wanted to kibitz about some of these places in person, I'd be up for that sometime.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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8<

Yes, The Vietnamese Restaurant is really called The Vietnamese Restaurant.  I've tried to convince the owner to change the name, but he won't budge.  It's located RIGHT next to Nebraska Furniture Mart, close to Mrs. B's.  It's in the small shopping strip at the north entrance on 72nd.

>8

The Vietnamese Asian Restaurant is actually the full name.

:laugh:

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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Other suggestions-

Hector's (Baja-Mexican) 2 locations

Ellada (Greek) 2 locations

Fetas (Greek)

Mark's (Bistro)

Mediterranean Bistro

Saigon (Vietnamese)

And Mother's Good Food (Cajun) is reopening after New Year's in a new location, having taken over the old Saddle Creek Bar space.

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

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I also thought I might add a restaurant down in the Old Market that I tried for the first time...an Italian place called Nicola's (13th and Jackson). The food and atmosphere were both good. One person had a spaghetti aglio e olio with kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, etc. that looked and tasted good.

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I also tried the Vietnamese Restaurant. It was a comfortable little place. It almost reminded me of some spot in Minneapolis on Nicollet. I haven't had anything but a bahn mi sandwich. It was alright...I had really been craving one. I just wished it would have had some hot peppers on it and it also had some sort of creamy sauce on it, which wasn't the best...but the bread and pork were both good.

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I also tried the Vietnamese Restaurant.  It was a comfortable little place.  It almost reminded me of some spot in Minneapolis on Nicollet.  I haven't had anything but a bahn  mi sandwich.  It was alright...I had really been craving one.  I just wished it would have had some hot peppers on it and it also had some sort of creamy sauce on it, which wasn't  the best...but the bread and pork were both good.

I'll confess that I haven't tried a lot of the Vietnamese restaurants in Omaha yet, so there may be others that suit your tastes more. I've also never had a sandwich from TVAR. I usually get Pho or Vermicelli. I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years and I could never find a place that had Pho like this place. Some people don't care for it because they're used to a deeper broth, but I like the lightness and freshness of theirs.

If you see the owner (the older guy with lots of gold chains), chat him up a bit. He likes to talk and he likes to please his customers. If you tell him what you like they'll start customizing dishes for you. I have a friend who eats there about 3 times a week now because he walks in and they immediately start making his food because they know what he wants and how he wants it. The cool thing is that they tend to recognize you after about 3 or 4 visits.

Another insider tip is the fact that you can sometimes get them to adjust the size of the order. If you think the bowl of Pho is too small, ask them for a BIG bowl of Pho. It will be humongous. Because of this little perk, we tried to get them to change their name to "Big Bowl, Small Bowl" :biggrin:

BTW, welcome to Omaha.

Gastronomic Fight Club - Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Foodies of Omaha - Discover the Best of Omaha

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