There’s an old statistic bouncing back in Nebraska: Omaha has the most restaurants per capita of any city of comparable size (roughly 1 million people in the metro area). The factoid is repeated over and over again, and its accuracy has ceased to matter. It lingers on as a point of pride, a rallying cry for the state’s largest city, where locals love to eat out.
Above all, Omaha is about steak, medium rare. Steakhouses range from the nearly century-old Johnny’s Cafe to the modern Committee Chophouse, where large chunks of meat are offered at steep prices. Don’t forget the burgers, topped with ham and fried eggs, topped with bulgogi or topped with bourbon bacon jam.
Meanwhile, many of the city’s most innovative chefs are looking abroad. You will find French haute cuisine in the historic old market with natural wines and handcrafted cocktails, as well as creative sushi made with smoked, charred or aged fish. There are also neighborhood gems to look for, places serving great Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, Nepalese, and Kosher food. The town also offers good vegan food from celebrity chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, bars ranging from dives to cocktail lounges, and plenty of locally brewed craft beers.
Update October 2021:
COVID-19 has forced Omaha leaders to reinvent their business models over and over again. Sit-down restaurants have turned to take-out, including chef David Utterback of Yoshitomo, who took his fish on the road with a âhomakaseâ delivery program. Some restaurants first developed in-house delivery systems, while many others have turned unused outdoor spaces into patios. Despite the pandemic, however, only a handful of restaurants have closed in Omaha, in part thanks to the loyal patronage of those same locals who speak passionately about the city’s restaurants on a per capita basis.
From faithful Salvadoran pupusas to bulgogi burgers at an artisan cafe, to – yes – lots of red meat, here’s where to eat in Nebraska’s largest city.
Note: The inclusion of restaurants with on-site catering should not be considered an approval for indoor dining. Studies indicate a lower risk of exposure to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk depends on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on catering offerings. For up-to-date information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit City of Omaha website.
Sarah Baker Hansen is an award-winning writer who covers the food scene in Omaha, Nebraska.
To note: The restaurants on this map are listed geographically.