OK, we've established that visiting Missoula is on the bucket list for people from the west coast. Seems simple enough, pack up and hit Interstate 90. Once you see the signs for the Missoula offramps, hit the Orange Street exit and see where your palate takes you. You're going to want some real food after subsisting on gas station gutbombs for a few hundred miles.

There's nothing wrong with eating downtown. In fact, some of Missoula's most iconic restaurants are just north of the Clark Fork River. But just in case you have a hankering for places to eat that are outside the downtown experience, you're in luck. Can you eat where the locals eat? Sure!

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Bridge Pizza

Their location on Higgins Ave just south of Beartracks Bridge...is that considered "downtown?" Well no matter, Bridge Pizza on Brooks St serves up the same pies and great service or dine-in or takeout.

I like Bridge because it offers up plenty of yummy vegetarian pies as well as classics like pepperoni and sausage. Their London pie has six different roasted mushrooms on it, the York has pickled red onions and goat cheese. Bridge's ingredients are locally sourced and it's a staple of Missoulians when tummies start grumbling.

Kobe

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps
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I hadn't tried Kobe until I heard a coworker say it was a go-to for date nights. She was right: chefs dazzle you by grilling your orders right in front of you.

Credit: Kobe Missoula
Credit: Kobe Missoula
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Fresh takes on traditional Japanese grilling. I recommend the Lover's Dinner For Two (fellas, this one is a hit!)

Romeo's Italian Kitchen

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Credit: Google Maps
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Worth it if you spend an extra 10 minutes driving south of downtown. Romeo's stands out in the South Hills neighborhood, and if you're looking for hot comfort food you're in luck; carbonara pastas, alfredos, and lasagnas. I recommend you eat in the restaurant, but you can order from DoorDash if you want.

Montana Club

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Credit: Google Maps
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Family restaurant with a bar, you can go to the one on Brooks St or the one that's closer to Interstate 90 on Reserve St. The menu can be a little daunting since there are so many different things to choose from, but it's an inviting atmosphere and once you find something you like, it's been my experience that you'll want to come back for it.

PRO TIP: they're not running out of their southwest chicken soup anytime soon...for good reason.

Jaker's Bar and Grill

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Credit: Google Maps
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If you like meaty steaks (or meat in general) this is the place. Jakers does everything from signature steaks to chicken, pasta and seafood. Get outside downtown for your food, you won't be disappointed.

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The Olde Dairy & The Trough

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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You'll find this combo of a market and eatery on the southwest edge of the city. The dairy market gives you access to locally grown and sourced breads, eggs, beers and knickknacks. The Trough is a homestyle deli and restaurant which I adore; we've gathered here for several radio station Christmas parties.

It's the kind of place where you feel like you're at home. Instead of sitting at tables and chairs (which of course is an option) you can get a beverage and enjoy it near the fireplace. Weekend breakfast time gets crowded on occasion, but if you make it out here you'll eat like a local.

Ruby's Cafe

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Credit: Google Maps
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Ruby's has been a beacon of hope for the grumbling tummy for decades in Missoula. I think of it as an honest-to-God American diner like the one my grandmother used to work at, like the way the Double R Diner was in "Twin Peaks" (minus all the supernatural funny business.)

Come here for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. You'll leave with a full belly.

Did we miss your favorite here? Let us know in the comments below!

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