Memorable Lincoln Restaurants

Lincoln has fine dining and casual dining, she has sports bars that serve food and small mom and pop dining facilities that make super home-made grub, but when it comes to being memorable, the Lincoln restaurants that make a special impression are often the little out of the way places. In this list of Lincoln restaurants – tradition, uniqueness, and atmosphere count nearly as much as the quality of the food. The list below includes some of the oldest, most favorite and well-known restaurants in the Star City, but there are some best-kept secret dining facilities too. The newest restaurant is less than a year old but some of these restaurants and diners have been in operation for generations.


Asian Inspirations

Blue Orchid, 10th and P in the Grande Manse, is a highly popular Thai fusion eatery. Exceptional dishes are served with flair in an atmosphere that begs you to enjoy every bite at a leisurely pace. They offer a wonderful array of dishes from meats, seafood and tofu options.

An inexpensive but delicious option for Thai food is the Thai Garden at 13th and Q streets.

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, you simply must try The Vietnamese Pho Factory on North 27th Street in the Saigon Plaza is great. Top on the menu are soups, several different pho (beef noodle dishes), and Banh Mi (authentic Vietnamese sandwiches). Bahnwich is also located in the Saigon Plaza offering delicious sandwhiches.

At Kinja, 70th and Pioneers Boulevard, explore a wide variety of handmade sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls. Less adventuresome diners can feast on other authentic Japanese items, including teriyaki, udon (noodle soup) and special rice rolls.

For those closer to downtown, Dozo Sushi Grill Lounge recently opened at 151 North 8th Street in the Haymarket. Along with sushi and sashimi, Dozo features an impressive drink menu. From Thursday to Saturday it’s open until 2 a.m., so you can stop by for a late-night snack of California rolls or miso soup.

At 1550 South Coddington Avenue, Zhang’s Cantonese and Mandarin Cuisine specializes in extra hot and spicy. Regular entrées are also available. 

Vincent’s House of Hunan at 56th and Highway 2 and Imperial Palace at 701 North 27th Street are two more great choices for Chinese cuisine.

One of the newest restaurants in the city is Hero88 in the new Canopy Street development in the Haymarket at 601 R Street #100. Their specialize in Sushi, Sashimi and Chinese cuisine.

Mexican Cuisine

El Toro at 48th and Van Dorn is a truly authentic Mexican restaurant. Family owned and operated, the food is delicious and the atmosphere enjoyable.

El Potrero (8th & Q) is another family-run Mexican eatery where you can try out their Spanish dish. The portions are large and the flavor is definitely delicious. The wait staff is ready to serve you and you will enjoy this restaurant located in the Haymarket district. El Potrero serves some of the best Mexican food in the city and great margueritas to accompany this south of the border experience.

Tico’s at 317 South 17th Street is known for its incredible guacamole, wide selection of entrees and blue margaritas.

It’s possible to go Mexican Veg at Pepe’s Veggie Bistro located at 6220 Havelock Ave. Menu favorites are the sweet potato quesadilla with cucumber lemonade. Be sure to say “hi” to Pepe.

Indian Cuisine

For the tastes of India, try The Oven (201 North 8th Street and 4101 Pioneer Woods Drive). When you walk into this eatery, you feel as though you are walking into northern India. You can count on the food being wonderfully authentic, and the Oven offers a great variety of wines that make this a great dining experience. Their new Cellar, offers great Indian food and wine in a wonderful atmosphere.

Tandoor Indian Cuisine located in Williamsburg at 3530 Village Drive offers melt-in-your-mouth entrees and traditional bread.

Taj Mahal Cuisine of India at 5500 Old Cheney Road, and Sher-E-Punjab, 1601 Q Street, also serve authentic and impressive dishes.

Italian Food

For highly authentic and delicious Italian fare, Vincenzo’s Risorante at 808 P Street is definitely the place to be. Situated in one of the Haymarket District’s historic buildings, Vincenzo’s pairs its savory dishes with an excellent wine list and superior service in an atmosphere of understated elegance.

Your meal starts with your choice of a lightly dressed green salad or homemade soup, accompanied by the tastiest rolls. The house Chianti is a natural choice, but you really should explore your options on the wine list.

As for the entrées – Vincenzo’s has something for everyone, whether it’s a standard pasta dish prepared to perfection or a classic Italian dinner. It’s no wonder that Vincenzo’s has been named one of the best restaurants in Lincoln more than once.

Another Italian restaurant, Grisanti’s is located at 6820 O Street and has remained a Lincoln favorite. Their soup and salad combo is amazing, and the traditional chicken Parmesan is mouth-watering.

Local Landmarks

For a cozy and intimate atmosphere, try Billy’s. This unique restaurant is a refurbished older home at 13th and H Streets. A favorite of our Nebraska Senators during the day and for charming parties in the evening, Billy’s offers sandwiches, fish and steaks alike with a European flair cooked to perfection by chef Nader.

Ask any Lincolnite where to go for a good steak, and they’re likely to suggest Misty’s. If you are not a meat eater, they also have many seafood and vegetarian dishes to choose from. The original is still located in historic Havelock (6235 Havelock Avenue), and their downtown location (11th & P) is going strong. Their newest location is at 40th and Old Cheney. Sample one of their home-brewed ales while you’re there.

The Green Gateau, (9th & L) is another favorite local restaurant that offers European and American cuisine in a Victorian setting. The food and wine is always great, and the desserts are hard to beat. You can find a great variety of wonderful and popular dishes served here.

Lazlo’s in the Haymarket at 710 P Street, and also at 5900 Old Cheney Road, combines a brewery with a traditional grill. Flavorful sandwiches, salads, burgers and entrées will keep you coming back for more. Each pairs magnificently with Lazlo’s own Empyrean Ales.

Owned by the same team that opened Lazlo’s, Fireworks (70th & Pioneers) has a distinctive style. Homemade marinades and exceptional cooking techniques brings unique flavors to tried-and-true favorites. Empyrean Ales are also on the menu here.

A mile south of Yankee Hill Road on 27th Street) Wilderness Ridge really does look like a lodge, but the food is reminiscent of fine dining establishments in Chicago or New York. Dine al fresco on their large terrace overlooking the rolling hills of the Wilderness Ridge golf course. There’s more casual dining in the bar area, or opt for the elegant great room.

Blue Mountain specializes in pizza and ice cream at 87th Street and Highway 2. Pizzas are wood-fired for extra crispy crust. Follow your meal with one of 30 flavors of Ashby’s ice cream from Michigan.

Tucked into a corner of the Haymarket at 8th and Q, Bread & Cup uses local ingredients for their delicious menu. Whether you’re breakfasting on a cinnamon role, lunching on a sandwich nestled into homemade bread or feasting on a dinner entrée, Bread & Cup knows how to satisfy.

The Dish at 1100 O Street is the brainchild of chef Travis Green. Exciting dishes matched with delectable sides make for a fabulous meal. Be sure to ask your waiter for a wine recommendation.

The Venue (4111 Pioneer Woods Drive) features a diverse menu ranges from steak and seafood to some of the best pizzas in town. The atmosphere is comfortable for dressing up or dressing down.

Maggie’s offers great veggie and vegan fare in the city at 311 North 8th Street. Using local ingredients as much as possible, they prepare such hearty disheseven meat-eaters are satisfied. Be sure to bring cash, – Maggie’s is plastic-free.

For true Mid-western fare, don’t miss The Steak House at 34th and Cornhusker Highway. This restaurant has a long-standing tradition in Lincoln for offering great corn-fed beef.

If you would like to try Brazilian steaks, then stop in at one of our newest, the Rodizio Grill at 737 P Street. 

Grandmother’s at 70th and A Streets is a Nebraska tradition. Sunday brunches, Fridays after work, and mid week dinner get-a-ways make for great memories at this restaurant.

Brewsky’s is a popular locally owned sports bar and grill at 8th and P, 201 North 8th Street, 2840 South 70th Street, and 1602 South Street. With an all-new menu, you can enjoy everything from a perfectly grilled burger to a crispy chicken salad.

Lee’s Restaurant, near Pioneers Park at 1940 West Van Dorn is a must-see for tourists and locals alike. Back in the day, they kept live chickens in a coop out back to butcher minutes before frying. Now the small chicken shack has experienced 13 additions to accommodate all the fans, so there’s no room for coops, but the fried chicken is still cooked fresh and onion rings are delicious.

Lincoln Originals

For locals, Valentino’s Italian Restaurant, or just Val’s to those of who grew up on their fare, is a wonderful tradition. They have a delicious Italian buffet that includes a huge salad bar, pizza, pasta, and yes, dessert pizza too, that will please everyone in your family.

DaVinci’s is another family-owned local restaurant with many locations that serve customers with friendly smiles and great food. Pizza, sandwiches, pasta, and salad bar, along with great steak sandwiches, all combine for a great family and friend experience.

For mouthwatering Greek flavors, a must-stop is the Parthenon. Located at 5500 South 56th Street, this restaurant shares the friendly atmosphere of Greece along with traditions of the Midwest.

Yai Yai is known as home of Lincoln’s best pizza and largest beer selection. Their famous Around The World pizza is made to order with a huge variety of quality ingredients and served with our freshly baked bread along with beer on tap and 375 different bottled beers.

Originating in Lincoln and now found throughout the Midwest, Runza has many locations across Lincoln. They offer their trademark bread-covered ground beef, cabbage and seasoning, Oven-Stuff’d sandwiches, plus traditional hamburgers and the like. Extra crispy onion rings are the perfect side dish.

When you are hungering for a burrito or taco, Amigos is another local tradition. Amigos is paired with Kings, which offers an equally delicious variety of hamburgers, chicken and Lincoln’s own Frenchee. They’re located throughout Lincoln in freestanding buildings as well as area malls. Besides feasting on crisp meat burritos and a variety of traditional Mexican dishes, Amigos offers their own Kopeli espresso drinks and an impressive breakfast menu—all reasonably priced and so tasty.

Hotel Happenings

Many hotels and motels offer their own dining experience. These restaurants excel in experience and offer a great deal of creativity.

One of the newest options is Aura within the Holiday Inn at 27th Street and Pine Lake Road. The menu is filled with creative Asian-French fusion dishes invented by executive chef Tim Galliger.

Lincoln’s other Holiday Inn (in the Haymarket at 9th and O) also hosts a restaurant. The Red Onion specializes in gourmet pizzas but it’s also a great place to go for breakfast.

Another local favorite is Beacon Hill, located at 5353 North 27th Street. They are best known for their highly praised crab cakes. Other specials include fried catfish, and salmon. Everyone’s tastes are appeased here, as they also offer herbed steaks and specialty pasta dishes.

Sports fans might prefer The Athletic Club in the Embassy Suites at 12th and P. Mammoth burgers, hearty sandwiches and more will fill your plate while large television screens let you enjoy all the action of your favorite teams. Or, if the Huskers are playing, Lincoln’s favorite team, you can watch the game while you enjoy the meal.

For delicious Middle Eastern meals, try Sinbad’s at 2630 Orchard Street. Kabobs, falafel, and more are all authentically prepared.

Chain Gang

Lincoln has its share of national chain restaurants. A recent addition to the chains is Cheddar’s Casual Café at 54th and O streets, offering a huge menu with choices from burgers to steak and catfish, and more. Buffalo Wild Wings has also just opened up a new restaurant at 1328 P street.

That’s just a start – there are hundreds of dining options in Lincoln. You might just have to try them all. 

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