Lincoln Restaurants Serve It Up

Lincoln has amazing restaurants scattered all across the city—from sports bars that serve food to small mom and pop cafés that make superb homemade grub. But the 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 loved and well-known restaurants in the Star City; but there are some best-kept secret dining facilities too.

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 with meat, seafood and tofu options.

At 17th and Pine Lake is an elegant Thai/Asian restaurant called Issara. From the same people who brought The Blue Orchid to Lincoln, Issara expands their menu beyond Thai to a fusion that includes Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Paired with a sophisticated cocktail list, an evening at Issara is memorable.

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. Top on the menu are soups, several different pho (beef noodle dishes), and Banh Mi (authentic Vietnamese sandwiches). Bahnwich, also located in the Saigon Plaza, serves an amazing variety fresh, spicy Vietnamese sandwiches, green waffles and bubble tea. These sandwiches are so good, there’s often a line out the door at lunchtime.

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. Other Japanese restaurants in the Haymarket include Hiro 88 at 601 R Street and Blue Sushi Sake Grill at 808 R Street—always a quality choice.

Mexican Cuisine

La Paz Restaurant & Cantina at 321 North Cotner Boulevard features some of the best chips and salsa in town and their Enchiladas La Paz are a must try in this family owned cantina. It’s been a Lincoln favorite for the past 18 years.

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 savor some authentic dishes. The portions are large and the flavor delicious. Located in the Haymarket district, El Potrero serves some of the best Mexican food in the city plus great margaritas to accompany this south of the border experience.

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

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

Indian Cuisine

For the tastes of India, try The Oven at 201 North 8th Street and 4101 Pioneer Woods Drive. The heavenly aromas are like walking into northern India. You can count on the food being truly authentic, and The Oven offers a great variety of wines that make this an excellent dining experience. Their new Cellar, offers great Indian food and wine in an intimate atmosphere.

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

Taj Mahal Cuisine of India at 5500 Old Cheney Road, and Bhupi G’s Hurry Curry 1601 Q Street, also serve authentic Indian food—and Bhupi G’s delivers.

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 tasty 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.

Florio’s Italian Restaurant & Grille at 7300 S. 13th Street is another quality Italian eatery. Everything is made from scratch and the wine list is impressive.

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 an impressive menu that includes duck, lamb, steaks and seafood cooked to perfection by chef Nader. Billy’s has received a five star rating from opentable.com.

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, at 10th & L streets, is another favorite local restaurant that offers European and American cuisine in a Victorian setting. The food and wine is always excellent, and the desserts are hard to beat. You can find a fresh selection of beef, chicken and seafood, cooked to perfection.

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, at 70th & Pioneers, has a distinctive style. Homemade marinades and exceptional cooking techniques bring 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.

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 roll, lunching on a sandwich nestled on their homemade bread or feasting on a dinner entrée, Bread & Cup knows how to satisfy. Recently they have opened up the Piedmont Bistro at 48th and Cotner, serving some wonderful dishes.

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

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 Lincoln’s favorite team, the Huskers, are playing you can watch the game while you enjoy the meal.

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

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 friendly experience.

For mouthwatering Greek flavors and homemade pastries, 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.

The Flatwater Bistro at 801 R Street is the newest resident of the Historic Haymarket located right outside the Hilton Garden Inn. This bistro specializes in breakfast and offers a cool, trendy and comfortable environment.

Just a block away is the brand new restaurant BLINK, serving American food in a sports bar environment. The ambiance is fun and the food is great.

Yia Yia’s is known as the 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 freshly baked bread along with beer on tap or 375 different bottled beers. Right next-door is Amu Manu Ramen Bar, a delightful ramen noodle restaurant. Try some cucumber lemonade with a tasty noodle or dumpling dish.

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.

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. Besides feasting on crisp meat burritos and a variety of traditional Mexican dishes, Amigos offers their own fresh-brewed Kopeli espresso drinks and an impressive breakfast menu—all reasonably priced and so tasty.

Caffeine Connection

Whether you’re in search for a quick cup of coffee or a cozy spot to rest for a few hours and get some work done, the capital city is speckled with spots to fuel your addiction.

The Mill located in the Haymarket at 800 P Street and in College View at 4736 Prescott, features traditional coffee and espresso drinks, a large assortment of tea all in a homey atmosphere. The Mill is a hip space that offers indoor and outdoor seating plus free Wi-Fi. It’s a Lincoln favorite is often busy throughout the day and into the night.

The Coffee House at 1324 P Street is a very cool,  locally owned coffee shop that prides itself on quick service, delicious homemade pastries and features many vegan and vegetarian options.

Cultiva Coffee at South 11th Street is a café and micro-roastery who serve a constantly-changing selection of fine coffee. Along world-class coffee and espresso, Cultiva whips up delicious freshly made crepes with variety of toppings and sauces.

Cultiva coffee also has a café at 3535 Holdredge Street and is served at Indigo Bridge, a bookstore, café and non-profit located at 701 P Street in the Creamery Building in the Haymarket. And a fourth location at 2510 Randolph Street, just opened to serve the neighborhood at 27th and Randolph streets.

If you are near University Place near Wesleyan University, Mo Java Cafe and Roasting Co. (2649 North 48th Street) is a great place to grab a cup of fair-trade organic coffee, surf the web or just listen to some local musicians on a Friday night.

Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, at 1624 South Street, serves organic, fair-trade coffee and all their food is locally sourced. The pastries are delicious and their daily soup specials are to die for. They also host live music, poetry and art shows for their many loyal customers.

Recently the Meadowlark folks opened the Cottonwood Bar Café and American Restaurant at 440 South 11th Street. They serve breakfast and their excellent coffee to the Capitol crowd, as well as the amazing soups that Meadowlark Coffee is known for—plus salads, sandwiches, pasta and a variety of local beers on tap.

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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