The 8 Best Restaurants In Gardiner, Montana - Discovering Montana (2023)

Dining out in Montana is often associated with wild game, antlers on the walls, and BBQ pits galore.

Some of the best restaurants in Gardiner MT meet that description – but some have other qualities you’ll love, like fine local wines and brews, imported recipes and sparkling drinks, elegant atmospheres, and much, much more.

Travel Tips for Dining Out in Gardiner, Montana

When you head out to the best restaurants in Gardiner MT, you’ll want to remember a few things for the best experience possible for everyone.

Tipping in Montana

  • As in most places in the United States, restaurants in Gardiner MT are run by folks who largely succeed on tipping as a part of their everyday wage. The average tipping fee most folks pay in Gardiner is between 15 and 20%, with high-quality service, amazing food, and lovely atmosphere pulling in the top fee or even higher, if you can afford it.

Peak Restaurant Hours & Meal Times

  • Most restaurants in Gardiner have standard American timeslots for dining. Peak hours for breakfast usually run between 8 and 10 am, lunch peak hours run between 11 and 2 pm, and dinner is usually between 5 and 8 pm. Outside these hours, you’ll find restaurants generally run quieter and less busy, so if you prefer a more laidback atmosphere, off-peak hours are your best bet.
  • Be sure to read restaurant menus before going out for a meal to verify the choices you’re most interested in are on the meal menu slot you’re headed for. Many restaurants shift their breakfast menus somewhere around 10 am to the lunch, and lunch menus around 2 to 3 pm into the dinner menu. Portion sizes and prices change, along with available menu selections, when these menu shifts occur.
  • Most restaurants that serve breakfast will be open by at least 8 am, but those that only serve lunch and dinner with more likely to open between 10 am and noon. Dinner-only restaurants and bars usually open around 5 pm, while breakfast and lunch-only dining establishments will typically close by 3 pm.
  • Serve both lunch and dinner, they may well have a couple of hours between the two when they close to clean, sanitize, and prepare the next meal selections and menus.

The 8 Best Restaurants in Gardiner MT

Whether you’re looking for a casual, quick bite, or a multi-course sit-down meal, you’ll find that Gardiner Montana is home to plenty of amazing, delicious choices in all price ranges.

  • Wonderland Cafe and Lodge
  • The Corral – Lodging and Burgers
  • Yellowstone Pizza
  • Grizzly Grille
  • Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room

1. Wonderland Cafe and Lodge • 206 Main St, Gardiner, MT • $ – $$

The 8 Best Restaurants In Gardiner, Montana - Discovering Montana (1)

One of the most popular restaurants in Gardiner MT is the Wonderland Café and Lodge. This place is great for a quick bite of burgers, fried pickles, and other country and casual favorites.

The restaurant and lodge are located in the heart of downtown Gardiner, near the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The café and lodge are named for their next-door neighbor, a place often called the Wonderland since the early 1900s when the park was established.

The cafe is a restaurant, coffee house, lounge, and bakery, offering plenty of locally sourced and seasonally available ingredients made into delectable meals any time of day.

(Video) Top 10 best Restaurants in Gardiner, Montana

The restaurant is green certified, too, and a part of the farm-to-table movement. You’ll find a range of homemade baked goods, made from scratch soups, delicious burgers, salads, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options of all sorts.

Some of the most popular choices include elk chili, cortado salad, jalapeno cornbread, poutine, grilled chicken sandwiches, elk chili mac, the Wonderland burger, lake trout, Montana ranch ribeye, grains and tofu, and the caldera burger.

On the drink menu, you’ll find imported reds, whites, sparklings, and rosés, local craft beers and ales, cocktails, sake, and a variety of non-alcoholic choices like sodas, teas, juices, coffees, and kombuchas.

2. The Corral – Lodging and Burgers • 711 Scott St Gardiner, MT • $ – $$

The 8 Best Restaurants In Gardiner, Montana - Discovering Montana (2)

The longest-standing business in Gardiner happens to be The Corral, a local favorite burger joint with reasonable prices and amazing farm-to-table meal options the whole family will love.

Their specialties are buffalo burgers and bacon cheeseburgers, and they welcome patrons with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, wheelchair accessibility, gluten-free menu choices, vegetarian options, and a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for the whole family.

The menu includes a range of delicious choices in the casual dining establishment where kids feel at home. Some of the top selections include elk burgers, bison burgers, onion rings, fries, grilled cheese, and tomato soup.

3. Yellowstone Pizza • 210 Park St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$

One of the most popular pizza restaurants in Gardiner MT is the highly praised Yellowstone Pizza. From the restaurant, you can see into Yellowstone National Park, watching the sunset at the end of the long day.

They offer convenient and comfortable seating, takeout, vegetarian pizzas, vegan options, wheelchair accessibility, and televisions to help keep the kids entered after a long day of hiking and exploring.

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On the menu, you’ll find an assortment of apps like cheesy breadsticks, toasted ravioli, and chicken wings, along with salads, pasta selections, and, of course, their popular, tasty New York style pizza. Order a pre-selected pizza or build your own, including gluten-free options.

You’ll find sodas, sweet and unsweet tea, and lemonade (add huckleberry to anything for a little extra).

Note that the restaurant is seasonal – open only during peak months for local tourism between May and September.

4. Iron Horse Bar & Grille • 200 Spring St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$

One of the best restaurants in Gardiner for late-night meals, grown-up drinks, and a cozy atmosphere is the Iron Horse Bar & Grille.

Overlooking the Yellowstone River with unspoiled views of the mountains, the Iron Horse is perfect for outdoor dining and drinks, conversation, and amazing Montana food choices.

The patio is the perfect spot for your evening chat over a pile of elk nachos and mugs of local craft beers, or a plate bison meatloaf and mulberry margaritas. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the local wildlife wandering the river banks – think bear, moose, and elk.

The vibe at the Iron Horse is a historic, Western joint with oddities and memorabilia decorating the walls.

The menu includes a number of favorites for locals and tourists alike, including elk tacos, buffalo burgers, pulled pork, Rocky Mountain trout, and vegetarian options. You’ll also find a range of local craft beers and specialty cocktails for the grown-ups.

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The restaurant is open from May to September, serving lunch between 12 and 3:30 and dinner from 4 to 9 pm.

5. Cowboy Lodge & Grille • 208 Stone St, Gardiner, MT • $$ – $$$

Located in the heart of downtown Gardiner, the Cowboy Lodge & Grille is a family-owned and operated business with a staff made up of locals and international students primarily.

The restaurant is right near the North Entrance of Yellowstone, close enough to walk to the Roosevelt Arch and all the fun opportunities in downtown Gardiner – like shops, outfitters, and horseback riding stables. The Yellowstone River is right there, too, easy to see.

You’ll find the atmosphere cozy and Western, with a great selection of meal choices to dine on. Some of the most popular options include Wildfire Mac & Cheese, BBQ Bourbon Bacon Pork Sliders, Deep Fried Vermont Cheddar, Wild Game Chili, buffalo burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, country fried steak, and the Foot Long Wild Game Chili Cheese Dog.

You’ll enjoy wine by the glass, local craft beer, locally crafted cocktails, soda, coffee, or tea.

6. Grizzly Grille • 1018 Scott St., Gardiner, MT 59030 • $$

Just near Yellowstone’s North Entrance, the locally owned Grizzly Grille welcomes patrons to a world of unique fusion flavors blending Asian and local cuisine to create a unique and exciting menu.

Everything is made fresh daily and served indoors and outdoors as you prefer. The restaurant is open every day except Tuesdays and Sundays, from 11 am to 8 pm, serving up their unique specialties.

The menu includes items like rice bowls, ribs, nachos, ramen, tacos, wraps, noodle bowls, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, fish and chips, and classics sides like salads and fries.

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For the bowls and wraps, you get to build your own, too, choosing your protein among shrimp, pork, bison, steak, or veggie, then your sauce, and finally a veggie-based topping or three.

They have a few breakfast selections as well as canned sodas, slushies, and huckleberry lemonade.

7. Rusty Rail Lounge & Casino and Yellowstone Mine Restaurant • 901 Scott St, Gardiner MT • $$ – $$$

For a truly local, Western atmosphere, head over to the Rusty Rail Lounge and Yellowstone Mine Restaurant for a classic combination of family-friendly and grown-up fun in one.

The classic Old West vibe grants a relaxing atmosphere for dining and drinking with friends and family any time afternoon or evening.

The menu features a variety of great choices like microbrews, wine, imported beers, and specialty cocktails at the bar and lounge, while the restaurant serves up fine dining offerings of steaks, seafood, pasta, salads, and more. During the summer, they also serve up a breakfast buffet that the whole family will love.

The restaurant serves dinner daily from 4 to 9 pm, while the lounge and bar are open from 12 pm to 1 am. If you’re up for a little other fun, drop by the casino for some gaming.

8. Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room • 163 Chico Road, Pray, MT • $$$ – $$$

The 8 Best Restaurants In Gardiner, Montana - Discovering Montana (3)

While Chico Hot Springs Historic Dining Room at the Chico Hot Springs is a little further out, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for some fine dining and a chance to soak in local hot springs at a high-quality hot springs resort.

The elegant, historic dining room welcomes patrons with a warm, chic vibe that raises comfort levels while you take time out to pamper yourself.

(Video) Things to do in Gardiner Montana!

The menu completes the job with offerings like Trout Almondine, Petite Filet Oscar, Prime Rib, Flat Iron Steak, Filet Mignon, Beef Wellington, Crab Cakes, Rainbow Trout, the Flaming Orange dessert, and a selection of fine local Montana wines – their selection recognized regularly by the Wine Spectator Magazine.

They also offer family-friendly options for diners at the Poolside Grille in the traditional saloon, wine tastings in the elegant Tasting Room or Wine Cellar, and options for private dinners for groups between 6 and 16.

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Elk Burger

The state of Montana is widely known for its game meat, especially elk, and juicy elk burgers made with tender, dark-red meat are among the most popular local dishes.

What are the top foods in Montana? ›

Montana is known for its open expanses and beautiful wilderness. That natural bounty yields exceptional food, including bison, huckleberries, chokecherries, morels and some of the best beef in the country, along with local favorites worth a detour.

What is it like to live in Gardiner Montana? ›

Gardiner is in Park County and is one of the best places to live in Montana. Living in Gardiner offers residents a suburban rural mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In Gardiner there are a lot of bars and restaurants. Residents of Gardiner tend to be conservative.

What food is Butte Montana known for? ›

Known mostly as “Irish Butte” Pasties in Montana, this is a simple, delicious, and savory food comprised of half-moon-shaped shells stuffed with meats and vegetables where the whole bundle is then cooked over the fire - the “proper” and the oldest technique of cooking pasties.

What is Montana's favorite sandwich? ›

Indeed, the fried pork chop sandwich is a cult favorite dish—not just in Butte but across the Big Sky State—routinely nabbing “best sandwich in Montana” accolades from local and national media alike.

What drink is Montana known for? ›

Montana: Whiskey ditch

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What is the number one famous food? ›

Pizza is the topmost liked food in the world. Today you can find pizza in almost every corner of the world. This traditional Italian dish is made of flattened round dough topped with cheese, and tomatoes, and additionally garnished with basil, olives, and oregano.

What are the 5 most popular foods? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!
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What is the most popular food ever? ›

10 Most Popular Foods in the World
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Are there grizzly bears in Gardiner Montana? ›

All of Yellowstone Country is bear country, and that includes Gardiner, Montana, and the surrounding public lands. After all, the chance to see a black or grizzly bear is one of the primary draws to our area — and there is no doubt that observing bears in the wild is an unforgettable experience!

What is the safest town to live in in Montana? ›

Kalispell and Bozeman share the honor of Montana's safest city (within the population parameters), each earning a -0.17 Safety Index score. Of the two cities, the larger city of Bozeman looks more impressive on paper, with a 2.78 per 1,000 violent crime rate that is below state and national averages in the category.

What fruit is Montana known for? ›

Ahh, the huckleberry. Montana's most cherished fruit (and our official state fruit to boot).

Is Butte Montana a ghost town? ›

Set in the Silver Bow County of Montana State, USA, Butte is a modern day town with an almost Ghost-Like feel; but this wasn't always the case. Back in the day, Butte was a major mining camp, with gold and silver for starters.

Why is Butte The Richest Hill? ›

Butte, once the largest city in the Rocky Mountains, and has been called the "Richest Hill on Earth" due to the mining operations of gold, silver, and copper.

What is Montana's favorite candy? ›

According to a study conducted by, Montana's favorite Halloween candy is Double Bubble gum.

What is Montana's favorite beer? ›

Budweiser and Coors Light are the two most popular beers in Montana, folowed by Big Sky Moose. Budweiser is a pale lager brewed by Anheuser-Busch and has a 5.0% ABV. Coors Light is a light lager brewed by MillerCoors and has a 4.2% ABV.

Are Montana's ribs pork or beef? ›

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What is the drinking age in Montana? ›

(b) A parent, guardian, or other person may not knowingly sell or otherwise provide an alcoholic beverage in an intoxicating quantity to a person under 21 years of age.

Can you drink on the street in Montana? ›

Public drinking or display or exhibition of open alcoholic beverages (open container) as defined in section 4.04. 020 is prohibited, and it is unlawful for any person to engage in public drinking, public display or exhibition of open alcoholic beverages (open container) within the city limits.

What liquor is popular in Montana? ›

From huckleberry gins to Montana moonshine to bacon-flavored vodka, there's a liquor out there for everyone. Rum, gin, whiskey, moonshine, bourbon, cream liqueur, brandy, vodka, and other spirits are all made in Montana.

What is the most difficult dish to cook? ›

1. The Fugu Puffer Fish. A Japanese delicacy, this deadly dish's organs contain a neurotoxin 1,000 times more powerful than cyanide. The most dangerous and possibly hardest dish to cook on this list, Fugu must first be dismembered using special Japanese knives and its parts hastily separated into 'edible' or 'deadly'.

What is the healthiest food? ›

Top 10 Foods for Health
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  5. Fish. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Winter Squash. ...
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What is the most used meat in the world? ›

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What is America's most eaten food? ›

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What are the 3 best foods? ›

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What is the number 1 most delicious food in the world? ›

Approximately 35,000 readers of the online magazine GO CNN have voted on their 50 most delicious dishes in the world. As 'numero uno' in the survey was the famous dish from West Sumatra; Rendang.

Does bear spray stop grizzlies? ›

In studies of close human-bear encounters conducted by the University of Calgary's grizzly bear expert Stephen Herrero, bear pepper spray was found to be 94% effective in deterring aggressive grizzly bears.

Are there wolves in Gardiner Montana? ›

Especially perilous for wandering wolves are areas near Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana.

What part of Montana has the most bears? ›

Montana is bear country.

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What is the best small town to live in Montana? ›

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What is the cheapest area to live in Montana? ›

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Where is the best place to retire in Montana? ›

The most popular is Whitefish, with its upscale sensibilities and beautiful mountain and lakeside location. Other great retirement locations are Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman.

Is Montana good for seniors? ›

Montana has plenty of characteristics that make it a great place to retire. First, Montana has plenty of financial benefits. Many of its towns have a low cost of living. And while the state's average housing cost is more expensive than the national average, many of its small towns are considerably cheaper.

What is the warmest town in Montana? ›

Billings, and south central Montana in general, is one of the warmest areas of Montana.

What is Montana's vegetable? ›

Montana does not have an official state food, but huckleberries grow in abundance in the state and are used in many local treats from jams to pies.

What berry only grows in Montana? ›

Huckleberries grow on bushes at high elevations above 5,000 feet, and can't be commercially grown. Because they're wild, they're free of chemicals and fertilizers. Huckleberry season is normally from June through August. And in late summer, legions of pickers take to the mountains of Montana and beyond to collect them.

What berry is native to Montana? ›

Gooseberries are native to Montana. They can be eaten fresh and are excellent in preserves and pies. They have thorns though so be careful while harvesting!

What is the oldest town in Montana? ›

Stevensville is officially recognized as the first permanent settlement of non-indigenous peoples in the state of Montana. Forty-eight years before Montana became the nation's 41st state, Stevensville was settled by Jesuit Missionaries at the request of the Bitterroot Salish tribe.

What is the most famous ghost town in Montana? ›

Welcome to Garnet Ghost Town.

There was a time, a hundred years ago, that Garnet was a thriving town, filled with gold miners and their families. Working hard to carve out a community in the heart of the Garnet Mountains. In 1898, somewhere around 1,000 people called Garnet their home.

What is the scariest ghost town? ›

Bodie, California

The town has been preserved in a state of “arrested decay” by the California State Parks Department as the Bodie State Historic Park. Bodie has existed since about 1861 after gold was discovered and 20 years later had 10,000 people.

What is the largest mine in Montana? ›

The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine in the western United States, located in Butte, Montana. It is one mile (1.6 km) long by one-half mile (800 m) wide, with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet (540 m).

Is a Butte bigger than a mesa? ›

Buttes were once part of flat, elevated areas of land known as mesas or plateaus. In fact, the only difference between a mesa and a butte is its size. Most geographers say a butte is taller than it is wide, while a mesa is a much larger, slightly less elevated feature.

What is the most famous Butte? ›

Notable buttes

The Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley in the Utah-Arizona state line are two of the most distinctive and widely recognized buttes. Monument Valley and the Mittens provided backgrounds in the scenes of many western-themed films, including seven movies directed by John Ford.

Is it better to stay in West Yellowstone or Gardiner? ›

West Yellowstone, just outside the park, is the best place to stay near Yellowstone. It's relatively centrally located for exploring all parts of the park. Gardiner just near the North Entrance is another good place to stay for exploring Yellowstone, but it has fewer accommodation options and other facilities.

What are the disadvantages of living in Montana? ›

Cons of Living in Montana
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  • There is Not a Trader Joe's and Barely a Whole Foods Market.

Is Gardiner MT a good base for Yellowstone? ›

Gardiner is a great home base for the northern half of the park, putting you within about an hour of the Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. And there's plenty of places to stay in Gardiner, from hotels to cozy cabins.

How cold does it get in Gardiner Montana? ›

Some would describe it as freezing cold with a gentle breeze. For comparison, the hottest month in Gardiner, July, has days with highs of 73°F (23°C) and lows of 45°F (7°C). The coldest month, December has days with highs of 20°F (-7°C) and lows of 2°F (-17°C).

How long does it take to drive the Yellowstone Loop? ›

This loop connects visitors to every classic gem, from Mammoth Hot Springs near the North Entrance to Fountain Pots and Old Faithful near the West and South Entrances. Simply driving the entire distance, whether going clockwise or counter, could take four to seven hours.

What is the best month to visit Yellowstone National Park? ›

The best months to visit Yellowstone are April, September, and October. These “off season” months provide more chances to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife and enjoy thinner crowds. Bears emerge from hibernation between March and April, migrating birds arrive just before May, and the elk rut begins mid-September.

Is Montana tax friendly for seniors? ›

Montana is moderately tax-friendly toward retirees. Social Security income is partially taxed. Withdrawals from retirement accounts are fully taxed. Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is 5.90%.

Are people in Montana friendly? ›

14. People are friendly. Montanans wave to people they pass on the state's country roads and chat with strangers in cafes and diners.

Are people moving out of Montana? ›

Montana Is the Top Relocation Destination in the Country

In 2021, Montana had the highest net inflow of moves per capita, with 73% of moves inbound and just 23% outbound.

Which Yellowstone entrance is least crowded? ›

The East Entrance is a quiet entrance to Yellowstone since most tourists prefer the west! Therefore, it's great for anyone who wants to avoid crowds as much as possible. It is also accessible for those who are visiting from Cody or who are road-tripping from elsewhere in Wyoming or states further east.

What town is closest to Yellowstone Ranch? ›

The closest towns to Yellowstone are Gardiner, Montana which lies 3 minutes (0.7 mi) from Yellowstone's North Entrance. West Yellowstone is the next closest town and it is 4 minutes (0.9 mi) from Yellowstone's West Entrance.

What is the hardest hike in Yellowstone? ›

Specimen Ridge Trail is the hardest hike in Yellowstone. Plan on 17 miles with an elevation gain of 3,800 feet. You'll see bison, bears, bighorn sheep, and antelope!

What is the coldest month in Montana? ›

The average coldest month is January with typical winter temperatures ranging from a low of 15 degrees to a high of 55 degrees. The lowest recorded temperature was -43°F in 1936. For the winter sports enthusiast, the relatively low humidity and light winds provide an ideal climate for outdoor winter activities.

What is the coldest town in Montana? ›

Rogers Pass is the location of the lowest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous United States. On January 20, 1954, a low temperature of −70 °F (−57 °C) was recorded during a severe cold wave. Only Alaska, Antarctica, Canada, Greenland, China and Russia have recorded lower temperatures.

What is the snowiest month in Montana? ›

January is the coldest, snowiest, and iciest month of the year across the state.


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