Yellowstone will never be known for world-class dining, but that's not why you would travel there. Food inside the park is predictably decent and the dining rooms are in most cases dining hall-style spaces. Most people in search of a four- or five-star meal are willing to travel outside the park to Cody or Jackson Hole.
IN THE PARK
Old Faithful Inn. Sitting next to the most famous geyser in the world, the ambience can't be beat. Buffet available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Signature specialties include pan-seared elk medallions or pork osso buco. (307/344-7311 or travelyellowstone.com)
Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Enjoy a bit of Victorian-era hospitality (without dressing up) and the finest food in the Wyoming wilderness. There are views of the lake from the dining room and the comfortable lounge area off the lobby. (307/344-7901)
Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room. Located near Tower Fall, Roosevelt Lodge is a rustic log house and "corral operation" offering Old West, cowboy-style cookouts (866/439-7375 or travelyellowstone.com)
Mammoth Hotel Dining Room and Terrace Grill. Located a few miles from Yellowstone's North Entrance, what was once Fort Yellowstone is still home to park headquarters, and historic buildings from the days of the Fort. Offers views of the old Fort's parade grounds and former officers' quarters. Reservations are recommended during the winter season only. (866/439-7375 or 307/344-7311)
Community Food Co-Op. Sleek organic food store with a great upstairs coffee bar. $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 908 W. Main St.; 406/587-4039.
The Emerson Grill. In the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture, a convivial spot with savory pasta and a decent wine list. $$; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. 207 W. Olive St.; 406/586-5247.
John Bozeman's Bistro. Sophisticated, contemporary cuisine with a Montana twist ― for example, elk tenderloin and goat cheese on grilled focaccia. $$$$; lunch and dinner Tue-Sat. 125 W. Main St.; 406/587-4100.
Mackenzie River Pizza Co. Locally based chain, and good. $; lunch and dinner daily. 232 E. Main St.; 406/587-0055.
Red Lodge, MT
The Dining Room at the Pollard. The dining room lives up to the comfortable elegance of the hotel: tasty French toast for breakfast; pistachio-crusted salmon and other entrées for dinner. $$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 2 N. Broadway; 800/765-5273.
Red Lodge Cafe, Lounge & Casino. A neon tepee outside, a swell Rocky Mountain mural inside; buckwheat pancakes and burgers and home-baked pies. Really, what more could you want? $$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 16 and 18 S. Broadway; 406/446-1619.
West Yellowstone, MT
Bullwinkle’s Saloon & Eatery. Salads, steaks, burgers and not a bad wine list. 19 Madison Ave.; 406-646-7974.
Sidney’s Mountain Bistro. Sophisticated food in a mountain tourist town. 38 Canyon St.; 406-646-7660.
Irma Hotel Grill. Loaded with wild west history, a fun place for a meal or drink. $$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1192 Sheridan; 307/587-4221.
Maxwell's. Pastas and beef in a restored home with a pleasant patio. $$; lunch and dinner daily. 937 Sheridan; 307/527-7749.
Jackson Hole, WY
Jackson Hole Roasters. Grab a cup of joe and a pastry to go, or linger with the locals. 165 E. Broadway; 307/690-8065. jacksonholeroasters.com
Rendezvous Bistro A Jackson mainstay thanks to its innovative ways with American favorites. $$; 380 S. Broadway/U.S. 89 (about 15-20 minutes from Teton Village Road); 307/739-1100. rendezvousbistro.net
Old Yellowstone Garage. Italian cuisine in contemporary setting.
$$$; dinner Tue-Sun (reservations recommended). 175 Center St.; 307/734-6161.
Nora's Fish Creek Inn. Dinner menu includes trout prepared several ways. $$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. State 22 in Wilson; 307/733-8288.
Dornan’s Pizza Pasta Company. Good Italian food in a stunning setting―Dornan’s upper deck has a stupendous view of the mountains. The adjacent wine store is one of the best in the West. 12170 Dornan Road, Moose WY; 307-733-2415