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Whitefish has a population of 6500 but 32 restaurants plus a scattering of coffee shops, pizza outlets and breakfast and lunch counters. This is one of the highest restaurant per person ratios in the country and adds to the enjoyment of spending a week here. Don't expect a lineup of Elk and Trout menus. The list here includes Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and Thai, and the better restaurants have chefs from the nation's top culinary institutes with internships and first jobs in some of the nation's elite kitchens. Eating out in Whitefish is as exciting as the skiing. Prices here are quite reasonable by city and ski resort standards. However, service is overwhelmed in two waves a day. Skiiers flood in for breakfast before hitting the slopes, then flood in again after coming off the slopes and showering. If you can time your breakfasts and dinners before or after these waves, you'll get a lot faster service and avoid waiting for a table. We've included a photo of downtown in May because without all the snow and Winter decorations it shows off the buildings better. restaurant
Swift Creek Cafe

The best breakfasts in Whitefish are served at the Swift Creek Cafe. If you're staying up on the mountain, you won't come down into town just to eat here, but if you're staying anywhere in town, this should be your stop before boarding the shuttle for the slopes. They have all the traditional breakfast items, but it's their creative additions that make the menu. The Scrambled Eggs are legendary. The Glacier Scramble features ham, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese and zucchini scrambled with two eggs. The Silver Tip Scramble adds spinach, swiss cheese and sausage to the eggs. A Spanish Scramble adds in jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and salsa. A Veggie Scramble adds broccoli, carrots and olives. Then there's Huevos Rancheros, with black beans, jack cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream scrambled with eggs and served on a corn tortilla. Their French Toast is made with thickly sliced whole wheat bread seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg plus your choice of strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, bacon, sausage and/or ham. A "hobo' version of these dishes adds grilled potatoes. There are six kinds of Omelettes (never mind that their Scrambles are really a kind of Omelette) and four Breakfast Burritos. They have consistently won awards for each of these breakfast items. Portions are designed for hearty outdoors people needing a morning's worth of fuel to keep warm and keep moving in the snow and cold. We highly advise arriving before 9 a.m. to beat the rush. 307 2nd Street East. 406-862-9136.

Loula's occupies the Masonic Lodge at 300 2nd Street East, 406-862-5614. The place is filled with local photography and paintings. Chef Shaun McCollum is a graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Breakfast includes Omelettes, French Toast, Scambles, Pancakes, Burritos, Huevos, etc. Lunch features a Wrap and 10 Sandwiches, five Salads, Burritos, Enchiladas and a fine cup of Coffee. Try the Huckleberry Lemonade. But it's Dinner where McCollum and his staff show their stuff. There are Crab Cakes, Calamari and Huckleberry Jalapeno Baked Brie. Salads include Mixed Greens, Calamari Caesar, Goat Cheese and Roast Beet & Arugula. The star of the five Sandwiches is the Prime Rib Melt, a sliced prime rib on fresh baked hoagie with grilled onions, provolone cheese and horseradish sauce. White Truffle Mac n Cheese is unique. Entrees start with Chicken Pot Pie and Shrimp Crawfish Etouffe, but somebody at your table must order the Scallop Arrabbiata. This is a magnificent version of the old Deep South dish : scallops, basil, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, pepper, olive oil, parmesan, served over pasta. Other Entrees are Stout Beer Meat Loaf, Southern Fried Chicken, Crab Stuffed Salmon, Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast, Rib Eye, Walleye and Seared Scallops. There's a strong Wine list, plus a nice selection of regular and local craft beers. These are Montana's best pies; you must try some. Loula's
Lodge at Whitefish Lake There are a dozen notable restaurants in Whitefish, but the Lodge at Whitefish Lake Restaurant has won the most awards. It's the priciest, so many skiiers make it a tradition to eat there their last night as a grand finale. Appetizers include Crab Cakes, Elk Meatballs, a Meat/Cheese/Fruit Tray and Beef Tenderloin. There are three very bountiful Salads, a standard French Onion Soup and a Soup of the Day. Entrees include Scallops, Salmon, Sea Bass, Pork Chop, Elk Tenderloin, Cioppini, Fried Chicken, Duck, Meatloaf and a Vegetable Gateau (a cake containing mushrooms, kale, goat cheese, romesco and fried arancini). There's a separate steak menu. It features Filet Mignon, Bone In Ribeye, New York Strip, Blackened Ribeye, Petite Filet Mignon and Slow Roasted Prime Ribeye. These are Allen Brothers steaks, an elite company specializing in hormone free, grass fed, free range, expertly cut meats for high end restaurants.
The Tupelo Grille specializes in Cajun and Southern cuisine in a sleek, modernist environment. Danish chef Cecilie Andersson tries to use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, although the Cajun - Southern angle makes this difficult. Appetizers include Duck & Waffle, Spicy Mussels, Bayou Catfish Strips, Shrimp & Crawfish Cakes, Roast Cauliflower and Seared Tuna. They serve a French Onion Soup, but the one you must order is the Chicken & Andouille Gumbo. Of the three Salads, we like their Fennel, Arugula and Pine Nut with watermelon and radish under a lemon vinnaigrette. Which brings us to the Entrees : Elk Meatloaf, Pork Ribeye, Lamb, Chicken, Fish of the Day, Shrimp & Grits, Four Cheese Mac n Cheese, Crawfish Shrimp Cake, and a few rotating Seafood and Vegetarian items. There's a creative Bar and Tapas Menu. Tupelo Grille
Buffalo Cafe

The Buffalo Cafe built its reputation on its Breakfasts, and they're still spectacular. They offer Breakfast Entrees you don't find anywhere else. A 7 0z. Bone In Ham Steak with eggs, hash browns and toast. Six kinds of Omelettes (some masquerading as "Scrambles" and "Trtail Eggs"), six kinds of Huevos, and a creation called Buffalo Pies, which include poached eggs, ham, cheese, green chiles, bacon bits, onions and pepper jack. Dinner is similarly creative. You must sample the Roast Poblano/Simmered Pork Chile and the Hot Veggie Salad : grilled mixed vegetables on a bed of spinach with cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, cheese, chicken, salmon and something called Purple Cabbage Dressing. There's Flat Iron Steak, Walleye, Salmon, Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Mac n Cheese, Shrimp Tacos, Pork Enchiladas, and, finally an Adobado Burrito. This creation includes ribeye steak, red chili sauce, onions, jalapenos, garlic, mozzarella, salsa, sour cream, rice and black beans. There are also seven Burgers. Beer coineisseurs love The Buffalo's tremendous list of Montana craft brews.


The Zucca Marketplace Bistro is a cutting edge Mediterranean eatery at 17 Spokane Avenue. They emphasize gluten free and heart healthy foods. It's not a big menu, but the food is excellent. There are 10 very fresh Salads and a Soup of the Day. There are also four Wraps : Veggie, two Chicken and a Turkey. They crank out the eight Paninis on an iron grille. Zuccas is mostly a lunch outlet, so it might not match your daily skiing schedule, but you might drop by on your arrival or departure day. Zucca Marketplace Bistro
ciao mamba Ciao Mamba is the best Italian restaurant in northwest Montana, with a cutting edge menu and talented kitchen. There's a long Appetizer list, but our favorites are the Tootsie Rolls (thin wrappers stuffed with cheese and pesto), Squid, and Bocconcini Fritti (mozzarella balls with spicy marinara). We're Soup lovers and their five are excellent : Tomato Basil with Bocconcini, Sausage & Pepper, Beer Cheese with Tortellini, Minestrone, and Egg Drop Tortellini. They do offrer 10 Pizzas, all very good, but we'd recommend you resist the temptation and try some of the Enrees. All the classics are here : Lasagna, Eggplant Parmigiana, Bolognese, Gnocchi, Manicotti, Veal Scaloppini, Steak Marsala, Saltimbocca, Spaghetti and the usual Pastas, Linguinis and Fettuccinis. The Wine list is heavy on Italians, but includes a good selection of Californias, Washingtons, Argentinas, Australias and others. Portions are large. 234 2nd Street East.
Latitude 48 is a Mediterranean bistro upstairs over the Latitude 48 bar. This is a very tasteful, very modern big city restaurant somehow operating in the small town of Whitefish. We love their Seared Beef Tips, Crab Cakes and Braised Rabbit Fettucini, but their entire Appetizer list is filled with great choices. Somebody at your table must order the Sweet Potato Soup and pass it around. We think their Roast Beet Salad is their best salad, but they offer several others. They offer six Pizzas, all excellent. The Pan Seared Pheasant is the star of their Entree show, but the Rainbow Trout, Fire Roasted Chicken, and New York Strip are close seconds. The Steak Frites (steak and fries) is a great alternative. It's a hanger steak, with brussell sprouts and rosemary, in a shallot sauce. The Wine list is excellent and is heavy with France, Italy, California, Washington, Australia and New Zealand. 147 Central Avenue, 406-863-9343. Latitude 48
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