We were drawn into trying out Bearscat for the name alone. I mean, it is such an enticing option, a bakery named bearscat, that we couldn't pass it up. Just south of I94 in north Bismarck, this little building had the most intriguing name of the entire trip.
It is a large bakery inside, focusing mostly on morning donuts, rolls, muffins, and pastries, especially the donuts. They had all varieties, served up warm and fresh. Their specialty, however, is the bearscat donut, a chocolate old-fashioned-like donut that is not round, but instead shaped like... well, you get the picture (and if you don't, a slightly fuzzy shot is included). The donuts were terrific, delicious and sweet. The only downside is the cappuccino. According to my companions that ordered it, it tasted burnt and processed, not freshly brewed espresso. So beware the coffee, but come for the doughy goodness!
The Blarney Stone is located on the Main Street of Bismarck, right in the heart of the downtown area. It has multiple levels inside, lots of seating, as well as an enclosed patio area that overlooks the street. While it has the atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub, a lot of dark wood paneling and old beer signs on the walls, it also has the trappings of a sports bar, with multiple TVs set up to allow patrons to enjoy a variety of sports.
The food also trends towards traditional Irish pub fare: corned beef, bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, fish and chips. It also keeps a selection of other bar fare (sandwiches, burgers, nachos, etc.) on hand which are quite tasty. They actually have several different dishes that all play with the bruschetta theme (the mixture of tomatoes, herbs, and onions that make up the appetizer found in Italian restaurants). You can get a bruschetta salad, with the same mixture on a pile of lettuce, as well as a bruschetta burger, slathered on top of a beef patty.
I have had the shepherd's pie there, which was tasty, if a bit small. Good chunks of beef and veg in a thick broth, topped with mashed potatoes. And I have had the fish and chips. Good waffle fries nestled against two fried pieces of cod. The fish was a bit small, but very tasty.
Blarney Stone holds a good supply of beer, both on tap and n bottles. They do a seasonal rotation of beers, microbrews mostly, as well as your standards. All in all, a good place for a dinner or a late night on the town.
Fiesta Villa is a fun place to eat. Located in the old Northern Pacific train depot (which is a beautiful railroad building, worthy of a look for its own sake), this restaurant is large, lots of indoor seating, but when the weather is nice, the back patio is a nice, secluded little space to enjoy dinner. We've been there a few times, sitting on the patio in the summer evening warmth, the trains passing with their horns blaring. The atmosphere is terrific, there is usually live music on the patio as well, local bands and far-away bands, from bluegrass to rock.
The food is a good take on Mexican food. I've had the machaca burrito, steak-filled with all the trimmings, and smothered in a spicy green salsa (as a person who makes his own salsa most of the time, this one had beads of sweat on my forehead). I've ordered the carnitas as well, crispy and juicy. Both are very respectable. Villa also has a good drink menu, with regular and flavored margaritas and a good selection of tequila.
If you're looking for a good night out in Bismarck, Fiesta Villa does not disappoint, either for the atmosphere or your palate.
Where am I? Roswell, New Mexico?
This Alien theme restaurant provided some decent food, in a comical 'alien' environment. It's more a place for kids, but I was amused as well.
Favorite Dish: I ordered some of the ribs. The small portion tasted delicious.
The co-owner is a wonderful Mexican-American lady from California and she knows what she's doing. They catered our wedding reception and we were delighted! Spot-on Mexican-American dishes in New York-sized servings. As a longtime fan of Mex and Tex/Mex cuisine, I give Los Amigos the highest possible recommendation.
Favorite Dish: Check out the buffet with a glass of sangria, and if you're feeling a bit adventurous, try the menudo on a cold winter's day.
In homage to Bismarck's German heritage, I wanted to try some traditional German fare while I was in town. Given, what I know about German food can be written in mustard on a bratwurst. After asking around, several locals steered me toward Kroll’s, which appears to be more of a standard diner than a German eatery. The service was great, but the food was horrible.
Favorite Dish: There were only two German dishes on the menu, fleischkuchle (a turnover stuffed with various savory fillings) and knoepfla soup (a dumpling soup). I ordered them both.
First, the soup was the better of the two, which isn’t saying much. It was standard knoepfla – dumplings and potatoes in chicken broth with cream added. I have since had two other versions of knoepfla, and this is a pretty standard concoction. Personally, it seems a little starchy and bland to me, but may fit well in the comfort food category.
The fleischkuchle is the real tragedy here. I really have nothing to compare the Kroll’s version to, but I know that this was bad and difficult to even choke down. The turnover part was something similar to phyllo dough. Inside was a large quantity of air (like a popover) and a patty of somewhat grayish, rubbery ground meat. There was no spice, sauce, or other enhancements. The waitress offered me ketchup, so that must be the standard accompaniment. I tried the ketchup, and it was still greasy and tastelessness. I truly hope this is not representative of German food. Otherwise, poor Germans!
I came here for the wireless access (a small fee is charged), but the coffee ended up being a pleasant surprise. It's made just the way I like it - very strong with no hint of bitterness. The shop itself is cute - bright-colored flavored syrups are used to decorate, and there has always been great music playing (but not too loud). This is a great place to go on a Sunday morning.
Tucked into a plaza (and looking suspiciously like an old video store), Country House is a decent place for a quick lunch, and a much better alternative to fast food chains. The deli meats seem pretty authentic for Bismarck, but the bread is far from the best. I had their sourdough, which was a light, fluffy roll (??). The atmosphere is comfortable with a slight ice cream parlor feel. It is certainly a nice place to sit and chat, but not at all fancy – bare tables and paper napkins. The staff seemed friendly, and most of the patrons seemed to be regulars. My lunch seemed a bit expensive for what I got (a small sandwich and a cup of soup for $9). This spot is not worth a special trip, but provides a little bit of local flavor for a hungry visitor.
Favorite Dish: Try the beer cheese soup - it's made in the authentic style (it is white, rather than nacho-cheese-dip orange). It is VERY salty, but if you can hack the sodium content, it's pretty good.
This place was packed for a weekday lunch, and seems to attract folks who work in nearby downtown Bismarck. The restaurant itself is pretty small, which enhanced the crowdedness. It was never, however, loud or unpleasant. Three lunch specials were offered, and each was very tempting. A peek at the menu revealed that there is an option to please just about everyone, including those who don't want a traditional "Italian meal." The wine and beer list appeared to be extensive for this neck of the woods. A word of warning - the service is a tiny bit slow, but ultimately very good. Just make sure you have a bit of time if you head there for weekday lunch.
Favorite Dish: Had the chicken & bacon pasta special. It was excellent.
If you EVER find yourself in Bismarck, you MUST go to the Wood House. I don't care if you're just driving through or have to go out of your way. This is not optional. The restaurant itself is a throwback - you seat yourself and use a phone located in the booth to order. Waitstaff bring your initial beverage, but after that, you're on your own (you get refills yourself). Those things may make it a fun place to take kids, but for the adults, this place has the best diner-type food I think I have ever had.
Favorite Dish: Burgers - I had the double cheese. There is also a super cheap drive-through special - a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke for less than $5. Brilliant. Oh, caution when ordering - the burgers, etc., are a la carte. If you want fries you have to specify the platter.
This is one of the rare authentic Asian restaurants in North Dakota. The food is very fresh and the meals are excellent. If one isn't familiar with Vietnamese food, the menu explains the dishes very well; there are also some more familiar choices such as egg rolls. Put it this way; the place was good enough that I went there every weekend during my seven week stay.
Favorite Dish: Every thing I have tried so far is good. My favorite is the Coconut curry chicken; I also greatly enjoy the spring rolls. Other dishes I have tried include the beef stew and a grilled pork dish that I cannot remeber the name of.
In general, the best food is on the weekends when you can order from a menu; during the weekdays there is a buffet, which is pretty good, but not as good as the menu food. (Note that it is closed on Sundays, as are many establishments in Bismarck).
Built just a few years ago, this "hunting camp" outpost restaurant is filled with hunting trophees of beast hunted by the owner.
They know their beef and fish, they cook them superbly, like they should.
Forget the fancy stuff, you will find crooked tables made of big plank of wook covered with varnish, paper napkins, suspect salad bar, but everything is excellent!
Favorite Dish: The beer is cold.
The steak is cook to perfection.
The fish are big and well cooked, most from the region too.
Try the Rib Steak or a Charbonneau Prime Rib... hummmm!
It is more of an upscale dining place.
Very warm, confortable, great service.
The seafood and fish are delicious, steak too, and side dishes and desserts!.
All in all, a great culinary experience.
I don't know the schedule but they have often live music, either a guitarist or small band.
Very good Mexican food, better than big chain Mexican, cozy ambiance.
Big deception, the margaritas tasted like powder. That often breaks the deal for me. But the food was great.
Favorite Dish: Chimichangas, the chalupa, chile relleno and pico de gallo
Two faced restaurant, the first is a classy booth style and private dining room, the second more pub like restaurant with central bar, old pictures on the wall, and more activity.
The dining room is nice, attention to details, great place to have a date or business dinner.
The menu is interesting in itself as it gives insights on the history of this building that used to be the Patterson Hotel. Close to the train station, it looks like it hosted a brothel with ladies would get to the hotel passing under the street from the train station, haha.
Favorite Dish: Blackened cajun walleye.
There is also a Cajun combo with shrimp that is delicious.