I know what you’re thinking: Bismarck, North Dakota is far from the culinary capital of the world. Heck, it’s not even the culinary capital of North Dakota (thanks, Fargo). However, there are some real gems in Bismarck, and you should definitely consider popping by one of them next time you’re in town!
I lived in Western North Dakota for several years, and found myself in Bismarck pretty regularly to catch flights out of its single-terminal, 4-gate airport. I came to know and love a few restaurants over time—there aren’t that many options—which I think deserve the titles of best places to eat in Bismarck, North Dakota. Sure, there was a lot of trial and error, but the restaurants in this post are tip-top.
Just like the culinary world, any foodie city guide is constantly changing! If you have a favorite spot you think might belong on this list, let me know in the comments. In addition, if you do go to any of these wonderful establishments after reading this guide, I’d love to hear about it!
Let’s get started!
If you’re heading to North Dakota’s only National Park after visiting Bismarck, check out my guide to visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park (where I worked as a Park Ranger)!
Best Pizza in Bismarck: Fireflour Pizza
When you ask people what the best restaurant in Bismarck is, they will most likely say either Fireflour Pizza or Blarney Stone (which I’ll talk about next). Fireflour is a self-proclaimed Neapolitan pizzeria and craft coffee bar. Pretty fancy. I’ve eaten Neapolitan pizza in Naples, so I was only cautiously optimistic about eating it in North Dakota, but Fireflour Pizza is SO GOOD.
The wood fired oven was literally built in Naples and shipped over. The ingredients are fresh and pretty dang gourmet, at least if the amount of Italian on their menu is any indicator. I don’t know what la quercia prosciutto is, but it sounds fancier than regular prosciutto and I’m into it. Same goes for you, Berkshire fennel sausage and Sicilian oregano.
A plain 12″ cheese pizza will run you $12, which really isn’t bad for the quality. They also offer breakfast, craft coffee, beer, and lots of wine. I’ve never had anything less than amazing pizza, beer, and lots of wine at Fireflour.
Best Pub in Bismarck: Blarney Stone
The vibe of Blarney Stone, like Fireflour, is definitely ~classy casual~. Blarney Stone is decorated like an old fashioned Irish tavern and offers a mix of typical American gastropub food and traditional Irish food. For example, you’ve got fish n chips, bangers and mash, Irish strew made with Guinness, etc. but also a bunch of mouthwatering burgers, mozzarella sticks, and nachos. The service here has always been awesome, too. I think Blarney Stone is my favorite “nice date night” place in Bismarck (my boyfriend would argue Panera bread because he once saw our local weatherman there… I am not kidding. Classic North Dakota).
Note: you do have to be 21 or older to even eat here, since it’s technically a bar. On that note, the Ireland-inspired cocktails are delicious and hilariously named. Fancy a Nutty Irishman? Maybe a Celtic Cooler? Magners and Baileys are obviously present in many of them. Hit ’em up at Happy Hour and try them all!
Best Asian Food in Bismarck: Noodlezip
Noodlezip’s tagline is “Authentic. Casual. Asian.” and that about sums it up. I never expected to find such delicious Asian food in the rural Midwest, but Noodlezip is really, really delicious. Some highlights are their side of red kimchi, pork buns, pho, ramen, and pad Thai.
I usually take pause when I see a restaurant trying to serve like, eight different nationalities of food at once. I feel like it’s hard to do that many things well. However, Noodlezip nails the Japanese ramen as hard as the Vietnamese pho, and don’t get me started on the pad Thai. It’s all solid, including the house sake and Asian beer selection! Just look at this menu and try not to salivate.
Much like Fireflour and Blarney Stone, the ingredients at Noodlezip always taste fresh and authentic. I would say Noodlezip is the most casual dining experience of the top three. It was first recommended to me by a hipster foodie friend, so you know Noodlezip is legit. For a blissful moment, you’ll feel transported to a trendy noodle bar—because that’s what it is.
Heading to the big city? Check out my fun mini-guide to cool spots to eat in NYC!
Best Affordable Burger and Fries: JL Beers
JL Beers is a North Dakota (and a little into Western Minnesota?) burger n’ beer joint chain. I am the first to say boo to chain restaurants, but if you’re gonna be a chain in any state isn’t North Dakota the humblest? I think so.
Anyway, JL Beers made this list because it’s affordable and reliably good. It’s hard to mess up when you have two menu items. Okay, I’m rounding down a tad; along with beef burgers, they offer chicken breast or black bean patties. Along with fresh-cut fries, they offer fresh-cut chips. I worked at the Watford City JL Beers briefly, and I swear, I still daydream about their food from several states away to this day.
The main attraction at JL Beers is the draft beer. There are always 30ish draft beers from around the country/world on offer! You can sample them before you commit to one, too. Some of my favorites in the past have been Hofbrau’s Hefeweisen (Germany), Kona Big Wave (Hawaii) and Laughing Sun Red Dwarf (Bismarck)!
Like Blarney Stone, you have to be 21 to be in here.
Best for a Special Occassion: Pirogue Grille
Pirogue Grille is fancy, if you couldn’t tell from the way they spell “grille”. Chef Stuart used to work at Pebble Beach in Florida, the hella famous exclusive golf course. Even I’ve heard of Pebble Beach.
Be warned, the cheapest entree on their menu (chicken breast stuffed with smoked cheddar with an apple slaw garnish) is over $20 at time of writing. It’s all obscenely tasty and gourmet. If the dinner price tags alarm you, you could always just come here for a supremely classy dessert after dinner at somewhere more affordable (this is a move I’ve perfected after years of being a poor college student but with a taste for the finer things, once in a while). You could also get an appetizer, salad, and dessert for the price of one entree. The portions aren’t huge, but damn it if Pirogue Grille hasn’t masted the entire concept of quality over quantity.
Long story short: if you want a VERY NICE dinner in Bismarck, even if that also means VERY EXPENSIVE, come here!
Best Vegan/Vegetarian Options: Terra Nomad Company
First of all, I want you to just go to Terra Nomad’s website for a second. This place is just so trendy and cool. I’m literally intimidated by their home page. It’s more of a lunch/bakery situation, that prides itself on fresh, local ingredients and working with local farmers. The menu even tells you which farm some of the dishes are sourced from, which is so cool. Another spot that feels trendy in the best way.
I highly recommend any and all of their “sconewiches”, which are sandwiches made with savory cheesy scones as bread (anywhere between $10-$13). Always ask if there’s anything new or special here, since I think creativity with whatever local ingredients they have on hand is kinda Terra Nomad’s whole thing.
Best Brewery in Bismarck: Laughing Sun Brewery
Laughing Sun Brewery is not technically a food establishment… but dang, their beer is the bomb dot com. The brewery had a super cool atmosphere, very low key and relaxing (at least when I’ve been there). They play good music and the bartenders really know their stuff.
There you have it. What’s YOUR favorite restaurant in Bismarck? Are you a fan of any of the above? Holla at me in the comments!