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The 5 Best Dishes in Billings

Photo Courtesy of Ciao Mambo Billings Facebook Page

I’m a “foodie”.  I eat out almost every night.  After moving to Billings last year, I have been impressed with the number of quality restaurants for a town of this size.  There are a few things missing from the Billings food scene, namely a good Vietnamese noodle house and a mediterranean grill that doesn’t suck (the Athenian is terrible), but that’s to be expected. All things considered, it’s not hard to find a good meal in Billings. Especially if you’re looking for a steak.

After dining at almost every restaurant in town, here’s my picks for the 5 best dishes in Billings.

1.  Pasta Ravenna at Ciao Mambo – It’s hard to go wrong at this downtown Italian restaurant. The entire menu is excellent and the service and ambiance are perfect for any date night.  But the Pasta Ravenna is the best of the bunch.  Bowtie pasta, grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms in a roasted garlic cream sauce.  It’s pricey, but worth every penny.

2.  Butter Chicken at the India Grill – You wouldn’t expect to find great ethnic food in Billings, but this place is authentic.  Located in a quiet strip mall on 24th West, this place doesn’t look impressive, but it is.  If you try to the lunch buffet, you can sample many outstanding dishes from the menu.  But the Butter Chicken is the standout.  Boneless chicken marinated in traditional Indian spice sauce prepared in Tandoor and cooked in butter sauce.  And that sauce is exquisite.  Make sure to order extra naan bread to soak it up with.

3.  Spinach Enchiladas at Don Luis – Along with Asian cuisine, there aren’t many great options for Mexican fare in Billings.  Don Luis is the best, by far.  The chef is from San Martin De Bloaños, Jalisco, a small village where he learned family recipes from his mother.  And you can tell.  They have a large menu and it’s all good, but the Spinach Enchiladas are one of the best Mexican entrees I’ve had anywhere.  And I lived in California and Arizona.

4.  The Blackened Sabbath at The Burger Dive – What can we say about the Burger Dive that hasn’t already been said?  They were recently voted the best burger in America at the prestigious Burger Bash festival in Miami.  And deservedly so.  Sadly, the secret is out about this place.  It’s hard to find a seat at lunch time, so expect to wait at least 30 minutes to eat.  Again, there are many delectable burgers on the menu.  But there’s a reason why the Blackened Sabbath is their signature sandwich.  While you’re there, get one of their shakes and thank me later.

5.  Crab Cakes at Bin 119 – Normally, I wouldn’t recommend seeking out crab cakes when you’re 800 miles from the nearest ocean.  However, the crab cakes at this upscale downtown Bistro are legit.  The crab is fresh and brilliantly seasoned.  But the real star of this dish is the yellow coconut curry sauce they serve it with.  It’s so good, I would pour it on my cereal.  Seriously, it’s that good.

I deliberately left steaks off this list because there are so many great steakhouses to choose from in Billings.  Montana is a meat and potatoes state and it’s hard to find a bad steak in this town.  But if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, take it from a fat guy who dines out almost every night, these are the best entrees Billings has to offer.

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