Welcome to Omaha, my home town. It’s an amazing city filled with equally amazing restaurants. If you’re in town for an event like the College World Series or the Olympic Swim Trials, we’re glad you’re here. Since you’ll need some recommendations of where to eat, I want to share my favorites with you and offer a plan for the best places to restaurant hop over a weekend in Omaha. Enjoy!
Now that you have traveled all the way to Omaha to visit family or friends, support your college baseball team, or have one of the sold out tickets for the Olympic Swim Trials, it is time to enjoy my city. As a true foodie and resident of the Old Market area in Omaha, Nebraska, I want to share my favorite places to eat with you.
These restaurants are our “go to” places to eat located within the actual Old Market district. On a weekend, you will find us literally traveling from one to the other. (I explain how we do it below.) You should know that a few of these restaurants have even been featured in the New York Times food section and other national publications. But, this is not why we eat there! We eat at these establishments because the food and people are amazing.
If your team makes it to the finals, you have plenty of time to hit all of these. If we can do it all in one weekend, so can you! Let’s go!
Friday Dinner in Omaha
Make reservations at V Mertz. Located downstairs in the Old Market Passage Way, V Mertz is an Omaha classic. The GM is an advanced sommelier and we trust him with all our wine needs. He believes that it’s not about what he likes, but learning our tastes through conversation.
The food is a special treat, so plan on spending some time eating your way down the menu. The small plates are perfect for sharing to have a few tastes, but I suggest no matter what, you start with the charcuterie. Made in-house, each part is a special bite. We eat here a lot, so we always pick something new on the menu. That said, t’s hard not to love the classic peppercorn steak. Just be sure to finish your dinner with a Candy Bar, but don’t ask for David’s (my husband), it’s saved for him.
Saturday Morning in Omaha
Hit The Diner at the corner of 12th and Harney. If you don’t see it, keep walking. It’s set on the south corner. And yes, they have mimosas! The owners Rick or Ken are so much fun. When I need to know anything about anything or just need a break, you can find me at the counter having breakfast or lunch. You can order whatever you want for breakfast, BUT, make sure you get a side of their special bacon. Let’s just say maple syrup is involved. Don’t forget some biscuits for the table. Ricky makes the best biscuits.
Saturday Lunch in Omaha
This was such a hard decision, but I’ll tell you what we do. We often start at Le Bouillon for lunch on the porch, enjoy a few drinks, head home for a nap, and come back for dinner. I swear it’s the truth! Haley, the GM, Charles, the waiter (who giggles when we are back) or Granville, the most wonderful bartender, can attest for us. He knows just how to make my secret drink. The punch on the weekend is always good, but my secret drink is better.
The food is French comfort food. The lunch has a steak with fried capers that is out of this world. We also enjoy getting a few small plates and a toast to share. The other dish I highly recommend is the gnocchi. It is the most wonderful mix of flavor bites. If you can’t tell, Le Bouillon is our favorite “go to.” If they tell you about us, it’s probably true. We have enjoyed Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, slept, and showed up in the morning for their Sunday brunch. After you nap, you can head back there or explore another neighborhood favorite.
Saturday Dinner in Omaha
Here we offer you two choices depending in the food you would like: a Chinese menu with excellent sushi or Italian.
Hiro 88 serves classic Chinese dishes with a very clean taste. Everything is fresh and cooked so veggies are just perfect, not all over done. The sushi menu is extensive and the small plates have many newly added items that we are working our way through. Make sure you try one of their specialty drinks that the owner Charlie and staff created.
You can also step across the street in the Old Market to my favorite patio in town. Nicola’s serves traditional Italian from recipes have been in the family for years. I love the classics like meatballs and spaghetti, while my hubby always enjoys puttanesca or the chicken and veggies. Just make sure you leave room for dessert. Nicola, the owner, is a wonderful dessert specialist. You can even find her at the Farmers’ Market Saturday mornings under the pink tent.
Sunday Brunch in Omaha
Sleep in a bit on Sunday, but not too much, because you don’t want to miss brunch at the Kitchen Table. Long one of my favorites, no matter what time of day, yet the brunch takes the cake, even if it is a pancake. Don’t think too hard when you get there; stick to the 1-2-3 menu.
You will start with their homemade bread with butter and jam. Then, for the next two courses, you pick one out of each section. For 2, we choose a yogurt or rice cereal. I get one and hubby gets the other and we share. Three is the easiest for me: grits with poached eggs no matter what else is on them. You can also choose between the breakfast sandwich, pancakes, and more. Please say hi to the owners, Colin and Jessica, for us.
Sunday Happy Hour in Omaha
Wrap up the weekend with Sunday Happy Hour and an early dinner at Plank. The happy hour menu will fill you up with so many options, including oysters on the half shell. We generally order a lot and share. But you can’t get away with just that, because you must try their lobster roll. It is one of those clean lobster rolls; not over mayoed, and the bun is perfectly seasoned. If you’re craving a salad, we order the Greek with shrimp and the lobster wedge. Heaven!
A few other of our favorites are…
- The BoilerRoom Restaurant
- 801 ChopHouse
- Wilson Washburn
Enjoy my town and be sure to eat your way through it! See you at the College World Series games and the Olympic Swim Trials!