Here’s the third in our series on “Finding Favorites” - this one is getting to the heart of what’s important to every traveler - well, maybe more like “to the stomach!” We’re sharing a list of thirteen great restaurants that are sure to end up on your list of favorites. There are dozens upon dozens of really good places to eat in Branson, and many more we could have easily included on this list - we wanted to offer different types of cuisine so anyone who accepts the challenge of trying all thirteen won’t get bored! We also stuck to dining you’ll only find in the greater Branson area. If you’re a frequent Branson guest and have fallen in love with a dining spot that you don’t see on our list, let us know by posting a quick note on facebook.
We didn’t put these wonderful restaurants in order of preference - they’re in alpha order - but we made sure to mention specific things that make each eatery a standout:
1. Billygail’s Cafe: If ample portions of breakfast food or a country-cookin’ style lunch is what makes your belly grumble, then this is your place! Platter-sized pancakes are a loyal customer favorite, as are the omelettes and biscuits & gravy. For a hearty lunch, try the Reuben or one of their half-pound burgers. Located on MO-265 near Indian Point and Silver Dollar City. (Cash only - no cards, but they have an ATM.)
2. Branson’s Center Stage Grille & Bar: Located right on the famous Strip, this is still one of dining’s best-kept secrets in Branson! Amazing food, with a nice variety that ranges from mouth-watering steaks to sweet and savory seafood offerings, you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu...and don’t miss the excellent coffees and fancy teas in the Kaffee Haus! Located on Highway 76 near Dick Clark’s Theater and Dolly Parton’s Stampede.
3. Chateau Grille: One of Branson’s most elegant dining experiences (although casual attire is acceptable,) the Grille boasts an eclectic menu of both land and water entrees. Try one of their dishes that’s locally-sourced, like the Slow Braised Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco or the Chorizo & Cornbread Stuffed Quail. Bonus - the view of Table Rock Lake is stunning! Located in Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center on MO-265 neighboring Table Rock Dam.
4. Danna’s Bar-B-Que & Burger Shop: A favorite with locals, who’ll tell you this is the best burger in Branson...and the barbecue beef, pork, and chicken are to die for! Meats for their barbecues are smoked onsite every day, and burgers are made from fresh ground beef, never frozen. Save room for their famous Memphis Rolls - a real delight! Two area locations - one on Highway 165 in Branson and another on Highway 13 in Branson West.
5. Dimitris’ Greek Gyros & Deli: Discerning diners who’ve been coming to Branson for more than 20 years will recall Dimitris’ floating restaurant on Lake Taneycomo. He now operates a cozy diner-style deli and he’s still delivering scrumptious Greek eats! Definitely try a gyro - the tzatziki sauce is amazing - and add a side of homemade potato salad. Family owned and operated, and it shows! Located in Historic Downtown Branson.
6. El Morro Tacos: Branson isn’t known for food trucks, but recent changes in a city ordinance means they’re starting to pop up more often, and El Morro Tacos has already become a local favorite! Tacos are the obvious specialty, but everything on the menu is fresh, made-to-order, and absolutely delicious! Loyal guests suggest that you try the Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob. Right now, you’ll find the El Morro Taco truck on MO-248 near the intersection with Gretna Road.
7. Gettin’ Basted: This barbecue joint was an instant Branson hit, quickly outgrowing its first location - it now sits in front of the Baldknobbers Inn. If you’re dining with a couple of friends, go all-out for the Judge’s Plate - it features brisket, ribs, chicken, and several other meats. The sandwich menu hits on styles from different BBQ-lovin’ cities, including Memphis, Austin, St. Louis, and Augusta. Located on The Strip - Highway 76.
8. The Hungry Hunter: One of those spots locals like to keep for themselves, it certainly lives up to its name - you may come in hungry, but generous portions means you’ll leave with a belly-full of homestyle cookin’! They serve lunch, but regulars opt for breakfast, especially the enormous pancakes. A simple, but cozy, atmosphere with friendly service keeps diners coming back time and again! Located on MO-165 in front of Trophy Run.
9. India Clay Oven: One of Branson’s best-reviewed eateries, this little gem is tucked into a strip mall and can be easy to miss. Everything from cleanliness to friendliness get top marks, but flavorful, authentic Indian cuisine is the real Branson “star” here! It’s highly recommended, especially for first-time diners (and anyone new to Indian food) that you try the weekend buffet. The staff is happy to explain what’s in the various dishes. Regardless of your entree selection, make sure you add an order of naan! Located on Highway 76 (next door to our Save On Branson Welcome Center.)
10. Keeter Center - Dobyn’s Dining Room: It’s called “Dobyn’s,” but most locals will relate better to “Keeter Center” and tell you where to find it! Cooking, serving, baking, and other tasks are handled by students of the college’s culinary program - many ingredients come from the school’s dairy farm, gardens, and other onsite sources. Sunday brunch is highly recommended, and so popular that reservations are encouraged, especially for holiday brunches. Located on the campus of College of the Ozarks.
11. Level 2 Steakhouse: You’ve heard from us about their steak, but everything else on the menu is more than worth a try! The upscale atmosphere, the attentive servers, the convenient and beautiful location, and the unique and interesting menu are all dining attributes at Level 2, but do yourself a favor and share the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna as a starter, followed by a juicy cut of meat sourced from a local farm specializing in highly-sought-after Wagyu Beef. Located in the Branson Convention Center Hilton Hotel.
12. St. James Winery & Restaurant: Another place that tops our list for beef - they serve an excellent Prime Rib - St. James has several irresistible dishes, including the Dagwood Wrap, Chicken Parmesan, and the Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad. And the menu makes it easy by offering a wine selection that pairs perfectly with every dish! Pick a good weather day to visit so you can dine in the lovely courtyard area. Located on MO-165 just a block from The Strip.
13. Worman House at Big Cedar Lodge: Currently, the most popular Big Cedar dining options are located at Top of the Rock, but we’re opting to stick with the beautiful, vintage feel of the Worman House. Open only for private gatherings and holidays, plan ahead and make reservations for their outstanding buffet for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, and a few other holidays - you can thank us later! Located at Big Cedar Lodge, just ten minutes south of Branson.
As we’ve already mentioned, Branson has more top-notch restaurants worth talking about - keep an eye on the Travel Guide at www.BransonShowTickets.com for upcoming dining posts. Go ahead and check out these recent articles on dining: “Branson for Dinner! 8 Great “Only in Branson” Places for Steak & Prime Rib!” and “Branson’s St. James Winery - Discover Award-Winning Wine & Unforgettable Eats!” For more comprehensive dining information, including a list of nearly every restaurant in Taney and Stone Counties, visit www.dinebranson.com.