Best Restaurant 

Red Bird

Readers' Pick

Also, BEST ROMANTIC DINING, BEST RESTAURANT SERVICE and BEST RESTAURANT WINE LIST

Ever since Red Bird opened in 1996, it has been the measure of Missoula fine dining. The reason is simple: a perfect balance of warm atmosphere, exemplary service and mouth-watering meals. It doesn’t hurt that chef/owner Jim Tracey and his wife, Laura Waters, demonstrate a dedication to local ingredients and, with the addition of the Red Bird Wine Bar in 2006, one of the best local jazz nights (Mondays) in town. Those still in need of convincing—and, considering the restaurant’s long-standing grip on these categories, there aren’t many of you—let us recommend the grilled bison tenderloin topped with melted montagnola cheese, which comes alongside a Flathead cherry chutney. If there’s a better prepared, quintessentially Montana meal than that one, we haven’t found it. Red Bird: 120 W. Front; 549-2906; redbirdrestaurant.com

FINALISTS:

2. Pearl Café: 231 E. Front 541-0231; pearlcafe.us

3. Biga Pizza: 241 W. Main; 728-2579; bigapizza.com

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