Given the park’s size and the distances between its developed hubs and the gateway towns, you’re something of a captive audience when it comes to dining at Yellowstone: You’ll likely find yourself lining up for a seat at the concessionaire-run restaurants at least a few times (it’s that or stick only to your camp stove). Generally, prices are high and the food ranges from adequate to pretty good—these outfits serve millions of people a year, and it shows. Still, the higher-end restaurants can offer up a memorable experience, and many menus prioritize local, sustainable and/or organic ingredients.
Mammoth Hot Springs
You have three options for grub near the Mammoth terraces—deli sandwiches and ice cream at the general store, quick cafeteria food at Terrace Grill, and sit-down meals at the Mammoth Hotel Dining Room.
Canyon Village Area
All four options in this bustling area are designed for quick meals. There’s the 50’s-style Canyon Soda Fountain in the general store, where you can grab a cheeseburger and malt; Canyon Lodge Deli for hot dogs and sandwiches; and Canyon Lodge Cafeteria. Xanterra plans to completely revamp the Canyon Lodge food service into a full-service dining room and a fast/fresh/healthy restaurant debuting in summer 2017, but it wasn’t open for sampling at press time.
Here, it’s best to pick either low or high ends of the dining spectrum: The mid-price meals at Lake Lodge Cafeteria are decent at best, so you’re better off upgrading to the Lake Hotel’s dining room for anything more than deli grub. On the casual side, you can get basic sandwiches, salads, and soups at the general stores (one near Lake Lodge and one at Fishing Bridge) or Lake Yellowstone Hotel Deli.
Like many of the park’s developed areas, Grant Village features a few casual establishments and one higher-end dining room. But unlike the others, one of Grant’s quick-service restaurants comes with a truly killer view and fantastic wildlife-watching. At Lake House Restaurant, dine on noodle bowls, pho, and banh mi sandwiches with a vista that’s as lakefront as you can get—the building extends out over the water on a pier. Early risers will find the best sunrise breakfast around, and wildlife fans may spot pelicans and grizzly bears on the adjacent sandbars, especially in springtime. Grant General Store also offers fast-food burgers and sandwiches.
Old Faithful Area
The bustling Old Faithful zone boasts more dining options than anywhere else in the park, including two upscale dining rooms and an array of casual joints. Grab sandwiches and local Montana ice cream at the Inn’s Bear Paw Deli; for a hot lunch or dinner, the Snow Lodge’s Geyser Grill slings burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. The Old Faithful Lodge Cafeteria offers quick-service entrees: Think teriyaki bowls, pulled pork sandwiches, and roast turkey. You’ll also find sandwiches and salads at the adjacent Bake Shop, plus soft-serve ice cream. The general store and Old Faithful Basin Store serve pizzas, chili, burgers, and other quick choices.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.