August 07, 2014

My friend Courtney gave me this great idea to do a post on which area of town has the best restaurant. It may come as no surprise to some that I have my biases already (Midtown for life!) but being of an analytically-inclined mind, I had to do the calculations to be sure.

Then things got a little crazier.

Inspired by the Yelp 100 list, and the popularity contest that is the annual 'Best of Omaha' I thought it would be a good idea to also figure out what the top places to Eat in Omaha were!

This list was created with Yelp's listing of the restaurants in Omaha, sorted by 'Highest Rated'. I made a spreadsheet an took the top 200 listings, and calculated a score for each based on the average rating and number of reviews. This was a little tricky and is totally arbitrary, but I think came up with a reasonable result which didn't unfairly rank places with 5.0 ratings and 5 reviews higher than places with 4.5 rankings and 100 reviews.

I didn't include the Culvers and Which-Wich chain-type places that were included in the top 200. Or things that I don't think qualify as 'restaurants' - awesome though they maybe - like Howlin' Hounds, International Bakery or Jacobo's. I also tried to exclude places that have more than 5 locations (Bonefish Grill, Sullivan's Steakhouse) in an attempt to answer the "what qualifies as a chain" question.

Also, I deleted duplicates (sorry Abelardo's and the many iterations of Blue Sushi) and - this was a difficult decision - places with less than 10 reviews (sorry Mariscos los Willy's). To handle score ties I also sorted by average rating, then # of reviews. I also feel the need to point out that these are NOT my favorite restaurants, or even necessarily an endorsement, but it's certainly a better indicator than rating alone or popularity alone.

Here's what I came up with for our Top 150 (because 100 just wasn't enough!) Interestingly enough, I have only been to 127 of these restaurants. There are probably better ways to do the formula, so bear with me on this first 'Best of' iteration.


The 150 "Best" Restaurants in Omaha 

Rank Yelp Restaurant Avg. # Score
1 33  M’s Pub 4.0 222 622
2 3  Stella’s Bar & Grill 4.5 167 617
3 108  Upstream Brewing Company 3.5 266 616
4 9  The Drover 4.0 214 614
5 7  The Boiler Room 4.5 144 594
6 2  The Grey Plume 4.5 130 580
7 5  Block 16 4.5 125 575
8 37  Pitch Coal-fire Pizzeria 4.0 173 573
9 11  Dario’s Brasserie 4.5 104 554
10 15  Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob 4.0 149 549
11 6  Lot 2 Restaurant Wine Bar 4.5 88 538
12 46  Plank Seafood Provisions 4.0 135 535
13 8  Kitchen Table 4.5 77 527
14 21  Leo’s Diner 4.5 73 523
15 14  Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant 4.5 72 522
16 17  Mother India 4.0 121 521
17 95  Blue Sushi Sake Grill 3.5 170 520
18 12  801 Chophouse 4.0 117 517
19 30  Saigon Surface 4.0 114 514
20 4  Mahogany Prime Steakhouse 4.5 59 509
21 18  Taqueria Tijuana 4.5 58 508
22 16  Crescent Moon Ale House 4.0 104 504
23 10  Laos Thai Market 4.5 52 502
24 19  La Buvette Wine & Grocery 4.0 100 500
25 26  Mangia Italiana 4.5 48 498
26 49  Marks Bistro 4.0 98 498
27 31  Big Mama’s Kitchen 4.0 98 498
28 39  Avoli Osteria 4.5 43 493
29 122  Twisted Fork Grill and Bar 3.5 141 491
30 38  Taita 4.5 40 490
31 75  Korean Grill 4.5 38 488
32 65  Lisa’s Radial Cafe 4.0 87 487
33 20  The Salty Dog Bar & Grill 4.5 35 485
34 27  Hartland Bar-B-Que 4.0 85 485
35 62  Dixie Quicks 4.0 85 485
36 107  California Tacos & More 3.5 131 481
37 22  Maru Sushi & Korean Grill 4.0 80 480
38 69  McFoster’s Natural Kind Cafe 3.5 129 479
39 43  Nicola’s 4.0 78 478
40 66  Espana Restaurant 4.0 78 478
41 60  Pizza King 4.5 27 477
42 28  Twisted Cork Bistro 4.0 77 477
43 23  Thai Kitchen 4.5 26 476
44 51  John’s Grecian Delight 4.5 26 476
45 24  Blatt Beer & Table  4.0 76 476
46 64  Hiro 88 4.0 75 475
47 45  Jackson Street Tavern 4.0 73 473
48 34  Golden Palace 4.5 21 471
49 59  Shuck’s Fish House & Oyster Bar 4.0 71 471
50 68  El Basha 4.0 71 471
51 89  Time Out Foods 4.5 20 470
52 71  Bangkok Cuisine 4.0 68 468
53 52  Localmotive Food Truck 4.5 17 467
54 41  Jams 4.0 67 467
56 86  Star Deli 4.5 14 464
57 83  Zio’s Pizzeria 4.0 64 464
58 168  Sam’s-Leon Mexican Supplies 4.5 13 463
59 187  Harold’s Koffee House 4.5 13 463
60 85  Dinker’s Bar 4.0 62 462
61 189  Morning, Noon, & Night 4.5 11 461
62 74  Salween Thai 4.0 61 461
63 47  Wilson & Washburn 4.0 58 458
64 78  New Gold Mountain 4.0 58 458
65 84  Bailey’s 4.0 58 458
66 35  Flavors 4.0 57 457
67 57  Louie M’s Burger Lust 4.0 56 456
68 88  Flatiron Cafe 4.0 56 456
69 105  Marrakech Gourmet 4.0 55 455
70 73  Abelardos Mexican Food 4.0 53 453
71 123  11-Worth Cafe 4.0 53 453
72 100  Sakura Bana 4.0 52 452
73 167  Vivace 3.5 101 451
74 145  Bohemian Cafe 4.0 50 450
75 104  Dundee Dell 3.5 100 450
76 56  Swine Dining 4.0 49 449
77 29  French Bulldog 4.0 49 449
78 102  Azteca 4.0 48 448
79 157  7M Grill 4.0 48 448
80 114  Spezia 4.0 46 446
81 36  Boxer Barbeque Co 4.0 46 446
82 127  Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill 4.0 45 445
83 90  Dudley’s Pizza & Tavern 4.0 45 445
84 32  Ragazzi’s Pizza 4.0 44 444
85 98  Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grill 4.0 43 443
86 110  Eat the Worm 4.0 43 443
87 148  Roja Mexican Grill + Margarita Bar 3.5 93 443
88 164  Tokyo Sushi 4.0 42 442
89 87  Sushi Japan 4.0 42 442
90 42  Mai Thai 4.0 42 442
91 82  Wave Bistro 4.0 40 440
92 141  Netties Fine Mexican Food 4.0 39 439
93 131  Brazen Head Irish Pub 4.0 39 439
94 97  Taxi’s Grille & Bar 4.0 38 438
95 109  Nosh Wine Lounge 4.0 37 437
96 161  Railcar Modern American Kitchen 4.0 36 436
97 58  Dolce 4.0 36 436
98 76  Worker’s Takeout 4.0 35 435
99 150  V Mertz 4.0 35 435
101 99  Canton House 4.0 35 435
102 134  Thai Spice 4.0 34 434
103 112  Over Easy 4.0 34 434
104 101  Mantra Bar & Grill 4.0 34 434
105 48  Katie’s Restaurant & Taverna 4.0 34 434
106 195  Malara’s 4.0 33 433
107 106  Tanduri Fusion 4.0 32 432
108 192  Pla Too Thai 4.0 32 432
109 55  Orsi’s Italian Bakery 4.0 32 432
110 166  Kobe Steakhouse of Japan 4.0 31 431
111 61  Ethiopian Restaurant 4.0 31 431
112 116  Le Voltaire 4.0 30 430
113 152  Bulldog Burgers 4.0 30 430
114 165  Le Bouillon 4.0 29 429
115 151  Legacy Gyros 4.0 28 428
116 113  JC Mandarin 4.0 28 428
117 124  Pudgy’s Pizzeria 4.0 26 426
118 179  Okinawa Sushi 4.0 26 426
119 156  Jim & Jennie’s Greek Village 4.0 25 425
120 178  China Buffet 4.0 24 424
121 139  Beyond BBQ 4.0 24 424
122 153  Rivera’s 3.5 74 424
123 197  Thai Orchids 4.0 23 423
124 162  Shirley’s Diner 4.0 22 422
125 184  Vietnamese Restaurant 4.0 21 421
126 128  Gerda’s Bakery 4.0 21 421
127 103  Caribbean Delights 4.0 21 421
128 190  Vidlak’s Brookside Cafe 4.0 18 418
129 129  Taqueria La Esmeralda 4.0 18 418
130 147  El Rancho 4.0 18 418
131 193  El Alamo 4.0 18 418
132 135  Dante Pizzeria Napoletana 3.5 67 417
133 137  Los Portales 4.0 16 416
134 130  House of Hunan 4.0 16 416
135 163  Ethnic Sandwich Shop 4.0 15 415
136 144  The Jaipur 3.5 64 414
137 169  La Casa Pizzaria 3.5 63 413
138 136  Jimi D’s 3.5 61 411
139 132  J Coco 3.5 57 407
140 125  Ponzu Sushi & Grill 3.5 56 406
141 94  Sinful Burger Sports Grill 3.5 55 405
142 154  Rice Bowl 3.5 54 404
143 172  Vietnamese Asian Restaurant 3.5 51 401
144 121  Benson Brewery 3.5 48 398
145 138  Sgt Peffers Cafe Italian 3.5 47 397
146 115  Guaca Maya 3.5 47 397
147 158  Wheatfields Eatery and Bakery 3.0 97 397
148 171  Three Happiness Express 3.5 46 396
149 117  Salt 3.5 46 396
150 159  Mama’s Pizza 3.5 46 396


Neighborhoods

And what about that neighborhood thing? From the list above, I next needed to list which neighborhood each were in. (Luckily I could do this mostly from memory, which saved some time).

To do this, I had to decide which neighborhoods to use, and to keep it simple I originally used the Visit Omaha website and was going to use:

Downtown Omaha

20th Street on the west to the Missouri River on the east, and Leavenworth Street on the south to Cuming Street on the north.



North Omaha

Cuming Street on the south, Read Street on the north, 72nd Street to the west, and East Omaha and Carter Lake, Iowa to the east



East Omaha

The Missouri River on the east, the Carter Lake and Carter Lake, Iowa on the south, and Florence Boulevard from Jaynes Street north to Read Street on the west.


South Omaha

Dodge Street on the north, Harrison Street on the south, the Missouri River on the east, and 72nd Street on the west



Midtown Omaha

Cuming Street on the north, Center Street on the south, 24th Street on the east, and Saddle Creek Road on the west.

West Omaha

Traditionally all areas of Omaha west of 72nd Street, but by the early 21st century 72nd Street to I-680 is often considered Central Omaha




But that seemed too simplistic, plus the definitions were a little arbitrary and up for debate. So, I decided it'd be much more fun to just make a big Google Map of these restaurants and let people decide for themselves. It's kind of a toss-up depending on where you draw the boundaries. Enjoy!


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