Victors in the epic battle of Omaha dining.


The Best Margarita

Winner: Roja

After making 13 stops around the metro area and tasting close to 30 variations of the drink, our Food Prowl team confidently can say Roja’s El Traditional margarita is the best in Omaha.


The Best Sushi

Winner: Sushi Japan

Though the team was divided over the rainbow rolls we sampled, Sushi Japan’s version prevailed because of its fresh flavor, superior texture and balance.


The Best Onion Rings

Winner: The Rustic

The gentle seasoning meant we didn't need to coat these rings in salt, and they seemed the perfect hybrid between a fully encased piece of onion and a flaky, Omaha-style onion string.


The Best BBQ

Winner: Swine Dining

Swine Dining impressed the team with more than its pulled pork. It was also the most reliable. It was the first brick-and-mortar place where we liked everything we tried.


The Best Pad Thai

Winner: Bangkok Cuisine

Balance and depth were the defining factors in our search for Omaha’s best pad thai, and Bangkok Cuisine had them.


The Best Ice Cream

Winner: eCreamery

The ice cream prowl led us in three directions: toward an international treat most of us might have never tasted, a gourmet version of the world's favorite flavor and an old-school classic that's passed the test of time.


The Best Beer

Winner: Zipline

We found beers that were tasty, creative and, above all, not intimidating. The beers we drank blew some of the team's closest-held ideas out of the water.


The Best Pizza

Winner: (Tie) Dante, Frank's Pizzeria and La Casa

It might be impossible — even for a food critic, a chef and a director who has traveled the world — to pick the one single best pizza in Omaha. There's too much to like.


The Best Coffee Shop

Winner: Beansmith

“Everyone should come out here. Just to see what coffee can be like.”


The Best Chicken-Fried Steak

Winner: Gorat's Steakhouse

With its chicken-fried steak, Gorat's hits all the right notes, from the beef to the crunch to the gravy, for folksy dish.


The Best Sweet and Sour Pork

Winner: (Tie) Canton House and P.F. Chang's

It's rare to have a chain restaurant, P.F. Chang's, and a local restaurant, Canton House, both elevate Chinese cuisine and introduce people to something authentic.


The Best Bloody Mary

Winner: The Trap Room

This bloody mary earns points for its pretty presentation, its salted rim, creative spice, and its pleasant, dark, rosy-red hue.


The Best French Fries

Winner: (Tie) Bronco's and Dario's Brasserie

The throwback fry that doesn't come out of a freezer bag. We found it twice, and our search ended in a tie, with choices on the opposite ends of the dining spectrum.


The Best Gourmet Burger

Winner: The Grey Plume

The experience of the Plume burger left me breathless. It elevated the lowly sandwich to something else: a real dish.


The Best French Toast

Winner: Louie M's Burger Lust

A spread of butter topped with powdered sugar made a sort of glaze on the toast. The texture was dense though not soggy and the edges were crunchy.


The Best Crab Cakes

Winner: M's Pub

It's spicy and sweet. It comes with flavorful pickled vegetables, and it's cooked to a soft outside crunch with a hot, not-too-smooth center.


The Best Buffalo Wings

Winner: Buffalo Company

In a close race, our team went with the wing they thought tasted most like the original — and the most like the ones they create in their Midwest kitchens.


The Best Mac and Cheese

Winner: Marks Bistro

Cavatappi is the pasta served at Marks Bistro in Dundee, which calls mac and cheese its "signature dish."


The Best Steak

Winner: Brother Sebastian's

Omaha is still a town where it's OK to eat a large piece of perfectly cooked corn-fed meat at noon.



The Best Eggs Benedict

Winner: Dixie Quicks Public House

A sauce with just three ingredients and a dish with just four resulted in the tightest race we've had.



The Best Chicken Tikka Korma

Winner: India Garden

This month's winning restaurant is a dimly lit, delicious dark horse that you've probably never heard of.



The Best Old-Fashioned

Winner: The Boiler Room

It's a delicate balance between booze and sweet, between fruity and bitter. It takes a bit of art to make a perfect version.



The Best Fried Chicken

Winner: Time Out Chicken

If there's one thing that makes good fried chicken, it's that crispy, savory skin.



The Best Burger

Winner: (Tie) Block 16 and Dinker's

It turns out cheeseburgers can be controversial.



The Best Taco

Winner: Tacos el Peligro

We named the South Omaha hole-in-the-wall our favorite taco shop.



The Best Cupcake

Winner: Bliss Old Market Bakery

Though the two components of a cupcake seem simple — just frosting and cake — it turns out they're much more complex. Complex enough, and so easy to mess up.



The Best Falafel

Winner: Amsterdam Falafel and Kabob

A cool slaw of minced garlic, bright purple cabbage, carrots, whole chickpeas, cucumber and tomato sits on top of the sandwich and below are three sauces: spicy, green herb and creamy garlic.



The Best Spaghetti

Winner: Dante Pizzeria Napoletana

And after eating boatloads of sauce and heaps of pasta in Italian restaurants old and new, the thing we ended up liking the best — the restaurant we're choosing as the best spot to eat spaghetti in Omaha — isn't what Omahans might expect.



The Best Pho

Winner: (Tie) Saigon Restaurant and New Gold Mountain

The second in the Food Prowl series ended in a tie between two diners who like the more modern interpretation of pho and two diners who prefer the classic interpretation.



The Best Reuben

Winner: Crescent Moon

It came to us neatly arranged in two halves on a plate next to a pile of French fries. The Blackstone Reuben, as it's called on the Moon's menu, is a feat of engineering. It doesn't fall apart when you eat it and it doesn't leak dressing or kraut.