You can eat very well in Bigfork; people drive for miles to dine here. Dinner reservations are mandatory at most restaurants. Many are closed in the winter.
La Provence (408 Bridge St., 406/837-2930, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues.–Sat., $6–7; 5–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $18–35) is a good place for a leisurely lunch on the patio. At dinnertime, the French chef-owner lets loose with Mediterranean-meets-Montana cuisine like venison tenderloin with a fig confit and bordeaux sauce.
The Garden Bar (451 Electric Ave., 406/837-9914, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. $8–12) is a casual place to drop in for a beer. The bar is chatty and friendly, and the tables out back provide a quiet place to sit and read in the afternoon.
The Bigfork Inn (604 Electric Ave., 406/837-6680, dinner from 5 p.m. nightly, brunch 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $15–26) is one of Bigfork’s originals, the place that put Bigfork on the culinary map several decades ago. Open for dinner only, the menu is eclectic, with steaks, pasta, three types of schnitzel, and a showcase duck with local bing cherry and black currant sauce.
Overlooking Bigfork Harbor is Swan River Inn (360 Grand Ave., 406/837-2220, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun. summer, 5–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun. winter, $16–26.). The specialties here are pasta or sandwiches for lunch, or steaks, lamb, chicken, and more pasta for dinner. On pleasant afternoons the bayside deck is a great place to relax and have a leisurely meal.
Another well-regarded dinner restaurant in downtown Bigfork is Showthyme! (548 Electric Ave., 406/837-0707, dinner from 5 p.m. nightly), located in an old brick bank building next door to the Bigfork Playhouse. Food here is subtle, refined, and often innovative. Vegetarian and pasta dishes are also featured; dinners run $14–28, and there’s outside seating in good weather.
If there’s no time for a full dinner before the theater, stop by The Vault (small plates $8–12) for Asian-inspired small plates; it’s at the same location as Showthyme!
Upstairs in the little mall on Electric Ave., Invite (459 Electric Ave. 406/837-2786, noon–10 p.m. daily, $19–35) has a good variety of fish along with steaks and elk chops; it’s one of the few places you’ll find walleye on the menu (especially prepared with a gourmet touch).
South of town at the Mountain Lake Lodge, Terra (1950 Sylvan Dr., 406/837-3800, breakfast and dinner daily, dinner $18–32) is a lovely place to sit outside in nice weather; the menu ranges from classy treatments of buffalo and elk to a Jamaican-inspired shrimp-and-scallop pasta.
Head about five miles south of town to find The Raven (39 Orchard Lane, 406/837-2836, 11:30 a.m.–2 a.m. daily summer, 4 p.m.–midnight winter, $4–15), a lakeside restaurant with a great deck and a sort of Jimmy Buffet parrot-head appeal. The decor is Caribbean, and dinner specialties come from around the world; sushi is served several nights a week and is a favorite.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition