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Like every other highly seasonal small town, West Yellowstone's restaurants are subject to significant changes each year as chefs, managers and staff come and go. For that reason, a review that is even one year old might be out of date. Service, even in better establishments, is also more variable as restaurants cope with large daily fluxes of business due to weather, tour buses, and key waitresses calling in sick because the trout are rising at 3 dollar bridge. For that reason it may pay to overlook a few poor reviews, or be skeptical of a few highly favorable reviews, as you scan the Trip Advisor experiences.
That said, a few restaurants are a good bet to provide an excellent experience. They tend to be those that are reasonably well established and whose owners are able to find good staff, year after year.
Unlike, say, Jackson, West has a fairly blue-collar feel. Many of the seasonal workers live in trailers and most of the visitors passing through on the way to the park are looking for family fare and bargains. Most of the several dozen restaurants cater to this straight ahead, don't-get-fancy traffic. Few of the local restaurants will ever vie for a Michelen star, but most have fair prices and a friendly attitude. It is rare to hear of a real rip-off.
If you believe that locals know best, you'll probably meet them at Running Bear for breakfast and Beartooth Barbecue for lunch.
If you're looking for a nicer dining experience, there are a handfull of more ambitious places to consider. Sydney's has quickly established itself as a great choice for lunch and dinner. It boasts a modest but well-chosen wine list. Bar N ranch, just 5 minutes west of town, may have both the most romantic atmosphere and most consistently ambitious menu. If you don't mind a longer drive into Idaho, Henry's Fork Lodge provides a stunning atmosphere and a stellar kitchen. This is a world-class location; prices are more New York than Idaho, but not outrageous. Despite the fact that lodge guests may often include aristocrats and wealthy bankers who are mad about fly fishing, the restaurant welcomes all guests.