2013 Favorites: West of 72nd Street

My list of top restaurants I’ve reviewed for the Omaha World-Herald comes out on Sunday, and this year I decided to lead up to it with some other “top lists” on different topics because I’d like to be able to recognize some of my favorite places that weren’t reviewed in the past calendar year. Check back each day this week for another list leading to Sunday’s main event in the paper and on Omaha.com.

Meanwhile, check out my best reviewed of 2012 here.

Without further ado, here’s my Top Restaurants West of 72nd Street.

dante bolognese

The papardelle bolognese at Dante Ristorante, pictured above, is a perennial favorite, and Dante is a restaurant I’ll drive more than 20 minutes to visit from my midtown home without a blink. Their pizzas never disappoint, I love the all Italian wine list and the craft drinks, the service and atmosphere are second to none. But what really snags me about Dante are the Italian entrees, like the pasta above. Always seasonally driven and locally sourced, chef Nick Strawhecker’s homemade pastas, well cooked proteins and homemade sauces simply never let me down.

gold mountain

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned in a review about a Sarpy County Mexican restaurant that West Omaha is home to my favorites for Chinese, pho, dim sum and fish tacos and I got an incoming of emails from readers asking me where I dine. My favorite for both dim sum and pho is New Gold Mountain, near 156th and Maple Streets. Their pho is a spicy bowl of delicious broth, tendon and beef and their dim sum is second to none. When I first visited years ago, they handed me an Americanized Chinese menu and I had to argue to get the dim sum list. Now, thankfully, both are available on the same menu, divided into sections.

canton houseCanton House, near 90th and Fort Streets, has dumplings and tofu that are the closest thing I’ve found locally to what I ate in China. I always advise to ask what’s written on the white board near the door; nothing I’ve had from that menu has ever been bad. Other favorites: steamed pork dumplings, salt and pepper tofu and Peking spare ribs.

riverasRivera’s Mexican isn’t on South 24th Street, or even in South Omaha, but it serves food that is right on par with what I find in the city’s best neighborhood for Mexican food. The fish tacos at Rivera’s are my hands-down favorite in town. So are the Shrimp Alambres, pictured above, a house specialty. Bacon-wrapped shrimp are spiced with a blend of bread crumbs, poblano and red bell pepper, onion, oregano and cotija and pepper Jack cheeses. The appetizer is served with a chipotle-cream sauce.

Tomorrow: my top brunch spots.

All images courtesy the Omaha World-Herald archive.

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