In Jackson Hole...An insiders 411
Traveling to Jackson Hole is daunting. It is far away, expensive, very very cold in the winter, hot in the summer and muddy the rest of the year. Nonetheless, one visit and you will fall in love with the scenery, wildlife and mountain town vibe.
As a seven year Jackson resident and a sometimes food/travel writer, there is nowhere that I would give a lower rating than Nani's for service and value. A plate of mediocre pasta is $27+ without salad and the bread is cold. I hadn't been there in five years and tonight realized again why. It will only take two times. The food is awful and overpriced by 250% at least. I hadn't been there in 5 years, gave it another try and wished that I'd continued ignoring the oft forgotten (by locals) restaurant. There are other tourist traps in Jackson as well, so seek local knowledge before digging into a big tab.
Eating in Jackson will never be a steal, so at least eat well and with good service. You spent all dy outside burning calories, no replenish. There are some excellent options...Blu, Snake River Grill, Rendezvous Bistro, Rusty Parrot's Restaurant, Osteria and for less expensive options where the locals go...Picas, Dornans or Teton Thai.
It pains me to hear about visitors to Jackson being sucked into one of the many tourist traps in Jackson.
The absolute best hearty breakfast I have ever has came from Buba's BBQ in J.H. The bacon was exceptional.
I agree with "Tetoneats". It pains me that people are always going to the touristy places. I might get some slack for giving away my favorites, but I always think it's good to share what you love.
I've lived in Jackson for three years. There is great food to be found, you just are getting "suckered" into the tourist traps.
Here are my favorite dishes:
Nikai (Sushi, Asian inspired food) = special sashimi scallops will melt in your mouth!
Teton Thai = hidden local gem with the BEST yellow curry to be found. I've traveled Thailand. Chicken Satae is yummy! Small place in the winter with the local thai family cooking in front of you. Very intimate and local place. Cash ONLY!
Koshu = Steak Tataki = amazing. Also try, pad thai and Golden fries.
Snake River Brew Pub = spicy chicken pasta, elk chili are two good options. Their pizzas are good and their menu has improved tremendously in the past year. Best beers are: lager, pale ale, powder 11 port, Tripel = high alcohol content. I like the atmosphere too. Very casual.
Blue Lion = (fancier, pricier place) hands down the best dish is the rack of lamb.
Stiegler's = (traditional Austrian restaurant, on the pricey side) To some people, hands down best restaurant. It's been around for a long time, owned and operated by a local family known for their ski racing. My brother from NYC loved it. It's unique and you won't find in other towns. GREAT food! Try the "Brat Fest" or the "lamm" also get some pear schnopps (sp?).
SUMMER: you must do a visit to Dornan's. It has the most AMAZING view of the Tetons. I like their Calazons. Food is decent and not too overpriced. Great place to grab a margarita post hike in the park.
Jackson Hole Roaster = Good Criossants (they go fast!) + cup of coffee. He uses the "honesty" jar. Cash ONLY.
DOG burrito = Local's place with $5 breakfast burritos. People either LOVE or HATE them. I personally am a fan. A little greasy, but great when skiing and need something to keep you going. Choice between mild and spicy / veggie or meat. I usually eat 1/2 in the morning and save 1/2 for lunch. BIG burritos. Great for hangovers!!!!!! Cash ONLY.
Rendezvous Bistro = hit or miss. Most people who live here love the "Pork Loin".
Best pizza = South Side Pizza. It's a little out of the way, you'll need a car or taxi. Gourmet pizzas with organic ingredients. I consider a local's place.
-Cowboy Steakhouse= GREAT INTOWN CHEAP option, is the $5, Burger + Beer. It's only from 5-7PM and you have to sit at the bar. Cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms are $1 extra.
-Pica's = Wet burrito. Not your typical Mexican restaurant. Fresher and a little different. Wet burrito will fill you up! I also like their quesadillas. The other mexican places in town are nothing special.
Village Cafe = Breakfast Egg McCollister. YUM! = $4.50
Hotel Terra Cafe = Good sandwich with Tomato, basil, Mozzerella. Healthier option in the village. = $6.00.
Snake River Lodge and Spa = you can sit at the bar and order an "Elk quesadilla" from their fancier dining restaurant. It's very tasty!! I can't remember the price. Around $10, but GOOD meat.
That's what I have for now. I guess I "fit" into the ski bum category so I don't know the fancier / pricier places as well, but there are plenty.
I know most people that like to spend more tend to love: Wild Sage, Snake River Grill, Buffalo Club (if you can get in, must know a member), Mizu, and Osteria. All are great places!
I don't really eat steak, so if that's what you are looking for the above options are good + the Gunbarrel. I hear they have good Elk. (I do love Elk, but most of my friends "harvest" their elk in the fall; so I don't eat out for it).
Best of Luck!!