From downtown motels, it’s an easy walk across the Higgins Street Bridge for a morning muffin and coffee at Bernice’s Bakery (190 S. 3rd St. W., 406/728-1358, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. daily).
Only a block away, Le Petit Outre (129 S. 4th St. W., 406/543-3311, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.) has only a couple of tables out front for seating, but offers a wonderful selection of brioche, panini, and European-style breads to go.
If it’s juice and coffee that you’re after, Butterfly Herbs (232 N. Higgins, 406/728-8780, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) houses a juice and espresso bar in an impressive old downtown storefront.
Liquid Planet (223 N. Higgins, 406/541-4541, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) combines a coffee shop and a wine store in one location—crepes and pastries make this a popular late-night hangout.
The Shack (222 W. Main, 406/549-9903, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun.–Tues., 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Wed.–Sat., breakfast and lunch under $10, dinner under $20) has been one of Missoula’s  favorite breakfast and lunch stops since the 1950s. It’s going stronger than ever and is now open for dinner.
The retro-hip Hob Nob Cafe (531 S. Higgins Ave., 406/542-3188, 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., $6–9) is a good place for a big breakfast among friendly Missoulians. The food is largely organically grown and the delicious breads homemade.
For just about the only East Indian food you’ll find in Montana, visit Tipu’s Indian Café (115 1/2 4th St. W., 406/542-0622, 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily, lunch buffet $8, dinner $9–16). It’s tucked away down a little alley and serves tasty vegetarian curry dinners with rice and dal and a lunch buffet. The chai is worth a special stop.
Follow up an Indian dinner by walking around the corner to the Big Dipper (631 S. Higgins, 406/543-5722, noon–10 p.m., $2–4.50) for a scoop of cardamom ice cream (don’t worry, there are many more conventional flavors).
Missoula’s favorite pizza-of-the-moment place is found at Biga Pizza (241 W. Main St., 406/728-2579, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, sandwich $8, pizza $12–18), where the ingredients are locally grown when possible, leading to some innovative (and delicious) pizzas, such as winter squash with leeks or caramelized cauliflower, sausage and cheddar, and great salads.
For a rollicking Italian-American atmosphere that’s popular with families, Ciao Mambo (541 S. Higgins, 406/543-0377, 5–10 p.m. nightly summer, 5–9 p.m. nightly winter, $10–18) can’t be beat. No reservations are accepted, so expect to stand in line for a while before settling in to a giant plate of spicy spaghetti arrabbiata.
If you’re hungry, thirsty, or looking to gamble away your money any time of the day or night, the Oxford Club (337 N. Higgins, 406/549-0117, 24 hours, $4–13) is there to serve you. Although not for the fainthearted or the easily appalled, the Ox is a Missoula fixture. Late at night, this is local color at its most opaque.
The Good Food Store (1600 S. 3rd St. W., 406/541-3663, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) is Missoula’s best source for natural and health foods.