The hungry traveler will not want for opportunities to fill up in the Bitterroot. There are so many cafés and restaurants along the road that one imagines that Bitterroot residents do little but journey from coffee klatch to lunch and back again. The traveler can’t go far wrong with most Bitterroot eateries, and there are a few worth planning ahead for.
Some Missoulians claim that their city’s best restaurant is actually in Lolo:
Guy’s Lolo Creek Steakhouse (6600 Hwy. 12, 406/273-2622, 5–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $11–27, reservations not accepted) is at the very northern edge of the Bitterroot Valley , practically in the Missoula  suburbs. Be prepared to wait for a while to be seated, admiring the beautiful log building, which was constructed with 135- to 150-year-old logs, many felled and bucked by Guy. The steaks are cooked over an open-pit wood fire, and those who haven’t been dreaming of the perfect Montana steak can satisfy themselves with fish, chicken, or what the restaurant refers to as “rabbit food.”
Glen’s Mountain View Cafe (Florence, 406/273-2534, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. summer, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. winter, lunch $5–9), a little log building right on Highway 93, is known for its extraordinary pastries. Not that the rest of the menu is lacking (Glen’s raises its own beef), but the pies are reckoned to be the best in the area.
Find a good lunch in Stevensville at Food Fetish (308 Main St., 406/777-2133, lunch Wed.–Fri., dinner Wed.–Sat., brunch Sun., $5–10 lunch, $10–20 dinner), where you can go as simple as a French dip or as elegant as grilled Copper River salmon.
In Victor, eat your beef at the Victor Steakhouse (2426 Meridian Rd., 406/642-3300, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, $8–20). Atmosphere is provided by the mounted animal heads observing you devour the excellent steaks.
Also in Victor, the Hamilton Public House (104 Main St., 406/642-6644, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., $6–10) dispenses pub grub, a nice selection of beers, and Celtic music.
The Banque (225 W. Main St., 406/363-1955, 4:30–9 p.m. daily, $10–25) in Hamilton  offers well-prepared food in a historic Marcus Daly–built bank building.
The Bitterroot’s best burgers are in Hamilton at down-home Nap’s (220 N. 2nd St., 406/363-0136, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, $4–14).
At The Spice of Life (163 S. 2nd St., 406/363-4433, 5–9 p.m. Wed.–Sat., $8–20), you’ll find good salads, an eclectic dinner menu with often-spicy Caribbean, Thai, Japanese, and Italian influences, and a homey bistro setting with live music Wednesday evenings.
Bradley O’s (1131 Hwy. 93 S., 406/375-1110, 5–9 p.m. nightly, $8–40), six miles south of Hamilton, is the sort of restaurant that the Bitterroot does best: steak (certified Angus) and seafood in a simple setting.
For atmosphere, head west of town to the Grubstake (1017 Grubstake Rd., 406/363-3068, hours vary seasonally, call for reservations and directions), where the polygonal restaurant is perched on a mountaintop with great views and occasional glimpses of wildlife. The food is also good: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights are devoted to barbequed ribs and chicken ($14).
Taste some good local beer at Bitterroot Brewing (101 Marcus St., 406/363-7468), where the tasting room is open weekdays 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday noon–6 p.m., and Sunday 2–6 p.m. Tasty English-style ales and pub food such as fish tacos ($5–10) are the specialty at this friendly microbrewery located behind the Safeway and across the railroad tracks.