Start your day strong with a hearty breakfast of buckwheat waffles ($7.65) at the Catalyst, a downtown café that caters to the college crowd with gluten-free and vegetarian options. You can also stop by for lunch (served until 3 p.m.) for its most popular dish: a zesty, tomato-lime tortilla soup (from $4.95) topped with cilantro and cheese.
Order a pie or two at Biga Pizza, where they bake their own bread every morning and most of the restaurant's ingredients come from within a 100-mile radius of Missoula. Figs, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are among the creative toppings, but you're here for the cult favorite: flathead cherry pizza, which pairs the local fruit with housemade sausage, smoked Gouda, and garlic oil.
Taste the best ingredients western Montana has to offer (heirloom tomatoes, wild mushrooms, naturally raised lamb) at Scotty's Table, housed in the historic Art Deco Wilma Theatre. The lunch menu is dominated by sandwiches, so book a table for dinner to order standout plates like hanger steak served with chorizo bread pudding and pan-seared kale ($28) and cioppino topped with a saffron aioli ($26).