Now—this is our best area of expertise!! We have been on a mission to discover unique and interesting places to eat besides the usual buffets-- hence, the need to experience the hiking trails!! LOL
The Dobyns Restaurant (Keeter Center) at the College of the Ozarks is not a buffet but splendid atmosphere and good food. The do serve a Sunday brunch that is reputed to be excellent albeit-very pricey—Yikes!!
One of our favorite places in Branson is a super fun place is called Mel’s Hard Luck Diner. It is in the Grand Village and has singing waiters that are VERY good!! Some have been on American Idol in the past. The food is good and HUGE and the décor is fun. We love combining good food, fun atmosphere, and great entertainment! They really play to the audience and will do requests and special songs for anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
We like Paradise Steakhouse on Shepherd of the Hills. We went there to try a steak but had the buffet instead. NOTE: The buffet is not always open but they do have always have a salad/fruit bar. Anyway--the décor was nice (not typical Branson. It was “old world flavor with lots of greenery.) It was very clean, the service was excellent, and the food was good!! (Of course, the potatoes were instant and rolls were not homemade- but great otherwise.)
If you’re in the mood for a nice winding, curvy drive in the Ozarks with truly exceptional food at your destination—you must try Flat Creek Steakhouse in Cape Fair MO. Super Yummy!!!! It is quite a drive and you must heed the signs when they indicate curves! But we absolutely loved the food! Huge catfish fillets, yummy chicken, pork chops, etc etc! They had very good live music when we were there (they asked if you wanted to be seated with music or not) and we and our friends had a wonderful evening! <... Grand Country Buffet on the strip (serves all 3 meals and that are all really good for a buffet.);
We have also found the Hong Kong Buffet, on the strip to be very good. They serve Chinese and American food and the most impressive thing to me, is that the food always seems fresh whether noon, mid afternoon, or evening. Yum! <... restaurants at Big Cedar are open to the public. The Worman House is a beautiful restaurant. They also do an amazing Sunday brunch--(also very pricey!!) Devil’s Pool Restaurant is nice with a great view of the lake.
restaurants at the Top of the Rock are exceptional, as is the atmosphere and view from there. The whole place is an awesome experience. They are pricey but super nice! has great burgers and barbecue! It an “order at the counter” place but really good food!
fun place to go after a show or anytime is Cakes and Creams Dessert Parlor on the strip across from the Grand Palace. It is decorated in 50s décor complete with a jukebox! It tends to get a little busy after the shows but we love their funnel cakes!;
McFarlain’s Restaurant in the IMAX complex ( )is also very good. It is a sit down—order from the menu type restaurant with interesting hillbilly décor. The fried green tomatoes are usually very good. There are also some nice shops in the building. Pizza World has a nice Pizza buffet that budget friendly. Not a lot of atmosphere or bells and whistles but a nice stop for a hungry bunch of kids. ... Pizza, I also like Pizza By the Chef. There are locations in Hollister and in Branson West.
our Branson Cedars guests, Hook and Ladder Pizza in Hollister will deliver to the cabins there. We think it is very good., Home of the Throwed Rolls is not in Branson but is an area icon. The food is great and there is PLENTY of it. Go hungry!! It is north on Hwy 65 toward Springfield at Ozark. It is always busy there so many times there is a wait to get in. But it is a fun place to eat. FYI—THEY DO NOT TAKE CREDIT CARDS BUT WILL ACCEPT CHECKS.
We had a great evening at the Uptown Café recently. There are a couple of options, you can purchase dinner and a show which is a limited menu and seating close to the stage or you can sit in the main restaurant area and order from the menu. We chose the dinner and show and the food (chicken fried steak or Hawaiian chicken) was very good. The show is a tribute to George Strait and has a female singer also (they are married) and we loved it! They were both very good and put on a very entertaining show. If you are not concerned with sitting close to the stage, you can just order from the menu and still hear everything. Last year, they also entertained during the breakfast buffet without an extra charge. We plan to go back soon.
I used to say “Per a good friend of ours, Laundry’s Seafood House is very good.” Now I can say, Oh my!! Danny was right! It was a wonderful experience! We had exceptional service (ask for Dustin) and the seafood was superb!! It is a beautiful old restaurant with white linen table cloths and an upscale atmosphere. (An upscale price too!) I’m sure we won’t be able to become regulars but for a special occasion or just a very nice dinner out, we highly recommend it.
If you’re looking for home cooking and authentic hillbilly atmosphere, try Billy Gail’s on Hwy 265. Breakfast is amazing! Another family owned treasure. It can be very busy at times and is open limited hours. (This is closer to Cabin Dreams and the Great Outdoors Cabin in Notch Estates.) ALSO DO NOT TAKE CREDIT CARDS.
Across from Bille Gail’s is a fairly new restaurant called Coulees. We had a very nice meal there recently. Very unique in that they bring your meat on a hot stone and you cook it at your table. We also hear they have great pizza.
Branson Café in downtown Branson is a good old time restaurant-the kind my mama loved. It’s been a while since we were there but they have been around a long time and know what they’re doing.;
Twin Island Restaurant on Hwy 86 (closer to the Branson Cedars cabins) is also a great place for breakfast and more. Don’t expect a lot of atmosphere-but the food is good. Usually have a Friday night catfish special.;

I could go on and on but I’ll stop here for now. I hope this helps you plan a great trip! Please let us know if you find something else really exceptional and have a great time!! If you find a great place to eat, you can pick up a paper menu and put it in the book.