Review: Omaha Culinary Tours Old Market Tour

OmahaCul

My husband and I love food.

Burgers, sushi, oysters, and everything in between. Our tastes are eclectic, but like everyone, we get stuck in a rut sometimes.

We usually go out to eat every Friday night with Liv. We’re regulars at our haunt. The ambiance, food, and service are excellent, but we thought we would branch out a little last weekend.

Skipping the Friday night family outing, we opted for a morning walk in the Old Market. No Liv this time, but we did have great company.

J. and I took an Omaha Culinary Tour of the Old Market. One of many tours put on by the cultural and culinary guides, not only were our taste buds delighted, our minds were engaged as well!

Each tour features a variety of different restaurants. For the Old Market Tour, we were able to sample eats from six different downtown staples.

Our first stop was M’s Pub.

Ms

Co-owner Ron Samuelson delighted us with the history of M’s, which was originally owned by the Mercer family. Previously a fruit and vegetable warehouse, the building became a restaurant which served finger sandwiches and tea. The menu at M’s Pub has grown, but the train travel-sized kitchen still remains. All of the food preparation is completed in the basement room before the final cooking is done is the cozy kitchen.

Three different types of Lahvosh, which is like a thin-crusted pizza, were served. An Omaha Grill with beef and mushrooms, a Thai Lahvosh (featured on the Rachael Ray show), and a vegetarian version all delighted both J. and me. If I had to pick a favorite, I think the Thai would win out!

Our next stop was Plank, one of the newest Old Market restaurants.

Plank2

Plank Seafood + Provisions made me feel like I was on a beach in Pensacola, FL. The oysters were fresh and delicious. The “main sail” drink and fresh lemonade were perfect compliments to the salmon crustini and cheese curds. Plank even has a happy hour so you can try out some seafood cuisine without breaking the bank. We will definitely be back!

Stop #3 was The Indian Oven. It was not our first visit to the Indian Oven, and I didn’t think I could love it more than I already did. It’d been years since I tasted the authentic Indian cuisine, and I was not disappointed!

Owner Binoy Fernandez grew up at the restaurant which opened in 1973. He is the second generation owner and still uses recipes that date back to the 1300s. The Indian Oven was the first Eastern Indian restaurant in the Midwest.

Fernandez presented us each with a plate of traditional Indian street food.

indianoven

Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!

Next, we went to Vivace, where we met up with owner Ron Samuelson, who also owns M’s Pub. J. and I enjoyed this stop the most because we had a chance to talk with Samuelson about his restaurants and how the pizza we tried is made. Talking with Samuelson made me realize how much thought and research is put into the food that we eat in find Omaha restaurants. The price at Vivace is affordable, but is more than a chain restaurant, and there is a reason for that. Samuelson has traveled to find the best ingredients for his menu, and even does blind taste tests to make sure his research supports what he puts on our plates. It works. I loved the pizza!

vivace

After a hearty filling of thin crust pizza, we went to our 5th stop, V. Mertz. In all my years in Omaha, I had never tried this restaurant. A dinner only establishment, we were able to get some tastes of the menu before the dinner crowd came. Although I once thought of V. Mertz out of my culinary tastes and budget, I no longer think of it as intimidating. The food was fun and playful, which is what the chef John wants restaurant goers to experience.

We tried a purple potato ice cream with burnt walnuts, smoked cauliflower soup, an a macaroon. I loved it all! J. and I both realized that we liked macaroons. These are nothing like store bought. V. Mertz has a menu that changes daily. Each dining experience is unique day-to-day. It’s a perfect place to celebrate on a special occasion.

VMertz

Dessert time! Our last stop was Bliss, which was featured on Cupcake Wars. I can see why! We loved our samples so much, we bought cupcakes to take home to Liv and the baby-sitters!

bliss

The Omaha Culinary Tour was a perfect Saturday date.

Right now, the Old Market Tour and Midtown Crossing Walking Tours are running! Omaha Culinary Tours also offers bus tours, including the Chocolate and Pastry Tour. We cannot wait to try all Omaha Culinary Tours has to offer, including upcoming tours in Benson, Dundee, and steakhouse and pizza bus tours in the works!

Sign up for a tour (from $45), and enjoy Omaha as a food tourist, whether you have just moved here or lived here your whole life, like I have.

As owner Suzanne says, “The sky’s the limit. It’s all about food!”

Bon appetit!

Disclosure: Omaha Culinary Tours provided complimentary tours in exchange for this post. All opinions, however, are my own.

18 comments for “Review: Omaha Culinary Tours Old Market Tour

  1. Mary Jo
    March 25, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Wish I could have went, sounds absolutely delicious. Maybe next time if I don’t have to work!!!

  2. April 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    This looks like a great for for my wife & I too. Read about a similar tour on Lisa’s site (Walking Tourists) and have it on my to-do list for the next visit to Omaha. Wish we had something like this in STL – we have so many great food choices too 🙂

    • Jen
      April 24, 2014 at 2:47 am

      Awesome! Yes! I went on the tour with Lisa and Tim. Lisa and I really enjoyed visiting STL for a recent conference. She’s introduced me to your site as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Joanna
    November 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Slice of Omaha sounds good to me

    • November 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      I am a pizza freak. I would love to go on that one too. It’s brand new!

  4. Zara
    November 21, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Yum, I want to try that sweet potato ice cream!

  5. November 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Definitely would like to try the pizza tour….sausage has been calling my name lately 🙂
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  6. Bonnie
    November 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Would love to win this and try all those spots.

    • November 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Good luck! We are just giving away the Holiday Lightseeing tour now, but be sure to check out the other tours!

  7. Tara
    November 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I think I would be most excited to try the M Pub’s tour because for one, I’ve never been there, and two, who doesn’t love a delicious flatbread?? 🙂

    • November 23, 2014 at 10:21 am

      It is so good! Try the chocolate torte for dessert!

  8. Joe
    November 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Plank looks delicious! I love seafood!

  9. Karen Basye
    November 26, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Plank for sure! I have a gift card for there I need to get down there and use 🙂

  10. LEAHSUEWILLIAMS@YAHOO.COM
    November 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I would love to try the Plank.

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