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The International Writers Magazine: Omaha

Cold Omaha in the US, has great eating spots
• Marianne de Nazareth
Never thought the experience of eating out in Omaha, USA could be such fun, especially since the freezing cold can be such a challenge. However when my new found friend Maria Fernandes asked me out for Tapas to Espana, I was thrilled. 


The restaurant sits on what appears to be the "old" main street of Benson (Maple St).  Parking is on the street and Maria was lucky to find a spot opposite the front door.  Just a few steps indoors and immediately we were greeted by a couple of hostesses incharge of the seating.  The place is somewhat narrow with a few tables at the front then the bar in the middle taking up a lot of space with more seating in the back.  

We sat alongside the bar at a table for two. We were told that the table was booked after 7pm so we should be done and off, by then. To our luck the people who booked backed out and we were left to enjoy the evening chatting, getting to know one another, once we were done with dinner.

Service was quick, attentive and informative. It's hard looking at a brand new menu which is mainly in Spanish and expect to be sure what we wanted to order. Instead Ellana our waitress politely asked if we wanted help and could she advise us. Did we like Shrimp she asked and to our vigorous nods she suggested Gambas al Ajillo which I realised was sizzling shrimp which chatted along with us! There were other tapas ordered including a delicious chilli stuffed with goat cheese and another with beef on toast smothered with cheese.

Drinks were chilled glasses of sangria and judging from the crowd that filled the place to over flowing, Espania was very popular. And after our meal Ellana gamely took our pictures.

Hamtime One Sunday morning we decided to go to Lisa's Radial Café, which is a little Nebraska gem. Open for breakfast and lunch, it closes at 2pm most days. We were going for brunch before some of the family were leaving for new jersey. Obviously Lisa's has a lot of fans, and on this Sunday morning we were all crammed into a dreadfully small waiting room where people sat patiently and waited for their turn to get seated.

We sat under a wall decorated floor to ceiling with photos of different folks. Regular customers, perhaps? Staff family members?  The vibe is very homey, and seemed like it was a house just causally turned into a cafe. The service was prompt, and our coffee and water was refilled often. Each of us ordered different stuff which was all very good. Lisa knows her bacon, thick-cut and salty but if you ask for multi grained bread instead of white, they will oblige. I was eating genuine Hash browns after a long while, so I shoveled the whole huge thing in. The pancakes too are wonderful especially the blue berry ones smothered in maple syrup. And the bill does not break the bank.

Another great place we went to in Omaha was 'Oscar's. Again we went to a huge and sprawling restaurant, totally packed with clientele, eating, drinking and watching baseball on massive screens positioned high up on the walls. We were given a mechanical 'slice of pizza' and told to wait for 45 minutes. What?? I would never wait for 15 minutes leave alone 45 minutes but everyone just sauntered into the Hallmark store close by baby and all and were ready to wait. Saturday night what do you expect I was told!

American restaurants are noisy and I mean the decibel levels were really high. Everyone talks loudly and kids race around like it's their yard back home! But it's a nice and friendly country and thats really all that matters. And as for the Buffalo Wings and the Pizzas we ordered, I had never seen any so huge. I mean the Pizza was some size and so good that after two slices it felt I had died and gone to heaven! I am diabetic you see, so pizzas are not really on my daily menu and definitely not American pizza.


Am not yet done eating in Omaha, but hey! I thought let me write and let anyone travelling here that there's plenty on offer here in Omaha, if you want to eat out and taste true American.

© Marianne de Nazareth  January 2014

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