As Idaho’s cultural capital, Boise has no shortage of culinary choices, from tacos featuring Idaho spuds and chorizo to quinoa burgers and Nutella panna cotta. The Treasure Valley also has a thriving food truck community that offers alternatives to sit-down and take-out fare, as well as a Food Truck Rally in Boise (check out our Boise Food Trucks page for all events).
But even though we at Truckster love the food truck movement, we’re also foodies at heart who can’t resist cluing others in on a great meal. Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Boise, Idaho.
Chef and owner Richard Langston has been feeding Boise residents and visitors for more than 25 years, showcasing locally sourced ingredients and natural flavors. His specialties are Italian-style Northwestern fare such as grilled octopus with pork belly, parchment-cooked black cod with broccolini, grilled quail, and potato gnocchi with beets, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts. Wines on the award-winning wine list include those from Idaho’s burgeoning wine industry, as well as selections from Italy, Spain, France, California, Oregon, and Washington. Save room for desserts such as tiramisu cheesecake or the gluten-free orange cardamom chocolate flourless cake with pistachio crumble. (500 S. Capitol Blvd.)
Located in the landmark Boise City National Bank Building, Fork pledges to be “Loyal to Local,” sourcing key ingredients from ranchers, farmers, distillers, brewers, bakers, producers, and cheese makers around Boise and the Northwest. That commitment extends to the comfortable yet relaxed dining room, which uses recycled materials and reclaimed Idaho barn wood for the glasses and tables. Menu favorites include asparagus “fries,” cast-iron seared lamb lollipops with green chimichurri sauce, grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, Idaho rainbow trout, a slow-smoked brisket sandwich, and buttermilk fried chicken with balsamic-infused maple syrup and a cheddar waffle. (199 N. 8th St.)
America’s first restaurant distillery, Bardenay is located on the Basque Block, part of the Old Boise Historic District. It specializes in producing amber rum and ginger rum and has a menu bursting with variety, such as the panzanella bruschetta salad with champagne vinaigrette, flash-fried Pacific cod and chips, and a cider-brined pork chop. Cap off a meal with carrot cake featuring Bardenay Ginger Rum raisins or molten chocolate Bundt cake, then raise a toast with a local pale ale or a signature cocktail like the Huckleberry Lemon Drop pouch made with Bardenay Lemon Vodka and Idaho huckleberry puree. (610 W. Grove St.)
Another Basque Block staple, the Bar Gernika Basque Pub and Eatery has combined authentic Basque cuisine with sandwiches, Basque wines, and desserts for roughly 20 years. Choices include solomo (marinated pork tenderloin with pimientos on a French baguette), chorizo (Basque pork sausage), slices of roasted lamb leg with grilled onions and mushrooms, and lamb stew complete with potatoes, onions, and green peppers. Don’t forget the croquettas, house-cut fries, Basque peppers, or rice pudding on the side. (202 S. Capitol Blvd.)
A few steps from the Idaho State Capitol Building, Saint Lawrence Gridiron is a former food truck that’s settled into a brick-and-mortar location, delivering bold Southern flavors and humor from a giant smoker on the front patio. Don’t miss the brisket platter with buttermilk biscuit and “various picklery;” the “Requisite Veggie Dish” of rotating grains, herbs, and seasonal vegetables; or shrimp served with stone-ground grits, sausage, and tomato gravy. Want a smaller bite? Opt for the “Dirty Bird,” a fried chicken sandwich with Louisiana spices, chili oil, white BBQ sauce, and house slaw. Also serves brunch. (705 W. Bannock St.)