The 26 Best Restaurants in Boise You Should Try Right Now
Boise was originally called Les Bois, or “boisé” in French, and the tree town of Idaho was once considered a hidden treasure for its low cost of living and easy access to mountains, rivers and mountains. emblematic forests of the region. Then visitors and new residents discovered the state’s capital and largest city, which helped propel Idaho to its current status of one of the Fastest Growing States in the Country. Longtime locals may complain about the heavier traffic and rising house prices, but the influx of newcomers has brought diversity and excitement to the area’s restaurants as well. With a thriving Basque community, new immigrants with culinary traditions from around the world, and James Beard Award nominated chefs, Boise is becoming a culinary capital of Intermountain West.
The downtown area is compact and within walking distance, offering local craft beer, award-winning Idaho wines, and restaurants that run the gamut. Just a few blocks away you’ll find artisan Basque chorizo, a Southern-style barbecue, local menus, creative tacos, lamb mills, handmade pasta, and artisanal alcohol infused ice cream. Stroll a little further and you will find dishes from Ethiopia, Cuba, India, Vietnam and the Middle East. Or navigate to a drive-through for the sheer comfort of freshly grilled burgers, steaks and fries.
Update, June 2021: The town of Boise has allowed restaurants and bars to extend outdoor seating on the sidewalk due to the pandemic. Along downtown N. 8th Street, the city went further and closed the thoroughfare to vehicular traffic so pedestrians could walk on the street. These policies are expected to last until 2022, hopefully helping restaurateurs and bar owners not only recover economically, but also regain some of the enthusiasm that characterized Boise’s pre-pandemic food scene.
Note: The inclusion of restaurants with on-site catering should not be considered an endorsement for indoor dining. Studies indicate a lower risk of exposure to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk depends on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on catering offerings. For up-to-date information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit Central District Health Idaho.
Scott Ki is a former editor and writer for Edible Idaho, and a former reporter from Boise State Public Radio and the Idaho Business Review. His work has also been carried by other media, such as the Idaho Press, Idaho statesman, NPR, and the PA.
To note: The restaurants on this map are listed geographically.