The Best Food and Drink in Idaho for 2018 Gallery from The Best Food and Drink in Idaho for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in Idaho for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in Idaho for 2018 Gallery
Unbeknownst to many, Idaho is one of the culinary gems of the Pacific Northwest. Although the state is mainly known for its potatoes and even has an entire museum dedicated to the spud, Idaho has a lot more to offer than just starch. From Boise to Idaho Falls you can check out all of the best restaurants and bars that made it in our first-annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
The state with a bed and breakfast shaped like a giant beagle boasts a farmers market with fresh fruits, vegetables, and homemade goods that covers over half a dozen blocks, Sugar Rush Cupcakery, some of the best cupcakes in the region, and of course some of the best French fries not just in the area, but in America.
Whether you’re an Idaho native or just passing through, be sure to read up on all the best places to grab a bite or a drink. After comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs, we’ve been able to make definitive slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state!
Best Bar: Pengilly’s Saloon, Boise
Although it was actually opened in 1976, Pengilly’s Saloon has an early-twentieth-century theme that features pool tables, mounted animal heads, vintage wallpaper, and pool tables. Found in the Old Boise Historic District, its 114-year-old hardwood Brunswick bar serves all kinds of drinks. Tabs are rung up on a turn-of-the-century National Cash Register, adding to the old-school vibe. On most nights, there is no cover charge for the live music.
Courtesy of Boise Brewing Company
Best Beer: Jagged Shard
Best Chinese Restaurant: Wok-Inn Noodle House, Boise
The owner of Wok-Inn, named Chan, has been manning the wok at this Boise institution since the day it opened in 1983. Today he’s 73 years old and is at the helm of the best Chinese restaurant in the state. The menu here is smaller than what you’ll find at most Chinese restaurants, with a smattering of spot-on interpretations of classic dishes, including made-to-order egg rolls, chow mein, fried rice, fried chicken with ginger and garlic, Mongolian chicken, and a couple of Thai-inspired curries. Find more details on Wok-Inn Noodle House here.
Best Cupcakes: Sugar Rush Cupcakery, Boise
After a decade of serving some of the best wedding cakes in the region, Family Ties bakery birthed Sugar Rush Cupcakery in order to bring all the deliciousness of the big cakes to a more manageable portion size. Plus, it added some truly outstanding flavors! Whether you go with a safe bet such as peanut butter banana, s’mores, or rocky road or a wild variety such as spiced chai latte, pink Champagne, or even tomato soup, you’re sure to get a satisfying sugar rush. Many of their cupcakes are made without vegetable oil as well, which is perfect for customers with soy allergies.
Best Dive Bar: Little Dutch Garden
Little Dutch Garden in Boise is a true local’s bar. It’s small, cash only, and doesn’t have a liquor license. But if you come here for a cold beer, a game of pool, and the company of some kindly Idahoans, you’ll feel right at home.
Best Doughnuts: Guru Donuts, Boise
Gourmet doughnut shop Guru Donuts opened when the co-owners spotted a gap in the Idaho market. Although they were far from being expert bakers at the time, a kind neighbor taught them the tricks of doughnut-making, and ever since, they have been making homemade doughnuts using local flour, and creating fancy flavors such as pumpkin, root beer, and “hipsterberry.” For more information on Guru Donuts, click here.
Capital City Farmers Market
Best Farmers Market: Capital City Public Market, Boise
Therese HC W./Yelp
Best French Fries: Boise Fry Company, Boise (multiple locations)
It comes as no surprise that an Idaho fry shop would make some of the best fries in the country (Idahoans do love their potatoes, after all). The fries at the Boise Fry Company come with lots of options — first is the potato itself, organic and from M&M Heath Farms in Buhl, Idaho (the current selection is Russet, purple, gold, sweet, Laura, or yam, but they change seasonally); next is the preparation (shoestring, regular, home-style, curly, or the famous po-balls, similar to a tater tot). They’re hand-cut, then twice-fried in GMO-free sunflower oil, and you can choose from a wide variety of homemade seasonings, “spritzers,” and sauces.
Best Grocery Store: Natural Grocers
Natural Grocers is a retail chain focused on natural and organic groceries, supplements, and household products. Ultimately, the prices are lower than those at Whole Foods and the selection is better than at other options in Boise. As one review put it, “Enjoy shopping there: clean, well lit, great selection and very well priced compared to Whole Foods and even the Co-op.”
Best Italian Restaurant: Guido’s Original New York Style Pizza, Boise
Thanks to Guido’s, there’s a legit New York-style pizzeria in Boise, turning out some spectacular pies. Like all New York slice shops, this one is straight ahead and no-frills. You can get your pizza by the slice or in an 18- or 20-inch pie, and top it with a wide variety of meats and vegetables. Sausage rolls, Stromboli, and fresh baked garlic bread are also on the menu.
Best Mexican Restaurant: Tin Roof Tacos, Boise
When two Texas sisters realized that they couldn’t find a good street taco in Boise, they put their heads together and Tin Roof was the result. Full of Texas charm (you’ll find plenty of expats here downing Shiner Bocks and watching the Texas A&M game), Tin Roof serves a variety of creative tacos on tortillas made to order on their own tortilla machine. Sure, some aren’t exactly authentically Mexican (like a fried chicken taco with coleslaw and jalapeño ranch); but ones like the Tin Roof (shredded achiote-rubbed pork, pineapple, cilantro, and onion), brisket (slow-roasted beef with queso fresco, cilantro, and onion), and fish (grilled or fried, and topped with chipotle crema, red cabbage, and cilantro) are definitely raising the culinary bar in Boise.
Most Expensive Restaurant: Chandler’s, Boise
This swanky steakhouse spares no expense in its sourcing, and it expects its diners to spare no expense either. Pricey appetizers include a $95 seafood platter, $37 foie gras, and $37 sautéed abalone. Steaks start at $34 for a six-ounce filet and climb to $75 for a Snake River Farms Kobe filet. You can also splurge on a $72 lobster tail with Parmesan risotto or $95 for wild Baja California abalone meunière with mushroom risotto.
Best Pasta Dish: Alavita: Rigatoni
This cozy downtown Boise spot has breathed new life into the city’s tired Italian scene thanks to its commitment to using fresh local ingredients, house-cured meats, and making all of its fresh pastas in-house. And if you try one of their pastas, make sure it’s the rigatoni, which is tossed with rich shredded Barolo-braised Northwest short ribs and topped with arugula and pecorino. It’s a great way to get through a long Idaho winter. Find more details on Alavita here.
Best Pizza: Guido’s Original New York Style Pizza, Boise
The best Italian restaurant in Idaho is also serving up the best pizza! Guido’s is a New York-style pizzeria in Boise, selling by the slice or in 18- or 20-inch pies. Toppings range from a wide variety of meats to fresh vegetables. Sausage rolls, Stromboli, and fresh baked garlic bread are also on the menu.
Best Sandwich: Bleubird : Italian
Run by the husband-and-wife duo of Sarah and David Kelly, this quaint sandwich shop focuses on making creative sandwiches with only the highest-quality ingredients. The menu changes regularly based on what’s in season, but The Italian isn’t going anywhere: It’s filled with speck, Genoa salami, pickled peppers, pickled green tomato, greens, and a garlic-herb aïoli, and it’s seriously a winner.
A Street Soup Market
Best Soup: A Street Soup Market, Idaho Falls
A Street Soup Market chef and owner Bryan Lloyd only uses the freshest ingredients in his soups, which he prepares fresh daily (breads are also baked in house, and all meats are house-roasted as well). The menu changes every day (check Facebook to learn what’s available), but they’re always interesting, and always delicious. Don’t miss the tomato basil, cream potato bacon, chicken coconut curry, and lemon chicken asparagus.
Best Steakhouse: Chandlers, Boise
The best steakhouse in Idaho also happens to be one of the most expensive restaurants in the state! Chandlers’ four varieties of beef — USDA Prime from Chairman’s Reserve, natural and organic grass-fed beef from Oregon’s Painted Hills, American Kobe from Snake River Farms, and Japanese wagyu — are standouts not only on the menu, but in Idaho. We recommend the 8-ounce center-cut American Kobe paired with housemade béarnaise and a side of crazy good mashed potatoes!
Best Taco: Tin Roof Tacos, Boise: Tin Roof Taco
Don’t be shocked that the best Mexican restaurant in Idaho doles out the best tacos. The Texas family-owned taco joint serves a variety of creative tacos on tortillas made-to-order on their own tortilla machine. Opt for their eponymous Tin Roof Taco, made with brisket that’s been slow-roasted for 18 hours, queso fresco, cilantro, and onions. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.