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Exceptional Boise Restaurants That Define Local Dining

Posted by Lisa Kohl on Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 12:20pm

Exceptional Boise Restaurants That Define Local Dining

Boise’s restaurant scene has blossomed over the past years with consistent newcomers as well as long-standing community icons. Whether you’re looking for your next date night dazzler or somewhere tasty for a working lunch, you’ll see the top culinary spots on this list. From Italian to American, breweries to wine bars, steak and seafood to pasta and vegan, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Boise.


Alavita, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Alavita

Local and regional ingredients, inspired design, and craft cocktails define Àlavita, an Italian joint by the creators of Boise favorite, Fork. Located in the historic 1890 Boise City National Bank Building, Àlavita is an aesthetic treat for the eyes and palate from the minute you walk through the door. Àlavita’s designer, Mitch Thompson, created a stunning space by mixing natural textures with the glamor of custom chandeliers, blue-granite bar countertops, and custom-built butcher block tables. Every piece is carefully chosen to reflect the heart of Àlavita: a locally-inspired Italian menu with fresh, house-made pasta and decadent desserts. Whether you’re meeting with colleagues, out with friends, or looking for a romantic date night locale, Àlavita delivers time and again.

$$ - $$$ | Italian, Idaho Wines | alavita.com
807 W Idaho St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 780-1100


Barbacoa Grill, Southeast Boise
Photograph courtesy of Barbacoa/FB

If you’re looking for the best in fine dining in Boise, look no further than the restaurant that consistently garners awards like “Best Dessert,” “Best Cocktails,” and “Best Happy Hour” year after year. The essence of Barbacoa is in its name, barbacoa meaning the open-fire barbeque method of cooking that’s at the root of early American and Mexican cooking. Today, Barbacoa’s menu and restaurant aesthetic reflect the heritage of its chef, Enrique Martinez. A European-style lounge and antique details invite diners to sip one-of-a-kind cocktails and choose from an expansive menu of Mexican, Spanish, American, and Basque-inspired fare.

$$$$ | Steakhouse, Seafood | barbacoa-boise.com
276 Bobwhite Ct, Boise, ID 83706 | (208) 338-5000

Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery

Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Bardenay/Yelp

One of Boise’s busiest spots also holds an impressive title as the first distillery restaurant in the nation. Bardenay’s signature gin, rum, and vodka all go through the distilling process right here in Boise, and when you order one of their cocktails at their downtown location, you’re drinking liquor crafted just feet from where you’re sitting. Bardenay’s bar is one of the best in the city, and although they’re beverage-focused, their food menu is top-notch as well.

$$ - $$$ | American, Pub, Distillery | bardenay.com
610 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 426-0538

Bittercreek Alehouse and Red Feather Lounge

Bittercreek Alehouse and Red Feather Lounge, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Red Feather/FB

With an impressive tap list and a comfortable atmosphere, Bittercreek Alehouse is a downtown Boise classic. Bittercreek features one of the most locally-focused menus in town and is a longtime standard of the 8th Street string of fine dining restaurants downtown. Its sister restaurant, Red Feather Lounge, is the more sophisticated side of the same coin. With one of the most comprehensive and imaginative cocktail lists in town, a stunning glass-enclosed wine cellar, and a signature lux atmosphere, Red Feather is a great option for Saturday morning brunch (on the patio if it’s nice) or a romantic date night.

$$ - $$$ | American/Idaho | bcrfl.com
246 N 8th St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 429-6340

Chandlers Steakhouse

Chandlers Steakhouse, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Chandlers/FB

If you’re looking for the best steak in downtown Boise, you’d be hard-pressed not to mention Chandler’s as one of the top restaurants. Chandler’s specialized in Kobe-style beef and premium prime rib and also offers a martini for every taste. Located under the luxurious Hotel 43, the menu at Chandler’s covers all the bases of fine American-style dining, from steak to seafood to pasta. Their social hour menu also makes them the right place for after-work drinks.

$$$$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, Cocktails | chandlersboise.com
981 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 383-4300

Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria

Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria, Bown Crossing - Southeast Boise
Photograph courtesy of Flatbread/FB

With two Boise locations, Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria is the place to get a hand-crafted slice of pie. Flatbread uses unique Italian wood-burning ovens that fill their restaurants with a warm, aromatic glow. Their happy hour appetizers and wine specials make them an excellent option for meetings, date night, or dinner with the family. They even have a build-your-own pizza special for the kids—there’s something for everyone at Flatbread.

$$ - $$$ | Pizza, Italian | flatbreadpizza.com
3139 S Bown Way, Boise, ID 83706 | (208) 343-4177


Fork Restaurant, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Fork

If you ask a Boise local where you should head for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you’ll probably hear Fork mentioned nine out of ten times. Fork is an iconic Treasure Valley classic with a carefully-crafted menu, an award-winning bar, and the best Build-Your-Own-Bloody Mary bar in town. Fork’s ambiance is casual enough to make you comfortable, but upscale enough to make any night special.

$$ - $$$ | Northwest, Burgers | boisefork.com
199 N 8th St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 287-1700


Juniper on 8th, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Juniper/FB

A relative newcomer to the Boise restaurant scene, Juniper is already turning heads. A tasteful remodel to their prime location on 8th Street exposed previously-hidden brick, early 20th-century architecture, and original high windows. Juniper has quickly become a mainstay of the local culinary community since opening in 2014, offering a killer happy hour menu, signature cocktails, brunch, and a “cool without trying too hard” vibe you’re sure to love.

$$ - $$$ | Eclectic, Cocktails | juniperon8th.com
211 N 8th St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 342-1142

Saint Lawrence Gridiron

Saint Lawrence Gridiron, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Saint Lawrence Gridiron

It’s hard not to love this quirky, original, and impressive restaurant on Bannock in downtown. Saint Lawrence Gridiron believes in “exploring the roots of American cuisine,” and they do it with all the fervor and craft of an expert team of chefs and barristers. You’ll see Southern-inspired items on the menu you won’t find elsewhere in Boise such as grits, succotash, bones and toast. If you are lucky enough to get a seat on their patio while the weather is nice, you’ll soak in the scents from the brisket and pork on their low-and-slow wood smoker they keep going all day. If you’re looking for barbeque with class, a creative cocktail list, and the best grits in town, Saint Lawrence is your spot.

$$ - $$$ | Southern Inspired Pub, Barbecue | saintlawrencegridiron.com
705 W Bannock St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 433-5598

State and Lemp

State and Lemp, Boise North End
Photograph courtesy of State and Lemp/FB

If you’re looking for the essence of fine dining and a unique experience, you can’t do better than a visit to State and Lemp. With a rotating prix fixe menu, State and Lemp brings diners on a culinary journey with a sleek modern feel. State and Lemp has put Boise on the map with nods from Vogue, a nomination for a James Beard award, and a spot on the OpenTable's 100 Best Restaurants in America list.

$$$$ | Pacific Northwest | stateandlemp.com
2870 W State St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 429-6735

Wild Root Café & Market

Wild Root Café & Market, Downtown Boise
Photograph courtesy of Wild Root Cafe/FB

Health-conscious and vegan foodies, rejoice—Wild Root Cafe & Market on 8th has the menu for you. With a casual cafe vibe and a uniquely-crafted cuisine, Wild Root can satisfy your lunch, brunch, or dinner cravings. They’re a particularly friendly location for diners who want to eat clean, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free without missing out on the colorful flavors of well-plated food.

$$ - $$$ | Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly | wildrootcafe.com
276 N 8th St, Boise, ID 83702 | (208) 856-8956

We can’t predict what’s next in the Treasure Valley culinary scene, but we are certain of this: there’s no place for delicious food, friendly faces, and culinary exploration like Boise.

Cover photograph courtesy of Alavita

Boise Real Estate Agent Lisa Kohl

Lisa Kohl

Lisa is an Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. She helps each client just as she would a member of her own family, and cherishes the friendships she’s created. From Southeast Boise to the North End, up to Eagle and west to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.

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