The golden question: where are the best places to eat in Boise? As a transplant to Boise, one of the best things has been experiencing the incredible food scene here. Chain restaurants in downtown Boise are far and few between. With soooo many great local options, why would you want or need anything else? Let’s eat local!
Please note that this is my personal opinion on the following and that in such a fast-growing city, places are constantly opening and evolving. I have updated this list with the best places to eat in Boise! I did limit this post to the Downtown Boise area, or neighborhoods extremely nearby.
Best Places to Eat in Boise
Here are my top picks (updated March 2021. Please keep in mind some establishments are not currently open for dine-in due to COVID-19 restrictions):
- Big City Coffee & Cafe-an absolute and complete MUST DO while in the area. The lines are always out the door, but I’ve never once been disappointed with my meal.
- Bacon-Definitely one of the most unique options, this place sells over 8 TONS of our bacon each year. Soo many varieties, even vegetarian, you’ve gotten try a flight. Yes, a bacon flight. Just go, okay?
- Wild Root Café and Market-Such a Boise gem, this place is PACKED with vegan options. Kombucha and wine brunch on the weekends and also have a full lunch menu as well.
- The Hyde House-I have heard mixed reviews here, but personally, I love it. Boise is about community feel and that’s what you get here. Also, it’s a great brunch spot if you’re looking for a good boozy brunch with flowing mimosas for $10. Also, some of the prettiest avocado toast I’ve ever seen!
- Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro-There is always a long wait, but you can go to their café next door and they’ll call you when the table’s ready. The food is very affordable, and the staff is terrific so to me, it’s worth it.
- The Griddle-Not downtown, but very close by, this is your “classic” breakfast spot. There is something on the menu for everyone and you get that timeless diner breakfast feel.
- ā café-This café is a little newer, and definitely more of a trendy coffee shop aesthetic. However, you’ll has a full menu with tons of delicious and healthy options of breakfast foods, soups and salads, which you normally don’t find in an average coffee shop. In the spring and summer, the garage style doors are open for a beautiful breeze.
- Saint Lawrence Gridiron– this is definitely one of the best brunch spots in all of Boise! Sit on the patio with views of the capitol building. They have pretty good lunch and dinner too, I just definitely prefer their brunch. Also, they have the best fry sauce in all of Boise.
- Boise Fry Company-What comes to mind when an outsider thinks about Idaho? Potatoes. BFC has tons of fry options and some really delicious burgers. For me, bringing a visitor here is pretty much a must.
- Lemon Tree Co. -One of the most unique sandwich experiences I’ve ever had the privilege to experience. Try a lemosa while you’re there!
- Paddle Up Poke-Really exactly what you need when you’re craving fresh ingredients. I haven’t found my favorite sushi spot yet, so this satisfies that craving every single time.
- Bittercreek Alehouse– this is on the iconic 8th street! There’s something for everyone and a great beer selection.
- Even Stevens-Although it has Utah roots and more sandwiches, I actually really love the chicken sandwich here and I think it’s such a huge portion for your money. It’s really made this list for the location: Eat outside and enjoy the views of Freak Alley Gallery from their patio.
- Madre Boutique Taqueria-The staff is always super great and the aesthetic is one of the cutest in the entire area. Get the pineapple taco!
- Tin Roof Tacos-This place is incredible for a work lunch. Very inexpensive, fast street tacos. If you are a nurse, first responder, military, etc. and come in uniform, your entire order is 50% off!
- The Wylder-Great atmosphere and drinks. Usually split an app and a pizza with a gal pal on a girl’s night out.
- Little Pearl Oyster Bar– This is arguable the BEST place to eat in Downtown Boise. Opened in October 2020, it’s a great fine dining experience without any of the pretentiousness. Incredible service, great food, great atmosphere. Can’t beat it!
- Txikiteo– this is definitely more of a tapas/cheese plate type of situation but it’s fantastic and one of my favorites in Boise
- Bardenay Restaurant +Distillery-Everything I’ve tried here has been delicious and it’s located in the historic Basque Block of downtown Boise.
- Barbacoa-The swankiest joint in town!! Make reservations and don’t forget to order the tableside guacamole.
- ÁLAVITA-In my opinion, this is one of the best date spots in downtown! A cozy Italian spot with gluten free options and everything I’ve tried here is amazing.
- Matador-Matador was the first restaurant I ever went to in Boise. Sometimes, their options are pricey, but the atmosphere, the tequila selection and the late night happy hour that can’t be beat!
Some I have never been to, some are brand new and some are very popular among others (that I don’t particularly fancy myself):
- Funky Taco
- The Modern
- Tupelo Honey
For Spirits and Adult Beverages, these are my favorites in the area:
- The Nook on 9th St
- Western Collective
- The Mode
- Barbarian Brewery
- Mai Tai (it’s a restaurant as well, but I prefer to just go at their happy hour)
- Meriwether Cider House
- Waterbear Bar
To find the best coffee shops in Boise, head to my entire post on it here. Finally, for a sweet treat: make your way to the STIL or Guru Donuts.
Thank you Idaho for keeping my belly satisfied!
Like I said, Boise is such a fast-growing city and places are constantly opening and evolving. This is just a guide to get started but you really can’t go wrong trying somewhere new in Downtown Boise.
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