Boise, the state capital of Idaho, has a vibrant and varied restaurant community typified by relaxed dining, locally sourced produce and classical Northwestern cuisine. Whether a locally reared steak, Idahoan trout or redefined Italian fare takes your fancy, Boise has a restaurant to suit your taste.
A trip to Boise wouldn’t be complete without visiting Bardenay – a stylish and modern downtown restaurant that in 2000 became the USA’s first restaurant-distillery with the means of blending onsite handcrafted spirits. Located on Boise’s historic Basque Block, home to many cultural events and restaurants, Bardenay resides in a former warehouse and retains original features like exposed brick walls and wooden rafters, updated with contemporary artworks and subdued lighting. The Northwestern menu offers guests a taste of Idaho with dishes like the fresh Hagerman trout fillet, reared in the neighboring city of Twin Falls, grilled in a caper and balsamic reduction and served with garlic mash and vegetables. Don’t leave without trying one of Bardenay’s signature cocktails like the Huckleberry Lemon Drop – Bardenay’s own lemon vodka, triple sec and huckleberry puree.
For an upscale yet casual dining experience, look no further than Berryhill & Co – local chef and restaurateur John Berryhill’s flagship restaurant. John, who also owns the Boise based restaurants Bacon and Plan B Lounge, is an accomplished chef who has been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal and Northwest Palate magazine and bases Berryhill & Co’s unique, urban menu on Northwestern cuisine with distinctly global flavors. Try the ginger Kobe gyoza starter, made with local Snake River Farms Kobe beef and served with fresh ginger wantons and a chilli-maple soy sauce, followed by Berryhill & Co’s take on the classic macaroni and cheese. Made with penne, four cheeses, wild mushrooms and tomatoes, the dish was named one of the best mac and cheese recipes in the US by Food & Wine magazine.
Established in 2011, Fork is an upmarket restaurant specializing in local and seasonal cuisine and located in one of Boise’s most historic landmarks – the former Boise City National Bank which was built in 1891 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Husband and wife Cameron and Amanda Lumsden, who have over 15 years’ experience in the restaurant industry, are the team behind Fork and their dedication to sustainable, local food is evident in their dishes. The majority of the restaurant’s key ingredients are sourced from around Boise – an ethos that extends to Fork’s beverages with 75% of wines, beers and spirits produced in the Northwest region. The menu features contemporary and creative American cuisine with local flavors like the mushroom ragout panfry, made with Sweet Valley Organics mushrooms and served over a grilled polenta cake.
The Cottonwood Grille offers guests innovative and contemporary Northwestern cuisine in elegant yet unpretentious surroundings that maintain a warm, relaxed ambiance. Established in 1999 by the Boise-based Hormachea family, Cottonwood Grille attracts a loyal and local crowd and resides in a beautiful location on the banks of the scenic Boise River. Patio seating allows guests to take in the gorgeous views, while inside, the stylish dining room is dominated by high windows and a dramatic stone fireplace. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, guests can choose from fare like aged sirloin steak, grilled and served with peppercorn sauce or, for something slightly different, grilled pheasant with a creamy wild mushroom sauce. Dishes are complemented by a wine list of over 180 varieties with a special focus on Northwest and California vintages.