The third largest city in the state of Idaho, Meridian is fast establishing itself as a social and cultural center within the state. Although not immediately recognized as a culinary hotspot, Meridian does boast a number of unique, local restaurants. We list the must-trys while you’re in Meridian.
Calle 75 Street Tacos
Calle 75 Street Tacos began life as a small food truck at the Hailey’s farmer’s market on Highway 75 before establishing itself in the town’s trendy Village area. The new location is sleek and contemporary, featuring an open-plan kitchen and dining area and large windows looking out onto the beautiful square. The restaurant offers a range of Mexican dishes, including burritos, tortas and the eponymous tacos, all made-to-order. Diners pick a filling before adding a range of delicious toppings, including cilantro, garlic, aioli, chipotle, baja crema, or sautéed spinach.
Epi’s A Basque Restaurant is located in a historic family bungalow renovated into a cosy restaurant right in the heart of Meridian. The restaurant’s traditional setting and family-run vibe creates a homey, casual atmosphere, where diners are warmly welcomed by the owners and can relax for a couple of hours over hearty dishes of home-cooked food. The menu focuses on authentic Basque cuisine, offering tempting dishes made using fresh ingredients and traditional techniques. Unmissable dishes include the succulent beef medallions served in a rich Basque sauce, and the fried calamari served with a special house aioli.
Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli
Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli prides itself on a delicious, varied menu offering creative spins on typical deli sandwiches. The menu features a wealth of options, from classics such as the chicken Caesar wrap or the meatball sandwich, to the unusual, such as the Mountain Man made with bacon, lettuce and potato salad in a fresh roll. For the more adventurous, owner Chef Wally will create a sandwich using any combination of fillings desired, making Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli the perfect place to recreate an old favorite or try something adventurous. The deli also stands out for the freshness of its sandwiches; all items on the menu are made from scratch using high-quality ingredients and using freshly baked bread from a local bakery.
Gino’s Italian Restaurant
Cosy, warm, and with a rustic charm, Gino’s Italian Ristorante is an unmissable spot in Meridian for fresh, authentic Italian food. Dubbed the Little Italy of Meridian, the restaurant offers an exciting menu filled with classic favourites and unique, tempting dishes in an relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. The deliciously light yet crusty house bread is freshly made on site every day, as are the house pasta sauces. For an instant hit of comforting Italian flavour, try the creamy fettuccine alfredo or a wonderfully crispy and flavorful pizza baked in a traditional brick oven, or for something truly special, the osso bucco braised in a hearty red sauce for eight hours until melt-in-the-mouth tender.
Gramercy Park Pizza and Grill
A recent addition to the Meridian dining scene, Gramercy Park Pizza and Grill is the place to head for unique comfort food in a quirky, atmospheric environment. The interior is a throwback to the old-fashioned days of warm wood bars, decadent chandeliers and sultry, dark red walls, with the added twist of industrial pipes running along the ceiling. The menu is filled with creative interpretations of American classics, such as the veggi wings, crispy cauliflower tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce and served with blue cheese dressing, or the mac & cheese sammich featuring home made mac n’ cheese served between grilled slices of potato bread.
Kahootz Steak and Ale House
Kahootz Steak and Ale House has all the positives of a great neighbourhood bar, with the added advantage of a hearty menu which emphasises delicious, high-quality dishes rather than cheaply made, quick-fix pub food. All steaks and seafood are hand cut and freshly prepared on location, rather than being cooked from frozen, and all dressings, soups and salads are made from scratch. The pub also boasts an impressive selection of beers and ales on tap, offering no less than 43 brews at any one time, from well-loved brands to local micro-brews.
One of Meridian’s most popular spots for a delicious breakfast or lazy brunch, the Sunrise Café is the perfect place to kick start your day. The interior is old-fashioned and charming, with wood panelling and comfortable seating giving the café a cozy, hometown diner feel. The menu continues this small town diner theme, focusing on hearty, traditional fry-ups served in generous portions, rather than fancier options. The biscuits and gravy, which can be served on the side of crispy bacon or creamy scrambled eggs, are a house speciality, while the cinnamon rolls, freshly baked and steaming, are perfect for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Thai Basil has become one of the most popular restaurants in Meridian thanks to its fun, colorful décor and varied menu filled with authentic Thai dishes. The restaurant prides itself on using traditional cooking techniques, such as the searing wok over an open flame, and fresh, aromatic herbs and spices to create exciting flavour combinations and mouthwatering new dishes. As well as typical Thai dishes such as Thai green curry and pineapple fried rice, Thai Basil offers a range of Chef’s Specials which provide exciting twists on old favorites: try the crunchy pad Thai made with wanton strips instead of noodles for something really different.
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