As the temperature starts to rise, people in Boise tend to head outdoors to soak up some sun and enjoy good food with family and friends. With plenty of outdoor dining options in Idaho’s capital, we’ve chosen some of of the best for you to try this summer.
Restaurant, South American, Spanish, Steakhouse, $$$
A feast for all senses, Barbacoa is a stylish restaurant specializing in Latin American cuisine bursting with flavors. Guests can choose to dine inside, which is adorned with deep, rich colors, art, and decorative items, or the beautiful outdoors that are washed in bright colors and provide lovely views of Parkcenter Park. Barbacoa features two spacious outdoor dining spaces, including a patio and rooftop deck, making it a particularly great summertime venue. The menu caters heavily toward meat eaters with a variety of steaks served on an Argentina ironwood platter and served with choice of side, including sautéed spinach with garlic, jalapeño green rice, and asparagus to name a few.
Market, Restaurant, South American, Spanish, Tapas, European, $$$
Established in 2000 on Boise’s Basque Block, The Basque Market is a lively venue with a market selling an array of Spanish goods, a catering company, plus an restaurant offering tapas-style delicacies. A perfect establishment to visit during the warmer months, the market features a colorful outdoor patio that comes alive during the summer. Stop by on Wednesdays and Fridays when the culinary team makes paella on the patio. You can also try their daily pintxo menu with soups, salads, mini-sandwiches. A prix-fixe dinner menu featuring locally sourced ingredients is also available on Fridays. To complement the meals, wine, frozen sangria, and other refreshing drinks are offered as well.
Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery - Boise, West Grove Street | Courtesy of Bardenay
Known as the nation’s first distillery restaurant, Bardenay is a unique dining establishment with three locations in Idaho. The one located on the Basque Block, offers street-side outdoor dining perfect for summer days and balmy nights. They feature an incredible drinks menu featuring cocktails, which uses their own handcrafted vodka, rum, gin, plus freshly squeezed juices, wine, and beer along with a tasty menu focusing on the fresh flavors of the Pacific Northwest. With something for everyone, the menu has a variety of entrées for meat and fish lovers plus vegetarians.
Established in 1996, Bittercreek Alehouse offers guests a wonderful outdoor patio perfect for relaxing with family and friends while enjoying a selection of craft brews and tasty American eats. Beer lovers have a choice of 39 drafts with selections from the Pacific Northwest plus Montana, California, and Colorado. As for the alehouse’s food menu, guests will find everything from burgers to sandwiches and other entrées featuring the best of local ingredients. The potato soup makes a great starter while the spicy lamb burger with feta, crispy onion, and jalapeño is a flavorful main dish.
Sandwiches are the go-to meal for many diners during the summer, and Bleubird is the perfect spot to grab one. Opened in 2012, Bleubird is the brainchild of husband-wife duo David Kelly and Sarah Kornfield and specializes in sandwiches along with soups, salads, and house-made sodas. This cafe features an airy space along with a small sidewalk patio, complete with blue picnic tables, great for watching the world go by. The seasonal menu will appeal to many tastes from meat lovers to vegetarians with one of the highlights being the pastrami reuben with gruyère, purple cabbage slaw, and Russian relish.
Cucina di Paolo is a gem often described as a ‘word-of-mouth’ eatery. The restaurant offers a homey interior in which to try their mouthwatering dishes plus a cozy, private patio that exudes charm and shade provided by umbrellas. Featuring regional Italian cuisine along with Northwest comfort dishes, this establishment makes most of their offerings from scratch, aside from items from regional bakeries. The ever-changing menus has options including chipotle meatloaf with potatoes au gratin, eggplant parmagiana served over pasta with tomato ragu, and the pan-seared pork tenderloin with wild mushroom demi-glace.
A neighborhood restaurant focusing on locally sourced fare, The Dish is a wonderful venue any time of the year, but its intimate sidewalk patio makes it an ideal summertime spot. Meat lovers will enjoy the brie burger topped with brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, tomato, and balsamic-onion marmalade all on a brioche bun while vegetarians can dig into the summer citrus salad with butter lettuce, sherry vinaigrette, navel oranges, dates, candied pecans, feta, and mint. Be sure to try one of their signature fry options, including russet fries with truffle aioli.
If you’re looking to unwind with a nice, cold brew Pre Funk Bar is the place to go for a variety of craft beers. Guests may sit inside, but with the warm temperatures heating up over summer, the patio is a great option. A community gathering spot, Pre Funk Bar hosts many events throughout the year from benefit fundraisers to live music and more. They also host food trucks for those wanting to enjoy some tasty eats.
Opened in 2014, Saint Lawrence Gridiron is a restaurant focused on ‘exploring the roots of American cuisine.’ Inspired by Low Country Southern cuisine along with flavors from Idaho, this dining establishment, has something the entire family can savor. When the weather is warm, diners can enjoy the outdoor dining space, complete with colorful umbrellas to provide shade along with lighting after the sun goes down. From shrimp with Carolina grits, tomato and sausage gravy to fried chicken with watermelon salad, arugula, and pullman toast to the BBQ beet sandwich the dishes are bursting with unique flavors.