6 Ways to Eat Like a Local When Visiting Boise, Idaho
At Jitasa, we are fortunate enough to live in a pretty great city. If you don't believe us, all you have to do is google "Boise, Idaho top ten lists," spoiler alert, if there were a list for getting on top ten lists, we'd make that too. People love our town; we have great culture, awesome people, and food that will make every dream your taste buds have ever had come true. We have hundreds of locally owned restaurants, and zero excuse to eat at a chain. Below are some tips on how to eat in Boise like a local.
When we pay 5 bucks for a cup of Joe we expect it to be nothing short of amazing. That's why most Idahoans, especially natives, skip Starbucks 90 percent of the time.
Open since 1992, their downtown location (500 West Idaho Street) is frequented by hipsters, college kids, and business people alike. As such it is some of the best people watching in town. They have good coffee, fresh baked treats daily, and a quirky little gift shop.
Java has two great locations convenient to downtown. One located on North 6th Downtown and the other in Hyde Park off of 13th. Both feature great coffee, from drip to their tasty "bowl of soul," tasty breakfast items, great music that isn't too loud, and lots of places to sit and relax.
2.Get out of your comfort zone
From hip joints that combine unique ingredients to ethnic delights that allow you to taste another culture, Boise is a great place to try something new and have your taste buds take step into the unknown.
The reviews on Tripadvisor speak volumes about this authentic Indian hideaway. Ranked with 4 and ½ stars, it is popular with nearly everyone, from international travelers to picky locals. If you've never tried Indian food and are worried it will be too spicy, don't fret, they offer a range of spice preferences from 1 to "Bombay Hot". They also offer an amazing lunch special that will let you try everything buffet style with no commitment. Don't make the rookie mistake of not making a reservation though, as it's very likely you won't get in without a wait.
Located in the heart of downtown at Bannock and Capitol, Saint Lawrence Gridiron is intent on exploring the roots of American cuisine. They do so by creating classic dishes that feature creative twists. Standout items include: Bleu Brisket smoked slow and low and topped with pickled red onions, gorgonzola horseradish cream, and arugula; Shrimp & Grits featuring Carolina stone ground grits, sausage and tomato gravy, grilled shrimp, and scallions; Corn Chowder.
3.Even the ordinary is extraordinary
This place isn't just good, it is line inspiring. You'll find one wrapping the block everyday starting just after 11 am. Don't let that deter you however; they are fast and totally worth the wait. House-made options include delicious sandwiches, soup, and salads, pretty sodas served in jam jars, and sweets that make cheat day worth it. The fair offered by this inventive little café really can't be missed.
Moon's Kitchen Café
Moon's has been a downtown Boise staple since 1955. Under new ownership since 2012, everything is made from scratch (even the jam) and ingredients are sourced locally. You'll find typical diner food with atypical additions (the Guinness milkshake for example). So whether you're after a hearty, home style breakfast, a great burger, or a famous shake Moon's will have something to offer.
4.Go for the drink menu stay for the food
Idahoans tend to enjoy their libations, and when they are as creatively mixed as we happen to be spoiled with, it's easy to see why.
The Modern is a quirky little hotel that has been remodeled and given a swanky atmosphere that is perfect for post work drinks. Located in the Linen District, it is far enough away from Downtown to mellow you out quickly. They feature an intimate indoor bar that fills up quickly, and a great little patio with camp fire tables. They're drinks are thoughtful and inventive, while their food will comfort and tantalize your taste buds, plus they change the menu up regularly.
Barbacoa has always reminded me of a hip vampire bar. You walk in through a wine lined corridor to jewel toned walls, great art, and candlelit tables. Outside features a great patio that sits right next to a lake. You'll find drinks served in cups formed of ice, served with side popsicles, and containing unusual ingredients. For food you can eat anything from tableside guac to campfire smores garnished with bacon.
*Drinking and driving isn't cool no matter where you are. We have a cab company in town (Buddies Designated Driver Service) that leaves you with zero excuses. They'll bring two cabbies, one to drive your drunkenness home in your car and one to take that cabbie back to headquarters.
5.Don't miss the patio
Boise has some excellent weather and even better people watching, which is why locals love a great patio. At the first hint of spring you'll find us decked out in tanks, (and sometimes shorts) and sunnies blissfully getting our first sunburn of the year.
The patio at Sandbar is right off the Boise River and the Greenbelt at the Riverside Hotel, allowing you to partake in the lovely breeze and great smells of our favorite city accent. They offer a great happy hour, which includes drink and food deals. They also welcome friendly canine patrons and bike parking. You can also catch live music there every evening.
Reef is a Tiki inspired bar and grill that features a sneaky patio. Located on the second floor, it's a great place to enjoy the sunshine and feel like you're not stuck in the city. It's a great place to enjoy the sunshine and eat delicious food. The menu is inspired by island fare and has something for everyone. The Hula Hula Chicken sandwich, Pupu Platter, and Coconut Shrimp are especially good, and don't forget to order your fries Voodoo for a spicy sweet kick.
6.Stay for Brunch
In Boise, our Brunch game is on point. You'll find loads of restaurants catering to the hungover, families, and friends gathering for their weekly catch-up. With so many options it can be difficult to choose, if you love your midday breakfast (elevensies if you will) then you can't miss these digs.
A distillery with great drinks and awesome food, they almost made the list for number 4…however their brunch is so dang good it has to be featured here. On Saturday and Sunday they offer up fresh squeezed juices, which you can have mixed with their local in house distilled spirits. The mimosas are excellent and because they know Boise-ians, you can order them double from the get go. If you're a Bloody Mary fan, they make a mean one of those as well. As far as food goes, they offer everything from deep fried French toast (the best) to salmon eggs benedict. Most items come with delicious meat options, fresh fruit, and potatoes that will have you there every weekend like an addict. You can enjoy your brunch at their location in downtown Boise, or in Eagle on the river.
This downtown restaurant is located right on the river and offers a beautiful view while you eat. They offer a large menu with a ton of options to suit your taste buds. On that menu you'll find delicious omelets like Basque and Snow Crab, healthy salads, and entrees like chicken and wild mushroom crepes.