Boise’s downtown restaurant scene has flourished over the past few years with refreshing newcomers as well as long-standing community icons. Whether you’re looking for your next date night dinner or somewhere tasty for a lunch on the town, you’ll see the top culinary spots on this list. From Italian to American, steak and seafood to pasta and vegan, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Downtown Boise!
Established in 2007 by award-winning restaurateur Rex Chandler, Chandlers is an award-winning upscale dining establishment located in downtown Boise’s Hotel 43. Specializing in fine seafood, which is flown in from Hawaii and Alaska, plus prime steaks, the menu also features fresh ingredients procured from local sources. Guests can savor a host of exquisite fare created by Executive Chef Luis Flores, including steamed mussels in a white wine, green curry, and ginger sauce; the French classic seafood stew, bouillabaisse; and the juicy Kobe rib eye. With impeccable service, an extensive award-winning wine list with over 650 choices, all complemented by nightly jazz music, dining at Chandlers is a culinary experience not to be missed.
A haven for meat lovers, Barbacoa is a stylish restaurant featuring succulent steaks from local sources and flavorful Latin American fare created by Mexico-born chef Enrique Martinez. Diners can begin their meal with guacamole made tableside served with plantain chips followed by the cowboy rib eye — 24 oz. bone-in rib eye chop served with chipotle onion rings and borracho beans — or paella with braised seafood, chicken, chorizo, tomatoes, and saffron rice. A visually stimulating environment, this establishment also features the vibrant artworks by local artists, including restaurant co-owner Martine Castoro who is a painter plus Delia, an artist who works in enamels.
Located inside the Grove Hotel, Trillium is a true Boise gem, complete with chic decor and new American menu. The kitchen’s unwavering commitment to local ingredients is evident in dishes like smoked trout poutine, bison meatloaf, and huckleberry short ribs. Trillium is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features an evening happy hour with discounts on beer, wine, and appetizers.
The Wylder is a relative newcomer to the Boise food scene, but the pizza parlor already feels like family. Maybe it’s the 50-plus-year-old sourdough starter, or the family-secret lasagna recipe, or the desserts lovingly baked each day. Local favorites include the Honey Badger (a white pizza with Italian sausage, ricotta, caramelized onions, and spicy honey), the Bronco (a red pie with salumi, pickled Fresno chiles, and burrata), and such nightly supper options as lasagna and fried chicken.
Established in 2011 by the husband-and-wife duo Cameron and Amanda Lumsden, Fork is a warm and inviting restaurant serving contemporary Northwest-inspired cuisine. Located in a 1891 historic landmark that once housed the Boise City National Bank, Fork dedicates itself to the sustainable movement by featuring reclaimed materials in their décor, procuring locally sourced ingredients for their dishes, plus featuring a wine list, which includes many regionally sourced options. Delectable highlights include griddled mac’n’cheese made with pasta from Alavita, house maple-spiced bacon, pepper cheddar, and roasted poblano chilli; cast-iron buttermilk-fried chicken and cheddar waffle served with balsamic-infused maple syrup and orange-honey butter; and local bread pudding with chocolate and bourbon-infused caramel-cream sauce.
Located in the heart of downtown, Alavita serves Italian cuisine for lunch during the weekdays plus dinner Monday through Saturday in a lively and welcoming environment featuring an open kitchen. Specializing in fresh pasta made daily, this eatery uses the best locally and regionally sourced ingredients available. Discerning diners can feast upon delectable meals, such as squid ink linguini with a variety of seafood and green olives in a spicy arrabiatta sauce; porcini tagliatelle with local mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chives, and parmesan; and broiled halibut topped with gremolata accompanied by asparagus and orzo. Offering vegetarian as well as gluten-free options and a variety of wines plus handcrafted cocktails, Alavita ensures that a wide range of tastes will be satisfied.
Located on Boise’s historic Basque Block in a former warehouse complete with exposed brick walls and wooden rafters, Bardenay is the USA’s first restaurant distillery and specializes in the flavours of the Northwest and handcrafted libations. Featuring a large menu, diners can savor tasty highlights, such as the charbroiled salmon fillet served with sun-dried tomato butter and Caesar salad and the New York steak with blue cheese butter, veal demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables. A meal would not be complete without one of Bardenay’s signature cocktails like the cantaloupe cooler made with Bardenay vodka, watermelon liqueur, peach, lime, and orange juices — a truly refreshing option.
Bittercreek Alehouse offers one of the largest beer lists in town. The menu leans heavy on beer-friendly foods, like poutine, polenta fries, a smoked Idaho trout board, and a juicy house-ground burger. Bittercreek (and its sister restaurant Diablo and Sons) is locally sourced, with photos of area farmers and food purveyors gracing the walls.
At Petite 4 on the Bench, chef Sarah Kelly and her husband, David (“DK”), offer casual French bistro fare. The menu is filled with classics such as duck terrine, moules frites, and a coulotte steak with fries, along with more modern items like a bloody mary oyster shooter or wine-based cocktails. Reservations are a must, though walk-ins may have luck on the patio or at the bar. Stop by for the Friday Afternoon Club on the Southside patio for shucked oysters, tallboys, and “bubbles” from their oyster trailer (which can be reserved for private outdoor events). Or come on Saturday morning to pick up coffee and doughnuts or pastries.
With all-day brunch, primo bloody marys, and five different kinds of bacon, what’s not to love? This Boise dining destination sells more than eight tons of bacon a year. The menu features breakfast dishes like omelets, biscuit sandwiches, and bacon shots — a sampling of the restaurant’s five bacon flavors. The lunch menu has earned this place more than a few TV spots too, with indulgences like cheesy bacon lasagna, and mac and cheese with tomatoes, mushrooms, and, you guessed it, bacon.