The 15 Best Restaurants in Idaho!

Idaho often doesn't get the credit it deserves when compared to popular mountain states such as Colorado, Utah or Oregon. But Idahoans are a tough and formidable lot and have developed their own unique identity in a state with a burgeoning culinary scene.

With a unique blend of rustic, down-home recipes, infused with innovative, locally-sourced, and traditional Northwest ingredients, Idaho offers plenty for the adventurous palate.

1. Barbacoa, Boise, ID

Nestled in Northeast Boise, this Latin American-inspired grill offers a taste of both local and exotic fare. Whether you are seated at one of the many cozy tables or overlooking Parkcenter Pond, you will be wildly-entertained by the whimsical décor, not to mention, delectable appetizers, entrees and desserts. Loved by both locals and out-of-towners alike, Barbacoa is bound to please with their wide-array of tasty treasures: guacamole- made to order- at your table, sizzling steaks served on a hot plate and a dessert menu to appease your inner child, complete with cotton candy. Reservations encouraged.

2. Lardo's Grill and Saloon, McCall, ID

Open all year, this throwback to McCall's wilder and woolier past has been feeding locals with homegrown specialties since 1973. With a time-honored popular menu consisting of sandwiches, steaks, salads and spaghetti? (yep - it's a tradition!) you won't be disappointed. Showcasing the mining town's historic past, the restaurant is replete with interesting artifacts, a little venture back in time, and an evening out that the whole family will appreciate.

3. Nectar, Moscow, ID

This spot is not only the home of the University of Idaho, but has also become a hotspot of inventive menus. Consider Nectar, a husband and wife-run restaurant that proudly services locally-sourced, organic food to its many satisfied customers. Part of the growing philosophy among many gourmands, is the idea that food is best served farm to table. Consider this: A seasonal salad is whatever they find at the local market. Living up to that delectable creed is proof that nutritious is also delicious!

4. Pickle's Place, Arco, ID

When you are known as the "Home of the Atomic Burger" you know it's got to be good! A little off the beaten path and tucked on the cusp of the "Craters of the Moon" when planning a little day trip on the town, consider stopping by this little mom and pop piece of Americana. Known for their amazing sandwiches and of course-fried pickles-if traveling through Central Idaho, you would be remiss without a quick stop.

5. Sawtooth Hotel, Stanley, ID

Tucked below the majestic peaks of the Sawtooth Range is the small and quaint mountain town of Stanley, Idaho. With a diverse menu, the Stanley Hotel offers a great variety of local and exotic fare, i.e. crepes, Asian-fusion, meatloaf and pork schnitzel, the hardest part will be deciding on what to try.

6. Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center, Twin Falls, ID

Talk about having the best seat in the house. There is hardly a bad view with this dining establishment perched upon the precipice of the Snake River Gorge. The menu lays out an impressive variety of sandwiches, salads and heavier main courses like steaks and Idaho Steelhead. Be prepared to be wowed, with both the meal and the impressive backdrop.

7. Vintage Restaurant, Ketchum, ID

The state of Idaho might still be in the shadows of some of the more heavily populated Rocky Mountain states, but there is one thing those places have a hard time competing with, and that's snow, as in pure Bald Mountain powder. So where to go after a long, grueling day, slaloming along the legendary ski trails? How about the Vintage Restaurant, known for incorporating a little local flair (duck salad, Idaho trout) or how about trying out this appetizer: Delights of the Naked Stranger. Intrigued? Come check it out.

8. The Filling Station on 5th, Coeur d'Alene, ID

Beautiful mountain town? Check. Expansive lake setting? Check. Fabulous gastropub fare with 25 wildly exotic ales and other libations on tap? Double check! If you are looking for a little Idaho flair-and a savory brew to pair with it-look no further. With its convenient downtown Coeur d'Alene location, you can start your night on the town here. Duck and lengua (beef tongue) tacos, hearty sandwiches or entrees, get a little taste of CDA with your IPA.

9. Trudy's Kitchen, Idaho City, ID

Need a little respite from a long, winding mountain drive? Pulling into Idaho City might be just what the doctor ordered. Throw in home-cooked staples like finger steaks, Idaho mashed potatoes and gravy and you might have to postpone the long drive home for a bit, just to let your stomach settle. Trudy's Kitchen offers that small town, Americana-feel with its charming, rustic décor and tasty vittles. Just make sure to leave room for dessert-huckleberry cheesecake is the local favorite.

10. Boise Fry Company, Boise, ID

Let's face it, Idaho is really known for one thing: potatoes. So where is the best place to have a true Idaho potato? How about the Boise Fry Company? Burgers, fries, yes, it sounds pretty common but this is not your grandmother's burger joint. How about curled purple potatoes, sea salt seasonings with blueberry ketchup? Sweet potato fries and chipotle aioli. Or grass-fed bison burgers? This little gem has embraced the idea of locally-sourced, sustainably-harvested food.

11. 1000 Springs Tours, Hagerman, ID

Be careful with this dinner choice, you might think you're in the middle of the Caribbean instead of a landlocked high-desert oasis. Either way, you will not be disappointed. 1000 Springs is a little-known gem that offers the most unusual view of the crystalline pools: an evening dinner cruise. Enjoy a four-course meal in the midst of these pristine surroundings, deep pools of gin-clear water, wildlife and a backdrop that could have been scripted by Hemingway himself. Open all year.

12. Blue Moon Yurt, McCall, ID

Nothing says Idaho more than a gourmet dinner under the wintry stars, complete with roaring campfire, the company of like-minded strangers and a rustic yurt. Not an evening out for the fainthearted, however, if you are the adventurous type, this might be one of your most memorable meals ever. After a one-mile snowshoe trek from the parking lot, you will be able to work up a decent appetite as well.

13. State and Lemp, Boise, ID

This little treasure may be located in Boise, but once you step inside, you will be transported to another time and place. Intimate, modern, eclectic but above all: amazing. Expect to be impressed, contemporary dining at its finest, prix fixe menu, and of course, locally-sourced, seasonal menus.

14. Snakebite Restaurant, Idaho Falls, ID

Looking for your fix of American cuisine? You will have to look no further than this little home-grown, local-favorite, located in historic Idaho Falls. Keeping with the theme of local, sustainable and delicious, this grill will certainly please the entire family. Take in the warm and inviting ambience as well as the fresh ingredients. Consistently falling among the top 10 Idaho Falls places to eat, you will not be disappointed, just keep cash handy, no credit cards here.

15. Brick 29 Bistro, Nampa, ID

What better way would end a long day of work (or school) then walking into the heavenly scent of savory meats, gravy and vegetables, slow-roasted, and beckoning you to take a seat and a load off? Perhaps they can't transport you back to your grandmother's kitchen, but the Brick 29 Bistro might be able to recapture a little bit of that childhood memory. Open for lunch and dinner, it's comfort food reinvented, and Idaho all the way.

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