Restaurant Guide–Idaho

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Boise

Alyonka Russian Cuisine–2870 W. State St. (Russian) Open 12 pm to 9 pm Wed-Sat.  Specialties include items that I think I would really like (beef stroganoff, stuffed peppers, Russian dumplings, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 1-25-22)

Bar Gernika–202 S. Capitol Blvd. (Basque) Closed Sun & Mon.  Basque food in a bar setting that is more casual than many of the Basque restaurants which specialize in steaks. Focuses more on the European style of Basque food than other restaurants that are more Basque-American. Here you get sandwiches (the solomo sandwich is a favorite with marinated pork loin and pimientos), lamb stew, cheese plate, and other “bar food” (although it seems much more upscale than most bar food). They also do interesting things with potatoes (these are in the “starters” menu). Map (Dining room is open 1-25-22)

Basque Market–608 W. Grove St. (Basque) Lunch only (closed Sun); open to 7 pm Thu & Fri. Tapas style. Flavorful & well seasoned. Soups taste home made. Paella is a specialty. (Has better reviews than Epi’s).Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Bosnia Express BoEx–4846 Emerald St. (Bosnian) Open 8 am to 3 pm (closed Sun). Menu now concentrates on sandwiches including gyro and panini. In the past had goulash and other items but now it looks like they are just doing deli items. Map (Takeout only 11-4-21)

Casa Blanca–5506 W. Overland Rd. (Cuban) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun). Authentic Cuban food. Has plates such as ropa vieja. Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Dong Khanh–2137 S. Broadway Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Good reviews. Has some interesting dishes such as banh xeo. Has vermicelli bowls. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria–800 W. Main St. (Pizza) Closed Sun.  Brick over pizza that is the only restaurant in Idaho with VPN certification (actually there are three–here and the Flatbread restaurants on Brown Way and in Meridian). Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Kabob House–9140 Emerald St. (Afghani) Closed Mon.  Serves Afghani food, which customers describe as a mixture of Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, and the food here is said to be very enjoyable. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Kibrom’s Ethiopian & Eritrean Food–3506 W. State St. (Ethiopian) Closed Sun.  Number one on Eater’s list of the city’s essential restaurants, even though most of its competitors are the city’s most upscale places. Has equal amount of choices for vegetarian and meat dishes. Both spicy and mild dishes are available. Map (Dining room is open 1-25-22)

Lucky Palace–8630 W. Overland Rd. (Chinese) Open 4 pm to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Authentic Chinese food is available. Serves clay pot dishes. Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Madurai Virundhu–8053 Emerale St. (Indian) Dinner only (closed Sun).  South Indian restaurant that also has dishes that are more familiar to Americans (probably north Indian). The “authentic” (South Indian) menu has specials that rotate daily and are highly recommended by people like me who love South Indian food. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Pad Thai House–10038 W. Overland Rd. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Food seems reasonably authentic and it will have Thai spice levels if you want it. They seem to take great care to individualize your order the way you want (spicy, not spicy, etc.). If they mess it up they will recook the food for you (a good thing), but as a result this is not always the speediest restaurant in town (some of the reviewers do not have patience for this, perhaps for valid reasons, but it think it is good they are trying to cook things the right way). Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Tango’s–701 N. Orchard St. (Argentinian) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sat evening and Sun). Authentic Argentine empanadas–both lunch style and dessert. Wide variety of fillings give a wide range of flavors. Some reviewers say some of the empanadas are authentic and others are ones they have added. Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Txikiteo–175 N. 14th St. (Basque) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Mon & Tue).  Food includes tapas, boards, and sandwiches. Said to have the area’s best selection of Basque wines. (Note: pronounced “Chee-kee-tay-o”). Map (Dining room is open 1-25-22)

Bonners Ferry

Bonners Ferry Pupuseria–6428 Kootenai St. (Salvadoran) Closed Sun evening & Tue.  More selection than just pupusas, and diners say all of it is good. Lamb burger is popular (and has other American food including breakfast). Has a large egg drop soup that I think makes a meal. Has a vegetarian menu. Has fresh squeezed orange juice. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Grama J’s Cafe–6371 Kootenai St. (New Orleans) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon-Wed).  Describes itself as a New Orleans style restaurant. Some favorites are po’ boys, beignets, and crepes. Had special Friday night dinners (but now discontinued because of Covid). Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Caldwell

Pupusas A&J–320 N. Kimball Ave. (Salvadoran) Closed Sun & closed Wed evening.  El Salvador breakfast, pupusas, and desserts are recommended. Items are served individually so you can get as much as you want but you don’t end up with too much. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Coeur d’Alene

Pho Thanh–2108 N. 4th St. (Vietnamese) Open daily except Sun evening.  Probably the best choice for inexpensive Asian food. Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Syringa Sushi–1401 N. 4th St. (Japanese) Closed Sun & Mon.  Sushi & Japanese (tempura, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Wolf Lodge Inn–11741 E. Frontage Rd. (Steakhouse) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue). East of town on I-90. Steaks are “raised right.” People say this is a special experience and worth the money ($$$ price range). Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Council

Li’s Chinese–120 Illinois Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  I think this may be the most authentic Chinese restaurant in Idaho, and it gets excellent reviews. Owner can make special requests that are not on the menu. Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Sprockets on 95–401 N. Dartmouth St. (Sandwiches) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Tue).  Casual bar atmosphere that has gourmet sandwiches (reuben, philly cheese steak, buffalo chicken, roast beef with mushroom and swiss, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Dover

Dish at Dover Bay–651 Lakeshore Ave. (American) Open daily in normal non-pandemic times (current winter hours are 4 to 9 pm–closed Sun & Mon).  Roadfood recommends it for BLT and huckleberry pie (both seasonal and not available in winter). Some winter items include Alaskan cod fish & chips and Hatch green chile fettuccine. Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Driggs

Teton Thai–18 N. Main St. (Thai) Dinner only (open daily).  Green curry is good, but just about everything has good reviews. Reviewers say the food tastes authentic, and the level 3 spice is quite spicy. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Eagle

Schnitzel Garten–1225 E. Winding Creek Dr. (German) Dinner daily; lunch Fri-Sun. Reviewers say it is authentic European, even to serving the dishes when they are ready (and not all at the same time). Schnitzel is pounded properly (something not always done in U.S. restaurants). Choices of meat are pretty much limited to schnitzel (various kinds), sausages, pork shank (their house specialty), and beef stroganoff. Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Grangeville

Melting Pot Cafe–521 W. Main St. (Variety) Open daily except Sat lunch & Sun evening.  Has a variety of food including American, Italian (chicken alfredo), Chinese (Mongolian beef is recommended), and Mexican. I think the Chinese food is the most recommended and Mexican is the least. Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Hailey

Jhony’s Peruvian–125 N. Main St. (Peruvian) Dinner only (open daily). Also known as JC’s Peruvian. Highly recommended. Many like the pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken). Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

The Smokey Bone BBQ–315 S. Main St. (BBQ) Closed Sun & Mon.  The brisket is said to be like it is in Texas, and the people here know what they are doing when it comes to BBQ. Map (Dining room is open 11-4-21)

Hope

Ivano’s del Lago–1267 Hope Peninsula Rd. (Italian) Open during the summer only (lunch & dinner). Restaurant at the Beyond Hope Resort. Upscale Italian restaurant at dinner with burgers and bar food at lunch. Has a great view and gets good reviews. Lunch has moderate prices. Sister restaurant Ivano’s in Sandpoint is open all year Wednesday through Sunday but is dinner only and has the Italian menu. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Floating Restaurant–47392 Hwy 200 (American) Open Easter through mid October (closed Wed). Upscale type restaurant, but mostly it’s just good American food (ham & swiss melt, buffalo burger, buffalo shepherd’s pie, fish and chips). Sunday brunch is recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Idaho Falls

Arugula Deli–261 Walnut St. (New American) Lunch only (closed Sun); open to 7 pm Thu-Sat.  Healthy food, and makes good use of ingredients such as quinoa. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Copper Rill–415 River Pkwy. (American) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Good reviews for their food (has a good variety of American dishes, including steaks). Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Krung Thep–366 Shoup Ave. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch.  I am suggesting this over Thai Kitchen based on the photos of the food even though both have good reviews (has colorful curries, etc). Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Jerome

Burnt Lemon Grill–1223 W. Main St. (New American) Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.  Since this is the heart of potato country, I was looking for a place that was noted for its potatoes. Burnt Lemon Grill is known mostly for other things (especially the lemonade), but potatoes are good also (especially the tots and the sweet potato fries). Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

China Garden–1100 S. Lincoln (Chinese) Open Daily.  Mostly American style Chinese food, but reviewers say the ham fried rice and lo mein are particularly noteworthy (and have a Chinese flavor). Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Kellogg

Casa de Oro–120 W. Cameron Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily. Has enchiladas suizas, Mexican style tacos, and mole. A lot of the menu looks more American style, though. Some reviewers say it’s one of the few places in town open on Sunday. Note: located on the north side of I-90 (most restaurants are on the south side). Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Ketchum

La Cabañita–160 W. 5th St. (Mexican) Closed Sun. Authentic Michoacan style Mexican food with authentic sauces (such as green sauce). Reviewers say it tastes like home cooked food. Also in Bellevue, ID. Map (Dining room is open 6-22-21)

Pioneer Saloon–320 Main St. (American) Open daily (dinner only). The reviews on every web site are so good I have to include this place. Steaks and grilled salmon are the specialty, but prices are for a casual restaurant (not a special occasion place). Also a good place for drinks. Map (Dining room is open 6-22-21)

Rickshaw–460 N. Washington Ave. (Asian Fusion) Dinner Tue-Sat, lunch Fri only (open Sun in summer).  Normally I would shy away from Asian fusion restaurants, but Yelp reviews are very convincing that this is a good place. It seems to be more Thai than any other type of food. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Lewiston

Tacos Cecy–1350 Main St. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Mexican food that is “as authentic as it gets.” Tacos, tortas, tamales, etc. Chorizo, shredded pork, chicken are good (and tamales are especially recommended). No red or green chile, though (does not have enchiladas or more “upscale” food). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Thai Taste–1410 21st St. (Thai) Closed Mon & Tue. People say it’s good Thai (better than expected in a small city). Worth stopping, and not just because there aren’t a lot of other choices. Noodle dishes, soup, and stir fried dishes are best–curries have mixed reviews. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Meridian

Epi’s–1115 N. Main St. (Basque) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon). Possibly the best known and most popular Basque restaurant in Idaho. Has a mix of authentic Basque and Basque & American hybrid food (some of the best dishes may be the latter). Some recommend getting a special instead of ordering from the menu. Reservations are encouraged. Map (Dining room is open 1-25-22)

Pueblo Lindo–3327 N. Eagle Rd. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Seems to be at least reasonably authentic if not very much so. Reviewers say that the food definitely tastes good. Menu includes many items that are served in El Paso restaurants but not very many places elsewhere in the US. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Red Pavilion Mandarin Cuisine–1760 S. Meridian Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Restaurant says they prepare “regional Chinese specialties.” Some dishes may fit this description, but there are plenty of Americanized items on the menu as well (the bad reviews seem to be mostly for the Americanized ones). Personally I think there are several dishes here I would like to try (and some are ones I have not seen in any other Chinese restaurant). Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Moscow

Iron Wok–2010 S. Main St. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm. Authentic Sichuan style food. Dan dan noodles and mapo tofu are recommended (dan dan is very spicy). Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Loco Grinz–113 N. Main St. (Hawaiian) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers say it is good Hawaiian food but high priced. Kalua is recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Maialina Pizzeria–602 S. Main St. (Pizza) Dinner Wed-Mon, lunch Fri-Sun (closed Tue). Reviewers say it is authentic Napoletana style pizza. Salads are said to be very good. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Mountain Home

Apple Barrel Deli–344 N. 2nd E. (New American) Open 8 am to 4 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers say it is high quality food served in a mom & pop restaurant (deli style). Variety of food from down home to panini sandwiches and French onion soup. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Chai-yo Thai–165 N. 11th E St. (Thai) Open daily 2 to 9 pm.  Excellent & cheap Thai from a food truck (however, the reviews are better for Shiok). Map (Takeout only 11-15-21)

Lot’s Filipino–365 N. 3rd E. St. (Filipino) Closed Sun & Mon (Tue & Wed are lunch only).  Small place that is said to be authentic and have a good menu selection. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Shiok–13654 SW Venable St. (Singapore) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 4 pm). Fish maw soup, steamed fish, dim sum. Singaporean & Chinese food. Located near entrance of Air Force Base. Reviewers say the food is “modern” and the menu offers a large choice of items. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Nampa

El Cafetal–3116 Garrity Blvd. (Colombian) Closed Tue.  Colombian cuisine with a wide variety of choices. Some are fast food style and sandwiches, and some are dinners (fish, steak, chicken, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Island Kine Grinds–140 Caldwell Blvd. (Hawaiian) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Authentic Hawaiian–owner is from the islands. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

JP Thailand Express–2025 12th Ave. Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Looks more authentic than most Thai restaurants in the area and has an interesting menu. Has sweet and sour chicken which sounds Americanized, but photo looks like it is the “real’ Asian style sweet and sour. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Little Saigon–1305 2nd St. S. (Vietnamese) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat. Has pho and vermicelli bowls. Reviewers say it has a very good flavor and the price is right. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Pollos y Mariscos El Guero–1204 12th Ave. S. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Said to be authentic, and has dishes I have not seen in US restaurants anywhere (reviewers say the restaurant is Baja style). The spice level is quite high for those dishes that are spicy (the reviewers say this is more reason to think it is authentic). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Pocatello

Butterburr’s–917 Yellowstone Ave. (American) Open daily from 7 am to dinner time.  Long time diner that is probably best known for breakfast, and it is more upscale than most (some specialties are eggs benedict and chicken fried steak). Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Mama Inez–390 Yellowstone Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Has “chili colorado” that sounds promising (these are sirloin strips dipped in red sauce). Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Taste of India and Nepal–330 N. Main St. (Indian) Closed Sun & Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). Looks as if it’s genuinely good. Has thali (combination) plate and a lunch buffet. Buffet seems to be Americanized and not spicy. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Thai Kitchen–978 Hiline Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  House special curry, red curry, and massaman curry get good ratings. Pad see ew is also popular. Reviewers say not everything on the menu is this good, though. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Ponderay

Cafe 95–1109 Fontaine Dr. (American) Open 7 am to 3 pm (closed Mon).  Hamburgers, fried food. Omelettes are popular. Very high ratings from a number of diners. Has teriyaki stir fry, fish tacos, and chili verde tacos. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Post Falls

Old European–1710 E. Schneidmiller Ave. (Danish) Breakfast and lunch only (open daily). Danish aebelskivers for breakfast are the specialty. Hungarian goulash for lunch is good. Also has Swedish and German dishes. Also in Pullman and Spokane, WA. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Tilly’s–212 E. 7th Ave. (American) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Mostly a soup and sandwich place, but it is upscale with some entrees and they say salads are very fresh. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

White House Grill–712 N. Spokane St. (Greek/Turkish) Open Daily. Upscale (kabobs & sea bass are specialties). Turkish cigars (appetizers) are recommended by everyone. Map (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Rexburg

Cupbop Korean BBQ–3460 S. 25th E. (Korean) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Started as a popular food truck in Salt Lake City–now they have a branch here (although this is a regular rest.–not a food truck). Map (Dining room is open 9-16-21)

Original Thai–10 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Mostly very good reviews. Several say it is the best or one of the best Thai rests. in Idaho. Some say the stir fried dishes are better than the curries. There seems to be more of a problem with the service than with the food (for those who leave bad reviews). Map (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Salmon

Junkyard Bistro–405 Main St. (American) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Serves American food along with some Thai and Italian (and it all gets good reviews). Vietnamese pork sandwich is available on Wed. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Sandpoint

Hydra Steakhouse–115 Lake St. (Steakhouse) Dinner only (open daily). 1970’s style steak house. Patty melt, steaks, burgers, mud pie, specials (such as Alaskan salmon). Not expensive. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Joel’s–229 Church St. (Mexican) Open 7 am to 4 pm; 7-3 on Sat (closed Sun).  Breakfast burritos and fish tacos are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-27-21)

Pie Hut–502 Church St. (American) Lunch only (closed Sun-Mon).  Pies are really good, but people like the lunch also (mostly sandwiches). Roadfood recommends huckleberry or marionberry & apple pie in summer, and chicken pot pie available all year. Map (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Secret Thai–218 Cedar St. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch, Sun, & Mon. Good Thai, but people complain about the prices. One of the highest rated rests. in Sandpoint. Reviewers on Yelp say the curries and flavors are authentic but they did not like the vegetables used in the dishes. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Thai Nigiri–209 N. 1st Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun, & Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4 pm). Highest rated Thai on Yelp–reviewers say it is surprisingly delicious and authentic. Also has sushi (this is probably the reason for the name “nigiri.” Has reviews that convince me more to try it than Secret Thai. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Star

Rustic Table–9846 W. State St. (American) Open Daily.  Most popular items here are prime rib and burgers (those on a budget can eat here but you can go high end if you want). Other recommended items include beet salad, Idaho finger steak, clam chowder, coconut shrimp, mashed potatoes (and almost everything else but not everything). Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Twin Falls

A Taste of Thai–837 Poleline Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Very good Thai in a somewhat unexpected location–a few miles off of the Interstate but worth going here. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)

Buffalo Cafe–218 4th Ave. W. (American) Open 7 am to 2 pm (closed Mon & Tue).  Reviews say this is the place to go for breakfast. Basque sausage and homemade jam are some of the favorites. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Emma’s Cafe–669 Blue Lakes Blvd. N. (Bosnian) Closed Mon, & closes early in the evening.  Sausage, meat platter, and Bosnian pancakes are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-15-21)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For Idaho it is Basque cuisine–here it is a mixture of their European dishes and Idaho potatoes (which arguably makes it even better).

The article suggests two iconic Basque restaurants in Boise: Bar Gernika with good sandwiches and a number of Basque dishes combined with local potatoes, and Txikiteo with an extensive wine list and exceptional tapas.


Sources:

Chowhound (Idaho)

Condé Nast Traveler (50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State)

Culture Trip (Top 10 Restaurants and Cafes in Pocatello, Idaho)

Eater (The 26 Essential Boise Restaurants) Note: mostly includes the most upscale restaurants in the city

Food & Wine (How Idaho Became the the Best Place to Eat Basque Food in America)

Google Maps

Roadfood (Idaho)

Roadfood (The One Must-Eat Food in Each State, And Where To Get It)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

VPN Americas (Idaho)

Yelp (Idaho)

Zomato (Boise)

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