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Old 04-20-2011, 10:57 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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I'm a northern California native, flying up to Boise on business for a few days. I'll only get one shot at dinner in town and two for lunch, so what are your favorite places? Price isn't important. Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Tigard, Oregon
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Barbacoa on Park Center Blvd!
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Boise, Idaho
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I love the Red Feather Downtown. They source local food sources-all fresh and mostly organic (if not all organic). Swanky, cozy atmosphere, wonderful menu, fun to be right downtown. I haven't been to Barbacoa but have heard great things.

Lunch on the patio at the Cottonwood Grille downtown is lovely--right along the Boise River and quite elegant.

Bittercreek Alehouse downtown has great hamburgers.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Boise, Idaho
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OH, and Berryhill is great. If you like Sushi, try Shige. Both are downtown.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:38 PM
 
Location: GIlbert, AZ
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ha, funny, I didnt think there would be much response to this thread, as the simple answer is that there arent very many choices in Boise. Nearest place with great food choices: Portalnd or Seattle. Everybody raved about this place for breakfast down town called Goldies: I waited for 45 minutes to be seated. The food was subpar and cold. So, whatever, it is what it is, and its Boise, so whatch gonna do.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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Goldy's is awesome and there is always a wait because it is so popular, you just had bad luck. If you wanted breakfast there are several other choices in downtown where you wouldn't have to wait so long. Besides if Bon Appetit says it is good, believe me it is good. Boise has a lot of great choices, the dining scene is diverse and unique, I didn't see this thread or I would have responded earlier. A lot of local restaurants have received awards from national food magazines, the choices for a city this size are impressive. In fact foodie friends of mine from Portland always love to munch out when they come visit because of the scene here, which they say is similar to Portland but on a smaller scale.

Oh, and Portland and Seattle aren't all their cracked up to be, I've had bad experiences at a few of their "star" restaurants but it happens on occasion.

But yeah, it is Boise and it is good.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:44 PM
 
Location: L.A.>Boise>Japan>L.A.>?
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I still think there needs to be more diversifying in the restaurant scene to compare it to any big city. The issue is whether or not the locals would even support trying something new. In the time I've been here, I've seen new food introduced that have been both successful (empanadas, banh mi) and not successful (full-fledged Asian bakery). It's probably helped that the successful forays are relatively cheap purchases. Take a look at what cuisine is considered "Best Of" in the Statesman's yearly poll and you'll see that there is still a preponderance of meat-and-potatoes people or people who go for the safe chain option for their big-night-out meals. I don't think you'll find similar results in that kind of survey in a city with the size and makeup of a Portland or Seattle. Getting these meat-and-potatoes people to escape from their comfort zone is the key.
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramenfan View Post
I still think there needs to be more diversifying in the restaurant scene to compare it to any big city. The issue is whether or not the locals would even support trying something new. In the time I've been here, I've seen new food introduced that have been both successful (empanadas, banh mi) and not successful (full-fledged Asian bakery). It's probably helped that the successful forays are relatively cheap purchases. Take a look at what cuisine is considered "Best Of" in the Statesman's yearly poll and you'll see that there is still a preponderance of meat-and-potatoes people or people who go for the safe chain option for their big-night-out meals. I don't think you'll find similar results in that kind of survey in a city with the size and makeup of a Portland or Seattle. Getting these meat-and-potatoes people to escape from their comfort zone is the key.
Agreed.

My opinion is the Boise restaurant scene is somewhere between Tohobit and Foreverking; there's some good restaurants but it doesn't compare to larger metros and the locals sure do love their chains. My real gripe is with the meager local micro brew scene.

As far as dinner for a night, I'd say Chandlers if you're going to be downtown.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:39 PM
 
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Why compare to a larger city? There can be some similarities on a smaller scale but to compare the scene in Boise to a larger city can be unfair, but when comparing the scene in Boise to other similar sized cities, and even some larger ones, Boise really kicks ass. The scene has really matured here the past 5 or so years, and the local places that push local food are the best ones.

I never vote in the "Best Of" in the Statesman because I have this funny feeling that a bunch of junior and high school kids and parents of large families vote for the selections each year thus the chain dominance in the lists, this was also the case in a larger city I lived in. On the other end of the spectrum consider the "Best Of" in the Boise Weekly, completely different demographic voting because the winners are always the local places and chains rarely make the lists. I wouldn't give much clout to the Statesman lists. Chain restaurants are scarce in the entire downtown/central Boise area, hell there isn't even a McDonalds downtown, the one that did exist on Idaho Street was closed because nobody went there and Pita Pit, local establishment next door to McD's was and is always packed. Wasn't a bloody cow head hung from that Idaho Street McDonalds once when it was still in business?

I liked the bakery at Yen Ching downtown, but it's had it challenges, the sidewalk in front of it is currently completely torn out and has been for a month with on going construction and when it was open the sidewalk was also torn up for the new tree boxes being installed. I believe the paper said that the owner wants to re-open it again later this year. But it is a tough call, there are a few other bakeries near Yen Ching including Le Cafe de Paris and it's fabulous French goods.

I understand the chain thing, chains in every city especially the larger ones are always busy. But the local winners in the Boise Weekly best of polls I feel give a more accurate portrayal of the scene in Boise than the Statesman does. But I still stand by my opinion that the scene here is really good, Berryhill, Cafe Vicino, Le Cafe de Paris, Chandlers, The Reef, Locavore, Fork a new place downtown is amazing and the artichoke is to die for, Red Feather, Barbacoa, the Basque restaurants, Tapas at the Basque Market, the list can go on and on. I've always wondered how many other cities our size have as many sushi restaurants as Boise does.
The Indian restaurants in town are really good and I've lived in London before where supposedly the best Indian food in the world is, and the options we have are pretty damn good.

Another thing I have noticed this year is that most of the more expensive downtown restaurants are packed on weekends, it is hard to get in most without a reservation or a long wait.

The local craft beer scene is really picking up, a new one called Payette Brewing is opening and Sockeye is expanding. Plenty of places around town have great beer selections on tap including Idaho options of Table Rock, Sockeye, Harrison Hollow, etc, and the beer selections at The Front Door and Bittercreek are amazing.

Food is a really subjective topic, what some people may love others may not care for. I never set foot in chain restaurants, I'm pretty picky and stick with the ample selection of local places.

Last edited by TohobitPeak; 04-27-2011 at 06:48 PM..
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:30 AM
 
Location: L.A.>Boise>Japan>L.A.>?
228 posts, read 571,508 times
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My response was in response towards your friends' assertion that the restaurant scene here is similar to Portland's but on a smaller scale. Truth be told I'd rather be stuck with Portland's options than the options here. I find the lack of certain options here to be the weakest point. Granted you listed some good restaurants. But when many of said restaurants are offering up their own version of the same cuisine, I find that to be contributing to a stagnation of the local scene no matter if a few of them up being on the Michelin guide. This is a portion of a review of Fork in Yelp that probably says it better than I ever could:

"Why can't a restaurant in Boise try something new? It is almost as if the menus from Bittercreek, 13th Street, Solid, Bardenay, Berryhill, Bungalow, City Grill, and half a dozen other restaurants over the last few years just got jumbled up and reprinted. This is the same un-inspired, semi-casual, might-as-well-have-gotten-your-recipes-straight-out-of-Bon-Apetit-in-2001 fare that has plagued Boise ever since the invention of the spinach salad with pear, gorgonzola, and walnuts."

I'll take variety over having a few real standouts of the same cuisine. People might rave over Fork, but they're not doing anything different that Red Feather/Bittercreek and Locavore weren't already doing. If they wanted to do that in Nampa/Caldwell and expand the west valley scene, then fine. But you could damn near crawl between Fork and Red Feather. I'd rather Fork's space be used towards cuisine that we don't have in downtown or don't have in the valley altogether. I feel like I'm going against the grain emphasizing variety over quality, but I feel that's the best way to hang close to the big boys like Portland. I'm admittedly aware of the risk of bringing something new in during these economic times and that the farm-to-fork concept is a safe popular bet right now. But taking chances can work. Look at Baguette Deli now. It opened in bad times and has become almost a mini-behemoth.

It was my mistake not mentioning the Weekly to having a more competent survey than the Statesman. Nevertheless there is still an untapped market of locals out on the fringe who are set in their safe boring ways and legitimately voted for chains in the survey. They might actually like some of the stuff they haven't tried if they were only exposed to it. I wonder what these people eat when they're on vacation far away from their meat and potatoes.

And the space containing Yen Ching Bakery is reopening but not as a bakery. That concept is done unfortunately. I know what it's being reopen as but am sworn to secrecy by the owner should he change his mind. But I don't think he will. I'm going to email him in May or June for an update, but as of now expect an opening of the new venture around August.
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