Idaho’s City of Trees (Boise was originally called Les Bois, or “wooded” in French) was once considered a hidden treasure for its low cost of living and easy access to mountains, rivers, and forests. Then, in recent years, visitors and new residents discovered the state’s capital and largest city, making Idaho one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.
Longtime locals may complain about busier traffic, crowded hiking trails, and high home prices, but the influx of newcomers has also brought diversity and excitement to the area’s restaurants. Within a few downtown blocks (which are extra walkable since the city permanently closed North Eighth Street to car traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic), you’ll find Basque chorizo, Southern barbecue, locally sourced produce, creative tacos, lamb grinders, handmade pasta, and booze-infused craft ice cream. Stroll a little farther and you’ll find meals from Ethiopia, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Burma. Or cruise to a drive-in for the pure comfort of fresh-grilled hamburgers, finger steaks, and fries.
Scott Ki is a former editor and writer for Edible Idaho and an ex-reporter for Boise State Public Radio and the Idaho Business Review. His work also has been carried by the Idaho Press, Idaho Statesman, NPR, and the AP.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.