Fast-Growing Boise Has a Wine and Food Scene to Match

Surrounded by Idaho’s emerging wine region, Snake River Valley, the surprisingly lively capital of Boise will tempt you with local wines and great food.
Juniper

The vinous vistas of Boise, Idaho, may not be most wine lovers’ first thought for a travel destination, but its location in the middle of the up-and-coming Snake River Valley AVA is the ideal base from which to check out the area’s wine country. Boise’s blend of urban savvy, proximity to nature and entrepreneurial streak means the city—one of the 20 fastest-growing in the U.S.—won’t stay unsung for long.

Where to Drink

Cinder Winery Urban Wine District Boise
Cinder Winery in the Urban Wine District

Southwest Urban Wine District

Though the heart of Idaho wine country is less than an hour from downtown Boise, there are several wineries and tasting rooms in the metropolitan area, particularly in the suburb of Garden City.

Try the new Coiled Wine Bar in downtown Boise, as well as high-elevation wines at Terra Nativa Vineyards made from classic French varieties. Also plan a visit to Cinder Wines, whose 2012 Tempranillo received 92 points from Wine Enthusiast in 2016—the highest to date of any Idaho wine. Enjoy the gorgeous riverfront patio at Telaya, where you can picnic in front of a fire pit while sipping one of their locally-produced, Old World-inspired wines.

Tip: Rent bikes and explore the entire 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, ending at the urban wineries.

Press and Pony Boise
Cocktails at Press and Pony

Press & Pony

This craft cocktail haven is pint-sized and perpetually packed, which might be aggravating if you were in any city less friendly than Boise. Bartenders here are happy to help you navigate a cocktail list that gives equal attention to both classic cocktails and cutting-edge mixology. Keep an eye out for the revolving selection of housemade tonics and sodas to pair with your spirit of choice.

Taphouse Boise
The lineup at Taphouse

Taphouse

Since 2012, Taphouse has offered the city’s widest selection of draft beer. It offers 44 choices on tap, including a selection of Boise-based brewers like Payette, Sockeye and Edge Brewing Co. All beers are available as 4-ounce pours that customers can use to create their own tasting flights, with pitchers and growlers also available (growlers are ubiquitous in Boise). Don’t miss their signature burgers and weekend brunches featuring fried chicken and waffles and $2 mimosas.

Bittercreek Alehouse

Almost all Bittercreek’s 40-plus draft beers and ciders are from the western U.S.; the adjoining Red Feather Lounge serves seasonal American cuisine and classic cocktails.

Bodovino

With a whopping 144 glass pours and an additional 600 bottles, Bodovino has the city’s largest wine selection, paired with cheeses and tapas.

PreFunk Beer Bar 

A craft beer bar and growler filling station, PreFunk has dozens of choices on tap, and two locations in the Boise Metro area.

Where to Eat

State and Lemp Boise
State and Lemp / Photo by Guy Hand

State & Lemp

State & Lemp offers a dinner-only prix-fixe menu from Wednesday through Saturday (reservations recommended) that showcases innovative flavor combinations, inspired wine pairings and Boise hospitality. While Kris Komori, the James Beard-nominated chef, works closely with area farmers, he’s not averse to sourcing hard-to-find ingredients elsewhere for the perfect finishing touch. A recent menu, for example, featured duck with nasturtiums, morels, zucchini and Montasio cheese from Brush Creek Creamery in upstate Idaho, paired with an Austrian Zweigelt from Claus Preisinger.

Wild Root Cafe Boise
Michael and Anne-Marie Trebbi of Wild Root Cafe

Wild Root Café

Anne-Marie and Michael Trebbi’s daytime-only eatery has become a downtown staple since its debut in late 2015. It uses local ingredients to make globally-inspired dishes like falafel, ramen, bánh mi and Indian bhurji. Enjoy your meal with wine, beer, cider produced in the area, and even Idaho kombucha.

Juniper Boise
Juniper

Juniper 

Juniper’s commitment to local ingredients extends to its wine list, which is comprised almost entirely of Idaho selections. Try creative but unpretentious dishes like blackened Idaho trout with a blue-corn grit cake and harissa aioli, or Snake River Farms beef medallions with farro risotto. The Chef’s Table is a worthwhile experience: Five courses prepared as you watch, paired with local wines.

The Basque Market

Boise has the largest Basque population in the country. This market offers Basque and Spanish food, drink, wine tastings, classes and more.

Ice Cream Potato Westside Drive-In Boise
The famous ice cream “potato” at the Westside Drive-In.

Westside Drive In

A real-deal 1950s drive-in diner famous for its finger steaks, Monte Cristo sandwich and “ice cream potato”.

Westside Drive-In Finger Steaks

Bacon

John Berryhill’s beloved bacon-centric bistro is a must visit. Be sure to grab a package of its chili-sugar cured bacon to take home.

Modern Hotel & Bar

An updated Travelodge in the hip Linen District, the Modern Hotel & Bar also boasts a terrific restaurant and some of the city’s best cocktails.

Sofra Bosnian Grill

Edina Delic serves authentic dishes to Boise’s large Bosnian community and other hungry locals.

Published on August 15, 2017
Topics: Travel Destinations
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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