A Guide to Food and Wine in Southwest Idaho

Foodies, listen up. There’s a place you probably haven’t visited yet that’s home to innovative cuisine, award-winning chefs and some of the best wine in the region. That destination is Southwest Idaho, which includes Idaho’s capital city of Boise—one of the coolest up-and-coming cities in the West with a burgeoning food and drink culture. There are dozens of restaurants to explore in the Boise and the surrounding region, but a number of local spots have been all over the press lately—garnering rave reviews and attention from both the local and national scene. Here is a quick to some of the best food and wine in Southwest Idaho. 

Bittercreek Alehouse

In Boise, the Bittercreek Alehouse & Red Feather Lounge is a joint cocktail restaurant and brewery that’s one of the most popular spots for locals. Both establishments are proud to be part of the eco-friendly sustainability movement by using only locally sourced ingredients. The Bittercreek Alehouse has a cozy atmosphere of rustic wood furniture and a fully stocked bar with craft beers on tap. Guests can order delicious dishes like Von Brotzeitteller (a cured meats board), halloumi tacos and whole beast hog chops. Wine lovers will want to check out the Red Feather Lounge—including its cellar. Red Feather has a more elegant vibe, but shares the same cuisine as Bittercreek Alehouse. Guests can join the Low Power Happy Hour that occurs every weekday from 3 to 5 p.m. to sip on drinks in the dark by candlelight. Due to the revolutionary way of farming and vermicomposting at Bittercreek Alehouse, Huffington Post praised the establishment for being among one of the first restaurants to step forward in eco-friendly farming.

Fork

Another great location to sip on fine wine and sample delicious meals is at Fork in downtown Boise. The restaurant’s motto is “loyal to local” since every ingredient is locally sourced and farmed nearby. Guests can order meals like the Boise chopped salad, chicken and waffles, grown-up grilled cheese sandwich and rosemary Parmesan Idaho fries. Due to Fork’s fantastic wine selection, Great Northwest Wine has given the Award of Excellence to the restaurant.

The Basque Market

Get your paella fix paired with red wine at The Basque Market in Boise. Although the restaurant is open seven days a week, diners are invited to join a giant paella cookout on the patio every Wednesday and Friday at noon. Other items on the menu include Basque meatballs, croquetas and patata bravos (spiced potato fries). Many of the dishes are gluten-free and vegetarian friendly. Diners who are looking to be pampered should reserve a spot during the Friday Night 3-Course Dinner where they will be served gourmet meals made from locally sourced items and a vino to pair with them. A recent article focused on Basque culture and celebrations in Boise featured Basque Market as the top destination to get authentic meals and wine. 

Cinder Winery

For an award-winning drink, head over to Garden City outside of Boise to Cinder Winery. Its Laissez Faire Sangiovese won best red wine in the 2015 Idaho Wine Competition and remains the most favored drink among guests. All ingredients are carefully selected from multiple vineyards in the Snake River Valley and wine lovers can visit its tasting room that is only five minutes away from downtown Boise—open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visitors will notice the tasting room has a strong community presence from the locals and an urban interior of metallic furniture and recycled wood. The wines are grouped into three different sections: Cinder wines (dry viognier, chardonnay, and syrah) Cinder small lots (sauvignon blanc and tempranillo) and Laissez Faire (white and red). At the tasting room, guests can sample various highly praised wines including seasonal and members-only vinos. 

Telaya Wines

During the 2015 Seattle Wine competition, Telaya Wines in Garden City took home a double gold medal for its limited wine collection. Although Telaya’s wines are one of the most popular in the area, guests are advised to arrive early for wine tasting at it's new tasting room right outside of Downtown Boise and along the Boise River because some of its most popular varieties sell out quickly. Tasting hours are from noon to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Viticulturalist and owner husband/wife duo Earl and Carrie Sullivan started the wine business using various winemaking techniques around the world. Market Watch featured a story on Idaho’s wines, citing Telaya Wines among the best.  

Coiled Winery

The Coiled Winery in Garden City specializes in dry riesling, Black Mamba, and Sidewinder Syrah. Guests can sample its wine at the tasting room at Telaya Winery that opens from noon to 6.p.m. everyday. The dry Riesling consistently gets recognized and wins medals throughout the Pacific Northwest, and its winemakers are seasoned professionals from Sonoma County in California. The wine tasting room shares the same space with Cinder and Telaya. In 2014, Wine Press Northwest declared Coiled Winery as the Idaho winery of the year. Owner Leslie Preston explains the purpose behind her winery: “Coiled is to make the best wine I can from Idaho fruit and be a part of what’s going on here.”