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Off the Beaten Path

Restaurants Throughout Idaho’s Seven Regions

Soulshine bistro

From lush and verdant forests to sparkling alpine lakes, ancient lava fields, striking granite peaks, charming mountain towns, and rural reservoirs — Idaho is a mosaic of stunning outdoor landscapes and boundless adventure. And while it’s known that Idaho is a traveler’s dream, it’s lesser-known that it’s also a premier foodie destination. It makes sense though, right? With unparalleled atmosphere and groovy locals, great food is inherent. 

Northern Idaho — Good Food, Good Mood
the cedars

Northern Idaho is saturated in PNW charm. For outdoor enthusiasts and happy wanderers alike, there’s great grub waiting around every corner. At the farthest reaches of the Idaho border sits SoulShine Bistro. Located in Bonners Ferry (only 30 miles from the Canadian border), this hidden gem serves as a breakfast and lunch joint, with organic coffee and eclectic gifts to boot. Formerly an old hardware store, this restaurant serves homemade pastries that will make you swoon. And before you leave, shop quirky, and locally made wares and souvenirs. 

From there, head south to The Falls Inn, located nine miles north of Priest River. Formerly a United State Forest Service ranger station, this quaint Northern Idaho restaurant serves scrumptious sandwiches and pizzas loaded with toppings. And the best part? You get to enjoy the sounds and views of the Torrelle Waterfall as it runs beneath the building.

For an adventurous meal, try The Cedars Floating Restaurant — the region’s only floating restaurant. Ever wondered what it’s like to dine atop a 1.2-million-pound man-made island? Have no fear, now you can find out. Located at the headwaters of the Spokane River just outside Coeur d’Alene, this local mainstay serves only the finest meats and freshest catches. Indulge in an order of their prime rib or clam chowder — it won’t disappoint.

North Central Idaho: Perfect Fuel
Lodgepole restaurant

The views and the chews don’t stop in North Central Idaho. After a long day of play, you’ll be glad we shared these delicious insider restaurants with you. 

Nestled along the Idaho/Washington border is the Lodgepole Restaurant in Moscow. Here, the food is equal parts beautiful as it is delicious. Each dish is a celebration of the beauty of the Pacific and Inland Northwest. Sample their “New American Classic Menu,” which marries fresh, local ingredients, old school recipes, and new wave-techniques — we promise you’ve never tasted better homemade crabcakes and gnocchi. 

From Moscow, head 40 minutes south to Lewiston for world-class barbecue. You might be thinking: “North Central Idaho? For barbecue?” But we’re dead serious. The Lunch Box Deli is changing the BBQ game — from brisket, burnt ends, ribs, pork, chicken wings, and more, there’s no better place for some down-home cooking than The Lunch Box.

And to demonstrate even further the diversity of dining in the region, visit Hearthstone Restaurant and Bakery in Kamiah for unbeatable breakfast sandwiches, old-fashioned sodas, and homemade bread. Decked out with pressed tin roofs and old-world aesthetics, you would be remiss to skip this Idaho-classic diner.

Local Tip: Feeling thirsty? Then plan a trip toColter's Creek Winery. Sip and savor scores of handcrafted wines from Lewis-Clark Valley grapes. With two tasting rooms in Moscow and Juliaetta, Colter Creek is the perfect place to kick back and unwind while enjoying a glass of Idaho’s best wine.

Southwest Idaho: Savor the Flavor
the restaurant
at north shore lodge

Southwest Idaho is a mecca of cultural and culinary diversity. Here, visitors will find a long, proud, and storied tradition of delicious dining experiences. We recommend Ruby’s Kitchen as your first stop in this region. Located in the town of McCall, this restaurant is a full-service breakfast, lunch, and coffee joint. Order the famous bubble waffles, breakfast bowl, or Reuben sandwich for a meal that will leave you craving more. And afterward, peruse goodies in their locally-sourced gift and convenience market.

Following Ruby’s, head south toward the town of Cascade. Here, you’ll find The Restaurant at North Shore Lodge and Resort. Guests here can enjoy unfettered access to rural backcountry recreation. Head out on a mountain excursion for the day, or spend some time playing on Warm Lake. Regardless of the adventure you choose, The Restaurant will be waiting for you when you return. Enjoy a selection of homemade pies, locally sourced steaks, and fresh veggies. And if you’re feeling bold, try your hand at the Captain Kirk Burger challenge for a chance to be immortalized in the “Captain Kirk Book.”

From the quiet seclusion of lakeside shores, head even further south to the capital. In Boise, you’ll find a robust and vibrant restaurant scene. Try something unlike anything else you’ve ever had before and head over to Bar Gernika. This historic bar is a Boise Block landmark situated in the heart of the area’s Basque neighborhood. Unwind from the day with a glass of wine and an order of croquettes, lamb stew, or Basque peppers.

Local Tip: We know by now you’re craving a killer cup of joe. Don’t sweat it, the Mud Room has you covered. This family-owned and operated coffee shop serves Idaho local brews and divine homemade pastries. Refuel here before embarking on your next adventure.

South Idaho: Nourish to Flourish
El caporal

Head a mere two hours southeast and you’re in Southern Idaho. Here, the old-growth forests begin to fade and give way to dormant volcanoes, dramatic waterfalls, and rolling lava fields. Put your X Games face on, because visitors to this region have access to some of the country’s best rock climbing, base jumping, and backcountry ATVing opportunities. With scenery this stunning, you’ll want to get out and play, and we’ve got the best restaurants in the region to keep you well-fueled for all your adventures.

For your first stop, check out the Snake River Grill in Hagerman. Fresh ingredients and seasonal spices contribute to making this eatery a step above the others. Enjoy American and seafood delicacies served with a classical French twang. Jonesing to try something completely new? Sample the French dip or their famous alligator nuggets.

Heading into Twin Falls, treat yourself to a meal at Emma’s Cafe. This Bosnian restaurant serves such classics as stuffed cabbage rolls, cevapi (traditional flatbread sandwiches), and spicy pljeskavica (ground beef and lamb patty stuffed with cheese and peppers between a homemade flatbread bun). With many of the vegetables grown in the owner’s very own garden, and meats locally sourced, you’ll never taste better Bosnian cuisine. Stray from the traditional road trip food and experience a delicious and indulgent Middle Eastern meal. Round the meal off with baklava.

Following Emma’s Cafe, finish your Southern Idaho food tour off at El Caporal Mexican Restaurant, with locations in Burley and Pocatello. This authentic Mexican restaurant is an instant hit. Savor freshly served dishes adapted from generations of family recipes. Crowd favorites include tacos el carbon, ribeye fajitas, and shrimp quesadillas.

Local Tip: Keep the spirit of adventure alive in Southern Idaho and make a trip to Shoshone Falls. Towering at an impressive 212 feet tall, this waterfall stands taller than Niagra. Order your meal for pick up and dine beneath the falls at one of the area’s local picnic tables.

Idaho High Country: Farm to Fork
portneuf Grille

As you enter Idaho High Country, you’ll find reservoirs and water recreation rules in this region. From Devils Creek to Deep Creek, Daniels, and Crowther Reservoirs, there’s no limit to the amount of fishing, swimming, boating, and birding you can do. From Southern Idaho head southeast toward The Pines Restaurant in Malad City for some incredible home cooking. Here, the portions are large and the staff is friendly. 

Further north is the Portneuf Grille located at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn and Spa in Lava Hot Springs. Guests can spend the day luxuriating at the spa and round off the experience at Portneuf, where Executive Chef Alonzo Thomas is dedicated to curating a relaxing atmosphere and serving only the highest quality dishes. We think after a day spent at the spa, there’s no reason your dinner shouldn’t be as divine as the thermal hot springs on site. You can’t go wrong with the ahi tuna or cioppino.

And in Pocatello, treat your body to a healthy and refreshing meal. At The Healthier Place, guests can fuel up for a day of adventure with gourmet sandwiches, farm-fresh salads, and a drink from the organic juice bar. With gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and organic options, there’s something here for everyone. You can’t go wrong with a grass-fed bacon burger, a cashew sandwich, or a serving of the world’s best sweet potato fries.

Local Tip: There’s no better drive-thru soda shop than Soda Sip in Soda Springs. Choose from a vast selection of customizable sodas, floats, and coffee for a sweet treat on your High Country expeditions. 

Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone-Teton Territory: Goodies for Foodies
Forage bistro

Serving as a gateway to two of the nation’s most-visited and stunning national parks, Eastern Idaho is rife with overwhelming and breathtaking beauty. From the Teton and Swan Valleys to Idaho Falls and Island Park, this region is brimming with adventures. 

Make your first pit stop at Sandpiper Restaurant in Idaho Falls. This wildly popular regional chain delivers fine dining food paired with a casual atmosphere. Ranked among some of the best seafood and steak spots in the state, the Sandpiper is an excellent place for a romantic vacation dinner. Their fish and chips and filet oscar will leave you raving.

As you make your way further north toward the Bridger-Teton National Forest, set aside time to dine at White Sparrow Country Store in Rexburg. Here, former social media influencers and now owners Bud and Bree, serve unexpected and deliriously delicious fried pies. These scratch-made southern fried pies are the talk of the town and are served in both sweet and savory options. This restaurant is the ultimate example of a renovation “glow up.” Formerly an 1800s hardware store, this newly renovated restaurant and shop is a must stop. Pick up a pie (or a few) and shop their vast selection of down-home housewares. 

Once you’re stocked up on goodies from Rexburg, head to the farthest eastern reaches of the state. Located in the heart of the Teton Valley in Driggs, Forage Bistro and Lounge is a cut above the rest. With great food and comfortable ambiance, this family-owned and operated restaurant is a lovely little bistro to savor such regional favorites as Idaho trout chowder, braised elk, pear sausage, and spiced cream spinach.

Local Tip: There’s nothing more grizzly than missing out on an opportunity to experience Eastern Idaho’s indigenous wildlife. Make a trip to Yellowstone Bear World in Rexburg and experience firsthand bison, Rocky Mountain goats, gray wolves, and grizzly bears. And the best part? This is a drive-through park, which enables you to get closer to the animals than ever before.

Central: Satisfy Your Taste
zou 75

As you make your way toward Central Idaho, experience some of the nation’s most dramatic and spectacular scenery. With a little bit of everything from every region, Central Idaho sits at the epicenter of the state and represents all things-Idaho. The food here perfectly captures the essence and dedication of locals to delivering farm-fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

At Zou 75 in Hailey, dine on world-class Japanese fare in the mountains. With fresh fish caught and served daily, guests can enjoy some of the best sushi Idaho has to offer. Sample the smoked hamachi and trout, Zou style poke bowl, or the tiger roll — you’ll be glad you did.

Head north to Salmon, and you’ll find two town favorites: Junkyard Bistro and Shady Nook Supper Club and Lounge. At Junkyard, dine on some of the world’s best chicken salad and mushroom soup. At Shady Nook, we highly recommend trying the local rainbow trout dinner or the bacon-wrapped filet mignon. Spend the day exploring the Salmon-Challis National Forest, and wind down with great grub in this scenic mountain town. 

Local Tip: Make reservations at the quaint and comfortable Tea Cup Bed and Breakfast in Challis. Made for adventurers, this B&B is located at the epicenter of the state and offers ease of access to all the surrounding attractions. And best of all, guests have access to the delicious Tea Cup Cafe, the on-site breakfast, pizza, and coffee bar.