By Katie Jackson
Idaho may have famous potatoes, but its motto fails to mention the Gem State’s mouthwatering meats. Whether you’re craving a quarter-pound 100% Black Angus burger, a 28-ounce magnificently marbled ribeye or fettuccine with filet mignon tips, you’ll find it here—often at a fraction of the price you’d pay in most major cities. From a fourth-generation family-owned steakhouse that’s open for breakfast to a historic saloon with several past lives and plenty of Ernest Hemingway memorabilia, here are nine establishments serving some of Idaho’s most delicious beef dishes.
Wolf Lodge Inn Steakhouse | Coeur d’Alene
There’s no secret ingredient behind the mouthwatering meats at this bucket list steakhouse. Instead, the magic is in the method. Each steak is cooked over a wood fire grill with hickory and tamarack wood. Can’t decide between the ribeye and the sirloin? Order the Rancher, and you’ll get both for a great price. Worried the kids will want a bite? Don’t be. They can have their own! Wolf Lodge Inn Steakhouse is one of very few restaurants where the kids menu includes a steak. Appetizer-wise, the Rocky Mountain oysters are an outstanding choice. Spoiler alert: they don’t come in a shell.
Unfortunately, you can’t stay the night at the Wolf Lodge Inn, but nine miles away, in the heart of downtown, there’s The Blackwell Hotel. This luxurious boutique hotel is housed in a stately mansion dating back to 1904.
Pioneer Saloon | Ketchum
In its past lives, this 1940s-era building served as a dry goods store, an American Legion meeting hall and even a casino. Today, The Pioneer Saloon is where locals and tourists alike come for handmade burgers, barbecue beef ribs and an unbelievably tender 10-ounce top sirloin. Another must-try on the menu is the Jim Spud, a baked potato loaded with cheese and tasty toppings, including teriyaki beef. While you might be coming for the carne, you may find yourself staying for the curiosities: here you’ll find a 43-point deer rack and memorabilia, including a display of Ernest Hemingway’s 1953 Winchester Model 21 12-gauge shotgun.
If you don’t have a car, stay just two blocks away at Limelight Hotel Ketchum. It offers a free shuttle servicing downtown, the airport and Bald and Dollar mountains.
Sandpiper Restaurant | Pocatello
When you walk through the wooden doors of Sandpiper Restaurant, you’re signing up to experience Pocatello’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor. For nearly 50 years, it’s been wowing diners with a hearty appetite for hand-cut steaks and an array of custom accompaniments. Choose from 12 enhancements, including a bacon-wrapped scallop skewer, halibut crunch and king crab. Although the prime rib is their signature dish, they also tend to sell out of the prime cap steak. This quality ribeye cut comes with an herb compound butter, battered shallot slivers and a veal demi-glace.
Not that you’ll be hungry anytime soon, but the Hampton Inn & Suites, just 2.5 miles away, has a complimentary buffet breakfast. As a bonus, its indoor pool is open 24 hours a day.
Ernie’s Steakhouse | Lewiston
Any visit to Ernie’s Steakhouse starts with a tempting array of steak-centric appetizers, including prime rib sliders, breaded sirloin steak tips and prime rib flatbread. Fancy soup or a salad? Opt for the homemade prime rib and potato soup or the cilantro lime steak salad made with cowboy-style shredded beef. For sandwiches, good luck choosing between the corned beef, roast beef and barbecued beef—they’re all exceptional. Of course, it’s understandable if you just want to try the rotisserie-roasted prime rib. Due to it selling out so often, Ernie has a saying, “When it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Don’t feel like doing a lot of driving? Book a room half a mile away at the Hampton Inn, where the hot breakfast is always free, and the back patio has some of the best river views in town.
The Outpost Steakhouse at Almo Inn | Almo
The manager of The Outpost Steakhouse at Almo Inn calls their most popular item a “tradition.” The ribeye steak special is served with salad, veggies, dutch oven-style potatoes and pioneer pudding, and it’s something that diners of all ages have been demanding (and enjoying) for years. This Almo institution is also known for its charbroiled burgers. If your stomach is really growling, treat yourself to the triple bacon bleu cheeseburger featuring ¾-pound of 100% Black Angus beef. If you still have room, wash it down with one of the best root beer floats in all of Idaho.
If you want the convenience of being within walking distance of the restaurant, stay on-site at Almo Inn, where the well-appointed rooms are western-themed (think Dodge City, Tombstone and Buffalo Bill), and the cabins are pet-friendly.
Stockman’s Restaurant | Idaho Falls
If you have a huge appetite, you’ll definitely be satisfied with Stockman’s Restaurant’s famous all-you-can-eat sirloin steak special priced at just $25. Or, sink your teeth into the Viking—a massive 28-ounce ribeye with just the right amount of marbling. You also can’t go wrong with the Snake River Farms Wagyu top sirloin paired with roasted root vegetables and a creamy gorgonzola sauce. Feeling like finger food instead? Park yourself in front of a plate of Stockman’s signature nachos topped with carne asada and a tangy-sweet sriracha drizzle.
Consider crashing just 1.5 miles up the road at Shilo Inns Idaho Falls. Some of the suites in this pet-friendly property overlooking the Snake River have balconies.
The Hydra Steakhouse | Sandpoint
Family-owned and -operated for four generations, The Hydra Steakhouse has a welcoming vibe that will make you want to stay all day. They bill their prime rib as “the best in the northwest,” but they’re also well known for their flame-broiled filet mignon and their cajun-style steak—seared at 800 degrees on a cast iron skillet. But perhaps one of the best things about The Hydra is that it’s also open for breakfast. Start your day with grilled-to-order sirloin steak and eggs, steak benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce or a prime rib scramble made with a quarter pound of premium sauteed meat.
For a contemporary spin on the classic roadside motel, stay at Outdoors Inn. It’s located three miles up the road and was recently refurbished using locally-sourced materials.
Barbacoa Grill | Boise
Inspired by Spain’s vaqueros, Argentina’s gauchos, Mexico’s charros and Brazil’s llaneros, Barbacoa Grill is a cultural experience for the serious carnivore. It also boasts one of Boise’s most dramatic dishes—a hot rock steak flambéed right in front of you and served on a heated slab of granite. Pro tip: order it rare and continue to custom cook each bite, so it’s ready when you are. If you like a little heat, try the habanero tequila ribs or the 16-ounce boneless New York strip steak served with serrano chimichurri. Craving carbs? Diners rave about the fettuccine with filet mignon tips and the short rib pappardelle pasta.
Located just three miles away on the banks of the Boise River, The Riverside Hotel is the city’s largest full-service hotel and boasts a year-round outdoor swimming pool.
Lock, Stock & Barrel Steakhouse | Boise
This local landmark restaurant has some serious bragging rights—for an entire decade, it’s been voted Boise’s best steakhouse. Here, the magic number is 28 (that’s how many days their prime rib is aged), and on Sundays, you’ll enjoy live music and $49.99 prime rib specials. That said, don’t be surprised if you can’t resist the bacon-wrapped filet, which features a house-smoked mozzarella and peppercorn port reduction. And with a large variety of ingredients and homemade dressings, Lock, Stock & Barrel’s all-you-can-eat salad bar is practically a destination in itself.
For the best views of Boise’s skyline, stay half a mile away at The Grove Hotel—one of the area’s only AAA Four Diamond properties.