Idaho is definitely an underrated foodie state when it comes to delicious Northwestern cuisine, but we take our signature dishes seriously. From finger steaks, poutine, and Hagerman trout, to creative local specialties and fresh vegetables grown on Idaho farms, we take pride in the food that each farmer and fisherman brings to the table. Of course, eating local is easy in Idaho. But on top of that, there are certain dishes that represent our beautiful wonder state, each with an iconic Idaho history woven into its creation. How many have you had?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Finger Steaks
Of all of Idaho's signature dishes, finger steaks are without a doubt a beloved favorite. We highlighted some of our other favorite places to find them
, but the unassuming Dutch Goose is without a doubt a Boise institution renowned for these delectable morsels.
: The Dutch Goose: 3515 W State St, Boise, ID 83703
2. Morel Mushrooms
This wild and elusive delicacy with its spongy pinecone top and sweet flavor is one of the most coveted foodie gems in the state. Foragers with a special permit hunt for these bad boys throughout the mixed forests of Idaho, whenever the rainfall season allows. In turn, talented chefs across the state transform them into delectable dishes -- things like the
La Crêpe aux Morilles at Michel's Christiania: sautèed morels with brandy cream wrapped in a crêpe.
Address: Michel's Christiania: 303 Walnut Ave. Ketchum, ID 83340
3. Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie may not be an "Idaho" dish, traditionally speaking, but Baxters on Cedar's legendary pie is one you shouldn't miss. Candied lime zest, a thick graham cracker crust, light and airy filling with just the right sweet to zing ratio -- it's elegantly simple and completely swoon-worthy.
Address: Baxters on Cedar: 109 Cedar St. Sandpoint, ID 83864
4. The Idahoan
For the love of all things cheesy and delicious, how can you not add a sandwich named after our own state to your dining bucket list? Perfectly baked meatloaf -- better than mom used to make -- nestled in mashed potatoes and drizzled in a ketchup chili glaze. And of course, it's all layered with white cheddar and Colby Jack. YES, PLEASE. This beauty is found at Meltz Extreme, which you can read more about
: Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese: 1735 W Kathleen Ave. Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815
5. Rack of Lamb
Idaho has become so associated with its renowned spud that many people have forgotten the Gem State's original prized commodity: sheep. For a throwback dish that is truly Idahoan, a rack of lamb is absolute perfection, and CK's Real Food knows how to do it right. Though Chef Kastner’s menu rotates depending on what’s fresh and local, as a true farm-to-table restaurant, CK's onsite garden supplies winter squash puree for his popular Lava Lake rack of lamb with local gaufrette potato.
Address: CK's Real Food: 320 S Main St. Hailey, ID 83333
6. Huckleberry Ice Cream
Precious few berries can say that they conjure up celebrations, festivals, and lip-smacking quite like Idaho's state fruit. But boy howdy, do we love them! While shoveling them down by the fistful is no doubt the
best way to enjoy a deliciously sweet huckleberry, creamed into fresh-churned ice cream is a very close second. While Idahoans can debate over where to find the best huckleberry... anything for days, Reed's Dairy in Idaho Falls is an awesome place to grab some fresh, loaded huckleberry ice cream done right in massive servings.
Address: Reed's Dairy: 2660 W Broadway St. Idaho Falls, ID 83402
The Hagerman Valley may supply nearly 1/3 of the world's trout, but you can find epic trout fishing in just about every corner of Idaho. Henry's Fork is another world-famous option. But for those who want to catch their fish and eat it too, the TroutHunter Lodge in Island Park whips up some amazingly fresh trout daily -- and you basically know it was caught just yesterday. You can't beat that.
Address: TroutHunter Lodge: 3327 US-20. Island Park, ID 83429
If there's one thing that Idaho should be known for, it's our Basque cuisine. For the uninitiated into this unique culinary world, Croquetas from Boise's Basque Market are a delicious stepping stone. These bite-sized creations are a fried breadcrumb delight that can be filled with meat, cheese, fish, or potatoes. They're amaze-balls, to put it simply.
Address: Boise Basque Market: 608 W Grove St. Boise, ID 83702
9. Ice Cream Potato
This Idaho classic dessert is something you'll find at just about every fair, school function, and fundraiser across the Gem State -- and why not? Outsiders panic at the thought of combining ice cream and potatoes, but locals just laugh it off because we know what's
really going on underneath all that dreamy chocolate. Bonus points because these beauties are handcrafted.
Address: Westside Drive-In: 1929 W State St. Boise, ID 83702
10. Bison Burger
You already know that for the ultimate potato experience, choosing from one of 100,000 different fry combinations at BFC is a must. But for a quintessential Idaho experience, which is rooted in meat, game, and all things wild -- a bison burger from Boise Fry Company is all you need to feel like an Idahoan. Fortunately for novices, this beauty has also been rated the best of Boise too many times to count, so you know it'll be delicious!
Address: Boise Fry Company: 204 N Capitol Blvd. Boise, ID 83702 (multiple locations)
11. Butter Cake
Every restaurant has that one signature dish that regulars line up for and newbies can't stop raving about. While the Fork is a local Boise favorite that offers a number of dishes that diners rave about, people just can't seem to get enough of the eatery's classic warm butter cake with raspberry drizzle. It's worth a stop all on its own.
Address: The Fork: 199 N 8th St. Boise, ID 83702
12. Owyhee Chocolates
You won't find these in any restaurant, but you'll find them at every general store and souvenir shop in the Northwest. The Idaho Candy Co. in Boise has been handcrafting these chocolatey Gem State classics for over 100 years in their original building -- and still are today! While everyone has their favorite flavors and preferences, trying one of each is definitely a must. So why not get it straight from the source?
Address: Idaho Candy Company: 412 S 8th St. Boise, ID 83702