Treasure Valley residents don’t always go out to eat. But when they do, the dining options — and quality — are hard to beat.
“Idaho is an interesting market,” said Kevin Settles, the owner of Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery in Boise and Eagle (and soon, the Boise Airport). “The average Idahoan spends significantly less time dining out than those in other states. So that means if (restaurants) are going to succeed in our market, you’re really going to have to dial it in, and people will figure out pretty quick if you’re not providing reasonable value as well as service and atmosphere.”
Based on Best of Treasure Valley voting, Bardenay has dialed it in rather well. The restaurant appears in seven categories. It finished with the top number of votes for Best Local Family Restaurant, Best Outdoor Dining and Best Bloody Mary.
It’s no surprise that Bardenay did well in the Best Outdoor Dining category. The Boise restaurant’s patio looks out over the Basque Block, a historic slice of life unique to Boise.
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The Eagle restaurant’s patio overlooks the Boise River, giving diners an opportunity to commune with nature while sipping a cocktail or eating one of their locally inspired dishes.
If the sun is shining, those two patios are packed.
“I don’t know of a city where a restaurant’s success or failure is more tied to its patio,” Settles said. “People will sit out on the patio in Boise or Eagle when they wouldn’t even think twice about it in Coeur d’Alene.
“People like to sit outside. We’re an outdoor city.”
Settles is on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association, a position that requires a lot of travel.
That travel allows him to see how Boise’s dining world stacks up against other cities.
“I think when it comes to price and quality ratio, Boise is extremely hard to beat,” he said.
But he added that Boise diners have come to expect a quality dining experience.
“You’re not going to succeed in the marketplace if your food is not going to be on caliber with the Bardenays, the Bittercreeks, the Forks.” Best of Treasure Valley voters know where to go to find dining that delivers on that demand.
That’s why you’ll find them at Barbacoa (winner for Best Local Fine Dining, Best Happy Hour, Best Cocktail, Best Local Dessert and Best Restaurant Service) or Chandlers (Best Local Steakhouse) or Goodwood (Best Local Barbecue) or even Flying Pie (Best Pizza).
The options are many and, as Settles points out, the quality and prices are hard to beat.
Best of Treasure Valley - Dining winners: