Free of the cramped darkness of the Bannock basement, MilkyWay has made a huge mark in Boise's downtown dining scene. With two levels, the most unique chairs and tables, one of the best bartenders in Boise, one of the best chefs in Boise, a huge wine list, big patio doors that open onto a patio worthy of any European square and the Frim Fram Fellas playing a couple nights a week, what could be better? The Boise Weekly staff eats there regularly. If for no other reason than the jalapeno shrimp bites.
2. Smoky Mountain Pizza & Pasta
3. Berryhill & Co.
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
In the former digs of many of Boise's best fine dining establishments, Mai Thai has made quite an impression on the local penchant for ethnic food. With a menu that blows you away not only for the photographs and design, but also for the low prices, meals that are out of this world, and (if you stay late enough) a booty shakin' good time at the Buddha Lounge. Cocktails, tequila or rum with marinated fruit and Chimay on tap put this new dining sensation over the top.
3. The Melting Pot
Chef M.A. Goldy started this popular breakfast bistro and is responsible for its quick success. Later Alan Head assumed control and Chef Goldy moved on to other culinary adventures. Head recently relinquished the eatery to a new owner who promises to keep the same flavors that make this spot a morning destination guaranteed to start the day off right.
2. Trolley House
Bittercreek Ale House-
This is downtown's mainstay for lunch that can't be beat. A big burger and a beer on the patio are just what your boss ordered, so you should too. All they need to do now is bring back the cigars.
2. Brick Oven Bistro
3. Cobby's Sandwich Shop
BEST DINNER/FINE DINING
As one of the few restaurants located on the banks of the Boise River with the area's finest patio, immaculate service and food nonpareil, it is no wonder Cottonwood Grille continues to garner accolades as Boise's best fine dining restaurant.
This year we changed the Best Steakhouse category to Best Meat-a move that inadvertently opened the door for other meaty non-restaurant venues, and guess what? You chose high quality, organic meat from the Boise Co-op as Best Meat because, after all, nobody cooks it up like you can and nobody offers it up as healthy as the Co-op.
2. (TIE) Outback Steakhouse/ Texas Roadhouse
3. Goodwood BBQ
You can't go wrong with any of the Robin's kazillion hamburger variations. Yes, it's a big restaurant chain, but our readers have picked it year after year, so they are obviously doing great things.
3. Bad Boy Burgers
Cold Stone Creamery-
Holy blended frozen concoctions on frozen granite! The hottest thing in sweet eats is definitely Cold Stone Creamery. Five-figure calorie-count aside, these creamy custom creations will cure what ails you.
3. Richard's of Hyde Park
BEST ETHNIC FOOD
One of the best things about the dining scene in Boise is the broadening selection of foods that fall outside the realm of chain restaurants. We have Indian, Egyptian, Spanish and Greek, the last category being dominated for years by Cazba. The family business started out in a small space on the Bench over a decade ago and now stands as one of the premier downtown hotspots. The interior transports you to an ancient city in the clouds, and the food keeps your floating. Everything is made with the finest ingredients and treasured family recipes, and the owners are as friendly and accommodating as their employees.
2. Mai Thai
3. Yen Ching
Flying Pie- Flying Pie has forever been the favorite place in B-town for the favorite American meal-pizza. In addition to outstanding specialty pizzas they also sell their own dough, take-and-bake and home-cooked pies and offer a super reliable delivery service.
3. Smoky Mountain
We all know the food is great, but what we really like about having only one full-blown veggie hub in town is the adult-bookstore aspect of it. Check out that nervous businessman in the corner-he's about to order a meat substitute for the very first time. Maybe it's tempeh, or some heretofore unclassified vegan "cheese." He doesn't know what it is, just that it is new, exciting and that he won't breathe a word about it to his wife or buddies. Blame veggie-curiosity, or those four organic beers he just sucked down-either way, he's one of us now. He'll be voting libertarian in no time ... mwahaha!
2. Boise Co-op
3. Mai Thai
BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT
At Red Robin, with roving balloon people and a video game area, the kids will definitely be entertained and you can enjoy your burger in style.
2. Smoky Mountain
3. Brick Oven Bistro
BEST OUTDOOR PATIO
You ain't nobody unless you're seen hanging out on the Lucky 13 patio. With a pitcher of beer and a big pizza, you and your friends have front row seats to the fascinating parade of folks strolling the Hyde Park promenade.
2. Cottonwood Grille
Chef Lou of Westside Drive-In-
There is something to be said for the kind of gourmand who offers his specialties on a hand-painted menu board. Only at the Westside can you order Chef Lou's signature repasts at a ridiculously low price through a loud speaker while in your car. Chef Lou's prime rib is one of the best around, and his pastas, salads, breads and specialty items can't be beat for creativity and that homemade goodness.
2. John Mortimer of Mortimer's
3. Milky Maricich of MilkyWay
(TIE) Flying Pie and Smoky Mountain Pizza-
Flying Pie and Smoky Mountain Pizza both have several locations around town ensuring that the food you order will arrive quickly and both offer varied menus ensuring a delectable meal.
2. Chicago Connection
3. Pita Pit
Berryhill & Co.-
Better living through catering we say. Forego the trauma of multitasking hell while preparing multiple dishes in a cramped kitchen and missing out on all the party fun. Instead, sit back and let the professionals do it. Berryhill's kitchen concocts some mighty savory edibles guaranteed to make you fete a gastronomic success.
2. Westside Drive-In
BEST RESTAURANT ONE HOUR OR MORE FROM BOISE
Danskin Station, Garden Valley-
This blip along the Banks-Lowman highway isn't just good; it's "How in the Sam Hell'd they do that?" good. Staying open only on the weekends allows chef Deb Conlin and crew to serve some of the freshest, most delicious seafood to be found in this landlocked state.
2. Pancake House, McCall
3. Lardo's, McCall