Boise may be the seat of Idaho's culinary scene, but don't write off neighboring cities from your list while searching for a satisfying night out. A road trip to Eagle, one of Boise's swankier suburbs, takes just 25 minutes (do yourself a favor: Avoid rush hour) and will land you in a jewel box of under-reported eateries. While there are easily a dozen quality restaurants we could point you to, here are a few of our favorite spots for dinner:
Bacquet's Restaurant is new to Eagle, but its namesake, Chef Franck Bacquet, is a Boise favorite, with stints running the kitchen at a Boise iteration of Bacquet's, Le Coq Rouge and Angell's under his belt. His newest French eatery has plenty of patio ambiance and is already churning out more escargot than anywhere else in the city. If you get a chance to stop by, indulge in authentic European dishes like the boeuf forestier and tarte flambee that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Bella Aquila won the category of Best Eagle Restaurant in BW's Best of Boise poll this year, a good indicator that its pasta dishes are worth the drive. The white-tablecloth restaurant is a great spot to take a date, and its ambiance is charming on a warm night, when it's riverside patio becomes a magnet for nearby foodies to split plates of shrimp-studded linguini and drink white wine.
GRIT American Cuisine might be best described as an "exploratory American" restaurant, meaning it specializes in continental dishes ranging from tempura-battered vegetables and squash salads to New Orleans-inspired beignets. The menu changes regularly, but it's hard to go wrong with a classic burger (the grind is 10 percent smoked bacon) and some twice-fried fingerling potatoes.
Le Coq d'Or is Eagle's bastion of haute cuisine, and would be worth the trip just to look at. Located in a stunning, palatial event venue called Chateau des Fleurs, this intimate Old World restaurant sources ingredients from its own gardens, grows truffles in its forests and comes complete with a maitre d'. If you want to treat yourself to luxury, book a table and ask your server for the latest of Chef Richard Jimenez's creations—even foods you think you hate will be good.
Oak Barrel of Eagle has two doors—and two different personalities. If you go there looking for fine dining and end up sitting at a hightop listening to karaoke, don't worry, it happens to everyone: Just pop back out onto the sidewalk and take another few steps to door number two. There, you'll find one of the best charcuterie and cheese plates in town, as well as accessible entrees that range from grilled elk sirloin to goat cheese and vegetable Napoleon.
Rice is easily Eagle's most upscale Asian restaurant, and its longtime bartender, Major Ludwig, has taken Best Bartender in BW's Best of Boise contest almost every year since 2013. He makes a mean martini, and we'd suggest pairing it with a starter of fresh rolls and one of the eatery's signature rice dishes (there are six). In the summer, grab a table on the patio for live music by the river.
Schnitzel Garten is exactly what is sounds like—authentic German cuisine, transplanted to the Idaho suburbs. The chef hails from the old country, the recipes have been passed down for generations and the sausages are house-made. Try a little bit of everything (schnitzel and spatzle are favorites) and make sure to start with a helping of gurkensalat (cucumber salad with dill) and a mustard-slathered Bavarian pretzel.