When you’re trying to pick where you want to eat dinner, what’s most important to you? The type and quality of the food are always going to be near the top of the list. But there are some other factors you may not be thinking about at a conscious level! 

Like, atmosphere! There are certain things that attract you to certain restaurants. Lots of television screens to watch your favorite teams on. A big patio with the perfect mix of sun and shade to enjoy gorgeous Idaho evenings. Great views of Idaho’s rivers and lakes. Stunning décor that makes a restaurant feel equally cozy and romantic on date night. 

READ MORE: 30 of the Boise Area's Top Rated Restaurants for 2024

Not only could we go on for days, we can start naming dozens of those restaurants in the Boise area alone. That’s why we’re not envious of whoever had the responsibility of picking the single most beautiful restaurant in every state in America! People Magazine, in collaboration with OpenTable, recently published that list and we’re actually quite surprised by the pick they made for Idaho! 

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We truly expected to find Barbacoa in the Gem State’s top spot. That’s partially because it’s a stone’s throw from the heart of Idaho’s capital city, but mostly because of the unique artwork you’ll find throughout the restaurant. The local artists that contributed works to the “new” Barbacoa when it was rebuilt after a fire are what gives the restaurant its personality. We’re talking about everything from Martine Castoro’s paintings and fixtures and Boise Art Glass’s bubble chandelier at the main bar to Delia Dante’s Medusa sculpture that commands your attention when you walk into the room. 

Don’t get us wrong, Chef Enrique and his team in the kitchen are some of the very best in the Treasure Valley but the unique artwork is what makes Barbacoa, Barbacoa. 

And yet…People Magazine did not pick it as the most beautiful restaurant in Idaho. Instead they chose the Narrows Steakhouse at Shore Lodge in McCall.  We’ve never been lucky enough to score a reservation at The Narrows, but if the view in the hotel’s bar that sits just before the steakhouse’s doors is an indication, we know why the steakhouse grabbed the magazine’s attention. It is really hard to beat the natural beauty of Payette Lake and the Salmon River Mountains just beyond the windows. 

Facebook/Shore Lodge - McCall, Idaho
Facebook/Shore Lodge - McCall, Idaho

In fact, that’s basically what they said:

Old-school steakhouse meets modern design with floor-to-ceiling windows framing Payette Lake and Salmon River Mountain.


The Narrows Steakhouse was also named Idaho’s best “under the radar steakhouse” by Cheapism, which sounds like another national list where the publication never actually visited the list but in this case? The author lives in Boise, so you can believe it. Read what she had to say HERE.  

KEEP READING: 30 of the Boise Area's Top Rated Restaurants for 2024

Maybe 2024 is the year where you want to expand your horizons and give a restaurant you haven't tried before a chance. According to Trip Advisor, these are 30 of the best in the Treasure Valley.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

15 Small Town Idaho Restaurants That Are Worth the Drive

There's no shortage of good food in the Treasure Valley, but when you're traveling and driving through some small Idaho towns where are you going to grab something good to eat? Perhaps one of these hidden gems! You may just fall in love with them so much that they actually become a destination for you!

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart