Going Out this Friday Night? Visit Meridian, Idaho's Top Restaurants

Local EatsComfortably situated in southern Idaho's Treasure Valley, with state capitol and largest city, Boise, to its east, and Nampa, Idaho's second largest city, to its west, Meridian is well-situated for the Idahoan longing for small-town appeal, yet still in close proximity to big city amenities.  

When two cities are as close as Boise and Meridian, it usually means that the bigger city gets the nicer restaurants, while the smaller one is consigned to a motley assortment of soulless, ubiquitous chain restaurants, or poorly-funded, ragtag operations of good intent and poor execution. Exceptions exist thankfully and Meridian, the fastest growing city in Idaho Real Estate, is a perfect example.  While debatable, of course, the following list is one writer's top four restaurants of Meridian:

Gino's Ristorante & Bar
3015 W McMillan Rd, #108  208-887-7710
Gino's boasts a large following among residents of Meridian.  Gino's began as a very successful restaurant in Boise, but moved west to Meridian in 2009.  Success has accompanied owner/chef Gino, as the restaurant might be the most popular and best in Meridian.  Veal shank, lamb chops, and a variety of pastas, especially a sublime butternut squash pasta, are menu mainstays.  Prices for dinner range from $10-$31, and nobody goes away hungry.  The wine list is, hands down, the best in Meridian, and was recently awarded a coveted Wine Spectator award. 

Sa Wa Dee Thai Restaurant
1890 E Fairview Avenue #B  208-884-0701  www.sawadeethai.com
The first Thai restaurant in the Treasure Valley is apparently the most popular Thai restaurant around.  The menu is extensive, carries the usual suspects such as varied curries, salmon, squid, chicken and beef, as well as less frequently seen duck.  Also, there is a generous selection of vegetarian entrees.  Prices range from $11-$18.  A specialty of the house is Chicken Volcano,  whole game hen marinated in mild curry, black pepper, coconut milk, and spices, covered in sweet chili sauce and served flaming.

Dining in the Summer SunRick's Press Room Grill and Bar
130 East Idaho Avenue 208-288-0588 www.rickspressroom.net
Features well-prepared down-home American food from burgers and sandwiches to salmon, chicken and pork chops, well-priced at $8.50-$17.00.  So regarded is the place, that Guy Fieri of the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," selected the place for inclusion on his show.  The name, incidentally, comes from the owners' unusual wall decor - newspaper front pages with headlines from historic events.

Epi's A Basque Restaurant
1115 N Main St  208-884-0142 
It's Meridian's top Spanish restaurant (Remember that this area of Idaho is the fifth most populous Basque heritage anywhere.)  Prices range from $10.95-$28.95, for specialties like ink fish, codfish,and tongue to classics like chorizo, ham croquets and lamb stew.  Service is warm.

Kevin Hughes

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