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Evaluate my Boise itinerary

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I'm headed to Boise for a couple of days this weekend. Through my own research on this site, yelp, and others i have put together a tentative list of places/restaurants to check out. About me: i'm not into clubs (dance or otherwise) or overly high-end food. I like blue collar local flavor and pass times. I'm interested in history, culture and music. A low-key bar or pub where i can play pool or shuffleboard and interact with friendly locals would be the perfect place to end my night. Live music is a huge bonus.

That said, here is what i have:
Front Door- good pizza, i hear, and a wide beer selection.
Goldy's- good breakfast?
Ha'Penny pub
Bardenay- maybe a little too upscale for me, but also a distillery. worth it?
Leku Ona- good basque?
basque market
bar gernika- better basque?
Boise co-op

Am i totally off base on any of these? Anyone have any insight? Recommendations?
I would greatly appreciate any help.
Thanks!

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  1. Goldy's is good for breakfast...but the waits can be long on the weekends. Bardenay is not upscale at all...good bar food. Leku Ona is good for dinner and an intro to basque cooking. You see our mayor (Dem...in red state Idaho) who is Basque there on a regular basis. Bar Gernika is a great bar for a beer...food is ok. Be sure to stop by. From the bar you can check out the basque block with museum and basque market...good source for wine from Spain. Boise co-op is a local version of a health food/Whole Foods. You probably have similar in SLC so unless you need something I wouldn't make a special trip. Their wine store is excellent however with extremely knowledgeable staff. In the same complex is one of my favorite restaurants...Cafe Vicino for lunch or dinner...pasta...fish etc. There will be live music at a number of spots...pick up the Boise Weekly free alternative (wonderful paper) and see what sounds interesting. if you stay downtown you will have many choices you can walk to...

    1. Agree that it's kinda pointless to go to the Co-Op unless you want to bring some good craft beer back to 3.2 land. Nor do I think Ha' Penny really deserves to be a destination bar. But everything on the list sans the Co-Op is within downtown, so it really wouldn't hurt to just walk around downtown (which isn't all that big), catch the vibe, and see what else might interest you. I don't know if I'd say the Front Door has a terribly wide beer selection. But if you're a beer aficionado, then they have plenty of options both on tap and bottle that regular bars don't carry. If SLC doesn't have good Argentinian, then Tango's makes really good empanadas. It's a couple miles from downtown though, and on the weekends they're only open on Saturdays from like 12-4.

      1. Nothing against the Co-op, but it is way way over-priced. If you think Bardenay is too upscale then Cafe Vicino is probably outside your comfort zone
        http://cafevicino.com/
        Both are excellent however. Guidos and Cassanova are also good for pizza. Have fun and report back if you get the chance :)

        1. Thanks for all the help!
          SLC is considering a co-op, so i thought i'd check out an example of a successful one to gage my interest. Sounds like i'll just be following my nose around downtown before staggering back to the hotel in the evening. Can't wait!

          5 Replies
          1. re: funklight

            Disclaimer: These are the fleeting experiences of a first-time visitor. I admittedly did not heed the best advice of you helpful posters, and for that I apologize.

            OK, here's the roundup:
            Front Door- so-so beer selection, but I'd give the Pizza an A-. It had a good thin, crispy/chewy crust and wasn't overloaded.

            Goldy's- Pretty much as good as any breakfast place. The long wait appears to be due to the lack of any other such restaurants. Is there any other breakfast-centric cafe in town?

            Bar Gernika- Had the lamb grinder. I liked the atmosphere; the small visible kitchen, long bar, and ample outdoor seating. The food was above average, I'd give it a B.

            Bittercreek Ale House- Good beer selection, and the menu includes miles traveled for each beer to Boise. The cheese board is a good appetizer (though Rogue Creamery in OR is a bit dubious as "local"). My sandwich was a tad disappointing, probably a C-. Little flavor, not the highest-quality ingredients. Went here on a recommend from a local. Maybe i should have gone with the burger?

            Hannah's bar- Big. Huge. Glammy cover band, lively atmosphere. B. The pool tables are on the expensive side, and it gets smoky in there.

            Mulligan's pub- cheap pool. Quieter than Hannah's. B+.

            One more thing. I noticed that the beer menus at every place i went to skewed quite heavily toward IPAs and pales in general. Even a local amber i had tasted like a pale. Does nobody brew a brown in Boise?

            1. re: funklight

              Thanks for posting a reply. Your comments are a good reflection. Boise is not a dining mecca...Goldies is the best breakfast in town...but as you mentioned the long wait is because it is the best in Boise...not necessarily great! Bittercreek is generally better than you experienced. Yes...should have gone with the burger :) I'm more of a wine drinker so I cannot comment on the beer selection.

              1. re: funklight

                I'm so surprised that Mulligan's fared better than Gernika!

                If I had seen this post earlier I would have suggested you go to Bungalow, Boise Fry Company, Cafe du Paris, Bardenay and Cotton wood for the Idaho trout - and maybe some others.

              2. re: funklight

                Nice of you to post back :) Sorry you weren't thrilled - but if you return, maybe try some of the other restaurants. Just curious, but where is the potential Co-op going in SLC? There were rumors of one in Sugarhouse a few years ago, I was wondering if this idea finally came to fruition.

                1. re: enbell

                  They are considering Sugarhouse, downtown, or near the University of Utah. All I know for sure is that it's going to be in salt lake proper, not sandy or draper or taylorsville or what have you.
                  They still have a long way to go. Ownership drive just kicked off: http://www.wasatchcoop.com/.