From family-owned cafés to sophisticated restaurants where nationally known chefs hold court, something delicious is cooking in the Magic Valley.
Breakfast is Big
Ready for bacon and eggs before heading to work, or looking for a special Sunday brunch? Try the Buffalo Café in Twin Falls, where the house specialty, the Buffalo Chip Skillet, is a plate of fried potatos, chiles, tomato, bacon, sour cream and Cheddar cheese.
And don’t miss the Train Wreck at the landmark Depot Grill in Twin Falls. Think you can demolish 4.5 pounds of pancakes, eggs and sausage in under 30 minutes?
“It’s a kind of man-versus-food challenge,” says Steve Soran, co-owner of the Depot Grill, which serves round-the-clock, seven days a week. “We’ve had about 60 people try it, and two have finished.”
Lunchtime is Lovely
For lunch, locals head to Stevo’s in Heyburn for burgers, steaks and their special sauce for French fries. Shoshone’s Snack Bar boasts burgers – try the ham-layered Baby Hog Burger – and “the world’s largest ice cream cone,” a staggering tower of soft-serve goodness. La Campesina Market and Restaurant in Jerome offers Mexican specialties in generous portions at nice prices.
Dinner brings spectacular views of the Snake River Canyon at the new Elevation 486 in the Twin Falls Center for the Arts building. The upscale restaurant specializes in classic meat and seafood dishes, “Food and Spirits for the New West.” Another breathtaking canyon view comes with dinner at the Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center in Twin Falls, where casually elegant cuisine features steaks, salads and pasta. Cedar Plank Salmon with lemon rice pilaf is a favorite.
The Snake River Grill in Hagerman is popular for weekly game dinners, prepared by Chef Kirt Martin, and its extensive wine list. Henry’s at the Drift Inn in Rupert serves lunch and dinner in a charming small-town setting in an historic building. Try the Cajun Chicken Pasta. And for hearty steaks, Pioneer Pudding - a traditional bread pudding, and Old West ambiance, head for the Almo Outpost.
Southern Idaho Food Scene is Blooming
Lynn Sheehan and Matt VanderNoot, partners in Twin Falls’ Cucina Gemelli, are prime examples of how the local food scene is blooming. Cucina Gemelli, which opened in January 2011, has quickly become one of the area’s more popular dining spots. Chef Sheehan’s focus is on locally sourced ingredients, from meat and vegetables to berries and butter, prepared simply but elegantly.
“We are an unusual experience here and people are seeking it out,” says Sheehan, a celebrated California chef before she moved to Idaho. “We are on the early crest of a wave here in Idaho, and we are happy to be putting fresh local flavors on people’s plates.”
Sheehan, whose lunches and dinners include expertly prepared Italian classics, as well as more adventurous fare, believes local diners are becoming more discriminating.
“People are looking for something not frozen and shipped here on a truck. They want to know that their food is healthy and clean, and they want to support their local economy,” she says. “There is a really strong, burgeoning movement toward producing and purchasing locally here in Idaho.”
Read more about local restaurants in Twin Falls, ID.