Boise is not known for having a lot of fully vegan restaurants, but in recent years the vegan dining scene has taken off and it has generally become much easier to find restaurants with vegan options. The vegan movement involves more than just food, but in this article I will be focusing on finding options for vegetarian and vegan foods specifically.
A global study from 2018 showed that the number of vegan Americans has increased by 600% in the last three years. Whether you're already vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to cut back on animal products, there are actually quite a few restaurants in town that have options for you, other than just fries, salad, and beer. Making the conscious choice to eat less animals doesn’t have to mean missing out on social experiences or always going with the bland, boring options from the side menu. To help solve this issue, I have composed a list of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Boise. To make it even easier, the restaurants are listed in order from most vegan friendly to least (1-3 will have the most vegan options because they are fully vegan restaurants).
1. High Note Cafe
The High Note Cafe transitioned to being fully plant-based back in 2019 after the owner watched a documentary on the cruel animal agriculture practices. She decided 15 minutes into watching that she no longer wanted to support the animal agriculture industry, so she began recreating her menu into a fully vegan menu. This vegan cafe is located on 5th street in downtown Boise. Their most popular item by far is the vegan breakfast burrito, made with tofu scramble, spiced black bean puree, pico de gallo, green salsa, non-dairy cheese and an orange slice on the side. They also serve vegan soups, tacos, and sandwiches.
2. Oh Vegan Soul
This popup restaurant was recently recognized by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as one of the best vegan soul food restaurants in the US. Oh Vegan Soul is currently only accepting orders 24 hours in advance so make sure to plan your visit early on, I promise it’ll be worth it. The founder, Mae Gaines, did not anticipate there being such a huge market for vegan food in Boise, but she quickly discovered that there’s a significant community of people in Boise that love vegan food. Their creative menu items are inspired by Jamaican food; the jerk jackfruit is one of the most popular menu items.
BBQ4Life is a family operated business that actually started out as a food truck. Since opening, they have joined forces with a local sauce company to become what it is today. Their menu was crafted to cater to all types of diets, with options for both meat eaters and vegetarians. The restaurant is known for their delicious vegan barbeque and providing a stellar customer experience. Along with offering vegan barbeque, a very popular item on their menu is the vegan nachos. Located in the Vista Village, a Boise shopping center near the Boise Bench, this is a great place to go with non-veg friends for an authentic Vegan BBQ experience.
4. Roots Zero Waste Market
Although it is not a restaurant, Roots is an incredible grocery store and a café that was founded with the mission to tackle global food and plastic waste. I wanted to include them on this list because in addition to providing healthy bulk groceries, eco-friendly cleaning, and personal care items, they also serve fresh prepared meals such as salads and sandwiches with tasty vegetarian, vegan and meat options. Roots is an overall great place to visit if you are someone who cares about minimizing your impact on the planet.
5. The Original Sunrise Cafe
The Sunrise Cafe is a family owned and operated breakfast restaurant that has expanded to six locations since opening in 1988. The menu has an abundance of tasty options but the best part is that they offer plant-based sausage patties as a substitute for vegetarians and an egg substitute for vegans. If you’ve tried to be vegan or vegetarian, you know the struggle of finding vegan and vegetarian breakfast food options. That’s why this is one of the best breakfast restaurants for vegans and vegetarians.
6. Extreme pizza
This pizza joint is known for their innovative recipes and unique toppings. Extreme Pizza has lots of vegan and vegetarian signature pizzas on the menu, but also gives the option to create your own pizza. People are surprised to learn that this is a restaurant with vegan options. Some of the alternative ingredients they offer include vegan cheese, vegan and gluten free crust, and vegan “chik’n”. I like to create my own barbecue “chik’n” pizza with pineapples, dairy-free cheese, onion, and cilantro.
When you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might find that sushi restaurants typically only have one option for you: an avocado roll. This is not the case at Dharma, a contemporary counter-serve sushi restaurant located in downtown Boise. This sushi place is an extremely vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant. The menu has a whole section of creative vegan sushi rolls. My favorite vegan roll is called the “North End” and it’s made with fried tofu, carrot, cucumber, taiware, sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds. Their location just moved a few blocks from where they used to be on Capitol to 5th street, with much more accessible parking.
If you’re interested in vegetarian cuisine and trying out some new flavors, this family-owned and operated restaurant serves Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, which consists of vegetable and spicy meat dishes. At Kibroms they serve a variety of dishes with both vegetarian and meat options. Many of their dishes come with flatbread or Inerja (can be ordered gluten free), a sour fermented flatbread with a spongy texture. This Boise restaurant is located on State and 35th street and is currently open for takeout and delivery.
9. Pie hole
Pie hole is a nightlife staple here in Boise. This joint has a very funky and unique atmosphere. They stay open until 3am every day so you can get your pizza fix very late at night if you want. Their most popular menu item is the potato bacon pizza (not vegan or vegetarian), but they typically have one vegan option on the menu that rotates every day. I normally wouldn’t recommend a place that has only one vegan option, but this place is an experience necessary for everyone to try, and they have pizza for everyone. I personally love their creative use of toppings, but it can be a little risky because you don’t know what you’re gonna get as far as the vegan option. I will never forget the time I ordered the vegan special and it was a Thai vegan pizza with rice on it, so strange but delicious!