Barbacoa’s (Unstoppable) Triple Crown

Statewide Winner & Best of Treasure Valley — Steak | Fine Dining | Restaurant

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. The 36 or so categories that make up Dining in Idaho’s Best are some of the most competitive, with “Best Restaurant” likely being the hardest award to win in Idaho’s Best.

But Barbacoa makes it look easy with a repeat triple crown. For both 2021 and 2020, Barbacoa was the Treasure Valley and Statewide winner for Best Restaurant, Best Fine Dining, and Best Steak. In 2019, they were the winners for Best Fine Dining and Best Steak — we didn’t have a “Best Restaurant” category that year.

Barbacoa is Much More than Just Barbecue

“Barbacoa” is where the word “barbecue” comes from! Boise’s Barbacoa is so much more than simple meat and fire. The amazing creations of Chef Enrique Martinez are inspired by the best cowboy cooking that Latin America, Spain, and the Western U.S. have to offer. Barbacoa isn’t just the grandfather of American barbecue — it’s the future of it.

With so many great restaurants across Idaho, how does Barbacoa do it? You can’t be this successful without incredible food, but what makes Barbacoa special is the sensational experience that transcends taste! In fact, they promise that “all your senses will be touched and stimulated” — at least buy me dinner first!

When first-timers enter this enticing establishment, they may rub their eyes and wonder what magical rabbit hole they have fallen through, as it is unlike any other restaurant anywhere. Barbacoa is the creation of the Castoro family, and it is a restaurant, museum, and art gallery all rolled into one. Owner/artist Martine Castoro can be credited with the incredible visual impact of the restaurant, and a large portion of the design and art on display is her personal work.

Always eager to get insider information on great food, I asked manager Nikola Castoro for some tips on what to order. The crowd favorites include the “Hot Rock” filet — Barbacoa’s signature 10-ounce filet mignon with flamed cognac sauce — and made-at-your-table guacamole, rounded off with delicious icetinis (if you’re feeling fancy). For something different, Nikola suggests “When Pigs Fly,” an exquisite dish featuring pork and quail. Finally, for the rebels out there, he recommends the fish of the day to experience the latest chef-inspired creations from the kitchen.

The Most Winning-est Winner

By striving to do what’s possible and not simply what’s necessary and safe, Barbacoa has earned their Idaho’s Best triple crown. Only one question remains: Can they do it again next year? I’ll consider the odds of that while I savor a 27-ounce rib eye from their rooftop lounge this summer, but I wouldn’t bet against Barbacoa!