Idaho’s fifth largest city, Pocatello, is one you don’t want to miss. Being the largest city in Idaho’s Bannock County, it is the county seat of this Northwestern area and has been called ‘the gateway to the Northwest’ due to the history of the Oregon Trail that passed through the Portneuf Gap south of the city.
Among its rich Native American history, there is a quaint civilian population who enjoy the varied cuisine on show in the area.
Whether you are just passing through the town, spending a few nights here, or are a resident looking to sample local foods, check our list down below to find the best places to eat in ‘The Gate City’ (see also “Best Places To Eat In Boise“).
To learn more about Idaho, Pocatello, and the local cuisine here, keep reading to find the best place to eat tonight (see also “Amazing Places To Eat In Idaho Falls“)!
Since 2018 this Indian restaurant has been feeding the students of Idaho State University its array of spicy and flavorsome dishes from the continent of Asia.
It was started by a Idaho State University graduate, Roshan Kumar, to introduce his beloved community to the flavors and cuisine of his own country.
The restaurant is so popular it has grown to three locations within Idaho state, but their original is in Pocatello.
Their experienced chef creates Asian dishes mainly inspired by the countries of Nepal and India, both of which contain the eponymous Himalayan Mountain Range.
Indian restaurants can often have lengthy and confusing menus, but what we really appreciate from Himalayan Taste is a pretty American-friendly menu that makes everything clear, has clear sections and familiar terms, and is ultimately really easy to navigate. You can eat in or out, depending on choice.
We really recommend Himalayan Taste if you want something different that can challenge your own palette, we can guarantee that you will enjoy the food and also find it value for money.
If you are looking for a community style brewery and taproom where you can enjoy some beers with friends and still sample some tasty local food to soak it all up, then Jim Dandy’s Brewery and Taproom is where it’s at.
Jim Dandy has been making some of Idaho’s most award winning craft beers for a long time, as well as brewing their own beers that win their own awards.
Located in the heart of Pocatello’s historic Iron Triangle district, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city while nursing a NNorthwest inspired beer or ale.
While the brewery is beer focussed, it’s also super family-friendly and is a really welcoming place.
As the folks at Jim Dandy are so busy working on their own beers and brewing practices, they don’t make food in-house, but they understand people’s desire for food when drinking.
As a result, Jim Dandy Brewery also has a rotating selection of food trucks, 7 days a week. You can be sure that when the brewery is open, there is a food truck waiting to serve hot food to happy customers.
So if you want to sample some beer, or just a community meeting point, while also sampling some of the state’s best food trucks, Jim Dandy’s is the place to be. Their food trucks rotate, so keep up with their social media to know what’s there.
If you are looking for American style diner food that incites nostalgia as well as a sense of comfort, then Elmer’s is the place to be.
Expect all the diner classics, amazing hand rolled omelets, a ranch style breakfast, german pancakes, stuffed hash browns, you name it and Elmer’s probably has it.
In classic diner fashion, their breakfasts are available all day until close, great for when you have those cravings. Elmer’s have locations all over the country, with three in Idaho, so you can guarantee that continuity and familiarity are their currency.
Having opened originally in Oregon, you can be sure they are dedicated to Northwestern style home cooking, with most of their menu being built around their historically famous buttermilk pancakes as devised by Walt Elmer himself back in 1960 when they started.
Another famed item is their ‘Northwestern Coffee’ that seems to hit the spot everytime.
4. Las Penitas
For value for money and super authentic Mexican food you ought to look no further than the south side Mexican restaurant known as Las Penitas.
What the locals love about this Mexican joint is how authentic it is. Expect the classic polystyrene food containers, imported Mexican sodas, and a welcoming if humble interior design.
Las Penitas know they have the best Mexican food in town, so they aren;t afraid to embrace their humble background by serving food on paper plates for an authentic feel.
One review reads: ‘It feels like i’m back at my Abuelita’s house with the paper plates, but the food is super authentic and cheap – if you have a hankering for Mexican food, there’s really no better place to go to in the state, let alone Pocatello.’
You can even get the food delivered to your door, or visit their humble restaurant to say Ola!
5. Thai Zap
Just down the road from Las Penitas you will find Thai Zap, another spot to find authentic food cooked by the immigrants we welcome into our great state.
If you are sick of Mexican food and want to try something a little different then Thai Zap is worth a try.
You may have already seen this spot up and down the state in their food truck, it’s even frequented at Jim Dandy’s.
But they do also have a physical restaurant you can happily step into to eat and order in the humble but interesting and welcoming surroundings.
From pad thai to spring rolls, everyone loves the quick service and quality food from Thai Zap, who are happy and willing to share their authentic cuisine with the people of Idaho.
If you want something spicy and a little different then it’s really worth checking out, especially if you catch their food truck near you.
6. Brick 243
Located in Pocatello, Brick 243 is a gastropub that has a European vibe. As a gastropub they combine both good beer and wines with classic European cooking.
They generally serve unique tapas style plates, which are a little smaller, and allow you to get a good taste of different dishes without filling up on just one of them – A classic European style of eating.
It’s the perfect place in town to kick back with friends and family in a welcoming environment and enjoy the finer things in life, without breaking the bank.
Their food menus can change and are generally sourced by the season, allowing you to get the best produce from the state’s farms on your plate.
While they also have a great in-house kitchen team and waiting staff, sometimes they do also have specialty food trucks you can try as well.
Beyond food, they arguably have one of the better wine menus in all of Poky thanks to their European influence.
If you are a beer fan, they have a rotating tap of local and regional beers and ales that are really worth the trip, and remain pretty reasonably priced.
On top of all these drink offerings, they even have a really cool craft soda menu. They make a whole bunch of gourmet and unique sodas in house that kids love and are also great if you aren’t having a drink that day.
As you can see, Pocatello has a thriving food culture that takes influence from the ethnic groups who make up Idaho, food from other continents, but is also full of American classic restaurants.
Beyond the varied food and drink culture of Idaho and Pocatello, there is a whole world of history and culture to be found down here, and a buzzing nightlife thanks to its student population who likely keep these food establishments thriving with their appetites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pocatello is the county seat for Bannock County, but does actually have part of its confines located in the nearby Fort Hall Indian Reservation of its neighboring Power County. This alludes in part to the rich history of Native American culture that was here before the first settlers.
Pocatello and its adjoining areas are hotspots for Native American history, being based in what was the Shoshone region. The name ‘Pocatello’ actually comes from a Native American Chief of the same name.
In modern US culture, Pocatello is the home of Idaho State University, and the manufacturing facility of ON Semiconductor. As a result the city is regarded as twentieth in Forbes list of Best Small Places For Business and Careers.
The Portneuf River also runs through this city, and Portneuf Valley accessible through Pocatello is an area of natural beauty that has over 15 miles of trails to explore with many more to come in the future.
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