Boise Zee’s Rooftop: Great Affordable Lunch and View
Sometimes when you go to lunch you don’t want any surprises. You just want a good, well-done meal, at a decent price – and if you’re lucky, with a great view.
This kind of place does exist in Boise, and it has gone largely unnoticed for too long.
Zee’s Rooftop, located on the very top floor of 250 S. 5th St., not only offers a great, affordable, home-cooked lunch – each menu item costing less than $ 10 – but it also offers an incredible view, with a view. panoramic view of the Boise foothills and downtown skyline.
Open Tuesday to Friday for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the limited menu offers a fine selection of sandwiches, pitas, homemade soups, salads and brunch. Zee’s also offers complete substitutes for those who are gluten free.
(Beyond managing Zee’s four weekdays during lunchtime, restaurant owners Christina Williams and Christopher Zahn rent out the location as an event space and wedding venue. And it’s hard to imagine a better place, with a pleasant atmosphere on a large outdoor terrace.)
Williams and Zahn make it clear that they care a lot about the quality of the food they serve and that they are delivered to you on order. Most everything is homemade, and Zee’s proudly lists the local farms and vendors where they source their ingredients from.
I have been to Zee’s several times to get a good idea of the options and each time I have been really impressed with the friendliness and warmth of the staff. I went there one day and the restaurant was actually closed – but people there still asked if they could make me something to eat. You rarely find that kind of personal touch in a casual dining establishment.
Everything I had was good enough, but here is a list of what I would recommend trying.
1. The bacon bird. It’s a wonderful, simple and straightforward sandwich – stacked with roast turkey, crisp and well done bacon, silky provolone cheese, and a creamy and refreshing avocado spread, all on toasted sourdough. For $ 7. All sandwiches come with your choice of fries, fruit or house potato salad. I’m a good Idahoan, so my choice was natural.
The potato salad was creamy and flavorful, with a touch of pickle relish and a hint of Dijon mustard, for a pleasant and tangy flavor. The sandwich was so satisfying and well balanced that I was left completely satisfied.
I chose to pay 95 cents more to get the option of my choice, which allowed me to have half a sandwich and the choice of a cup of soup or half a salad. I opted for the soup.
2. Tomato soup. Vegan roasted tomato soup is something I was initially skeptical of. I love the tomato soup; it has always been my favorite. I really think a little bit of cream goes a long way in balancing the acidity in tomatoes, and I don’t like the overpowering flavor of coconut milk, which is often used in vegan recipes. So when I ordered it, I set the bar low.
I was glad I was wrong. The soup was full of rich, sweet and very earthy tomato flavor. It warmed up the palette and had a wonderful full-bodied texture that I personally rarely find in vegan dishes. There were fresh chopped veg, which added a nice crunch and nice texture. It was great company for the sandwich.
3. Idaho Beef Gyro: This warm, inviting and very tasty pita was a lovely blend of fresh and savory flavors. Topped with seasoned Snake River Farms ground beef, tomatoes, feta, onion and lettuce, it was served with a homemade tzatziki sauce on the side. The pita was bursting with ingredients and had well balanced and complementary flavors.
The beef is well seasoned, with peppercorns and Mediterranean spices, and this is refreshed by the clean liveliness and distinguished flavor of the vegetables. I highly recommend it!
4. The Caesar with cashew nuts: I really like a well-garnished salad with a good crunch. Cashew Caesar at Zee’s offers a delicious garlic vinaigrette with a nice touch of pepper, over fresh and salted and roasted Roman cashews from the City Peanut Shop in downtown Boise. The salad is topped with Parmesan to give it a little more depth. All the great texture and flavor profiles you would want in a salad are there, and it’s a great option for lunch for two.
5. Cookies: Finally, have some of their homemade cookies. They are deliciously chewy and have a wonderful buttery flavor in the dough. I had the chocolate chips, because when it comes to cookies, I’m a purist. They also offered peanut butter and oatmeal raisins. It’s a perfect way to round off your meal.
If you work downtown, the options can seem a bit tired if you go out often to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Glad I found Zee’s, a hidden gem where you can get great food on the cheap, with an amazing view to boot. Don’t miss it.