ASIAN AND INDIAN
Aloha Island Grill. Hawaiian. Operating out of two former Taco John shacks on Monroe and West Francis, Patrick and Lori Keegan serve up fresh, tender Teriyaki Chicken “plates” that will keep you coming back. Based on family recipes from the islands and plenty more than just teriyaki, both spots offer a student discount; the Francis location serves a creative breakfast concoction called the “Loco Moco.” Open daily. 1724 N. Monroe (509) 443-1632 and 1220 W. Francis (509) 413-2029. eataloha.com.
Thai Bamboo. Thai. Each of the four regional Thai Bamboo locations offers a massive Southeast Asian menu in settings designed to transport you across the Pacific. Inside each restaurant you’ll find Thai stone and wood carvings, water fountains, Thai music and the namesake bamboo décor. Thai Bamboo continues to be #1 Best Thai in readers’ polls and both the newest location on North Division and the CdA restaurant feature a Tiki-Beach styled lounge and striking sky ceilings in the main dining rooms. Think Vegas with pad thai. All locations Mon-Thu 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sat 12-9:30 p.m., Sun 12-9 p.m. Delivery available. thaibamboorestaurant.com.
Top of India. Indian. A hidden gem serving up northern Indian dishes (gluten free and vegan options) in a surprisingly chic space tucked into a house off East Sprague. They bring the specialties learned on the family farm in the Jalandhar district of Punjab to the Northwest. Don’t miss the garlic naan or their signature dish Chicken Tikka Masala and try the desert Mango Moose, but order just about anything and expect it to be quite good. There is also a lunch buffet for $9.99. Open daily 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 11114 E. Sprague Ave. (509) 927-0500. thetopofindia.com.
Rancho Viejo. Jose Rodriguez and his staff offer up traditional and familiar Mexican fare with some of the amplest portions and most caring family-friendly service in Spokane. 14201 E. Sprague. Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri & Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (509) 927-8428. rancho-viejo.net.
Red Lion BBQ & Pub. For about 20 years, whether it was in the old rhythm and blues, peanut-shells-on-the-floor days, or more recently as a sports bar, there’s always been butt-kickin’ BBQ at this downtown corner spot. The undisputed star here is wine broiled chicken, spicy and robust, yet falling-off-the-bones moist and tender. Together with their signature fried bread and honey, and you have a BBQ experience that can’t help but please. 126 N. Division. Sun-Thu 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m. (Sunday breakfast buffet 9 a.m.-noon during football season.) (509) 835-LION (5466). redlionbarbeque.com.
Laguna Café. This South Hill restaurant calls itself a café, but in actuality it is much more. Owners Dan and Debbie Barranti have created a sophisticated combination of gourmet food, great wines, and gifts. The dinner menu features entrees such as Wild Pacific Salmon with fresh rosemary mango salsa and roasted rosemary potatoes or the Flat Iron Steak and Black Tiger Shrimp. They offer an extensive line of summer salads, along with a full bar—and delectable burgers, too. Want to fine dine at home? Don’t miss their pick-up window with meals to go. Live music weekly. 2013 E. 29th Ave. Mon-Thur 8 a.m. -9 p.m., Fri 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sun 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (509) 448-0887.
The Cellar. One of the most popular eateries along Coeur d’Alene’s historical Sherman Ave. was revamped in 2015 by Adam Hegsted, Spokane-based chef and restaurateur. A talented kitchen team uses only seasonal, natural, farm-fresh foods like fresh Steelhead from the Columbia River and cheese from Idaho-based Ballard Cheese Company to make approachable dishes like Miso Roasted Steelhead and Northwest Paella. True to the establishment’s name, they have a subterranean, climate-controlled, security glass and access-code enclosed room for their vast wine collection (estimates fluctuate from 2 to 3 thousand bottles at any one time). The Cellar’s wine program is the cornerstone of the restaurant (Wine Spectator Magazine has honored them 3 years in a row). Music is often jazz or blues played live and to a packed house on weekends. 313 E. Sherman Ave. in Coeur d’ Alene. Open Daily 4 p.m.-close. (208) 664-9463. thecellarcda.com.
The Wandering Table. A much-anticipated American tapas-style restaurant located in Kendall Yards. Chef Adam Hegsted delights with a variety of small plates (try the Garden for a creative salad take, the Deviled Eggs, or the Popcorn), craft cocktails, a whiskey bar, and substantial dishes, such as the Bacon-Wrapped Bacon Sliders or the Braised Shortribs. The chef is known for his previous culinary venture of the same name consisting of a twelve-course dinner party. Take his advice and go with the “You Choose the Price” meal option for the table offered at $15-$65 per head for a surprising culinary journey. Hopefully it will include the Olive Oil Gelato for dessert. Tues-Thurs, 11:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Sun-Mon, 4 p.m.-11:30 p.m. 1242 W. Summit Pkwy in Kendall Yards. (509) 443-4410. thewanderingtable.com.
Wild Sage. Tucked into a classic 1911 brick building on 2nd and Lincoln, Wild Sage offers an intimate dining setting and memorable food with real flair. The atmosphere combines class and warmth. Executive Chef Charlie Connor presents regionally influenced Northwest cuisine using only the finest locally sourced products. Try the Yukon Taquitos, the Crisp Bacon and Blue salad or the Cioppino. Be sure to finish with a slice of the “Soon-to-be-Famous” Coconut Cream Layer Cake with lilikoi sauce. This award-winning bistro is known for its in-house bakery and an amazing array of gluten-free options. Also make it a point to order something from their “scratch bar,” with or without alcohol. They use only fresh juices and house-infused flavored liquors. Dinner seven nights a week, opening at 4 p.m. 916 W. Second Ave. (509) 456-7575. wildsagebistro.com.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH SPECIALTIES
Frank’s Diner. Frank’s has become a Spokane landmark in just over a decade. Both early 1900s vintage rail cars were originally obtained by the Knight brothers, Frank and Jack, during the Depression, and each converted them to diners in Seattle and Spokane, respectively. Larry Brown, of Onion Bar and Grill fame, acquired the Seattle diner in 1991 and moved it to its present location, meticulously restored by well-know local restaurant restoration artisan, Pat Jeppeson. Frank’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, available all day, has all the classics. Among our favorites are the open-face turkey, roast beef and mushroom sandwiches, chicken pot pie, Joe’s Special (the venerable scramble of eggs, ground beef, spinach, onions and parmesan), and, of course, the don’t-miss-at-breakfast hash browns and silver pancakes. 1516 W. 2nd. Seven days 6 a.m.-8 p.m. (509) 747-8798. 10929 N. Newport Highway, Sun-Thurs 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri-Sat 6 a.m.-9 p.m. (509) 465-2464. franksdiners.com.
Yards Bruncheon. The team at Yards Bruncheon figured out how to extend the weekend to all week by offering brunch everyday, and—oh!—how that pleases us. This modern diner is a combination of breakfast and lunch complimented with classic brunch cocktails. Their menu features comfort food from all over using local farms and producers in the season. This food is food the team loves to eat and is meant to be taken lightly. They make most of their menu items in house including their pastries, which are some of the best around. They also feature some of the best coffees and teas from around the world. 1248 W. Summit Prky., Mon-Sun 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (509) 290-5952. theyardsbruncheon.com.
Prohibition Gastropub. A small, but cozy pub on Monroe offering modern meals with a vintage vibe and a carefully curated cocktail menu. Specialty candied bacon appears throughout the menu, from jalapeno poppers to a bevy of burgers. The kitchen is eager to please vegans and vegetarians, as well. 1914 N. Monroe. Mon, Wed-Sat 11a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Tues. (509) 474-9040. facebook.com/Prohibition.Gastropub.Spokane1
Palm Court Grill. The Palm Court Grill offers upscale casual dining fare that highlight favorites discovered all around the world by Walt and Karen Worthy, the owners of the Davenport. Home to the original Crab Louis, named for original hotel owner Louis Davenport, the grill also serves USDA Prime beef and a fine wild salmon filet with a huckleberry champagne sauce. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Daily 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Reservations recommended. Private dining room available, seating up to 30 people. 10 S. Post. (509) 455-8888.
Safari Room Fresh Grill and Bar. The Davenport Hotel Tower’s Safari Room Fresh Grill and Bar will add a spice of adventure to your dining experience featuring a full menu with a variety of tasty flatbreads, small plates, salads and gourmet sandwiches. Private dining room available seating up to 30 people. 111 S. Post St. (Davenport Hotel Tower lobby). Serving Breakfast 6-11 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Dinner 4-10 p.m., and Late Night 10 p.m.-close. (509) 455-8888.
Taste Cafe & Fine Art. If you love the taste of healthy and enjoy putting nutrient-dense fuel into your body—while giving your tastebuds the stuff food dreams are made of—Taste Cafe & Fine Art is a not to be missed downtown destination. Jane Heber and her daughter Hannah whip up their most popular dishes—asian chicken wrap, lentil salad, cookies and a kale salad that would make carnivores drool—among a long list of tantalizing dishes. Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Thu-Fri 5:30-8 p.m., closed Sun. 180 S. Howard St. (509) 468-2929. tastecafespokane.com.
Gilded Unicorn. The Gilded Unicorn is a Modern American, Classic restaurant featuring hand crafted foods and drinks located in the historic Montvale Hotel in downtown Spokane, right in the heart the entertainment and arts district. The name reflects their blend of classic and modern without taking themselves too seriously. The Gilded Unicorn showcases local, seasonal food and drinks from the Northwest and beyond coerced into new fashioned flavors that hit you in the soul. This is a “must visit” eatery experience. 110 S. Monroe St., Sun-Sat 3 p.m-close. (509) 309-3698. gildedunicorn.com.
Stacks at Steam Plant. Named for the twin smokestacks that have been a part of the downtown Spokane skyline for nearly a century, Stacks offers a full-service dining experience in a one-of-a-kind space. Unique private dining spaces include boiler rooms where the original pipes still line the walls and ceiling. Signature dishes are created from scratch and incorporate ingredients produced only at the Steam Plant—including smoked meats, fish and vegetables, and many of the ales brewed on-site. 3 p.m.–10 p.m. Sun-Thurs, 3 p.m.–11p.m. Fri-Sat. 159 S. Lincoln, under the smokestacks downtown. (509) 777-3900. steamplantspokane.com.
Italian Kitchen. Owners Bryce and Lyndsay Kerr have created a beautiful and charming décor along with exquisite cuisine, not to mention the remarkable hospitality. Known for its Calamari, Tiramisu, and Lasagna from scratch, the Italian Kitchen is as authentic as you’ll find. They were recently placed on the “Best of the Best” list, which honors the top 17 Italian restaurants in the nation. 113 N. Bernard. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Dinner Mon-Thur 3:30-9 p.m., Fri 3:30-10 p.m., Sat 4:30-10 p.m., Sun 4:30-9 p.m. (509) 363-1210. italiankitchenspokane.com.
PUB AND LOUNGE FARE
Manito Tap House. Manito is living into its name as a gastropub that offers high-quality dining fare to go with their 50 beers on tap. A fun pub atmosphere and friendly service make this a great hangout. Try the yam chips, the Carne Adovada, the Murphy’s Beef Boxty, or the inventive veggie burger that comes inside out. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun–Thur. Open until 2 a.m. Fri–Sat. 3011 S. Grand Blvd in Spokane. (509) 279-2671. manitotaphouse.com.
nYne Bar & Bistro. Pub fair done right. Everything from juicy burgers, and delicious wraps to salads, nachos and a select array of appetizers. All entrees served with your choice of Kettle Salt & Pepper Chips or Tomato and Cucumber Salad. Tacos served every Tuesday and only Tuesday with $5 margaritas. You can take advantage of the patio during the warmer weather. Happy hour is Tues-Sat 3 p.m.-6 p.m. $5 appetizers, $1 off well drinks, pints and wine. Nyne has one of the best dance floors in town featuring DJ’s on the weekends and karaoke Tues-Thurs. Live music and special events as well. Private party space available with reservation. 232 W. Sprague Ave. Mon 7 p.m.-close, Tues-Sat 12 p.m.-2 a.m. nynebar.com.
The Onion Taphouse & Grill. Established in 1978, the Onion is the grand dean of gourmet burgers and casual family dining in Spokane. With the addition of Area 51 Taphouse (with, yes, 51 different beers—and some hard ciders, too, on tap), you’ll never want to leave. From gourmet burgers and sandwiches to pizza, salads and their namesake beer-battered onion rings, The Onion Taphouse & Grill pays attention to details and does more from scratch than many other restaurants aspiring to loftier appellations. 302 W. Riverside. Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-1 a.m. (509) 747-3852; 7522 N. Division, Mon-Sun 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (509) 482-6100.
Peacock Room. It is all about martinis, cold beer and great music. Known as the place to see and be seen, the Peacock Room contributes to Spokane’s vibrant downtown nightlife. Showcasing a giant stained-glass peacock ceiling, the menu features such items as giant prawntinis, open-faced crab sandwiches and gourmet onion rings. Casual attire. Private dining room available seating up to 25 people. Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri-Sat 11-1 a.m., Sun 2 p.m.-midnight. 10 S. Post. (509) 455-8888.
Post Street Ale House. This floor to rafter renovation of the former Fugazzi space in the Hotel Lusso by Walt and Karen Worthy of the Davenport gives downtown Spokane a great English-style pub with a striking bar, twenty beers on tap, and a reasonably priced menu built around comfort food. We feel they do some of their fried food particularly well: the Halibut and Chips, the Fried Mozzarella “cubes,” and the Ale House Fried Pickles. If you are hungry, try the Guinness Braised Short Ribs served over mashed potatoes and topped with a pan gravy chunky with vegetables. 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily. N. 1 Post Street. (509) 789-6900.
Steam Plant Brewing Co. & Pub. An amazing location for a brewery–under layers of catwalks and an 80’ ceiling inside the renovated steam plant. The brewery produces eleven handcrafted microbrews on-site, from their famous Double Stack Stout to several seasonal varieties. Its microbrews are also available to go in kegs and growlers. The Pub features multiple flat-screen TVs and a game room to make a night of it. The brews are complemented by signature menu items like the Coal Bunker cheese bread, smoked steelhead and beer cheese soup. 3–10 p.m. Sun-Thurs 3–11 p.m. Fri-Sat.159 S. Lincoln, under the smokestacks, downtown. (509) 777-3900. steamplantspokane.com.
The Swinging Doors. Opened in May of 1981, the tavern turned restaurant has been in the same family for its whole life. With 27 beers on tap and 60 television screens, The Swinging Doors is a sports fan’s paradise. On the food front, the restaurant is famous for its large portions (which can be split). Breakfast is served all day and the huge pieces of Broasted Chicken remain the most popular item on the golf-themed menu. Show up on your birthday for a free steak dinner. Open seven days a week from 6:45 a.m.-2 a.m. 1018 W. Francis. (509) 326-6794. theswingingdoors.com.
Bennidito’s. Though we didn’t realize it for several years, it is possible to order a gourmet pie without garlic at Bennidito’s. But who would want to with choices like the popular “LC Primo” with both fresh and roasted garlic along with chicken, mushrooms, feta and mozzarella over a pesto sauce? The crust is hand tossed and bready in the best sense of that designation. Bennidito’s is the spot to eat outside in good weather with its own deck at the South Hill location. It also has a larger menu that includes salad, wings, calzones, and several popular hot sandwiches like the Italian Beef Sammie ($7.50 whole, $5.50 half). The gluten-free crust is top notch and made by local purveyor, Fusion Flours. 1426 S. Lincoln, Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Closed Sun. (509) 455-7411.
Slice, Pints, and Pies. This family-friendly pizza place in the GU District serves wings, garlic bread, pizza by the slice, traditional pies and a list of specialty pies your taste buds need to experience. With their Return of the Mac pizza—covered in mac and cheese, jalapeños and a crust stuffed with Little Smokies sausages—and their eggs Benedict-inspired pie along with the Thai Breaker—a chicken, shrimp and onion pizza with peanut sauce, covered in crushed peanuts, they offer taste combinations not found anywhere else. Slice’s happy hour (3-5 pm every day; all day on Sunday) offers discounted drinks, half-price pies, $1 slices and a $5 beer-and-a-slice special. 829 E. Boone Ave., Mon-Sun, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. (509) 241-3001. facebook.com/SLICEPintsandPies.
Veraci Pizza. Veraci Pizza features a delicious ultra-thin artisan crust made from their secret recipe. Each batch of dough is hand prepared in a mixing bowl, never by machine. Each pizza pie is cooked in fewer than two minutes. We use only the freshest and highest quality natural ingredients and buy direct from local farms whenever possible. All of these things combine to create one of the most delicious pizzas you’ll ever experience. Look for their mobile oven at events and around town, or visit them for one of the best dining views around at their brick and mortar restaurant in Kendall Yards. 1333 W. Summit Pkwy., Open Daily 11a.m.-9 p.m. (509) 389-0029. veracispokane.com.
The Scoop. A quaint community gathering place, hidden amongst the tree lined streets on the South Hill of Spokane serving fresh made ice cream created in store using fresh ingredients and liquid nitrogen. Known for their amazing Liege Waffles, they make these yeast-based delights every morning from scratch in small quantities. The Scoop serves locally roasted Organic Roast House Coffee on their espresso bar and carries vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options as staples, alongside their classic menu items such as cranberry turkey and the BLAT—a BLT with avocado. 1001 W. 25th Ave. Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat/Sun 9 a.m.-8 p.m. thescoopspokane.com
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