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DINING GUIDE


mate neighborhood bistro in Browne’s Addition. Vogel’s ingredients and dishes clearly express Italian sensibili- ties, but then go on to immediately transcend the “box” Americans have for Italian food. Expect to find a vibrant seasonal menu with both the simple and the adventur- ous: everything from classic spaghetti and meatballs to charred octopus in a spicy tomato oil. Vogel’s prepara- tion of black cod with creamed white truffle potatoes and chanterelles is heaven on a plate.


brunch is also drawing enthusiastic crowds. 144 South Cannon Street in Spokane. Brunch: 9 am – 2 pm Sat and Sun. Lunch: 11 am – 2 pm Tues - Fri. Dinner: Tues – Thur 5 – 9 pm and 5 – 10 pm Fri – Sat. Closed Mondays. (509) 459-6000. www.italiatrattoriaspokane.com. $-$$$


Italian Kitchen. Owners Bryce and Lyndsay Kerr have created a beautiful and charming décor along with exquisite cuisine, not to mention the remarkable hos- pitality. 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 11-3:30, Dinner Mon-Thur 3:30-9, Fri 3:30-10, Sat 4:30-10, Sun 4:30-9. (509) 363-1210. $$


Luigi’s. Traditional Italian menu specializing in pastas, seafood, steaks and salads served in amazingly large portions. The smoked salmon lasagna has been featured in national magazines. Martinis are a must. Located close to the opera house and downtown shopping. Express service for theatergoers. 245 W Main. Sun & Mon 4-9, Tues-Thurs 11-10, Fri 11-11, Sat 4-11. (509) 624-5226. Lunch $, dinner $$


Rock City Grill. Italian/American. Located in River Park Square, Rock City is a long time favorite of downtown shoppers and entertainment fans. Oven-fired pizzas are the big draw. Try the peanut-sauced Thai as well as generous pastas and items from the broiler. 808 W Main (in Riverpark Square). Sun-Thurs 11-9:30 (bar until 11), Fri-Sat 11-10:30 (bar until 11:30). (509) 455-4400. $$-$$$


Tony’s On The Lake. Reviewed June 2011. Originally built in the 1940s long the shore of the lake five miles east of Coeur d’Alene, Tony’s is a great destination Ital- ian spot for years but the current incarnation under the D’Alessandro family just might be the best. Drive or boat. Chef Cheyenne D’Alessandro offers wonder- ful from-scratch sauces and Italian classics executed perfectly. Try the hand-pulled mozzarella if it is on the special sheet and don’t miss the Spaghetti Pescatore if you love a good tomato vodka sauce. Equally excellent are the Sirloin Filetto served with house-made gnocchi and the Saltimbocca alla Romana. All the desserts are made in house. Tony’s has a fun and informative wine list, and you need to hold up their house wine Y NOT to the mirror that stretches along the back of the dining room for a surprise. Open daily from 5 pm from Memorial Day to the end of September. Five days a week in the fall and spring. Closed January – March. 6823 East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive outside of Coeur d’Alene. (208) 667-9885. www.tonysonthelake.com. $$-$$$


MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN


Azar’s. A former drive-in is an unexpected spot for Greek and Middle-Eastern cuisine, but the gyros are deliciously fresh and the lunch buffet – served Monday-Saturday – is a compelling invitation to eat far too much. Belly danc- ing Friday nights. 2501 N Monroe. Mon-Thur 11-8, Fri-Sat 11-9, Closed Sundays. (509) 326-7171. $


Marrakesh. Moroccan. Recently moved from Northwest Blvd to Division, Marrakesh transcends the normal dish- by-dish approach and becomes a journey accompanied by Mamdouh, a steaming glass of mint tea, and a bath- sized towel in your lap. The feast is set in five courses including the tea, a simple saffron lentil soup, salad, Bas- tela Royale (a cross between a pot pie and a puff pastry stuffed with chicken, almonds, and egg) and an entrée. Expect an North African experience with the price of an appetizer at a high-end restaurant. 1227 North Division in Spokane. Open seven days 5-10. (509)328-9733. $$


The Olympia Restaurant. Greek. Eva and Angelo Itskos preside over the kitchen at The Olympia and turn out classic Greek comfort food at great prices. Five compel- ling reasons to come in: (1) warm wait staff, (2) the brillian Saganaki (fried cheese with pita bread), (3) the chicken gyro spiced with the house’s secret marinade, (4) the “Greek” fries, and (5) the house-made rice pudding with a citrus note. 301 Lakeside Avenue in CDA. (208) 666-9495. Mon – Wed, 11 – 3, Thur – Sat, 11 – 8. $-$$.


The West Wing. Mediterranean. Chef Raci Erdem has copied the success of his popular Post Falls garlic lovers’


200 SPOKANE CDA • May • 2012 The weekend


White House (see below) and brought it to the South Hill. The restaurant features all of the favorites Erdem’s fans adore: light, delicate Turkish Cigars, tender, spiced Souvlaki and tons of garlic. The West Wing is affordable for a casual Gyro lunch or decadent enough for a night out on the town, with the flavorful Curried Chicken Ravioli or popular Turkish Plate, with spicy grilled lamb and tzatziki. Don’t forget the breath mints and expect to wait for a table on weekends. Open daily 11 am – 10 pm. 4334 South Regal in Spokane. (509) 443-1660. www. thewhitehousegrill.com/the-west-wing. $-$$$


The White House Mediterranean Grill. Mediterranean. If you love garlic, you’ll love this cozy, romantic restau- rant. Here, you feel as if you are in the Mediterranean without the high cost of travel. Try the popular Chilean Sea Bass that has turned first timers into regular cus- tomers. The Whitehouse offers 110 wine selections and now offers a full bar. Reservations are recommended. 712 N Spokane Street, Post Falls, ID. Mon-Thurs 11-10, Fri-Sat 11-11. (208) 777-9672. www.thewhitehousegrill. com. $-$$$


MEXICAN


Azteca. Azteca’s recipes are those of the owners’ mother from the village of Cuautla in the state of Jalisco in cen- tral Mexico. Now a chain with over 35 locations, Azteca started as a small 24-seat restaurant in Burien in 1974. On the menu you can find classics such as Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) and Pollo “Fundido” (a distinctly non-authentic combination of chicken, jalapeno cream cheese, and—steady on—American cheese in a flour tortilla). Sun-Thurs 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-11. 200 W. Spokane Falls Blvd, (509) 456-0350. 9738 N Newport Highway, (509) 465-9101. Spokane Valley Mall, (509) 228-9661. $$


Bajio Mexican Grill. Tucked into the new Northtown Square on Spokane’s northside is a bright outpost of the Bajio region in central Mexico.


rants across the west, much of the décor inside comes from its namesake area south of the border along with the inspiration for a menu that features burritos, enchi- ladas, and quesadillas as well as fish tacos and an expan- sive selection of salads that come topped with Bajio’s signature meats. 4805 N Division, Suite 102 in Spokane. (509) 482-7999. www.bajiomexicangrill.com. $-$$


Café Chulo. Try the addictive sweet pork nachos first and then come back to explore the rest of the cooking of Francisco Padilla Ramirez a.k.a. “Pancho” and Lupita’s home made tortillas. The menu balances authenticity with healthy with some spectacular results. Sun – Thur 10 – 8. Fri – Sat 10 – 9. 155 W Neider Ave in CDA. (208) 667-2700. www.cafechulo.com. $


De Leon Foods. Mexican. In addition to boasting the best Mexican grocery in the region, De Leon Foods also has a bakery, tortilla factory, and hot food counter on site. Located just a block of Division on East Francis, De Leon serves up several brilliant Hispanic specialties from traditional family recipes and offers catering options. A second location downtown operates solely as a restau- rant. 102 E Francis Ave in Spokane. (509) 483-3033. www. deleonfoods.net.


Fiesta Mexicana. One of many such places to pronounce themselves “authentic”, Fiesta Mexicana actually deserves the moniker, the owners having studied the recipes and menus of other restaurateurs in their family for several years prior to opening. We’re drawn to the classic Arroz con Pollo and Pollo en Mole. And where else in town can one assuage a hankering for Huevos Rancheros or Menudo on a Sunday morning? Sun-Thurs 11-9, Fri-Sat 11-10. 1227 South Grand Blvd. (509) 455-7117. $-$$


Hacienda Los Flores. A bright reincarnation of the space at the bottom of the Freya hill formerly occupied by La Katrina Taco. Owners Jorge and Adriana Hernan- dez pull out all the stops with possibly the best mole sauce in town. Try the Pollo en Mole ($12.25) and plan on multiple dips with your standard basket of chips rather than just a single salsa. Several of the soups on the menu also get rave reviews: the Sopa de Camaron and the Sopa de Tortilla. Kids eat for $0.99 on Sundays. Open daily from 11-9. 510 South Freya in Spokane. (509) 315-8853. $-$$


Mexican Food Factory. 30 years serving great beans, wonderful steamed and shredded chicken, and deep fried tacos with a unique salsa in squirt bottles in the tiny dining room that years ago was a garage station repair bay. Dan Franks shows up at 4 am every weekday morning to start cooking just as his father did for years before him. 11 am – 8 pm Mon-Fri with extended sum- mer hours. 1032 North 4th Street in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 664-0079. www.mexicanfoodfactory.net. $


Like other Bajio restau-


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 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-11. (509) 927-8428. $$


Tacos Tumbras. Now with two sit-down locations as well as their itinerant taco trucks, Tumbras has the making of a local taco empire featuring food hailing from Carlos Zuniga’s home in Mexico City. Don’t expect ‘big plate Mexican’ with the hubcap size plates swimming in rice and beans, the reason to come in is for $1.50 authentic tacos or a brilliant torta on a slightly sweet bun (imagine a Mexican hamburger with your choice of meat in the place of the burger). Daily 10 – 9. 9420 E Sprague Ave in the Spokane Valley (509) 927-8220. 1325 W 2nd Ave in Spokane. (509) 456-8226. $-$$.


Tecate Grill. A friendly Tex-Mex spot in north Spokane with great sauces, margaritas, and $5 All-You-Can-Eat Taco Tuesdays. Try the Tour de Mexico to get a com- bination platter with Carne Asada, a Chile Relleno, and a chicken-and-cheese enchilada in a “three pepper” sauce ironically made without any peppers but plenty of cream. 11 am – 9 pm daily (open later Fri – Sat). 2503 West Wellesley Avenue in Spokane. (509) 327-7817. www. tecate2go.com. $-$$


PIZZA


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). 1426 S Lincoln, Mon-Thurs 11-10, Fri 11-11, Sat 11-10, Closed Sun. (509) 455-7411. 9025 N. Indian Trail Rd, Mon-Thurs 3-10, Fri 11-11, Sat 11-10, Sun 12-8. (509) 466-2790 $$


Fire Artisan Pizza. Reviewed January 2012. Walk in the front door and you smell smoke from local orchard wood burning at 800 degrees in the Fourno Bravo oven that is a focal piece of the open kitchen at the back of the restau- rant. Whether you order up one of the creative pizzas on the menu or design your own pie, you are in for a treat. Fire’s chewy charred crust and bright red sauce are both excellent. The wine list is also well chosen and the space has an industrial retro rustic feel that also manages to be warm and welcoming. Open Sun – Thu, 11:30 am – 9 pm; Fri – Sat, 11:30 am – 11 pm. 517 Sherman Ave in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 676-1743. www.firecda.com. $$


Five Mile Heights Pizza Parlor. If fun for the kids is as critical as plenty of ‘za, head to Five Mile Heights on North Maple. Locally owned and operated for 25 years, Five Mile Heights has two banquet rooms perfect for parties, a large ball crawl pit, and a children’s play area. During the week at lunch you can get an all-you-can eat buffet with pizza, salad, breadsticks, and a drink for well under $10. They make their own crust (including gluten free options) and have their own 18-spice sauce. Open daily from 11:30 am – 9:30 pm (10 on Fri-Sat). 6409 N Maple in Spokane. (509) 328-4764. www.fivemileheight- spizza.com. $-$$


The Flying Goat. A lot of careful thought went into the design of this pub and pizza sibling of the Downriver Grill, and it is paying off. The Goat offers both classic and artisan toppings on Neapolitan-style pies that get part of their flavor from the “char” on the crust. Try the surpris- ing Kiernan and wash it down with a craft beer (14 taps, 1 gravity-fed cask beer, and over 50 more in bottles). The Goat has a mug club for regulars and all the menu items names are linked to the neighborhood – see if you can guess the system. Open daily at 11 am. Closes at 10 pm (11 on Fri and Sat). 3318 West Northwest Boulevard in Spokane. (509) 327-8277. www.theflyinggoat.com. $-$$


Round Table. Although Round Table is a sizable fran- chise operation out of California, for 20 years their lone outpost in Spokane has felt more like a friendly mom-and-pop pizzeria to their south hill neighbors. With the slogan “The Last Honest Pizza”, Round Table honors that claim and its neighborly reputation by the fine quality and generosity of the toppings with which they garnish their pizzas, unlike many big-name chains. They have just introduced themselves to northsiders with a recently opened Five Mile location. Lunch buffet served Monday-Friday 11-1:30pm and drop by Tuesdays


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