Inland Northwest restaurants that live up to the hype

click to enlarge Veracurz Atun ceviche, Yucatan shrimp and Sinaloa shrimp are displayed at Zona Blanca. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Veracurz Atun ceviche, Yucatan shrimp and Sinaloa shrimp are displayed at Zona Blanca.

1898 Public House Given Chef Tyler Schwenk's background as former chef de cuisine at Beverly's at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, the chance of 1898 Public House being just another boring gastropub was fairly low. The burger ($16) is served with house-cured bacon and Cougar Gold white cheddar, and the fish ($15 for two pieces) is fresh cod accompanied by crispy coleslaw and housemade cocktail sauce. There are 16 regional craft beers on tap (ranging from $5.50 to $8), along with an array of top-shelf liquor and craft cocktails. 2010 Waikiki Rd., Spokane • Wash. • 466-9813

Boots Bakery and Lounge When your vegan, gluten-free, hipster brother from Portland comes to visit, take him to Boots. Start your day with some housemade granola and steamed coconut milk, then pick out something from the deli case to take home for lunch or dinner, along with a brownie or another treat for dessert. Everything here is vegan and gluten-free, and the food and atmosphere rival the trendiest eatery you'll find in Portland.  24 W. Main Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 703-7223

Casper Fry Public House When the Wall Street Journal singled out Spokane as one of a half-dozen mid-sized cities for food lovers, Casper Fry was one of the restaurants that inspired this designation, thanks to its Southern-inspired flavors with a modern twist. Order the Low Country Shrimp and Grits or anything that comes out of the Josper oven, one of only a handful in the country, that uses charcoal and wood chips for smoking and grilling.  928 S. Perry St., Spokane • Wash. • 535-0536

Central Food It's no wonder that Inlander readers chose Central Food as their favorite patio in 2016. You've got the city skyline, a view overlooking the river's natural beauty, and if you time it just right, a primo spot to watch the sun just before it ducks behind a sea of evergreens. Tucked into the north bank of the river, this Kendall Yards spot is perfect for a Sunday brunch, a bite after a long, sweaty ride on the Centennial Trail, or a relaxing dinner. The menu changes with the seasons, and always features locally sourced ingredients and their daily-baked artisan bread.  1335 W. Summit Pkwy., Spokane • Wash. • 315-8036

Chaps Over the years, this shabby-chic eatery and bakery located off of Highway 195 has cultivated a large and particularly devoted following. On weekends, the line frequently snakes out the door, but hearty chorizo omelettes, homemade cinnamon rolls, baked blueberry French toast, and a hug from proprietor Celeste Shaw make it well worth the wait. Friday nights mean live music, low lights and a perfect place to plan a romantic evening out.  4237 S. Cheney-Spokane Rd., Spokane • Wash. • 624-4182

Crafted Tap House + Kitchen Though it's not on the lake, Crafted's stylish, expansive patio is arguably the most happening place in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Crafted takes HDG's rustic, industrial design and adds rotating special menus with fresh ingredients. Mainstays have funky names like the "#42" (ground beef burger with bacon jam, cambazola and arugula) and the "Rockefella Ya'll" (chicken and vanilla waffles with bacon and huckleberry syrup). Appetizers include the pretzel and white cheddar Hefeweizen fondue and super fuzz chicken wings with blood orange purée, orange juice, and Elysian ale.  523 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene • Idaho • 208-292-4813

Durkin's Liquor Bar From the restaurateur family who brought Casper Fry and Madeleine's Cafe to Spokane, Durkin's is named after early Spokane liquor tycoon Jimmy Durkin. The highly refined menu offers small plates, salads, sandwiches and traditional plates, balanced by an extensive selection of craft cocktails, drafts and wine. Small plates are plentiful, enough to share yet so delicious you might resist. Hearty lentils and brawny portions of bone marrow pair perfectly with effervescent French 75s. Duck rillettes, served in jam jars and tempered with sweet onion jam, beckon for a glass of syrah. 415 W. Main Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 863-9501

Gilded Unicorn With a silly name and kitschy artwork covering its walls, The Gilded Unicorn is tucked away in the basement of the Montvale Hotel. In addition to glamorized versions of Rice-A-Roni ($10), and tater-tot casserole ($9), the "Less Hungry" section of the menu has Pigs in a Blanket ($12) featuring a flaky pastry and delicious house-smoked sausage, and a brick-fired pretzel ($9) served with a Gouda fondue. The "More Hungry" section includes creative takes on mac and cheese, Swedish meatballs and a particularly tasty Mini Chicken Dinner, served with pickles, gravy and chicken-fat potatoes ($16). 110 S. Monroe St., Spokane • Wash. • 309-3698

Madeleine's Café & Patisserie We wouldn't be surprised to hear that Madeleine's is gaining a national following — especially now with its close proximity to the Davenport Grand Hotel and the well-heeled travelers who stay there. This delightful French cafe is always bustling at breakfast, thanks to its assortment of croissants, pastries, quiches and omelettes. The lunch menu changes daily, but it's hard not to order the croque monsieur and housemade tomato basil soup every time. It's that good.  707 W. Main Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 624-2253

Mediterrano Really, all the restaurants inside the urban-chic Saranac Commons — Caffé Affogato, Common Crumb and this delightful gem, Mediterrano — are buzzworthy. We suggest that you start your night here for Mediterranean-style fare like falafel, gyros, and hummus. Then pop into Common Crumb for a French macaron, and finish up your night with an espresso at Caffé Affogato.  19 W. Main Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 309-3116

Nudo Nudo can be credited with bringing the ramen noodle trend to Spokane with its stylish spot downtown. If you're picturing something akin to the Top Ramen of your college days, delete that thought. Ramen has long been a staple in Japan, and at Nudo you can get it with barbecue pork, boiled egg and braised bamboo shoots, or as bookends to a burger. 818 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 290-5763

Ruins What Ruins lacks in size it more than makes up for in big flavors and a killer vibe. The menu changes weekly here, so one day you might delve into some salmon and beets with a side of shredded Brussels sprouts, and the next it might be a perfectly sized cheeseburger with housemade pickles, or scallops with king oyster mushrooms. Don't be afraid of change; embrace it at Ruins, along with a tasty craft cocktail. 825 N. Monroe St., Spokane • Wash. • 443-5606

Santé There are many reasons everyone raves about this local, fine-dining stalwart. The award-winning, French-inspired eatery, run by Chef Jeremy Hansen, is unlike any other in town, with its unwavering adherence to sustainable food practices, including a nose-to-tail butchering philosophy and the careful selection of only the best ingredients from area farms. Almost every item (save for things like cheese) on the menu, from the meat to the sauces and bread, are made in-house, and the staff at Santé can tell you exactly where each ingredient in your dish came from. 404 W. Main Ave., Spokane • Wash. • 315-4613

Table 13 This restaurant and bar located inside the new Davenport Grand Hotel serves up an extensive list of small plates, ranging from street tacos and stir-fried quinoa to a charcuterie board and ceviche, with nothing surpassing the $13 mark. There's also a collection of Asian fusion dishes, like the poke and Korean short ribs, which fans may recognize from Chef Ian Wingate's past restaurants. The Davenport Grand Hotel, 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane • Wash. • 800-918-9344

The Wandering Table Chef Adam Hegsted brings the concept behind his traveling supper club to a location in Kendall Yards, where the restaurant's tapas-style menu of small plates lets diners experience a variety of flavors and venture a bit outside their comfort zone. The chef's tasting menu option lets guests name the amount they want to spend per diner, and a customized menu is created on the spot. 1242 W. Summit Pkwy., Spokane • Wash. • 443-4410

Zona Blanca Steel Barrel, the combination of a brewing incubator, taproom and ceviche restaurant, is already offering things that the Inland Northwest has never seen. The ceviche spot, Zona Blanca, is Chef Chad White's first restaurant opening since moving back to Spokane after 15 years away, time spent in the Navy traveling the world before becoming a restaurateur in San Diego (he still owns two spots in the area), and competing on season 13 of TV cooking competition Top Chef. White's variety of ceviches feature flavors from throughout Mexico, using traditional recipes and newly inspired ones. 154 S. Madison St., Spokane • Wash. • 446-9550


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