Pin It
Favorite

Nuevo Cuisine 

Cafe Rio offers quick and casual dining in Coeur d’Alene

click to enlarge Sweet Pork Barbacoa burrito. - CARRIE SCOZZARO
  • Carrie Scozzaro
  • Sweet Pork Barbacoa burrito.

On a scale of casual dining, Coeur d’Alene’s new Cafe Rio is somewhere between the convenience and price point of fast food, and the made-to-order appeal of casual chain restaurants like Olive Garden.

It’s the familiar seat-yourself dining room (Cafe Rio’s is full of artfully mismatched chairs and tables in splashes of kindergarten colors) and serve-yourself drinks. Meals are made-to-order, including tortillas — corn, flour or whole wheat — while you watch. Cafe Rio calls it “quick-casual,” and it’s a niche market approach akin to Noodle Express and Qdoba.

The result is a definite step above the usual Tex-Mex meals mumbled into drive-thru speakers, with an emphasis on freshness and flavor. The sweet pork barbacoa, for example, is featured in salads ($7.75), burritos ($6.95), tacos and enchiladas ($5.50 single, $7.50 double), and both quesadillas and tostadas ($5.50). It’s one of the many award winning menu items in this Zagat-rated restaurant.

My enchilada was stuffed full of tangy pulled pork, a zesty helping of cilantro-lime rice, cheese and tender beans (choice of black or pinto). It’s served “enchilada style” for a buck extra with melted cheese and sauce — mild tomatillo, medium-heat Santa Fe green chile or hot San Antonio red chile. A side of fresh, pico de gallo-style salsa adds crunch and brightness to the comforting richness of gooey cheese and soft pork.

Other protein options include chile roast beef, marinated chicken breast and fire-grilled steak or seafood during daily specials. Mondays, for example, feature fish tacos with two corn tortillas and cabbage. Coconut-battered shrimp tacos with mango sauce are available on Tuesdays.

Desserts are all made on-site. There’s flan — coconut caramel or chocolate cheese — a slice of lime pie or the traditional Mexican tres leches or “three milks” cake (all $3.95).

You may not have room for dessert, however, with entree-size portions served in a tinfoil tray as if they knew you wouldn’t be able to eat it all. 

Cafe Rio • 560 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d’Alene • Open Mon-Thu, 10:30 am–10 pm; Fri-Sat, 10:30 am-11 pm; Sun, 11 am-9 pm • www.caferio.com • (208) 620-4000

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Food & Drink

  • The Remake
  • The Remake

    The Globe returns with new owners and new everything else
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Refresh and Refocus
  • Refresh and Refocus

    A forced relocation was an opportunity for Madeleine's to hone its style, food and service
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Join the Club
  • Join the Club

    Tap into Sandpoint's new Neighborhood Pub
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Ric Gendron: Rattlebone

Ric Gendron: Rattlebone @ Jundt Art Museum

Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through April 2

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Carrie Scozzaro

Most Commented On

  • The Java Experience

    Caffé Affogato brings Italian-style coffees to Saranac Commons
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • Refresh and Refocus

    A forced relocation was an opportunity for Madeleine's to hone its style, food and service
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation