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An inviting atmosphere, good food and fast service make this locally owned Spokane Valley restaurant a perennial favorite. Weekend three-course dinners for two ($32) feature special dishes, like medallions of beef with cabernet wild mushroom demi-glace. Homemade bread (from dill to orange-spice) plus soup or salads accompany entrees. The Broadway pea salad is a wonderful blend of flavors and textures, and the tabbouleh salad sounds tempting. Iron-grilled salmon ($16) is tender and accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes (the real thing) and crunchy saut & eacute;ed veggies. Penne pasta with chicken and roasted garlic cream is flavorful and light. Choose from a variety of wines by the glass or bottle. And don't forget dessert -- moist carrot cake or indulgent mud pie. 10502 E. Sprague, 924-6022 (SH)


At Tito's, they make the whole family welcome. We loved halibut di parma -- a halibut filet wrapped in prosciutto and baked. The accompanying artichoke heart and herb risotto was rich and delicious. And the amaretto cherry cr & egrave;me brul & eacute;e ($5) was a delight -- even though I'm normally against any additions, enhancements or even garnishes to my cr & egrave;me brul & eacute;e. The kids liked the fact that at Tito's the tablecloths are paper and there are plenty of crayons for playing Hangman and drawing pictures of superheroes -- and the ice cream sundaes that came with their $4 meals. In the Coeur d'Alene Plaza on Sherman Avenue, (208) 66-PASTA (LM)


In this restored Kirtland Cutter mansion on the South Hill, you might be surprised when your waitress bursts into song, but don't be. That's all part of the charm of this old-school dining room, which blends vintage recipes with Broadway favorites. We tried the lobster thermidor ($45, includes salad or soup), which first debuted at Delmonico's in New York in 1907, and it was a succulent success. And the Chateaubriand ($70 for two) was one of the best things I've tasted in quite a while. The prices are on the steep side, but with the entertainment thrown in, this is a great place for special occasions. 820 W. Seventh Ave., 747-6235 (LM)


MickDuff's Sandpoint brewpub is rustic and comfortable, but with flecks of modernity. And a little kitsch. The floors are the original Douglas fir, buffed to a shine. There are massive old-wood pillars. But the walls are painted avocado green, with dark green trim over corrugated tin-roof wainscoting. Decoupaged onto the tabletops are hundreds of arcane beer labels: Acapulco Lime, Funky Monkey, Tube City, Robin Hood Ale. That's the real focus of the place: the beers. Try their half-dozen ales on their own, or as ingredients in their soups, sandwiches and burgers -- including the Brewers Burger, which for a few bucks extra you can get with the it-meat, Kobe beef. 312 N. First Ave., Sandpoint, Idaho (208) 255-4351 (JS)

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