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Owner Lauren Izenberg and her staff take pride in knowing their customers and giving them great service -- not to mention scrumptious food. With daily specials like chicken pesto panini, a tuna melt and a meatball sandwich, you have to come back again to try regular lunch items. Soup offerings rotate through varieties including roasted Yukon Gold potato, chicken basil chili and crab red-pepper bisque. Salads run the gamut from house to Greek to the fully loaded Hopped-Up. The Riverside's turkey with cranberries on focaccia is a comforting m & eacute;lange of flavors and textures. Freshly baked scones are Izenberg's trademark, and the moist pumpkin bread and creamy lemon bars are but a couple of her high-quality desserts. 120 W. Riverside Ave., 448-1281 (SH)


MickDuff's Sandpoint brewpub is rustic and comfortable, but with flecks of modernity. And a little kitsch. 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)

Delaney's Musicafe

In this restored Kirtland Cutter mansion on the South Hill, you might be surprised when your waitress bursts into song. Don't be. That's all part of the charm of this old-school dining room, which blends vintage recipes with Broadway favorites. The lobster thermidor ($45, includes salad or soup), which first debuted at Delmonico's in New York in 1907, 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)


Diners choose from Italian, Asian or American noodle favorites. The lasagna in a bowl ($7.25) is savory and comforting, with 12-hour marinara sauce and fennel Italian sausage. The Bangkok peanut noodle dish with shrimp, rice noodles, veggies and peanut sauce ($8) is clearly an item that works. Wild Noodles' signature orange chicken with sweet and sour sauce, Sonoran pasta with chipotle cream sauce, sticky sesame chicken with teriyaki sauce and chicken marsala all sound interesting. Wonton s'mores ($3.50) are an adventurous dessert that appeals to the kid in many of us. 10208 N. Division, 465-9175 (SH)


Charley's could credit its survival of the years-long Monroe Street bridge closure to its proximity to hungry pols and lawyers at the County Courthouse. But it might also have something to do with the ambience inside. It ain't pretty, but it's homey enough to draw in a steady crowd of locals, who show up for the tasty appetizers like the hot wings and Puka's steak bites, and big, filling sandwiches like the Chicken Pesto. 801 N. Monroe St., 328-8911 (JS)

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