Recently Reviewed

by Inlander Staff & r & & r & Mamma Mia's -- If you're longing for home-style Italian fare and atmosphere, Mamma Mia's has it all. The comfortable dining room oozes with Italian festivity. The Amicarella family offers southern Italian cuisine featuring pasta, meats and bread made from scratch daily. Try the make-your-own pizza or calzone extravaganza with a dizzying array of sauces, meats, veggies or fruit on fresh-made, herbed dough ($5-17). Cheese ravioli with pesto sauce ($13) is the ultimate, with homemade pasta squares, flavorful cheese, earthy basil and garlic pesto sauce. The eggplant parmigiana ($12) is slightly heavy on the breading but a tasty preparation with flavorful marinara sauce. Don't be put off by the chicken cacciatori's ($14) unappealing presentation. You'll be hard pressed to find a more tender, savory poultry dish. Finish off your meal with scoops of gelato or spumoni ($3), and you'll feel like you've just had dinner at your nonne's. (Reviewed 5/18/06, SH)

Scalawag's -- Scalawag's takes basic diner fare up a notch with creative and downright unusual sandwiches and salads. The paninis and wraps are especially tasty. Throw caution to the wind with the PDB (peanut butter and bacon). And be sure to try the homemade potato chips; they're thick, crispy, chewy and usually still warm. All desserts are made on the premises. 113 W. Indiana Ave., open Mon-Sat, 6 am-4 pm, Sun 10:30 am-3 pm, 327-1804. (Reviewed 5/4/06, AC)

Delaney's Musicafe -- 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. 7th Ave., 747-6235 (Reviewed 4/20/06, LM)

Charley's Grill & amp; Spirits -- 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 their survival might also have something to do with the ambience inside. It's 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 or the Mr. Roy Baumgartner. We weren't wild about their Divine Chicken Salad, but a pint of Northern Lights pale ale drowned our dissatisfaction. 801 N. Monroe St., open Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am, 328-8911. (Reviewed 4/6/06, JPS)

Prospector's Bar and Grill -- Everything about Prospector's is big -- the bold dining room, diversified menu and large portions of American-style food. Like its older sibling on the West Plains, the Wandermere location of Prospector's features Gold Rush days d & eacute;cor. The grub is great -- whether you make a meal out of appetizers and soups or go for the gold and order large-portion entrees. Hand-tossed, brick-oven pizzas ($7-$11) have thin crusts and covered with tasty toppings. The cedar-plank salmon ($20) is tender and moist, with a nice presentation. Shellfish linguini ($21) blends simply dressed pasta with succulent crab, mussels and clams. Dessert is a must -- whether a slab of carrot cake, peach cobbler or decadent chocolate heaven. (Reviewed 3/30/06, SH)

The Palm Court Grill -- A hotel restaurant has to negotiate some difficult territory -- people with tastes ranging from nouveau cuisine to meat-and-potatoes need to be able to get a satisfying meal. As a result, the Davenport Hotel's Palm Court Grill exhibits a bit of a split personality. The entrees are on the safe side, but the mushroom strudel appetizer ($10) was something different -- and a winner. There are options for even modest budgets, making a trip to the grand old Davenport relatively affordable -- just the way old Louis D ran the place. 10 S. Post St., 789-6848 (Reviewed 3/16/06, LM)

Top of India -- Some so-called ethnic restaurants go to great lengths to transport you back to the mother country; Top of India never lets you forget that you're lunching in the Valley. But that's not the point here. Because unlike those flashy Indian restaurants that are all sitar and no saag, Top of India trades d & eacute;cor for flavor and bloated prices for delicious economy. The lunch buffet -- 20 different items, all you can eat -- costs only seven bucks. We destroyed several plates piled high with naan, fried potatoes, various succulent curries and flaky somosas with a nice, cold mint sauce. 11114 E. Sprague Ave., 927-0500 (Reviewed 2/16/06, JPS)

Bluefish -- Pan-Asian cuisine in an enormous array of price-points, with a few traditional menu items to lure in timid diners. The satay sticks are fun and not too expensive, and there's a creative sushi and sashimi menu. The food's good, the drinks are sophisticated and the atmosphere is sleek and cool -- unlike anything else in Spokane. 830 W. Sprague Ave., 747-2111. (Reviewed 2/9/06, LM)

The Service Station -- This new North Side caf & eacute; features fair-trade Ethiopian coffee that's smooth and full-bodied along with plenty of pastries to keep you going. The Rockslide Brownie is decadent and rich; the raspberry oat bar, flavorful; and the pumpkin bar, a cake-like sweet dream. There are various other baked goods -- from cheesecake to biscotti. On the savory side, soups of the day, panini-style sandwiches and Fery's gourmet salads fill the bill. Owners Scot and Debi Robinson are dedicated to giving back to the community -- offering an upscale, comfortable hangout and giving proceeds to Spokane youth organizations. (Reviewed 2/2/06, SH)

Bittersweet Bistro -- Bittersweet Bistro serves up sweet and savory crepes in unexpected combinations -- with lots of fresh vegetables, tangy cheese and eggs -- that create a unique breakfast experience. The crepes are done to perfection, and the portions are large. Maple pecan and dark chocolate/orange scones are outstanding, and the chocolate filled croissant is a treat. Grab a seat at the window for one of the city's most spectacular views of St. John's Cathedral. You may, for just a minute, think you're in France. 1220 S. Grand, 455-8658 (Reviewed 1/19/06, LM)

Molly's Family Restaraunt -- For what it is -- a nice little three-meals-a-day family restaurant -- Molly's is surprisingly good. The dome of nachos we ordered was delicious, and pretty visually appealing, too -- a m & eacute;lange of yellow corn tortilla chips, avocado, cheddar cheese, beans, beef, etc. Nachos can easily be boring and plain; these were flavorful, spicy and rich, and surprisingly good. Only one of us was man enough to order the gargantuan Molly Monster, a burger so heavily encumbered by toppings that it ceased even to resemble a burger. We finished with bulging stomachs and looks of pleasant surprise. 224 S. Lincoln St., 624-4413 (Reviewed 1/5/06, JPS)

Liberty Caf & eacute; -- This haven in the Liberty Building fills the bill quite nicely for sustenance when shopping in downtown Spokane. The vegetable curry with chicken ($8) is an aromatic and nicely spicy dish. Don't pass up dessert. Fudgy brownies, macadamia cookies and many other pastries and baked goods will satisfy your sweet tooth. 404 W. Main St., 747-6449. (Reviewed 12/22/05, SH)

Salty Dog -- At the Salty Dog in Deer Park, the Quonset hut exterior belies a warm, wood-paneled sports bar inside, and the fried fish is some of the best around. It's a straightforward pub menu -- fish and chips, popcorn shrimp, burgers, steaks -- with extra care and attention to detail. In season, they use fresh halibut, hand-cut and dipped in a light batter, then served with tartar sauce made fresh on the premises. The burgers are hand-formed with extra lean ground beef from Eggers Meats. 718 S. Main, Deer Park, 276-1990 (Reviewed 10/27/05, AC)

Java on Sherman -- This Sherman icon has anchored the downtown district for 11 years now, and its renaissance d & eacute;cor and comfy couch give it a cozy feel. You can get lunch and breakfast here, with the Java Benedict (a bagel with ham, eggs, Hollandaise sauce and cracked pepper) and Java huevos (two steamed eggs with cheese served over beans, with sides of salsa, sour cream and tortillas) being the local favorites. And don't miss the Bowl of Soul -- a blend of coffee, espresso, Mexican chocolate and steamed milk. 324 Sherman Ave., CdA, (208) 667-0010. (Reviewed 10/13/05, SH)

Caf & eacute; Marron -- From the folks behind Luna, Caf & eacute; Marron took over the little spot in Browne's Addition previously occupied by the Cannon Street Grill. It's nice to see a wide price range -- three gourmet sandwich offerings check in at the $10 mark. For dinner, I had the Duck Confit ($19), which was served on a bed of lentils, with a neat little green apple-celery relish and just a hint of mint. 144 S. Cannon St., 456-8660 (Reviewed 12/8/05, LM)