For a beautiful night out with friends, family or even a first date

click to enlarge Scenic
The Cedars Floating Restaurant in Coeur d'Alene

The Bistro at Williams Lake On the banks of Williams Lake, 15 miles southwest of Cheney, the Bistro (formerly Klink's on the Lake) has quickly elevated itself to destination dining status, thanks to delicious surf-and-turf selections and well-priced breakfast, lunch and dinners. Note that Friday is all-you-can-eat rib night. Live music on Fridays and Saturdays enhance the beauty of the atmosphere during the summer. 18617 W. Williams Lake Rd., Cheney, Wash. • 235-6600 •

The Boathouse Bar & Grill  Who wants to cook after a day of leisure on the lake? That's where the Boathouse comes in, with its bird's-eye view of the Hayden Marina. The best seat in the house is on the deck. Drop in for appetizers, like the stuffed brie and roasted garlic, or linger over a plate of their popular fish tacos while you watch the sunset on the lake. 3830 E. Hayden Lake Rd., Hayden, Idaho • 208-772-5057 •

The Cedars Floating Restaurant This isn't lakeside dining — when you eat at Cedars' floating restaurant, you're dining on the water at the confluence between the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d'Alene. Seafood is the specialty here, and the smoky, cedar-planked, wild-caught salmon is consistently good. The patio is the place to be. You can even arrive by boat and tie up at one of Cedars' docks. 1514 N. Marina Dr. • Coeur d'Alene • 208-664-2922 •

Dockside You choose Dockside at the Coeur d'Alene Resort for the exceptional view — all booths face out to the lake — and a sprawling menu that runs from steak and fettuccine, to burgers, rib-eye steaks and sesame-crusted ahi tuna. The salad bar is always popular, along with Dockside's signature ice cream sundaes; all six scoops. 115 S. Second St., Coeur d'Alene Resort, Lobby Level, Coeur d'Alene • 208-666-5799 •

The Floating Restaurant Floating on Ellisport Bay in Hope Marina with views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Schweitzer Basin, this popular seafood restaurant now boasts a newly rebuilt venue. Boat or drive up to the restaurant, open April through October, for a meal with fresh seafood and soups, sauces, breads, and desserts made on-site from scratch. The seafood mixed plate has scallops, prawns and a tender calamari steak over angel hair pasta. Reservations are recommended. 47392 Hwy. 200, Hope, Idaho • 208-264-5311 •

Fountain Café The all-outdoor-seating cafe is located in Riverfront Park just a few dozen feet from the Rotary Fountain, but its menu goes beyond the regular concession-stand fare. You can get a burger or grilled cheese sandwich for the kids, and the menu also includes appetizers like a hummus platter with grilled pita, kalamata olives and cucumber. Entrées, served with tater tots, fries or salad, include items like shrimp tacos with Cusabi dressing ($8.95) and a Greek garden wrap ($8.50). Pair your meal with a beer or a glass of wine. The café is open from spring into the fall, as weather permits. 507 N. Howard St, Spokane, WA • 625-6656 •

Hill's Resort Housed in a rustic yet upscale lodge overlooking Luby Bay on Priest Lake, Hill's Resort's restaurant boasts a menu of Northwest standards, including steaks and their signature baby back pork ribs. In addition to creative seafood options, you can sip on a specialty cocktail from the bar. When you wake up in the morning, you might as well come back to Hill's — their breakfast, available on their large deck, is just as good as dinner. 4777 W. Lakeshore Rd., Priest Lake, Idaho • 208-443-2551 •

Powder Hound Pizza at Bricks and Barley It's all about the patio, and the pizza at this beloved Sandpoint restaurant. If you're lucky to find a seat on the small but mighty patio, take in the lake and watch the people coming and going from City Beach. This place has changed hands a couple of times the past few years, from the Loading Dock, to Bricks and Barley, to its newest rendition, Powder Hound Pizza at Bricks and Barley. Yes, it's that same Powder Hound Pizza you'll find up on the mountain, that's loaded with toppings and offers a softer, chewier crust than the wood fired pizzas previously offered here. A thin crust option will appease Neapolitan pizza fans, and some 90+ beer options should appeal to all. 202 N. 1st Ave., Sandpoint, Idaho • 208-263-0966 •

Sweet Lou's Restaurants Sweet Lou's Restaurants have their gorgeous lake views, but we came for the ribs — thick, juicy ribs, several fingers wide, crispy in parts and chewy in others, slathered with your choice of house, bourbon or chocolate barbecue sauce. Of course, you can order other things, too — mushroom burgers, grilled salmon, a Cobb salad. But why order anything else when there are ribs? 46624 Hwy. 200, Hope, Idaho • 208-264-5999 • 477272 US 95, Ponderay, Idaho • 208-263-1381 •

Tony's on the Lake Tony's sits alongside one of Lake Coeur d'Alene's many inlets, a location that allows diners to feel far from Coeur d'Alene's summer bustle. The Northern Italian-influenced menu includes appetizers like arancini, breaded meat risotto balls stuffed with cheese and served with marinara sauce, along with more familiar antipasto salads. The menu is full of seafood options — scallops, prawns and salmon — but turf is also well-represented. 6823 E. Coeur d'Alene Lake Dr., Coeur d'Alene • 208-667-9885 •

Trinity at City Beach The patio of Trinity is practically on City Beach, offering picturesque views of Lake Pend Oreille. No room outdoors? No worries. The entire back wall is made of glass to allow a view from any seat. The menu, featuring choices like pan-seared scallops, filet mignon and Portobello mushroom ravioli is complemented by the extensive wine list. 58 Bridge St., Sandpoint, Idaho • 208-255-7558 •