Best Of

Best Of 2017 | FOOD

click to enlarge Best Of 2017 | FOOD
Jacob Greif

Best Asian Food


If you ask around about good Asian food in Spokane, you'll hear a lot about Gordy's. Tucked away just off Grand, it's worth seeking out. If it's been a while since you've been there, you'll want to say "Hi" to new owners (and longtime chefs) Dan Burns and Casey Riendeau. Rest assured, they've kept the menu just the same. (CARA M. STRICKLAND)

2nd PLACE: The Mustard Seed; 3rd PLACE: Red Dragon; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Bonsai Bistro, Coeur d'Alene

Best Italian Food


The welcome starts with the complimentary play-dough for the young (and young at heart) members of your party. From there, your server will make sure your meal is fun and memorable at this locally owned and operated Spokane staple. Tomato Street prides themselves on cuisine from scratch, open kitchens and brick pizza ovens. (CMS)

2nd PLACE: Luigi's; 3rd PLACE: Italian Kitchen, Italia Trattoria (tie); NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Tito's Italian Grill, Coeur d'Alene

Best Burgers


For the third year in a row, Wisconsinburger takes home this coveted honor. Maybe it's their housemade bacon jam? Whatever the reason, it's clear that this Perry gem, inspired by mom-and-pop burger joints in Wisconsin, is a Spokane favorite. (CMS)

2nd PLACE: D. Lish's Hamburgers; 3rd PLACE: Waddell's; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Hudson's Hamburgers

Best Pizza


A Spokane favorite since 1989, Pizza Rita has long been innovating on the pizza scene. Take their crust, for example; they let it rise in the pan like bread, baking until it's crispy. Clearly, Spokane approves. (CMS)

2nd PLACE: The Flying Goat; 3rd PLACE: South Perry Pizza; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Fire, Coeur d'Alene

Best Sandwiches


If you work downtown, you probably know that Domini stacks their deli-style sandwiches high with meats and cheeses (you'll have to go elsewhere for your veggies). Each order is served with freshly popped popcorn. This family-owned restaurant also serves soups and smaller sandwiches (if you must). (CMS)

2nd PLACE: The High Nooner; 3rd PLACE: Caruso's

Best Appetizers


The sophisticated atmosphere of any of the four local Twigs locations is the perfect backdrop for an appetizer (or two) along with a signature cocktail. Whether you're a fan of the Gorgonzola fondue with your fries, or one of several decked-out flatbreads, you're clearly not alone. (CMS)

2nd PLACE: The Safari Room; 3rd PLACE: Clinkerdagger; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: The White House Grill, Post Falls

Best Food Truck


Founded by a group of three friends (ninjas) in 2014, this food truck emphasizes fresh ingredients. While they'll make any style of food when they cater, they describe their menu as "where health meets heat." (CMS)

2nd PLACE: Couple of Chefs; 3rd PLACE: Tacos del Sol; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Taco Works, Coeur d'Alene

Best Cheap Eats


In 1954, Abe Miller opened Spokane's first fast-food restaurant, a place called Kirk's, located at Division and Wellesley. In 1964, Miller opened a second restaurant called Dick's Hamburgers, and it's been serving burgers by the bagful to loyal fans ever since. (CMS)

2nd PLACE: Zip's Drive-In; 3rd PLACE: Atilano's

Best Fine Dining

Best Dessert


The perennial favorite still holds sway over the hearts (and stomachs) of diners after more than 40 years in business in the Flour Mill. Old World charm, sweeping views of the Spokane River and downtown (voted one of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2016 by OpenTable diners), legendary grub and service; Clinkerdagger remains a beloved destination for an evening (or power lunch) of refined English pub-style cuisine. And, of course, dessert. It's no secret: "Clink's" Burnt Cream dessert has amassed a cult following in the decades it's tickled the taste buds of diners across the Pacific Northwest. (CONNOR DINNISON)

Best Fine Dining: 2nd PLACE: Churchill's Steakhouse; 3rd PLACE: Wild Sage; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Beverly's, Coeur d'Alene

Best Dessert: 2nd PLACE: Sweet Frostings; 3rd PLACE: Dockside, Coeur d'Alene

Best Steaks


The reviews speak volumes: "Best steak I have ever eaten in my life," "cooked to perfection," "I have never found a better steak anywhere." Churchill's, a self-described Chicago-style steakhouse, named after the iconic British Bulldog, is primed to satisfy the carnivore's palate. Meat lovers rejoice: their dry-aged steaks, carved in-house by a master meat cutter and cooked on a custom radiant broiler (the New York Strip is highly touted), are a hit. (CD)

2nd PLACE: Wolf Lodge Inn, Coeur d'Alene; 3rd PLACE: Spencer's

Best Sushi


What downtown bistro lacks in inventiveness of name and ambience (one Zomato reviewer calls it "American dive meets the East") it compensates for in creativity in the kitchen and on the plate. Recurring praise for the Harley Davidson, Kyle and Oh! Kevin rolls (the latter, a kind of shrimp tempura topped with deep-fried salmon, bears the name of its creator, the restaurant's owner) is warranted: it's again the top choice in town. (CD)

2nd PLACE: QQ Sushi & Kitchen; 3rd PLACE: Ginger Asian Bistro; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Bonsai Bistro, CdA

Best Bakery


With an empire that stretches from the South Hill (in a newly renovated and expanded space) north through two locations downtown to Garland and east to Millwood, chances are you've seen a Rocket Bakery. Their baked goodies (scones, muffins, breakfast bagels, quiche, etc.) are all made locally, as is their coffee, usually with the roasts of Post Falls' DOMA. As one Facebook follower puts it: "Awesome people! Awesome place! Awesome food!" (CD)

2nd PLACE: Boots Bakery; 3rd PLACE: Petit Chat Bakery; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Bakery by the Lake, Coeur d'Alene

Best Doughnuts


If you have an unquenchable sweet tooth and little willpower, steer clear of North Division's Casual Friday Doughnuts. The popular pit stop for classic treats like maple bars (a vegan version, too) and glazed rings is also renowned for their MOAD (Mother of All Donuts), a glazed, layered croissant with chocolate and caramel drizzle, topped with powdered sugar (tip: it sells out). Homemade, handcrafted and huge, it's no wonder these doughnuts have Spokanites drooling. (CD)

2nd PLACE: Krispy Kreme; 3rd PLACE: Retro Donuts; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Donut House, Hayden

Best Patio Dining

Best Seafood


Seafood tastes better when you can hear gushing water and catch a misty breeze on your skin. Anthony's offers just that; an unbelievably breezy dining experience, best enjoyed on the patio overlooking the Spokane Falls. The seafood is seasonal and sustainable, offering mouth-watering plates of Dungeness crab, steak and prawns, and pan-fried oysters. (JORDY BYRD)

Best Patio Dining 2nd PLACE: Clinkerdagger; 3rd PLACE: Central Food; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Bardenay, Coeur d'Alene

Best Seafood 2nd PLACE: Milford's Fish House; 3rd PLACE: Zona Blanca; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Cedars Floating Restaurant, Coeur d'Alene

Best Ice Cream


With two permanent locations and an ice cream truck, Brain Freeze Creamery serves up the best scoopfuls one could ask for. With a couple of dozen flavors to choose from, they also offer breakfast and lunch options and a delicious affogato — a cup of ice cream drowned in a shot of hot espresso. (TUCK CLARRY)

2nd PLACE: The Scoop; 3rd PLACE: Mary Lou's Milk Bottle; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Rogers Ice Cream & Burgers, CdA

Best Breakfast


Right up front, Frank's Diner gets the most important thing right about offering a great breakfast: at least one of its locations is inside a train car. And the food's great, too. Your average replacement-level diner will offer a decent eggs Benedict, sure. But Frank's? Frank's gives you not only the classic eggs Benedict, but a portobello-topped "bistro Benedict," a "spicy Creole" Benedict, and — this is my favorite — "Great Grandma Nana's Meatloaf Benedict." (DANIEL WALTERS)

2nd PLACE: Cottage Cafe; 3rd PLACE: Old European; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: The Garnet Cafe, CdA

Best Mexican Food


Some people will tell you not to fill up on Azteca's delicious free chips and salsa before they bring you your delicious Mexican food. Those people are wrong. Seize the day. Fill up on chips, and then when your chalupas and chimichangas and enchiladas arrive, fill up on those until you can't possibly eat another bite. Take the rest home. Get an entire delicious second meal out of it tomorrow. Trust me; this works. I know from many years of experience. (DW)

2nd PLACE: Atilano's; 3rd PLACE: Rancho Chico

Best Thai Restaurant


Everybody remembers their first time eating Thai food. For me, it didn't happen until late in college, when a more experienced and worldly woman took me out to Thai Bamboo and showed me just how delicious a plate of something called "Pad Thai" could be. Sure, in the years since, I've had other plates of Thai food from other Thai restaurants. But I'll always have a special place in my heart for that first plate. Every so often, I'll return, and have yet another plate of Pad Thai under the glimmering stars (part of the ceiling décor at Thai Bamboo's Division Street location). (DW)

2nd PLACE: Bangkok Thai; 3rd PLACE: Linnie's Thai Cuisine

Best New Restaurant (Opened in 2016-17)


Before Spokane native and Top Chef competitor Chad White made his return to the region, subsequently opening his first downtown Spokane eatery, a ceviche spot called Zona Blanca, did local diners even know what ceviche is? Without diminishing our readers' culinary knowledge, it's true that Chef White introduced many of us to the diverse flavors of this traditional Mexican dish based around raw seafood that's marinated in citrus juices and a mix of spices. The resulting mix of flavors and colorful ingredients is a treat for both the mouth and eyes. (CHEY SCOTT)

2nd PLACE: Remedy; 3rd PLACE: 1898 Public House; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Midtown Bluebird, CdA

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition — Journey From Sketch to Screen @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11
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