Dining Destination: Coeur d'Alene

Cosmic Cowboy Grill's Power Salad, available during the Great Dine Out.
Cosmic Cowboy Grill's Power Salad, available during the Great Dine Out.

Dining in Coeur d'Alene is diverse, with a range of culinary adventures from pub food to international cuisine to fine dining — many within walking distance of each other.

In the Riverstone complex, for example, VINE & OLIVE EATERY AND WINE BAR is an upscale casual spot with cool gray walls and a grown-up feel. Reservations might be a good idea here, as it's popular for its European-inspired menu and exceptional wine collection. The house-made tagliatelle pasta smothered in a rich meat sauce will transport you to Italy with every bite ($16).

Around the corner, their sister venue called VICINO PIZZA serves up wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas like the sweet-and-savory sausage and honey pie. Vicino is white walls, bright light and a fun spot to gather, like before or after a visit to the nearby movie theater (which will someday reopen, we hope).

Get a little walk along Riverstone's manmade lake, where BARDENAY RESTAURANT AND DISTILLERY is anchored. Have a seat on the patio, at the beautiful bar or near the fireplace as you sip one of Bardenay's signature drinks, like the sweet-and-sour ginger rum cocktail. Perfect with their 8-ounce salmon with sun-dried tomato butter.

The exact boundaries of "midtown" Coeur d'Alene might be a matter of opinion — maybe as far north as the freeway and certainly the main Third and Fourth Street thoroughfares — but what's not up for debate is the abundance of dining options.

CAPONE'S PUB AND GRILL is an all-ages favorite, especially for its pizzas, like the Hawaiian-style "luau" pizza, which might convince you that ham and pineapple are perfectly paired.

IZZY'S COMFORT FOOD is a cozy corner spot that has you covered when it comes to gluten-free options. Its chicken sandwich includes a maple-whiskey glaze with pickled apple slices, while the chicken dinner is its twist on a Southern classic.

Another cozy midtown eatery is MONARCH RAMEN + NOODLE HOUSE, the sister restaurant to nearby Syringa Japanese Café & Sushi. New to ramen? Monarch's staff will show you how to build your own or try one of the numerous standard combinations, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.

And for something completely different (than Monarch and Syringa, but from the same owners), try BLUEBIRD MIDTOWN EATERY. It's only slightly larger than Monarch but with a Northwest bistro vibe and curated wine and craft beer list. The Spanish paella features Alaskan halibut, Washington clams and a spicy chorizo sausage courtesy of another local restaurant: Crown & Thistle.

Located downtown, just off Sherman Avenue, CROWN & THISTLE is the place to go for all things sausage. Between the eclectic, old world décor and British-forward beer and food menu, you'd swear you were in London. Order a Guinness or Smithwick's and tuck into the fish and chips with house-made tartar or the bangers and mash, featuring house-made sausages.

Downtown definitely has it going on with must-try places including HONEY EATERY & SOCIAL CLUB, SEASONS OF COEUR D'ALENE, and 315 CUISINE for finer dining and SWEET LOU'S RESTAURANT AND TAPHOUSE, COLLECTIVE KITCHEN PUBLIC HOUSE and CRAFTED TAPHOUSE + KITCHEN for pub food.

Don't forget about the edges of town, like the east end of Coeur d'Alene, where MOON TIME has been a local favorite for decades. This sister restaurant to Hayden's The Porch and the Spokane-based Two Seven, El Que, and Elk restaurants epitomizes the gastropub appeal with dishes like the rosemary-infused lamb burger and Thai-inspired "swimming angel" with spicy peanut sauce and tender grilled chicken.

Head north from downtown for another outlier not to be missed. COSMIC COWBOY GRILL offers fast-casual dining that doesn't feel like fast food, with a focus on healthy for both veg- and meat-forward foodies. Try the out-of-this-world Cosmic burger with natural bacon, cheddar cheese and all the fixings.

Newport Rodeo & Festival @ Newport Rodeo Grounds

Fri., June 25, 1-9 p.m. and Sat., June 26, 12-9 p.m.
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