Whether you're marking your anniversary, trying to impress your foodie friends visiting from Portland or just wanting to simply enjoy a darn good meal, picking the right restaurant is important. We think we can help. Here's our list of restaurants for your consideration, from Spokane to the Palouse and throughout North Idaho.
Father's Day, date night, visiting family — all good reasons to go to MASSELOW'S STEAKHOUSE (inside Northern Quest Resort and Casino, Airway Heights) for top-notch steaks, chops, fresh seafood and more, including top-shelf spirits and a wine list that numbers well over 300 bottles.
They're frequently a "Best Italian" winner in the Inlander's annual Best Of readers poll, but if you're thinking chianti and checkered tablecloths at ITALIA TRATTORIA (144 S. Cannon St.), think again. This is James Beard semi-finalist chef Anna Vogel's take on brunch — frittatas, croque madame, Challah bread French toast — lunch and dinner, like goat cheese stuffed ravioli. Vogel and partner Bethe Bowman have created a welcoming space where food, friends and family are celebrated in equal measure.
What says celebration better than a steakhouse? CHURCHILL'S STEAKHOUSE (165 S. Post St.) is a classic dining destination with an expansive wine list and exceptional service every time.
You might have been there as a child and now you bring your children there. It's CLINKERDAGGER (621 Mallon Ave.), an iconic Spokane restaurant with more than 40 years serving lunch and dinner with a view on the nearby falls.
Located in a former Craftsman home near Gonzaga, CLOVER (913 E. Sharp Ave.) offers an understated dining experience with from-scratch foods that highlight the best of the season, from shareable small plates to entrees like beef Wellington and halibut with port reduction.
Valued for their vegan-forward menu since 1996, MIZUNA (214 N. Howard St.) is a lovely place to slip in for lunch or dinner, or even appetizers and a glass of wine at their cozy glass bar.
Housed in the same building as the historic Montvale Hotel, SCRATCH (1007 W. First Ave.) has a hip urban feel and a long history of serving a focused menu of upscale comfort foods, including next door in their Rain Lounge.
Everything about the Davenport suite of hotels says celebrate, but TABLE 13 inside the Davenport Grand (333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.) also says style, elegance, class. It's modern and sleek and the place to go after a show, for cocktails at the whiskey bar, or for dinner when you are ready to splurge for an excellent meal in a setting that is truly grand. Movie stars and heads of state have stayed in the Historic Davenport, where the PALM COURT GRILL (10 S. Post St.) has been serving since the early 1900s. Experience Spokane's Golden Age for an oh-so-special breakfast, lunch or dinner, including their famous crab Louis salad.
The motto at WILD SAGE (916 W. Second Ave.) is comfortable fine dining, which includes knowing this innovative restaurant has been a leader in offering gourmet gluten-free food for years, as well as highlighting the abundance of regional foods with dishes like Idaho Snake River trout.
The interior at PARK LODGE (411 N. Nettleton St.) is pared down, yet the food is lavish, a reflection of chef Philip Stanton's many influences. Classic French preparation and Northwestern seasonal freshness come together in dishes like the Muscovy duck breast with sweet corn, cippolini onions and local huckleberries.
Chef/owner Adam Hegsted has a history of innovation and excellence in the regional restaurant scene, including WANDERING TABLE (1242 W. Summit Pkwy.), which was modeled after his pop-up dining experiences that wowed audiences for years. Expect fine dining with a fun, fresh flair and lots of shareable plates, plus a thoughtfully appointed wine, beer and craft cocktail list, perfect for intimate get-togethers or large, festive gatherings.
Expect the unexpected at RUINS (825 N. Monroe St.), where chef/owner Tony Brown takes diners to a new geographic location — Japan, Morocco, Mexico — with a new menu every week, plus craft cocktails that consistently snag top marks.
Whether it's breakfast with house-made granola, a grilled chicken cobb salad, or rich ossobucco for dinner, DOWNRIVER GRILL (3315 W. Northwest Blvd.) feels like a neighborhood restaurant that just happens to serve beautiful fresh, local, seasonal food.
From the butcher bar, from the sea, from the garden — 1898 PUBLIC HOUSE at the Kalispel Country Club (2010 W. Waikiki Rd.) caters to many tastes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the historic clubhouse with stunning views year-round.
SOUTH SPOKANE LUNA (5620 S. Perry St.) is one of the prettiest, most Instagrammable restaurants in the region, but it's not just pretty. They are quite serious about their commitment to locally sourced food for lunch, dinner and even brunch, which is an absolute delight served on their quaint patio.
Just before you hit the Long Bridge as it curves across Lake Pend Oreille into Sandpoint is a majestic older lodge now home to FORTY-ONE SOUTH (41 Lakeshore Dr., Sagle). They serve upscale American cuisine in arguably one of the most stunning locations on the lake, whether it's outdoor dining in warm weather or a spot by the fireplace when it's cool.
The elevator whisks you to the seventh floor where you are treated like royalty from the moment you step foot into BEVERLY'S at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel (115 S. Second St.). Commanding views of the lake below, world-class food and an unparalleled wine list that their in-house sommelier would be happy to discuss are just a few reasons people have been making Beverly's their special occasion destination for decades.
The name only hints at what you can expect at CHINOOK STEAK, PASTA & SPIRITS inside the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort & Hotel (37914 S. Nukwalqw Rd., Worley), which has been a favorite for excellent steak, tribal-caught salmon and more, like chops, ribs and lobster.
It's no wonder that FLEUR DE SEL (4365 Inverness Dr., Post Falls) chef/owner Laurent Zirotti caught the attention of the prestigious James Beard Foundation. The restaurant he runs with wife Patricia in the former clubhouse of the Highlands Golf Course offers impeccably prepared food reflecting Zirotti's French and Italian upbringing, served with equal parts joie de vivre and elegance.
The Palouse region is bursting with goodness, much of which is reflected in the seasonal New American menu at LODGEPOLE (106 N. Main St., Moscow). Ask about their five-course tasting menu, treat yourself to a delicious lunch on their patio, or try one of their extravagant, from-scratch desserts. BLACK CYPRESS (215 E. Main Ct., Pullman) combines and Old World vibe with a modern spin on Mediterranean cuisine like pork saganaki and pastitsio, a Greek penne pasta with béchamel sauce. Perfect place to go after rooting for the Cougs, or when your plans include a trip through the magnificence that is the Palouse.