If you live in western Washington, you may overlook the region east of the Cascades in your search for dining destinations — which would be a mistake. Proximity to farm country paired with an influx of influential chefs launching new projects means that Spokane is home to its fair share of James Beard nominated restaurants and historic hole-in-the-walls that are well worth a trip east. As always, this map is not ranked but arranged geographically, north to south.Read More
Great Places in Spokane to Eat and Drink
Eastern Washington’s city by the river has a lot to love
Market Street Pizza
Pizza nerds Aaron and Angel Fiorini contributed a welcome addition to Spokane’s crowded pie landscape when they opened Market Street Pizza a few years ago. With an ethos that is a little New Haven and a little classic Italian-American, this spot has nostalgic neighborhood watering hole vibes. Don’t let the video games and salad bar belie the carefully-crafted pizza, though. Aaron confesses that he has tried over 40 different types of pepperoni, hundreds of ingredient combinations, and myriad cook times in pursuit of the perfect pie. If you manage to shoulder your way to a spot at the crowded bar or score a coveted table, don’t neglect the chicken wings; they’re some of the best in the city.
Owner Lauren Blumenthal, who previously worked alongside Chef Mauro Golmarvi at Denny Regrade fixture Assaggio, brought her own take on bold Italian flavors to this new spot in hip neighborhood Kendall Yards. Via their house-made pastas, espresso martinis, and melt-in-your-mouth meatballs, Sorella has quickly become one of Spokane’s most sought-after date night destinations. Despite the trendy cocktails, this spot shines brightest through its basics: The Bolognese is one of the best in the city. Just make sure you call ahead or make a reservation on OpenTable, as this is one of Spokane’s only establishments that is likely to be booked two weeks out.
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Chef Travis Dickinson reveals his fine dining CV — which includes several years as the executive chef of Spokane’s Clover and a guest chef stint at Chez Panisse — with the carne asada at this downtown taquería, which is made by sous vide cooking tri-tip for 20 hours. Dickinson and business partner Justin Curtis recently launched a second location, bringing modern spins on classic taco fillings, like chili-and-honey-marinated Oregon rockfish and north African Lamb sausage with hazelnut salsa macha, to Hayden, Idaho
About 10 years ago, Spokane’s craft cocktail landscape suddenly grew crowded with a number of new restaurants and bars offering bitters-infused beverages in garnished glassware. Volstead quickly pushed to the front of the herd to become Spokane’s premier cocktail lounge, creating unusual flavors with quality liquor. This is the sort of spot where off-shift employees hang out researching and workshopping new recipes for the rotating menu, and customers get to reap the boozy benefits of friendly competition between bartenders.
Inland Pacific Kitchen
Though Spokane may still honor its meat-and-potatoes past, restaurants like Inland Pacific Kitchen are making creative flavors the new norm. Chefs Dylan Gilbert and Chong Vang’s eclectic menus highlight their relationships with local farms, and the open kitchen design allows the opportunity to observe them at work. The downstairs sister restaurant, Hogwash Whiskey Den, is a good spot for pre-dinner drinks.
Chef Chad White may have a Top Chef stint and James Beard finalist honors under his belt, but what makes Zona Blanca stand out is less the clout and more the carefully sourced ingredients. If you’re craving fresh seafood fashioned with inventive flavors, look no further – White’s entire focus is fresh fish, delivered daily and turned into tasty tacos and can’t-miss ceviche. White’s self-admitted “drunk food,” appearing on the menu as the tuna tuna peanut, combines two types of tuna (yellowfin tartare and smoked) with peanut-based salsa de cacahuate, pickled onion, daikon, cilantro, and chiles.
This longstanding Spokane Valley hole-in-the-wall has limited hours and frequently long wait times, but with good reason, as it is the area’s best kept secret for Thai food. Don’t be surprised if the owner doesn’t let you order from the menu; he often entreats newcomers and out-of-towners to just “trust him” and let him “make you the best.”
There are plenty of fancy plates on this list, but sometimes you need to ditch the dress clothes and head to Spokane’s oldest restaurant and bar. Since opening in 1932, the Park Inn has led the pack in bar food. The giant mozzarella sticks and thin tavern-style pizza are favorites with regulars who have eaten there since they were kids, but the real gem is the famous broasted chicken. There is no better spot in the city for after-work drinks and some casual comfort food, or for a visitor to catch a glimpse of old-school Spokane.
The Scoop/Hidden Bagel
At first glance, bagels and ice cream might seem like an awkward pairing, but chef and owner Jennifer Davis abides by one rule when it comes to opening restaurants: Do what you love. Davis has been at the helm of Spokane’s best creamery for years, crafting favorites like “cheese plate,” made with apricot jam, dried figs, salty cashews, and goat cheese. The recent addition of bagels brought in a new morning crowd, which gives way to a lunch line for the bagel sandwiches.
Chaps Diner and Bakery Spokane
Whether you’re looking for some excellent pastries, a patio breakfast, or an elegant dinner in a casual atmosphere, Chaps delivers. The bakery and restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and, according to owner Celeste Shaw, the Los Angeles Times once even tried to pin down her grandmother’s oatmeal recipe, which is a brunch menu favorite.