dinner recs in Spokane
My wife will be staying at the Davenport Hotel for four nights while in Spokane for work (we live in Seattle). I'm thinking of meeting up with her for a night or two. Any recommendations for dinner options either within walking distance of the Davenport or further afield? Thanks.
I was emailed recently and asked about suggestion around the Davenport hotel, so I though I would revive this thread with my answers.
I am a retired chef/restaurateur that has worked in Europe, NYC, Miami, Nashville, and Los Angeles; we moved here 4+ years ago after I decided to retire, so hopefully we can give some unbiased reviews. If you want more information checkout the reviews on http://www.Tasteeverythingonce.com and http://www.yelp.com , I post there along with many other people and you will receive a broader point of view of the dining establishments rather then just mine.
Please note that these ratings are good for Spokane area only, Spokane is a culinary wasteland – BUT it IS getting better. Just because I rate something 5 stars here, does not mean it is a 5 star NYC restaurant.
The ratings are also only about the food and service. There is no fine dining in Spokane, so do not equate these ratings with ambiance.
Also Spokane suffers from what I call restaurant Spokanitis. This is the condition that causes a restaurant to serve a dish absolutely fantastic today and terrible the next. Many of the restaurants in Spokane suffer from some extreme consistency problems, so your dining experiences may vary.
5 Star Restaurants (We have dined at these a minimum of 5 times and have had very-good to excellent meals each time and they have been highly consistent.) These are in order.
Mizuna – (Downtown – 0.3 miles away from the Davenport) You could easily pick this restaurant up and place it into NYC, San Francisco, Tokyo, etc and it would be right at home. Currently this is the best in Spokane and the one that we take visiting guest to the most.
Spencer’s for Steaks – (Downtown – 0.7 miles away from the Davenport) This is a top-end steakhouse in Spokane!!!!! Think Ruth Chris, expensive, but if steaks are your thing this is it. The Wolf Lodge, near CDA has the local following Spencer’s has better meat and is a more refined dining atmosphere. (It’s only on the bottom of the list because Steak joints don’t do much for me, but if you like steak and have a fat wallet this is THE place in Spokane.
4 Star Restaurants – Alphabetical order.
DeLeons (Downtown – 1 block away from the Davenport) –This place offers the most authentic Mexican food in Spokane. (I have not tried the downtown location but others who have had said it is the same as the north-side.
Europa (Downtown – 0.1 miles away from the Davenport) - Nice atmosphere, great for a late night drink and bite to eat, or for a nice dinner/lunch, it’s concept is around the European/American style of dining so don’t expect extremely fast service, they aren’t slow, just different then what most Americans are used to.
Italian Kitchen (Downtown – 0.4 miles away from the Davenport) - This is best Italian in Spokane, but would only rate 3 stars max any where else.
Moxie (Downtown – Across the street) - A solid 4 star venue, the chef has matured over the years, service can be a little lacking – the food is innovative, but there can still be some items that need a little work, slightly expensive for what you get.
Rock City Grill (Downtown - .01 miles away from the Davenport – 2 blocks to the mall) - located at the River Park Square, we have always had a good dining experience at this casual eatery. If you are in the Mall or have just seen a movie there it is the best dining option available, imho.
Rocky Rococo (Downtown - .04 miles away from the Davenport) - I don’t know why I have given this pizza joint 4 stars, except I just seem to like it. Great place to take kids or grandkids, beer is cheap and pizza parties there are economical. Located downtown in a nice historic building, most people really like their deep dish pizza, I prefer thinner crusts but I must admit it’s pretty good, albeit greasy.
Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie (Downtown - .04 miles away from the Davenport) - Think a slice of Europe in Spokane and you have this place, we have been three times and each time it has been superb. It currently DESERVES 5 stars, but I have my rules, it needs 2 more visits to get there. PS We have only been for dinners which are currently served only on Fri and Sat – just fyi.
Scratch (Downtown - .02 miles away from the Davenport) - Only been there once but most items were very nice, appetizers were overpriced but good, entrees were reasonable in price. A word of warning, don’t order the classic mojito though, after living off of real mojito’s in Miami many years ago they should be shot for what they served.
Thai on First (Downtown - .03 miles away from the Davenport) - Thai on first is the most consistent and the BEST Thai in Spokane, give them a try and then try other places and you will see. Very good and authentic.
Restaurants that deserve special mentions for various reasons:
Catacombs (Downtown - .03 miles away from the Davenport) - This used to be a 4 star place, ambiance is great, an old coal storage area in a historic hotel. We would just like to go to it to enjoy a drink, late night pizza and the setting, very nicely done. However, just lately the food has been pathetic, I mean really bad, and quite a few people have noticed this and commented on it. I simply cannot recommend the food there anymore.
Linnie’s Thai (Downtown - .07 miles away from the Davenport) - They have a limited menu with many Thai favorites missing????; however the biggest complaint that they suffer from extreme spokanitis. We have had the same dishes come out incredibly good and the next time it has tasted like garbage. I WISH they could get it together, if they did, they would be the BEST Thai in Spokane but until they do I cannot recommend taking a crapshoot on them.
Nikko’s (Downtown - Across the street) - Great wine list and many good selections by the glass, however, the Greek food has been very inconsistent (chronic Spokaneitis). They have upped the prices on their menu making them one of the MOST expensive restaurants in Spokane. They are close to the davenport hotel and I think they are relying on the fact that visitors with expense accounts will be dining there. I cannot fathom paying their prices for such a lack of inconsistency; however I would stop by for the wine bar.
Steam Plant Grill (Downtown - .02 miles away from the Davenport) - a brew-pub with food, they have a great bar, good beer, nice pool tables, and a “fantastic” historical setting. If you are visiting you might just want to stop in for the history and seeing an old steam plant. However, the food is below par and very expensive for what you get. Go there for a drink and to enjoy the history, shoot a game of pool, but stay away from the restaurant.
Wild Sage (Downtown - .05 miles from the Davenport) - Our first visit was TERRIBLE (but keep reading PLEASE), the manager actually told us that there was nothing wrong with the entree that we sent back, his words were very close to "the taste gets a little getting used to and most people do not like it the first time." Say WHAT, the apps were insipid with no flavor and we left very disappointed and hungry. The second visit, which we were dragged back in against extreme protests by some good friends who were paying, was probably the BEST meal we have had in Spokane (even better then Mizunas [gulp]), executed flawlessly with each dish being a ohhhh and a ahhhhh. You be the judge, this is one of the popular “in” places right now, so maybe we just got it all wrong on the first visit – but boy that food was horrific. If they replicate the second visit again and again this could easily move out of this category and into the 3star range. Sorry Wild Sage, we are still reeling from that first experience, we need more then a few meals that are fantastic to get you higher up on our list.
SPECIAL SPOKANE WARNING
Anything that pertains to be Chinese (except Gordy’s) stay
Mexican food is also a joke, although usually slightly more edible.
My suggestions for three days and we have to walk everywhere:
Deleons (Mexican), Rock City Grill (eclectic), Thai on 1st (Thai)
Mizuna’s, Moxie’s, Sante
Late Night snacks and drinks
Europa, Scratch, Niko’s (wine bar is great), Steam Plant (micro-brewery with good beer and nice pool tables, bar apps are okay, don’t bother dining in the restaurant - .02 miles away, Catacombs (drinks only)
Looking for a nice bar/nightlife
Bistango (Martini Bar – 1 block away), Rain (Bar with live bands, upscale crown, next door to and part of scratch - .02 miles away), Zola (Live bands on the weekends, nice 30 something bar scene - .08 miles away)
Latah Bistro!!!! It's 4 miles out of downtown - it's worth the cab ride. Request a seat in the zoo - that's the seats looking into the kitchen. they'll entertain you. Unfortuatley the chef is out for 2 months, but the other employees will do. Really it's worth it, they have steak if you want....but also a rotating menu with amazing cheeses and chocolates and wine selections.
Hi lardo, I would definitely recommend Churchill's. It's just a block away from the Davenport on Post street. My wife and I consider ourselves professional diners and have been to every spot in Spokane where someone is cooking food and selling it. Churchill's is our ABSOLUTE favorite. It has the best steak we've ever had, something to do with the dry aging process they use. And service has always been perfect every time we've been there. It also has a really romantic classy atmosphere that we really like but they're not snobs about it, which I've noticed seems to usually be the downfall for classy looking restaurants. But no, you can wear a t-shirt and shorts there if you wanted to and they still treat you like a welcome guest (and yes it happened to me once, long story). Parking can sometimes be the only problem but if you're walking from the hotel, it should be perfect for you. Hope this helps!