I'm heading to Spokane in a week and hoping to lead my co-workers to something more than just remotely edible...but driving long ways will be hard to convince them and it seems we are staying in the middle of nowhere...any thoughts around here: 3808 N. Sullivan Rd Spokane, wa
It's a la quinta...
So...It's been almost two years since I originally posted this and I'm headed back.... From what I remember last time, I believe we ended up eating at Ambrosia (pretty good) and Hay J's (quite good).
El Gallo Giro, we went in and sat down and I can't remember the deal exactly, but that they were not intending on serving us food.
So, anything new in the Spokane Valley area? I'm thinking I'll end up trying the same places, since there aren't really any other suggestions here in the valley, and it is hard to get people to rally further than about 10 minutes from the hotel...
Thanks in advance (and from before) for all the help.
El Gallo Giro
706 W 1st Ave, Toppenish, WA 98948
Sorry this is too late re: the thread's original question, but I find it to be good info.
Quite a list, RetiredChef!!!
For the next time I find myself heading up Spokane way:
Does anyone have any positive takes on Japanese, Vietnamese or Mongolian Barbecue restaurants by any remote chance?
For Dagoose the restaurants listed as valley would be the closest to your location.
This is an updated list of restaurants and our ratings for them. I hope other Chowhounds find this helpful, as with all lists, these are our experiences and yours may differ greatly.
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 ‘Tasteeverythingonce’ and ‘yelp’, I post there along many other people and you will get a broader viewpoint 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. Gordy’s (5 stars) is very casual, Fat Daddy’s (4 stars) is a pizza joint, DeLeons (4 Stars) is a deli inside of a market, etc. etc. etc.
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) You could easily pick this restaurant up and place it into NYC, San Francisco, Tokyo, etc and it would be right at home. The best in Spokane.
Gordy's Sichuan– (South Hill) The “only” good Chinese food in town.
Vin Rouge – (South Hill) A converted fast food joint that serves very good bistro food. We have always walk away very pleased with the food, usually saying that was great. However, there are some people who seem to dislike Vin Rouge, we just can’t figure it out.
Ambrosia (Valley) – A simple neighborhood bistro in a strip mall, the food is fresh and innovative, service excellent, good wine-list and decent cheese plates and ports.
Spencer’s for Steaks – (Downtown) 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.
Café Maron (Browns Addition, west of downtown) - Dinner only, lunches are disappointment and not recommended.
DeLeons (North) – A deli inside of a Mexican market. This place offers the most authentic Mexican food in Spokane.
El Gallo Giro (Valley) – Problay the best sit-down Mexican restaurant in Spokane
Europa (Downtown) - Nice atmosphere, great for a late night drink and bite to eat, or for a nice dinner, 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.
Fat Daddy’s (North) - very casual pizza and Italian place, the best pizzas imo, in Spokane.)
Hay J’s (Valley) – Unpretentious bistro situated besides a gas station, it has been hit and miss but mostly hits)
Italian Kitchen (Downtown) - This is best Italian in Spokane, but would only rate 3 stars max any where else.
Latah Bistro (South side) - A nice neighborhood bistro that some feel is an upscale bistro. There prices are certainly upscale and the food is very good.
Moxie (Downtown) - A solid 4 star venue, the chef has matured over the years, service can be a little lacking – nothing to terrible, but it doesn’t match the quality or the price of the food.
Picabu Neighborhood Bistro (South Hill) - Very casual, good value bistro in a strip mall. Smaller menu, but the food is always intriguing and different.
Pueblo Amigo (North) – El Gallo Giro is better but they are close behind them for decent Mexican food in Spokane.
Rock City Grill (Downtown) - located at the River Park Square, we have always had a good dining experience at this casual eatery.
Rocky Rococo (Downtown) - 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.
Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie (Downtown) - Think a slice of Europe in Spokane and you have this place, we have been twice 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.
Scratch (Downtown) - Only been there once but most items were very nice, don’t order the classic mojita though, not good.
Taste of India (North) – Surprisingly authentic and very good if you want Indian this is the best in Spokane.
Thai Bamboo (Multiple locations) – A chain Thai place that is surprisingly good and consistent.
Thai on First (Downtown) - Thai on first is the most consistent and the BEST in Spokane
The Elk (Browns Addition, west of downtown) – nothing fancy just good bar style food.
Tomato Street (North & CDA) - great for family fun, loud Italian style and lunch specials are a good value.
Two Seven Public House (South Hill) - Same as the elk.
Azteca (multiple locations) – a local Mexican chain that tries, food is from average to above average. Taco Tuesday’s rule for best value.
Anthony’s (Downtown) - Great view of the falls, mediocre food, they used to be a seafood house, but I’ve heard that they are offering much more steaks.
Clinkerdaggers (Downtown) - A Spokane institution with a very nice view of the falls, the food is edible but very expensive – you are paying for the view, think Space Needle restaurant.)
Cyrus O’Leary’s (Downtown) - A complete TGIF Knockoff, food is not as good as TGIF but close.
Lindaman’s (South Hill) - It’s a deli with prepared items or microwaved items, you point they zap. To me it s way to overpriced for what you get, but edible
Steelhead Bar and Grille (Downtown) - Used to be 4 stars, but their food has dropped in quality and they seem to be focusing more on the bar scene.
The Onion (Downtown & North) - Think a local TGIF, portions are on the large side.
Twigs (Downtown, North & Sourth Hill) - The one on the north side is very LOUD when busy, expect to yell out your order, they also epitomize spokaneitis. The south hill location has been the best I would avoid the north side location if you want to try them. They have a large local following as being the first large-scale hip restaurant and martini bar, don’t be surprised to hear lot’s of recommendations for them.
Most Chains – would rate in the 3 star range, sure there are some exceptions that would rate lower in my mind, we can all think of those, but that gives you and idea of how I would rate places.
2 stars and below
Sorry I won’t list them here, you have seen my recommendations, if it is not on the list, maybe I haven’t tried it or maybe I have and it wasn’t that good. My goal is not to bash restaurants here (Read the other websites I recommend to get my full reviews), however keep reading, there are a few “popular places” that get many recommendations that deserve a word about them and yes there are some put-downs in this list.
Restaurants that deserve special mentions for various reasons
Catacombs (Downtown) - This used to be a 4 star place, ambiance is great, an old coal storage area in a historic hotel. Very nicely done, however lately the food has been pathetic, many people have noticed this. Cannot recommend the food.
G.W. Hunters (Post Falls) – Huge local following with numerous heads of animals adorning their walls. They are in fact an overpriced 1970’s coffee shop style food establishment that they specialize in elk and venison meat. Food was right out of the 1970’s with prices from the year 2020.
Linnie’s Thai (Downtown & South Hill) - They have a limited menu with many Thai favorites missing; however what they do offer suffers from extreme spokanitis. We have had the same dishes come out amazingly good and the next time they taste 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.
Luna's (South Hill) - Great Wine list, service was excellent, food was okay to poor (soup had rubbery crab in it, lamb had to be sent back three times and the cassoulette overpowered the flavors and the NY cheesecake was really a French style whipped cheesecake) like I said food was okay to poor after working out problems but not worth the money and certainly not worth the hassle in Spokane’s finest restaurant. Never went back and don’t plan on it, for the amount of money you spend there, I don’t want to give them a cooking lesson.
Mama Mia’s (North) - OMG the worst overcooked pasta with tinny tasting botulism sauce, even our friends kids would not eat it. The meatball tasted like sawdust, dry crumbly and horrible all panada and very little meat, however calzones were awesome.
Nikko’s (Downtown) - Great wine list and many good selections by the glass, 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 and 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) - 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 a 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) - Our first visit was TERRIBLE (BUT KEEP READING), the manager actually told us that there was nothing wrong with the entree that we sent back, his exact 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 was probably the BEST meal we have had in Spokane, 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 bad. If they replicate the second visit again and again this could easily become one of the best restaurants in Spokane, imho.
White House (Post Falls) - Uhhhh huhhhh, if your motto is the more garlic the better it tastes than you will love this place. Forget about any nuances of food or al dente pasta. This is simply garlicky slop on a plate – not for us, but they have a HUGE local following, again you might want to try them, but we were there with friends and all 8 of us gave it thumbs down. (Sidebar: This place is very popular and very busy so maybe they appeal to a certain type of palate. We had some friends who visited us, also in the restaurant business, her sister lives in CDA and they took them to the white house, our friends thought it was terrible her sister and husband think it is the best restaurant in the whole area – this is truly an either you love em or hate em restaurant.) PS they play really loud music with a fast tempo, not conducive to dining at all.
SPECIAL SPOKANE WARNING
Anything that pertains to be Chinese (except Gordy’s) stay away from, almost all Chinese food in this town is terrible, I mean really REALLY bad. Chinese fortune cookie says (read with Chinese accent) “The more neon a Chinese restaurant has around it, the more terrible the food is!) PS if anybody has any other suggestions for just edible chinese – we would love to try them, currently we have eaten at over 15 Chinese style restaurants in Spokane 14 out of the 15 rated 1 or 2 stars max.) (Don’t want to slam anybody, we are all different and taste is a very individual thing, but read these reviews on probably the most popular Spokane Chinese restaurant and you will understand what we are dealing with here. http://www.tasteeverythingonce.com/re...
Mexican food is also a joke, although usually slightly more edible. I have mentioned four Mexican places; we have tried many and have walked out very disappointed. I will tell one story though, if you want good sweet and sour chicken there is a Mexican place that’s Arroz con Pollo fooled 4 people into thinking it was sweet and sour. It’s scary up here – caveat emptor and good luck.
CDA area places that we liked
Café DOMA – Breakfast and lunch spot, small cozy good food.
Moontime & The Porch - same owners I think similar concepts pub style food.
Syringa – I’m not much into Sushi but this is the best place (according to all of my sushi loving friends
)The Olympia – Old world style Greek food.
Wolf Lodge Steakhouse – Think cowboy steakhouse, jeans, boots and a hat type dining experience, but the steaks are good and cooked correctly, although I find them a tad bit salty. If you are planning on visiting CDA for the day and like steak this is a place you should try. Truly unique.
I hope this helps
In downtown Spokane you'll find Mizuna, which would be a 10-15 minute drive from the valley (where you're staying.)
It started as a vegetarian restaurant, but now serves the usual critters. I left Spokane almost 10 years ago, but still try to eat at Mizuna each time I visit the east side.
Mizuna is great, Moxie and Scratch (both downtown Spokane too) are really good too.
On a completely different note, you could head east to the Wolf Lodge Inn (in Coeur d'Alene) for THE BEST cowboy-style steaks. I take people from out of town there, and everyone loves it. There's a Spokane location, but they don't do them over a wood fire and it's not the same.