Best of Food 2023 | Food

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Best Bakery
Pink cookies. Turkish tea cake. A mug of coffee big enough to bathe in. Six locations. Pretenders to the throne have come and gone, but it’s no mystery why the Rocket dominates the baked goods landscape of Spokane. Its locations are always warm and inviting, and it’s been around forever. The local chain started in Millwood back in 1992. Well, the 1990s are cool again and called to say they want their bakery back. To which we say: Too bad! It’s ours. (ND)
3rd PLACE: Rockwood Bakery
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Birdie’s Pie Shop, Hayden and Post Falls

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BocoPOP’s teas are tops.

Best Boba
Boba tea remains a popular drink in the Inland Northwest, with new shops popping up every year, but one that continues to be a community favorite is BocoPOP in Liberty Lake. Not only do they serve classic boba tea drinks such as Tiger Milk and Thai tea, the team sells their signature takes on the Taiwanese drink such as the Dragon Eye Tea, a lychee-infused jasmine tea topped with dragon fruit, or the Shark Attack, a blue raspberry and lychee flavored lemonade. (SSa)
2nd PLACE: Black Straw Tea Bar and Kitchen
3rd PLACE: Poke Express and Boba Tea Time

Best Breakfast
As if the setting isn’t impressive enough — an early 1900s railroad car — the food at Frank’s Diner is equally impressive, especially the breakfast options, like classic country fried steak or Frank’s signature hotcakes. If you’re a fan of benedicts, these are your peeps. Try those at either of the two diner locations (downtown and the North Side) for an experience that feeds your inner history lover and your tummy alike. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Chaps
3rd PLACE: Bruncheonette
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: The Garnet Cafe, Coeur d’Alene

Best Barbecue
Whether it’s just you or your whole posse, Outlaw has something for every level of barbecue fan from casual meat eater to the connoisseur of ‘cue. A full menu of starters, sammies, entrees, even dessert, plus meat by-the-pound, and beverages to go with. But wait, there’s more: catering, three locations and takeout options, including Outlaw’s addictive brands of barbecue sauce. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: TT’s Old Iron Brewery and BBQ
3rd PLACE: Longhorn Barbecue
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Drummin Up BBQ, Coeur d’Alene

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Gordy’s has a ton of great dishes to choose from, including gan pung chicken.

Best Chinese Food
You can just say “Gordy’s” and people who have already fallen in love with the cozy South Hill spot for contemporary Chinese cuisine know what you mean. This repeat winner — it also won in 2021 for best Asian food — has changed hands over the years but has earned loyal fans for its authentic Sichuan-style dishes like dan dan noodles and mapo tofu. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Red Dragon
3rd PLACE: Black Straw Tea Bar and Kitchen
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Chinatown, Coeur d’Alene

Best Burgers
Regional takes on classic American cuisine are nothing new; take New York or Chicago-style pizza for example or, in this case, Wisconsin-style burgers. Not only will you find butter and cheese straight from Wisconsin, freshly ground beef, and scratch-made buns at Wisconsinburger, but also Midwestern staples like cheese curds and fried pickles. Check out their signature burger, the Spooner, topped with house-made bacon jam, or go back to basics with the Wisconsin. (SSa)
2nd PLACE: Durkin’s Liquor Bar
3rd PLACE: Frugals
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Roger’s Ice Cream and Burgers

Best Burritos
The ingredients are compelling enough. Atilano’s offers burritos with chorizo, with steak, with fish, and with tongue and seasoned pork. And that’s not even counting the whole list of breakfast burritos. But this is not what makes Atilano’s great. The most important thing a burrito joint can do is to be there for you in your hours of greatest need. At 2:30 in the morning, when the grocery stores have long closed, and the Taco Bells of the world have turned out their lights, there Atilano’s remains: a beacon of sanctuary, a symbol of hope for the hungry masses. (DW)
2nd PLACE: Neato Burrito
3rd PLACE: Slick Rock Burrito

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Local foodies are proud to call chef Chad White their own!

Best Chef
Casual diners have certainly heard of Chad White, who often gets called Spokane’s “celebrity chef,” but White is much more than that, as his supporters and customers certainly know. A Spokane Valley native, proud Navy veteran, fierce competitor — he wowed judges on season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef — and wildly inventive chef and businessman. White has earned an impressive following at his diverse restaurants, including Zona Blanca Ceviche Bar, Uno Más Taco Shop, and TT’s Old Iron Brewery and BBQ. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Michael Wiley (Wiley’s Downtown Bistro, Prohibition Gastropub, Scratch/Rain)
3rd PLACE: Tony Brown (Ruins, Hunt)
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Adam Hegsted (Honey Eatery & Social Club, Republic Kitchen + Taphouse)

Best Charcuterie Board
Prepare to be wowed by everything that shows up on the charcuterie board prepared by Wanderlust Delicato, the region’s pre-eminent spot for artisan cheese, meats, wine and more, but that’s the point. Visit its downtown location to see for yourself how much care goes into choosing and preparing sophisticated snackables for takeout or dine-in, including at one of this popular venue’s many tasting events. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Boards by Brit
3rd PLACE: Graze and Rosé
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Stylus Wine and Vinyl Bar, Coeur d’Alene

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miFLAVOUR’s macarons are pretty and tasty.

Best Dessert
It’s been said we eat with our eyes. What a feast you’ll find at miFLAVOUR. Good luck picking just one from the seemingly endless array of delectable desserts on display in Max and Ella Piskun’s Sprague Avenue spot. Rich tiramisu, crunchy biscotti, tangy tarts, flaky croissants, and countless flavors and colors of co-founder Ella’s coveted macaron cookies — you’ll find them here and more. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Birdie’s Pie Shop, Hayden and Post Falls
3rd PLACE: Wild Sage Bistro

Best Candy
If you’ve never had a sweet treat made by Spokandy, are you even a Spokanite? This local candymaker has been going strong for 110 years, creating unique chocolate treats. They still practice the same techniques and traditions that were used when Terrence J. Riley opened the original candy store in 1913. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! (MP)
2nd PLACE: Bruttles Gourmet Candy Shoppe
3rd PLACE: Halletts Chocolates
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Mrs. Honeypeeps Sweet Shop, Coeur d’Alene

Best Mexican Food
The De Leon family brings the Texas/Mexico border to Spokane. Across three locations, diners can choose from authentic burritos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, quesadillas, tamales and nachos. And then there are the drinks. More than 50 different brands of tequila and rainbow margaritas that are absolutely massive. Like, you might need two hands to hold them. (NS)
2nd PLACE: Cochinito Taqueria
3rd PLACE: Molé
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Nadine’s Mexican Kitchen, Rathdrum

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Churchill’s has been Spokane’s premier fine-dining experience for nearly two decades.

Best Fine Dining, Best Steaks
Whether it’s a significant milestone in your life or a celebratory get-together with folks who are special to you, Churchill’s is the place to go. Founded in 2007, the recently remodeled downtown spot features a warm and inviting atmosphere, top-notch customer service and an extensive wine list recognized by Wine Spectator. And the food? Elegant, classy and flavorful, from the seafood tower to the filet mignon to the New York style cheesecake. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: Wild Sage Bistro
3rd PLACE: Clinkerdagger
North Idaho’s Best: Beverly’s, Coeur d’Alene
2nd PLACE: Masselow’s Steakhouse
3rd PLACE: Wolf Lodge Steakhouse, Coeur d’Alene

Best Late Night Dining
Sitting in the heart of Spokane, the Satellite Diner is an absolute staple of downtown nightlife. Need to fuel up before a night out? Head to the Satellite. Looking for a chill happy hour location? They’ve got $1 tacos on Thursdays! Calling it a night? The Satellite’s comforting tables and booths are ready to welcome you inside. Whether you’re grabbing an early morning or late-night breakfast, the Satellite doesn’t discriminate. (MP)
2nd PLACE: Durkin’s Liquor Bar
3rd PLACE: The Gilded Unicorn
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Atilano’s, Coeur d’Alene

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You said it: Kuni’s has the best Thai food, especially the traditional Chiang Mai pork.

Best Thai Food
Kuni Colliton’s Thai-style restaurant has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a traditional Thai dish or you want to change it up with a Chinese or Indian inspired meal, Kuni’s brings a variety of flavors and styles to the table. Try one of Colliton’s favorites, Chiang Mai pork curry, a tangy and aromatic dish from northern Thailand with red curry, ginger, shallots and rice. (SSa)
2nd PLACE: Thai Bamboo
3rd PLACE: Bangkok Thai

Best Ramen
It’s like déjà vu all over again. Last year’s readers’ poll results for Best Ramen nearly mirror this year’s, and who are we to argue with our readers? With two locations, in downtown and on the North Side, Nudo Ramen delivers rave-worthy ramen: huge steaming bowls of flavorful meat, veggies, noodles, broth and all the little extras that make this soup a memorable and nourishing meal. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: King of Ramen Spokane
3rd PLACE: Little Noodle
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Hokkaido Ramen, Coeur d’Alene

Best Cakes
Bundt cakes are a great choice for your upcoming celebrations or for an evening pick-me-up, but you don’t have to settle for a basic cake. Nothing Bundt Cakes has multiple size options, 10 flavor options and a variety of frosting styles; plus, you can get some party essentials at their “Bundt’ique” to add some glam with your delectable cake. (SSa)
2nd PLACE: Just American Desserts
3rd PLACE: Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Pastry and More, Coeur d’Alene

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Rüt’s vegan truffle mac holds up against any non-vegan counterpart.

Best Vegan Food, Best Vegetarian Food
Rüt has been a staple for vegans and vegetarians alike in the Spokane area for almost four years, serving up unique and innovative veggie-based dishes. Our readers have voted them Best Vegan and Vegetarian food for three years in a row — that’s when you know you’re doing veggies right! (MP)
2nd PLACE: Boots Bakery
3rd PLACE: Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe
2nd PLACE: Mizuna
3rd PLACE: Cascadia Public House
North Idaho’s Best: Cosmic Cowboy Grill, Coeur d’Alene

Best Milkshake
All scientists and historians agree: The dawn of civilization began with the invention of the milkshake. Reason tells us, then, that the truest symbol of what we can do when we come together is Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle. Yes, that bottle-shaped building that glows like a beacon for all the world’s people to converge on Garland Avenue and slurp down that divine concoction of ice cream and milk, made better with chocolate, strawberry, butter brickle or any one of the more than two dozen flavors Mary Lou’s has to offer. Fear not, Mary Lou’s doesn’t skimp. Yours, too, will come complete with a stainless steel malt cup bursting with that sweet nectar that didn’t fit in your glass. (ND)
2nd PLACE: Zip’s
3rd PLACE: Hogan’s Diner
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Roger’s Ice Cream & Burgers Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls

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Every taco’s an adventure at Cochinito.

Best Tacos
When it first burst on scene in 2018, Cochinito Taqueria turned heads with its funky décor and unconventional counter-only ordering. As people tried the food, they realized that here was flavorful, fresh fine dining level food at a fast-casual price point, like five bucks for tacos — tender chicken, spicy pork belly, crispy fish — on house-made corn tortillas. Cochinito’s recent expansion to Hayden, Idaho, is a win-win for Gem State diners, too. (CSz)
2nd PLACE: De Leon’s Taco and Bar
3rd PLACE: Uno Más Taco Shop
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Best Avenue Taco Works, Coeur d’Alene

Best Italian Food
There’s no “best sauce” category, but Italia Trattoria is a compelling argument that there should be. I expected a generally pleasing combo of eggs and marinara sauce when I ordered the baked eggs for brunch one Sunday from Italia Trattoria. I wasn’t expecting the sauce to blow my mind. Complex flavors layered on top of each other. A deep resonant note of earthy richness like a premium wine. A sense of satisfaction, as if we’d just witnessed a great musician perform their masterpiece. When Chef Anna Vogel makes the sauce, the server told us, she spends days simmering the tomato flavors. (DW)
2nd PLACE: Tavolàta,
3rd PLACE: Tomato Street
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Angelo’s Ristorante, Coeur d’Alene


Best Artisan Bread
“Purple Egyptian — nothing comes close, except their other loaves.” (Nathan L.); “The neighborhood, the people who shop here, and the people who work here make this a special spot.” (Heather E.); “Bread Jesus!” (Kate P.)
2nd PLACE: Rind and Wheat
3rd PLACE: Great Harvest
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: MAK Bread and Back Pocket Bakery, Coeur d’Alene

Best Brunch
“Chill atmosphere, great coffee, AMAZING savory breakfast flavors. The verde hash is BOMB.” (Cedar R.); “The mimosa menu is always on point!” (Emily E.)
2nd PLACE: The Yards Bruncheon
3rd PLACE: Chaps
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: (tie) Dockside, Terraza Waterfront Cafe

Best Chicken Sandwich
“Still the only place in town where I can recall lines for a sandwich; it’s good each different way they make it. Easy choice.” (Zach W.); “Every version of Logan’s chicken sandwich is a banger!” (Ashley W.)
2nd PLACE: Cascadia Public House
3rd PLACE: No-Li Brewhouse
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Republic Kitchen and Taphouse, Post Falls

Best Food Truck
“Skewers not only has the best Mediterranean food, but Mirak, the owner, has a hugely kind heart and has such an impact in Spokane!” (LYDIA H.); “I’ve gone more times than I can count and have yet to leave disappointed. Everything is so delicious!” (ALEXIS W.)
2nd PLACE: Island Style Food Truck
3rd PLACE: Tacos Tumbras
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Best Avenue Taco Works, Coeur d’Alene

Best Outdoor/Patio Dining
“So much space!” (Alex M.); “LOVE the atmosphere!” (Dianah B.); “Biggest outdoor patio, live music, food trucks — the best!” (Connor W.)
2nd PLACE: Clinkerdagger
3rd PLACE: Osprey Restaurant & Bar
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Terraza Waterfront Cafe, Coeur d’Alene

Best Sandwiches
“Hands down the reigning king of great sandwiches. If you’re looking for small portions, then don’t go here. Owner Tom is the best!” (Frank C.); “Meat and cheese!” (Wendy G.); “Spokane icon.” (Leslie S.)
2nd PLACE: Garland Sandwich Shoppe
3rd PLACE: The High Nooner

North Idaho’s Best Sandwiches
“Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? Meltz takes this favorite to whole new levels with delicious combinations of top-notch ingredients.” (Danielle B.)

Best Caterer
“She managed our wedding reception really well and follows through on everything. She made it really fun to put on an event.” (Cheryl G.); “London is a badass who gets things done! The food is amazing, and the service is even better. Woman-owned and operated business — yes!” (Ria T.)
2nd PLACE: Beacon Hill Catering & Events
3rd PLACE: Feast World Kitchen
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Graze and Rosé, Coeur d’Alene

Best Seafood
“Spokane’s classic.” (Magreta A.); “Fresh seafood, great service, great view!” (Randy B.); “A Northwest staple.” (Dan R.)
2nd PLACE: Zona Blanca Ceviche Bar
3rd PLACE: Clinkerdagger

Best Cupcakes
“They have great tasting cupcakes and gluten-free options!” (Meagan V.); “They have the most moist cakes and cupcakes I’ve ever had! They offer so many different flavors, it’s always a surprise what they will have when I go to buy something.” (Nevada B.)
2nd PLACE: Celebrations Sweet Boutique
3rd PLACE: Breaüxdoo Bakery
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Stacie’s Cupcakes, Post Falls

North Idaho’s Best Dessert
“Birdie’s awesome assortment of fresh-made pies is astounding! They’re always changing things up, offering new delicious flavors and unique combinations.” (Lance H.); “Their crusts are phenomenal, the fillings are incredible, and Mama Birdie is a very good human who just wants us to be happy!” (Marilyn C.)

Best Donuts
“Delicious donuts and real history.” (Tara H.); “Open many hours to enjoy their donuts.” (Debbie M.); “Best maple bars!” (Kevin P.)
2nd PLACE: Hello Sugar
3rd PLACE: Casual Friday Donuts
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Gross Donuts, Post Falls

Best Ice Cream
“I love that they are small and their style is fun. They also have dairy-free options!” (Corrie N.); “Two words: mud pie. Nom nom nom.” (Jess D.); “I just love them so much.” (Teresa H.)
2nd PLACE: Pete and Belle’s
3rd PLACE: Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Panhandle Cone & Coffee

Best Indian Food
“The curry with complimentary naan bread is a chef’s kiss!” (Aleacia G.); “Huge portions that REALLY hit the spot.” (Charity M.)
2nd PLACE: Taste of India
3rd PLACE: Karma Indian Cuisine

Best Middle Eastern Food
“The offerings are numerous, generously served and delicious. Very authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food.” (Paul K.); “Everything on the menu is soooooo good!” (Kevin P.)
2nd PLACE: Feast World Kitchen
3rd PLACE: Lebanon Restaurant & Cafe
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: The White House Grill, Post Falls

Best Pho
“You will crave the broth!” (Ashley M.); “Huge bowl with fresh vegetables on the side.” (Lorri G.); “Best food ever!” (Malinda H.)
2nd PLACE: Vien Dong
3rd PLACE: Vina Asian Restaurant
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Pho Thanh & Cafe, Coeur d’Alene

Best Sushi
“Great sushi and drinks as well as an amazing nighttime view of downtown Spokane.” (John B.); “Fresh, lovely cuts and big pieces.” (Natalie W.); “I love the option for real crab. My meal is always amazing, and the location is fantastic to sit outside and enjoy the river.” (Katherine M.)
2nd PLACE:
3rd PLACE: Izumi Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro
NORTH IDAHO’S BEST: Syringa, Coeur d’Alene

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