If your travels are bringing you to Spokane, you’re coming at the right time. (And, if you’ll be calling Stay Alfred at M Apartments home, congratulations – you’ve made an excellent choice for accommodations, too.)
Once a city that offered little in the way of culinary variety, Spokane has seen a welcome explosion of options in recent years, and downtown dining choices are no longer limited to steak, pizza or the fast-food options found on 3rd Avenue. (Although nobody would judge you for making a late-night jaunt to Dick’s Hamburgers for a Whammy – their signature burger – along with some fries with tartar sauce and maybe a vanilla Coke. And no, that’s no grand illusion – that really is Styx looking back at you from the Dick’s Facebook page. Nicely done, Tommy Shaw & Co.) I don’t know about you, but I’m an angry young man when I’m hungry, too.
This blog series will highlight the best Spokane restaurants within an easy walk of Stay Alfred at M Apartments and, with any luck, it’ll make answering the question, “Do you think there’s anything good to eat around here?” a little easier.
Pro tip: Please don’t tell a soul about how good Spokane’s culinary scene actually is – we’re trying to keep the property values low around here.
Anthony’s at Spokane Falls - seafood and steaks
This long-time favorite for fine seafood dining is open for lunch and dinner. It offers not only some of the best traditional American seafood in town, but also some excellent steaks. The views of the upper Spokane Falls are absolutely amazing, and if you’re visiting during the warmer months – especially during springtime when the water is raging – the deck is among the best in town. The views you’ll encounter on the walk to the restaurant aren’t all that hard on the eyes, either.
510 N Lincoln Street
Atticus Coffee - coffee and pastries
One of your humble author’s favorite places to meet a friend for morning Joe – most likely served by master barista Ben (scroll just a tad), whose permission to include in this write-up I absolutely did not request. Sorry, Ben. The establishment is housed in a gorgeous, historic brick building, and you’re sure to see Spokane’s creative set camped out around the tables – mostly playing hooky from work and reconnecting with former coworkers. “I’ve just been so BUSY!” Atticus also offers exceptional pastries, beans and teas for sale, as well as a great selection of unique homewares.
222 N Howard Street
509.747.0336 – As if you’d be calling to make a reservation at a coffee shop. Let’s just call this a foolish consistency.
Boots Bakery- coffee and vegan pastries
This place is so absolutely adorable – as if a Belle & Sebastian song had magically sprung to life as a coffee shop. Maybe “Wrapped Up in Books.” The pastries here are absolutely to die for, and I’d never guess that they were vegan. But fear not, lovers of lattes – milk-based espresso drinks are absolutely available, as are soy-milk based beverages, if that’s your kind of thing. It is absolutely Boots’ kind of thing. Oh – I’d almost forgotten – they serve cocktails, too. That doesn’t make you any less cute, Boots. Quite the contrary, in fact.
24 W Main Avenue
Chronic Tacos - tacos (and beer!)
Sure, it’s a chain – but it’s really fresh and tasty. Also, they serve beer, which in my book of “how it is,” means that it’s technically not classified as fast food. A handy distinction, because I’ve sworn-off that junk. Service here is definitely fast, though, and it’s a great lunch option. I imagine you could eat here for dinner, too. Ain’t no law against it.
524 W Main Avenue
Clinkerdagger - fancy-pants prom-night dining
OK, you really don’t have to be attending prom to go here. In fact, the youngsters are missing out on a fantastic wine cellar and some truly stellar cocktails. Clink’s, as you might call it if you were a Lilac City native, specializes in the kind of food you’d imagine being served at a grand 1971 banquet that your arrived at in your Chrysler Imperial. (This is meant high praise.) The restaurant is housed in the Flour Mill, a gorgeous brick structure built in 1895, and in spring and summer, the deck offers wonderful views of downtown proper and the Spokane River. Tip: order the Broadway Pea Salad.
621 W Mallon Avenue
12-minute walk through lovely Riverfront Park
Cochinito - not your average tacos; perfectly wonderful margaritas
First things first: you’ll be walking up to the bar to order. There’s one line for patrons who’ve just arrived, and another for those who need a second or third helping of tacos and booze. This arrangement has been the source of some confusion for some first timers, but you’re now wise to the ways of the establishment. What makes the tacos more than average? Amazing freshness. Ingredients like pork cheek and octopus. Seasonings I can’t even begin to describe. This place is good – and, bonus, it has huge windows looking out on the streets of downtown Spokane, so the people-watching is first rate and, at times, action packed.
10 N Post Street
Daily Grind - secret, hidden-away businessperson’s spot for coffee, breakfast and lunch
Once upon a time, I worked downtown – right in the Paulsen Center, and that’s where you’ll find this delicious little spot – up on the second floor. I really miss having access to their fresh, delicious sandwiches (the ones of the breakfast variety are my favorite), yogurt and fruit, soups, and coffee. They even offer hard-boiled eggs. Do as the local banking crowd does and pay them a visit while you’re in town. If they still offer jalapeno bagels by Sweetwater Bakery, try a breakfast sandwich on one of those to make me very, very jealous.
421 W Riverside, 2nd floor
Welcome to the second installment of our blog that’s focused on good eats within walking distance of Stay Alfred at M Apartments in Spokane, Washington. We’re taking it in a perfectly logical, alphabetical fashion, so if you’re craving a bite or a drink that’s located between dictionary guide-words “Anthony’s” and “Daily,” you’ll have to click all the way over to the first installment. Work, work, work… I know.
Let’s take stroll a little further down the Lilac City’s alphabet soup of restaurants, shall we?
Curated. Hand-crafted. Pickled in-house. The mustachioed (or thigh tattooed – or both) hipsters’ takeover of the US of A did not overlook the Lilac City, as clearly evidenced by the menu here. Does poutine really need to be prepared with smoked duck? As much as this non-hipster hates to admit it… yes. Yes it does. And a taste of their house-made bologna sandwich only drives the point home. I’ll play your culinary game, hipsters, but I’ll never, ever approve of your yen for fixies. Dangerous!
415 W Main
Before I say anything else about this delightful little establishment: BEST FRIES EVER. Shoestring. Topped with fresh garlic bits that cook to perfection on contact. Wow. Get some in front of me now, please. But we can’t live on pommes frites alone, can we now? Madeleine’s also offers breakfast – the classics, plus treats like Croque Madame – along with decadent French pastries and a fresh, tasty assortment of salads and sandwiches for lunch. Looking for a morning pick-me-up? Grab your espresso or cup of joe – made with locally roasted beans by DOMA – here.
415 W Main (Yep… the same address as Durkin’s, but slightly to the east. Get tore up from the floor up in the p.m. and then return to the scene of the crime to put it all back together again.)
Ruins is the hottest thing going in Spokane these days, and it’s easy to see why. A rotating menu, inspired by whatever culinary muse fires the chef Tony Brown’s imagination on any given week, might offer anything from South American to Russian fare, and “McRuins” night (Monday), where a certain fast-food establishment’s creations are brought to a higher level, is a frequent occurrence. Vegan options abound. Craft cocktails flow. And reservations… nope. You’ll probably be in for a bit of a wait. Worth it.
825 N Monroe Street
Affordable. Delicious. Family friendly. And just plain friendly, friendly. “Public House” describes the place perfectly – it’s nice, welcoming and relaxed cross between a restaurant and a bar that makes you want to slow the day down and stay awhile. Their cocktails, while not “craft,” per se, are delicious, and there are always great microbrews on tap. If you see mahi mahi sliders on the menu, you’re in for a treat. No luck? Try the mac & cheese, which you can order topped with crumbled bacon – or even vegan. I can also wholeheartedly recommend the Chicken Caprese sandwich. Visiting in the summertime? There’s shaded patio seating available, and the people-watching in this neck of the woods is generally less earthy than you’d find closer to ground-zero downtown Spokane (in my highly subjective opinion, that’s Howard St. and Riverside Avenue).
Right next door to the east, you’ll find Saranac Commons, home to Affogato Coffee, breakfast heavyweight Biscuit Wizard, Black Label Brewing and Common Crumb bakery – which serves up fresh-baked breads, macarons, pastries, cakes and pies, soups and sandwiches. All the shops are circled around a large common area that features a cozy fireplace in the wintertime.
21 W Main Avenue
Looking for Spokane’s best classic diner breakfast? This is it. The biscuits with country gravy and potatoes O’brien are timeless, and the chicken-fried steak has been known to save lives – whether they were called to duty to come to the aid of the 7 a.m. pre-work crowd – or the ravenously hungry, post-beer:30 crowd (the bar-side of the establishment closes at 2 a.m. but diner side is open until 4 a.m. daily). The menu goes far beyond breakfast, too, with a huge selection of burgers, steaks, salads, fries, wings, hummus and more.
425 W Sprague
Welcome to the third installment of our Spokane restaurants blog, dedicated to help you home-in on tasty destinations that are within walking distance of Stay Alfred at M Apartments. In keeping with installments one and two, we’ll be moving right along in an alphabetical fashion.
Tucked away in a small Howard Street location, Soulful Soups & Spirits (just “Soulful Soups” if you’re a local) does all manner of their signature dish right. Fresh made and hearty, their soups make an especially nice treat on a cold winter’s day. They also bake their own super-moist beer bread that’s served with fresh butter. Salads? Yep. Delicious. As are their “kitchen sink” cookies, stuffed full with macadamia nuts , coconut and white and milk chocolate chips. You’ll also find a great selection of beers and wines, along with a full bar. It’s a cozy little spot.
117 N Howard Street
Located in an industrial space that, up until the mid-1980s, burned coal to provide steam heat for all of downtown Spokane, Steam Plant is visually stunning. Enormous boilers have been converted into rooms (pictured, but doesn’t even begin to do it justice). Miles of pipes and valves wind their way throughout the interior. One of the facility’s giant smokestacks has been opened up, presenting a unique pinhole view of the sky, high above. Have kids? Or an inner child that full of wonder and curiosity? This place is a must. The food’s good, too! My favorite item on the menu is their beer cheese soup, made with IPA, cheddar, roasted jalapeno and topped with a bacon lardon. It comes on both a cup and a bowl, and I’d recommend choosing the latter. The establishment is also one of Spokane’s many high-quality breweries. It’s truly a good time to visit Washington, isn’t it?
159 S Lincoln Street
Here’s another great place that’s right across the street from Stay Alfred at M Apartments. Steelhead’s “Casual dining. Northwest flair.” tagline sums it up pretty well, and while downtown, I’l often pop in for their blue cheese fries, topped with bacon and green onion, along with a beer or an Old Fashioned. It’s a pub-like vibe here (but absolutely family friendly, too), with food that far-and-away better than your average pub grub.
218 N Howard Street
1-minute walk (If that)
509.747.1303 (Note: They don’t take reservations.)
The funny thing about this establishment that many folks consider to offer some of the city’s better sushi? They don’t own the URL. Weird, right? But the name is certainly easy to remember, and the place is always hopping. Fresh fish is flown in daily, and, in addition to sushi, you can find dishes like teriyaki, sukiyaki, and classics like miso soup.
430 West Main Avenue
Craving something sweet? Sweet Frostings specializes in delicious cupcakes of all (50+) flavors, piled high with… sweet frosting, of course. They do a wonderful cinnamon roll, too, along with cookies (including macarons), cakes, cheesecakes and other delights. Their pastel-colored sugary base of operations is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, as is their packaging, and delivering a cellophane-wrapped rack of cupcakes to anyone whose mood you’d like to sweeten is a sure-fire hit.
15 S Washington Street
We in the hospitality industry have to share the love with others in the industry, don’t we? Table 13 is the house restaurant at the Davenport Grand – the newest of Spokane’s homegrown Davenport collection of hotels. Its emphasis is on delicious small plates. See short ribs on the menu? Get ‘em! Like whiskey? Their list of offerings is beyond extensive.
333 W Spokane Falls Boulevard
Are we there yet? Because I simply cannot wait to have a plate of Yukon Taquitos – a unique invention of theirs that finds creamy potatoes happily mingling with lime, and just waiting to be dipped in a Sriracha-based sauce. They’re out-of-this-world amazing, and it’s difficult to be reminded of their existence without having them present. Wild Sage consistently tops Spokane’s “best of” lists, and their steaks, seafood and salads – not to mention their cocktails and wine selection – are all top notch. As for me, there’s nothing quite like trout served with crispy skin. Followed by a nice creme brulee, of course. And maybe an espresso martini for a little extra pep on the walk home.
916 W 2nd Avenue
Taking over a space once occupied by longtime Spokane favorite Herbal Essence, Wiley’s carries on its predecessor’s tradition of fine American food. From their signature cocktails to their truly excellent wedge salad to short ribs sprinkled with green peppercorns to their dessert du jour, everything I’ve ordered here has been an absolute hit. Chef and owner Michael Wiley, who seems to live at the restaurant, makes guest feel absolutely welcome, and this has been one of my go-to places since its opening.
115 N Washington Street
That’s it for Stay Alfred’s guide to the best Spokane restaurants. But be sure to check back. We’ll be updating it as we hit more long-time establishments and discover new temptations.
In the meantime, take a look at our ever-expanding selection of travel apartments that are now available in 32 U.S. cities and counting.