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Fun and Funky Valentine's Day Dinner

Instead of fighting the usual Valentine’s Day battle of finding a reservation at a fancy restaurant, paying hundreds of dollars for a meal in uncomfortable clothing and getting your love a cheesy gift, why not do a progressive dinner at some of the coolest hotspots in town? Mix things up this year with our tips on the most delicious and memorable meals in Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene, as we featured in February's Spokane Coeur d' Alene Living Magazine.

When my husband and I plan a night out, we don’t settle for just an entree. We want a full-blown flavor experience. There are so many little gems all over the Inland Northwest that get ignored on one of the most romantic days of the year, and it’s nothing short of a tragedy. We always work smarter instead of harder to plan our evening, and it is always much more fun and conducive to great conversation with a twist of a playful sense of adventure. Mix and match these amazing options for a really special night on the town.

Zona Blanca is a go-to spot for foodies around town if they want something really vibrant and shareable. Every item on their menu is packed with flavor, and filled with funky additions like Doritos Locos which has gummy bears and peanuts, as well as an octopus ceviche that will take you right to Mexico. Hit this place up for something that will really impress your date. Not to mention, they have shuffleboard in the Steel Barrel Tasting Room next door, and there’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get your fun on.

King of Ramen has the best ramen in town, bar none. If warm and comforting is your style and you love leftovers, this is definitely your jam. Few menu items are as popular in food culture right now as this one, and the sheer number of options at this spot will make the experience fully customizable regardless of your taste. Get that extra shoyu soaked egg, though, and fried garlic on the side. Trust me. It’s the perfect meal to take home, too, if you prefer a little snuggling on the couch and watching Netflix.

Chaps is well-known for their breakfast, but dinner is just as decadent, if not better. Celeste Shaw’s romantic and beautifully appointed restaurant tucked away just outside of downtown provides both ambiance and really solid, well-prepared dishes. Try the lobster mac and cheese, Monte Cristo soup, or their incredible citrus salad. Pro tip: I get mine with salmon.

Biscuit Wizard is more than just biscuits. Not only is it in the fun and funky Saranac Commons space, but it also has a pretty eclectic menu. Get the Vladmir Poutine for another trendy and delicious option, the Grilled Wiz for a grown-up version of a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, apples, greens, smoked provolone and lovingly buttered and crispy Common Crumb sourdough. They have burgers, too. You really can’t go wrong here. You can make it a one-stop shop, too, and pick up flowers for your love at the adorable Parrish and Grove, or grab a coffee at Caffe Affogato and go for a brisk walk in the city under the stars.

The Observatory is downtown, and the best-kept secret in delicious appetizers and vibrant bar food. Their sharp cheddar sliders are actually French Gougères, and their light, puffy goodness is totally addicting. I also highly recommend the chipotle chicken salad bao, which are also made fresh in-house.

No matter what you do for dinner, a great stop to make afterward for an unconventional dessert cocktail or mocktail is at Tiny Tiki. It is a fun and friendly Hawaiian themed spot that has cozy spots to grab a drink and stare lovingly into each other’s eyes. This place is ridiculously fun, and the vibe is the epitome of celebratory. The Chi-Chi is my go-to, but definitely ask your bartender for a recommendation based on what you like. They have a knowledgeable staff that can help you make a great pick.

If feeling a little fancy is more your style, then Squid and Bull Gin Lounge at Inland Pacific Kitchen is your go-to stop for a drink or dessert at the bar. This place is hidden away in the Washington Cracker Building, and worth the hunt for the subtly marked door. Be sure to ask Simon what he is crafting that’s new. This guy really knows his cocktails - he was awarded Best Bartender for the Spokane Culinary Arts Guild Award in 2018.

No matter which of these places you pick, you’ll be sure to have a really memorable evening with the one you love most, and feel free to tell them we sent you on this wild goose chase. We hope to see you out and about at one of these funky spots off the beaten path this Valentine’s Day.

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