By Lyndsie Kiebert
For more than a decade, the scents of baking pastries, hot coffee and fresh sandwiches have greeted visitors to the Cedar Street Bridge. The Cedar Street Bistro, tucked along the right side of the bridge just past the entrance, creates a warm welcome for those looking for a quick coffee or light sit-down meal.
Reader staff members took a recent lunch hour to sample the eatery’s current menu, selecting a combination of signature and classic offerings.
The macaroon latte ($3.65) made with soy milk — for those cursed by dairy sensitivities — provided a perfect balance of coffee and coconut flavors with a touch of sweetness. The cappuccino ($3.10) was topped with a delightfully fine foam, right at home on a menu reminiscent of an Italian cafe.
The margherita pizza ($10.25), 10 inches and stone-fired on order, provided a satisfying lunch centerpiece. With sauce that tasted like it was made from actual tomatoes and topped with perfectly cooked fresh tomatoes, the pizza risks overwhelming acidity. Thanks to a hearty helping of mozzarella and a crust worthy of its own place on the menu — breadsticks, anyone? — the margherita pizza makes a solid case for the Cedar Street Bistro as one of Sandpoint’s best pizza destinations. What could have made it better? A refreshing pop of basil, which was missing because the bistro had run out, according to our server. That didn’t deter us, of course.
In true North Idaho fashion, we chose huckleberry crepes ($7.75) to satisfy the post-pizza sweet tooth. Coming with two on a plate — perfect for sharing — the thin, chewy crepes are filled with rich, chunky huckleberry sauce and pastry cream cheese, then topped with toasted almonds to add a satisfying crunch to each bite.
Beside the crepes sits a generous helping of whipped cream, but don’t let it overshadow the subtle but magnificent vanilla gelato resting inconspicuously against the white plate. That frozen goodness — which the owner churns by hand every morning during the busy tourist season — is the bistro’s trademark.
As one Reader staffer remarked after taking two rich bites, “This gelato is doing ice cream better than ice cream does ice cream.”
The bistro offers several rotating flavors of gelato and those who order sandwiches from the menu receive a small scoop after their meal.
Serving smaller, obviously fresh portions sets the bistro apart from other downtown offerings and enhances the European vibe so evident in its menu. Those looking for great flavors in one of the best settings Sandpoint has to offer will be happy they chose the Cedar Street Bistro. If those factors aren’t enough, the gelato secures the bistro as a first-class Panhandle eatery.
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