The Foxey Foodie:

Ivano’s Ristorante

By Jules Fox
Reader Food Reviewer

Ivano’s Ristorante Italiano has been around forever, or since 1984, whichever is most recent. There’s a reason that Sandpoint has been able to come enjoy romantic date nights, family dinners or just a nice solo treat on the town.

Top: Papardelle con Pesto with gluten-free rice Penne noodles. Photo by Jules Fox.

Top: Papardelle con Pesto with gluten-free rice Penne noodles. Photo by Jules Fox.

It’s because of the food, right? I mean, the food is so good, who cares about what else they offer.

But maybe there are many reasons to love Ivano’s.

I had the pleasure of living in Sandpoint 10 years ago, a time when business was booming in Sandpoint and plenty of fine dining opportunities came and left. Ivano’s held its own on the corner of Pine Street and First Avenue and boasted the best wait staff in town.

I returned with my new family to find a new Ivano’s. I was nervous because I had said so many good things about Ivano’s and I didn’t want to disappoint. They still had the same heart-centered feel, but now they offered gluten-free dishes.

Has Ivano’s always been this good, or does it just get better with age?

The Details

The aroma of in-house baked breads and brownies mingles with slow simmered garlic and basil, offering the perfect greeting as you enter. Yes, you will get very good food here.

Start off with what my L.A. foodie wife says is “the best minestrone I have ever had.” The Formaggio Milanese brings a special salty, savory grilled twist to feta cheese. You may just order appetizers and leave happy. But don’t do that! There’s so much more.

A host of pastas in various succulent sauces meet your favorite animals like fish, shrimp, duck, chicken, beef and pork as they drag themselves through a garden of tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, garlic, eggplant, capers and cheese, cheese, cheese!

Don’t fill up on pasta though. The main course awaits.

Curb your inner carnivore with lamb, steak, prawns, calamari or cheese filled roast chickens. Fortunately they all come with vegetables and side salads so you can sleep guilt-free tonight. You have done good to your body.

I was full before the warm brownie with ice cream arrived. But it just came out of the oven and it would have been a disservice to not at least take a bite of it. And then another and another until it was gone.

It’s probably time to say you’re going to go, but order another bottle of fine wine or craft beer as you lounge around in indulgent conversation, laughter and good times.

Continuing Ivano Lippi’s authentic Italian tradition of excellence, Ivano’s doesn’t just bring Italian to your family. They take the extra effort to ensure your happiness, and bring family to the Italian.

Myth 1: Italian Food Is Just Spaghetti

Spaghetti shows up only once on Ivano’s four-page menu. There is also pappardelle, lasagna, linguini, tortellini, ravioli, penne and a host of non-noodle dishes.

Myth 2: Italian Food Will Make 

You Feel Bloated

It’s true that Ivano’s has huge family style portions and pasta can make you feel very satiated. This is the part where self-control comes into play. Don’t eat to the point of being uncomfortable. Ask for a to-go box and enjoy the leftovers another time.

Myth 3: You Can’t Afford To Go To Fancy Restaurants

You can’t afford not to go to fancy restaurants. You get one life, so treat yourself because you are worth it. Spend some money on yourself and other people, because money won’t make you happy, but Ivano’s will.

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