A recent Saturday night visit to Ivano’s Ristorante, the Italian stalwart of the Sandpoint culinary scene, revealed a restaurant that provides fine dining without pretension and a family-friendly vibe without too much noise. It’s a happy balance that owner Jim Lippi has been bringing to North Idaho locals and visitors alike since 1984.
After moving to First Avenue in 2001, Ivano’s has continued to pump out Italian favorites, like the Tortellini Ivano ($17/full order, $12/half), a rich — but not too rich — cheese pasta served with prosciutto, mushrooms and a garlic cream sauce.
“It’s been a staple dish since I’ve been here. It is made from simple ingredients and the light sauce isn’t too overwhelming,” says floor manager Nolan Smith, who’s been with the restaurant since the mid-’90s.
Ivano’s also operates the La Rosa Club, a wine bar located across just across the street, and beginning Memorial Day weekend, they’ll open up Ivano’s del Lago in nearby Hope for the summer. Call it a mini Ivano’s empire, if you will.