What’s your favorite food? My answer is always Mexican. I’ve tried just about every Mexican restaurant in Spokane so I ventured over to Coeur d’Alene and found this hidden gem that’s been in business for over 27 years! (For obvious reasons).

The first of which is the fact that they truly care about their customers and remember their names. The second reason they have been able to stay in business so long is their fried tacos. And the third, the Plato el Patron.

The owner is originally from Tlatenango, Zacatecas Mexico. He moved to Spokane from LA in the late 1980s and opened his first restaurant in the Spokane Valley which eventually changed its name to Casey’s Place (sandwich shop).

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In 1991, he opened Las Chavelas across state lines. Using a combination of family and hometown recipes, he created the genuine menu that can be seen to this day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet the owner because he was in Mexico, but his daughter, Vanessa, was our wonderful host for the afternoon. She has been working in the restaurant since she was fifteen years old.

She said that one of her favorite things about Mexican culture is the focus on family, and Las Chavelas reflects that value wholeheartedly. Vanessa and the other waiters knew the other customers by name and treated them just like they were family. She worked tirelessly to ensure that our experience was comfortable, fun and enjoyable.

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Now that I’ve got you feeling warm and fuzzy about the people of Las Chavelas (and trust me, they really are that incredible), time to get down to business and talk grub! Their specialty is fried tacos and it isn’t hard to see why.

The process to create each and every one of these tacos is tricky and time-consuming. Some people go to museums and exhibits to view fine-art… I go to restaurants, and these tacos are a work of art. The result of their tedious process is a perfectly crunchy shell accompanied by your choice of beef, chicken or pork, lettuce, cheese and salsa.

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With 5 oz of garlicky carne asada and buttery sautéed shrimp, the Plato el Patron was one of my favorite dishes. The meat is complemented by guacamole, rice, beans, spicy serrano peppers and mushrooms, and everything is smothered in mole sauce and melted cheese. At the end of the meal, we found ourselves fighting over the last shrimp (I’ll let you guess who won).

Upon customer request, Las Chavelas started serving Pollo ala Crema. And oh boy, am I glad that they did. The white sauce is made to order, and somehow balances its velvety richness without being too heavy. The sauce smothers chicken, fresh tomatoes, green bell peppers, and mushrooms, and is served with rice and beans.

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If I haven’t already convinced you to go try Las Chavelas, they also have some awesome deals! They serve lunch specials every day from 11-2, with smaller portions than the regular menu, all for $7.75. And have no fear, Las Chavelas also has killer Taco Tuesday specials so you can get your midweek taco fix. They sell their fried tacos individually for $2.75, or pay $7.75 for 3 tacos, rice and beans. Additionally, they have Senior Citizen specials, all which are priced at $7.25, are served all day. 

So, next time you’re craving some good, old fashioned chips & salsa washed down with mole and a margarita, head to Coeur d’Alene, give this hidden gem a try, and let them know we sent you!


(Las Chavelas 8366, 296 W Sunset Ave #23, Coeur d’Alene, ID / 208.664.3767)

This post was created in partnership with Las Chavelas.