UCCS geo and environmental sci major. Major foody. Looking for a great meal, drink and atmosphere. Husband is a chef so I guess I got… More »
Our only Moroccan eatery, featuring weekend bellydancing and multi-course meals that include cous-cous, clay pot-cooked meats, seafood and vegetables, warming soups and phyllo pastries. Take off your shoes and let orange and rose blossom water prepare your hands for feasting.
The great thing about this, the city’s only Moroccan restaurant, is sitting in comfy cushions on the floor and eating with your fingers. Under glamorous drapes and tapestries, the four- and six-course meals begin with soup and homemade honey wheat bread and move to lovely Mediterranean-spiced meat and veggie entrees. Catch belly dancers on Fridays and Saturdays.
There are three local sushi eateries (off Academy, Centennial and Powers boulevards) that incorporate "Ai" into their name, all owned separately. From our readers' feedback, you won't be disappointed at any of them.
Best Of 2012: Wait Staff
At Mona Lisa, the servers are extremely experienced — one has been there for 15 of the restaurant's 16 years, and the average is about six years. In short, they've been around long enough to know they're not the main event at this fine-dining attraction. "They're attentive, but not overbearing," Mona Lisa owner Jeff Kiepke says simply. Most customers come to Mona Lisa to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other life event, which means a 2½-hour, four-course fondue meal. And in an environment like that there's a lot to be said for servers who can blend into the background but never be missed. But perhaps the clearest thing you can say: They're the best around. — Pam Zubeck
Bites 2013: Fondue For Two
Customize your own four courses, but here's how we'd roll: the Caesar salad first, then the Old World cheese option for the bread-veggie-and-fruit round. The Wild Game Entrée Platter for the main affair, featuring buffalo, trout, boar and more. And then a dark chocolate dessert fondue at meal's end, with a liqueur shot of your choice — Amaretto perhaps? — for a buck more per head. ($49 per person)
Best Of 2013: Power Lunch
Weekly "Fresh Sheet" choices, and a staff with a great memory for names and faces, make this underground downtown hideaway a primo place to talk turkey or get the lowdown on what's going on in the city. On your way in, you might catch a glimpse of Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, former Springs Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, state Rep. Mark Waller, developers Doug Quimby or John Cassiani, or Regional Business Alliance bigwig Joe Raso. But sit down and you'll find that the dim and quiet atmosphere allows for confidential strategy sessions. And if your lunch runs long, know that happy hour begins at 4, with $3 well drinks, drafts and house wines. — Pam Zubeck
Subterranean swank, courtesy Concept Restaurants. Dark wood, deep martinis, burly steaks and a weekly fresh sheet that proves longtime Springs chef Pete Moreno hasn't fallen asleep on the job. For us: Ahi salad at lunch, and Colorado rack of lamb at dinner, please.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m.
The goods: $3 wells, wines and drafts, $5 select martinis and half-price ($5) on three select appetizers
Best Of 2013: Indian/Curry
Best Of 2013: Take-Out
Little Nepal recently opened on Flintridge after years of success at its Eighth Street location. The original locale has also expanded, adding a gift shop where full-bellied customers can pick up bags of lentils, Indian spices, and arts and crafts items with ethnic flair. But the reason that Little Nepal has remained popular is definitely the food. Co-owner Raj Adhikari says Nepalese cuisine is very similar to northern Indian cuisine — the spice balance is just slightly different. "We have a touch of Nepal flavor," he says. "All the flavors are very equally settled together." The restaurant does tasty renditions of saag paneer, chicken korma, garlic naan and mango lassi. A buffet is available during limited hours and features many of the restaurant's most popular items, along with a few rotating surprises like gajarka halwa, a creamy carrot dessert. Keep in mind: Take-out is available for both the buffet and regular menu items.— J. Adrian Stanley
Best-sellers at this Best Of victor, according to co-owner Muku Bhandari: the masalas, kormas, makhani and curries, all with lamb, chicken, shrimp, and salmon options and lovely, intoxicating sauces. Catch monthly belly dances, a daily lunch buffet and a Thursday dinner buffet.
Best Of 2013: Hummus (tie)
In the hummus smack-down, we've got two strong contenders. On one side of the ring, brothers Jake and Telly Topakas and their family recipe brought to the States from the Aegean isle of Chios. On the other side, Hussein Abukhdeir and his authentic Jerusalem chickpea concoction, available at two locations. You may prefer to dip your warm pita slices in one version over the other, but in this year's Best Of bout, it's a well-deserved international tie. — Kirsten Akens
Bites 2013: Mixed Mezze
Another ode to the indecisive: the all-encompassing platter that lets one sample widely. A meat version features Keftethes (zesty Greek meatballs) and gyro meat while a vegetarian rendition subs in grilled veggies and gigantes (big-ass seasoned white beans). Both get the feta, olives, hummus, spanakopita, dolmadakia, pita and tzatziki that collectively whisper the finest essence of the Mediterranean in tones of salt, garlic, yogurt tang, grape-leaf bitterness and phyllo dough crunch. ($16 each)
Best of 2013: Irish Pub
Jack Quinn's maintains an element of craic, an Irish term for good banter and great times — that vibe you get when you walk into a place that feels like home. However, the authentic Irish feel isn't the only thing that's earned Quinn's this win for the eighth year in a row. Stellar food abounds, including the traditional Boxty, which manager Martin Troy describes as a "giant Irish burrito." It's a large potato pancake filled with ingredients such as sautéed onions, mashed potatoes, corned beef, cabbage and more. This month, stop in for Scotchtoberfest to enjoy glasses of scotch paired with dishes that complement. — Gracie Ramsdell
Bites 2013: Shepherd's Pie
Must. Get. Through. Description. Without. Mentioning. Guinness. ... D'oh! Quinn's and the famous stout are inextricable. And seeing as how heavy beers call for heavy food, the shepherd's pie is a natural choice from the Irish selections. A custom bread boule (yeah, not bowl, ya' eegit!) from Colorado Bread Company holds the mashed potatoes, molten cheddar and ground sirloin and veggies (mushrooms, onions, carrot, peas) seasoned simply with salt, pepper and thyme. ($10.95)
Sizeable donbori bowls or bento boxes at lunch; nigiri and loaded, goofy-named specialty sushi rolls anytime; hibachi service by reservation; and an unbeatable half-off-everything happy hour from 5 to 6 on Mondays. New vegetarian menu coming soon.
Best Of 2013: Local Pizza Joint
Shortly after moving to the Springs, I asked a buddy of mine where the best pizza was hiding. Borriello Brothers, he said. How many brothers are there? I asked. His response: "We're all Borriello Brothers, man." I was skeptical. But Borriello does cater to all, whether you're a pizza traditionalist or prefer your pie a little post-modern. The Colorado Green Chili Pie, which features King's Chef green chili, is highly recommended. The one that converted me, though, was the Godfather, with roasted tomato, crisp ham and Provolone cheese. One bite turned into one slice. One slice turned into a whole pie. I wiped my face with a napkin. Pushed back my chair. Let out a grunt of satisfaction. And considered myself a Borriello Brother, man. — Joshua Hutton
Our readers' longtime favorite local pizza, with nine Front Range locations. Think kick-ass, hand-tossed New York-style creations, backed by salads, heros, calzones and more. Borriello even has its own iPhone/Android app now.
Get the: Mocha
Located in the Safeway shopping center off State Highway 115, Black Bear offers big chairs near a fireplace, and a bunch of tables, where you can enjoy its homemade soups, salads, breakfast burritos, pastries and a Frappuccino-like house specialty called the Polar Java.