Somewhat of a gourmet Mexican joint, worth the up-charge, Carlos Miguel's opened its third Springs location in Briargate in mid 2011, adding to its holdings in Woodland Park and on Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard. Great margaritas, ceviche and entrées like the pollo en mole.
Bites 2013: Thai Crêpe
Puritan Frenchies need not order me. I'm an international spin with global appeal. Inside my fold, juicy steak hunks meet pear slices, cilantro and peanut crumbles while a rich peanut sauce coats all for starchy bliss. ($7.99 on wheat crêpe or $8.49 for gluten-free buckwheat or garbanzo batter)
Bites 2013: Maine Lobster Bisque
In today's economy especially, it's amazing to ponder that back in colonial days, lobsters were fed to prisoners. But chances are quite great (certain, really) that those naughty boys never had it this good. Walter's bisque starts with the finest pinchers, whose shells give up the ghost for a rich stock flavor incorporated beautifully into a velvety, creamy body that begs for your French dinner roll's dip. Trust us, you'll want the bowl. ($7.50/cup, $10/bowl)
Best Of 2011: Neighborhood Restaurant: South
Walter's Bistro has been around since May 1999. During that time, it's served up thousands of delectable meals, appetizers, drinks and desserts. Specializing in American cuisine with a European flair, the restaurant is frequented by regulars looking for consistent, high-quality dining, and foodies out for something a little different. Using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients, Walter's menu varies with the seasons, so it never gets stale. Make sure you try the lobster bisque — can you say, "to die for"? — Bret Wright
A renowned Sunday brunch and unbeatable city skyline view. No lunch service, but a special three-course Sunset Dinner menu available from 4:30 to 6 ($17.95 to $19.95). The prime rib and filet mignon are best-sellers, but nobody will steer you away from the Australian lobster tail.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 4-8 p.m.
The goods: $2 off wells and house margaritas, $2.50 domestics, $3.50 imports, $3.95 house wine
Best Of 2015: Sunday Brunch
You don't have to book a room at the Broadmoor to enjoy one of the revered hotel's best amenities: Sunday brunch in the Lake Terrace Room. For years local families (mine included) have celebrated special occasions at brunch time rather than dinner thanks to the impressive variety of this spread. Here, the quality and presentation of the food befit the surroundings without imposing gentility. The attention to detail and service is impeccable but understated, making it easy to establish a tradition here. — Vanessa Martinez
Happy hour: Daily, 3-6 p.m.
The goods: $3 wells, $2 Coors Light drafts, $4 house wines, $1 off any call drink, and half price appetizers
Best Of 2014: Neighborhood Restaurant: North
Best Of 2014: Chips and salsa
Salsa Brava does salsa right, grilling fresh ingredients, adding a unique blend of herbs and spices, and puréeing it all into the perfect consistency — every day. The blackened tomato salsa is served gratis with chips (lightly fried in cholesterol-free canola oil), but you can also request pico de gallo, pineapple habanero (the perfect blend of sweet and heat), and occasionally a seasonal salsa like the roasted arbol, featuring a small, potent Mexican chile pepper. The patio, complete with fire pit, is an inviting space to relax with a margarita (maybe at happy hour, when it'll only set you back $3.50). Top off with bananas Foster, made right at your table. — Amanda Lundgren
Source: Purple Mountain Coffee
Get the: Spicy sipping chocolate
Rico's features a rotating selection of 20 wines by the glass. Look for an assortment of varietals including organic, vegan and sustainably harvested wines.
Rico's serves Purple Mountain Coffee products brewed in fancy Chemex carafes. You can also order sipping chocolates, alcohol and eats from Poor Richard's next door.
Serving dinner only with a tremendous view over the city, this is a sister restaurant to Woodland Park's Swiss Chalet. Its "pride and joy" are the pepper steaks: filet cuts with mango chutney, flambéed in brandy ($34.95 to $49.95). All else is equally haute, from Colorado lamb to Maine lobster.
Sister restaurant to Woodland Park's Swiss Chalet, the Pepper Tree is a perennial contender in our Best Of poll's Fine Dining category. Open for dinner only and boasting a great view of the city skyline, it offers lavish seafood entrées, rich steak courses prepared or finished tableside, and classic flavors like Colorado rack of lamb with a mint rosemary demi-glace. Call this our favorite tree to climb.
Best Of 2009: Fine Dining
The Penrose Room is the Springs' pinnacle dining spot. It's one of only 15 eateries in the nation to hold both AAA's Five Diamond rating and Forbes Travel Guide's Five Star rating. The food is stunning, and the service truly impeccable. Three-course tasting menus run $72 a head; four courses, $78; and the full chef's tasting menu paired with wine tops out at $158 per person. Good news: You may eat à la carte and spend as little as $30 on a bottle of wine to savor the surprisingly comfortable atmosphere.
Best Of 2015: Mediterranean
At Mediterranean Café, freshness is taken quite seriously — from the grape leaves that wrap their homemade dolmas to the vegetables that fill their pita sandwiches. To add to their appeal, those pitas are a steal, maxing out at just $7 for the tilapia and the Half & Half (featuring both gyro and falafel), or $10 when ordered with a generous side and a fountain beverage. Consider paying 50 cents for extra tzatziki, their cucumber yogurt sauce. Tangy and rich, it's pretty much the best thing ever. — Bridgett Harris
Best Of 2015: Dessert Destination
At most restaurants, you needn't plan your meal around dessert. Marigold is not like most restaurants. When you enter, we recommend that you head first to the bakery and review your options. Then take a seat, place your food order, savor every bite, and make sure to reserve room in the belly. Whether you choose double chocolate mousse cake or crème brûlée or — my favorite — the strawberry and cream Fraisier, owners Elaine and Dominique Chavanon will ensure you end your experience on a (sugar) high note. — Kirsten Akens
Bites 2013: Smoked Salmon Cakes
Precious few items remain fixed on Margarita's ever-changing menu, but this is one that's earned its spot by popular demand. The salmon's rubbed with brown sugar, salt and pepper and hickory smoked on the stove-top. Insert a bed of spinach salad, caper cream cheese and either a horseradish crema or lemon-dill tarter sauce. And son, you're in happytown. ($10 on the lounge menu/$13 at brunch)
Entering its fifth year of fine-dining flair, Joseph's maintains its evening popularity for tableside flambéed items: fantastic Hot Spinach Pernod salads, pepper steaks and Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilees. But past the lamb, trout, veal and duck, you'll find an affordable gourmet lunch.
Owner Joseph Freyre, a wizard of tableside presentation, would gladly speak for his restaurant, but his menu speaks for itself. Try the Colorado lamb chops with rosemary mint au jus, or the crab-stuffed Idaho white trout draped in a white wine chipotle cream sauce. A cherries jubilee flambé may be the ultimate encore.