Favorite

East restaurants 

Café


Nemo's Coffee

2114 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2745, nemoscoffee.com

Five-year-old Nemo's recently moved a block from its old spot, expanding into drive-through service. They're proud of from-scratch everything, including sweet baked goods in the a.m., breakfast burritos, and hot and cold sandwiches until 7. Beans from Boulder's Ozo Coffee Co. — $

Rudiments Café

5863 Palmer Park Blvd., 434-5999, rudimentscafe.com

Dishing contemporary crêpes, basic omelets, good wraps like the Chicken Pickin' (with caramelized onions, provolone and honey mustard), plus soups, salads, sandwiches and daily specials, Rudiments is an affordable, easygoing place, especially good during its open mic nights. — $

Wade's Café

3504 N. Academy Blvd., 596-8122, wades-cafe.com

Now in its 59th year, Wade's continues to serve popular breakfast and lunch menus. Three-egg omelets come with three delicious buttermilk pancakes (or toast or hash browns, for people who don't like fun). Daily lunch specials, such as chicken and noodles, plus a salad, cost only $6.19. — $

Chinese


Jasmine Café

6064 Stetson Hills Blvd., 591-9898, jasminecaferestaurant.com

This restaurant blew us away when it opened in 2010, a bright, flavorful step above average Chinese cuisine. There are excellent renditions of all the standards, plus a small Thai offering, lunch plates (with egg roll, rice and soup) topping out at $6.55, and a gorgeous wonton soup. — $$

Fine Dining


Steaksmith

3802 Maizeland Road, 596-9300, steaksmith.com

Catch happy hours and a cheap small-plate menu in the Fireside Lounge, plus specials like a recent four-course rib eye dinner for $29.95. The house-aged steaks are the main attraction, along with an extensive seafood menu including selections like mahi mahi in a spicy macadamia nut butter. — $$$

German


Schnitzel Fritz

4037 Tutt Blvd., 573-2000, schnitzelfritz.com

Schnitzel Fritz is brought to you by the folks behind the excellent Elke's German Deli in Fountain and the new Old German Bakery wholesale operation complete with master German pastry chef. (Sweets are to be found at both eateries.) Enjoy Ranch Foods Direct meats; schnitzel plates and much more. — $

Greater Asian


Royal Buffet

3680 Citadel Drive North, 574-6666, royalbuffetcoloradosprings.com

Spawned by two similar operations in Kansas, owner Linda Lu's expansive buffet offers all-you-can-eat lunches ($6.99) and dinners ($10.99). You'll find more than 100 items, ranging from sushi and hibachi plates to Chinese Szechuan offerings and American steaks. — $

Italian


Bambino's Pizzeria

2849 E. Platte Ave., 630-8121, bambinospizza.com

A major draw: the $7.95 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet (repeated Wednesday and Sunday nights), complete with soups, salads, pizza, pastas and desserts. Oh, and it's actually quite good. Also known as a sports bar. — $

Rocco's Italian Restaurant

3878 Maizeland Road, 574-1426, roccoscolorado.com

Turning 30 this year, Rocco's offers noticeably warm service for its mostly homemade menu. The house sauce is pleasantly garlicky and mildly sweet, and great on dishes like the breaded-chicken linguine Parmigiano. Pizzas and seafood, too, but save room for Italian cream cake. — $$

Korean


Café Banzai

2917 Galley Road, 622-0333

When he took over the longtime Lettuce Head location last year, chef Kwi Kim expanded his space and menu, featuring affordable plates like $5.99 lunch specials and $5 chicken teriyaki bowls, in addition to a rockin' bulgogi rendition. Try the oyako donburi for simple goodness. — $

Halla San Korean Barbecue

1231 N. Academy Blvd., 622-9595, hallasanbbq.com

Decade-old Halla San will, like pretty much all of our local Korean eateries, win your affection with generous banchan (side bowls) and delicious renditions of Korean standards — everything from a yummy stone-bowl bibimbab to sweet, cast-iron-served bulgogi. — $$

Jin Go Gae

1825 Peterson Road, 574-2060

Formerly the Orange Plate Café. Korean-born owner Ramona Burns' Asian accents to the American menu became so popular, she went to a full Korean menu in 2011. Catch a $6.99 bulgogi special daily, plus great lunch deals and staple Korean entrées. — $

Mediterranean


Greek Cafe

4343 Integrity Center Point, 591-8294

Iran native Said Rishsefid, family member of the Greek Grill's owners, serves a number of satisfying Kronos Foods products from Chicago, including good gyros, spanakopita and baklava. He makes his own delicious tzatziki. — $

Mexican/Southwest


El Poblano

908 N. Circle Drive, Suite A, 632-1971

Winner of our 2010 "taco truck throwdown" in its mobile version, El Poblano's sit-down location is great for a wider selection of Mexican staples. Make a visit for the mole poblano or mole enchiladas, both bearing chicken soaked in the sweet, creamy, earthy, mildly spicy sauce. — $

Fiesta Jalisco

6074 Stetson Hills Blvd., 573-8813, fiestajalisco.net

Actually a small Colorado chain with 10 locations, including ski towns, Fiesta Jalisco supposedly serves the flavors of Jalisco, Mexico. It's a huge list with everything from tostadas and fajitas to great soups like the clear sopa de albondigas with pork and beef meatballs. — $

Los Compadres

2237 E. Platte Ave., 473-2524

New owner and Acapulco-native Baltazar Rosas changed the name from La Costa Chica in December, but the food remains great in the way taco-truck food is. Fatty tripe and tender steak tacos; sopes rich with cheesy masa; and a great torta adobada sandwich of marinated pork. — $

Pub Food


Frankie's/Frankie's Too

7376 McLaughlin Road, Falcon, 495-8707; 945 N. Powers Blvd., 574-4881, frankiesbargrill.com

It's Tuesday, so what are you doin'? Two-buck premium pints plus a $9.99 steak dinner at Frankie's or Frankie's Too, that's what. Both of Frankie Patton's bars are comfortable eastern hangouts for games or a quick, quality bite. Burgers, Tex-Mex and much more. — $

Holy Cow Pub & Grill

5885 Stetson Hills Blvd., 465-1704, holycowpubandgrill.com

Your pick for Best Neighborhood Bar on the east side, Holy Cow offers generous happy hours, plus poker, karaoke and live country and rock music nights past regular lunch and dinner service. The three-patty bacon and cheese Holy Cow burger ($15) almost says it all. — $

Maggie Mae's

2405 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 475-1623

Open since 1971, it's still dishing classic American breakfast items from omelets and pancakes to Mexican items like chorizo and huevos rancheros. Then more Mexican favorites join the menu at lunch alongside burgers, sandwiches, and a right-decent chicken-fried steak. Also serving neighboring Twisted Knickers Pub. — $

Stadium Bar & Grill

6120 Barnes Road, 302-0969, barandgrillcolorado.com

An indie split-off from a former Indigo Joe's, this is a great game spot with TVs literally everywhere. Drink prices are good, and the food is, too. The Caesar chicken wrap and kick-ass Inferno Burger pleased us, as did perfect sweet potato fries and delicious desserts. Keep an eye on interesting menu options, like a ceviche appetizer. — $

Nawlins BarBQ and Seafood

3317 Cinema Point Drive, 571-9777, nawlinsbarbq.com

Launched by a Hurricane Katrina transplant and bearing an authentic Cajun taste, Nawlins recently changed hands — but the menu remains unchanged and may expand. Great étouffée and jambalaya plus a fun alligator and pork green chile, po-boys, giant muffulettas and more. — $$

Southern/Barbecue/Cajun


Bird Dog BBQ

5984 Stetson Hills Blvd., 596-4900; birddogbbq.com

Bird Dog turns eight this year, its popularity buoying three locations now: in Fountain, Briargate and off Powers Boulevard. You'll find delightful homemade barbecue sauces, including a Wasabi-Q sauce, served on the side of great, oak-smoked Oklahoma-style barbecue. — $

English Dockside

2220 N. Academy Place, 380-7732, englishdockside.com

Arguably the city's most worthy seafood-centric spot, run by Mobile, Ala. native Thomas English and his family. Attractions include a butter-sautéed, secret-seasoned blue crab po-boy, gumbo, a lobster roll and all-you-can-eat fish Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. ($13.95 with a drink purchase). — $$

Sushi/Japanese


Zen Fusion Sushi & Bistro

4359 Integrity Center Point, 375-3288, zenfusionsushi.com

Super-talented sushi chef Young Min Kim spent nearly a decade at the Centennial Boulevard Ai location before leaving to open Zen last year. Here, he's dishing excellent Korean entrées like a divine pork belly plate, plus fantastic sushi rolls, often incorporating odd elements such as fruit. — $$

Thai


Arharn Thai

3739 Bloomington St., 596-6559, arharnthai.net

Run by a Bangkok native who goes by the name of Pong, gluten-free friendly Arharn has remained consistently excellent since its early 2009 opening, and its prices are perhaps the fairest among its peers, especially for the high quality. — $

Thai Eats

640-B S. Academy Blvd., 380-0535, thai-eats.com

Part Thai grocery and Thai cooking school, Thai Eats offers great lunch deals from its daily hot-line selection, like a killer Panang curry version made from the freshest curry paste we've encountered. Weekly specials and special requests accommodated — the classes are fun and informative. — $

Thai Lily Cuisine and Yakitori 8

319 N. Chelton Road, 597-8374, thaililycuisine.com

Thai Lily recently launched 10 p.m.-to-4 a.m. late-night dining and entertainment; it's also got Yakitori specials and free Wi-Fi for business lunchers. The regular menu is expansive, and from our satisfied sampling, it's also well-executed. Lots of vegetarian and seafood options, too. — $

Vietnamese


Pho Viet 1

3712 Galley Road, 597-6559

It meets all the criteria for superior pho: lots of fresh herbs, generous meat, staple condiments like Sriracha and hoisin sauce, and strong support from the Vietnamese community. The larb-like shrimp and pork salad is great, and so are the fun-flavored tapioca-ball boba milkshakes. — $


Other eateries with East locations:

Ai Sushi & Grill, 3215 Cinema Point, 622-8866

Bean Bandit, 320 N. Circle Drive

Bhan Thai, 1025 N. Academy Blvd.

Borriello Brothers, 4750 Barnes Road

Conway's Red Top, 390 N. Circle Drive, 3589 N. Carefree Circle

Fat Boys Pizza, 4379 Airport Road, 573-6070

José Muldoon's, 5710 S. Carefree Circle

Louie's Pizza, 4815 Barnes Road; 5996 Stetson Hills Blvd.

Monica's Taco Shop, 5829 Palmer Park Blvd.

Tomo Sushi, 975 N. Academy Blvd., 597-2422

  • Head here for pubs, pizza and plenty of ethnic cuisine.

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