Favorite

Eats: Part I 

The Springs has one of the best restaurant selections for a city its size. Here are 150 or so to whet your appetite

Restaurants

Barbecue

Bayou BarBQ

481 Hwy. 105, Suite G, Monument, 488-2799

bayoubarbq.com

For locals with northern exposure, Bayou BarBQ serves excellent ribs and brisket. Simplicity reigns here: Unless it's Catfish Wednesday, smoked salmon and crawfish etouffe are the only main courses that come sans meat. Solid sides for $1.50 each include potato salad and cole slaw.

Bird Dog BBQ

5984 Stetson Hills Blvd., #300, 596-4900

birddogbbq.com

Add your dog's mug shot to Bird Dog's tabletop collection while diving into some of the juiciest barbecue in the city. Go for a three-meat plate (perhaps pulled pork, spicy hot links and chopped brisket) or prime rib plate; you can get either with okra and the "shotgun spud." End with the peach cobbler.

Dad's Smoke Wagon

6679 Camden Blvd., Fountain, 231-7112

dadssmokewagonllc.com

It's fun to tell friends you just ate in Dad's rib shack. Inside this tiny, unassuming spot, tender pork spare ribs deliver bone-deep smoke flavor with your choice of mild, medium or spicy sauce. Also try the beef brisket, pork tenderloin and pulled chicken. Get the spicy baked beans for a side.

Firehouse Southern Style BBQ

817 W. Colorado Ave., 447-8829

If you like a little smoke with your pork, this is the place. Jazzed up in '50s style and using a Southern touch, Firehouse treats its meats with aplomb. The same care goes into the incredible homemade pies.

Front Range Barbeque

2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596

4935 Templeton Gap Road, 598-8895

frontrangebarbeque.com

Best Of 'o8

When craving Southern comfort at its sticky, smoky, saucy best, head to Front Range. Naked or sauced, ribs here are fall-off-the-bone good, and you can't go wrong with succulent pulled pork, beef brisket or chicken, either. Cornmeal-fried okra and homemade mac 'n cheese taste especially good on the Colorado Avenue patio, where bluegrass bands play on warm Wednesday nights.

Slayton's Barbecue, Wings & Spirits

806 Village Center Drive, 266-5300

slaytonsbbq.com

Slayton's offers a slightly different take on barbecue than its competitors. Its Kansas City-style method means everything's hickory-smoked. Go for the pulled pork and chicken and tasty sides, the onion rings in particular. Though construction's taking a while, look for another location downtown sometime in '09.

Brewpubs

Phantom Canyon Brewing Co.

2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800

phantomcanyon.com

Best Of 'o8

Phantom Canyon is a cornerstone in fact, the building it's in was downtown's first on the National Register of Historic Places. Every meal here should start with a cup of the smoked Gouda soup, made with Phantom's very own Queen's Blonde Ale. While sampling other house-crafted brews, grab a flatiron steak, the fish and chips, or the Colorado lamb shepherd's pie with garlic mashers.

Trinity Brewing Company

1466 Garden of the Gods Road, 634-0029

trinitybrew.com

Head to Trinity for tapas-style dining paired with outstanding house-made craft beers and a rare assembly of obscure, low-production beers. The artful, wood-adorned outfit dishes everything from sweet potato fries and a bacon basket to decadent salads and "stuffer" sandwiches. For dessert: a beer float.

Cafés & sandwich shops

Adam's Mountain Café

934 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1430

adamsmountain.com

Best Of 'o8

Adam's in a nutshell: no microwaves or heat lamps, and a menu constructed from mainly organic and local products. Though it really works miracles with fruits, vegetables and grains, this gorgeous spot isn't just for vegetarians; equally appealing menu items feature salmon, shrimp and chicken. The Senegalese vegetables and harvest crepes are must-haves, and the huevos rancheros and orange almond French toast rule the morning.

Café 36 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

30 W. Dale St., 477-4377

csfineartscenter.org/cafe36.asp

Best Of 'o8

Garden of the Gods Gourmet runs this museum stopover, with the undisputed best restaurant view from its stunning terrace. Catch a three-course lunch for $20 or devour a pistachio- and mint-crusted Colorado lamb entre prior to a theater performance next door.

Corner Café

7 E. Vermijo Ave., 520-1843

cornercafecs.com

Located across the street from the county courthouse, the Corner Caf is the lunch (and breakfast) place for big-city power players. Everything's good, especially the blissfully thick pork green chile soup and the buttery, grilled San Diego roast beef sandwich. Also: Everything's under $9, even with all the meats coming from socially conscious companies.

Dale Street Café

115 E. Dale St., 578-9898

mydalestreetcafe.com

The romantic Victorian home that is Dale Street welcomes all palates. Try the new three-course "Wall Street Menu," featuring a soup or salad, entre (like smoked salmon pasta) and bread pudding or crème brulee finish for about $10.

Danny's Corner Bistro

609 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 687-2233

dannysbistro.net

Surrounded by window boxes filled with colorful flowers and fragrant rosemary and sage, the small, glass-shielded patio at Danny's Corner Bistro offers wonderful views of Pikes Peak. Try the yummy fried spinach and the excellent pasta Nicosia with mahi mahi over pesto linguini. Finish with Danny's signature croissant bread pudding.

European Café

935A Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3556

Favorites at this unique eatery include pork cutlets, bratwurst, homemade soup and the house speciality, Hungarian goulash. Call ahead and get an order of fresh Polish pierogi. Manitoids love this spot for breakfast, too.

Flavors on Tejon

321 N. Tejon St., 471-8400

flavorsontejon.com

Best Of 'o8

Lunch is solid, but breakfast reigns. The sweet potato pancakes with orange butter and pecan maple syrup are divine. The spinach, mushroom, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese omelette vies for attention, too, along with the peppered pork and sweet potato hash. Whatever you decide, pair it with a Chambord whipped-cream coffee, pretty much the tastiest drink ever, anywhere.

Mucky Duck

10530 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls, 684-2008

Go first for Sunday brunch. The lure: nearly a dozen styles of eggs Benedict, starring a hearty serving of Hollandaise. At lunch, classic sandwiches like the French dip and Reuben shine. Come dinner, Colorado lamb and game options like elk accompany beef and pork items, as well as fresh fish.

The Olive Branch Restaurant

23 S. Tejon St., 475-1199

theolivebranchrest.com

The Olive Branch has been a downtown fixture for more than 20 years. Omelettes and skillets please at breakfast, soups and salads tend to fill the patio seats on summer days, and dinner offers everything from steak to seafood. Fresh-squeezed juices are a nice touch.

Sheldon's Luncheonette

310F S. Eighth St., 520-1654

204 N. Mount View Lane, #16, 599-0887

If you're hungry at breakfast or lunch and you happen to like roast beef sandwiches, this is your mecca. The portions come as large as you'd want, and there are always daily specials.

Shuga's

702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412

shugas.com

Best Of 'o8

Lavender martini + spicy Brazilian coconut soup = true bliss. Shuga's also slings fine tapas and salads and a sickly delicious chocolate double diablo cake. As for the hipper-and-cooler-than-thou-will-ever-be atmosphere: Someplace like this is where artists' souls go when they die.

Smiley's Bakery and Café

323 N. Tejon St., 328-9447

Smiley's brings kitschy, but quaint, dcor, with antique kitchen tables, novelty signs and house plants galore. Its deli counter demands attention with pies, pastries and muffins, but Smiley's makes solid sandwiches and soups as well. At breakfast, you won't go wrong with French toast, pancakes or any egg item.

Wines of Colorado

8045 W. U.S. Hwy. 24, Cascade, 684-0900

winesofcolorado.com

Sit creekside or on the back deck and sample from 40-plus local wineries. Get a mug of Marv's Buffalo Chili or a buffalo wine burger (or veggie burger). Otherwise, go for the Colorado Reuben, pastrami with swiss on multi-grain bread with sauerkraut and Thousand Island. You know the proper chaser for that is a chocolate ecstasy cake. Or a signature carrot cake.

Wooglin's Deli & Café

823 N. Tejon St., 578-9443

wooglinsdeli.com

Best Of 'o8

You can tell there's something for everyone at Wooglin's Deli & Caf, because everyone is there, from vegetarians in flip-flops to carnivorous guys in ties. Get French toast and locally roasted coffee for breakfast. Hit a salad or an "overstuffed" sandwich for lunch. After work: chili and quesadillas with a cold beer.

Cajun

Culpepper's Cajun Kitchen

6502 S. Academy Blvd., 282-8479

culpeppers.net

This affordable and authentic joint is a revival of Culpepper's Louisiana Kitchen, which closed on the north end in late 2008. Louisiana-born owner Martin Anderson returns with plates ranging from $5 to $14. Think delicious blackened meats, red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, maque choux and crawfish etouffe.

English Dockside 2220 N. Academy Place, 380-7732

englishdockside.com

Seek out this tiny, hidden strip-mall gem, the work of Alabama native Thomas English. From a large menu, pick from Ranch Foods steaks, whole fish dinners, shrimp dinners, fish and chips, crab, seafood chowder and a wide array of po-boys. Truly, you can't go wrong.

Oscar's Tejon Street

333 S. Tejon St., 471-8070

oscarstejonstreet.com

Fresh-shucked oysters, $1.65-a-pop! Slurp them raw from the half shell, with horseradish, cocktail sauce and crackers, or have them flash-fried to golden perfection, with fixins galore. Also go for the crawfish etouffe, tequila-lime chicken, New Orleans barbecue shrimp, the catfish po-boy and French Quarter roast beef dip.

Chinese

Chopsticks

120 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 579-9111

chopsticksasianbistro.com

You won't find any goopy sauces or canned mushrooms at this upscale establishment. What you will find: a minimalist dining room, an attentive, sharply dressed wait staff, and care and delicate spices put into each dish. Chopsticks' sesame chicken is simply the best in town.

Dragon Gate Chinese Restaurant

323 N. Union Blvd., 633-1166

7607 N. Union Blvd., 528-5153

Dragon Gate is quick with pick-up orders and deliveries and friendly in-house. But most importantly, it's gifted in the kitchen. Start any meal with an order of crab rangoon (fried wontons of cream cheese, crab and spices dipped in sweet sauce) and from there, go for your favorite stir-fry.

Lanshing Café

9475 Briar Village Point, #150, 266-8351

This is fast food on the north end, with a commitment to fresh ingredients. Rest in the small, warm dining room and start with the crabmeat cheese wontons and a Japanese cream soda. Get a combination plate, your choice of entres like sweet and sour chicken or chicken, beef and shrimp lo mein, paired with crisp veggies.

Rong Cheng

6938 N. Academy Blvd., 594-4849

Rong Cheng is the place to go for awesome sesame tofu it's light, crispy and flavorful.

Shanghai Café

1107 S. Nevada Ave., #103, 634-4270

Kevin Tran brings 25 years' Chinese cooking experience to his modest south end restaurant. It shows with crisp veggies, perfectly tender meats and vibrant, flavorful sauces across the menu. Even the egg rolls are cooked to just the right crispness.

Silver Pond Chinese Gourmet

5670 N. Academy Blvd., 594-9343

bestsilverpondchinese.com

Best Of 'o8

Hit this chic red-and-black dcor Chinese destination for exotic items like strawberry chicken, volcano shrimp and velvet seafood delight.

Tsing Tao House

3604 Hartsel Drive, Suite C, 528-8884

Best Of 'o8

Tsing Tao is a great Chinese haven on the north side. Get the lip-smackingly good egg rolls, which maintain the perfect pairing of crispy veggie center and crunchy-yet-slightly-greasy deep-fried exterior. The cheese-stuffed crab rangoon also rock, and pair perfectly with wonton or egg drop soup.

Diner & comfort food

King's Chef Diner

110 E. Costilla St., 634-9135

131 E. Bijou St., 636-5010

kingschefdiner.com

Best Of 'o8

Dine in the original, 13-seat purple castle on Costilla for weekday breakfast or lunch, or on Bijou Street any day of the week. Hefty burgers and smothered burritos are still the specialties here, especially with the locally famous and hella lethal green chili on top. Hit a burger or melt for lunch and clean your plate for a congratulatory sticker.

The Mason Jar

2925 W. Colorado Ave., 632-4820

5905 Corporate Drive, 260-6555

masonjarcolorado.com

In this family-friendly atmosphere, you'll find square meals in an old-fashioned setting. The signature dish is chicken-fried steak (more than a million served), but the prime-rib-and-shrimp combo is always popular.

Omelette Parlor

900 E. Fillmore St., 633-7770

co-spgs-omeletteparlor.com

Best Of 'o8

A perennial readers' choice for breakfast, this is one of those places that makes you leave home in the name of home cooking. Maybe if you gave your own three-egg omelette a cool name like the Thunderbird or Godfather, it'd taste better. Anyway, here you also get an English muffin and sides.

Western Omelette

16 S. Walnut St., 636-2286

westernomelette.com

This place is famous for hangover cures, probably because its green chili contains a major heat warning. They're serious about omelettes and custom egg wraps as well. Grab the chile rellenos or a breakfast burrito, or some biscuits and gravy. At lunch, get a burger or steak.

Fondue

Melting Pot

30-A E. Pikes Peak Ave., 385-0300

meltingpot.com

Yes, it's a chain. It still offers a friendly and elegant subterranean dining experience, with a fun range of cheese, meat and chocolate choices for dipping.

Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant

733 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0277

monalisafondue.com

Enjoy a flight in the wine cellar or punish your gut with an overindulgent, delicious fondue for two. After a salad, dip bread and veggie bits into the Old World cheese dip, then meats from the wild game entre platter into six dipping sauces (other options available). Add a liqueur shot to a dark chocolate fondue dessert.

French

La Baguette

Multiple locations

labaguette-co.com

At La Baguette, bread fills the caf each morning with a wonderous, yeasty aroma. Dip your edible work of art into some perfectly browned French onion soup, or go for the croissant and baguette sandwiches. Choose from an assortment of breakfast pastries, a simple cheese fondue, and fresh fruit and cheese plates.

La Creperie Bistro

204 N. Tejon St., 632-0984

Expect excellent French cuisine in an intimate setting. Just thinking of the seafood crepes with mushrooms in a white wine sauce can make a regular salivate. You want to linger over every course, starting with escargot.

La Petite Maison

1015 W. Colorado Ave., 632-4887

lapetitemaisoncs.com

Best Of 'o8

This charming little Victorian home on Colorado Avenue is a local favorite for contemporary French cuisine. A balance of fish, poultry, seafood and Colorado red meat (lamb and buffalo) offers plenty of gourmet choice. Keep it fresh with Petite's weekly $30 prix-fixe menu.

German

Edelweiss Restaurant

34 E. Ramona Ave., 633-2220

edelweissrest.com

Best Of 'o8

Edelweiss dishes authentic and contemporary German eats alongside appropriately big mugs of Warsteiner and the like. On Friday or Saturday, enthusiastic musicians just may make you chicken-dance always fun after a rahmschnitzel.

Schnitzel King Restaurant

5644 S. Hwy. 85/87, #6, Security, 638-4974

The 14 schnitzel variations literally overhang the plate here, and they're lean, nicely breaded and tender. The spaetzel is good, as is the homemade King's Dressing, a sweet, sour-cream based vinaigrette. End with the spaghetti ice cream (soft serve pressed through a ricer).

Schnitzel Fritz

4037 Tutt Blvd., 573-2000

The folks behind the south end's Elke's German Deli (also worth a visit) recently opened this new, clean, modern space off Powers Boulevard. The schnitzels are baked in an imported German oven with traditional toppings, and the brats are good. Save room for the fruit streusel cakes.

Uwe's

31 Iowa Ave., 475-1611

You'd never expect the food to be what it is in this German restaurant, stuck in an outdated strip mall off the beaten path. Alpine booths set the stage for a meal that is as delicious as it is reasonably priced. Two tasty and well-priced choices: rouladen and the pork schnitzel.

Gourmet & eclectic

B&E Filling Station Restaurant

25 S. Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, 481-4780

bandefillingstation.com

Don't let the blue-collar name fool you: B&E Filling Station is anything but common. Chef/owner Chris Bohler has made sleepy little Palmer Lake a go-to place for fine cuisine, prepared with care and attention to detail. Get the roast orange duck or bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin at dinner. Or go for an elegant breakfast of crab cakes or buckwheat pancakes.

Bistro de Pinto

26 E. Kiowa St., 473-3538

bistrodepinto.com

Best Of 'o8

Mixing Mexican and American fine dining, Bistro de Pinto dishes everything from tortilla soup, New Mexican trout and seafood pasta at lunch to mahi mahi and rack of lamb at dinner. Proud to serve hormone, steroid and antibiotic-free meats, this artful, elegant bistro has become a downtown favorite in just three years. Voted Best Wait Staff by Independent readers.

The Black Bear

10375 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls, 684-9648

blackbearrestaurant.com

For a special occasion, order the four- to six-course Chef's Table Tasting Menu, a selection of world-class food and wine courses flavored especially to your taste. Or go la carte, for foie gras, grilled honey and herb quail, duck, pork or a Colorado filet stuffed with pine nuts, spinach, asiago cheese and topped in a Pernod cream sauce.

The Blue Star

1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

thebluestar.net

Best Of 'o8

A roll down Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard from the posh Broadmoor neighborhoods, the Blue Star sports a wine list out-girthed only by the Yellow Pages. The eclectic food offerings range from humble burgers to high-end seafood bearing complex and creative dressings. Eat on the bar side if in jeans, dining room side if in khakis.

Briarhurst Manor Estate

404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864

briarhurst.com

Best Of 'o8

Aside from the awesome fact that Ghost Hunters recently filmed here, the food is scrumptious, the service crisp and the setting right beneath Pikes Peak second to none. Savor a cup of lobster bisque before indulging in the Colorado lamb loin, wild boar, bison or elk. Game is the name of the game.

The Broadmoor dynasty

1 Lake Ave., 577-5733

broadmoor.com

To slum it with the Richies, hit up fish and chips at the Golden Bee. The Tavern also delivers good steak without punishing the wallet. Upgrade to the Summit for artful specialties and a stellar wine selection. For a lavish special-occasion brunch, it's the Lake Terrace Dining Room. Charles Court is the next step up with elegant Colorado cuisine, and the Penrose Room reigns supreme with multi-course menus and its five-diamond AAA rating the only one in Colorado.

Carlos' Bistro

1025 S. 21st St., 471-2905

Carlos' Bistro is known for upscale cuisine as well as spectacular service. Owner Carlos Echeandia, usually found with tie over his shoulder, personally visits each table, offering suggestions. Pay a visit to the oyster and martini bar if not in for a big meal.

The Cliff House

306 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3000

thecliffhouse.com

Inside a gorgeous hotel, the Cliff House dining room is perfect for that quiet yet memorable, low-key anniversary dinner. Staff treat you as if you're staying in the hotel's largest suite. Enjoy apps like buffalo carpaccio and seafood cakes, followed by fish, fowl or steak choices.

Craftwood Inn

404 El Paso Blvd., Manitou Springs, 685-9000

craftwood.com

The Craftwood Inn thrives on Colorado cuisine, from trout and caribou to duck, elk, bison and wild boar. The menu is an adventure with detailed descriptions that start with appetizers such as sauteed loin of ostrich or braised elk tamales. Don't miss the jalapeo white chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce.

The Famous

31 N. Tejon St., 227-7333

restauranteur.com/famous

Best Of 'o8

Think dark wood tables wrapped by glossy booth seats, an elegant atmosphere best enjoyed with a martini or cocktail in hand. At lunch, grab a sandwich or salad topped in fish, steak or chicken. At dinner, hit the oysters Rockefeller app before a steak; the intimidating 20-ounce Prime Kansas City bone-in strip is as good as it gets.

Joseph's Fine Dining

1606 S. Eighth St., 630-3631

josephsdining.com

The main attraction is Joseph Freyre himself, a wizard of tableside presentation. Go for a special occasion and get the divine flambed spinach Pernod salad and show-stopping flambed pepper steak.

MacKenzie's Chop House

128 S. Tejon St., 635-3536

mackenzieschophouse.com

With its exposed stone foundation, extensive drink list and black-and-white local photo dcor, MacKenzie's delivers atmosphere. As for the food: Just consider the Baseball Cut New York, a steak marinated in herbs and garlic oil and topped with a fantastic onion-garlic sauce. Or the basil-poblano tortellini.

Margarita at PineCreek

7350 Pine Creek Road, 598-8667

coloradoeats.com/margarita

Enjoy award-winning chef Eric Viedt's five-course, prix fixe meal, which defies cuisine categorization and changes daily. Also check out occasional wine dinners and dinner-and-a-movie night on the riverside patio.

Marigold Café and Bakery

4605 Centennial Blvd., 599-4776

coloradoeats.com/marigold

Best Of 'o8

Gawk over the French and sourdough breads. Drool over cases of divine pastries and desserts. But don't forget that Marigold's offers some of the freshest lunch and dinner options around as well. Taste a bit of Paris with outstanding French onion soup, daily fresh seafood creations and truly special specials, like roasted duck.

Metropolitain

101 N. Tejon St., 302-0280

themetropolitaindowntown.com

Look for the pseudo-subway entrance on Kiowa Avenue and say goodbye to Colorado Springs. Descending into Metropolitain is like slipping into the heart of a dark, ultra-chic city nightclub. Order a martini and handful of small plates, like truffle pommes frites and drunken figs.

moZaic

443 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, 481-1800

innatpalmerdivide.com

Inside the posh Inn at Palmer Divide, moZaic offers amazing views and European-inspired treats for all tastes. Go traditional with filet mignon and chicken marsala, or adventurous with wild boar ravioli or braised bison short ribs all served beautifully with an extensive list of fine wines.

Nosh

121 S. Tejon St., 634-6674

nosh121.com

Best Of 'o8

The pairing of artful food and art providing food for thought was a natural, and almost two years into the biz, Nosh still delivers. With clean, modern lines in the Plaza of the Rockies, Nosh connects gorgeous, small-plate food brie-topped potato latkes, anyone? with affordably priced wines. In the summertime, the patio proves a great lunchtime spot.

The Pepper Tree

888 W. Moreno Ave., 471-4888

peppertreecs.com

This upscale eatery boasts expansive views of the city, tableside food preparation and impeccable service. Sesame-crusted scallops with sweet Thai chili sauce and Pepper Tree's signature steaks and sauces are all superb.

Plate World Cuisine

9420 Briar Village Point, 475-8000

platecolorado.com

Plate adds a certain drama and elegance to independently owned dining on the north end of town. Hints of international flavor shimmer in dishes such as wild mushroom risotto, Kalua pig sliders and sugar cane skewered shrimp.

Restaurant Fifteen Twentyone

123 N. Main St., Pueblo, 719/542-9999

restaurant1521.com

Chef Duy Pham's French-inspired cuisine is simply outstanding. Dishes appear with creative and artful presentation, while complex sauces complement skillfully prepared entres. The menu, which benefits from several local products, changes regularly. If available, get the Colorado lamb or Australian sea bass, with goat cheesecake for dessert.

Steaksmith

3802 Maizeland Road, 596-9300

steaksmith.com

This locally owned steak and seafood house has attracted serious carnivores for more than 25 years. The choice cuts are aged in-house for up to eight weeks, resulting in some of the most tender and flavorful steaks in town. Sides are simple, but tasty, and include fresh bread, soup, veggies, pasta and, of course, potatoes.

The Sunbird

230 Point of the Pines Drive, 598-8990

thesunbird.com

The Sunbird is all about location. Its hilltop perch is ideal for sharing dinner and sweet nothings while the city lights sparkle below, or for snuggling by one of the patio's fire pits. Hit the Sunday champagne brunch with pasta, omelette and fajita bars, carving stations, seafood, fresh fruits and desserts.

Swiss Chalet

19263 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park, 687-2001

restauranteur.com/swisschaletofwoodlandparkcom

Drop into this charming mountain retreat for Swiss-inspired sandwiches along with bratwurst or schnitzel for lunch. Start dinner with arguably the region's best escargot, followed by such choices as Swiss fondue, sea scallops St. Jacquez or broiled double lamb chops. For dessert: made-to-order souffles.

Tabeguache Steakhouse

407 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park, 687-8536

With prices comparable to (or better than) other local steak destinations that don't serve socially conscious Ranch Foods Direct meats, this mountain house deserves a visit next time you're in need of protein in Woodland Park.

Walter's Bistro

146 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 630-0201

restauranteur.com/ waltersbistro

Think lobster bisque at lunch, with a baby field green salad and ahi tuna sandwich. At dinner, smoked salmon with potato latkes before sea bass, filet mignon or Colorado lamb chops. Dessert: the mocha tart or toasted almond cake with vanilla sauce and raspberries. Walter's is impeccable gourmet in an elegant atmosphere.

The Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery

25 W. Cimarron St., 475-8880

thewarehouserestaurant.com

The Warehouse's industrial-chic atmosphere is warm and welcoming. The gallery, wide open and spacious with rotating art exhibits, is best enjoyed with a martini in hand. Back in the dining room, grab one of the seafood lunch specialties or an elk or bison burger at lunch, and the Colorado lamb or elk ribchop at dinner.

Indian & South Asian

Little Nepal

1747 S. Eighth St., 477-6997

asiangardencolorado.com

Hospitable hosts Raj Adhikari and Muku Bhandari are quick to share information not only about their large, traditional menu, but also about the customs, people and mountains of their homeland Nepal. Hit the lunch buffet or go for a dinner sampler of Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food.

The Curry Leaf Restaurant

26 S. Wahsatch Ave., 447-0608

The Springs' first taste of authentic Sri Lankan will dazzle coconut- and curry-lovers. Some dishes sing with cinnamon and cardamom, others with less familiar spices like goraka and rumpe. Order a side of roti, naan-style flatbread, to soak up your sauces, especially if you get the delicious chicken curry.

Everest Nepal

28 E. Bijou St., 473-3890

Everest's $7.95 lunch buffet is great for the downtown crowd. Its Nepalese and Tibetan influences deviate slightly from typical Indian cuisine. Get naan stuffed with onion and cilantro, green peas with homemade cheese in curry, or the matter paneer and chicken kawab.

India Palace

5644 N. Academy Blvd., 535-9196

indiapalacerestaurantcos.com

The $7.95 all-you-can-eat buffet is one of the best-stocked, -maintained and -tasting in the city. India Palace nails all the standard Indian foods, and the enormous dosas (stuffed crepes) are worth any drive.

Mirch Masala

5047 N. Academy Blvd., 599-0003

mirchmasalacuisine.com

Best Of 'o8

Punish the $7.95 lunch buffet any day of the week. Here, you'll find traditional, curried vegetable dishes alongside American crossover favorites. Take a generous pull of Naan bread to engulf the chicken curry or masala, and don't forget some saag paneer and dahl. A mango lassi will wash any order down in style.

Taste of India

4820 Flintridge Drive, 598-3428

tasteofindiasprings.com

This is where a significant portion of the city's Indian population heads for authentic food. Enjoy all the standards, especially butter chicken, plus sizzling plates from the clay oven. The Bollywood love stories on the flat-screen TV are a bonus.

Irish & English

Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub

21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766

jackquinnspub.com

"Quinn's," as its regulars call it, has become a staple of downtown Colorado Springs albeit, mostly, because of its nightlife. Still, as far as authentic Irish eating goes in town, Quinn's is as good as it gets. The ale house fish and chips is solid, as is the shepherd's pie and Grand Ole' Irish Stew.

McCabe's

520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300

mccabestavern.com

With a Guinness and Irish whiskey in hand and a fish and chips plate on the table before you, it's tempting to bust out your best cockney accent at McCabe's. Catch the CC hockey coach's show and taco night on Tuesdays, or the Geeks Who Drink pub quiz on Wednesdays.

  • Barbecue, Chinese, fondue, gourmet and more.

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