My family and I traveled to Colorado Springs to see my son graduate from the Air Force Academy. My parents and my grandmother joined us on this trip, so we rented a home on Airbnb. One of my favorite things to do when we travel is to hit up all the best restaurants in town. Lucky for me my family members are not picky when it comes to food! Since my son had been living in Colorado Springs for the past four years, we took his advice on several places to visit for dinner.
One of my favorite things about traveling to a new place is that I get to experience local cuisine and enjoy dining at exclusive restaurants that offer unique foods.
Colorado Springs offers a wide assortment of restaurants that offer elegant, sophisticated four-course meals in a rustic and casual dining experience. Lucky for me, my family enjoys the unsophisticated, small, hole in the wall kind of restaurants. If you aspire to stick to locally grown food look for LocalFood CS (Colorado Springs) on the menu and download this app to point you to the right restaurant. The diverse culture in the Colorado Springs community offers an assortment of international eateries to explore.
Below are some of the restaurants we had the pleasure of dining at that we enjoyed during our trip:
Want a hot cheesy pizza cooked in a wood fire oven? Il Vicino is a pizza lover’s dream. Boy, was my husband in love! There’s just something about wood-fired pizza crust that gives it a unique flavor and crispness that you can’t get from a conventional oven.
We ordered a Margherita pizza which is served with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil. We also shared a Burrata salad which consists of arugula, burrata cheese, balsamic reduction, lemon dressing, cherry tomatoes, and freshly baked pizza wedges. Other options available on the menu are calzones, Paninis, Piadina flatbread sandwiches, and baked lasagnas.
Pho-Nomenal is one of my son’s favorite spots to dine with friends. He recommended we try it out while in in CS because none of us have ever eaten pho type dishes. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup which can be eaten with rare steak, seafood or with veggies.
As an appetizer, we sampled the Soft-Shell Crab, Spring Rolls and Fried Rolls which were all very tasty. Some of the entrees our group selected were Shrimp and Rice, Chicken and Rice, Beef and Rice, as well as Pho Beef and Seafood which were all delicious.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Johnny’s Navajo Hogan, has been in operation since 1935. The original owner, Nicholas Fontecchio, had a strong relationship with the Navajo Indians. The word “Hogan” means a sacred home for the Navajo people.
The Navajo Hogan has operated over the years as a dance club, strip club, high-class restaurant, and is now considered a landmark restaurant for the area. We ordered various sandwiches and a few slices of pizza along with some of their local beers. It’s a casual style restaurant with a bar if you want to come in for a drink with friends.
One of my favorite places to dine each time I visit is in Old Colorado City: Pizzeria Rustica. They have inside and outside seating, but I always prefer sitting outside on the patio.
The menu is straightforward with daily chef specials. We started with Insalata Mista and Caneo (salad) each with the house dressing. My husband loves pizza, so we decided to share a Margherita pizza. The pizza dough is made daily and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and Italian pizza sauce, utilizing locally grown tomatoes.
Pizzeria Rustica is a cozy small restaurant that serves up superbly delicious pizza at affordable prices. Along with our pizza we also enjoyed a glass of locally produced wine, so we could extend our time on the patio.
The beer business in Colorado is prestigious! Colorado Springs has over 20 craft breweries spread throughout the city. Colorado Mountain Brewery at the Roundhouse is at a historical location once called the Midland Terminal Railroad Roundhouse.
Inside the restaurant are photographs of the original building with trains parked in the terminals. Depending on your mood, Colorado Mountain Brewery offers a wide range of specialty food items such as Venison Eggrolls, Bison Poppers, or their award-winning Bison Chili.
I wasn’t in the adventurous mood, so I ordered the Southwest Salad with Chicken, and my husband ordered the Ale Battered Fish Tacos. The food was tasty and the beer was full-bodied and cold. We enjoyed the atmosphere of the old train terminal and the photographs of the past on the walls.
This restaurant has been named a Gold Medalist as the Best Italian restaurant in Colorado Springs for over ten years. We decided to celebrate a pre-graduation meal with our family at Paravicini’s. Here, original creations are cooked up in the kitchen by Chef Franco who designed a menu featuring many of Italy’s specialty dishes.
Paravicini offers seating on the patio if you prefer to enjoy the weather outside. Our family all decided to order something different and serve it family style so that we could sample each other’s entree.
Biaggi’s is a relaxing, family style Italian restaurant. Selections on the menu include homemade and imported pastas, soups & salads, pizza, seafood, steaks and of course desserts. The portions are quite large and perfect for sharing or to take home for lunch the next day. I selected the Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs along with a Caesar Salad. The meal was delicious, and the service was excellent.
If you are like my son, a meat and potatoes kind-of-guy, Saltgrass Steak House is an excellent choice. Your steaks are always chargrilled to perfection. The complimentary beer bread served with sweet honey butter before the meal is scrumptious. I could have easily made a meal out of the bread and butter! Many other choices, other than steaks, are on the menu such as baby back ribs, seafood, fried chicken and juicy burgers.
In determining quality and service of a restaurant, I typically look at the reviews on TripAdvisor. Trip Advisor is an app that can be downloaded to your cell phone or used on your computer to research restaurants and other activities. People that have eaten at the establishment share their experiences and sometimes share pictures of the dishes they selected. I recommend that you not only look at the ratings but also read the comments. It is not necessarily a perfect system, but it can certainly provide a fairly good indication of what to expect at such restaurant.
If you are looking for authentic food such as pho, tamales, kebab, or chicken masala, I’m certain it can be found in Colorado Springs. Many of the local restaurants are loyal to serving fresh and locally produced food.
With the anticipated large number of tourists that visit the city in the summer, restaurants focus on providing impeccable service to their guests. We found our servers throughout the city to be very attentive, prompt and fabulously friendly, all of which made our dining experiences much more enjoyable.
With family together around the table, we had the chance to reflect on many stories of the past and share plans for the future. It was nice to sit around the table without everyone looking at their cell phones and just talking while we were together . We were all excited about the experience of attending our cadet’s graduation and listening to him talk about the trials and tribulations he went through while at the Air Force Academy.
What I enjoyed most about my dining experiences was the option to sit outside and enjoy the mountain air of Colorado. Take the time to relax, drink a glass of wine or sip a cold locally crafted beer and enjoy your stay in Colorado Springs.