by Craig Anderson, Frank Frey, Warren Epstein, Steven Hayward, Jeremy Jones, T.D. Mobley-Martinez, Micah Redfield, John Sawyer, Meagan Thomas
What’s your favorite meal in town? What are the specific dishes that draw you back again and again? What restaurants? What if you were choosing your one last meal in Colorado Springs? These are the questions we asked our team of contributors and foodies. And these are their answers. Welcome to your new favorite local eats—or at least a worthwhile culinary tour of sampling.
Over Easy: A Daytime Eatery
While many breakfast restaurants have a Benedict on the menu, Over Easy boasts six renditions, making it hard to pick a favorite. Drizzled balsamic on top of prosciutto, tomato and fresh basil gives the Tuscan a salty-with-a-kiss-of-sweet taste. The Southwest swaps the typical English muffin for an open-faced tamale, and the green chili bites just right.
5262 N. Nevada Ave., 5925 Dublin Blvd., 28A S. Tejon St.
Four by Brother Luck
The Tiny Burger
The Tiny after whom Brother Luck’s burger is named was a massive guy who needed something to get him through the dinner shift. Brother Luck’s answer to this problem? A hefty burger covered in house-made bacon jam, pickles, melted cheddar, house-made pork belly and topped with an over-easy fried egg. “A whole lot of love,” says sous chef Hannah Couples when asked what’s in it. “Every part of it-the jam, the pork belly-is at least two days in the making.” It will get you though whole months at a time.
321 N. Tejon St.
Paravicini’s Italian Bistro
Italian Wedding Soup
Sitting down to this bowl is like pulling up a chair to your adopted Italian grandmother’s table. There’s comfort in each delicious slurp-and plenty of tradition. According to chef-owner Franco Pisani, women from both families would cook the wedding meal together, with soup as the first course. With flavorful meatballs, peeled chicken meat, orzo, spinach and grated Romano cheese in a chicken broth, Paravicini’s soup beautifully combines a variety of tastes-just like Mama’s.
2801 W. Colorado Ave.
Spicy Brazilian Shrimp Soup
When the person drew the first emoji for delicious, he or she must have been eating Shuga’s Spicy Brazilian Shrimp Soup. If Saint Bernards carried this soup instead of brandy, more people would concoct reasons to be rescued in the mountains. When Irina Shayk eats this soup alone and glances in the mirror, she gasps in surprise, as for the first time in her life she is not the most beautiful thing reflected. I know these truths every time I pour the last drops onto my spoon to savor every last touch of coconut, ginger, jalapeño, cilantro and lime.
702 S. Cascade Ave.
Nitro Short Rib
This menu staple works every day to achieve consistent perfection. Fat is trimmed. Savory short rib meat bathes in Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro and slow-cooks until achieving a no-knife-necessary tenderness. Then it’s carefully charred until there’s a crisp crust. No corner-cutting on the sauce either, as hoisin blends seamlessly with five-spice barbecue, and sesame seeds and orange zest elevate the flavor. Did I mention the well-paired slaw features pods sliced lengthways, straight through the sugar snap peas? No shortcuts, anywhere.
503 W. Colorado Ave.
Available sea to shining sea, oysters on the half-shell are no longer exotic, even in landlocked states. What’s valued are freshness and a briny taste of the sea, which Prime 25 delivers along with a surprise sprinkling of lavender buds and sea salt. Unorthodox accoutrements that elevate the delicacy into unforeseen realms of brilliance.
1605 S. Tejon St.
Blue Corn-Dusted Steelhead Trout Tacos
Sure, the chipotle lime crema is rich and tangy. The avocado and micro cilantro deliver the fresh. But it’s the cornmeal crunch and slighty wild flavor of the trout that set apart these savory bites. Pause for just a second, and you’ll swear you’ve been transported to some idyllic riverside scene with a stringer full of your fresh-caught quarry ready for a pan-fried feast.
321 N. Tejon St.
Beef Brisket Grilled Cheese
The problem with most grilled cheese sandwiches that incorporate meat and sauces is soggy bread and a sandwich that falls apart. This food truck’s rendition comes with sauce-I like original, but they have four kinds-and it’s perfectly proportioned with the cheese and brisket. The bread stays crisp and toasty, and if you prefer more sauce, just ask for a side to dip in.
Various locations, frequently at Fieldhouse Brewing Company
Adam’s Mountain Cafe
Korean Style Organic Salmon
The Gochujang barbecue sauce, honey and tamari bake into a flavorful glaze atop perfectly tender organic salmon. Cucumber kimchi offers a bit of zing. Subtle ginger peeks through. Pine nuts top with texture. Braised greens deliver fresh earthiness. And coconut jasmine rice makes a nontraditional pairing. It’s a go-to combination.
26 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Combination Special Noodles
There’s so much flavorful balance in this Vietnamese noodle bowl. Soft, delicate rice noodles complement crisp fresh lettuce, bean sprouts and citrusy cilantro. Tart pickled carrot sings to the nutty backbeat of ground peanuts. Unique house-made marinades glaze pork, beef, chicken and shrimp. Filling yet light, it’s yin and yang in one delicious bowl.
20 E. Colorado Ave.
Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar
Creamy Parmigiana Polenta with Roasted Mushroom & Gorgonzola
The scrumptious polenta parm base stands alone as a dish. But layer on bits of wild yellow, shitake, crimini and portabella mushrooms; dot with hearty chunks of pancetta-an Italian bacon made, as all good things are, with pork belly meat-and blend with an on-the-edge-of-sharp gorgonzola sauce; and you have an entree worthy of the name Sopra and its elevated Italian etymology.
4 S. 28th St.
Any primo piatto is only as good as its pasta; and Carbonella’s is so good, they sell it by the pound and offer pasta-making classes. The menu is the type one looks for while traveling through Italy: handwritten daily. The regularly-available smoked porchetta is superb. And simply ordering the daily special featuring rotating fresh pastas will make it a truly primo day.
1169 Circle Dr.
Try these decadent desserts—or other sweets from these restaurants.
Marigold Cafe and Bakery
Double Chocolate Mousse Cake
It sounds downright decadent, but pastry chef José Aguilar’s award winner strikes a perfect balance-layers of dark chocolate cake and bittersweet mousse, covered with chocolate ganache and topped with milk chocolate shavings. The airy mousse and dense cake deliver a cocoa bomb with unexpected, but satisfying, refinement.
4605 Centennial Blvd.
Pecan Pie Bread Pudding
This is the reason people eat dessert first. The bread pudding is moist, but not soggy. The caramel and candied pecans are a perfect pairing. The bread pudding could certainly hold its own without ice cream, but an extra scoop of the salted caramel ice cream propels the dish to divine realms of salty-sweet-creamy bliss.
702 W. Colorado Ave.
Tres Leches Cake
This hidden gem offers award-winning Mexican food, but it’s worth a stop just to try this delicious traditional dessert. Made with yellow cake soaked in three kinds of milk-evaporated, condensed and heavy cream-a forkful may surprise you. The cake is firm, but dripping with sweet vanilla sauce. Deeply comforting.
28 E. Rio Grande St.