Here’s our Top 30 of the best places to eat in the Springs now. See your favorite on the list?
What turns an average eatery into one of the best restaurants in Colorado Springs? Many ingredients go into a recipe of true dining artistry, but simply following a formula is no assurance of excellence. Excellent food is a given, but there’s always a special something that elevates the great above the merely good. It could be a dash of creativity or a personal touch that provides a unique flair or authenticity. Ambiance can go a long way, but fancy furnishings are no guarantee. Labels and categories only go so far. Declaring “fine dining” cannot justify mediocre meals at top shelf prices. Value matters, and value can elevate an underdog restaurant to the echelon of the best in town. Service, consistency and variety — all are seasonings that help create a memorable, noteworthy dining experience that makes you want to tell your friends and come back again and again.
Of course, there’s always a dose of subjectivity when it comes to eating out and evaluating best restaurants. Personal palates, preferences, moods and mindsets all play a role every time we choose where to eat. Motivations play a big role too. Having an exceptional night out depends on what you’re after. Romantic date night, first-time meetup, special occasion, after work drinks, business dinner, girls night, fancy celebration, comfort food convenience — every occasion shifts the expectation and guides your choice.
So in order to compile our list of the best restaurants in Colorado Springs, we turned to a panel of our contributors, food writers, bloggers and aficionados well versed in the ever growing dining scene in the Springs. We nominated, voted, debated, voted again and found consensus for those that rose to the top. Some were clear favorites. Others split a narrow margin. And still more found strong advocates but narrowly missed the cut. That said, here is our list of the 30 Best Restaurants in Colorado Springs, presented in alphabetical order.
We say you can’t go wrong with these exceptional eateries. You may disagree. Don’t see your favorite on the list? Can’t believe we included that restaurant? Go try them for yourself, and let us know what we missed. We’re always open to culinary exploration and celebrating the best of the dining scene in Colorado Springs.
Note: It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant industry especially hard. Be sure to check for special hours, temporary closures or other limitations before heading out to eat.
Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Colorado Springs
Ambli Global Cuisine
Start with a Turkish Old Fashioned, infused with fig. Subtle. Deep. Delicious. A few sips in, you’ll be ready for adventure, which is what Ambli is all about. The menu shifts each month from region to region, going from Thailand to Mexico to the Middle East, with dynamic, often exotic, flavors and spices. The elegant contemporary setting shouts special occasion and co-owner Pariza Mehta makes each diner feel like they’ve arrived at the center of the world. —Warren Epstein
5278 N. Nevada Ave.
When Carlos himself greets you in the parking lot, shows you to your table and passionately chats all the way while insisting you try the frog legs, you know something special awaits. Try the Early Bird Dinner for half price entrées. Indulge in every course you can justify, including the Osetra caviar, the Foie Gras and those Fried Frog Legs. Old-school fine dining still exists. —Micah Redfield
1025 S. 21st St.
Colorado cuisine can be defined by great cuts of meat and wild game, and Cowboy Star smartly combines Wild West influences with the elevated atmosphere of white linen tablecloths. The inviting steakhouse highlights classic cocktails, a beautiful wine list and local products and ingredients to create an experience that feels both rustic and elegant. This is Rocky Mountain-esque dining at its very best. Pro Tip: For that five star feeling without the financial hit, check out CS’s daily happy hour from 4-6 p.m. (in the bar only) for specialty bites, beers and cocktails ranging from just $4-$7. —Dionne Roberts
5198 N. Nevada Ave., Unit 150
Dozo Sushi and Bar
This relative newcomer knocks sushi right out of the fish tank for freshness. Sashimi, nigiri, and oh-so-many rolls grace the menu, along with a seductive mix of tempura battered vegetables and teriyakis. The stunning presentation alone can make you cry. Both sleek yet welcoming, Dozo even greets the incoming literary crowd with its own book nook. —Julie Martin Sunich
1606 S. 8th Street
Straddling the open-air second floor of the Springs’ hottest nightclub/food hall (CO.A.T.I), Ephemera elevates the city’s urban dining experience with the experimental and unexpected. The tasting menus (with or without wine pairings) feature such artfully arranged delectables as squid ink pasta, cucumber asparagus soup, berry-glazed pork belly, forbidden rice and rose ice cream. And the raw oysters — as fine as you’ll find in a landlocked state. —W.E.
514 S. Tejon St. Suite 250A
Four by Brother Luck
The Springs’ most celebrated of celebrity chefs (as seen on Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped and Top Chef), Brother Luck runs two local restaurants: Lucky Dumpling, an Asian fusion joint, and Four, an upscale restaurant inspired by the Four Corners region of the Southwest. Four finds Brother resting on not a single laurel, turning out such Instagram-worthy dishes as a tender star-chef-worthy New York strip bathed in tomato chili hollandaise and a savory truffle mac and cheese. —W.E.
321 N. Tejon St.
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
Jax Fish House takes the only possible complaint about Colorado — that landlocked lack of shoreline — and brings the sea to the Springs via a sustainable, expertly executed seafood and oyster bar. Part of the Big Red F family of Front Range restaurants, Jax provides an impressive array of fresh shellfish, flown in daily, with varieties from both coasts to excite the most knowledgeable bivalve aficionados. In addition, be sure to check out Jax Soul Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring a Southern flare and superb morning drink selections. —D.R.
11 S. Tejon St.
The Margarita at Pine Creek
The Margarita is a restaurant of so many personalities. On a Saturday morning in the summer, you can sip mimosas and chomp on light, tasty egg puffs (eggs in puff pastry) or breakfast tacos while listening to live bluegrass. On a winter evening, you can huddle with your honey in one of the many romantic dining room alcoves, savoring flawless prix fixe dinners, live classical music playing softly nearby. Or, when it’s open, you can go to the bar downstairs for live music and fabulous burgers. —W.E.
7350 Pine Creek Road
Marigold Cafe & Bakery
A Westside mainstay for good reason, this beloved gem offers something for everyone. From French inspired classics, such as Beef Bourguignon and Snapper Marseillaise, to delightful midday fare, the hardest decision is choosing among the award-winning desserts. Take it from longtime diners, the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake will have you coming back again and again. Addictively decadent! —Elayne Prechtel
4605 Centennial Blvd.
Ristorante Del Lago
Truly authentic Italian cuisine is far less common than you’d think. But here at the Broadmoor’s Ristorante Del Lago, not only is the menu curated to echo some of Italy’s most lauded culinary regions, but Executive Chef David Patterson has developed relationships with Italian family producers to import the finest ingredients available. Sample them all while drinking in lakeside views via Del Lago’s panoramic windows (flung wide open throughout summer). Lake Como never felt so close. —M.R.
1 Lake Ave.
Paravicini’s Italian Bistro / Ristorante di Sopra
Single-handedly straining the world’s garlic supply chain, Franco Pisani has created the classic neighborhood Italian joint, where the hefty plates of Veal Parmesan and Chicken Piccata would surely get Sinatra’s approval. Upstairs, the sister restaurant Sopra has become the place for Franco to stretch, with more delicate flavors and more upscale ingredients. The Mushroom Gorgonzola Polenta and the Osso Bucco are transcendent. —W.E.
2802 W. Colorado Ave.
The Penrose Room
One of the few spots in Colorado where jackets are required (and offered if you misplaced yours). Also, the only Colorado restaurant to earn AAA’s five-diamond rating, a streak it’s maintained since 2007. Expect perfection and you won’t be disappointed, from the French-influenced cuisine (mouth-watering Ora King Salmon, Colorado Lamb and Braised Beef Short Ribs) to the surprisingly unstuffy and always-there-when-you-need-them servers. —W.E.
1 Lake Ave.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Penrose Room is currently only open for private events, with plans to reopen to the public in the coming months.
It’s Colorado; it’s a steak house — elevated. Do the right thing. Start with the Prime 10-Year Manhattan, a half dozen oysters, the onion soup. Follow with a bottle of Mercury Head Cab. Or two. This is where you order the Porterhouse steak, blue cheese crust. Add a side of Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes or Mac and Cheese. Finish with a fine glass of port. Take Uber home. —Steven Hayward
1605 S. Tejon St.
The Rabbit Hole
Find it at the other end of a stairway leading down from what appears to be the entrance to a subway station on the north side of Kiowa, just east of Tejon. There lies a darkened underworld where reservations are advised. Start with the Queen of Hearts Bloody Mary (comes with a beer). Share a veggie (or not) Nosh board, move on to the Bacon-Wrapped Rabbit Meatloaf (or the steak and shrimp frites if it feels weird to be eating rabbit in a rabbit hole), and end, yes, with the carrot cake. When it’s served, ask, “What’s up, Doc?” They haven’t heard that one before. —S.H.
101 N. Tejon St.
The Steakhouse at Flying Horse
Enter a Tuscan dream of Old World charm, featuring stone-paved walkways, alcove fires and breathtaking views of Pikes Peak. This top shelf experience leverages an in-house butchery and innovative fare, all anchored by a jaw-dropping, three-story glass wine tower. A three-time winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, this Northgate outpost checks the box as a romantic must. —E.P.
1880 Weiskopf Point
Modern buildout Summit — with its rotating, floor-to-ceiling wine cellar — has recently recast its menu to encompass the Americas. Now exemplary and unique dishes from South and Latin and North America — such as Roasted Beet Terrine, Corn Arepas with a habanero coleslaw, and the Broadmoor’s proprietary Eagles Nest Ranch Wagyu — are presented in their “native style with a contemporary twist” in a manner meant to “honor tradition, honor technique,” as Executive Chef David Patterson explains. With a truly unique culinary perspective, it’s the best of Colorado cuisine amidst a global flair. —M.R.
19 Lake Cir.
The Warehouse is one of those places you can count on. Whether it’s for a reasonably priced date night (go for the Monkfish and Lobster Nantua or the Bison Ribeye) or an elevated catered work event in the attached art gallery, chef-owner James Africano has you covered. You can’t beat the brick and copper urban vibe or Africano’s endless commitment to the local community. —W.E.
25 W. Cimarron St.
Best Casual Restaurants in Colorado Springs
503W transitions your dining adventures from downtown Colorado Springs into Old Colorado City with unique Asian fusion gastropub fare and an upscale craft cocktail program. The contemporary menu features an assortment of solid sharable apps, Korean inspired street food, more fanciful “knife & fork” entrees and stacked, all-natural, grass-fed cheeseburgers. 503W showcases a strong game behind the stick, curating themed happy hours as well as some of the best seasonal libations anywhere in town. —D.R.
503 W Colorado Ave.
Cerberus Brewing Co.
Great brews, a mouthwatering menu and the quintessential Colorado beer garden experience are three great reasons to look for the sign with the mythological three-headed dog hanging over Colorado Avenue just west of downtown. Try the Yuzu Kolsch when it’s on tap, or chow down on the decadent Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese. —Jason Fleming
702 W. Colorado Ave.
From the cyberpunk décor to the inventive menu to the classic anime playing on TVs above intimate booth seating, everything about Chiba Bar oozes the essence of Japan. Attention to detail shows up everywhere from the warm unagi bowl to the carefully selected Japanese whisky list. It’s no wonder this low-key izakaya, or Japanese style pub, is beloved by local food industry insiders. —J.F.
19 E. Kiowa St.
Crystal Park Cantina
This festive mountain hideaway’s innovative margaritas are a tribute to tequila bliss. Indulge in a pile of sweet potato nachos followed by a trio of enchiladas in an authentic red mole sauce. Or take a seat on the outdoor patio and go Baja with the tempura-battered fish tacos. Wash it all down with the best horchata in the city. —J.M.S.
178 Crystal Park Rd., Manitou Springs
Front Range BBQ
For proper Southern comfort food at the foot of the Rockies, look no farther. Grits, gravy, catfish and crave-worthy brisket make this Old Colorado City anchor a no-brainer for pure smoked-meat goodness. Live music on the patio and the sinful Southern desserts quickly turn first-time visitors into regulars. —J.F.
2330 W. Colorado Ave.
The Golden Bee
Located on the eastern fringe of the Broadmoor, “The Bee” is one of the best English pubs the state of Colorado has to offer. That sentence may sound like faint praise. It’s not. Once seated, your server starts things off by flinging a tiny sticky fabric bee your way. Respond by declaring: “Now it’s a party.” Order a half yard of beer or a Pimm’s, to keep things truly British. For mains, Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash. Spot on! For the full experience, secure a table near the piano and sing along. —S.H.
1 Lake Ave.
Monse’s Taste of El Salvador
From Chalchuapa, El Salvador, Monse Hines brought a bright, fresh Central American eatery to Old Colorado City. Since 2018, the welcoming pupuseria has gained a devoted following. The restaurant is best known for handmade, made-to-order pupusas, El Salvador’s most popular dish. The round stuffed corn cakes come in a long list of varieties, but try the Revueltas (pork and cheese). Also make sure you order sides of plantains and yucca fries. —Kristian DePue
115 S. 25th St.
Don’t be scared off by its strip mall presence. Step in to a colorful and cozy Latin-infused vibe. This once-food truck turned brick and mortar restaurant prides itself on an eclectic menu of fresh ingredients and striking combinations featuring bold Latin and Caribbean flavors. Authentic Cubanos and keep-‘em-coming street tacos paired with a Spicy Boi cocktail make for a memorable evening out. —E.P.
2825 Dublin Blvd.
The O.G. of COS hip has anchored downtown’s New South End long before the booming ‘hood began gentrifying around it. This cozy cafe offers crafted cocktails, coffee, soups and sandwiches served in an eclectic 1910 grocery store. Famous for its consistent quality and artsy charm, Shuga’s hosts a fine-tuned menu under a flock of paper cranes, surrounded by thrift store décor and candlelit ambience. No matter what, order the spicy Brazilian coconut shrimp soup. It never fails to delight. —K.D.P.
702 S. Cascade Ave.
With great pizza and a greater mission, Slice420 is a slice of NYC in the Springs. When the founders’ daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, they moved to Colorado Spring and set out to create a better life for her and others. Every slice sold helps support alternative medicine and healthcare availability. Establishing an overwhelming pizza popularity in Old Colorado City, they now have a thriving location on the Powers corridor. —K.D.P.
Westside: 2501 W. Colorado Ave., #180
Eastside: 3725 Oro Blanco Dr.
My pick for happy hour in the Springs. Start with Fries and Curry or Kimchi Fries — or both. Seared Barramundi or Blackened Salmon (both gluten free) or the 520 Burger (melted brie, bacon) for mains. Stare out wide windows and muse over the ocean of pavement that is Tejon Street. Until 1932, streetcars roamed there freely, stored here at 520 by the long defunct Colorado Springs Rapid Transit Railway. —S.H.
520 S. Tejon St.
Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant
Walking into the unassuming strip-mall storefront at Uchenna is stepping into the home of Chef Maya Hetman — and into a slice of another world. Here in this cozy corner of Old Colorado City, you can explore the depth of flavors from the Horn of Africa, particularly the rich culinary traditions of Ethiopian cuisine. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will discover tantalizing dishes eaten with the fingers served alongside rolls of injera flatbread. You can taste the love in every dish. —J.F.
2501 W. Colorado Ave., #105
White Pie Pizzeria
Who knew there was a New Haven-style pizza? Apparently White Pie. Their East Coast-inspired “apizza” is less-than-round with a thin, rustic and slightly chewy crust. The headliner pie is not to be missed. Its dreamy crème fraiche and fresh mozzarella make a palatable bed for toppings of cremini, bacon and a fried egg. Yes, egg. Don’t judge. Just order it. —J.M.S.
303 S. Tejon St.