Spice Island Grill is kind of a big deal. It has appeared on the Food Network Channel, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Guy’s Grocery Games. Guy Fieri actually fell in love with the curry goat here, a slow-cooked bone-in concoction made by Claudette Hutchinson, who hails from a large family of Jamaican cooks. Claudette honors her homeland at Spice Island by creating stick-to-your-ribs Jamaican dishes that have also earned glowing reviews from the Colorado Springs Independent and ColoradoSprings.com.
On many weekends at Spice Island, modern Jamaican DJ sounds mingle with the whir of blenders mixing slushy tropical cocktails.
When you can’t get quality Middle Eastern food in Colorado Springs and have to make the trek to Denver whenever you want it, what do you do? If you’re the Abukhdeir family, you open up your own local place, Heart of Jerusalem Cafe.
This Dining Guide winner is loved for its tasty shish kebabs, slices of Zaatar pita and warm flatbread, crispy falafel, and hummus, all seasoned with imported spices. It has actually proved to be such a success since its opening that it now has three locations in Austin Bluffs, Centennial, and Manitou Springs.
Baba ghanoush: thick, smoky dip made with grilled or broiled eggplant, garlic, sesame, and olive oil
Baklava: a sticky sweet dessert made with nuts, honey, and multiple layers of flaky filo dough
Dolma: refers to dishes that are stuffed with vegetables or meat and popular versions include stuffed grape leaves and peppers
Falafel: chickpeas and/or fava beans, grounded and mixed with herbs and spice (usually parsley, garlic, or cumin), and then fried as a ball or patty shape
Hummus: dip made with mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice, typically served with bread for dunking
Shawarma: slow-roasted chicken, lamb, or beef cooked on a vertical spit
Why yes, Colorado Springs DOES have a kava bar—it’s 1 of only about 100 or so kava bars in the entire country. What is kava, exactly? Kava is a plant made from the roots of a tropical shrub called piper methysticum, a native of the western Pacific islands. Studies have shown that kava can ease anxiety, decrease stress, relax muscles, and treat insomnia. Pacific Islanders have been using kava for centuries as a medicinal plant.
At Ohana Kava Bar, kava is served as a traditional beverage or mixed into specialty kava drinks, including smoothies, lemonade, and tea. If you’re new to kava, Ohana recommends that you drink 3–4 traditional shells worth or 12 to 16 ounces of a specialty drink.
Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant may be one of the most romantic restaurants in the Colorado Springs area. First, there’s its location in a former 19th-century hotel situated at the foothills of Pikes Peak. The restaurant’s past life as a hotel means that tables are scattered throughout various rooms and levels, giving diners the space to entertain private conversations.
Then there’s the food, eminently shareable cheese and chocolate fondue. Four-course meals also include steak and gulf tiger shrimp grilled tableside and dipped into bowls of sauce. And in the Wine Cellar, hundreds of bottles that encompass more than 80 varietals stretching back to the early 1900s line the walls. With such ambiance, it's no wonder Mona Lisa was awarded the best place to celebrate special occasions by the Colorado Springs Gazette.
We polled our editorial department, and our respondents largely agreed that the responsibility for paying falls on whoever asked the other person out. Here were some of the anonymous responses from the women:
“I am an old-fashioned girl in many senses, but in this day and age, I think we should progress towards having females pay once in a while, as well.”
“I'm a woman who dates men and, boy oh boy, if it's a bad date, they better be picking up that tab. But on the first date I had with my now-boyfriend, we ended up splitting the check. I think in general I didn't mind dropping some cash on a date that turned out well—which maybe isn't completely fair.”
“I don't like to think in terms of ‘shoulds’ when it comes to paying on a date. Personally, my preference as a woman is to split the bill just to keep things feeling ‘even,’ especially on a first date, but if someone insists I may let them pay. I think things should be taken on a case-by-case basis without much expectation one way or another.”
Woah boy. King’s Chef Diner, which is located in a PURPLE CASTLE, proves that you can’t judge a restaurant by its exterior. You may be tempted to not take this place seriously, and you would be forgiven for that. But you also would miss out on some of the best breakfast food in the area.
Edelweiss is another gimmicky Colorado Springs restaurant that shouldn’t be dismissed outright. The German eatery, complete with a stone exterior, a sign in German typeface, and waiters dressed in Bavarian attire, has really great Old World German dishes. There’s schnitzel and sauerbraten, strudel and black forest cake.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the biergarten is hopping with the sounds of live music and clinking beer glasses. During the winter, three blazing fireplaces keep the dining room nice and cozy.