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West restaurants

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American


The Mason Jar

2925 W. Colorado Ave., 632-4820, masonjarcolorado.com

Boasting more than a million chicken-fried steaks served since 1982 (take that, American Heart Association!), the Mason Jar is comfort food, embodied and emboldened. But it's not all burgers and prime rib: Catch daily specials like Rocky Mountain Rainbow Trout, too. — $$

Stagecoach Inn

702 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9400, stagecoachinn.com

A classic Manitou destination for tourists and locals, Stagecoach serves satisfying specials like a wild game meatloaf (elk, venison and beef), and its regular lunch and dinner menus feature smoked pheasant chowder plus equally hearty burgers (buffalo and turkey options), sandwiches, steaks and seafood entrées. — $$

The Wines of Colorado

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

Serving a wonderful array of state-grown or -produced wines (you don't say!), this is a charming creekside eatery warmed by an iron stove and scented by an on-site smoker that flavors everything from salmon to prime rib. Get a ribeye sandwich, Reuben or green chile veggie burger. — $$

Brewpub


BierWerks Brewery

121 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 686-8100, bierwerks.com

A taste of the Alps in the Rockies: exceptional traditional German lagers like a dunkel, weissbier and helles, plus seasonal specialties, served alongside giant salted pretzels and basic, hearty cold-cut platters. — $

Burgers & Sandwiches


Cy's Drive-In

1833 W. Uintah St., 630-7008

A classic drive-in since 1953 (then under different owners), Cy's is your stop for nostalgia but also great burgers made from Ranch Foods Direct meat. A longtime favorite is the Alaskan Burger, a Thousand Island-laced double-decker cheeseburger. Also look for house-made brisket and green chile. — $

Joanie's Mountain Gourmet Deli

110 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park, 686-9091, joaniesdeli.com

Run by the capable former owners of The Pantry in Green Mountain Falls, Joanie's stands out at lunch with Boar's Head-built sandwiches like rotisserie chicken pesto melt, plus house-made specials like pork green chile inside a cornbread crust. And house pies. — $

Mountain Shadows Restaurant

2223 W. Colorado Ave, 633-2122, mountainshadowsrestaurant.com

This 21-year-old breakfast spot stands a head higher than the pack. Meet the inventive Reuben Omelet with corned beef and sauerkraut. Lunch and dinner sport awesome Ranch Foods Direct steaks and burgers. For those who've left the big-boy pants at home: bright salads and wraps — $

Pantry Restaurant

6980 Lake St., Green Mountain Falls, 684-9018

Really, who could possibly not love a French toast rendition constructed out of a house-baked cinnamon roll? (Hello, sugar!) There's also the locally famous cinnamon raisin toast, plus lunch items like burgers and sandwiches — great for patio dining in the summer. — $

PJ's Bistro

819 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1195

Operated by the son of the European Café's owner, PJ's sports some Eastern European highlights like the bestselling pierogi and potato pancake plates. But sitting on the excellent patio space in summer, it's all about happy hour with a burger and beer. — $$

Café


Bon Ton's Café

2601 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1007, bontonscafe.com

It's breakfast all day on a cute patio, with lunch options too, daily, 6 until 3. Serviceable pancakes, omelets and Southwest plates like huevos rancheros, or melts, burgers and sandwiches like shrimp po-boys. — $

Bona Dea Boutique & Tea

1824 W. Colorado Ave., 473-8322, bonadeateahouse.com

Set in a cute Victorian with local art, clothing and accessories for sale, Bona Dea offers a wide array of loose-leaf teas, available with high tea service by reservation. As for the food: dainty and delightful puff pastry entrées and rich desserts. — $

Cucuru Gallery Cafe

2332 W. Colorado Ave., 520-9900, cucuru.santuario.com

An eclectic stop for art, music, wine, High Rise Coffee drinks and a light tapas and sandwich menu. Go for owner Guillermo Alvarado's Cuban sandwich rendition: a panini pressed with thick-cut, house-Mojo-sauce-marinated pork tenderloin, with the classic accompaniments. — $

Donut Mill

310 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 687-9793

Your pick for Best Biscuits & Gravy — sausage gravy all the time; special bacon gravy on weekends — and a great ski-drive stop-in for pastries and coffee. "Monstrous" 12-inch cinnamon rolls and bear-paw-sized, chocolate-dipped bear claws, plus 28 flavors of Blue Bell ice cream. — $

European Restaurant & Café

935 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3556, europeancafemanitou.com

Operated by Polish chef/owner Bozena Jakubczyk, this Manitou staple is equal parts American and European, with burgers and classic sandwiches paired with brats, goulash and the like at lunch, and omelets with crêpes at breakfast. Pierogi by reservation. — $

Faerie Tales Bakehouse and Catering

1015 W. Colorado Ave., 375-5651, faerietalesbakehouseandcatering.com

Complete with a fantastic patio in the former La Petite Maison space, Faerie Tales offers a delicious, diverse pastry list that shows its cake and catering roots. But the savory menu excels, too: crab cakes Benedict at brunch, steak lollipops at dinner ... and that's just the beginning. — $$

La Baguette French Bistro

4440 N. Chestnut St., 599-0686, labaguettefrenchbistro.com

You'll eventually tire of hearing us fawn over the gorgeous Parisian Croque Madame sandwich here, unless you've had one and you get it. This is a more upscale/gourmet split-off from the La Baguette chain, operated by Europeans, but still serving the well-established winning soup, breads and pastries. — $$

Mucky Duck

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

Featuring a nightly chalkboard menu that rotates through gourmet goodies like duck breast and rack of lamb, as well as seafood and pasta items, and a sandwich-focused lunch list from which the popular French Dip hails. Brunch on Sundays with beautiful eggs Benedict plates. — $$

Naturally's Market & Cafe

110 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0555, naturallys.net

The best-sellers are the grilled Caprese sandwich on homemade rosemary foccacia and the Black Diamond Burrito complete with quinoa, millet, basmati rice and adzuki beans — a vegetarian's feast. If those ingredients are Greek to you, stick with the buffalo or salmon burgers. — $

Spice of Life

727 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5284, manitouspiceoflife.com

Dry goods like coffees, teas and spices line the dining room as a mini market, but locals go for satisfying breakfast and lunch plates constructed with quality ingredients: breads from Great Harvest; pastries from Boonzaaijer's; cold cuts from Denver's Italco — "a step above Boar's Head." — $

Swirl Wine Bar

717 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2294, swirlwineemporium.com

Located behind Swirl Wine Emporium, which will soon shrink a bit to make room for more bar space (and expanded tapas), your favorite wine bar serves simple but good meat-and-cheese platters, with rare and unique drink options. The parlor room and patio equally charm. — $$

Terrazza Grill

1005 W. Colorado Ave., 487-1933, blacktiegourmet.com

Part of Black Tie Gourmet catering, Terrazza Grill serves all three meals: gourmet omelets at breakfast; wraps, salads, and sandwiches at lunch; and more of the lunch menu at dinner, plus pastas, steaks and seafood in the $12-to-$15 range. — $$

Chinese


Coal Mine Dragon Restaurant

1720 W. Uintah St., 578-5430

Abundant portions for the right price on lo mein, sesame chicken and all the standards. Go for the spicy hot-and-sour soup, followed by crispy cheese wontons and the duck with black mushrooms, bamboo and broccoli in a brown sauce. — $$

Crêperie


Coquette's Bistro and Bakery

915 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2420, coquettecreperie.com

Gluten-free nirvana. That about covers it. Crêpes, apps, breakfast plates, sandwiches and a wide boozy and non-alcoholic drink list, all with attitude. Oh, and retail GF products like flour and baked goods, plus an expansion planned for spring with an array of new menu items. — $$

Diner


Hungry Bear

111 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 687-5912, hungrybearcolorado.com

A breakfast and lunch staple up Ute Pass, with bear-themed everything ("bear necessities," and a "baby bear" kids menu). The homemade buttermilk pancakes star in the early hours, next to steak breakfast burritos. The pot roast French dip with melted Swiss sells best at lunch. — $

Omelets Etc.

1616 S. Eighth St., 634-7321, omeletsetc.com

A bright, modern space with equally bright diner fare. For instance: house green chile-soaked burritos and omelets; good pies and baked goods over bottomless coffee; nice, savory daily specials from a large chalkboard; and classic American sandwiches. — $

Susie's Westside Cafe

1686 S. 21st St., 442-0090

With another great city view, overlooking Gold Hill Mesa, Susie's serves Ranch Foods Direct meat, a great biscuits-and-gravy rendition, a good green chile, and really wonderful house-baked pies. Literal sister operation (though separately owned): My Sister's Kitchen in Knob Hill. — $

Fine Dining


Adam's Mountain Café

934 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1430, adamsmountain.com

Think local, sustainably raised, slow and simply amazing food. Adam's is an annual shoo-in to our Best Of issues, with highly loyal clientele for plates like orange almond French toast (breakfast), the veggie Planet Burger (lunch) and stupendous Senegalese Vegetables (dinner). — $$

The Black Bear

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

Currently open for winter hours only, Thursday through Saturday, the Bear is the culinary playground of chef Victor Matthews and his Paragon Culinary School students. Catch expansive chef tables, but also à la carte comfort food and special events. — $$$

Briarhurst Manor Estate

404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864, briarhurst.com

Have a prix fixe four-course meal in the cozy castle, perfect also for periodic murder mystery dinners. Savory items include decadently prepared game meats like red deer with mushroom duxelle; sweets include well-executed classics. — $$$

Carlos' Bistro

1025 S. 21st St., 471-2905

It's premier and pricey, dinner only, and actually "old-fashioned," in the words of hands-on owner Carlos Echeandia. That means French-inspired continental cuisine, daily fish specials, and fresh wild game Wednesdays. — $$$

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

306 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3000, thecliffhouse.com

Depending on the season, you have three dining options: the super-view veranda, the casual Red Mountain Bar and Grill, or the more formal but comfortable main dining room. Prices range, but are fair for the high-quality eats. Think steaks and game meats down to build-your-own pizzas. — $$$

Craftwood Inn

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

Craftwood Inn's menu is like a foodie's dirty magazine: lots of eye candy. But at some point you have to quit ogling and choose between the apple-cherry wild boar spare ribs and the pumpkin seed antelope with pear-berry salsa and agave whiskey reduction. — $$$

Gertrude's

2625 W. Colorado Ave., 471-0887, gertrudesrestaurant.com

Under different owners but well trafficked since 1980, Gertrude's dishes gourmet Benedicts and the like on weekends; and solid sandwiches, pastas, steaks and seafoods across lunch and dinner. Think creamy spinach-walnut tortellini, or a smoked cheddar buffalo burger on ciabatta. — $$$

Joseph's Fine Dining

1606 S. Eighth St., 630-3631, josephsdining.com

Entering its fifth year of fine-dining flair, Joseph's maintains its evening popularity for tableside flambéed items: fantastic Hot Spinach Pernod salads, pepper steaks and Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilees. But past the lamb, trout and veal, you'll find an affordable gourmet lunch. — $$$

The Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant

733 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0277, monalisafondue.com

Giving the phrase "wine flights in the cellar" a good reputation since at least the last time you craved a full fondue coursing. You can get fondue dinners for two ($40 to $49 each) or cheese, entrée and chocolate varieties à la carte. Wild game platters and liqueur-enhanced desserts are highlights. — $$$

Motif

2432 W. Cucharras St., 635-5635, motifwest.com

Equal parts music, martinis and upscale munchies, catering-biz spin-off Motif is simply cool, but open Thursday through Saturday only. From the small plate menu with big flavors, the white truffle fries are a no-brainer, and the Kobe brioche sliders a fine companion piece. — $$

The Pepper Tree

888 W. Moreno Ave., 471-4888, peppertreecs.com

Serving dinner only with a tremendous view over the city, this is a sister restaurant to Woodland Park's Swiss Chalet. Its "pride and joy" are the pepper steaks: filet cuts with mango chutney, flambéed in brandy ($34.95 to $49.95). All else is equally haute, from Colorado lamb to Maine lobster. — $$$

Swiss Chalet

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

Sister outfit of the Pepper Tree, Swiss Chalet is equally regal, with another great view and a weekly chalkboard menu. Lunch bears a small list of soups, salads and sandwiches like a Reuben. Dinner blows it up with dishes like an escargot starter, steaks, lamb, scallops and Jager Schnitzel. — $$$

Tabeguache Steakhouse

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

Now featuring wines of the week with special pricing, Tabeguache is a straightforward steakhouse proud to support and serve Ranch Foods Direct. Get a salad course before slicing into a filet or New York strip, and finish it off with a dessert prepared tableside. — $$$

TAPAteria

2607 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8272, tapateria.com

Pizzeria Rustica's Spanish sister, this Barcelona-inspired tapas joint, now under lauded chef Jay Gust, is totally gluten-free, half vegetarian and a quarter vegan. Catch delicious small items that range from gazpacho shooters to wild salmon tartare and manchego-stuffed bell peppers, next to a great drink selection. — $$

International


Tajine Alami

10 Old Man's Trail, Manitou Springs, 685-1119, tajinealami.com

Our only Moroccan eatery, featuring weekend bellydancing and multi-course meals that include cous-cous, clay pot-cooked meats, seafood and vegetables, warming soups and phyllo pastries. Take off your shoes and let orange and rose blossom water prepare your hands for feasting. — $$

Uchenna

2501 W. Colorado Ave., #108, 634-5070, uchennalive.com

The sole stop for Ethiopian in the Springs, via warm Ethiopia native Maya Hetman, Uchenna is simply incredible. Take fermented teff-flour bread and scoop marvelously seasoned lentils, favas, chickpeas, lamb, beef, chicken or shrimp with intoxicating spices. Remember: It's Slow Food. — $$

Italian


Mangia Mangia

407 E. Grace Ave., Woodland Park, 687-3400, mangiamangiawp.com

The answer to Italian cravings up Ute Pass, where locals really are known by name. Serviceable sandwiches at lunch with daily specials, and mostly pasta plates at night, with a little seafood thrown in. We found success in the sausage puttanesca and beurre blanc salmon on our last visit. — $$

Paravicini's Italian Bistro

2802 W. Colorado Ave., 471-8200, paravicinis.com

Your pick again for the Springs' Best Italian. Let's examine a sample meal's progression: spicy tomato eggplant fries, then wedding soup, followed by garlicky capellini Pomodoro and scallops alla pesto. Homemade tiramisu for dessert, or the chocolate cheesecake with brandy-cherry sauce. — $$

Mediterranean


Jake & Telly's Greek Taverna

2616 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0406, jakeandtellys.com

The Topakas brothers branched out to Denver in 2011 with Axios Estiatorio, but their flagship eatery remains a very wise choice when Springs-bound. Great versions of Greek and Mediterranean classics plus creative specials, bountiful happy hours and excellent wine dinners. Yes — opa! — $$

Pegasus Mediterranean Café

19251 E. U.S. Hwy 24, Woodland Park, 687-4584, pegasuscafewp.com

Mediterranean with a Lebanese influence, Pegasus serves one of our favorite dishes of last year: a spicy gyro complete with the usual fixins, plus jalapeños and Sriracha. Other fun touches include floral rosewater in the lemonade and orange-blossom syrup on the house baklava. — $$

Sahara Café

954 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2303, thesaharacafe.com

In the space of the former Nile Café, Jordanian owner Sam Ayaad delivers touches of his home cuisine, plus Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian flavors. You'll mostly recognize the familiar and well-made falafel, gyros and so forth, but go to discover fattoush, ma'amoul and sage tea. — $

Westside International Restaurant, Deli & Mart

1502 W. Colorado Ave., 227-9400

As the name implies, there's more than just dining to be had here. You can shop for imported dry goods or even glass pipes. But when it's eatin' time, Egyptian owner Michael Ezzat will personally take good care of you: Egyptian tea, gyros, mixed grill plates and a great falafel platter. — $

Mexican/Southwest


Amanda's Fonda

3625 W. Colorado Ave., 227-1975

Amanda's is a 12-time Best Of winner in a time of transition: It was sold mid-year to a guy who owns a handful of Wendy's, and he's been talking growth. Regardless, our visit soon after the sale was full of largely satisfying southwestern dishes, and you'll never be disappointed by the creekside patio. — $

Crystal Park Cantina

178 Crystal Park Road, Manitou Springs, 685-5999, crystalparkcantina.com

A favorite newbie of 2011, run by ex-Denver Bronco Justin Armour's family. Highlights: the jalapeño Cantina Burger, Southwestern standards with a coastal Mexican flair, and stunning fresh margaritas like the sangria and jalapeño-cilantro. Newly expanded menu; expanded hours soon. — $$

Estela's Mexican Restaurant

925 S. Eighth St., 575-0244

From the folks behind Pueblo's legendary Mill Stop Café, and bearing its own legacy in the Springs, Estela's is your stop for spot-on, house red and green chiles smothering popular plates like the El Burro burrito. Free sopapillas at meal's end, plus a new, 33-tequila custom margarita bar. — $

Jorge's

2427 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9031, jorgessombrero.com

When Barack Obama passed through Pueblo days before the election in 2008, his family ate at quarter-century-old Jorge's Sombrero. Owner Jorge Ayala just sank half a million dollars into the newly renovated, expanded and reopened Springs location. It's still all about margaritas and tacos. — $$

La Unica

3317 W. Colorado Ave., 633-7499

With 14 years on the west side after five on Platte Avenue, the Barraza family's charmingly decorated eatery offers slightly upscale Tex-Mex. The house salsa is surprisingly hot and delicious, as is the house guacamole. The enchiladas bear a delicious red sauce with cinnamon hints. — $$

The Loop

965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9344, theloopatmanitou.com

Champion in the contentious Bar for a Margarita Best Of category, offering around 30 tequilas and new creations like The Skinny, a clean agave and lime margarita. Past a huge menu of Tex-Mex staples, find specials like the stone-bowl Molcajete: pork, chicken and steak in poblano sauce. — $$

Rudy's Little Hideaway

945 S. Eighth St., 632-9527

We once described Rudy's as a Denny's in a sombrero, basically offering a mix between American diner classics and Mexican comfort food. For example, take this recent special, the Volcano ($7.50): homefries with jalapenos, onions, a hamburger patty smothered in green chili, two eggs and tortillas. — $

Pizza


Billy's Old World Pizza

308 S. Eighth St., Suite E, 630-3400, billyspizza.net

An Italian buffet for the hurried, and slow, stone-baked, Chicago-style, deep-dish pizzas for everyone else. Everything from-scratch, including house-ground meats and house-stuffed sausages. — $$

Marilyn's Pizza House

964 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9104

It's a Manitou tribute to '50s icon Marilyn Monroe, owned by the same folks as the Ancient Mariner. The pies are pleasant enough, as recently evidenced by the 10-inch Manitou ($9.75) with feta, mozzarella, olives, artichoke hearts and garlic sauce on thin crust. — $

Pizzeria Rustica

2527 W. Colorado Ave., 632-8121, pizzeriarustica.com

One of our town's sustainability stars — Green Restaurant Certified and sourcing a lot locally — this is the spot for top-notch wood-oven pies featuring house-made mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and gourmet toppings like venison sausage. Killer desserts, too. — $$

Ruffrano's Hell's Kitchen Pizza

9 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4355, hellskitchenmanitou.com

The owner trained at a Hell's Kitchen joint, bringing its recipes here. The Hellfire (hot sausage, pepperoni, cherry peppers) is a standout, and some go for the goofy mac-and-cheese pie. Gluten-free options plus garlic, cinnamon or Hellfire knots for a different twist. — $$

Savelli's

301 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-3755, savellispizza.com

Catch all-you-can-eat Spaghetti Tuesdays ($8.99), proficiently made subs like the Grinder (of house-made Italian sausage, green peppers, onions, provolone and house tomato sauce) and the specialty bacon cheeseburger pizza or chicken garlic ranch pizza. — $

Pub Food


Ancient Mariner

962 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-5503, hmsancientmariner.net

Also a major Manitou music venue, the Mariner's a good bet for a pint and anything from a po-boy to a burger, pizza or homemade soups. Wednesday is half-off pizza day; Monday, half-off burger day. The Reuben with a secret "captain's sauce" is a go-for item. — $

Dutch Mill Tavern

503 W. Colorado Ave., 471-3370

Korean-born owner Mi Lee took over 16 years ago and has added Eastern influences like Asian kebabs and the new kimchi burger (with spicy cabbage inside the meat), as well as a Thursday Korean dinner. Otherwise, it's bar norms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. — $

Keg Lounge

730 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9531

When you mention the Keg, everyone talks up the buffalo cheeseburger and the berry salad, but there's also Ranch Foods Direct steaks and daily specials. Atmosphere-wise, it's Manitou through and through, which is to say full of twisted, homey bar charm. — $$

McGinty's Wood Oven Pub

11115 W. U.S. Hwy. 24, Divide, 686-7703, mcgintyswoodovenpub.com

It's a mind-blowing Friday-night fish-and-chips with delicious house chowder (one of our dishes of the year), or the Paddy O'Reilly pizza with corned beef, braised cabbage and creamy horseradish. Plus an exclusive Bristol-blended house ale and bangin' sandwiches. A must-go. — $$

Meadow Muffins

2432 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0583

Winner again for Best Neighborhood Bar on the west side, "The Muff" is a 30-plus-year go-to for games, karaoke, beer bingo, DJs and drinks. The standard pub fares span the familiar burger, sandwich, pizza and wing territories, and obviously don't disappoint. — $

Silver Tongue Devil Saloon

10530 Ute Pass Ave., 684-2555, Green Mountain Falls, thesilvertonguedevil.com

This lively drink house with live music far surpasses bar-food expectations. We always freak out over the stupefyingly good egg-roll-wrapped jalapeño poppers (now with habañero option called "Bombas"), but the buffalo and barbecue wings are great, too, as are the house-made pizzas. — $$

Thunder & Buttons II

2415 W. Colorado Ave., 447-9888, thunderandbuttons.com

Catch daily food specials like steak sliders and blackened shrimp fettuccine, beyond a sizeable sandwich and salad menu. See their website for daily happy hour and late-night drink specials. Also open mic comedy night, Geeks Who Drink and live music. — $

Southern/Barbecue/Cajun


Buster O'Brians

727 Gold Hill Place, Woodland Park, 686-8098, busterobrians.com

Traditional Cajun and more, from scratch, with personality. Enjoy a fresh salad bar, included in some meals, plus a newly expanded menu of po-boys and hearty bread bowls. Also: breakfast plates, beignets, gumbo, étouffée, Cajun seafood pasta and baked desserts. — $

Firehouse Southern Style BBQ

817 W. Colorado Ave., 447-8829

Firehouse came under new ownership last fall, but the menu hasn't changed. That's good, considering they won our ribs "food fight" in mid 2010. Think great smoked meats with delicious house sauces. Look for the separately owned split-off, Firehouse on the Run, in Black Forest. — $

Front Range Barbeque

2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596, frontrangebbq.com

Killer craft beer tap selection, national music acts, great patio, and then there's the Alabama-native-driven menu: quality smoked ribs, brisket, pulled pork, po-boys, burgers, catfish, Cajun specialties and, of course, homemade pecan pie. — $

The Smokin' Q

11027 U.S. Hwy. 24, Divide, 687-5800, thesmokinq.com

Using hormone-free meats and rainbow trout from a Buena Vista farm, this worthwhile Divide detour handles smoke well. Cherry and applewood inform the loaded trout burrito. Sample the great pulled pork as part of a five-person family meal for $42 (including brisket, ribs and more). — $$

Sushi/Japanese


Shinji's Sushi Bar

308-M S. Eighth St., 475-0669

Shinji Shibuya is a gracious sushi chef whose warmth equals that of his awesome miso ramen bowl ($9.50). His specialty rolls are fabulous, and the good news is that he recently added lunch hours, complete with affordable bento boxes plus a crazy 18-piece California roll for $2.95. — $$

Thai


Pho-N-Thai

125 N. Spruce St., 329-0705, yourhoodz.com/phonthai

Pho-N-Thai, as the name suggests, blends Vietnamese and Thai classics, along with an American section. One highlight is three free refills of Thai Iced Tea ($2.50); another is the awesome green curry, which, when ordered hot, we called a "velvet-wrapped hammer of lip-numbing goodness." — $

Wild Ginger Thai Restaurant

27 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 634-5025, wildgingerthai.com

Wild Ginger earns our readers' vote for Best Thai year after year, which in a town now overrun with Thai options, says more than descriptions of familiar dishes like pad Thai and coconut milk green curry. Suffice to say, then, that this place is simply grand. — $

Vietnamese


House of Saigon

1014 S. 21st St., Suite A, 473-6707

A highlight here is generous helpings of crisp vegetables like broccoli and green bell peppers, which freshen dishes like the vegetable noodle bowl (your basic bun) and the spicy, ginger-y squid lemongrass entrée.— $

Vietnamese Garden

3043 W. Pikes Peak Ave., 520-9299, vietnamesegarden.net

Dung My Tram's Vietnamese menu stands out from others, with items you don't see elsewhere, like a fantastic potato fritter appetizer and delicious mung bean and cassava cake desserts. Her noodle soups and grilled meat entrées are also excellent. Weekly specials are worth a look, too. — $$


Other eateries with West locations:

Borriello Brothers, 229 S. Eighth St.

Carlos Miguel's, 730 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, Woodland Park

Colorado Mountain Brewery, 600 S. 21st St. (coming early summer)

Gold Hill Java, 757 Gold Hills Place, Woodland Park

Heart of Jerusalem Café, 718 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs

Jun Japanese Restaurant, 3276 Centennial Blvd., 227-8690

La Baguette, 2417 W. Colorado Ave., 577-4818

Sheldon's Luncheonette, 310F S. Eighth St., 520-1654

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