Best Places for ethnic food in Colorado Springs
I believe in supporting local food and I LOVE it when what I eat is something different. So to help out our wonderful local restaurants, I decided to make a list of the top places to get your ethnic eats in Colorado Springs.
I'm no food snob so you won't find Frou-Frou Cafe or Expensive Ethnic Eats on this list. Just delicious, wonderful, down-to-earth and as authentic as possible ethnic eateries that are owned and run by local folks!
The best advice that I can give you when looking for something to eat is to try absolutely everything once. And if you hate it, give it one more try. Every food deserves at least a chance and most of them deserve a regular place on your food repetoire.
This is a newly opened, (open just four weeks at the time of this writing) locally-owned cafe and bakery that makes authentic Filipino Food.
They are located on the East side in the same plaza as my #2 pick Arharn Thai. The address is 3743 Bloomington Street Colorado Springs 80922 and the phone number is 719-309-6934. You can visit their menu on Tumblr at: http://you-ka-cafe.tumblr.com/
You-Ka has a limited menu of some of the more mainstream Filipino dishes like Pancit Bihon or Palabok, Lumpyang (Shanghai) and, of course, adobo pork and chicken. The adobo here is especially delightful as it is a dry adobo with less vinegar tang.
Although the menu is small, the food is authentic and the pastry case is just full of must try sweets that are no good for your diet (why are you reading this if you are on a diet???) but wonderful to taste and smell! You can take home empanadas, puto, boba, halo-halo, and mango, ube and pandan cupcakes for your home eating pleasure!
Give these guys a try next time you are in the mood for something exotic!
In the same plaza as You-Ka Cafe, Arharn Thai is the only place to go for Thai food in Colorado Springs. The Pad Prig Prow Talay is spicy and deliciously fishy and the veggie Pad Khing makes a satisfying, hearty meal for those not interested in eating food that used to have a face!
The curries here are mostly gluten free (for those unlucky enough to have to worry about things like that) and the Tod Mun appetizer is fragrant with Kaffir Lime leaves and has a surprisingly delicious cucumber salad to accompany it.
The atmosphere is very busy but they have tried to add many soothing touches like the bamboo corner in the picture above. Tables here are a bit close together so you may find yourself enjoying not only your conversation but someone else's as well. Still, there is much to be said for the fast and welcoming service and it is certainly worth coming in to enjoy such lovely and authentic Thai dishes.
Give Arharn Thai a try for something spicy and be sure to visit their website at: http://arharnthai.net/
Uchenna is simple, home cooked ethiopian cuisine served with so much love you can feel it all around you. From the moment you walk in the door, you are family. But like any mamma in town, Chef Maya is not as concerned with how fast the food gets to you as she is with how much you enjoy it and how loved you feel when you leave.
Do not come to Uchenna expecting quick service - this is NOT McDonalds (and if you want McDonalds, why are you looking here???). This is home-cooked love from a wonderful ethiopian family. Maya even saves her cards and letters of support from customers and puts them on her "love wall" because every customer who comes in to visit is family to her.
When I first tried Uchenna, I was a little worried as I had no idea what ethiopian folks eat but I found many things to love on this menu. The injera bread that comes with every meal is delicious, light and slightly sour. Bubbly and soft, sized like a thick crepe, there is nothing about this bread that isn't delicious (double negative notwithstanding). Injera is also gluten free so go ahead and enjoy that bread!
There are plenty of vegetarian options at Uchenna and because I love their injera so much, I recommend the injera fitfit which is injera shredded and mixed with tomato, green pepper, olive oil and spices.
The Foul (pronounced fool) is also delightful even for a hater of fava beans such as myself. The garlic, jalapeno and lemon have made the crushed fava beans spicy and sour and just delicious as they burst on the tongue.
They also have a wonderful mediterranean menu of standard fare like pitas, gyros and mediterranean salad for those not willing to adventure into the ethiopian delights.
A delightful surprise at Uchenna is that the lamb is organic and all their meats are grass fed (although I don't know if they are grass finished) and Chef Maya has certified them as raised in a cruelty free environment.
Food should not just be something we shovel into our faces and move on. You will not find me in a drive-through for fast food nor will you find me wasting much time at over-priced, underflavoured and inauthentic chain ethnic restaurants. If you want the best ethnic fare find a local restaurant run by a family who has cooked, eaten and enjoyed the food you are hungry for today.
Which item is best on this list? That depends on what you are looking for but I can tell you that my personal favorite is Uchenna because it is made with love and Chef Maya doesn't really care if you leave fast only that you leave full and happy!
Please Colorado Springs, stop wasting time and money at terrible chain restaurants and start supporting these or any other local eateries around town. There are exceptionally delicious options all around you - just open your eyes and widen your palate to try them please!