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That's Amore!

Carrabba's mussels with garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine.

Carrabba's mussels with garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine.

An intimate table for two. Flickering candlelight. You gaze at your beloved over a steaming bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese. The time is right. You lean toward each other. Closer and closer, until, as violins serenade, you kiss.

That’s amore! The food of love.

Come along as we take you to five Italian restaurants that are sure to bring a little bit of romanticismo into your lives.

Carrabba’s

In 1986, two Sicilian boys from Texas who loved to cook and eat opened the first Carrabba’s in Houston to celebrate their family’s rich culinary heritage and home-style hospitality.

Twenty-seven years later, Carrabba’s 240 locations around the country still offer that warm, authentic Italian experience.

Walk through the door and you’re immediately drawn to the lively exhibition kitchen where cooks work their magic with a flair, preparing Italian dishes to order, many on their wood-fired grill.

Take the Pollo Rosa Maria–a plump chicken breast, layered with prosciutto, oozing with Fontina cheese, wood-grilled and topped with sautéed mushrooms in a basil lemon butter sauce. Perfezione!

On Valentine’s Day look for seasonal specials in addition to their everyday signature menu items. Amore Mondays offers three courses starting at $12. Or drop in for Wine Wednesdays and receive $10 off any bottle of wine.

To give you time to gaze at your amore, you can even request pizza dough for the kids to play with. Just one of the many special touches that makes Carrabba’s feel like your Italian Mama’s kitchen.  

If you go: 2815 Geyser Dr. 80906, (719) 527-1126 / 7120 Campus Drive 80920, (719) 264-0401

Dat’s Italian

Dat’s Italian is a hidden gem. Nestled in Old Colorado City, this cozy space, with its brick-red tablecloths and gallery of family photos, makes you feel right at home, which is exactly what Dennis and JoAnn Trujillo are striving for.

“We did not come into the restaurant industry as professionals,” JoAnn says. “It was just my mom, me and a serious dream to cook and to serve people.”
That dream has come true.

They just celebrated their third anniversary, and customers can’t get enough of their treasured Old-World family recipes - from their “to die-for” lasagna to their Ancona Seafood Soup.

“We offer the soup every Saturday,” Dennis says. “I’m afraid we’d have a riot if I didn’t sell it.”

Romance is always in the air at Dat’s Italian, but on Valentine’s Day, they offer a special menu complete with wine and a choice of desserts. “All our tables turn into twos,” Dennis says. “And we play nothing but love songs.”

If you hurry, you can book the romantic corner table.

If you go: 2514 W. Colorado Ave., 80904, (719) 632-3287

Fratelli Ristorante Italiano

Fratelli’s is a downtown treasure. For eighteen years,  Kym and Armando Palomba have offered a little bit of Italy right here in the Springs.
Walk through the brightly-lit doorway and enjoy a Roman bar with twinkling lights that’s perfect for sharing cocktails with a small or large group. Then enter the intimate dining room and experience a feast for the senses.

An artists’ galleria celebrates local art in every medium from jewelry and metal sculptures to oils and watercolors. Order one of Chef Armando’s authentic Northern and Southern Italian specialties, and you’ll feel as though you are in a cucina Italiana.

Everything is fresh and homemade–from the Fratelli Misto with bufala mozzarella to the melt-in-your-mouth veal scallopinis and seafood medleys.

For Valentine’s Day, Fratelli’s will offer a four-course prix-fix menu, including a glass of Prosecco, a decadent chocolate dessert - and a rose for the ladies.

That’s the secret at Fratelli’s - warm, friendly service, special touches that delight, and dishes made with amore.

If you go: 124 N. Nevada Ave. 80903, (719) 575-9571

Luigi’s

With its red-and-white checkered tablecloths, cheery fireplace, and hanging straw wine baskets, Luigi’s is a Colorado Springs tradition.

For 55 years, the Cervetti family has welcomed generations of Springs residents to enjoy their homemade Northern Italian-American classics.

Many recipes are still made the old-fashioned way - by hand. Like the ravioli. From start to finish, it’s a three-day process. Their crew of six makes 2,500 ravioli and tortellacci every two weeks.

It’s that quality and consistency that keeps guests coming back. Patrons who first came as babies now bring their children and grandchildren. Couples who celebrated their first dates at Luigi’s return for their anniversaries.

Luigi’s romantic ambience has won them many accolades, including “most romantic place for a first date.” A matchmaking service even used Luigi’s to film a commercial.
On Valentine’s Day, they’ll add a special entree and dessert, but you can still order your regular favorites.

That’s what’s so comforting about Luigi’s. You’ll enjoy the same warm welcome, homemade food and cheerful ambience patrons received in the very beginning.
And after one visit, you’ll be family.

If you go: 947 S. Tejon Street 80903, (719) 632-7339

Paravicini’s Italian Bistro

The minute you step into this lively West Side bistro with its brick walls, inviting booths and open kitchen, you can feel the energy. Chef-partner Franco Pisani greets you like family, and you immediately feel at home.

Ten years ago, Chef Franco and his partner, Ted Sexton, decided to open a good old-fashioned neighborhood Italian eatery in the Springs, the kind you find in every Little Italy around the country. Paravicini’s was born.

Inspired by his mom and her Southern Italian roots, Chef Franco created a menu that incorporates a mix of classic recipes and Paravicini originals. Guests flock to their doors to try such standouts as the flavorful Calamari Fritti Arrabiata, the hot and spicy Veal Giuseppe with Italian sausage, and his mom’s incomparable, third-generation Tiramisu.

Starting the week before Valentine’s Day, you can enjoy a three-course “dinner for two” special for $45, or you can order off the menu.

At this award-winning bistro, where love is in the air and everyone knows your name, each meal is a celebration. So sit back and enjoy. Buon Appetito!

If you go: 2802 W. Colorado Ave. 80904, (719) 471-8200