A Culinary Adventure Around the World
No Passports Required!
Saigon Café’s Shrimp and Pork on Grill is accompanied by noodles and the freshest vegetables.
Are you longing for summer rolls in Saigon,
Moussaka in the Mediterranean, or baklava in Beirut, but world travel isn’t in your future? Join us as we take you on a culinary adventure from Greece and the Middle East to Ethiopia and Vietnam, without leaving your armchair.
Ten years ago, Moe Sharifi had a dream–to bring the authenticity and culture of the Mediterranean and the Middle East to Colorado Springs.
So, together with his close-knit Persian family, he opened the Caspian Café.
Their menu features cuisine from 15 different countries, including France, Portugal, Turkey and Spain.
“Lamb dishes, like our tagines–a Moroccan stew–lamb shanks, and kebabs, are staples on our menu,” General and Marketing Manager Asja DeJong says.
“The portions and the style in which we serve our food,” Dejong adds, “are representative of the Middle Eastern family-style culture.”
Their Tzatziki and Gyros are customer favorites. With its shredded cucumber, the Tzatziki gives a burst of flavor, while the Gyros, a mixture of beef and lamb, are tender and juicy.
Everything is fresh and made from scratch–from sauces to dressings. And their yogurt, feta and olive oil are imported from Greece.
Their award-winning Orange & Saffron Caramel Cream is delightfully light and creamy, while the Baklava, laced with a citrus-infused honey, is a little bit of heaven.
Fridays and Saturdays, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a belly dancer dazzles customers with her scarves, swords and even fire, enticing kids, moms and dads to try a few moves.
As Sharifi greets his customers, enjoying the buzz of conversations in so many different languages, he smiles. “I love the people who have become friends through the Caspian Cafe.”
If you go: 4375 Sinton Rd., 80907, (719) 528-1155
Since 1999, the award-winning Saigon Café has been a downtown treasure.
Owner Paul Truong and his wife, Cuc, are passionate about bringing their customers the freshest and healthiest cuisine from their homeland in South Vietnam.
Every day, different Vietnamese suppliers provide fresh vegetables from around the country, including basil from Hawaii.
“Vietnam is a poor country,” Cuc says, “which is why there are so many vegetables in our dishes, like bean sprouts, lettuce and cucumbers.”
Since each dish must have balance, vegetables are mixed with noodles, rice, and meat.
And they never take shortcuts.
Their Pho, a steaming soup bowl with noodles, beef, fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, lime and jalapeño, is a huge crowd favorite. What makes it so special is the beef broth.
“We cook it with fresh beef bones and marrow for twenty-four hours to give it its rich flavor,” Cuc says.
The noodle bowls are another favorite. Bursting with fresh vegetables and noodles, each bowl comes with your choice of proteins, including shrimp, chicken and beef.
The secret ingredient is their imported fish sauce, which contains everything from the sea, including shellfish. To make it even more special, the cooks add lemon juice, water and sugar.
To enhance your dining experience, The Saigon Cafe also offers a wide selection of wines, including some imported from Bordeaux.
Paul and Cuc believe that if you cook with care, your food will have soul.
Their many faithful customers agree.
If you go: 20 E. Colorado Ave., 80903 (719) 633-2888
Dining at Uchenna is an experience like no other.
The aroma of exotic Ethiopian and Mediterranean spices draws you in, while owner/Chef Maya’s warm greeting invites you to linger.
“We are more than a restaurant,” she says, “we are a home where people become family.”
It is her honor to bring the magic of her culture and cuisine to every guest.
“Ethiopian food is very old and traditional, and the variety is astonishing, including scores of vegetarian and vegan dishes,” Chef Maya says. “What makes it rich are all the spices, such as cardamom, cumin and turmeric.”
Her descriptions are so enticing you can’t wait to eat them, such as “beef that’s stewed in a sauce that can make you sweat or sing, or both.” Or “lamb, marinated in 14 spices, that’s so moist and tender, you can feel the spices bubble in your mouth.”
As your food arrives on a tray with a mixture of vegetables, meat and lentils, Chef Maya delights in showing you how to use Ethiopian bread called injera to scoop up your food with your fingers.
“In our culture,” she says, “we all feed each other to show our love for each other.”
And joy is a part of every meal.
“In our kitchen,” she adds, “we don’t only cook, we dance and laugh, and we put all of that into our cooking.
“We have sprinkled love on our food, and our customers can feel it.”
If you go: 2501 W. Colorado Ave, 80904, (719) 634-5070