Recommended: Tasty NOCO Restaurant Survey

Art on the wall at Mash Lab (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE


When the news came down that longtime Fort Collins eatery Canino’s Italian Restaurant will be closing in the near future, my wife and I decided to make Canino’s our choice for our anniversary dinner.

We were looking forward to their delicious lasagna and eggplant parmesan and a glass or two of wine. But it wasn’t to be. When we arrived — without reservations — we were turned away at the door. They were booked up for days in advance.

Provincial sandwich at 415 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

OK, fair enough. We ended up taking our anniversary celebration to Restaurant 415 where we shared their tasty Roasted Beet Salad; I ordered the Provincial sandwich, and my wife got the Blackened Cauliflower. Two glasses of Shiraz and a chocolate dessert complemented the mains nicely.

The whole thing prompted the idea to take an informal survey and find out what restaurants friends and acquaintances loved in the area.

At the very top of the list by far was Young’s Cafe in Fort Collins, serving Vietnamese cuisine. It seems everyone agrees Young’s is consistently great.

Here’s a quote: “We have been going there since the late ‘8Os. It’s now our kids’ and their kids’ favorite place to go when they’re here! The best sesame chicken ever!”

Cacciatore in the Jessup Farm area (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Wouldn’t you know — we went to a birthday celebration the very next night after our anniversary dinner and the fare was Young’s take-out. Yep, it was great — Peanut Tofu, Peppery Shrimp, and Papaya Salad.

Here are other comments area people made:

“The new Mash Lab Brewing and Kitchen in Windsor is on my list with good food and beer, plus great atmosphere”.

Johnny Johnston playing blues at the Tuesday Food Truck Rally in City Park (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

“Cacciatore is family-owned, the food is always good, and I think the Jessup Farm area is a little gem”.

“I’m fond of The Rainbow as it was the very first restaurant I went to in Fort Collins — and all these years later it’s still thriving”. 

“We enjoy A.K.A. Kitchen/Rock Coast Brewery in Loveland. With a relaxed atmosphere, nice patio, eclectic menu, and good beers, what’s not to love?”

“Caprese Trattoria in Longmont has great Italian food.  It’s owned and operated by an actual chef”.

“I keep going back to Simmer in Fort Collins and El Palomino in the Crossroads area. At Simmer, I like the squash ravioli dinner and their berry lemon drop martini. At El Palomino, I like the crispy chile Rellenos and their margaritas”.

Rio Grande in Fort Collins (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

“We like the calzones, garlic knots, and salads at The Garlic Knot. Nimo’s has also been a longtime favorite”.


“We enjoy Otto Pint’s personalized pizzas and neighborhood atmosphere. The sangria is a great complement”.

“We frequent the Chili House for Chinese food, hands down the best sushi for the price, and their Thai Green Curry”.

“The Forks in Livermore has dinner specials each week. The 287 Burger is open-faced and smothered in green chile on a pile of fries. Their food is fresh and well worth the wait!”

Canino’s will be closing – you’d better make a reservation (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

“Khon Thai has some of the best curry, soup, and noodle dishes in NOCO. I like the Massaman Curry and Pad Thai. On a cold day, the seafood Tom Yum Noodle Soup will warm your soul”.

“We have been enjoying the food at El Burrito for over 50 years!”

“La Buena Vida has really wonderful margaritas (as well as excellent food)”.

“LaPorte Pizza serves very good pizza and they also have great kraut burgers on Wednesdays”.

Others: Domenic’s Bistro and Wine Bar, The Rio Grande, Blue Agave, Silver Grill, Yum Yum Social, Crown Pub, Vern’s, Cafe Bluebird, Back Porch Cafe, Nick’s Italian, Fiona’s, Choice City, D.C. Oakes, Smokin’ Fins, Moot House, Austin’s, Jay’s Bistro, Sonny Lubick’s, Chimney Park, Loveland Chophouse, Mo Better Gumbo, and Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant “for its chile Rellenos and horchatas”.

After my wife and I enjoyed our anniversary dinner at 415, we strolled around City Park and right through the middle of the Fort Collins Food Truck Rally. But that’s a whole other tasty food story!

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.

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