Lucille’s Creole Café: 400 South Meldrum
The Bean Cycle: 144 N. College
There are plenty of funky coffee shops in Fort Collins. This one makes a mean brew and orders up the best pastries from local bakeries in the area, plus it’s run by a sweet family and shares space with a non-profit, lefty bookstore. Why not give them your money when it’s time to perk up?
Rasta Pasta: 200 Walnut Street Suite A (corner of Walnut and College)
This place is pure college town: grungy little corner shop with old furniture and mismatched silverware, plastic cups, and cheesy Rasta nostalgia to boot. If you have an allergy to Bob Marley worship, don’t go. But if you want a huge plate of tasty pasta for cheap, embrace your hippie past and come on in. Sauces range from simple, elegant white wine and garlic (and be forewarned: they love garlic!) with fresh tomatoes to Jamaican jerk chicken, and you won’t need another meal for a looong time. Great after a hike at Horsetooth.
Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewing: 5 Old Town Square
Lulu Asian Bistro : 117 South College Ave
I stumbled upon this place after a Christmas day hike because I was peckish and nothing else was open. What a pleasant surprise--the happy hour beers were a great deal, martinis were creative and tasty, and the food is very well-done Asian with a little modern flair. Very capable preparation, and a great blend of cozy bistro and sleek bar.
Taj Mahal: 148 West Oak Street
If you like Indian food, you probably fall into one of two serious camps: fans of Taj Mahal or fans of…that other place. I’ll tell you why I love Taj Mahal. Each dish is amazing--meat is fresh and well-cooked, sauces are all distinctive and flavorful, appetizers are all carefully prepared and wonderfully balanced, and the kitchen wants nothing more than to tailor your dishes to your tastes. The building is getting a make-over outside, but the inside is the same as it’s always been and open for business. I know people who drive from Wyoming to eat here, and I know why. (I once ate so much there that I almost passed out. No joke.)