Sunday, July 3, 2011

Restaurant Commentary: Casa Bonita (Denver, Colorado)

I was actually stunned to see Casa Bonita’s webpage describe their food as “mouth-watering.” I was in Denver last week with my two daughters and grandson. My daughter had read about the restaurant in a Frommer’s guide and, even though I read online that the food was not particularly good, we gave it a shot.

I cannot imagine why anyone would ever go back there. From the onset, it was a most unpleasant experience, with long winding lines waiting to get in, a sign indicating everyone over the age of two must buy a meal, a limited, overpriced menu selection, and needing to pick up meals on plastic cafeteria trays and then having to tote them thru the entire restaurant to your seats.

Then there was the food. Ugh! Honestly, Taco Bell would be embarrassed to serve food that bad. Even the chips and salsa — which we had to ask for — were terrible. No one at our table was able to eat more than a few bites. The only things actually edible were the sopaipillas.

All of this might have been more bearable, had the “entertainment” not been just as bad as the food. The gorilla show, gun fight, and diving demonstration were at best cheesy, with bad costumes and even worse acting.

On top of everything else, the restaurant is located in a seedy and dangerous-looking part of town that we were uncomfortable being in after dark.

I fully understand that this place is intended to be fun and entertaining for children but, with just a little effort, they could vastly improve the food quality, taste, and presentation. I guess since the place was packed on a Thursday night they think they don’t have to but I believe they do. Save your money, or take it to Chucky Cheese. The kids won’t know the difference and you won’t feel completely screwed.



Sounds like a rotten experience but is actually hilarious to read about! Funny, I lived in Denver for two years and never once went to Casa Bonita and a big part of the reason was probably its location on notorious Colfax Avenue, which everyone I knew avoided as much as possible. Haven't been there in 20 years but Wikipedia notes that the road is "associated with prostitution, crime, and a dense concentration of liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. Playboy magazine once called Colfax 'the longest, wickedest street in America.'" Fun stuff! And, apropos of your reference to Chucky Cheese, this is very reminiscent of that restaurant's seedy location on Route 1 in Alexandria, Virginia. I can remember the kids pointing out to use the holes in the skin of the animatronic characters through which you could see their gears moving. Well, Eric Cartman thought Casa Bonita was "sweet," but I guess it's obvious that his and your ideas of a good time are not the same.

mybelovedmonster said...

you lived or live in denver for 2 years and avoid colfax.... simple because of a wiki page ... theres so much to do on colfax and places to eat, have you been on 13th, or broadway? dont go down to Welton or downing.... or heck 16th street mall if your worried about seeing any of those thing i dont know where you can live


Mybelovedmonster, I lived in Denver back in the 1980s, way before there were Wiki pages! But I'm sure you are right that there are plenty of good places to eat on Colfax and I will be certain to check some of them out next time I am passing through Denver. A feature story on what the better parts of Colfax have to offer might even be something worth considering.