Guest Post: Hungry Games: Café Diva, A Divine Dining Experience, Steamboat Springs, CO

Café Diva is quite possibly the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. Located in Steamboat Springs, CO, in the Torian Plum Plaza, Café Diva has two dining rooms that seat 65 people. Calling ahead for a reservation is generally a must. My family dines there every year for my brother’s birthday, two days after Christmas. I always make that reservation two months in advance.

On my trip to Steamboat for my sister’s wedding, a Café Diva experience was the perfect way to end the weekend’s celebration. The restaurant’s website describes the “nourishing, hydrating” menu as a “culinary spa experience.” Chef Kate only uses regionally grown produce; cuts of meat from regional ranches; and fresh, sustainably harvested seafood. Every dish is also beautifully plated, so it’s almost like eating a work of art. I’ve always imagined that if the gods were having a feast, this is the food that would grace their tables. Seriously, it is soooooo good!

The menu changes seasonally, so I was forced to try something new (I always order the lamb shank because I’ve literally had dreams about the tender meat that falls off the bone with a touch of your fork; however, lamb was not on the summer menu).

I started with the Grilled Peaches and Burrata Salad. The peaches and creamy burrata (similar to buffalo mozzarella) sat atop a bed of wild arugula over a layer of parmacotto ham. It was sprinkled with candied pecans and drizzled with white balsamic-ver jus vinaigrette. I’ll just let your imagination run with that. It tasted as delicious as it sounds.

For the main course, I tried the Market Catch—a beautiful salmon covered in mango-coconut salsa, served over avocado coulis (coulis is just a thick sauce made of fruit or vegetables) and jerked Napa cabbage slaw with candied cashews. The combination of flavors was heavenly. It was a very filling meal, but each bite was so delicious, it felt like a sin to leave any on my plate.

My uncle went for the Peppercorn Crusted Natural Tenderloin—a juicy cut of Boulder Valley Ranch beef served with bacon, wild mushroom, onion, and spinach sauté; horseradish cream; and purple potato galette (meaning the potatoes are prepared and served in the shape of a flat, round cake). He did not offer to share any with me; he clearly wanted to savor every bite himself.

My new sister- and brother-in-law shared the Surf and Turf. It was elk tenderloin with veal demi glace, diver scallops, summer vegetables with almonds, and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. The elk and scallops are always on the menu at Café Diva because of their popularity.

And, for dessert I had the Key Lime Tart—an Amaretto-Graham cracker crust filled with refreshing Key lime mousse and topped with rum whipped cream. Absolutely divine!

The only downside of eating at Café Diva is that the experience has to come to an end. Oh, how I longingly await my next visit in the winter…

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