I had never heard of Casa Bonita in Denver. Before going, I was discussing my upcoming trip with someone who had just returned from Colorado. I was told that Casa Bonita is a horrible restaurant that I must visit. Horrible and must visit aren't two phrases that often go together with restaurants, so I made up my mind that I must go!
Located in the corner of a strip mall, you enter and order your food at a counter. It is handed to you almost immediately, which I'm assuming means everything is pretty much pre-made. You are then brought to your table. This leads you into an open area overlooking cliffs, waterfalls filling a pool down below, a town, and more. I see some definite inspiration for Epcot's Mexico Pavilion in Casa Bonita.
Chips and salsa were included in the meal, like most Mexican restaurants.
I had the Chile Rellenos Platter for my main course. I was honestly expecting crazy priced bad food, but the prices here were equivalent to other Mexican restaurants and the food was tasty enough. The platter came with two chile rellenos, rice, refried beans, guacamole, and sour cream. The serving size was very large and definitely filled me up.
Two Sapodillas were served for dessert with a bottle of honey for a topping. I was stuffed at this point, but I ate them along with my other food very slowly to stall. Stalling is important here because those cliffs and waterfalls in the center of Casa Bonita aren't just pretty decorations. Corny shows happen every fifteen minutes on the cliffs.
While I was eating, there was fire juggling, a cowboy gunfight, and a show with a guy in a gorilla suit. Every one of these bits ended in somebody diving off a cliff into the pool below. It was all extremely corny, but much more enjoyable to watch than some other themed restaurants like this that I've visited (like the Jeckyll and Hyde Club).
After I was done eating, I wandered around the restaurant for a while. I ventured into El Mercado, which was Casa Bonita's gift shop.
I also ventured into Black Bart's Cave. This dark, winding cave took me past pirates, paper mache monsters, buried treasure, and all sorts of cool stuff. It reminded me of something from Orlando's old Mystery Fun House.
I am totally glad I listened to the advise to visit Casa Bonita. This was probably the best Mexican restaurant I've visited that was described to me as horrible!