Boulder's Best Restaurants: Dining and Drinking at Their Finest
By Hope Gately
Boulder Local Expert
Compiling this 10 Best list was quite the challenge since Boulder offers so many eclectic dining options. What made a restaurant "list worthy," you might ask? We looked for local spots that serve quality cuisine, were affordable, had killer happy hours, a reputation for exceptional service and track record of excellence in dining. Amongst our selections, you'll discover the absolute best happy hour and sangria in town at Pearl Street's The Mediterranean and some of the most adorable and fresh sushi Boulder has to offer at Sushi Zanmai. For those who desire upscale elegance, Black Cat offers farm-to-table delights and their commitment to sustainability will make you feel good about supporting this family owned and operated restaurant. If some of the best breakfast in town is what you crave, The Buff and Huckleberry are sure to deliver. Many of our 10 Best Restaurants are located within walking or biking distance of one another, so taking a tour on your visit would be a piece of cake. Speaking of cake, you can order a slice at one of our featured eateries, along with other freshly baked treats. If you have the desire to continue your carbohydrate crawl, allow us to suggest our favorite pizzeria that will make you swear you've stepped out of the Rocky Mountains and into the streets of Napoli, Italy. So read on as we dish out the best of Boulder's culinary powerhouses.
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Tajik Shish Kabob, Spicy Indonesian Peanut Noodles, and North African Harrissa Chicken are just a few of the delights you'll find on the Teahouse's international and exotic menu. This lovely restaurant was a gift from Boulder's sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which donated the building to the city in the late 1980's. The ornately decorated structure was imported and then rebuilt by workers from Tajikistan. Offering a truly one-of-a-kind brunch, you'll find Indian samosas, German Bratwurst, and Korean Kalbi Short Ribs. For something a bit more traditional, you can try the salmon benedict, homemade oatmeal, or greek scramble. And, because it wouldn't be a true visit to this gorgeous restaurant without a cup of tea, be sure to indulge in one of their many black, green, white, or oolong teas. (303-442-4993)
If you're in the mood for variety, this locally owned gem is the place for you. Not only does The Med serve up a taste of Italy, but you can also take a tour of Spanish, French, and Greek cuisine having never left Boulder. Known for, but not limited to, its fresh, wood oven pizzas and hot-out-of-the bakery bread which is made fresh daily, this eclectic restaurant offers more than just carbs. Be sure to try their Kabob made with your choice of lamb, chicken, or shrimp and flavored to perfection with garlic hummus, tabouleh, basmati rice, seared greens, grilled flat bread & tzatziki. Stop by at happy hour to peruse a to-die-for wine list. (303-444-5335)
Located on enchanting Pearl Street, this pizzeria mixes traditional Italian elegance and charm with some American edge and swagger. Among their mouthwatering concoctions you'll find the Vesuvius, a lite tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad that will leave you refreshed, and more than ready for a glass of one of Pizzeria Locale's ostentatious wines. And, for the main course, may we suggest the Filetto pizza, complete with sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy burrata cheese, pungent garlic, fresh basil, and parmigiano reggiano ( we could call it plain, old, Parmesan, but that wouldn't quite describe Pizzeria Locale's take on this well-known cheese). (3034423003)
This popular restaurant offers some of the best breakfast fare in Boulder. The menu features traditional options such as egg and omelet combos, including The Swiss, pancakes, and waffles, along with a specialty breakfast chimichanga. The delicious whole grain nut toast is almost an inch thick. For something light, you can start off with cereal and fresh squeezed orange juice, Buff granola, or steel cut oatmeal. For something a bit more decadent, try the french toast, blueberry pancakes or griddle cakes. If you're in the mood for Mexican, the Huevos Rancheros are not-to-be-missed, along with the light but satisfying breakfast tacos. (303-442-9150)
A popular college hangout, this eatery features graffiti-scribbled walls and a menu filled with burgers, sandwiches, seafood, steaks, pizzas, and salads. Specials include ancho-stuffed tenderloin and breaded seared scallops. The Ugly Crust Pizza is topped with an assortment of toppings, or you might want to try the famous Sinkburger. A fun fact about this trendy dive: Our Commander and Chief, President Barack Obama visited the Sink on his most recent trip to Boulder, taking pictures with the local customers and, inadvertently, getting yogurt spilled on his pants by a CU of Boulder college student. Hopefully, our POTUS won't hold it against the Boulderites and will stop in for a burger on his next visit. (303-444-7465)
This high-energy sushi bar and Japanese restaurant transforms a simple meal into an adventurous spectator event. Watch as flashy Japanese chefs prepare your meal hibachi style or at the sushi bar. The contemporary setting is spacious and designed in neutral tones,natural woods, and traditional Japanese face-masks line the walls. Karaoke and nightly sushi happy hours add to the boisterous atmosphere. As an added bonus, the service is exceptional; hot towels are served at the beginning of each meal in true Eastern fashion and the service staff are knowledgeable as well as enthusiastic about the menu options. Be sure to ask about their delicious dumpling appetizers and start off with warm miso soup. (303-440-0733)
Located just outside Boulder in quaint Louisville, Colorado The Huckleberry is known for its fresh, delicious, and all-American food. Breakfast and brunch are the time of day when this place really shines, with a variety of eggs benedicts, biscuits and gravy, milkshakes, and homemade pies. Many items can be made gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan to suit your dietary preferences or needs. Tea and pastries can be purchased to take home, as well as a variety of local and handmade gifts such as jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and art work that can be found in The Huckleberry lobby. Also, be sure to have a delicious house chai. ((303) 666-8020)
This steakhouse is a long-standing Boulder favorite and features a creative menu that includes prime rib, grilled New York strip, and nightly fish specials. In addition, Wine Spectator has repeatedly acknowledged the award-winning wine list for its excellence. For a taste of something unique, indulge on their Sake Salmon or, for happy hour, enjoy Cork potatoes and baby back ribs. The Cork's ambiance of elegance makes it the perfect place to go for a special occasion, but its affordability ensures that you can stop by for a fun night out on the town anytime. (303-443-9505)
This moderately priced restaurant is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike because of its elegant yet relaxed environment and high-quality food. Known for being gluten-free friendly, not only is the kitchen willing to accommodate your dietary preferences but they also offer a number of gluten-free items that need no modification, including Pan Roasted Monk Fish and their savory marinated olives. But never fear, gluten lovers, there's still plenty of variety for you as well, including Hand Rolled Gnocchi with wild mushrooms. Known for accommodating good allergies and preferences, many of The Kitchen's items can be modified to suit your vegan and vegetarian preferences as well. (3035445973)
Black Cat is the epitome of a Farm-to-Table restaurants, in fact that's what this Boulder favorite is known for. Pulling fresh, seasonal, ingredients from their 130 acre farm paradise situated just outside Boulder, Chef Eric Skokan and his wife, Jill, harvest their farm everyday to bring from-the-vine delights. They also raise sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks. One of our favorites, the Beet Potato Napoleon features quinoa cereal crust, elderberry gastrique,house made ricotta, and spinach. Want to splurge a little? Try their Colorado Beef Ribeye complete with orange scented oats, carrots, and crisp capers. Keep in mind that this Farm-to-Table gem prepares seasonal delights, so their menu is ever-changing, meaning you can always find something new and fresh. ((303)444-5500)
About Hope Gately
Hope Gately should have a bumper sticker proclaiming "Not a Native...But I Got Here as Fast as I Could!" A transplant from the Midwest, Hope has fallen in love with Colorado's mountains, lakes, and lush valleys. She plays in them as often as possible and, when she's not lacing up her hiking boots, she's slipping into some sexy heels for a night out at a local Boulder restaurant or brewery. Along with writing about Colorado in all its glory, Hope practices living locally, by attending farmer's markets, listening to live-local music, frequenting festivals, and recreating in her community!
Read more about Hope Gately here.