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Boulder's Best Restaurants: Dining and Drinking at Their Finest



Compiling this 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, have killer happy hours, while also boasting a reputation for exceptional service with a 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 affordable and fresh sushi Boulder has to offer at Japango. 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, coupled with a rich regional history, is what you crave, The Buff is sure to deliver. 

Many of our recommendations are located within walking or biking distance of one another, so taking a tour on your visit would be a piece of cake.  

For a restaurant off the beaten path that offers a stunning view of the city, Flagstaff House is highly recommended for its comprehensive wine list, inventive culinary offerings, as well as its stunning setting on Boulder's Flagstaff Mountain.

When you're in Boulder, eating is every bit a part of the culture as outdoor recreation, so enjoy as we dish out the best of Boulder's culinary powerhouses.


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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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Dushanbe Teahouse offers international cuisine, an elegant atmosphere and is located in the heart of downtown Boulder.

Hope's expert tip: You simply must indulge on the Indian samosas or salmon Benedict.

Read more about Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse →


The Mediterranean Restaurant


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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Med is known for its unbeatable happy-hour, elegant dining atmosphere, and location to downtown Pearl Street.

Hope's expert tip: Try the Med's savory Greek Kabob and be sure to stop in for their well-known and frequented happy-hour.

Read more about The Mediterranean Restaurant →


Pizzeria Locale


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).

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Pizzeria Locale serves "za" straight from their brick ovens and offers a wine list to pair perfectly with all of their options.

Hope's expert tip: Grab a patio seat and order up the Vesuvious salad for starters, then move onto the main event with the Filetto pizza.

Read more about Pizzeria Locale →


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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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Buff is one of Boulder's signature breakfast spots and is a favorite for locals, college students, and tourists alike.

Hope's expert tip: Grab a slice of The Buff's inch-thick savory nut toast.

Read more about The Buff →


The Sink


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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Sink is known for its less-than-healthy but delicious burgers and its grungy but fun atmosphere.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to gorge yourself on the famous Sinkburger and wash it all down with a glass of draft beer or wine for only 3 bucks at happy hour.

Read more about The Sink →




Enjoy fine sushi and Japanese cuisine in contemporary-styled Asian surroundings. Appetizers include salmon kasuzuke marinated in miso, green lip mussels, New Zealand mussels served with the chef's special sauce, and lobster pot stickers with a pesto cream sauce. Entrees include beef, chicken and vegetable tempura, salmon teriyaki, sushi, and sashimi. Some of their more affordable and yummy lunch options include the Chicken Teriyaki and vegetable tempura or the stir-fry tofu. Also, be sure to try their light and fresh 4-piece California roll, Japanese lo-mein, or Hand-roll with yellow-tail, tuna, and salmon. For dessert, we highly recommend just a bit of Japango's plum wine. But don't go overboard, as it packs a sweet punch.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Japango offers fresh sushi, creative Bento Boxes, and a killer drink menu for a modern seafood-inspired experience.

Hope's expert tip: The 4-piece California roll is sure to satisfy.

Read more about Japango →


Wild Standard


Responsibily-sourced, farm-to-table, seafood options await as guests dive into a food adventure at Wild Standard. From the nautical-themed dining room, to the carts and trays whirling about with fresh fish overflowing, you'll feel as if you're bobbing along on the bottom of the sea. Feeling the desire to imbibe a bit? Wild Standard offers their Siren Call Libation Exploration, which encourages guests to learn about 3 different regions from which tasty drink concoctions hale and, from their, pick their proverbial poison. Items to pair with your drives include decadent oysters, Nut Encrusted Colorado Trout, the Mahi-Mahi complete with coconut green curry and Jasmine Rice, and much more.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A unique cart-to-table experience coupled with sustainably sourced seafood makes Wild Standard the new standard for excellence in Boulder.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to order from the raw bar and indulge in shared plates.

Read more about Wild Standard →


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Boulder Cork


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 fish lovers, indulge on their Smoked Salmon and Trout. If you're interested in something seasonal be sure to ask about the Chef Specials which highlight local, as well as, seasonal ingredients by utilizing the Cork culinary team's experience and imagination. 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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Cork is one of Boulder's most well-known restaurants for fine dining with its award-winning wine list and exceptional service.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to choose a wine perfect for your palate off of the Cork's award-winning wine list.

Read more about Boulder Cork →




The elegant yet rustic Flagstaff House Restaurant of Boulder offers scenic views while guests dine on the finest wild game Colorado has to offer. Guests are also treated to an extensive wine collection featuring over 15,000 bottles from wine regions all over the world, including California, Burgundy, and Bordeaux. Special collaborations with local breweries are just one of the few unique treats which help visitors have a truly one-of-a-kind Colorado experience. Flagstaff House also prides itself on locally sourcing its meats and produce whenever possible, so you can take delight in the fact that you're experience a real taste of the Rocky Mountains.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Flagstaff House Restaurant is known for its excellent selection of wild game and locally sourced meats and produce.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to peruse the wine-list, as it is one of the very best in town.

Read more about Flagstaff House Restaurant →


Black Cat


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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Black Cat offers farm-to-table options and is committed to using fresh, seasonal, produce and meats in all of their dishes.

Hope's expert tip: The Beet and Potato Napoleon is to-die-for- delicious.

Read more about Black Cat →


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Meet 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 playing...  More About Hope

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