Boulder and North Central Colorado Restaurants

Thanks to the influx of people from around the world, you have plenty of options here. Restaurants in north central Colorado run the gamut from simple diners with tasty, homey basics to elegant establishments with extensive wine lists. The hot trend is organic and sustainable ingredients, with many restaurants offering dishes made from local ingredients. Some restaurants take reservations, but many, particularly those in the middle price range, seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

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  • 1. Blackbelly

    $$$

    At the only independent restaurant in Boulder licensed to make and sell its own house-cured meats (you can see some in the windows), those seeking...

    At the only independent restaurant in Boulder licensed to make and sell its own house-cured meats (you can see some in the windows), those seeking a sophisticated yet casual culinary experience away from downtown will delight in food known for farm-to-table freshness. Chef Hosea Rosenberg, a Top Chef winner, crafts a changing menu using ingredients from local farms and ranches. Blackbelly's market serves quick service weekdays for breakfast and lunch. Full-service dinner is available daily.

    1606 Conestoga St., Boulder, Colorado, 80301, USA
    303-247--1000

    Known For

    • A hyperseasonal menu that constantly changes
    • Dry-aged beef, house-made sausages, and salumi
    • Creative small plates

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch weekends, Reservations essential
  • 2. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

    $$

    Feast your eyes on the intricately carved walls, pillars, and ceiling at this unique teahouse, a gift from Boulder's sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Tajik artisans...

    Feast your eyes on the intricately carved walls, pillars, and ceiling at this unique teahouse, a gift from Boulder's sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Tajik artisans decorated the building in a traditional style, with ceramic Islamic art and a riot of colorful wood. The menu presents a culinary cross section of the world, with dishes including North African harissa chicken, spicy Indonesian peanut noodles, and Tajik shish kebab.

    1770 13th St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-442–4993

    Known For

    • Traditional afternoon tea service
    • Nearly 100 varieties of tea
    • Lovely patio
  • 3. Fat Cat Cafe

    $

    Located on the boardwalk, this cozy family-run café serves up hearty helpings, as well as advice on local sightseeing. The weekend breakfast buffet includes nearly...

    Located on the boardwalk, this cozy family-run café serves up hearty helpings, as well as advice on local sightseeing. The weekend breakfast buffet includes nearly 50 items—including biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros casserole with house-made green chile sauce, and a wide selection of scones, pastries, and pies that are baked in-house.

    916 Grand Ave., Grand Lake, Colorado, 80447, USA
    970-627–0900

    Known For

    • Sprawling brunch buffet
    • Homemade pies
    • Homey decor

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No dinner
  • 4. Flagstaff House Restaurant

    $$$$

    Boulder's most opulent restaurant has formal service and thoughtfully prepared food, served in a sophisticated space with oversized windows and tables with crisp, white tablecloths....

    Boulder's most opulent restaurant has formal service and thoughtfully prepared food, served in a sophisticated space with oversized windows and tables with crisp, white tablecloths. Executive chef Chris Royster has fresh fish flown in daily and is noted for the exquisite combinations of ingredients on his daily-changing menu, which might include Wagyu ravioli; Colorado lamb rack, loin, and shank; or Maine lobster soup. Choose between the four-course menu or multicourse chef's menu with optional wine pairings.

    1138 Flagstaff Rd., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-442–4640

    Known For

    • Stunning views overlooking the Front Range
    • Award-winning wine list
    • Fanciful food presentations

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed. Mon. No lunch, Reservations essential
  • 5. Frasca Food and Wine

    $$$$

    One of Boulder's best restaurants (with three James Beard honors) serves meticulously prepared food in the style of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy,...

    One of Boulder's best restaurants (with three James Beard honors) serves meticulously prepared food in the style of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy, in a bustling dining room with a backlit wine wall. You choose from two prix-fixe tasting menus and might feast on dishes including an antipasto such as fish crudo; a house-made pasta with pork ragù; and lamb with hay-smoked potato.

    1738 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-442–6966

    Known For

    • Informed servers and warm hospitality
    • Grappa cart for after-dinner libations
    • Stellar wine service and pairings

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch, Reservations essential
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  • 6. Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar

    $$$

    At this seafood hot spot, the butcher-paper-covered tables, exposed brick walls, and unique light fixtures encourage a cool, festive vibe. Explore Jax's delicious culinary creations...

    At this seafood hot spot, the butcher-paper-covered tables, exposed brick walls, and unique light fixtures encourage a cool, festive vibe. Explore Jax's delicious culinary creations by digging into a plate of peel 'n' eat shrimp, then moving on to seasonal combinations like citrus-glazed salmon, spiced tuna with aioli, or the staple fried fish po'boy. There's a branch in downtown Boulder, too.

    123 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, Colorado, 80524, USA
    970-682--2275

    Known For

    • Marvelous cocktails
    • Oysters flown in fresh daily
    • Commitment to sustainable seafood

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential
  • 7. Sagebrush BBQ and Grill

    $$

    Falling-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue pork, chicken, and beef draw local and out-of-town attention to this homey café. Munch on peanuts (and toss the shells on the...

    Falling-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue pork, chicken, and beef draw local and out-of-town attention to this homey café. Munch on peanuts (and toss the shells on the floor) while dining at tables with cowhide-patterned tablecloths set against a backdrop of license plates from across the country.

    1101 Grand Ave., Grand Lake, Colorado, 80447, USA
    970-627–1404

    Known For

    • Peanut-shell-lined floor
    • Wild game burgers and sausage
    • Rotating daily specials
  • 8. Seasoned

    $$$$

    With a menu that changes monthly, Seasoned takes its name to heart with its always-changing ingredients from local farms. The creative dishes, created by chef-owner...

    With a menu that changes monthly, Seasoned takes its name to heart with its always-changing ingredients from local farms. The creative dishes, created by chef-owner and Michelin-star veteran Rob Corey, reflect influences from North, South, and Central America and feature Colorado specialties like lamb, trout, and bass.

    205 Park La., Colorado, 80517, USA
    970-586–9000

    Known For

    • Creative cuisine
    • Colorado lamb, trout, and bass
    • Attentive service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No lunch Wed.–Sat. No dinner Sun.
  • 9. The Emporium: An American Brasserie

    $$$

    This farm-to-table restaurant inside the Elizabeth Hotel has a full wine market, so you can select bottles on-site at retail price for your meal. It...

    This farm-to-table restaurant inside the Elizabeth Hotel has a full wine market, so you can select bottles on-site at retail price for your meal. It all adds to the homey yet hip, slightly retro vibe and look—complete with tile floor and wood throughout—that matches well with food that is some of the city's best, including the Wagyu beef burger, bison bourguignon, and elk Wellington with puff pastry.

    378 Walnut St., Fort Collins, Colorado, 80524, USA
    970-493--0024

    Known For

    • Perfect charcuterie board
    • Bowerbird Coffee Shop by day, unpretentious wine market by night
    • Weekend brunch

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations essential
  • 10. Aji

    $$$ | Latin American

    Enjoy a South American cocktail like a caipirinha, mojito , or pisco sour before dinner in this busy restaurant, which has one of Boulder...

    Enjoy a South American cocktail like a caipirinha, mojito, or pisco sour before dinner in this busy restaurant, which has one of Boulder's most popular happy hours. Large windows let in plenty of light, seating is spacious in the festive dining room, and the service is great. Try ceviche (shrimp or fish marinated in lime juice) or empanadas (savory pastries) to start. For dinner, dig into Brazilian seafood stew, veggie enchiladas, or carne asada, all artfully prepared and plated. A slice of tres leches cake and a cup of French-press coffee round out a meal here.

    1601 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-442–3464
  • 11. Big Horn Restaurant

    $

    An Estes Park staple since 1972, this family-run outfit is where the locals go for breakfast. Try a double-cheese omelet, huevos rancheros, or grits before...

    An Estes Park staple since 1972, this family-run outfit is where the locals go for breakfast. Try a double-cheese omelet, huevos rancheros, or grits before heading into the park in the morning. The owners are happy to pack a lunch for you—just place your order along with breakfast, and it will be ready when you leave. This homey spot also serves lunch and dinner, with specialties such as house-smoked pulled pork, house-made meatballs, and rib eye cut on-site. Expect a wait in summer.

    401 W. Elkhorn Ave., Colorado, 80517, USA
    970-586–2792

    Known For

    • Hearty breakfast
    • Huge portions
    • Picnic lunches to go

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.–Thurs.
  • 12. Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro

    $$$$

    This intimate eatery delivers an authentic farm-to-table experience, with a French-influenced menu that changes daily, drawing from whatever the restaurant is harvesting from its 425-acre...

    This intimate eatery delivers an authentic farm-to-table experience, with a French-influenced menu that changes daily, drawing from whatever the restaurant is harvesting from its 425-acre organic farm. Diners relax in leather couches at wall-side tables, with excellent views of the kitchen, while dining on options such as house-raised Tunis lamb and house-raised Mulefoot pork. The chef-chosen six-course tasting menu is always a surprise for diners.

    1964 13th St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-444–5500

    Known For

    • Excellent service
    • Country's largest full-scale, farm-to-table operation—certified organic
    • Wine pairings

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential
  • 13. Bramble & Hare

    $$

    Blending authentic farm-to-table with a cozy, old-fashioned farmhouse vibe, this small restaurant—sister to the Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro—boasts its own nearby organic farm,...

    Blending authentic farm-to-table with a cozy, old-fashioned farmhouse vibe, this small restaurant—sister to the Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro—boasts its own nearby organic farm, whose produce shapes the daily-evolving menu, even down to a special corn used to make polenta. The food is wildly innovative yet consistently delicious. Watch staff in the tiny, open kitchen, which aims to have as little waste as possible.

    1970 13th St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-444--9110

    Known For

    • Extensive organic farm
    • Genius cocktails, including a farm-to-glass program
    • Great charcuterie boards

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Reservations essential.
  • 14. Chez Thuy

    $$ | Vietnamese

    The smell of Vietnamese pho greets you as you walk into this stylish, upscale Vietnamese restaurant, which has been serving its award-winning...

    The smell of Vietnamese pho greets you as you walk into this stylish, upscale Vietnamese restaurant, which has been serving its award-winning soups, noodles, hot pots, stir fries, and curries since 1993. Generous padded booths line the walls, with stylish light fixtures overhead, as sedate lounge music pipes into the room. The menu is vast, spanning a full breadth of Vietnamese cuisine, and is popular among Boulder's vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Portions are ample, and the service is fast and friendly.

    2655 28th St., Boulder, Colorado, 80301, USA
    303-442–1700

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch Sun.
  • 15. Corrida

    $$$$

    Perched on the rooftop level of a downtown building, this sleek, modern, Spanish-inspired steak house has one of Boulder’s only unobstructed views of the Flatirons;...

    Perched on the rooftop level of a downtown building, this sleek, modern, Spanish-inspired steak house has one of Boulder’s only unobstructed views of the Flatirons; grab a seat outdoors on the patio if you can. You can mix and match generous cuts of high-quality steak with seasonally rotating tapas for northern Spain flavor with a Boulder twist—think Vaca Vieja dry-aged tomahawk steak and a Basque-style cheesecake.

    1023 Walnut St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    303-444--1333

    Known For

    • Tapas and sharable dishes
    • Informed wine and sherry list, plus Spanish-style cocktails
    • Appealing brunch

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch weekdays, Reservations essential.
  • 16. Cy's Deli

    $

    The aroma of homemade bread and soup hint at the loving care this sandwich shop infuses into its food. Grab a quick breakfast burrito or...

    The aroma of homemade bread and soup hint at the loving care this sandwich shop infuses into its food. Grab a quick breakfast burrito or sandwich to take out on the trail, or stay and snag a table inside the cheerful blue deli or on the sunny patio.

    717 Grand Ave., Grand Lake, Colorado, 80447, USA
    970-627–3354

    Known For

    • Quick lunch
    • Green and red chile breakfast burritos
    • Fresh-bread sandwiches

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Nov.–mid-May
  • 17. Dedalus Wine Shop and Market

    $$

    Vermont-based Dedalus Wine Group has taken over the day-to-day operations of Boulder’s finest sandwich shop and the best place in town for a quick meal....

    Vermont-based Dedalus Wine Group has taken over the day-to-day operations of Boulder’s finest sandwich shop and the best place in town for a quick meal. The café--gourmet grocery store is small, with only a few tables, but impressive; sample the exquisite charcuterie and cheese trays, European-style sandwiches, and premade dinners, including roasted organic chicken. Snag a bottle of wine in what claims to be Colorado's tiniest liquor store, and don’t pass up a latte from Boxcar Coffee, which shares the space.

    1825 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA
    720-389--8096

    Known For

    • Extensive cured meats selection
    • Well-rounded international wine selections by the bottle
    • Cheese-centric picnic lunches in wooden baskets

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No reservations
  • 18. Ed's Cantina and Grill

    $

    The fajitas and well-stocked bar make this lively Mexican restaurant popular with locals and visitors alike. The decor is bright, with light woods and large...

    The fajitas and well-stocked bar make this lively Mexican restaurant popular with locals and visitors alike. The decor is bright, with light woods and large windows. When the sun is shining, ask for patio seating by the river. If you're hungry, try one of the enchilada platters or carne asada. The fish and bison tacos are other popular options.

    390 E. Elkhorn Ave., Colorado, 80517, USA
    970-586–2919

    Known For

    • Bison tacos and burgers
    • Avocado margaritas
    • Scenic riverfront patio seating
  • 19. Efrain's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

    $ | Mexican

    Traditional North Mexican food made from scratch is the specialty at this low-key place, which is tucked in an industrial area in east Boulder...

    Traditional North Mexican food made from scratch is the specialty at this low-key place, which is tucked in an industrial area in east Boulder. The no-frills dining room puts the focus on food, like the savory chile verde (green chile) that Efrain cooks every day, and favorites like chimichangas, fajitas, and enchiladas made with fresh shredded beef and succulent pulled chicken. Pay attention to the menu's spicy scale since some of the food is blazing hot. A tart magarita served in a pint-size Mason jar can cool your tongue. Finish your meal with a crisp, hot sopapilla (a light, fried pastry served hot with honey).

    1630 N. 63rd St., Boulder, Colorado, 80301, USA
    303-440–4045

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun., Reservations not accepted
  • 20. Estes Park Brewery

    $$

    If you want to sample some local brews, check out the Estes Park Brewery, which has been crafting beer since 1993. The food is no-frills...

    If you want to sample some local brews, check out the Estes Park Brewery, which has been crafting beer since 1993. The food is no-frills (beer chili is the specialty), and the menu includes things like pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and house-made bratwurst. Not sure which beer you will like? Head downstairs to the tasting area to sample a variety of brews on tap, like the popular Stinger Wild Honey Wheat or the balanced Estes Park Gold amber ale.

    470 Prospect Village Dr., Colorado, 80517, USA
    970-586–5421

    Known For

    • Local beer
    • Pool tables
    • Laid-back atmosphere

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