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|September 11-17, 2008
1710 29th St., Boulder,
Yet another spot with something for just about everyone, Laudisio continues to draw in local diners with its traditional Italian fare. While the restaurant has forsaken its humble strip mall setting for the tonier climes of 29th Street, the menu still offers up a crowd-pleasing mix of pastas, made-to-order risottos, wood-fired pizzas and entrées from land and sea. Can’t-miss items include the vegetarian pizza margherita and spaghettini puttanesca.
Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor
2299 Pearl St., Boulder,
Like something out of a Kevin Smith movie, Sun Deli, Pizza & Liquor is a slacker’s paradise. Enjoy vintage footage of the Dead on the flatscreens while enjoying above-average pizza slices and satisfying cheesesteaks. Crisp entrée salads include spinach, antipasto and Greek variants, and the soup’s noting to sneeze at either.
Jax Fish House
928 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-1811
Marrying a casual atmosphere with near-haute cuisine preparation, Jax Fish House is a premier spot for seafood. Raw bar afficianados will appreciate raw bar specialties such as small but sweet Kunamoto oysters. Those preferring cooked selections will enjoy such entrées as perfectly seared sea scallops atop an imaginative foundation of oyster mushrooms and sensual polenta. For those indifferent to the fruits of the sea, burgers and a buffalo steak are also available.
1701 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-0220
Sunflower’s been under new management for about a year, but fans of the old menu have nothing to fear from this organic pioneer’s current offerings. Owner and Chef Jef Forsberg has preserved the restaurant’s commitment to dishing out natural and tasty selections whether it’s at brunch or happy hour. The portabello burger’s a winner, and the salad buffet’s a winner for those who enjoy a hearty yet healthy lunch.
Juanita’s Mexican Food
1043 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-5273
Step into Juanita’s Mexican Food, and it feels like you’ve taken a step 50 years into the past. The classic Mexican menu isn’t for culinary thrill-seekers looking for the latest in trendy south-of-the-border cuisine. Instead, this eatery is an oasis for those seeking out classic combination plates, crispy tortilla chips and other reasonably priced fare. The number two combo is truly classic, featuring a burrito, enchilada and a compelling chile relleno.
Bali to Bombay
1630 30th St., Boulder, 303-444-1809
The exotically named from Bali to Bombay is a relative newcomer to the Boulder scene, offering everything from pad Thai to Persian kababs. Vegans and vegetarians will welcome the Indian entrées including curried chickpeas and the classic spinach dish of saag paneer. More off-the-beaten-track selections include halal-certified chicken and lamb and nasi goring, Indonesian fried rice.
Good Times Burgers and
2050 26th St., Boulder, 303-449-5185
Your food snob friends and cardiologist may frown upon it, but Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard tops the list of culinary guilty pleasures. Crisp real onion rings (not of the abominable chopped and pressed variety), decadent sundaes and burgers made with Coleman natural beef are just some of this Colorado chain’s lip-smacking attractions. Those seeking something a bit healthier might opt for one of the numerous chicken sandwich options, including the slightly vinegary Burnin’ Buffalo, which takes its inspiration from everybody’s favorite winged bar food.
2319 Arapahoe Rd., Boulder, 303-444-8758
An old-school ambience, understated service and a traditional steak and seafood menu give Dolan’s a clubby feel reminiscent of a retro big-city hangout. Crab Louis salads, chicken piccata and parmesan sole are some of the choices available to the culinary classicist. Discriminating imbibers may also derive pleasure from the encyclopedic wine list and after-dinner drink choices.
1710 Pearl St.,Boulder, 303-442-4575
While skeptics may be leery of Bimbamboo’s ambitious menu, it does a remarkably good job of taking Eastern classics and successfully reinterpreting them. A Korean beef rice bowl retains the flavor and tenderness of the original, but it surprises with a blend of exotic grains. While Bimbamboo may not completely capture the finer details of the banh mi, it still gets the flavors of this Vietnamese submarine sandwich absolutely right. The Thai lemonade is a fresh-squeezed revelation, elevated by the addition of both mint and pungent basil.
West End Tavern
926 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3535
The word tavern connotes a certain heartiness, and the West End Tavern more than lives up to this appellation. Imbibers may delight in the selection of beers on tap along with a formidable assortment of small-batch bourbons. Old-school favorites such as mac and cheese get updating with ingredients such as goat chevre, and the burgers are both ample in flavor and size.
1601 Pearl St., Boulder,
A perfect summery locale, Leaf is a top spot for meatless cuisine prepared with an eye towards innovation. A small plate winning mushroom pate or a hearty entrée of tempeh prepared in the Jamaican Jerk style and accompanied by black forbidden rice and fruit salsa are but two examples of the ambitious, but ultimately satisfying, choices available here. For the imbiber, Leaf offers a comprehensive selection of sustainable wines and cocktails prepared with locally produced organic vodka.
1964 28th St., Boulder, 303-442-6868
Skip the normal menu with its cream cheese wontons and sesame chicken, and go for something more authentic on the available-by-request traditional menu. Here you’ll find old-school clay pot casseroles and simple but soulful classics such as Chinese broccoli (gai lan) drizzled with oyster sauce. If you’re with a group, check out the special traditional dinners, which feature such items as whole fried fish and a rib-sticking aromatic beef stew.
14th Street Bar & Grill
1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-5854
Don’t let the large picture windows and wood sculptures hanging from the ceiling fool you. While the 14th Street Bar & Grill has an upscale, if not trendy, vibe confirmed by specials such as a solid salmon salad dressed with dill crème fraiche, it’s a working-class choice that’s the star of the chow. Comfort food fans should ignore the hot open-face turkey sandwich at their peril. It’s a winning combo of moist turkey, savory gravy and fluffy mashed spuds.
1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973
An upscale, airy locale, The Kitchen is a comfortable spot to enjoy bistro-inspired classics prepared with local and sustainably produced ingredients. Serving everything from a traditional English breakfast with sausage and bacon, as well as light salads for lunch, and steak and seafood for dinner, this eatery has something for just about everyone. Don’t miss the hypnotically compelling pulled pork sandwich.
1221 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-440-0733
Given its adherence to tradition, it’s unsurprising that Sushi Zanmai’s décor leans less toward hard-edged modernism and more towards a quaint, slightly folksy feel, and it even features a mildly kitschy karaoke set-up. The cuisine consists of sparkling, fresh seafood and some of Boulder’s best sushi. The uri and buri rolls are not to be missed, while the chiraschi — sashimi over vinegared rice — is a layered presentation that is satisfying in both flavor and value.
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