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|July 2 - July 8, 2009
La Panda Mexican Restaurant
1118 N. Main St., Longmont, 303-682-0649
Don’t be put off by the ethnically confusing panda bear painted on the window of Longmont’s La Panda Mexican Restaurant. A classic south-of-the-border eatery frequented by young families, La Panda provides authentic and reasonably priced fare ranging from archetypical combination plates to ceviche tostada. Carnivores shouldn’t miss the à la carte taco and burrito menu which includes such fillings as carne asada and lengua.
The Canopy Grill Restaurant and Bar
2770 Arapahoe Ave., #116, Lafayette, 303-666-1130
Mention Lafayette, and Caribbean fare probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But the Canopy Grill may do much to associate this town with tropical-inflected seafood and islands dining. Dishes like Shrimp Habanero combine sparkling seafood with complex flavors of coconut milk and fiery chile atop a bed of penne pasta. Fish, such as mahi, comes out of the kitchen tender and moist, and the key lime pie is a cut above, possessing a refreshing tartness.
1650 Broadway, Boulder,
Transplanted from its former North Boulder location to near downtown, a new venue isn’t the only thing new about V.G. Burgers. An expanded menu features more meatless treats including a wheat and tofu-based bratwurst that’s hard to tell from the original, and chili cheese fries that are just about as satisfying as their junk food counterpart. Another can’t-miss choice is the pseudo-chicken and ranch dressing sandwich, which is nicely set off by the addition of a smear of mustard.
Bácaro Venetian Taverna
921 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-4888
This self-styled Venetian Taverna is a popular Pearl Street spot for small plates and people-watching from the sidewalk tables. Crab gnocchi, scallops with hearts of palm, and a sophisticated take on potato skins are some of the reasonably priced small-plate choices. Those desiring a more traditional multi-course meal can opt for such entrées as asparagus risotto, beef tenderloin and herb-crusted halibut. For dessert, don’t miss the chocolate soufflé.
Tortilleria El Rey
2966 Valmont Rd., Boulder,
One of Boulder’s few outposts for down-home Mexican, Tortilleria El Rey is the place to go for authentic classics. Lovers of seldom-seen fare, such as buche and lengua tacos, will find much to celebrate here, and their weekend menudo is second to none. Of course, more familiar enchiladas, carnitas and tamales are also on tap, as are beers and Mexican Cokes made from sugar instead of corn syrup.
The Rib House
1801 13th St. #180, Boulder,
Sauces are the strong suit at downtown Boulder’s Rib House, and these make classic barbecue selections like beef ribs and slow-cooked brisket come alive. Both the Fire and XXX hot sauces offer up a fair amount of spice without overwhelming the surprisingly complex sweet and tangy qualities of these concoctions. The baby back ribs are flavorful, while living up to the menu’s promise of falling-off-the-bone tenderness.
Arugula Bar e Ristorante
2785 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303-443-5100
Representing the new guard in Italian cuisine, Arugula provides such modern choices as scallops with strawberry risotto and pasta with bison Bolognese sauce. Don’t miss the starter of Hazel Dell mushrooms with gorgonzola cheese and parsley; this could be one of the finest platters of fungi around. Also noteworthy are the chef’s daily vegetarian platters, as well as mixed plates of cured meats and cheese.
3216 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder,
While it’s easy to characterize Boulder’s Healing Tea as just a place to get a restorative beverage, it’s also a showcase for traditional Korean fare. Standbys such as bulgogi or barbecued beef, and the meat, egg and vegetable rice bowl known as bibimbop are available here, and evoke comforting home cooking. To wash it all down, try one of the soothing iced teas made of honey and fruit — the version with ginger is particularly refreshing.
2779 Iris Ave., Boulder,
Full Belly is one of the rare spots that excel at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Billing itself as an American-French bistro, here’s a place where you can start the day with a nutty Bananas Foster waffle and end with a dinner of steak tartare, and mussels in Pilsner broth. Prices are quite reasonable, as the most expensive dinner entrees top out at $19 and a crab cake lunch comes in at a wallet-friendly $9.
2525 Arapahoe Rd., Boulder,
Boulder’s new Larkburger features a sandwich for just about everyone. The carnivore may revel in the 1/3-pound Angus beef burger, while others may opt for a sandwich featuring a wasabi-ginger tuna steak or roasted portabello mushroom. But these satisfying sandwiches aren’t the only attraction — don’t miss the truffle parmesan fries made with russet potatoes or the delightfully creamy Breyer’s milkshakes.
Lazy Dog Sports
Bar & Grill
1346 Pearl St., 303-440-3355
The Lazy Dog Sports Bar & Grill is nothing fancy, but it certainly does the job. Loaded with big screen TVs, a friendly atmosphere and an impressive selection of bar foods, it’s a great place to watch a game while chowing down on a burger or chicken wings. Those desiring something more sophisticated can choose from salmon and prime rib, while the fan of down-home fare can order ribs off the barbecue menu.
Happy Noodle House
835 Walnut St., Boulder,
The Happy Noodle House is a new addition to the Boulder dining scene, and features Asian-style pastas and entrée soups, as well as dim sum-inspired small plates. It’s a clean-lined, almost monastic, restaurant with communal tables, Asian art and a happy face logo that evokes The Watchmen. Perusing the menu, you’ll note the availability of a variety of Asian influences ranging from Vietnamese pho to Japanese soba, with broad Chinese fun noodles thrown in for good measure.
Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery
1535 Pearl St., Boulder,
Arguably a Boulder institution, the Mountain Sun evokes the look and feel of the classic alpine resort brewpub. Reasonably priced, it’s the spot for a tasty burger, vegetarian black bean chili or a snack of fries. There’s also a host of artisan brews on tap, including the Illusion Dweller India Pale Ale, the Isadore Java Porter and even a premium, non-alcoholic root beer.
4929 N. Broadway, Boulder,
A down-home and unfussy spot for Mexican chow, North Boulder’s Terrace Maya offers a full slate of classics. Lunch combos include the expected mixes of tacos, enchiladas and chile rellenos, and while some of the larger plates clock in around $15, there’s enough there for two meals. A bright, folk-art-inflected décor rounds out the experience in this hospitable spot.
6700 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield,
Having just opened in January, Broomfield’s Heaven Star is already a contender for best Chinese restaurant on the Front Range and a winning contender for Asian seafood. It is likely the top spot for dim sum, the Chinese small plate brunch, in all of Colorado. Best dim sum bets include Chinese broccoli (gai lan), eggplant stuffed with shrimp and sticky rice with scallops and chicken, wrapped in a lotus leaf.
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