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• See Food & Drink 2
• See Food & Drink 1
1710 29th St., Ste. 1076, 303-442-1300
Honorable Mention: Radda Trattoria
Remember that scene in Goodfellas when the mobster ringleaders are in jail but still somehow manage to cook a world-class Italian meal in the confines of their personal, private cell? If we remember correctly, it went a little something like this: “He was in a year for contempt, and he had this wonderful system for doing the garlic. He used a razor and he used to slice it so thin that it would liquefy in the pan with just a little oil. It was a very good system.” Though we’re not quite sure who they’ve got slicing the garlic in the kitchen at Laudisio, we do know that whatever it is they’re doing, it’s a very good system. Laudisio is the perennial winner in this category, and for good reason. Their cuisine offers an inviting and refreshing approach to the Italian table, every ingredient chosen with care, every dish meticulously prepared. With their location at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, Laudisio succeeds in combining good food with chic ambiance. Runner-up Carelli’s also cannot be overlooked, for their menu is one of the most authentic in town, complete with rich sauces and perfectly textured pasta. Honorable mention Radda Trattoria also excels with its Tuscan-style Italian and exquisite wine selection.
The Kitchen Café
1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973
The Kitchen wins top honors this year as Boulder’s Best Overall Restaurant. It truly lives up to the title of overall restaurant as, unlike many other fine restaurants, it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the more unique and ostensibly not heart-healthy offerings is a full English breakfast consisting of two fried eggs, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, grilled bread sausage and bacon. The more fastidious can choose from granola with yogurt or a fruit bowl. Lunch selections echo the bistro-inspired classicism found at dinner, and also include quiches, wood-fired pizza and heartier fare such as pan-roasted mahi and hanger steak. All this variety, and a commitment to sustainability, make it clear why this is a Boulder favorite.
Down on the other end of Pearl Street, runner-up Aji serves up selections from another part of the world: Latin America. While off-the-beaten-path entrées such as chile-braised buffalo osso bucco and warming posole are particularly noteworthy, the ceviche selection, including yellowfin tuna and shrimp are true standouts. Try these raw seafood tidbits during Happy Hour, a choice opportunity to sample the breadth of Aji’s menu.
Several locations in Boulder
Runner-up: Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana
Honorable Mention: Nick-N-Willy’s
Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year, according to the National Association of Pizza Operators. What does that look like on an individual level? Well, that ends up being 46 slices of pizza for each man, woman and child in America per year. Now that’s a lot of pizza. It seems that everyone has a favorite kind of pizza. With options galore — from toppings to type of crust — there’s something for everyone. But here in Boulder County, our readers have spoken. It’s Abo’s Pizza’s hand-tossed Neapolitan New York style pizza with its famous sauce and custom blended 100-percent Mozzarella cheese that warms the hearts and waters the mouths of Boulder’s pizza lovers. When Abo himself was a CU student, he and his friends used to complain that there was no place in town to “fill the munchie.” Abo decided to do something about the New York Pizza void in Boulder. In 1977 he opened the first Abo’s Pizza on University Hill. Now, 31 years later, Boulderites are still grateful for the slice of New York that Abo brought to their happy little city. Pam Proto and Rayme Rossello have been delighting Boulder County residents with their Neapolitan pizzas since 1999, offering upscale quality and taste for dine-in or take-out. Nick-N-Willies opened its first shop on Pearl Street and has made a name for itself offering hungry locals gourmet take-out.
PLACE TO EAT OUTDOORS
Chautauqua Dining Hall
900 Baseline Rd., 303-440-3776
Runner-up: Mediterranean Restaurant
Honorable Mention: Farmers’ Market
The Chautauqua Dining Hall has been a Boulder tradition since 1898 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Considering that the only spring pastime that Boulderites might love more than hiking is eating delicious food on a patio with a view, Chautauqua Dining Hall has long been a favorite in this category. The historic restaurant’s wraparound porch offers diners a spectacular view of Boulder’s famous Flatirons, just a hop from the hiking trails that lead to their exploration. On a sunny spring day in Boulder, the porch is the perfect place to enjoy classic American cooking. A full bar means that, while savoring the views, you can sip an ice-cold beer or a cocktail that is sure to complement your meal. Reasonably priced nightly specials make this patio the perfect place to take your family or meet a friend for dinner and drinks. After a hike or before a concert in Chautauqua’s auditorium, eating at the Chautauqua Dining Hall is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and a perfect end to a lovely day.
The patio at The Med will have you dreaming of Italy, while part of the fun of the Farmers’ Market is nibbling in the beauty of Boulder’s Central Park.
BEST PLACE TO BRING KIDS
2580 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-0320
Runner-up: Noodles & Company
Honorable Mention: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun
The bright atmosphere and colorful décor certainly contribute to Red Robin’s kid-friendly reputation, not to mention arcade games, boisterous music and, according to General Manager Adam Payne, having a big ol’ stadium-style mascot, like Red, on hand every Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. Let’s not forget the scrumptious fare, which includes some of the tastiest beef or chicken between buns. “We really focus on the kids,” says Payne. “That’s definitely one of our main things. And, of course, loads of balloons help.”
Noodles & Co. takes a simple idea and runs rings around most other eateries, offering an eclectic selection centered on, well, noodles. Kids love to pick and choose from the menu, and their parents are likely to find their own favorites on hand. This is comfort food taken to a whole new level.
It might come as a surprise to some that the favorite places to drink microbrews in town are also preferred spots to bring the kids, but the Mountain Sun and Southern Sun have a long tradition as family-friendly establishments. The parents get to knock back a few beers and the kids get to have a good time. Everybody wins.
Several locations in Boulder,
Runner-up: Salvaggio’s Italian Deli
Honorable Mention: Half Fast Subs, Deli Zone
It sounds simple. Some meat (or meat substitute), cheese, a veggie or two, a slathering of condiments, two slices of bread and, voila, your sandwich is served. But sometimes there’s a little more to it. A good sandwich is complicated business — it involves making sure ingredients are fresh, the layers are proportioned and any sauces add kick without drenching the bread into mushy grossness. And with all of these factors, Snarf’s succeeds. Their sandwiches hit the spot for Pearl Street shoppers, and Snarf’s is happy to navigate busy Boulder streets to deliver sandwiches to your home.
Runner-up Salvaggio’s Deli also should be noted as it has some of the freshest (and largest) sandwiches in town. Honorable mention Half Fast Subs is a Boulder tradition on University Hill and has the hands-down best selection for vegetarian subs. Half Fast shares its spot with Deli Zone who will give you the best Brooklyn sandwich west of the Mississippi.
2014 10th St., 303-444-2280
Runner-up: Sushi Zanmai
Honorable Mention: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar, Japango
At any point on the Pearl Street Mall, you’re within easy walking distance of approximately a half dozen purveyors of sushi, including this year’s crop of BOB winners. Start off near West Pearl at Sushi Tora. Here you’ll find the best chirashi in town, a boxful of sushi rice topped by a selection of sashimi. The sushi ingredients are among the freshest you’ll find in Colorado, and much of the fish comes flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish market, the largest of its kind in the world. Spend a few bucks on the genuine wasabi, and you’ll find the difference between that and what you have in most Japanese joints is like comparing Tang to fresh-squeezed orange juice. A few blocks away on Spruce Street, runner-up Sushi Zanmai still packs them in with a double-fisted combination of Saturday night karaoke and high-quality fish selections including creamy uni and beautifully marbled fatty tuna.
Back on the Mall, Hapa and Japango serve up fine Japanese fare at excellent prices. Hawaiian-influenced Hapa’s menu includes unique offerings such as poke (pronounced like Gumby’s equine sidekick), island-style sashimi and black cod marinated in miso and sake. Japango’s the spot for inexpensive lunch specials and happy hour sushi bargains.
3033 28th St., 303-444-3133
1575 Folsom St., 303-473-0831
Runner-up: Khow Thai,
Honorable Mention: Whole Foods,
Half Fast Subs
Between work, school, soccer games, birthday parties, and the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, it’s no surprise that a home-cooked meal is becoming and endangered species for American families. According to the National Restaurant Association, “The number of dinners made at home from scratch continues to freefall. It dropped another 7 percent over the past two years, and now accounts for 32 percent of all evening meals in the U.S.”
So if families don’t have time for a home-cooked meal, what’s the alternative? Here in Boulder, there are plenty of fast and healthy options for on-the-go families and individuals, but Boulder Weekly readers have spoken, and they’ve told us that their favorite place for take out is Siamese Plate. Whether they’re in the mood for tasty Thai food or Japanese and sushi, this one-stop offers food that is fresh, healthy, fast and delicious. With entrées that are suitable for the vegetarian in the group — and with absolutely no MSG in anything they serve — there is something for everyone to try. Khow Thai is a long-time Boulder favorite — try their Thai iced tea! — and shares runner-up honors with China Gourmet. Whole Foods, known for its salad bar, and Half Fast Subs are this year’s honorable mentions.
Khow Thai Cafe
1600 Broadway, 303-447-0273
Runner-up: Siamese Plate
They say that consistency is second only to location when considering the potential success of a restaurant. Khow Thai Café has been consistently successful, winning Best Thai Restaurant in Boulder Weekly’s Best of Boulder County since 2003. For the sixth year in a row, this low-key café has won our reader’s hearts and stomachs with their delectable Thai food at reasonable prices in an unassuming atmosphere. If you stop by between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a quick lunch, you can choose an entrée, and within minutes your meal will begin with an egg roll and cup of soup. After these tasty appetizers, your entrée arrives with sizeable portions — the type of meal that can be finished as your at-your-desk-lunch the next day. And who doesn’t love a meal that you get to enjoy two days in a row. Talk about a great-tasting meal that you’re sure to count as a good value, too.
1701 Pearl St., 303-440-0220
Runner-up: Whole Foods
Honorable Mention: Ras Kassas, VG Burgers
You know what you are, Boulder? You’re a bunch of granola-crunchin’, soy-shakin’, tofu-trottin’ veg heads. And just think, that’s a compliment. Winning Best Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Boulder is a pretty big honor. We are, after all, rated the 7th Most Vegetarian Friendly City in North America by GoVeg.com in its smaller population category. Boulder’s Sunflower Restaurant is nationally acclaimed for the amazing selection it offers vegetarians. Truly an herbivore’s haven, Sunflower is committed to organic standards and the finest ingredients. Its constantly changing menu ensures that residents will not tire of the fare — maybe one of the reasons why it seems to win the category year after year. On top of it all, Sunflower has a classy interior, superior wines and a dessert menu that will have your sweet tooth screaming. With quality like this, even the meat-eaters can bloom at Sunflower.
1770 13th St., 303-442-4993
Runner-up: Pekoe Sip House
Honorable Mention: The Tea Spot, Celestial Seasonings
Chinese philosopher T’ien Yiheng once noted, “Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.” And for all the global politics and hectic lifestyles we confront on a daily basis, we couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, after all, a warm cup of perfectly steeped tea is the best way to soothe our bodies and souls. That’s where Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse steps in. An elaborately decorated tea spot and restaurant, Dushanbe remains one of Boulder’s greatest treasures. A landmark gift from Boulder’s sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the Dushanbe Teahouse features the colorful handiwork of more than 40 artists, tasty cuisine and, of course, tea. Green, black, white, red, oolong, decaf, herbal, matée — it’s all there in loose abundance for an afternoon respite from the world. Runner-up Pekoe Sip House is a relaxing place to kick back and enjoy more than 100 varieties of loose tea together with a variety of baked goods. Though still relatively new, Pekoe is gaining popularity as one of the best places to get tranquil. Honorable mention Tea Spot creates its own blends of fresh, high-quality tea and shares honorable mention with Boulder celebrity tea-maker Celestial Seasonings.
2655 28th St., 303-442-1700
Runner-up: May Wah
Given Vietnam’s location, it’s not surprising that its cuisine would include influences from other Asian nations. While fish sauce is a distinctive element of Vietnamese cuisine, the use of chopsticks and soup bowls, together with such ingredients as soy sauce, bean curd, bean sprouts and egg noodles, comes from China. Sour sauces, a range of herbs and the use of sweeteners are Thai influences. The French, who colonized Vietnam, added sausages and baguettes to this already rich cultural mix. Chez Thuy brings those flavors together for a devoted Boulder clientele, offering unique creations, as well as authentic Vietnamese favorites and some of the best coffee in town. Established in 1993, Chez Thuy has earned a host of honors, including previous Best of Boulder wins.
Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966
Runner-up: Flagstaff House
Honorable Mention: Trilogy
Sometimes it seems that Dionysus had it right all along. There’s nothing like the feeling you get after a big glass of wine. We’re not talking about the buzz that comes after shot-gunning a couple of beers, or the straight-to-the-head punch of a shot. We’re talking straight-up, classy giddiness. Wasn’t Dionysus all about letting go of inhibitions, anyway? This year, Frasca Food & Wine wins top honors for its selection of wines. With more than 200 varieties in their cellar, Frasca has the perfect bottle for everyone from the newbie to the oenophile. You can sample by the glass, or, if mixing isn’t your thing, Frasca has most wines available by the bottle. A bottle split between friends or lovers is the best start to any evening. Runner-up Flagstaff House impresses us with its internationally acclaimed, award-winning selection of wines, available for sipping with the best view in town. We couldn’t leave Trilogy out of this list, either. This is quite possibly the hippest spot in town to make a toast to lush atmosphere and live music. Oh, and did we mention that they have bottomless glasses of wine for happy hour? The gods can’t even top that.
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