Best of Boulder 2017 — Food

Daniel Stadtler, Manager, Bartender and line cook at Illegal Pete’s



1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955

1124 13th St., 303-444-3055

Second Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

Third Place: Santiago’s

Fourth Place: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Fifth Place: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria

Write In: Wapos Mexican Cocina

What’s better than a great big tasty burrito the size of your head? The answer is a great big tasty burrito filled with meat that contains no hormones or antibiotics. Illegal Pete’s ingredients also include fresh veggies and preservative-free tortillas. That’s why our readers love these burritos. We’ve all been to an assembly-line burrito joint and been disappointed to find that every bite is different. But that doesn’t happen here because Illegal Pete’s stirs your ingredients to ensure that you enjoy rice, beans, meat, cheese, guac, salsa or whatever else you had them put in this behemoth burrito with every bite. Illegal Pete’s also serves up a great gluten-free version.



5541 Central Ave., Suite 272, 303-443-4049

Second Place: Blackbelly Market

Third Place: Cured

Fourth Place: Three Leaf Catering

Fifth Place: Dish Gourmet

Whether it’s a wedding, a corporate event or food for an on-site corporate café, A Spice of Life Catering & Events provides exceptional cuisine and service. It was founded by two veterans of the service industry, who have established a rigorous training program for their professional staff in order to ensure each event is successful. With a team of expert chefs capable of executing versatile menus to suite any style of event, it’s no wonder our readers turn to A Spice of Life for all their catering needs.

Chautauqua Dining Hall STAFF member Tara Manard

Place to Eat Outdoors


900 Baseline Road, 303-440-3776

Second Place: Boulder County Farmers Markets

Third Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Fourth Place: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Write In: Rayback Collective

Take a look at an old photo of Boulder —old as in 120 years ago — and you’ll see two things you recognize; the Flatirons and the buildings of Chautauqua at their base. Chautauqua Park and the historic buildings around it create one of the most spectacular locations anywhere for a relaxing day of fun or a great meal. What makes this the best spot for outdoor dining is the Chautauqua Dining Hall’s spectacular wrap-around porch. Watching the sun set from the porch as families picnic and play frisbee in the park below is truly one of the most authentic and rewarding Boulder experiences a person can have. The food is fresh and organic, and always wonderfully prepared. Many a lifelong memory has been born on that old porch. Perhaps it’s time to create one of your own.

Barbecue From a Food Truck 


Places like Rayback Collective, Upslope Brewery, Arise Festival, etc.

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and you can always get your fix. 

We confess to being fully addicted to great barbecue. While that single fact doesn’t qualify us to write about most things, it is the equivalent of a Ph.D. in barbecue. Rolling Bones does its meats and sauces right. We’re talking holy crap, fall-off-the-bone, smack-around-your-tastebuds right. Rolling Bones’ ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken are out of this world. But if you’re feeling frisky, be sure and ask if they have any smoked lamb ribs or pork belly. Wow, wow, wow.  And did we mention it’s all served up with love and kindness from a truck?



805 Pearl St., 303-449-4804

Second Place: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Third Place: Chocolove

Fourth Place: Robin Chocolates

Fifth Place: Kilwins

The world loves chocolate. Therefore, it only makes sense our readers would love Sarah Amorese, founder and owner of Piece, Love & Chocolate. She makes it her personal mission each day to “enchant and entertain” patrons of her shop by offering them the best chocolate pastries, cakes, tortes, truffles and confections you’ll find anywhere. Eat your heart out, Switzerland. PLC has everything for the chocolate lover: gifts, books, chocolate-themed clothing, cocoa butter-based beauty products and more. Chocolate lovers rejoice. You’ve found your home.

Frozen Yogurt


1682 30th St., 303-444-0690

Second Place: Glacier
Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato

Third Place: Boulder Chill
Frozen Yogurt

Fourth Place: Menchie’s
Frozen Yogurt

Fifth Place: Two Spoons
Gelato & Soup

Frozen yogurt is all the rage, and why shouldn’t it be? It’s tart and refreshing, lower in fat than ice cream, and can often contain live cultures that are great for digestion. Oh, and it’s really wonderful when it’s topped with fruit and chocolate chips and granola and maybe some cheesecake bites. When our readers are looking for the best frozen yogurt around, they head to Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt, where they can self-serve a variety of locally made, all-natural frozen yogurt flavors. They even bake many of their toppings. Who could argue with that?

Lucile’s Restaurant Cook, Reuben Manzo



2124 14th St., 303-442-4743

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

Second Place: Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Third Place: Walnut Cafe/South Side Walnut Cafe/Super
Mini Walnut Cafe

Fourth Place: The Buff Restaurant

Fifth Place: Tangerine

Write In: Doug’s Day Diner

Ever wonder what the crowd down on 14th Street in Boulder in front of that Victorian yellow house is all about? Some people sit on the bench, others on the curb. Some people linger around the newspaper boxes, catching up on current events. It seems they’re there all morning and even into the early afternoon. Well, if you haven’t heard, that yellow house is the original Lucile’s Creole Cafe, the best breakfast place in town hands down, according to our readers. Known for bringing creole cooking to Colorado in the 1980s, Lucile’s Cajun Breakfast and Eggs New Orleans are dishes that made the place famous. Don’t forget an order of the tasty beignets and chicory coffee, or to check out the Longmont location.

Nederland Restaurant


110 N. Jefferson St., Nederland, 303-258-1169

Second Place: Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Third Place: Sundance Cafe

Fourth Place: Crosscut Pizzeria & Taphouse

The mountain town of Nederland may not be as high as the Himalayas, but that doesn’t stop Resham Gurung and her team from serving up some of the best Himalayan cuisine, or any food for that matter, around. Walking into Kathmandu Restaurant is like being transported to the tallest region of the world. Brightly decorated in reds, oranges and yellows, and hit with the rich smells of Himalayan spices, your mouth will start watering before you can even sit down. It’s no surprise this is our reader’s choice for best restaurant in Ned once again. And try and make the Friday night buffet to try something new, fill up on old favorites and enjoy the atmosphere of this mountain town.

Ice Cream


2628 Broadway, Boulder, 303-447-3269

669 S. Broadway, Boulder, 303-494-4269

637 Front St., Suite B, Louisville, 303-666-4269

Second Place: Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato

Third Place: Ben and Jerry’s

Fourth Place: Fior de Latte

Fifth Place: Boulder Organic Ice Cream

Write In: Heifer and the Hen Organic Creamery

Ahh, the memories of childhood on a warm summer night, when grandpa would get out the wooden bucket with a hand crank on top. As he filled the bucket with ice and salt, grandma would stir sugar, cream and milk on the stove. When everything was ready, the custard mixture would go in the metal container, the lid would go on and grandpa would begin to crank. And we’d wait, and wait. And wait. Finally the ice cream was ready and it’d drip off our spoons and faces as we ate as much as we could. But now the wait is over! Sweet Cow serves up a variety of ice cream flavors handcrafted on-site daily that not even grandpa can beat served in compostable cups by friendly staff, Sweet Cow is the place to be!

Host/Server Nicole Leveillee, and Snooze General Manager Nick Hackett



1617 Pearl St., 303-225-7344

Second Place: Walnut Cafe/South Side Walnut Cafe/SuperMini
Walnut Cafe

Third Place: The Buff Restaurant

Fourth Place: The Huckleberry

Fifth Place: Tangerine

Write In: Morning Glory Cafe

There’s nothing standard about the pancakes at Snooze an A.M. Eatery. (Although you can certainly get standard fare if you’d like.) Decadent molten chocolate pancakes, scrumptious blueberry Danish pancakes, pineapple upside down pancakes or the signature sweet potato pancakes make this restaurant stand out, our readers say. But wait, there’s more. With pancake-of-the-day options or a three-pancake flight, you can be eating pancakes for days. So you better head on over to Snooze and get started. Go on, get going, go

Brazilian Food

Five on Black

1805 29th St., Suite 1138, 303-402-5000

There’s a reason why Brazilian people are so happy. Beautiful beaches, flowing caipirinhas, lively samba music and plates of good food. Any time you’re hankering for a bite of Brazil, stop by Five on Black. It focuses on the beautiful simplicity of Brazilian food: rice, beans, protein and a few other special mix-ins. And Five on Black offers some Brazilian staples like feijoada, a meat stew, or farofa, toasted manioc flour. But the real star of the show is pao de queijo, cheese bread so light and fluffy you’ll think you’re eating cheesy clouds. You’ll wanna load on a few of those, trust us. Parabéns!

Jennifer, Jessica and Jill Emich, owners of Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

Gluten-Free Menu


2027 13th St., 303-449-0120

Second Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Third Place: Modern Market

Fourth Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Fifth Place: Blooming Beets Kitchen

Gluten, who needs ya? Not the Blissful Sisters at Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place, nor the throngs of gluten-free folks who love the restaurant’s entirely gluten-free, non-GMO menu. The folks at Shine understand that gluten-free need not be something to avoid, but rather to embrace in order to feel good and eat well. Shine’s brunch, lunch and dinner offerings include coconut curry, crispy chicken confit, jackfruit tacos, a seasonal slaw sampler and, of course, Shine’s infamous potions, beer and specialty cocktails. But the Blissful Sister’s aren’t hoarders of the gluten-free empire; Shine released a cookbook recently with many of the favorite dishes at the restaurant.



928 Pearl St., 303-444-1811

Second Place: Wild Standard

Third Place: Tortugas

Fourth Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Fifth Place: Reelfish Fish & Chips

First thing’s first, when looking for a great place to eat seafood, look for a place that prioritizes sustainable seafood. Because Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is concerned about global seafood stocks, each decision they make is guided by that concern. They partner with a number of sustainable seafood certification organizations to share important news in the ever-changing world within our oceans. Jax Fish House is the first restaurant in Colorado to be certified by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. They serve up fresh, consciously harvested seafood that our readers have deemed the best around.

Place To Go on a First Date


1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Third Place: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

Fourth Place: The Melting Pot

Fifth Place: The Kitchen

The first date — a moment of magic, mystery and terror. Take some of the terror out of the first date by going to The Mediterranean Restaurant. Their patio is the stuff of romance novels, with twinkling lights overhead, bright flowers all around and fountains gently bubbling. Order a bottle of wine to ease the tension, then peruse the extensive list of hot and cold tapas. Sit back and savor your wine and food — eat slowly, enjoy your company and relax. Share a dish of paella, simmered and baked with fresh thyme, lemon and white wine, and talk about the beaches of Spain. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about what to do on your second date.

Restaurant Dessert


1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: Boulder Cork

Fourth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Fifth Place: SALT

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

The largest cannoli ever built was 12 feet long and 350 pounds. That’s like Wilt Chamberlain on stilts. It was made out of cream, cheese and pastry dough and then deep fried. The Kitchen may not indulge in such extremities of dimension, but they do explore the range of tastes in their excellent desserts. Sticky toffee pudding, chocolate bag, panna cotta, carrot cake: yes, we’ll take all four. Like everything at the restaurant, desserts at The Kitchen are made with organic, local ingredients and carefully crafted by artisan chefs.

Rayme Rossello, Owner of COMIDA

Food Truck


Find current locations on Facebook and Twitter

Second Place: Verde

Third Place: McDevitt Taco Supply

Fourth Place: Waffle Cakes

When you see Tina roll up, all decked out in pink, you know it’s about to be a good time. She’s always traveling through neighborhoods and office parks along Colorado’s Front Range feeding people authentic Mexican street food. Tina is Comida’s big pink food truck, and she’s our readers’ favorite mobile Mexican feast, dishing out a diverse selection of tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and a daily assortment of rotating goodies made from fresh local ingredients. Pink is the new black.

Business Lunch


1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: FATE Brewing Company

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fourth Place: The Kitchen

Fifth Place: Boulder Cork

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

You may not get to travel much for work, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the food of other places while on the job. Tapas and paella from Spain. Pizzas and paninis from Italy. Moroccan chili-rubbed chicken and gyros from Greece. With its extensive menu of Mediterranean cuisine, its renowned outdoor seating area and central location, The Mediterranean Restaurant is the perfect place to discuss the next big deal, that new project or simply enjoy the company of coworkers. Plus, it’s a great place to take your boss to talk about that promotion you think you deserve.



1730 Pearl St., 303-442-3003

Second Place: Beau Jo’s Colorado Style Pizza

Third Place: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Fourth Place: Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Fifth Place: Proto’s Pizzeria Napoletana

Write In: Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage

Pizza is a gift from the heavens. And anyone who takes it for granted should be visited by an angel a la It’s a Wonderful Life, and taken about town to see what their life would be like without pizza. Or they can just go to Kansas. We’re lucky to have a number of artisan and traditional pizza pie joints, and our readers like none better than Pizzeria Locale. Trained in the classic Neapolitan way, Pizzeria Locale’s pies are thin-crust tableaus on which beautiful meats, sauces and vegetables are painted, before being set in a wood-fired kiln and served simply with a glass of Italian wine.

Overall Restaurant


1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: The Kitchen

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fourth Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fifth Place: Blackbelly Market

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

At this point, we’ve lost count of how many times our readers have chosen The Mediterranean Restaurant as Boulder’s best overall restaurant. We all know that restaurants come and go, but The Med, as it’s lovingly called by locals, just goes and goes and goes. Boulder is one of the nation’s foodiest cities and our well-traveled and highly educated readers are some of the foodiest eaters anywhere. So winning this award year after year is truly an amazing feat. What makes it best? The Med has a fantastic atmosphere that includes a hopping bar scene with a brick oven, an amazing courtyard patio and a maze of dining areas decorated in Mediterranean style with beautiful tiles and panels. The service is great with just the right sprinkle of fun and the food is to be remembered at a reasonable price. It has the best tapas in town and with entrees ranging from lamb to pasta to seafood to individually handcrafted pizzas, everybody can find a favorite dish.

Eclectic Menu


1143 13th St., 720-465-9063

Eclectic (adj.): deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. Ado’s Kitchen & Bar knows a thing or two about being eclectic. The restaurant formerly known as Span-ish still retains its penchant for diverse foods, offering dishes with Italian, Asian, Spanish and American influences. For breakfast try a pupusas plate, a Salvadorian treat stuffed with pecan-smoked bacon, ham and Italian sausage served with over easy eggs, avocado and spicy salsa. For lunch try their pad Thai or chicken piccata. Dinner offers New York steak and stuffed chayote. Ado’s is the perfect go-to for a group with diverse tastes.

Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery Executive Pastry Chef Jennifer Bush



3990 Broadway, 720-596-4905

Second Place: Great Harvest Bread Co.

Third Place: Breadworks Bakery and Cafe

Fourth Place: Spruce Confections

Fifth Place: Moxi Bread Co.

Stepping inside Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery is a treat for all your senses. Housed in the North Boulder Lucky’s Market, pastries are piled high beside expertly crafted cakes, which are beside creamy gelato and ice cream. Items come in a variety of styles to meet everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions. There are never any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives used in the Bakehouse, which contributes to its always-fresh taste and consistent quality. We dare you: Walk into Lucky’s Bakehouse and walk out without a sweet treat, whether it’s a pecan sticky bun, a lemon poppy seed cake or gluten-free Parisian-style macaron.



2010 10th St., 303-545-6262

Second Place: China Gourmet

Third Place: Spice China

Fourth Place: Moongate Asian Bistro
& Sushi Bar

Fifth Place: Five Spice Asian Cuisine

Write In: Double Happy

Even though it retains the pleasant casualness of street food, the fare at Zoe Ma Ma is a step above in many regards. Not your traditional Chinese-American joint, Zoe Ma Ma serves simple, authentic dishes made from Chef Anna Zoe’s original recipes. From their side-street outpost off Pearl, you’ll find dim sum delights like potstickers, sticky buns and dumplings. And weekly specials are a local favorite like Friday and Saturday’s roast duck wonton noodle soup. Best of all, none of this street food is going to break the bank, but it will leave your taste buds satisfied.



673 Broadway, 720-304-8118

When it comes to making the perfect omelette, the biggest mistake is thinking that more is better. You’ve seen them. They often have names like the garbage can omelette or the kitchen sink omelette or the meal lover’s omelette. But the truth is, the perfect omelette is the one that contains just the right balance of a few perfectly matched ingredients. For our tastes, Walnut Cafe’s Southside Special, with its bacon, green chilies, cilantro and cheddar, is the best around. It is truly omelette perfection made by the kindest people in the business.

Place to Arrive Really Early So You
Can Enjoy the Wait 


Downtown Gold Hill, right next to the old dog acting like a speed bump in the middle of the road

The Gold Hill Inn is a five-star restaurant disguised as a historic dining hall in the most laid-back, beautiful setting in Colorado. Or is it a historic dining hall discussed as a five-star restaurant? Either way, the food is as good as it gets, with super friendly service all offered in the old mining town of Gold Hill far above the star-concealing lights of Boulder. And as good as the food is, our favorite part of an excursion to the Inn is waiting for our table, drink in hand, either inside the old log walls next to the blazing fireplace or outside on the front porch staring into the night sky. Waiting for a table at the Gold Hill Inn is all about relaxation and community. If you don’t like either of those, there’s surely a loud, crowded spot down on Pearl Street where you can grab a drink and stand in their mosh pit till you get a table. Your loss.

Khow Thai owner Niramon Jaraschatrkaew



1600 Broadway, 303-447-0273

Second Place: Aloy Thai Cuisine

Third Place: Buddha Thai Cuisine

Fourth Place: Busaba Authentic Thai Cuisine

Fifth Place: Thai Kitchen

Whether it’s lunch, dinner or delivery, our readers go to Khow Thai Cafe for the Thai the love the best. Khow Thai dishes out a rainbow assortment of curries, spicy Thai salads, delicious and soul-warming soups, savory noodles, fresh stir-fries, a range of specialty dishes and of course sweet treats like fresh mango and sticky rice. Khow Thai even caters small and large events. So if you want an authentic taste of Thailand, head to Khow Thai Cafe.

Fine Dining


1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640

Second Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Third Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fourth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fifth Place: The Kitchen

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

What defines fine dining? The freshest ingredients prepared by knowledgeable chefs; a variety of high-quality wines; a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere; and of course, impeccable service. Flagstaff House Restaurant embodies the essentials of fine dining. Located on a hillside overlooking the City of Boulder, Flagstaff House features a richly crafted mahogany bar, a cozy fireplace and a rare crystal collection with pieces from around the world. Floor-to-ceiling picture windows and several outside terraces allow diners to enjoy the changing seasons with breathtaking views of Boulder. Flagstaff House has won the coveted Wine Spectator’s Grand Award every year since 1983, and their menu is an exploration of the finest delicacies, from lobster, foie gras and caviar, to filet mignon, duck breast and lamb racks.

Abo’s pizza maker Tyler Porritt

Pizza Slice


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Third Place: Pizza Colore

Fourth Place: Beau Jo’s Colorado Syle Pizza

Fifth Place: Boss Lady Pizza

Write In: Street Legal Pizza

If there’s one thing John Kasich taught us all, it was that you don’t eat a New York slice of pizza with a knife and fork. You need to let that sucker cool down a bit and then fold it in half and eat it. You don’t have to travel to New York to show off your pizza-eating knowledge or to get a New York-quality slice of pie  — just head to one of the several Abo’s Pizza locations around Boulder County to experience slices as big as your face. Don’t be John Kasich — you see what his mistake cost us all.



1149 13th St., 303-443-2300

The quality of great Mexican food depends on the quality of its most basic ingredients. If the ingredients are fresh and flavorful and placed into the hands of a master, they’ll become great Mexican food. And when it comes to Mexican cuisine, nothing plays a more important role in the meal than the salsas. Taco Junky has it all when it comes to salsas: the fresh ingredients and the master chef. Its Diablo is a spicy habanero, sesame and lime salsa. The Verde is blend of a tomatillos, cilantro and serranos. The Quemado is a chipotle, charred plum tomato concoction that works with every dish. Or, for an explosion of fresh flavors, try the Piña, which is made from green peppers, pineapple and red fresnos. Better yet, try a sampler that comes with any two salsas and fresh guacamole. And don’t forget to play at their amazing Tequila bar while you’re salsa sampling. This place is great.



2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-44-4133

Did you know you can tell what’s inside of an empanada just by how the dough is shaped? Is it a little pouch with the edge sealed by the tines of a fork? That one’s got chicken in it. Look like a fat half moon? That one’s filled with puerro (leek). Try your new found talent out (and maybe practice your Spanish) on the corner of Folsom and Arapahoe at Rincon Argentino. Owned and operated by a genuine Argentine, you’ll find a taste of South America right here on the Front Range. Steak, chicken, ham, mushrooms… there’s something to please all your taste buds. You can even take a dozen frozen empanadas home to enjoy later. As Argentine rock-hero Gustavo Cerati would say, “Gracias totales!”



Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Salvaggio’s Italian Delicatessen

Third Place: Half Fast Subs

Fourth Place: Blackbelly Market

Fifth Place: Cured

Ever heard of the word “snarfalicious?” No? Well, that’s probably because it’s not a word. But it is the philosophy of Snarf’s Sandwiches, winner of the best sandwich in this year’s Best of Boulder. It’s the idea behind every one of Snarf’s made-to-order subs, no matter what combinations of ingredients you choose. Offering a variety of premium meats and cheeses, crisp veggies, with special Snarf’s giardiniera peppers and freshly made, oven-toasted white, wheat or gluten-free bread, you can’t beat Snarf’s!

Late Night


1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955

1124 13th St., 303-444-3055

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Third Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fourth Place: Bramble & Hare

Fifth Place: Boulder Baked

We’ve all had a late night — you’re studying, you’re drinking, you’re up chatting with a friend. Suddenly, you’re starving. What’s open? Holy crap… are we relegated to trying to cook something ourselves? Dear lord, no. The horror. But just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, you remember there’s Illegal Pete’s, dishing out the biggest, baddest, tastiest burritos (and nachos, quesadillas and their signature queso) our readers have ever salivated over. Illegal Pete’s (much like the actual Pete who has been running the chain since 1995) is a place for good-natured hell-raisers. So if you’re raising a little late-night hell, or just cramming for a test, Illegal Pete’s has got you covered.



2124 14th St., 303-442-4743

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

Second Place: Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fourth Place: Walnut Cafe/South Side Walnut Cafe/Super Mini Walnut Cafe

Fifth Place: Tangerine

Write In: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

When you’ve got special guests in town, it’s best to take them somewhere equally special. Our readers would suggest brunch at Lucile’s Creole Cafe. Located in a Victorian-style house just off Pearl Street, Lucile’s brings the charm of Creole culture to Boulder. The small space makes for a jovial atmosphere, enhanced by fresh chicory coffee, infamous bloody marys and orders of hot, sugary beignets. Enjoy Creole classics like shrimp and grits, pain perdu and blackened shrimp. Spread some of that homemade applebutter on one of Lucile’s enormous fresh baked biscuits and you’ll swear you’re on the bayou.

Stephen Cosgrove enjoys serving up fresh Moe’s Broadway bagels at the new South Broadway location.



3075 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4427

2650 Broadway, 303-444-3252

3267 28th St., 720-406-9000

Second Place: Big Daddy Bagels

Third Place: Einstein Bros Bagels

Fourth Place: Mickey C’s Bagels

Bagels are Poland’s gift to the world (and pierogis, but that’s a different story). Their high satisfaction factor comes from a dense, chewy and occasionally doughy center accentuated by a pleasantly tough and sometimes crispy exterior. They make amazing sandwiches, or a quick and satisfying breakfast topped with jam or cream cheese and lox. The folks at Moe’s Bagels are the master bagel makers according to our readers. Savory or sweet, Moe’s has house-made cream cheese to suit any taste — and any bagel. Load your bagel up with meat, eggs or veggies to create a meal that will satisfy the greatest hunger.



3050 28th St., Boulder, 720-328-4696

Second Place: Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant & Bar

Third Place: Kathmandu Restaurant

Fourth Place: Tandoori Grill

Fifth Place: Taj Indian Cuisine

Write In: Mandala Infusion A Tibetan Bistro

While Yelp is often a place for people to express their frustrations with a business, such is not the case for Boulder’s Curry ‘n’ Kebob. Reviewers rave about the restaurant’s traditional Indian cuisine offerings. Boulder folks love their gluten-free options and the ability to request coconut milk instead of cream. Instead of the traditional Indian buffet, diners love Curry ‘n’ Kebob’s to-go lunch boxes and made-to-order eat-in lunch specials. The interior is simple, with a total focus on the quality of food and service. Rich flavors, crispy naan and creamy custards keep our readers going back for more.

Greg Carelli, Owner of CarellI’s of boulder



645 30th St., 303-938-9300

Second Place: Pasta Jay’s

Third Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Fourth Place: Pizzeria Locale

Fifth Place: Il Pastaio

Write In: Via Perla

Italian food is world-renowned for its elegant simplicity. It coaxes out flavors and textures from minimal ingredients via time-tested cooking techniques and recipes passed down through generations of Italian cooks. What ends up on the plate at a good Italian joint is the work of centuries. Our readers selected Carelli’s of Boulder as their favorite Italian spot, and it’s no wonder why: it has a positively gigantic menu of Italian favorites, all expertly created. The wide selection of wine and intimate, yet relaxed setting, make it a great place for many a situation.



1221 Spruce St., 303-440-0733

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

Third Place: Japango

Fourth Place: Sushi Hana on The Hill

Fifth Place: Sakura Japanese Cuisine

Write In: Tasuki Sushi Bistro

Sushi Zanmai is a barrel of fun. Entertainment, a lively atmosphere, excellent food — they all contribute to the restaurant, which seems to win best sushi every year. But it’s for a reason. Zanmai’s food is always fresh and expertly prepared. The specialty rolls are killer, and menu items from hot pots to ramen to grilled items are sure to please the non-sushi crowd. It’s an easy place to turn a lunch into a whole afternoon affair, as the sushi is too good to stop ordering, and the environment is too friendly to leave.

Hard-Earned Reward for Cyclists


108 Main St., Jamestown, 303-442-5847

Brunching at the Jamestown Mercantile on a Sunday afternoon is the closest thing to heaven we can imagine, and we reckon it’s a little piece of paradise for the cyclists who climb up Lee Hill Drive. Sipping a cup of coffee, you hear that screen door creak open and then comes the clop, clop, clop of cycling shoes against hard wood. After a ride like that, it’s time to chow down on a traditional house breakfast with eggs, bacon and toast, or maybe a giant breakfast burrito smothered in homemade green chile. It’s the best hard-earned reward for a cyclist we can think of.

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant’S General Manager Christopher Hopkins Comstock

Vegetarian Friendly


2010 16th St., 303-442-1485

Second Place: Modern Market

Third Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Fourth Place: Native Foods Café

Fifth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

You know what’s good about vegetarian food? It prevents the killing of animals and the production of their meat, which is not only bad for them, but bad for the Earth. It also better enables you to eat healthier; without indulging in meat, you’re also not gorging on the nasties that come alongside a lot of processed meat products. Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant knows all this, and it’s evidenced in their beautiful plant-forward menu. Dishes like savory corn pudding, Jamaican jerk tempeh and spaghetti squash pad Thai all nod to traditional meat dishes, but revel in their veggie goodness.

Lyons Restaurant


303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685

Second Place: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse

Third Place: Lyons Fork

Fourth Place: Farmer Girl Community Bistro

Fifth Place: Barking Dog Cafe

Write In: Mojo Taqueria

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew is a fitting choice for the best restaurant in Lyons. Now that the brewery’s beer has taken off coast-to-coast, the heart and soul of Oskar Blues remains in lovable Lyons. With live music, square dancing, arcade games and a menu of signature and rotating taps, there’s no shortage of fun to be had at the Grill & Brew. The food menu consists of sandwiches and burgers, and rotating specials that highlight the best of country cooking, from fried catfish to crawfish and shrimp étouffée. Even as Oskar Blues continues its Boulder County expansion, and pursues its dreams of national dominance, the Lyons location will always be the brewery’s showcase.

Ramen from Sushi Zanmai, winner of this year’s best Japanese cuisine



1221 Spruce St., 303-440-0733

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

Third Place: Japango

Fourth Place: Sakura Japanese Cuisine

Fifth Place: Sushi Hana on The Hill

We may be a mile above sea level and 5,771 miles from Japan, but that doesn’t mean Boulder isn’t chock full of options for great sushi and Japanese food. That said, our readers once again chose Sushi Zanmai as the best of the bunch for Japanese cuisine and that’s no surprise. This establishment not only has outstanding fish, it also has one of the most energetic and fun atmospheres anywhere. Not in the mood for Sushi? The menu here has many other choices ranging from classic to more adventurous takes on Japanese cuisine. And if a guy jumps up on the bar and starts playing a saxophone, just roll with it. It probably means someone is having a birthday or maybe somebody just bought the chefs a round.

Take Out


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Noodles & Company

Third Place: Curry ‘n’ Kebob

Fourth Place: Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant

Fifth Place: Aloy Thai Cuisine

When you’re looking to grab something on the go, or would rather just eat in the comfort of your own home but can’t be bothered to cook for yourself; When you have a bunch of kiddos to feed or need something to take with you on that hike; When you’re generally hungry and are looking for great take out, head on over to Snarf’s Sandwiches. With made-to-order subs, the process is quick and painless and you’ll be ready to head back out in the world, sandwiches (or salads or soups or any combo of the three) in hand, in no time.

Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina owner George Gomez Susan France



1630 N. 63rd St., Boulder, 303-440-4045

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544

Second Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Third Place: T•aco an urban taqueria

Fourth Place: Zolo Grill

Fifth Place: Centro Mexican Kitchen

Write In: Hefe’s Tacos & Tequila

Long before most of us are thinking about the Mexican food we will be eating later in the day, the cooking has already started at Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina.  At 6 a.m. each morning, Efrain’s famous green chili is already simmering. Great Mexican food doesn’t just appear when it’s ordered. It takes decades, or really centuries, of practice and many hours of loving attention to prepare. Efrain’s has been putting its long family history of cooking up Northern Chihuahua-style Mexican food on its customers plates for more than 30 years. Its attention to detail and amazingly delicious food has made Efrain’s a local legend. It now has several locations throughout the county, so you’re never very far from a great meal that will make you feel like you’re visiting south of the border.



7464 Arapahoe Road, 303-786-7608

2660 Broadway, 303-442-3717

Second Place: LuLu’s BBQ

Third Place: Georgia Boy’s BBQ Co.

Fourth Place: West End Tavern

Fifth Place: Moe’s Original Bar B Que

Write In: Uturn BBQ

Barbecue is an art form and the best of the best is always minimalist. No wonder our readers love this place. It has perfectly smoked meat that Marcel Duchamp would appreciate. Like it sweet? Savory? Vinegary? KT’s BBQ has you covered. The juicy smoked meat is always perfect and every sauce you could want is there for your enjoyment. Order a BBQ sammich “Elvis Style” and you’ll get it topped off with a load of mouth-watering slaw, or tackle the “The Pig Pile,” another KT’s favorite. Or go right to the top of the barbecue food chain and order up a mess of meaty and tender St. Louis-style pork spareribs. If you haven’t popped after all that, don’t leave KT’s without trying a mini key lime pie or brownie.

Martha V., Kitchen Manager for T•ACO an urban taqueria Susan France



1175 Walnut St., 303-443-9468

Second Place: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria

Third Place: Wahoo’s Fish Taco

Fourth Place: Comida

Fifth Place: Sancho’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant

Write In: Hefe’s Tacos & Tequila

Now these are tacos. There is nowhere else you can get better street tacos and it all starts with super fresh ingredients and an amazing selection of meats and seafood. We’re talking about tacos made with your choice of duck, steak, chicken, fish, pork belly, ahi tuna, carnitas or shrimp, or keep it vegetarian and add grilled cojita cheese. T•aco an urban taqueria has non-traditional versions of this folded pocket of deliciousness, like BBQ pork, buffalo chicken, mango Caesar and their famous pork belly BLT taco. After reading these lists, it should be obvious why our readers chose T•aco as their favorite place to chow down on tacos. Meet you there.

Mexican Breakfast

The Parkway Cafe

4700 Pearl St., 303-447-1833

Two of the best decisions you can make in a day involve what you eat for breakfast and how you to finagle Mexican food into every meal. Thankfully, the finagling at Parkway Café is second to none, which is why we chose them for best Mexican breakfast. The hardest choice you’ll make is deciding which of the myriad options to choose from. Huevoes rancheros? Breakfast enchiladas? Migas cuatro quesos? Chilaquiles? We’ll take one of everything. Parkway is known as one of the best-kept secrets in Boulder County, but the secret’s out.

Arcana FOOD Migrations & inspirations Head Chef Kyle Mendenhall Susan France

New Restaurant


909 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-3885

Second Place: Community

Third Place: River and Woods

Fourth Place: Via Perla

Fifth Place: Mandala Infusion A Tibetan Bistro

ARCANA has a bold — and fascinating — mission: “to join the emerging national conversation about the true identity of American cuisine.” You’ll see everything from traditional European influences to inspirations from Western Africa, South America and Native American cuisines on the menu. There are simple pleasures like burgers, patty melts and cookies and milk. Then there are masa dumplings, Maine lobster soup and Colorado lamb T-bones. ARCANA has enchanted our readers with its exploration of American cuisine, and it’s unlikely ARCANA will stop imagining how to exceed expectations.

Asian Fusion


2655 28th St., 303-442-1700

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill
& Sake Bar

Third Place: Zoe Ma Ma

Fourth Place: Japango

Fifth Place: Sushi Zanmai

Write In: Mandala Infusion A Tibetan Bistro

If the name is any indication, technically Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant is, well, Vietnamese. But don’t be fooled by the title. Back in the day, Chef Thuy incorporated French, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian culinary traditions to create her extensive menu, and Boulder has been thanking her ever since. If you’re in the mood for delicious pho on a cold day, head to Chez Thuy. Or if you’re craving seafood cooked with lemongrass, head to Chez Thuy. If you’re vegetarian or gluten free, head to Chez Thuy. Or if you just don’t know what you want, head to Chez Thuy. There’s sure to be something to fit your fancy.



2770 Pearl St., 303-440-1948

If you don’t know how to pronounce the name of this classic Vietnamese dish, you won’t appreciate the humor of New York City’s infamous Pho King restaurant. No such humor needed to make our favorite local creator of this mouth-watering dish a Boulder legend. The pho at Black Pepper Pho is as good as it gets. Piping hot, filled with a garden full of fresh goodies and succulent meats in a rich broth that pays homage to both. Trust us on this one, you’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget that glass of cold unfiltered sake, the perfect pairing.

The Sink’s Head Chef Dave Engel Susan France

Food on the Hill


1165 13th St., 303-444-7465

Second Place: Illegal Pete’s

Third Place: Cafe Aion

Fourth Place: Half Fast Subs

Fifth Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Write In: Tara Thai

The Sink has been a staple for pizza, burgers and sandwiches on the Hill since 1923. It started as a European-style restaurant named Summer’s Sunken Gardens. There was a sunken fountain in the center of the dining room that patrons referred to as “The Sink.” Flash forward and the The Sink was born. In many ways, this place embodies what Boulder is and has always been: a fun-loving town full of creatives with a world-class university for a heart. The Sink has great food, funky art and a wild history that includes everyone form Robert Redford to Barack Obama. Oh, and did we mention it has a great selection of ice-cold beer? Since 2006, the restaurant has been running on 100 percent wind power. If you’re passing through and want to taste a little of the real Republic of Boulder, head on over to The Sink.



1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Unit E, 303-543-0886

600 Longs Peak Ave., 303-651-7886

Second Place: Larkburger

Third Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fourth Place: Rueben’s Burger Bistro

Fifth Place: Smashburger

Write In: Eureka!

If there’s something that goes better with a craft beer than a craft burger, we don’t know what it is (and we’d be willing to challenge any suggestion). Juicy and filling, topped with cheese and lettuce and tomatoes and onions, maybe some ketchup and mustard, burgers are the pinnacle of gastronomic happiness. Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries are dishing out addictive burgers all over Boulder County. Sourced mostly from farms in Lafayette and Louisville, the burgers are always fresh and well-adorned. The Junk Burger (bacon, cheese and mushrooms) is a classic, but the bison and garden burgers are equally pleasant switch-ups.

Restaurant Ambiance


1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Fourth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fifth Place: The Kitchen

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

Ambience is important at a restaurant, especially when you’re on a special date or having an important business lunch or even just relaxing with friends. You want to feel comfortable, and that’s what great ambience does. When our readers want a restaurant ambience that caters to a variety of situations, they look no further than Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Patio seating along Boulder Creek is perfect for a sunny day with friends, while a cozy table inside against the colorful interior of the teahouse’s Tajikistani décor offers just the right amount of light for a romantic date night.

Best Re-Launch of a Restaurant


802 S. Public Road, Lafayette,

When we found out Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant was being forced from its long-time spot on 30th Street, we hoped it would find a stable new home, and quick! It took about two years — with a stint serving mostly take-out from the Broker Inn’s kitchen — but Ras Kassa’s is back and better than ever with a new location in Lafayette… and they kept their take-out business going in Boulder! Roll up your sleeves and head to S. Public Road in Lafayette to dig into some doro wot and yebeg tibs. We’re glad you’re back, Ras Kassa’s.

Snarfs sandwiches employee Jennie Smith Susan France

Food Delivery


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Third Place: Abo’s Pizza

Fourth Place: Boulder Baked

Fifth Place: Boss Lady Pizza

Write In: Street Legal Pizza

We’ve all been there: Worn out from jumping on your pogo stick while listening to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police on repeat, and gosh darnit, you’re just too pooped to go out and pogostick your way to dinner. It happens. But luckily, Snarf’s Sandwiches delivers. And what they deliver is their trademark selection of sandwiches, made fresh to-order and delivered by a cheerful Snarf-iteer in practically no time at all. The sammies at Snarf’s are perfect for a family dinner as well as to refuel after a marathon ‘stick sesh, so whether you order the Italian, the turkey and swiss or any other of their deli delights, you know it’ll fill you up. Snarf’s also ships sides, salads and kids’ menu items.

Organic Restaurant


1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Second Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Third Place: Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro

Fourth Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Fifth Place: Modern Market

Write In: The Organic Dish

By now, The Kitchen (and its Upstairs and Next Door locations) have become synonymous with Boulder cuisine. Fresh, organic ingredients prepared by a skilled chef and served in a relaxed, yet upscale locale, beside a couple dozen of your closest friends and neighbors. If farm-to-table had an advertising agency (and they might, who knows?), they’d go to The Kitchen to film a commercial. But of course, there is much substance behind the appearance. The Kitchen’s rotating menus of local, seasonal produce and fresh meat always wins hearts, and its commitment to organic, sustainable food is what it’s all about.



1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Third Place: The Kitchen

Fourth Place: Centro Mexican Kitchen

Fifth Place: Blackbelly Market

Write In: Dagabi Cucina

When our readers are in the mood for just a little food or a lot of variety for their taste buds, they know just where to go. The tastiest tapas in town can be found at The Mediterranean Restaurant. The Med, as its name suggests, focuses on dishes from the Mediterranean basin — Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco and Lebanon. You’ll find hot and cold small plates, with plenty of options, including those of the vegetarian persuasion. Want an example of what awaits you? Try the dátiles con tocino, which wraps juicy strips of bacon around sweet, fresh Medjool dates covered in garlic and lemon butter. Don’t you think it’s about time to grab a table in The Med’s beautiful courtyard, order up a good glass of wine and start pointing at all those names of tapas on the menu that you can’t pronounce? Enjoy.

Patron Daniel Clark enjoys the ambiance at MOuntain Sun pub & Brewery. Susan France

American Restaurant


1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Unit E, 303-543-0886

600 Longs Peak Ave., 303-651-7886

Second Place: The Kitchen

Third Place: Blackbelly Market

Fourth Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fifth Place: Boulder Cork 

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

Grand Funk Railroad once warned in their song, “We’re An American Band,” that they’d be taking “it” to our houses and helping us “party it down.” That kind of aggressively vague description of event is a one of many references to “American-style” anything as something bland or generic. But consider the American menu at Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries: It ranges from perfect fish and chips to tempeh reubens to a rotating selection of fresh specials. The Sun embraces America’s rich culinary tradition and elevates common dishes with clever twists and additions. No doubt, we’re glad the Sun is helping us party it down.

East County Restaurant


101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544

Second Place: The Post Brewing Co.

Third Place: Colterra

Fourth Place: 24 CARROT BISTRO

Fifth Place: The Huckleberry

Write In: Community

There’s no shortage of great restaurants in East County. But year after year our readers vote Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina the best of the best. With its large plates of delicious food made in the Northern Chihuahua-style where Efrain grew up, the options are seemingly endless, from burritos, tamales and enchiladas to fajitas, chimichangas and more. “The chilies are fiery and the flavors are robust!” the restaurant boasts, so don’t forget to wash it all down with a margarita — at lunch or dinner, you won’t regret it! 

Retro Diner

Village Coffee Shop

1605 Folsom St., 303-442-9689

Every town needs a place like Village Coffee Shop, where locals come every morning to have a cup of coffee, read the newspaper and order up a plate of hash browns and French toast. As Boulder has modernized and become one of the hippest towns in Colorado, there’s something nice about a place that stays the same, which is why Village Coffee Shop wins our pick for the best retro diner. It’s always been good and it’ll always be good. Since 1971, Village Coffee Shop has been a beloved staple in our city. And we hope it stays that way forever.

Kid Friendly


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Third Place: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Fourth Place: Walnut Cafe/South Side Walnut Cafe/Super Mini Walnut Cafe

Fifth Place: Red Robin Burger Works

There’s nothing like finding a place where the whole family can eat. Billy wants chicken, but Berta wants beef. Bobby wants mac & cheese while Betty is asking for Chinese. And as their parents, Burt and Besty just want to eat in silence, no whining or bickering or anything of the sort. That’s why the Brown family goes to Noodles & Company, Boulder’s pick for best kid-friendly restaurant around. It’s affordable and comfortable, with enough options to keep the little ones (and not so little ones) happy and munching away.

Green Restaurant


1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Unit E, 303-543-0886

600 Longs Peak Ave., 303-651-7886

Second Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Third Place: Larkburger

Fourth Place: Alfalfa’s Market

Fifth Place: The Buff Restaurant

Everybody knows that the folks at Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries are committed to doing business in an ethical, service-oriented, community-building way. Well, everybody who has spent anytime in these establishments knows it. Now you can add another area of focus to the business practices of this restaurant/microbrew group — green — and if this local chain manages to attain its ultimate goals, really green. That’s because the Mountain Sun family of businesses is attempting to be a zero-waste operation. That’s no easy task for restaurants or breweries, but if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that these folks excel when it comes to thinking and operating outside the box. No wonder our readers chose this local chain as the top green business.

Restaurant Service


1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway St., Unit E, 303-543-0886

600 Longs Peak Ave., 303-651-7886

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Fourth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Fifth Place: The Kitchen

Write In: Scotts on Alpine

Do you believe in karma? It doesn’t really matter whether you believe or not, when you show up at the Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries you’re going to get paid back for all the good stuff you’ve done, or at least it will feel that way. When you show up at one of these Boulder landmarks you’ll be met with a smile and a rotating cast of waitstaff determined to keep a beer in your hand and good food on your table. The pooled approach to staff means you will not have one waiter steering you through your dining experience, you’ll have a constant parade of friendly faces ready to offer great advice on food or beer. The Mountain Sun family of restaurants has a long history of not only making great beer but of supporting other microbreweries by offering up a great selection of rotating craft beers on tap. The always-helpful staff is happy to pour up some samples and help you with an informed recommendation. And you never know when the French-fry fairy might wonder by and bless you with a basket on the house. When it comes to great service, our readers say there is no place better.