Best of Boulder 2023: Food


American Restaurant

Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries

1535 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-546-0886; 

627 S. Broadway, Suite E, Boulder, 303-543-0886

Silver: Blackbelly Market

Bronze: World Famous Dark Horse

Mountain Sun and its Table Mesa-based sister, Southern Sun, have become two of Boulder’s quintessential haunts. None of the Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries locations takes credit or debit cards, but both serve a robust rotating selection of house-brewed draughts. The burgers remain a staple, with plenty of vegetarian options that include a tempeh reuben and Jerry’s vegan chili. 


The Kitchen American Bistro

1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973

Silver: The Roost

Bronze: McDevitt Taco Supply

Write-in: Piripi

Founded in 2004 by Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk, The Kitchen has continued to provide organic, farm-friendly dining to Pearl Street and beyond. Dishes like broccolini, burrata and steak tartare make it easy for diners to create full meals from an array of small plates. Though larger dishes like the ranch steak and the Ōra King salmon are still there to anchor heavier feasts.

Asian Fusion

Chez Thuy

2655 28th St., Boulder, 303-442-1700

Silver: Hapa Sushi

Bronze: Aloy Thai

Write-in: Osaka’s

Since opening in 1993, Chez Thuy has become a local favorite for pan-Asian cuisine with a massive, continent-spanning menu. Vietnamese classics like pho and lettuce wraps sit comfortably beside Pad Thai, calamari curry and five-spice duck. A frog legs hot pot is one of the chef’s specialties, but sesame tofu and crispy noodles are available for those looking for simple comforts. 


Moe’s Broadway Bagel

Multiple Locations

Silver: Big Daddy Bagels

Bronze: WoodGrain Bagel and Deli

Write-in: Fleishman’s Bagels and Delicatessen

There’s many-a reason Moe’s Broadway Bagel has snagged our readers’ vote for Best Bagel year after year. Not a lot has changed since Moe’s opened its first location in 1992, though it has expanded across the Boulder area with spots popping up in Louisville, Longmont and Denver. House-made cream cheeses — with flavors like bacon horseradish, artichoke parmesan and garlic herb — are still fundamental. 


Moxie Bread Co.

4593 Broadway, Boulder, 303-903-9961

641 Main St., Louisville, 720-420-9616

Silver: Lucky’s Bakehouse

Bronze: Boulder Baked

Despite experiencing the tragic loss of its founder, Andy Clark, in late 2022, Moxie Bread Co. has continued its mission of producing the best bread in town with 100% heirloom grains. Baguettes, sourdoughs and ciabatta rolls are joined by sweet and savory pastries like a pulled pork pie and an orange cardamom cruffin. 


Georgia Boys BBQ

250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099

Silver: KT’s BBQ

Bronze: LuLu’s BBQ

Write-in: Hattie’s BBQ

What began as a brown bag delivery service in 2010 has morphed into a growing empire of truly exceptional Georgia-style ’cue. Georgia Boys BBQ founders Nick Reckinger and Matt Alexander are the real deal. The duo serve massive sampler plates alongside innovative sandwiches like the maple whiskey chicken, which comes topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion rings and house-made maple Old Fashioned sauce. Though the meats are the star of the show, the cauliflower wings are one of the spot’s surprise highlights.


Lucile’s Creole Cafe

2124 14th St., Boulder, 303-4423-4743

Silver: Tangerine

Bronze: The Buff

Lucile’s Creole Cafe is a Best of Boulder mainstay. That it’s been serving the community since 1980 is the first of many indicators that the Creole cafe means business. The pain perdu — a New Orleans-style French toast — and the beignets are what make this a local institution. 


Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries

1535 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Suite E, Boulder, 303-543-0886

Silver: World Famous Dark Horse

Bronze: Blackbelly Market

Write-in: Wild Pastures Burger Company

Each of the Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries is burger-centric. The classics are all fine and good, but it’s the more elaborate creations that really give the place gusto. The Junk Burger — with bacon, cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, roasted garlic mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion — is drippily delicious, while the Basil Blue with basil blue cheese dressing adds a layer of refinement.


Illegal Pete’s

1447 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-3955

1124 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-3055

Silver: Efrain’s

Bronze: Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant

Write-in: Tierra y Fuego Taqueria

Since opening in 1995, Illegal Pete’s has expanded to an empire that now covers locations across the Front Range and even down into Arizona. The straightforward menu and roll-to-order counter service have helped to make it an institution, with a set of powerful margaritas helping Pete’s maintain an edginess befitting the name. 

Business Lunch

The Kitchen American Bistro

1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973

Silver: Japango

Bronze: Brasserie Ten Ten

Write-in: Mateo

The Kitchen is a good place to discuss deals while enjoying fine finger food. There’s a Halal Cart Chicken with spiced yogurt and a particularly delightful traditional Cubano. Lighter bites like quiche and crab fried rice are good dishes for anyone who plans to continue the workday with vigor. 


Blackbelly Market

1606 Conestoga St., #3, Boulder, 303-247-1000

Silver: A Spice of Life Catering

Bronze: McDevitt Taco Supply

Write-in: Naked Lunch

Back in 2011, before Blackbelly was one of Boulder’s great dining institutions, Hosea Rosenberg’s much-lauded deli concept was a catering company and food truck. Catering is still one of the company’s best elements. Menus are highly customizable, with offerings like salmon tartare, Buckner Family Ranch lamb loin and arugula with roasted beets. 


Zoe Ma Ma

2010 10th St., Boulder, 303-545-6262

Silver: China Gourmet

Bronze: Flower Pepper

James Beard semifinalist Edwin Zoe first opened Zoe Ma Ma in 2010 as a tribute to his mother’s cooking. The magnificently cozy cuisine has all the intimacy of a home-cooked meal, with dishes like the pork belly bao, Ma Ma’s potstickers and Dan Dan Mian all warming the soul as much as the palate.

Photo by Susan France


Piece, Love & Chocolate

805 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-4804

Silver: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Bronze: Chocolove

Hot sipping chocolate, house-made truffles and a variety of custom cakes make Piece, Love & Chocolate an ongoing staple for many community sweet tooths. Chocolate bars, including the Dynamite’s Bacon bar, are alone worth a visit. 

East County Restaurant


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

2480 Canyon Blvd., Unit M1, Boulder, 303-440-4045

Silver: The Post Chicken and Beer

Bronze: The Huckleberry

Write-in: Urban Field Pizza

Local legend Efrain Gomez has been crafting some of the region’s best Mexican food for over three decades. Efrain’s dishes are reminiscent of the Northern Chihuahuan cooking he grew up with, with plates like mondongo and blue corn enchiladas always arriving as absolute delights. For anyone with a hankering for spicier fare, the costillas — green chile-soaked ribs that melt off the bone — are a must. 

Fine Dining

Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303-442-4640

Silver: Frasca Food and Wine

Bronze: Black Cat

Overlooking the whole of Boulder Valley, Flagstaff House has long been synonymous with haute cuisine and special occasion dining. Israeli Ossetra caviar helps to set the tone, with main dishes like Spanish turbot, Miyazaki A5 wagyu New York strip and veal loin roulade continuing the undeniably exquisite dining experience.

Food Delivery

Cosmo’s Pizza

3117 28th St., Boulder, 303-442-3278

659 30th St., Boulder, 303-447-3278

Silver: Snarf’s Sandwiches

Bronze: Abo’s Pizza

Write-in: Barchetta

Many have argued, with varying degrees of rightness, that food is simply a vehicle for sauce. True or not, Cosmo’s Pizza has been a key fixture in Boulder’s delivery scene since it first opened in 2001. The pizza is good, but the house-made spicy ranch may be one of the city’s great contributions to the national culinary scene and should be ordered in volume no matter the size of the delivery order.

Photo by Branded Beet The Sink, photo by Branded Beet

Food on The Hill

The Sink

1165 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-7465

Silver: Illegal Pete’s

Bronze: Cafe Aion

Write-in: Bento-ria

The Sink turned 100 this year. It’s one of the city’s essential visits (Barack Obama, Anthony Bordain and Madeleine Alright have all stopped by), with a long legacy and unmistakable art by beat poet Llloyd Kavich. While it’s worth going to for the vibe alone, the food, including the Prime Time Burger Bowl — a new tribute to Buffs football coach Deion Sanders — always more than satisfies.

Food Truck

McDevitt Taco Supply

4800 Baseline Road, Suite C 110, Boulder, 720-573-4194

Silver: Los Dos Bros

Bronze: La Pupusa Loca

McDevitt Taco Supply’s catering wing covers private events and music festivals while maintaining a year-round cart outside of Sanitas Brewing. Each visit necessitates grabbing at least one of the Lightning, a chicken taco with house-made kale salad. Rotating specials are also a big part of McDevitt’s summer roster.

Gluten-Free Menu

Flower Child

2580 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-386-8090

Silver: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Bronze: Tangerine

Write-in: Piripi

As part of the Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts — which also includes Denver’s Culinary Dropout and Blanco Cocina and Cantina — Flower Child manages to mesh a variety of cooking styles to create robust dishes. The Boulder menu is full of conspicuously labeled gluten-free dishes, including a ginger miso crunch salad, chicken enchiladas and the Glow Bowl, which comes packed with spicy sweet potato noodles, bok choy, zucchini, onion, jalapeno, shiitake mushroom, coconut milk and sunflower butter.

Ice Cream

Sweet Cow

2628 Broadway, Boulder, 303-447-3269

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

Silver: Gelato Boy

Bronze: Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelato

Drew Honness opened his first Sweet Cow in Louisville in 2010. Lucky for Boulder ice-cream lovers, the empire has since grown to include two locations on either end of Broadway. Flavors are constantly rotating, but ones like Ozo coffee and vegan peanut butter Oreo have sustained the place’s ongoing popularity.


Sherpa’s Adventure Restaurant and Bar

825 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-440-7151

Silver: Kathmandu Restaurant II

Bronze: Tandoori Grill

Write-in: Gurkhas Dumplings and Curry House

The chef at Sherpa’s, Jangbu Sherpa, claims to have summited Mount Everest 10 times without supplemental oxygen. The food there — a blend of Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan staples — all seems to be made with invigoration in mind. A tandoor clay oven churns out delicious meats and breads, and the lamb korma is some of the best in the region.


Carelli’s of Boulder

645 30th St., Boulder, 303-938-9300

Silver: Il Pastaio Ristorante

Bronze: Pasta Jay’s

Write-in: Barchetta

Carelli’s opened in 1991 as a sandwich shop. It’s since evolved into a fabulous, white tablecloth date spot with dishes like Mediterranean lamb meatballs, tri-colored tortellini and salmon carpaccio. Don’t leave without getting the gnocchi, which comes topped with peas, Hazel Dell mushrooms, roasted red onion and a healthy sprinkle of Pecorino. 



1136 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-938-0330

Silver: Hapa Sushi

Bronze: Sushi Zanmai 

Write-in: Blofish Sushi

Japango elegantly blends classic Japanese refinement with one of the city’s finest cocktail programs. A wide range of nigiri is joined by rolls like The Aquaman, which combines fresh salmon, cream cheese, tempura asparagus, smelt roe, onion, avocado, honey and macadamia nuts. 

Kid Friendly

Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries

1535 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Suite E, Boulder, 303-543-0886

Silver: Lucky Pie Pizza and Taphouse

Bronze: Noodles and Company

Write-In: Barchetta

While the Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries’ kid’s menu keeps it bound to the classics — an oven pizza, a grilled cheese, boneless chicken tenders and a basic burger — the inviting restaurant is spacious and the crayons are plentiful. The restaurant’s charming culture is inviting to guests of all ages. 

Late Night

Cosmo’s Pizza

3117 28th St., Boulder, 303-442-3278

659 30th St., Boulder, 303-447-3278

Silver: World Famous Dark Horse

Bronze: Illegal Pete’s

While much of Boulder’s dining culture closes up shop early, Cosmo’s Pizza stays open until midnight throughout the week and as late as 2 a.m. during the weekends. It’s a great pie to soak up the sins of the evening, with hours built to consistently serve past any respectable bedtime.

Lyons Restaurant

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew

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

Silver: Mojo Taqueria

Bronze: Smokin’ Dave’s

Write-in: Marigold 

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew is a true Lyons icon. Open since 1997 through flood, fire and pandemic, the restaurant has earned our readers’ votes year after year because it dishes something for everyone. For music lovers, Oskar Blues is a well-known venue for live bands, and beer fans travel here for the award-winning fresh ales. The family-friendly menu features a full burger roster including the Trustifarian, a patty topped with goat cheese, honey, bacon and arugula. (Switch out the fries for a side of garlic mashers and butter!) Oskar Blues’ Louisiana accent shows up in the jambalaya: a big bon temps bowl loaded with spicy crawfish, sausage, shrimp and chicken with rice.


Falafel King

1314 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-449-9321

Silver: Ash’Kara

Bronze: Mediterranean Market

Write-in: CAVA

Eateries come and go at a rapid pace on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, but Falafel King is the same as it ever was. Since 1980, we have stood in line for familiar Mediterranean dishes, especially pita sandwiches filled with warm, fried-to-order falafel, smooth hummus and salad. Falafel King also has a Denver location and the eatery’s pita, hummus, falafel and other foods are available at local markets.


Efrain’s of Boulder Mexican Restaurant

2480 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, 303-440-4045

Silver: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Bronze: Jefe’s

Write-in: Summit Tacos 

Efrain’s has always had a devoted following for its spicy chile verde, but the local eatery’s former East Boulder location was mostly about takeout, not dining in. That has changed with the opening of Efrain’s beautiful new restaurant near McGuckin Hardware. The spacious dining area is the perfect place to start with freshly crisped tortilla chips and salsa and a Mason jar “coin” margarita while waiting for the sound of sizzling fajitas. If you order a bowl of Efrain’s fall-apart pork and roasted peppers “hot,” prepare to sweat. 

Nederland Restaurant

Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse

20 Lakeview Drive, Nederland, 303-258-0176

Silver: Kathmandu

Bronze: Crosscut Pizza

Write-in: Decent Bagels 

Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse is Nederland’s favorite pizzeria but it’s also a vibrant community gathering spot. Any day of the week you’ll find a mix of families, hikers and skiers chowing down on fried or smoked chicken wings, chicken Parm sandwiches, fragrant garlic knots, burgers and build-your-own pizza with a choice of crusts, toppings and sauces.  Backcountry Pizza always has sports on the big TV and two dozen or more craft beer choices on tap.  

New Restaurant


1644 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-749-4751

Silver: Marigold

Bronze: Urban Field

It might seem like quite a coup for Barchetta to be voted Boulder’s best new restaurant, but only if you think it’s “just” a pizzeria. This is a chef-driven kitchen where crust is given all the TLC that duck and lobster get at French bistros. The result is chewy outside, soft inside, perfectly charred and foldable slices. Barchetta’s small plates include roasted broccolini, house-pickled giardiniera and pancetta-wrapped asparagus. A self-service tap system allows diners to pair dishes with Super-Tuscan and Sangiovese wines by the ounce. For dessert: An exceptional scratch-made, lightly salted, buttery dark chocolate chip cookie. 

Organic Restaurant

Flower Child

2580 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 110, Boulder, 303-386-8090

Silver: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Bronze: The Kitchen 

Local hippies laughed at the name when Flower Child opened in Boulder, but now you’ll find young and old filling the tables at the sunny eatery. Our readers applaud Flower Child because it walks the talk when it comes to sourcing organic ingredients. The endlessly tweakable menu means diners of all sorts – meat eaters, vegans or gluten-free – can find bowls, salads and wraps that make them happy. One favorite is the Glow Bowl full of spicy sweet potato noodles, bok choy, onion, jalapeño, shiitake, coconut milk and sunflower butter with a choice of protein. The sustainable focus extends to beverages including kombucha and organic wines and ales. 

Overall Restaurant

Blackbelly Market

1606 Conestoga St., Boulder, 303-247-1000

Silver: Flagstaff House

Bronze: The Kitchen

Write-in: Farow 

Ever since chef Hosea Rosenberg opened his eatery in 2014, Blackbelly Market has won awards as well as the hearts and buds of Boulder diners. After recent extensive renovations, Blackbelly has become an expanded culinary oasis in East Boulder. Dinners still feature a sustainably sourced menu ranging from classic beef tartare with quail egg to gnocchi with guanciale and large plates of grilled Colorado lamb. The space now includes new patio seating, a private dining room, the butcher shop and a retail market that sells wine, breads and pastries, espresso coffee drinks and Blackbelly’s famous breakfast burritos. 


Snooze: An A.M. Eatery

1617 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-225-7344

Silver: Tangerine

Bronze: The Buff

Write-in: Foolish Craig’s 

Pancakes are elevated to sweet tooth-pleasing entrée art at Snooze. Take the summery strawberry shortcake variation. Buttermilk cakes are topped with strawberry puree, strawberry mascarpone cheese, strawberries and almond streusel and dished with a side of vanilla crème for dipping. If you can’t choose, opt for a signature pancake flight: one each of Snooze’s Blueberry Danish, Pineapple Upside Down and Sweet Potato Pancakes. Other menu options range from French toast and shrimp and grits to eggs Benedicts and breakfast tacos.


Boulder Phở & Grill

2855 28th St., Boulder, 303-449-0350

Silver: Chez Thuy

Bronze: Black Pepper Phở 

Our readers once again give Boulder Phở & Grill their slurp of approval. This family-owned eatery is known for generous portions of traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, always served with fresh greens, sprouts, Thai basil, lime and jalapeño. Phở first timers can’t go wrong with rare steak and brisket topped with white onions, green onions, and cilantro. Phở lovers also appreciate the eatery’s grilled pork banh mi subs, noodle bowls or rice plates topped with grilled meats.

Pizza Slice

Cosmo’s Pizza

Multiple Locations

Silver: Abo’s Pizza

Bronze: Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage

Write-in: Urban Field 

Cosmo’s Pizza understands instant gratification. Order a slice in the afternoon or late in the night and it is slid immediately into a searing hot oven topped with all the usual suspects from sausage and mushrooms to bell peppers and artichokes. Your slice is soon ready to be consumed in the traditional way: folded-over and point-first using only one hand. That’s why year after year in a city full of pizza places, Boulder Weekly’s readers choose Cosmo’s as their favorite slice of pizza. 

Pizza Restaurant

Pizzeria Alberico

1730 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-3003

Silver: Barchetta

Bronze: Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage

Write-in: Urban Field

Early in 2023, Pizzeria Locale became Pizzeria Alberico, but the new incarnation continues the eatery’s reputation for first-class food. Since it is located next door to its sister restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, Pizzeria Alberico boasts an impressive list of wines available by the glass and bottle. The authentic Neapolitan pizza options remain the same: rosse (red sauce), bianche (white sauce) and verde (green, pesto-based sauce). The toppings are always fresh and never overloaded or deep dish. The wood-fired menu favorite, Mais pizza, is topped with crème fraiche, fresh corn and crispy pancetta. The menu also features Italian small plates, salads and classic desserts such as butterscotch budino.  

Place to Eat Outdoors

Acreage by Stem Ciders

1380 Horizon Ave., Lafayette, 303-227-3243

Silver: Rayback Collective

Bronze: Chautauqua Dining Hall

Write-in: Barchetta 

Once you visit Acreage at its two-acre, hilltop site, you understand why this Lafayette destination has taken over the outdoor dining category. With a majestic view facing west toward the Front Range, the cidery’s front yard provides a shaded deck, a patio with picnic tables and Adirondack chairs to experience the chill vibe. Acreage remains the place to enjoy sunset over the Rockies while sipping a flight of dry to sweet Stem Ciders including one-off small-batch and experimental barrels. The comfort-oriented menu satisfies regulars, whether it’s a burger with aged cheddar cheese and smoked bacon jam, bratwurst with sauerkraut or the eatery’s famous freshly fried glazed cake cider donuts. 

Place to Go on a First Date

Rayback Collective

2775 Valmont Road, Boulder, 303-214-2127

Silver: Boulder Dushanbe Tea House

Bronze: Jax Fish House

Write-in: Gemini

First dates are awkward enough from the initial meeting to the big hug-or-kiss question at the end. The right location can make all the difference in relaxing both of you. Our readers, who have some experience in these matters, once again recommend starting a romance (or friendship) at the Rayback Collective. Between the various indoor and outdoor spots to hang out, live music and games, taps pouring beer, kombucha and cold brew and food trucks easing the munchies, Rayback provides a collection of distracting experiences in one destination. Best of all, the busy place has a background buzz that eases those awkward conversation pauses.

Restaurant Dessert

Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303-442-4640

Silver: The Huckleberry

Bronze: Melting Pot

Write-in: Gemini 

Lots of places offer the expected meal-ending treats, but it’s not often an epic experience you remember forever. Those are the kind of showstopping sweet finales that earn Boulder’s Flagstaff House Restaurant kudos from our readers year after year. You start with an almost cinematic setting at the white-tablecloth, fine dining destination on the side of Flagstaff Mountain. The eye-candy, Instagram-ready dessert plates range from a simply perfect wine-poached pear with star anise-infused ice cream to a visual knockout: The Golden Sesame Egg in a dark chocolate nest. No wonder so many major birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated at the Flagstaff House. 

Restaurant Service

Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder, 303-442-4640

Silver: Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery

Bronze: Frasca Food & Wine

For Boulder Weekly readers and diners, the Flagstaff House owns the Restaurant Service category. The fine dining destination overlooking Boulder wins every year but it wasn’t a likely outcome when the eatery opened in 1971. The Flagstaff House owes its single-minded devotion to top-notch service to one man, owner Don Monette who passed away recently at the age of 85. Monette believed in providing truly personable service. He insisted that his professional servers be thoroughly knowledgeable about food and the fine wines in the now 6,000-plus-bottle wine cellar. 


Snarf’s Sandwiches

Multiple Locations

Silver: Organic Sandwich Co.

Bronze: Moxie Bread Co.

Snarf’s has always understood how the true sandwich lover’s mind work because it was founded in Boulder in 1995 by a singular sandwich fanatic. Jimmy Seidel still obsesses about every detail in his oven-toasted subs from the perfect bread, ideal toasting time, ingredient layering and quality of cheeses, meats and signature hot pickled peppers or giardinera. The comfy results range from perennial favorites like The Italian sub (with salami, pepperoni, capicola and mortadella) to the not-on-the-Menu menu of customer recommended sandwiches like the Mother Clucker filled with rotisserie chicken, bacon, and provolone. 


Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

928 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-1811

Silver: Sushi Zanmai

Bronze: Reelfish 

For its legion of fans, the first thing Jax Fish House brings to mind is lip-smacking oysters by the dozen, charred octopus, crabcakes, seared scallops Maine lobster and cioppino every Sunday. For the seafood-obsessed chefs who birthed the small restaurant chain in Boulder, the question from the start was how to serve those dishes sustainably in a land-locked state. Working with the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list, chef Sheila Lucero has a sustainable seafood program that is nationally applauded.  



1136 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-938-0330

Silver: Hapa Sushi

Bronze: Sushi Zanmai

Write-in: Sushi Leo 

Frankly, Japango had us at Kitsune’s Kiss, a pretty sushi roll combining fresh salmon, tempura asparagus, avocado, serrano chiles and lemon topped with torched hamachi, garlic, sweet mayo and chives. Our readers bestow the title of Best Sushi in Boulder on Japango because the selections go way beyond the many nigiri, the seaweed-wrapped fish-topped bundles. They can skip the rice by ordering the Sashimi Delight, an easy feast of tuna, salmon, yellowtail and albacore tuna. Other cooked and veggie sushi variations can be paired with sake, cocktails and mocktails. 



1048 Pearl St., Boulder, 719-249-8226

Silver: T/ACO

Bronze: McDevitt Taco Supply

Write-in: Tacos Ay Ay Ay

In a city where Taco Tuesday has almost become a spiritual pursuit, taking home Boulder Weekly’s coveted Best Taco crown takes more than ground beef and beans. The Boulder location of the national chain won over our taste buds with upscaled, street tacos with intensely flavored fillings from spicy tempura-battered cod, sesame ribeye and shredded roasted duck birria. The newest addition to bartaco’s menu is a Caribbean jerk-spiced chicken taco with ancho jicama slaw. Tuesday night Pearl Street people-watching achieves near perfection with a patio table, cocktails and a tray of chile-lime shrimp tacos with jicama and fiery pepita salsa macha. 

Take Out


Multiple Locations 

Silver: Aloy Thai

Bronze: Busaba

Write-in: Modern Market 

It’s not at all surprising that Snarf’s won this category again despite the competition. The Boulder-born restaurant chain has spent decades perfecting the art of takeout — everything from the easy online ordering system to the way the subs are wrapped. Every toasted sandwich is customized and Snarf’s does a great job of getting the toppings and spreads just right. For parents, Snarf’s has a secret appeal since they can order a grilled cheese or hot dog for the kids and a grownup Chicken Cordon Bleu sub for themselves. 


Aloy Thai

2720 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, 303-440-2903

Silver: Buddha Thai

Bronze: Cafe Busaba

Write-in: Anchan Thai

Aloy Thai’s chef-driven approach has opened a lot of eyes in Boulder about the larger flavor possibilities in familiar Thai dishes. Aloy’s tom yum soup is a bright blast of aromatherapy with lemongrass, Thai chilies and lime leaves in a rich broth. Traditional som tum green papaya salad is infused with an off-the-charts lime dressing perfect with shrimp. On the mild side is royal curry simmered in sweet Thai peanut coconut sauce or the wide Thai Chef’s Noodles in Thai chili sauce. A word to the wise (or foolish): Don’t order anything “Thai hot” unless you are prepared to sweat profusely over your curry. 

Veggie Burger 

Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Multiple Locations

Silver: Leaf Vegetarian

Bronze: Meta Burger

Write-in: The Sink 

Virtually every Boulder eatery that serves burgers offers a meatless alternative. What makes Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries’ vegan Beyond Burger — a patty with lettuce, tomato and onion on a vegan ciabatta roll, so special our readers voted it the best in town?  Maybe it is the high-quality burger toppings available including pesto, avocado, caramelized onions and roasted poblano chilies. It could be the sides ranging from hand-cut French fries to salad or cup of vegan green chili or the stellar craft ales brewed onsite. The winning burger is also dished daily at Mountain Sun’s sister eateries including Boulder’s Under the Sun and Southern Sun Pub & Brewery and Longs Peak Pub & Brewery in Longmont. 

Vegetarian Friendly

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

1710 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-1485

Silver: Flower Child

Bronze: Modern Market

Write-in: Gemini 

Boulder Weekly readers have more than just “friendly” feelings toward Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant. For years they’ve expressed their love for Leaf’s sustainably sourced, globally-inspired meatless fare Ranging from calamari-style oyster mushrooms to jackfruit enchiladas with Spanish rice, green chile and cotija cheese. In season, the restaurant sources much of its fresh produce from its sister, 12-acre organic farm 12 miles away in Lafayette. Weekend brunch options include banana pudding French toast and a farro grain salad tossed with arugula, watercress, endive and pickled beets with pepitas in an orange vinaigrette. For dessert, getting your vegetables means Leaf’s rich carrot cake with vegan buttercream icing and candied walnuts.


World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill

2922 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-442-8162

Silver: West End Tavern

Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries

Nobody knows exactly when the World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill started frying up Buffalo-style chicken wings to pair with draft beers, but there is no mystery why the 48-year-old institution always beat the competition in this category. The kitchen starts with great local chicken from Red Bird Farms. They crisp-up big, three-joint wings and serve them properly with blue cheese dressing and fresh celery sticks. After that its personal taste with a menu of sauces and preparations including extra hot, barbecue, teriyaki, spicy dry rub and Carolina-style barbecue or better yet, a combination. No wonder generations of students and locals have made these wings famous.


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