Food 2016

Hannah Sloat, server at The Mediterranean Restaurant

Organic Restaurant


1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Second Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Third Place: Modern Market (formerly Modmarket)

Fourth Place: Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro

Fifth Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Kimbal Musk and Jen Lewin opened their now famous and beloved restaurant, The Kitchen, in 2002. From the very beginning, according to its website, this fine dining establishment operated under a simple philosophy: “We believe that gathering around the table and sharing good food and drink is what connects us as family, friends and a community. It’s the essence of ‘Community Through Food.’” And now more than ever, “good food” means organic food. The Kitchen sources as much of its food as possible locally, taking great care to use the best organic ingredients available. The dishes it serves are simple, elegant, delicious, healthy and community-building.

Gluten-Free Menu


2027 13th St., 303-449-0120

Second Place: Modern Market (formerly Modmarket)

Third Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Fourth Place: Blooming Beets Kitchen

Fifth Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Who needs gluten? No, who even wants gluten? It’s sticky and fat-building and sick-making, and nowadays you can make tons of breads, pastas and snacks that are gluten-free. It’s become a movement, really, that has attracted hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the globe. Many of those gluten-free folks would likely gluten-free relish the menu at Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place. Their gluten-free offerings span the gamut of classic meals, while offering things new and tasty. Plus, Shine’s got an ambiance unique unto themselves, and plenty of gluten-free libations. No gluten? No problem! And if you want to take a shot at cooking up some great gluten-free food at home, be sure and pick up a copy of the Blissful Sisters (owners) new gluten-free cookbook, Eat Drink Shine: Inspiration From Our Kitchen.

Vegetarian friendly


2010 16th St., 303-442-1485

Second Place: Modern Market

Third Place: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Fourth Place: Arugula Bar e Ristorante

Fifth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant has no meat on its menu. So instead of a restaurant that caters to vegetarians, Leaf is a restaurant that is specially made for vegetarians. Rejoice! On top of that, Leaf is committed to using fresh and local ingredients, including many produced on its own organic farm. Rejoice again! The menu is lengthy and packed with variety of global fares, from huevos racheros to pad Thai to fettuccine to Sheppard’s pie — a menu that even a carnivore will enjoy. And this year, Leaf is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Here’s to a decade of delicious vegetarian meals and a hope for many more to come.



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

451 S. Pratt Parkway, Longmont, 720-494-0777

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

Second Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Third Place: Zolo Southwestern Grill

Fourth Place: Agave Mexican Bistro and Tequila House

Fifth Place: T/aco

There’s nothing that can beat authentic Mexican cuisine paired with a perfect margarita. And Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina has won over the hearts, minds and taste buds of Boulderites with their delicious Northern Mexican cuisine where the “the chilies are fiery and the flavors are robust!” Named after the chef, Efrain, who has drawn inspiration from his mother’s cooking for more than 30 years, the restaurant offers a variety of burritos, tacos, enchiladas and fajitas, as well as traditional dishes such as their famous chile verde bowl and menundo. Plus, their margarita list is endless and the service friendly. Check out any of their three locations for an authentic and unforgettable dining experience.

staff pix graphic_2016Hot dog


1647 Kimbark St., Longmont, 720-600-5070

Once you eat a Marco’s hot dog, you’ll never go back to those boring excuses for wieners on a bun that so many places offer. Marco’s dogs are Mexican street food at its finest. The franks are wrapped in bacon, and once they are on the bun, you add pinto beans, roasted jalapeños, green or red sauce, mustard, mayo and cheese. Best use a fork when you tackle one of these bad boys.  Pretty soon you’ll be like the BW staff and start ordering them by the dozen. Oh, FYI, the tacos are out of this word as well.



3075 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4427

2650 Broadway, 303-444-3252

3267 28th St., 720-406-9000

Second Place: Einstein Bros Bagels

Third Place: Big Daddy Bagels

Fourth Place: Mickey C’s Bagels

In 1607 the first European settlers founded Jamestown in what we now know as Virginia. Just three short years later, a Jewish baker across the pond in Poland is rumored to have created the first bagel. Who would have thought that 400 years later this round, dense, delicious pastry would be a staple in American cuisine? Nevertheless, it’s true and Moe’s Broadway Bagel makes the best in town, with three locations around Boulder to choose from. With New York roots and a heart in Colorado, Moe’s delivers authentic bagels fresh everyday.



645 30th St., 303-938-9300

Second Place: Pasta Jay’s

Third Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Fourth Place: Il Pastaio/Pizzeria Locale (tie)

When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie/ That’s amore/ When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine/ That’s amore … When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool/ That’s amore.” You get the point — there’s nothing like good Italian food to remind you of falling in love. Don’t believe us? Just ask Dean Martin. Or head on over to Carelli’s of Boulder for some classic Italian fare served in an authentic atmosphere. And with a gluten-free menu featuring ravioli, pizza and more, don’t let dietary restrictions stop you from enjoying their famous pasta dishes. You’re sure to amore anything on the menu.



1221 Spruce St., 303-440-0733

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

Third Place: Japango

Fourth Place: Sushi Tora

Fifth Place: Sakura Japanese Cuisine

Sushi Zanmai has been serving Boulder residents delicious Japanese food for nearly 30 years. Drop into Zanmai’s festive environment, grab a seat at the sushi bar, and snag an edamame appetizer and a carafe of sake while you watch Zanmai’s expert sushi chefs create edible works of art. Before you know it, colorful caterpillar rolls, fresh yellowtail tuna sashimi pieces and perfect temaki (you know, those gorgeous hand rolls) will appear before you, with fresh pickled ginger and wasabi on the side. If sushi isn’t your thing, never fear. Zanmai’s got tempura, noodle dishes and offerings from the grill, including grilled teriyaki salmon, Sukiyaki hot pots and chicken katsu to please different palates.

Frozen Yogurt


1682 30th St., 303-444-0690

Second Place: Glacier Home Made
Ice Cream & Gelato

Third Place: Boulder Chill Frozen Yogurt

Fourth Place: Two Spoons Gelato & Soup

Fifth Place: Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

That tart bite of frozen yogurt — there’s nothing better on a hot afternoon, or a chilly autumn evening… or a frozen winter’s eve. Honestly, when is it wrong to eat frozen yogurt? Something so delicious shouldn’t be bound by seasons. Our readers think when that urge for froyo hits you like a ton of bricks, head to Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt, where you can serve yourself a cup of locally made, all-natural frozen yogurt. Pick from delicious yogurts — green tea, almond chocolate, vanilla, blackberry, coconut chocolate, and more — and then top it with your favorite goodies, whether that’s fresh fruit, chocolate-covered pretzels or whipped cream. There’s even gelato and a large selection of diary-free offerings.



1600 Broadway,

Second Place: Aloy Thai

Third Place: Buddha Thai Cuisine

Fourth Place: Busaba Authentic Thai Cuisine

Fifth Place: Thai Kitchen

For more than 10 years, residents of Boulder County have been enjoying great Thai food at Khow Thai Cafe. At lunch, this place pleases all comers with its all-you-can-eat buffet. Evening meals include some of the area’s best noodle bowls and curries. If you like it spicy, order up your favorite and ask them to make it “Thai hot.” Then you can spend the rest of your evening trying to act like it wasn’t really that spicy. Just tell your friends you aren’t as hungry as you thought you were. Red face? Must just be the lighting. If you like Thai food then you probably already eat here. But if you haven’t made it in, give it a try. Our readers obviously love it.

staff pix graphic_2016WALNUT CAFÉ

3073 Walnut St., 303-447-2315


673 S. Broadway, 720-304-8118


2770 Arapahoe Road, Suite 116,

There’s a lot of things we like about the Walnut Café — the service, the ambiance and the menu. But if we’re going to try to pin down one of our favorite things, then it’s gotta be the blueberry cornbread. It’s everything blueberry cornbread should be. Sweet, but not too sweet. Crumbly, but not too crumbly. Big… the perfect amount of big. Perfect on the side of any dish or as the main attraction. None of the lovely wait staff will look at you weird if you and your whole table order only several pieces of blueberry cornbread. It’s just that good.



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

Second Place: Blackbelly Market

Third Place: Three Leaf Catering

Fourth Place: Dish Gourmet

Fifth Place: Sage and Savory Catering

So you have a big event on the horizon and everything needs to be perfect. So you start making a list of everything you need to buy and do in order to pull off a spectacular gathering and meal. Somewhere during the third page of this endless to-do list you break down in tears and realize you are in way over your head. Fear not party thrower, our readers tell us there is a perfect solution for your predicament: Just pick up your phone and call the great folks at A Spice of Life Catering. These people are pros and using them for all your catering and event needs will guarantee that everyone leaves happy and that you too get to enjoy yourself. A Spice of Life has been making people happy since 1987. And for the past 11 years they have had a zero waste program. Bottom line: Use them and stop making long lists of things to do.   

Nederland Restaurant


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

Second Place: Backcountry Pizza & Subs

Third Place: Wild Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery

Fourth Place: Sundance Cafe

Fifth Place: Black Forest Restaurant

Nederland is that quaint mountain town people picture when someone says, “It was a quaint mountain town.” And nestled within that quaint mountain town is Kathmandu Restaurant, serving up authentic Nepali and Indian cuisine. If you’re up in Ned, maybe for a day trip with some hiking on Caribou Ranch Open Space or after a gnarly day of hitting the slopes, drop by Kathmandu for food that is sure to be the perfect end to a perfect day. Their lunch buffet is a wallet-safe deal, even for the brokest of college students, at $9.95, served daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner is served until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fill up on delicious staples like tandoori chicken and saag paneer, smothered atop a steaming hot piece of naan. We’re drooling just thinking about it.

staff pix graphic_2016JILL’S RESTAURANT

900 Walnut St., 720-406-7399

The buffet gets a bad rap. They’re synonymous with cheap, stuff-yer-face endeavors or else known as the “less expensive” option at weddings. But the buffet is an American institution and there’s room for the greasy free-for-all, the satisfying business lunch and the elegant occasion. Our staff pick for best buffet, Jill’s Restaurant at the St Julien, manages to fit in gourmet food, a glass of rosé and exceptional service (yes, service at a buffet) all for under $13. Whether it’s short ribs and polenta on Monday, or ratatouille and dairy-free desserts on vegan Fridays, the buffet at Jill’s is always spot-on.



1175 Walnut St., 303-443-9468

Second Place: Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and More

Third Place: Comida

Fourth Place: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria

Fifth Place: Verde

T/aco is a Colorado-born concept, serving up a ton of delicious tacos down on Walnut Street in Boulder. Try one of their many Mexican street tacos, stuffed with seared ahi tuna, braised duck or pork, grilled barbacoa beef, and a smattering of grilled and fresh veggies, cheeses and salsas. Their north of the border tacos take some favorite U.S. flavors and wrap them up, like mango caesar tacos, BBQ pork, buffalo chicken and the wacky but flavorful PBLTB, filled with pork belly, lettuce, tomato, bacon, avocado and chipotle mayo. So if you’re looking for a delicious selection of tacos to mix and match, look no further than T/aco, where all your taco dreams will come true.

Lyons Resturant


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

Second Place: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse

Third Place: Lyons Fork

Fourth Place: Barking Dog Cafe

Fifth Place: Julie’s Thai Kitchen

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew isn’t just one leg of the Oskar Blues franchise. It is the original leg. Back in 1997 Dale Katechis (yes, the Dale of Dale’s Pale Ale), opened his door in Lyons, and two years later started brewing in the basement. In 2002, he released the first can of Dale’s Pale Ale, which some people credit as the first canned craft beer released in the U.S. With that sort of history, it’s no shock that our readers chose Grill & Brew as the best restaurant in Lyons. As its says on their website, “The heart and soul of Oscar Blues keepin’ it real in Lyons, ColoRADo.”



2124 14th St., Boulder, 303-442-4743

518 Kimbark St., Longmont,

Second Place: Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Third Place: The Buff Resturant

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

Fifth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Brunch is a serious matter these days. It’s a delicate mix of atmosphere, food, friends and Instagram-able moments. #Brunch might be the most important meal of the day. Thankfully, Lucile’s Creole Cafe has got you covered. With an extra kick, it’s a great option when you’re sick of the usual offerings and wanting something different like #goodhomecookin’ from Louisiana. Load on the grits, red beans and rice, smother it in Creole sauce and add a plate of biscuits for good measure. Oh, and don’t forget the beignets and coffee. The plates are so gorgeous and delicious that all of your Instagram followers will be #jealous.

Food Truck


Find current locations on Facebook and Twitter

Second Place: Verde

Third Place: McDevitt Taco Supply

Fourth Place: RollinGreens

Although some form of food truck has been around for centuries (if you don’t believe me, just ask my great-grandpa who toited around a chuck wagon to ranches throughout the Southwest in the 1800s), the modern gourmet food truck is really a product of the last decade. And a successful one to boot — in 2015 alone, food trucks were a $1.2 billion industry in the U.S. And whether it’s BBQ, healthy cuisine or tacos, Boulder has its fair share of gourmet trucks to choose from. Our readers voted Comida the best of the best. With a click or two on the ol’ internet to track them down, the search will be well worth it.



1730 Pearl St., 303-442-3003

Second Place: Backcountry Pizza & Tap House/Beau Jo’s (tie)

Fourth Place: Abo’s Pizza

Fifth Place: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Pizzerias are the lifeblood of America, for they give us pizza. The better ones, whether they’re casual or upscale, give us pasta, Italian standard dishes, beautiful wine and much more. Our readers chose Pizzeria Locale as their favorite pizza joint, likely because they make thin Neapolitan style za that is hard to resist. Pizzeria Locale uses only the best ingredients and uses knowledge gained from the pizza experts in southern Italy. In that way, Pizzeria Locale offers a slice of Italy, by way of a slice of pizza, to us in Boulder.



825 Walnut St., 303-440-7151

Second Place: Curry-N-Kebob

Third Place: Tandoori Grill

Fourth Place: Kathmandu Restaurant

Fifth Place: Taj Indian Cuisine

Sherpa’s is one of the only Indian restaurants in Colorado that doesn’t have a buffet. Their reasoning makes sense. At Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant & Bar, they believe the best food is fresh and made to order. And it’s that commitment to quality that shows why Sherpa’s takes the top spot for best Indian restaurant. Perfect for any occasion whether it’s your birthday or a casual work lunch, it’s always a good time for Sherpa’s. And it’s not just a restaurant. Stop by Sherpa’s traveler’s lounge, which is full of guide books for travelers to plan a new adventure. Order up a plate of delicious food and let the wanderlust wash over you.



1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Third Place: The Kitchen

Fourth Place: Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace

Fifth Place: SALT

Its full and proper name may be The Mediterranean Restaurant but in this part of the world we just call this beloved establishment The Med. With small plates representing the best flavors of Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco and Lebanon, you simply can’t beat The Med when it comes to appetizers. It’s a great place to stop in for drinks and tapas before heading out to dinner. It’s also a great place to turn a variety of small plates into dinner. Either way, The Med will leave you happy, full and feeling like you’re on vacation. There is simply no better way to spend a summer evening than with bacon-wrapped dates and wine on The Med’s patio.   



2660 Broadway, 303-442-3717

7464 Arapahoe Road, 303-786-7608

Second Place: LuLu’s BBQ

Third Place: Georgia Boy’s BBQ Company

Fourth Place: Moe’s Original BBQ

Fifth Place: West End Tavern

Hoo-ey! Who doesn’t like a mouthful of moist, succulent, slow-roasted meat? We’re talking about meat so good even America’s first Quakers would have forsaken their loved ones and their deep, inherent passion for chair-making for just a taste of brisket. Luckily for us in Boulder County, we’ve got a bevy of good barbecue options, but none tops our readers’ list other than KT’s BBQ. They’ve got your pig, your cow, your chicken, your sausage and more. Plus, they’ve got sides out the wazoo. And KT’s has a big cold container of sweet tea ready for the taking. With a couple locations in Boulder, good barbecue is never too far away.

staff pix graphic_2016Empanada


2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4133

It may be hard to believe, but the empanada has its origins in Middle Eastern cuisine. Yes, that warm and delightful pastry filled with meat and cheese and veggies that is so emblematic of Latin culture, European and American, are believed to have derived from the Indian meat-filled pies we also know and love, samosas. It is said that empanadas were first recorded in Portugal as trade routes to India were being established, and they were often filled with seafood, as one might imagine would be the case in port cities. Damn. All that history really works up an appetite, don’t it? We think nobody in town can scratch an empanada itch like Rincon Argentino. We’ve watched this family business on the rincon (corner) of Folsom and Arapahoe grow since they opened in 2012, and we couldn’t be more proud of their hard-earned success, as their delicious, handmade empanadas and smile-generating service warrant it.

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

The Hill is an integral part of Boulder, reminding us of the good ol’ days of meal plans, term papers and singing fight songs at a perpetually losing football team. If you want to get that college vibe going, there’s no better place than The Sink. Actually, if you want the best food on the Hill, then our readers say The Sink is where it’s at. They have a great menu, great prices, great happy hour deals and great ambiance. Order a burger, down a cold beer and chuckle at all the funny pictures on the wall.

staff pix graphic_2016Fried Chicken


1258 S. Hover Road, Longmont, 720-588-2883

Fried chicken is delicious. It’s warm and crispy, salty and savory. It is moist, yet has a crunch. And you can eat it with your hands, which is always fun. And the new GoodBird Kitchen in Longmont recognizes all those things that make fried chicken great, too. We chose GoodBird as our staff pick for best fried chicken, well, because they make the best fried chicken. Their casual atmosphere and reasonable prices set the stage for chicken that honors some of the finest chicken joints in the U.S. — which the creators of GoodBird visited in order to create their recipe. This outpost of Lafayette’s The Post is already a huge favorite in Longmont, and we expect it will be for the foreseeable future.

staff pix graphic_2016Huevos Rancheros


7960 Niwot Road, Longmont (Niwot),


On first impression, Niwot’s Garden Gate Cafe doesn’t scream “great huevos.” It looks like a small-town American diner that wouldn’t venture much beyond eggs, bacon and hash-browns in the a.m. But a quick glance at the menu and you will find that this place is coloring outside the lines. The menu is wildly varied and has numerous Southwest options, including, according to the BW staff, some of the best huevos rancheros in the county.

American Restaurant


1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886

Second Place: The Kitchen

Third Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fifth Place: FATE Brewing Company

What is better than a hearty American lunch or dinner? So often, these meals involve burgers, sandwiches, salad and, heck, even a soup. It’s the type of fare that seems simple to make, but only our favorite and most beloved American restaurants rise above mediocrity to deliver us delicious, affordable and exceptional food. Given those criteria, it is no wonder our readers chose Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries for their favorite American restaurant. They consistently have excellent specials to back up a rock solid menu of American standards. Plus, their continually rotating lineup of house-made beer on tap is nearly unbeatable.

staff pix graphic_2016Foodiest Restaurant in the Foodiest City in America


3980 Broadway, Suite 104, 720-389-5578

Just a stone’s throw from Lucky’s Market in North Boulder is a true gem of a restaurant that takes Boulder’s title as the “Foodiest City in America” to a new level. It’s hard to imagine a restaurant taking more care with the quality of their ingredients than they do at Julia’s Kitchen, where the commitment to vegan, organic and gluten free is unparalleled. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that all of their grains, seeds, beans and nuts are soaked and sprouted before they are used in their unique breads, baked goods and other recipes. Sprouting literally makes these ingredients higher in protein, lower in starch and easier to digest. Customers of Julia’s can rest assured they are being treated to the highest quality ingredients possible, and that’s what “foodie” is all about.



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

When you want Chinese food, you don’t want corporatized, Americanized, de-flavorized knock-offs. You want authenticity, culture and truth — isn’t that what we want with every meal? Luckily, you live in Boulder County and there is no lack of suitable options. The folks at Zoe Ma Ma believe in fresh, high quality ingredients like homemade noodles, cage-free eggs and all-natural meats. They offer a variety of Chinese street food made from chef Anna Zoe’s original recipes. It’s a family business, and you can taste that sense of tradition in the food.



1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886

Second Place: Larkburger

Third Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fourth Place: Smashburger

Fifth Place: Five Guys Burger
and Fries

We don’t know who first thought of shaping ground beef into a circle, grilling it, adding lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. and putting it on a bun to consume, but whoever did, we thank you! If you’re in the mood for a classic burger (as described) or feel like spicing things up with cheese, jalapeños, bacon or any combination thereof and more, our readers claim Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries have the best burgers around. Plus you can wash down the tasty meal with any number of their perfectly crafted beers or add a side of some of the best fries around to go with it.



2124 14th St., 303-442-4743

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

Second Place: Snooze an A.M. Eatery

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

Fourth Place: The Buff Restaurant

Fifth Place: Tangerine

Red beans, cheesy grits, poached eggs, biscuits the size of your head covered in homemade jam, piping hot beignets as good as any you’ve ever had in New Orleans, chicory coffee, fresh fruit… if you aren’t already heading for Lucile’s Creole Cafe after that description there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you’re waiting for us to mention the pan-seared trout and eggs, or Chef Mickey’s special sausage gravy or the world-famous French toast? Whatever your waiting for, if it’s not a red light, forget it and get on over to Lucile’s for the best breakfast in the Rocky Mountains, which includes Boulder County.

Ice Cream


2628 Broadway, Boulder,

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

Second Place: Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato

Third Place: Ben and Jerry’s

Fourth Place: Boulder Organic Ice Cream

Fifth Place: Fior di Latte

It’s all in the way you make it. At Sweet Cow, the ice cream is handcrafted from the milk of magic cows. Not buying that one. How about this: At Sweet Cow the ice cream is handcrafted on site in small batches made from the very best locally sourced ingredients. That one’s true. The good folks at Sweet Cow take making the area’s best ice cream seriously. So whether it’s sourcing great ingredients or surprising their customers with new flavors, which they do about 140 times a year, Sweet Cow puts their customers’ taste buds first in all their decisions.

staff pix graphic_2016Value on Frozen Dinners


2584 Baseline Road, 303-499-7636

Want a great deal on a frozen meal? Next time one of those heavy, wet, spring snowstorms knocks out the power all over the county, just head on over to the Whole Foods on Baseline. You might want to wait a few hours to give their freezers time to start warming up. After the last such storm in March 2015, the store announced that it was giving away all of its frozen foods to whomever got there first and until it was gone. We expected to see CU students climbing all over each other for such an opportunity. And while students certainly took advantage, it looked more like a parade of the Lexus, BMW and Land Rover crowd as Boulder’s well-heeled population couldn’t wait for a chance at a free box of thawing Amy’s matar paneer.



1617 Pearl St., 303-225-7344

Second Place: The Buff Restaurant

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

Fourth Place: The Huckleberry

Fifth Place: Dot’s Diner/ Tangerine (tie)

Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson is a beacon of insight and knowledge. His apprentice Leslie Knope frequently came to him for life lessons and wisdom. In one such moment, Leslie asked, “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?” To which Ron replied, “People are idiots, Leslie.” So don’t be an idiot, and get yourself some breakfast food. Suffice it to say that Leslie and Ron would thoroughly enjoy a big, yummy plate of anything on the menu from our reader favorite Snooze an A.M. Eatery.

Kid Friendly


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Third Place: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Fourth Place: Red Robin Burger Works

Fifth Place: Walnut Café/South Side Walnut Café/Super Mini Walnut Café

Kids: they’re tiny, and they haven’t fully formed their fine motor skills or their judgment of what constitutes good manners in public. That all means that you parents are likely happy to find restaurants where you can manage to get your kids to eat, while not worrying if Blayden jumps out of his chair, runs behind the counter and pulls money out of the register. You should keep an eye on Blayden; you’re his parents, Gene and Blurta. Anyway, folks have found that Noodles & Company has the perfect balance of kid-friendly menu items, affordability, comfort and distraction to keep the little ones happy and munching away. And definitely not robbing the good people, Blayden.

New Restaurant


1964 28th St., 303-442-6868

Second Place: Arcana Food Migrations & Inspirations

Third Place: Wild Standard

Fourth Place: Blackbelly Market

Fifth Place: PizzaRev

You know what the best part about new restaurants is? It’s that they’re new! That wasn’t meant to be a brainteaser, we suppose, but it’s easy to forget how fortunate we are in Boulder County to constantly have restaurant openings, giving us more, unique food options. This year, Boulder welcomed Kathmandu Restaurant II, the sister restaurant of Kathmandu in Nederland. They’ve taken off like gangbusters ever since. They have a good buffet, a great menu, drinks, friendly service and a welcoming environment — all reasons why the original is so popular and why Boulder embraced the new branch.

staff pix graphic_2016Best Place to Recover from a Mountain Bike Ride


673 S. Broadway, 720-304-8118

Few athletic endeavors are as physically demanding as mountain biking. And in the foothills outside of Boulder you can really burn some calories. After an intense ride it’s critical to replace those calories with a healthy, well-deserved meal. Conveniently located near the outstanding trails near South Boulder is the perfect restaurant for a starving rider: the South Side Walnut Café. Open during the peak morning and early afternoon riding hours, the South Side serves just the right balance of healthy and hearty food that will enable your depleted body to recover from the demands of Boulder’s fastest growing sport. Perhaps most important is their lightning-fast service, so no matter how desperate a hunger you’ve worked up, you won’t be waiting long. And just in case you have special needs or requests, the staff at the South Side is unfailingly accommodating.



1911 Broadway, 303-444-4999

Second Place: Breadworks Bakery and Cafe

Third Place: Great
Harvest Bread Co.

Fourth Place: Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery

Fifth Place: Spruce Confections

Listen, let’s not mince words: When you’ve cashed out the last bowl of that Sour Diesel at 10 p.m., and you’re looking for the best cookies, cupcakes and desserts in town, Boulder Baked is the place to be. Open everyday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Boulder Baked is our readers’ favorite bakery, serving up fresh cookies and cookie cakes, moist cupcakes and cakes, fruit-stuffed pies and crisps, brownies, fruit pizzas, sundaes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and donut cakes. Everything is made from scratch using natural ingredients and no preservatives. So roll in for a baked-to-order cookie, call in for home delivery, or get on their website and order something perfect for that special event coming up.

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

The food of Asia is diverse and plentiful. It’s hard to pick just one country for your palate to visit. Thankfully, Asian fusion gives you that chance to explore without visiting multiple restaurants. Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant is a Boulder staple, and there’s no question as to why. While it labels itself as a Vietnamese restaurant, it also mixes in Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and French influences. The menu is big, meaning that every time you visit Chez Thuy, you can try something new, and our readers tell us you’ll likely be delighted each time.

Place to Eat Outdoors

Chautauqua Dining Hall

900 W. Baseline Road, 303-440-3776

Second Place: Boulder County Farmers’ Markets

Third Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Fourth Place: The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

It’s a pretty simple formula. When you put a restaurant in a beautiful, turn-of-the-century building and put the seating out on an open-air, wrap-around porch in Chautauqua looking out on the city’s most beautiful park sitting at the foot of the Flatirons, you win “Best Place to Eat Outdoors” pretty much every year. What can we say? Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, we agree with our readers that there simply is no better place on Earth to have a meal outside than Chautauqua Dining Hall. If you can’t relax and enjoy a meal here, you’ve got something broken in that noggin of yours.

Restaurant Dessert


1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Second Place: Boulder Cork

Third Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Fourth Place: SALT

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Pastry Chef Joanna Powell leads the dessert revolution happening at The Kitchen, where our readers say you should go when you’re looking for a sweet end to a perfectly great night. House-made vanilla gelato on top of sticky toffee pudding pairs perfectly with bitter espresso in an affogato. Delicious olive oil cake will delight your senses with a touch of citrus and nutty flavor from vanilla orange sauce and pistachio cream. If you love custard but have never had duck egg custard, The Kitchen’s duck egg custard tart will show you how silken custard can be, made all the more enticing with a tangy cherry balsamic syrup drizzled on top. The Kitchen doesn’t shirk on the after dinner drink offerings either, with ports, brandys, cognac and other spirits.



805 Pearl St., 303-449-4804

Second Place: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Third Place: Chocolove

Fourth Place: Robin Chocolates

Fifth Place: JJ’s Sweets

It is true not everyone likes chocolate. But we think that this sad state of affairs can be explained … and it has nothing to do with UFOs, con trails or the planets being aligned in one way or another. We think that the only reason some people don’t like chocolate is because they have never had a taste of the good stuff, the kind of chocolate that transcends dessert. Say a truffle made with dark, rich cocoa and raspberries. Something akin to the kind of imaginative creations Piece, Love & Chocolate brings forth daily. The same delightful creations that made them our readers favorite once again. Crafting this kind of Chocolate is an art. It’s a science. It takes skill and dedication, presentation too. It’s not something most of us have any idea how to do. But it’s something we all enjoy, and something the folks at Piece, Love & Chocolate have perfected.

Overall Restaurant


1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: The Kitchen

Third Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fourth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fifth Place: Blackbelly Market

As you flip through the pages of Best of Boulder, it becomes clear just how many great places to eat there are in the People’s Republic. From myriad ethnic food options to menus for every palate, there is an endless list of dishes to occupy your taste buds. But this category is the Big Kahuna — which restaurant rises above the rest to be the best overall restaurant? Our readers have spoken and chosen The Mediterranean Restaurant as the best in Boulder. And it’s no surprise considering its long list of cocktails, friendly staff, and varied menu with food from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco and Lebanon. Boulder never tasted so good.

Business Lunch


3295 30th St., 303-443-9505

Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Third Place: The Kitchen

Fourth Place: FATE Brewing Company

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Let’s talk business. And let’s talk about it at lunch. In fact, is there any better place to talk about business than at lunch? No. In fact, there’s no better place to talk about lunch than at business, especially if your company is called “Lunch Decisions” or something like that. OK, that’s all beside the point, and the point is that if you need to discuss the big case, go for an interview or just kick back and talk shop with co-workers, Boulder Cork is the place to be. Boulder Cork has a great menu that includes seafood, steaks, sandwiches and really nice salads. And if it’s a late lunch, the Cork also has a fantastic happy hour with good deals, sharable plates and more, all in a comfortable business appropriate environment.

staff pix graphic_2016Attempt at Getting Boulder Politicians to Stop Taking Themselves so Damn Seriously


Last year the Center of the American West launched their “Humor Initiative” to “celebrate individuals whose temperaments support a central conviction of the Center of the American West…” What’s that conviction, you ask? A funny bone. A sense of humor. The ability to laugh — especially at themselves. Patty Limerick, director and chair of the Center of the American West, got the idea last year after the “right-sizing” of Folsom Street nearly caused Boulderites to take to the streets with pitchforks. The Humor Initiative awarded __ Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff the first “Fool For a Day” award in October 2015 — just before elections. Limerick invited any candidate for office to attend Mankoff’s lecture and, following the lecture, discuss what they found funny. Candidates to do so would have received a document certifying the recipient has a sense of humor — “a quality as valuable as it is rare in American public life,” Limerick said. There were no takers. Why so serious, Boulder?

staff pix graphic_2016Example of Political Hypocrisy by a Presidential Candidate


You remember Hillary Clinton, right? The former Walmart board member who fought against environmentalists when she was a high-powered attorney back in Arkansas? Yeah, that’s the one. Well, she’s still just as hypocritical today as she was back then and that’s why she’s our winner in this category. This time around, Clinton claims that she is the best candidate to stand up to Wall Street and keep those greedmongers in line. Which is pretty humorous talk for a candidate whose Super PAC has taken more than $15 million from Wall Street in just this election cycle; has been paid more than $200,000 a speech by the same big banks she says she’s so tough on; and best of all, is hiding all the transcripts of those bank speeches from the public, presumably because she knows what she told the banks would completely destroy any chance she would have of ever being president. That is hypocrisy with a capital H.   

Fine Dining


1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640

Second Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Third Place: OAK at fourteenth

Fourth Place: Blackbelly Market

Fifth Place: The Kitchen

Up on a big hill, there exists a place of the finest dining in all the land. It’s name is Flagstaff House Restaurant, and it’s really, really good. What makes Flagstaff House so great? The question has many answers. Flagstaff House has world-renowned service, which includes an award-winning wine program. They have so many wines, they give you an iPad to look for one, while a wine program server attentively awaits your questions, ready with myriad recommendations. The food is impeccable… enough said about that. And what draws people up Flagstaff Road to the storied establishment is the view, which creates an ambiance unlike any other.

Place To Go on a First Date


1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Second Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Third Place: The Kitchen

Fourth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Fifth Place: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

First dates can be great, full of chemistry and excitement. Or first dates are awkward, uncomfortable and painful to endure. Whether your date falls in the previous or latter category, The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is the place to go. Along with a stacked menu, you can order your own personal teapot and maybe even share with your date if things start getting serious. The building itself is a colorful masterpiece and serves as a magical backdrop for a perfectly flirty first date. Or it’ll be a great distraction if you’ve exercised all talking points in the first five minutes.



1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955

1124 13th St., 303-444-3055

Second Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant
and Cantina

Third Place: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Fourth Place: Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant

Fifth Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Ah, the burrito — warm, filling, a true comfort food. And when you’re looking for a comforting burrito, you want the best, and you’ll find the best at Illegal Pete’s. That’s because Illegal Pete’s starts with awesome ingredients, like all-natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and preservative-free tortillas. Then there’s those veggies — tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, lettuce and squash — all fresh cut by hand. But the best part is the mix, because Illegal Pete’s knows the horror of biting into a burrito and only getting a mouthful of sour cream. So you get rice, beans, meat, cheese, veggies and whatever you like in your burrito in each bite. What could be more comforting than that?

Take Out


Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Snarf’s

Third Place: Curry-N-Kebob

Fourth Place: Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant

Fifth Place: Aloy Thai Cuisine

Tired of all the horse hockey that’s involved in making dinner? Don’t want to put on a real pair of pants or stare across at another lifeless date? Then take out dinner is the option for you. If we could, we’d vote for take out for president this year. But we can’t, so instead we’ll oversee our readers’ choice for best take out restaurant, which happens to be Noodles & Company. Noodles makes it easy to place orders, pay for them and grab them and split before anybody notices how you’re dressed. Then all that’s left is heading home to eat on the couch in front of the tube, or at the table with the whole family. Hey, it’s possible.



1221 Spruce St., 303-440-0733

Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

Third Place: Japango

Fourth Place: Sushi Tora

Fifth Place: Sushi Hana

There are restaurants with great food and there are restaurants that are flat out fun to go to. But Sushi Zanmai is that rare kind of establishment, it’s both. It has great food and is also one of the liveliest places to eat in all of Boulder County, lively as in it’s not unusual for someone on staff to grab the saxophone off the wall and let it rip. But what good would fun be, if the sushi were less than spectacular? That’s not a question you’ll ever have to answer here. Just ask our readers. They keep picking Sushi Zanmai as their favorite place to indulge in sushi — or nectar of the sea as we like to call it — year after year. There’s also a really good happy hour and a popular karaoke night. Now that’s fun.

staff pix graphic_2016Best Kept Secret


1442 Nelson Road, Longmont, 720-2046634

Did you ever eat in a place that was so good that you didn’t want to tell anybody about it for fear the next time you went there would be a 45-minute wait? That is exactly the kind of place City Cafe is.  Opening an amazing restaurant was owner Ginny Pollack’s long-time dream. Eating at an amazing restaurant is always the dream of the BW staff, so it just makes sense that we have found each other. Fantastic breakfast selections many with a southwest flare, really good bloody Mary’s, homemade bread and jams, excellent gluten-free selections… It all adds up to City Cafe being this staff’s best kept secret.     

East County Restaurant


411 S. Pratt Pkwy., Longmont, 720-494-0777

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

Second Place: The Post Brewing Co.

Third Place: Colterra

Fourth Place: The Huckleberry

Fifth Place: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

When you’ve been in business for more than 30 years, it’s hard not to be at the top of your game, which is exactly where Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina is, and why our readers voted them Best East County Restaurant. Focusing on Northern Chihuahua-style dishes, Efrain’s starts cooking each day at 6 a.m. to serve up authentic Mexican food, like the blue corn enchiladas, stacked and filled with chicken, cheese and onions, then topped with lettuce and tomatoes and smothered with green chile. Or the Mexican ribs, soaked in that same spicy green chile, which are sure to change the way you see ribs for the rest of your life. Wash it all down with a delicious margarita and we’re sure you’ll already be planning your next trip to Efrain’s.

Restaurant Service


1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

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

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: Frasca Food and Wine

Fourth Place: The Kitchen

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

What would a restaurant be without service? Despite McDonald’s trying its best to find out with their experimental automated checkout kiosks, service will always be an integral part of dining out. In fact, that’s what makes going to a restaurant so special. Finally, after a long week of working and whipping up whatever you can on a stove to shove in your face hole, you can be pampered out on the town. And everyone knows Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries specialize in service. With rotating waiters and their famous karma payment system, there’s a genuine sense of goodwill at the Suns.

Pizza Slice


2761 Iris Ave., 303-443-1921

637 S. Broadway, Unit S, 303-494-1274

(and other locations in Boulder County)

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Third Place: Beau Jo’s

Fourth Place: Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Fifth Place: Pizza Colore

Sometimes you just need a gloriously large slice of pizza. When you find yourself with such a need, you gotta get down to one of Abo’s Pizza’s numerous Boulder County locations. These slices are cut from 20-inch pies, so you better believe these are hearty slices of pie. Abo’s makes their crust daily in the timeless, incomparable New York style, making slices pliable enough to fold up and stuff in your face at whatever pace you’d like to eat, but we suggest eating it slowly in order to savor Abo’s herby, light, sweet and slightly tart sauce. For the perfect chewiness and no oily build up, Abo’s tops their slices with 100 percent skim mozzarella cheese. Go beyond plain cheese with an assortment of fresh veggies and meats. It’s easy to see why our readers say Abo’s serves up the best slice.

Restaurant Ambiance


1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Fourth Place: The Kitchen

Fifth Place: Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a iconic Boulder landmark, located in the heart of the city on Boulder Creek. Named after Boulder’s sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the hand-crafted ornate building was fabricated in the Asian country piece by piece, before being shipped and rebuilt in its current location. As a symbol of “cultural diversity, global cooperation and international friendship” the Teahouse provides a unique dining atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Whether you want to pop in for a cup of hot tea on a cold day, or enjoy a full meal any time of the day, with brunch on weekends, the Teahouse is a must-visit restaurant with a great environment.

staff pix graphic_2016Place to Eat When You Miss That Little
Town Where You Grew Up


1805 Main St., Longmont, 303-651-0495

If you grew up in a small town anywhere, then you miss that one local restaurant that always made you feel like you were part of the family. It’s the place where waitresses had been there for at least 20 years and they called you names like “Sweetie” or “Love” or “Honey.” And the best part is they always served up amazing versions of your favorite comfort foods. The real stuff like chili con carne, meatloaf, liver and onions, and chicken fried steak. Well, we have good news. If you’ve been missing your old favorite cafe in that far-away hometown, you can wander on over to Aunt Alice’s Kitchen and feel right at home. These folks are the real deal and once you discover their hospitality and hearty food, you just might become a regular. What do you think of that, Sweetie?



928  Pearl St., 303-444-1811

Second Place: Boulder Cork

Third Place: Tortugas

Fourth Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Fifth Place: Reelfish

Landlocked Colorado gets more than its fair share of “bad seafood” jokes. Out of towners and ill-informed non-locals think we couldn’t possibly know anything about good seafood. Well, joke’s on them. One of Colorado’s shining seafood stars is Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar. With more than 20 years in business, Jax is committed to serving up the freshest and most delicious seafood east or west of the nearest body of water. Besides an awesome menu, Jax serves up its food with a side of sustainability by keeping in mind the global oceanic fish stocks with all of its business. Jax Fish House is quite a catch.

Food Delivery


5340 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-444-3404

2128 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-7766

645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441

2130 Mountain view Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111

Second Place: Abo’s Pizza

Third Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Fourth Place: Boulder Baked

Fifth Place: Blackjack Pizza

We understand. You’re sitting at home in your underwear watching Lethal Weapon 1 through 4 when you suddenly remember that you haven’t eaten a thing all day. You race to the fridge between scenes of mass killings only to discover you currently own only a jar of slightly brown mayonnaise and a pickle jar containing juice, a few floating seeds and, of course, no pickles. You have a choice to make: Get dressed and go out for food, knowing you’ll miss that scene where somebody gets shot a gazillion times but miraculously doesn’t die, or call Snarf’s Sandwiches and have any one of their 25 or so amazingly delicious sandwiches delivered directly to your door while you don’t miss a single tick on the body-count meter. No brainer, right? So call Snarf’s, but don’t forget to put on some clothes before you answer the door.

Late Night


1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955

1124 13th St., 303-444-3055

Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza

Third Place: The World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fourth Place: Abo’s Pizza

Fifth Place: Boulder Baked

So you’re still sitting around in your underwear after watching all four Lethal Weapon movies and that sandwich you ate between the first two installments has long ago worn off. Now the only problem is it’s pretty darn late and not that many places are still serving up the sustenance you need. Illegal Pete’s to the rescue. That’s right, it may be late but you can still get some of the best Mexican grub around. Illegal Pete’s is open till midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights. Heck, if they ever make Lethal Weapon 5 you could watch that too and still make it to Illegal Pete’s before they close. What a life.



5340 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-444-3404

2128 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-7766

645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441

2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111

Second Place: Salvaggio’s Italian Deli

Third Place: Half Fast Subs

Fourth Place: Cheba Hut “Toasted” Subs

Fifth Place: Cured

It’s been a couple of decades since the original Snarf’s Sandwiches shop sprang up in Boulder. That first shop and all those that have followed are the result of one man’s quest for sandwich perfection, Snarf founder Jimmy Seidel. Did he succeed in building the perfect sandwich? We’re pretty darn sure he did and so are our readers. But it’s more like he succeeded in creating the world’s best 25 sandwiches. That’s Snarf’s secret. No matter what kind of combination of ingredients you’re looking to stick in the middle of some tasty fresh bread, this place probably has it on the menu. So you can have the world’s greatest sandwich every day and eat something completely different nearly every time. Sort of makes your head spin.

staff pix graphic_2016Hipster Vibe


904 College Ave., 303-954-0129

The new enterprise of the Boulder-based lifestyle brand of the same name, Alpine Modern Café, opened in the summer of 2015 and has been busy ever since. Dark wood tables and counters contrast stark white walls, highlighted by rotating colorful art and tiny little succulents adorning every table. The baristas and servers all wear five panel hats in various shades of chambray (denim) and matching aprons with leather straps. In the restroom you’ll find a faux animal head and a rendition of the John Muir quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” It being the restroom, we doubt it’s the mountains that are, in fact, calling. The customers range from sleek businessmen to college students to older gentlemen with circle eyeglasses reading the morning edition of the New York Times left on the community table for all to share. You’ll see an array of mustaches, beards, floral prints, cutoffs and pointed toed oxfords. Feeling that hipster vibe?

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