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Estes Park Restaurants to Try After a Day of Exploring

Great places to eat after a hike near Rocky Mountain National Park.

As much as I love living in Florida near the sandy beaches, sometimes it’s necessary to get away from all of the heat and humidity that comes along with living in a tropical paradise. The best solution, I’ve found, is to head west towards the Rocky Mountains to gorgeous Estes Park, Colorado for some fun hiking adventures.

friends eating dinner at a restaurant in estes park colorado

Besides sightseeing in Rocky Mountain National Park and hiking trails in the mountains, one of the main reasons I love to visit Estes Park, CO is because they have such a high concentration of amazing places to eat for quite an unassuming town. 

Some of the best restaurants in Estes Park are so phenomenal that I decided to put all of the best ones on a list for our next trip to the Rockies and to help out all of our fellow travelers or food-lovers out there who might be searching for a great place to eat after a long hike in the mountains.

Whether you’re a full-time resident or just visiting Colorado like us, use this list as your ultimate guide to Estes Park restaurants. I’ve included a bit of everything, from steakhouses to Italian restaurants and Asian bistros, so you’ll be sure to find amazing food you like, no matter what you’re in the mood for. 

Best Restaurants in Estes Park

  1. Hunters Chophouse 
  2. Claire’s Restaurant and Bar
  3. Bird and Jim
  4. Antonio’s Real New York Pizza
  5. The Egg of Estes
  6. Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew
  7. The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
  8. Big Horn Restaurant
  9. Nepal’s Café 
  10. Oppa Asian Bistro  
  11. SEASONED
  12. Mountain Home Café
  13. Dunraven at The Estes Park Resort
  14. Penelope’s Old Time Burgers
  15. Ed’s Cantina and Grill 

Hunters Chophouse

1690 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-6962
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First on my list of best restaurants is a place called Hunters Chophouse. I visited this amazing, old-fashioned steakhouse after spending the day kayaking and fishing at the Lake Estes Marina which is right nearby. 

Hunters Chophouse is rustic and it’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped into a warm and spacious log cabin that’s constantly filled with the aromas of grilled steak and wild game. 

I was absolutely blown away by the fact that they not only had beef ribeye and filet mignon, but you could also order elk and bison steaks which are very uncommon back in Florida. I went with the 15-ounce bone-in bison ribeye and it was mind-blowing. 


Claire’s Restaurant and Bar

225 Park Ln, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-9564
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Next up is Claire’s Restaurant and Bar, a classic American restaurant where you can get delicious favorites like BBQ and burgers with a gorgeous mountain view from your table . 

I really loved their spacious outdoor patio seating here at Claire’s; the beautiful mountains served as a perfect backdrop for food pictures when my meal arrived. 

Check out Claire’s off of MacGregor Avenue, right across the street from the beautiful Bond Park and Black Canyon Creek, and be sure to try their steakhouse burger or their flatiron bison steak when you stop by


Bird and Jim

915 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-9832
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Bird and Jim is a wonderful, laid-back place I visited off of Moraine Avenue and High Drive that served me some of the best old-fashioned Western grub I’ve ever had.

What I thought was great about Bird and Jim is that they’re conveniently located right next to the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, almost directly across the street from the National Park Village South shopping mall and The Country Market of Estes Park grocery store. 

When I visited Bird and Jim, I tried their frontier trout with grilled artichokes, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and herb-roasted red potatoes⸺all drizzled with a fantastic red bell pepper sauce.


Antonio’s Real New York Pizza

1560 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-7275
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What do you do when you’re craving a delicious slice of New York pizza but you’re about 1,800 miles away from NYC in Estes Park, Colorado? You head to Antonio’s Real New York Pizza off of Big Thompson Ave, of course!

They have amazing wood-fired pizza here at Antonio’s, but it’s also a great place to go if you’re in the mood for wings or subs, as well when you’re in Estes Park. 

This was the perfect treat for me after a long day hiking up the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead to see Gem Lake and the wondrous Balanced Rock hiking area. All of that exercise put me right in the mood for a classic pepperoni pizza, and landed this spot a place on my best restaurants list.


The Egg of Estes

393 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-1173
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Another great spot to visit during your tour of Estes Park restaurants is The Egg of Estes. This charming, family-friendly diner located off of East Elkhorn Avenue quickly became my favorite breakfast spot during my trip to Estes Park, CO. 

I stopped here before heading to hike up to The Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park. They offer a great lunch menu as well here at The Egg of Estes, but the breakfast is really what got my attention simply because of the sheer number of choices.  

After a stressful mental debate, I tried their “Hiker’s Benedict” that comes with smoked ham, asparagus, roasted crimini mushrooms, and tomatoes along with smoked bacon and hollandaise sauce and it was divine. 


Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew

820 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-7427
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Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew in Estes Park really surprised me because I wasn’t really expecting to find such delicious food somewhere so far from the South, but here it was! 

When I had the pleasure of visiting Dave’s, I went with a few hungry friends and we all ordered the “Big Kahuna Belly Buster” which comes with a full rack of St. Louis ribs, a whole chicken, half a pound of both brisket and pork, 4 sides, and 6 pieces of cornbread!

Everything we ordered was absolutely delicious and it was almost too much food for all of us, but we absolutely loved it and it was just as tasty as any barbecue back home. 


The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern

1675 CO-66, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-4116
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Another spot making it to my list of top Estes Park restaurants is The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern. It also turned out to be one of the best places to get brunch near me while I was visiting. 

This restaurant is very rustic and old-fashioned, serving fresh, organic ingredients in every dish so you can really get a taste of Colorado’s bountiful nature and wild game. 

When you come to The Rock Inn in Estes Park, I highly recommend an order of their cajun-spiced shrimp because it comes with a healthy portion of creamy polenta that we found to be just an irresistible combination. 


Big Horn Restaurant

401 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-2792
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This next place to eat in Estes Park, Big Horn Restaurant, is one that I went to after my friends and I got back from taking the Este Park Aerial Tramway cable car all the way up to the summit of Prospect Mountain where we were treated with a picturesque view of the mountains. 

Big Horn Restaurant is a family-run Estes Park fixture with a casual, comfy vibe where you can get absolutely incredible breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. 

What I loved the most about Big Horn was that they had wild game meats elk and bison burgers to choose from, but I couldn’t decide, so I ordered both and they were fantastic!  


Nepal’s Café

184 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-7035
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Nepal’s Café is such a wonderfully unique spot to eat in Estes Park and try Nepalese food which is a cuisine that I had never sampled before, and it turns out that I really enjoy it!

I am an absolute fiend when it comes to curry and Nepal’s Café in Estes Park has 12 different vegetable curries to choose from, as well as a lamb, fish, and chicken curry, so I was in heaven when I saw the list of options on their menu. 

In the end, I had to try their chicken tikka masala because it is one of my favorite dishes of all time and it did not disappoint one bit. In fact, it was some of the best tikka masala I’ve ever had. 


Oppa Asian Bistro 

183 W Riverside Dr, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-8888
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If you love Korean food as I do, then this should be one of the first Estes Park restaurants you go when you’re in town and you’re feeling hungry. 

They specialize in comforting Korean cuisine here at Oppa Asian Bistro and they’re right down the street from fun attractions in Estes Park like the Open Air Adventure Park and the classic Fun City Amusement Park, so Oppa is a perfect dining destination after a day of fun!

I decided to try the bibimbap which comes with mixed vegetables, grilled ribeye steak, and a fried egg with their fiery Korean hot paste on the side. 


SEASONED – An American Bistro 

205 Park Ln, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-9000
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Another top Estes Park restaurant is SEASONED, a refined bistro offering creative, gourmet fare in a cozy, yet elegant, wooden ambiance. I visited this spot for a resplendent dinner experience during my time in Estes Park. 

This was one of the last nights on my trip to Estes Park and we decided to really splurge on an expensive meal, so I ordered the “Mr. Beef” option on their menu which consists of a 22-ounce, 45-day dry-aged Black Angus ribeye that comes with asparagus in bearnaise as well as potatoes fried in duck fat. This steak made me understand the true definition of a food-coma. 


Mountain Home Café

457 E Wonderview Ave Ste C-1, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-6624
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Mountain Home Café is a must-visit spot for breakfast with outdoor seating in Estes Park, Colorado, I think, especially if you want to walk around and do some shopping at the quaint Stanley Village outlet mall.

I ordered their biscuits and gravy when I visited Mountain Home Café in Estes Park, but they have tons of other great breakfast options like pancakes, French toast, omelettes, and so much more.

When you’re done eating and you’ve got some energy, head right behind Mountain Home Café to the Kent Mountain Adventure Center for a thrilling rock-climbing adventure!


Dunraven at The Estes Park Resort

1700 Colorado Peaks Drive, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-6409
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Dunraven at The Estes Park Resort is so much fun for anyone visiting Estes Park, not only because it’s such an amazing Italian restaurant, but because it’s located right on the shore of Lake Estes.

When I went to Dunraven, I started off with an order of their artichoke dip and then I moved into a bowl of amazing seafood cioppino with fresh fish, scallops, muscles, and clams with cioppino sauce and linguine. 

This is probably my top-recommended restaurant in Estes Park, CO for dinner after a fun day at Lake Estes Marina where you can rent kayaks and pontoons. 


Penelope’s Old Time Burgers

229 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-2277
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Penelope’s Old Time Burgers is a classic counter-serve place to get a burger and fries in Estes Park for a reasonable price and quality that never disappoints. 

I visited Penelope’s Old Time Burgers on one of my first days in Estes Park, Colorado when I was craving a juicy cheeseburger and French fries, and that’s exactly what I got.

I recommend the buffalo burger over everything else here only because it was one of the best burgers I have ever tasted.


Ed’s Cantina and Grill

390 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-586-2919
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Last, but not least, Ed’s Cantina and Grill is an extremely popular, locally-owned Mexican restaurant in Estes Park that you are not going to want to miss out on while you’re in town. 

Sometimes when it gets a little cold up in the mountains it’s nice to have a little heat in your belly, so we recommend ordering the carne asada torta because it has a chipotle aioli and a habañero-pineapple sauce

Or, alternatively, you can cool off from your exhausting hikes in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with a delicious, refreshing margarita!


Final Thoughts

The only thing better than the hiking up here in Rocky Mountain National Park is the restaurant scene if you ask me. I was absolutely blown away by both the number and quality of Estes Park restaurants in this quaint small town.

A huge part of a memorable trip anywhere is the food and where you eat, so make sure you enjoy your visit to Estes Park as much as I did and check out all of these incredible restaurants while you’re there! 

Did we miss anything? Please, comment below and let us know. We will look into it ASAP.

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.