At the base of the Rocky Mountains sits a beautiful city known for outdoor adventures, tech-savvy companies, college life, and so much more. Boulder, Colorado, boasts the perfect view of the mountains while maintaining class and sophistication throughout the city.
Among the many reasons to visit Boulder, from rock climbing to book festivals, you’ll find restaurants scattered throughout the city. The various food stops provide their own tourist experience, ensuring that you’re never hungry and always satisfied.
Here, I’ve gathered a list of the best restaurants in Boulder, CO. As I explored the city, the delicate aromas from each eatery blended with the fresh mountain air and I instantly felt welcomed.
Map your vacation, set your reservations, pack your mountain gear, but most of all, enjoy my list of where to eat in Boulder, Colorado.
Best Restaurants in Boulder CO
- Flagstaff House Restaurant
- Oak at Fourteenth
- Black Cat Bistro
- Blackbelly Market
- Frasca Food & Wine
- Pizzeria Locale
- SALT the Bistro
- Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
- Lucile’s Creole Cafe
- The Buff Restaurant
- The Sink
- Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
- Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
- Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant
- Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace
- Izakaya Amu
Flagstaff House Restaurant
1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-4640
Situated at an elevation of 6,000 feet, the Flagstaff House Restaurant is first on our list. With 42 consecutive Forbes Travel Guide 4-star ratings, the Wine Spectator Grand Award, Good Food 100 Restaurants, and 31 successive AAA Four Diamond ratings, Flagstaff is a class above.
Executive Chef Chris Royster dazzles with his New American cuisine with a French flair. This former summer cabin-turned fine dining restaurant became part of the Monette family in 1971 and has served locals and tourists alike for over five decades.
Dining choices have a four-course menu and a chef’s tasting menu. They don’t require you to purchase the full four-course option, but with all the delicious choices, I recommend you do.
My favorite combination was the Maine Lobster Soup, Munson’s Sweet Corn Risotto, Miyazaki A5 Wagyu New York Strip, and the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee.
Oak at Fourteenth
1400 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-3622
Oak at Fourteenth sits on the western edge of the world-renowned Pearl Street Mall in Downtown Boulder, right near the Boulder Theater.
Head chef and co-owner Steve Redzikowski opened Oak at Fourteenth with his friend turned sommelier Bryan Dayton in 2010. They share their love of food and drinks with customers, and their New American menu relies heavily on the uniqueness of their oak oven and grill.
A small menu means perfection in each dish, and the Mushroom Tempura is the perfect start to your meal. I thoroughly enjoyed the Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with pappa Pomodoro, melted fennel, and olive relish.
Because Oak at Fourteenth is known for its expert mixology, I couldn’t resist the French Hare, a combination of Suerte Reposado, Dolin Dry, Crème de Violette, lavender, and OAK ginger beer. There’s no mistaking it, talent abounds at Oak at Fourteenth, and flavor follows.
Black Cat Bistro
1964 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-5500
Black Cat Bistro sits just off Pearl Street, among the shops and bustle of the Pearl Street Mall. What sets Black Cat Bistro apart from other Boulder restaurants in the area is its unique food source.
Jill and Eric Skokan grow produce on a 425-acre farm just north of Boulder and staff forages for wild mushrooms and other food sources. The menu at Black Cat Bistro changes daily and completely depends on the availability of food each morning.
Farm-raised vegetables, Tunis & Karakul sheep, Mulefoot pigs, heritage chickens and turkeys, and Toulouse geese provide nourishment for the restaurant. Their thirty-plus-page wine list offers a variety you won’t find elsewhere.
It is impossible to tell you what to order with an ever-changing menu, but I promise whatever is on special when you arrive will be worth it.
1606 Conestoga St #3, Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: (303) 247-1000
Blackbelly Market launched in 2011 and has become the top boutique catering and events provider in the area. Even better still, their team helps guide you through choosing a venue for your special event, making them an absolute treasure in the hospitality market.
Blackbelly Market sits off Arapaho, across from the Flatirons Golf Course, and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as dine-in services as well as their catering. The market also has retail options from coffee beans and chocolate to hand sanitizer and cookware.
The lunch menu is divine. I loved the Cubano with smoked ham, roast pork, swiss, mustard aioli, and telera served with a side of winter squash soup. I’ll be back here again for sure.
Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-6966
Frasca is another restaurant gracing the shops of the Pearl Street Mall. Frasca Food and Wine found inspiration in the sub-alpine region of Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and fashioned their family-friendly style around the Italian love of informal meals together.
Frascas throughout Italy served food and wine to farmers, friends, family, and travelers throughout the harvest season. That excellence in hospitality translated to Frasca Food and Wine’s numerous accolades and rave reviews.
For starters, I loved the Crudo du Ricciola, kanpachi with cucumber & blossom and lime. The flavors of the lime and cucumber beautifully complement the kanpachi, which is a unique flavor in itself.
My main dish of Maltagliati di Grano Saraceno, a wild boar ragu served with buckwheat pasta, pickled currant, and Parmigiano Reggiano was delightful. I finished with the Dolce Verde, a pistachio cake with mint ganache, honeydew, cucumber, and granny smith for a fantastic end to the meal.
1730 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-3003
Pizzeria Locale is another Pearl Street gem inspired by the pizzerias of Naples, Italy. They specialize in Napoletana-inspired flavors for a unique twist on pizza. Pizzeria Locale is owned by the same brilliant minds behind Frasca Food and Wine, and it shows in its product quality.
You might think that pizza is pizza, but when you visit Pizzeria Locale, you’ll see why that’s not true. Their menu lives up to the Italian flair and proves that not all pies are created equal.
I loved the Mais pizza. It has toppings like crème fraîche, prosciutto cotto, sweet corn, mozzarella, chive, and garlic oil and was mouth-wateringly delicious. Best of all, this pizza provides donations to Zero Food Print’s regenerative farming initiative.
SALT the Bistro
1047 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-7258
SALT the Bistro is a quaint corner restaurant on the West End of Pearl Street. They support local Colorado farmers with their menu. Sustainability drives their product, and they proudly serve grass-finished beef, GMO-free chicken and pork, and organic eggs from Rogue Farms.
I love charcuterie boards, and SALT has one of the best around. Their board features prosciutto di parma, speck ham, alto Adige saucisson sec basque, elevation fennel pollen salami, deer creek Colby jack, Cabot clothbound cheddar, cashmere brie Cana de Cabra, danish blue, and casatica di bufala served with grilled bread, apple mostarda, cornichon, fruit, and valencia almonds.
The entree choices at SALT cater to every type of eater, but my favorite was the Plant-Based Cassoulet. The shiitake & porcini mushrooms, carrots, white beans, fennel, rosemary, thyme, garlic, tomato, dashi, and market vegetables are perfectly prepared and delicious.
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
1770 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-4993
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a beautiful restaurant gifted to the city of Boulder by their sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The beautiful Eastern architecture sets a peaceful, calming, and relaxing atmosphere for your lunch or a significant event such as a wedding.
In Central Asia, teahouses serve as places for friends to gather, share stories, and bask in the beauty of life, and the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is no different. Their decor is a collection of art from Dushanbe from 1987-1990 as the cities established their deeper connection.
With so many excellent dining options in Boulder, I chose to brunch at the teahouse. I was blown away by the flavors in the Indian Dosa, which has an Indian crepe with curried scrambled eggs, spinach, potato, onion, mango lassi, apricot-cherry chutney, and fresh fruit.
Lucile’s Creole Cafe
2124 14th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-4743
Lucile’s Creole Cafe rests a few blocks west of the Pearl Street Mall in a cozy little neighborhood. If you didn’t know this adorable building was a restaurant, you might think you were heading into Grandma’s house.
Lucile’s began in 1980, with a focus on Creole flavors and serving the brunch niche. They sell their blend of creole spices and are known for Chef Mickey’s homemade jam and their unique blend of “Lucile’s Coffee.”
My breakfast of Eggs Pontchartrain, fresh pan-fried mountain trout, sauce bearnaise, poached eggs, all served up with a buttermilk biscuit and grits, was the perfect beginning to my day. You won’t be disappointed by the southern flavors here.
The Buff Restaurant
2600 Canyon Blvd, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-9150
The Buff, featuring a buffalo mascot, sits a few blocks from the Village Boulder Shopping Center and boasts a remarkable feat for sustainability. They compost or recycle 95% of the waste produced by the restaurant, fitting in nicely with the eco-friendly demeanor of Boulder.
The original restaurant began in 1995, and in 2014, they moved to a new location, intent on retaining the original appeal of the first establishment. Repurposed booths, reclaimed wood, and more from the first location transferred beautifully to their new home, beginning the low eco-footprint of The Buff.
The Buff features a breakfast and lunch menu, no dinner. The menu has a variety of delicious options, but my favorite was the Primo Chimmi. This delightful dish has chorizo, black beans, green chilies, cheddar cheese, and onions. It is wrapped in a flour tortilla, fried, and smothered with pork green chili or con queso.
1165 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-7465
This beautiful red and black restaurant sits on a corner of 13th street near University Hill. The Sink is one of the longest-lasting restaurants in the area, established in 1923 as a pizza and burger joint. They love iconic art and have a bit of funk to the atmosphere, making it a unique part of Old Boulder.
The chili cheese fries at The Sink will catch your breath as they set the beautiful plate before you. Pico de gallo, pork green chili, melted cheddar cheese, fried onion straws, and green onions top the fries with incredible goodness.
I’ve never had chili cheese fries quite like these, and I highly suggest you share a plate with your friends.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
1617 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 225-7344
The name encompasses everything I feel about mornings, but it’s worth waking up early for Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. Their specialty breakfast and brunch menu puts a creative twist on classic meals and offers something for every dietary need.
Snooze is part of the Pearl Street Mall in Downtown Boulder, making it the perfect place to kick off your day of exploration around the city.
If you’re a fan of eggs benedict, you must try their Barbacoa Chile Verde Benedict. Green chile tortillas, melted cheese, barbacoa style beef, poached eggs, a green chili hollandaise, and topped with pico de gallo and cotija cheese are as beautiful as they are delicious. Served with a side of hash browns, this dish is a great way to start your day.
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
928 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-1811
Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar rests at the west end of Pearl Street. Their atmosphere is busy and brilliant, with room to visit friends and family or conduct business at the bar.
They’ve earned awards from the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, Travel and Leisure Magazine, and Monterey Bay Aquarium.
While the menu has an excellent variety, I tried the Grilled Hawaiian Yellowfin Tuna Steak. This dish comes with summer squash, freshly grated tomato, roasted kalamata olives, and a sweet garlic purèe. This is hands-down one of the best tuna dishes I’ve ever had.
Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant
1630 63rd St # 10, Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: (303) 440-4045
For a taste of Mexico, I highly recommend Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant. Just west of the Flatirons Golf Course and the Boulder Jewish Center, Efrain’s has 30 years of experience cooking authentic Northern Chihuahua-style cuisine.
Efrain’s uses only the freshest ingredients and begins their preparation at 6 a.m. daily. They’ve won Boulder County’s People’s Choice Award for the best Mexican Food 11 times since the award started in 2009.
Efrain’s serves one of the best chili Rellenos I’ve ever tried, and with their fresh beans and rice, this was an excellent meal.
Centro Mexican Kitchen & Refreshment Palace
950 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 442-7771
Centro Mexican Kitchen and Refreshment Palace fits the modern bill for Mexican cuisine and sits heartily at the Pearl Street Mall. They specialize in fresh-squeezed cocktails, tacos, and offer year-round patio dining.
Founded in 1994, Centro offers lunch and dinner, as well as party and catering options.
Their Chicken Enchiladas de Zolo served with smoked cheese, charro beans, green rice, pico de gallo, and crema are the best enchiladas I’ve had in a long time. Don’t forget to order street corn, too. It’s amazing!
1023 Walnut St STE 400, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 444-1333
East of Broadway in the heart of Downtown Boulder lies a beautiful Spanish-inspired restaurant with a view. Rooftop dining sets Corrida apart from its competition as you take in the Flatirons across the way.
They have a tapas menu, a dinner menu alongside many drink options, and a wine and spirits list several pages long.
I recommend the Quicos, giant, crunchy corn kernels with just the right amount of bite to them for tapas. For dinner, it’s worth the splurge for the 43 Day Dry Aged Tomahawk American Wagyu Ribeye sourced from Texas.
1221 Spruce St, Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 440-0807
Izakaya AMU is a small Japanese pub that packs a big punch. Just North of the Pearl Street Mall, west of Broadway, Izakaya AMU was created to provide familiar Japanese dishes to the Boulder community.
The most intriguing part of the dining experience here is to ask your server for suggestions. Tell them your dietary needs, and then sit back and relax as the server creates your meal omakase-style, which means “I’ll entrust it to you.”
My favorite was the toriten, marinated chicken tempura with Karashi mustard. I also loved the Yakiniku, thinly sliced BBQ Snake River Kobe Beef with sizzling onions. Izakaya AMU is an experience everyone should enjoy.
Boulder, Colorado, has a long history of culture, sophistication, and atmosphere. These restaurants live up to that standard in every way, making Boulder the premier vacation spot for food lovers.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and so that we can check it out!