Exploring Boulder CO’s Vibrant Dining Scene

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Boulder Restaurants - Tajikistan Plov, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
Tajikistan Plov, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Let me introduce you to Boulder, Colorado, which has earned its reputation as a foodie town. Boulder’s chefs create culinary delights with significant consideration to agricultural heritage, international cuisines, and food as an art form.

Only 30 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder offers a diverse culinary scene with farm-to-table, ranch-to-table, and stream-to-table restaurants. Many Boulder eateries offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Boulder has been called America’s Foodiest City and is one of the country’s fastest-growing brewing industry homes.

Best Restaurants in Boulder 

I always enjoy a good meal when I travel. Dining in Boulder was the highlight of each day’s exploration. Here’s where I ate and some of the dishes I favored.

Spruce Farm & Fish

Located inside the historic Hotel Boulderado at the corner of 13th Street and Spruce, the Spruce Farm & Fish restaurant features the original stained-glass windows and antique tile floor. Part of the hotel’s original dining room, it’s one of Boulder County’s oldest dining spaces. The hotel’s original exterior brick wall is enclosed in the porch room, where I took my evening meal.

Read More: Why Hotel Boulderado is a Great Destination in Boulder CO

Boulder Restaurants - Spruce Farm & Fish in Historic Hotel Boulderado.
Spruce Farm & Fish in Historic Hotel Boulderado. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

During my conversation with Executive Chef Mike Thom, he revealed the secret of retaining customers at Spruce Farm & Fish. According to him, they keep popular dishes such as Rocky Mountain Trout and steak and potatoes on the menu. Chef Mike mentioned that when tourists visit Boulder, they anticipate trying Colorado-style and Southwestern cuisine, like bison, lamb, and trout, and he ensures that such dishes are available on the menu. He is proud to prepare real food and sauces from scratch for diners.

Boulder Restaurants - Scallops and Angel Hair Pasta, Spruce Farm & Fish.
Scallops and Angel Hair Pasta, Spruce Farm & Fish. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I savored a plate of pan-seared jumbo sea scallops served over angel hair pasta with a unique cream sauce for dinner. I paired it with a delicious La Crema Pinot Noir wine to complement the dish. I relished a luscious bowl of mango sorbet with bright ruby raspberries for dessert.

Boulder Restaurants - Mango Sorbet and Raspberries, Spruce Farm & Fish.
Mango Sorbet and Raspberries, Spruce Farm & Fish. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Hotel Boulderado hosted me, but all opinions are my own.

Boulder Restaurants - Exterior of Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
Exterior of Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

 The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a must on your Boulder itinerary. This popular tourist attraction is a local favorite for tea, dining, and a great atmosphere.

Boulder Restaurants - The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Boulder shares a special bond with its sister city, Dushanbe, in Tajikistan. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a unique gift from this city, crafted with care and dedication by more than 40 artisans from Tajikistan. The decorative elements of the Teahouse, including the hand-painted and hand-carved ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels, were created without power tools. The Teahouse is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, with vibrant colors and intricate designs.

You can indulge in international cuisine at the Teahouse throughout the day – whether it’s lunch, tea time, afternoon tea service, dinner, or weekend brunch. They have an extensive collection of over 100 fine, loose-leaf teas sourced from some of the world’s most exclusive tea-growing regions, ensuring you have a virtually endless supply of tea.

Boulder Restaurants - Char Siu Bao, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
Char Siu Bao, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

During my visit to Boulder in the fall, I enjoyed trying out their signature dish, the Tajikistan Plov. It’s a traditional rice dish with grilled beef, carrot, onion, chickpea, spices, tomato-cucumber salad, dried fruit, and house-made naan. I ordered small plates of Char Siu Bao as an appetizer and Persian Chocolate Spice ice cream for dessert.

Read More: Fun Things to Do in Boulder CO


The Spanish steakhouse Corrida is inspired by Northern Spain’s Basque country. It focuses on wood-fired steaks and seafood popular in that region.

Boulder Restaurants - Corrida Rooftop View of the Flatirons.
Corrida Rooftop View of the Flatirons. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Corrida offers an elevated dining experience and outdoor seating that I enjoyed during an unseasonably warm fall afternoon. On the rooftop of a building in the West End of Pearl Street Mall, I could see the Flatirons while being served craft cocktails from their mobile cart.

Boulder Restaurants - Corrida Tapas.
Corrida Tapas. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I went early to sample their tapas, which Corrida serves from 3 to 5 pm. While they have an extensive wine list, I chose their craft cocktail, Gin and Tonic. It was light and refreshing to go along with Gordal olives, Marcona almonds, Pan (Sonora flour & olive oil bread), and Shishito peppers.

Boulder Restaurants - Jill’s Restaurant Exterior.
Jill’s Restaurant Exterior. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price


Inside the four-star St. Julien Hotel & Spa in downtown Boulder, Jill’s Restaurant has a full bar, an outdoor patio, and a private dining room.

While there for breakfast, I enjoyed a quiet and elegant meal with a delicious cup of coffee. The Everything Avocado Toast on a toasted whole grain baguette had a generous helping of smashed avocado, everything bagel crunch, a tangy pickled onion, and pea shoots. I ordered a poached egg to top each slice covered with peppery arugula.

Boulder Restaurants - Avocado Toast at Jill’s.
Avocado Toast at Jill’s. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

For a meal later in the day, I would order the Boulder Burger, which features Jill’s signature house-made black bean patty and tangy adobo mayo.

Boulder Restaurants - Jill’s Restaurant Interior.
Jill’s Restaurant Interior. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price


The Chef/Owner of Blackbelly Butcher Shop, Hosea Rosenberg, earned a Michelin star because he is at the forefront of sustainable gastronomy.

Boulder Restaurants - Blackbelly Market and Butcher Shop.
Blackbelly Market and Butcher Shop. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I was fascinated watching butchers stuffing and tying sausages behind glass. It was like watching a movie. I appreciated their work, which involved such precision and repetitive motions.

Popular with a lunch crowd, a line of patrons awaited their turn to order at the counter and share space in the dining room or outside under umbrellas and heaters.

Boulder Restaurants - Blackbelly Market.
Blackbelly Market. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Read More: Great Boulder Hotels for Your Next Colorado Getaway

More Great Boulder Restaurants

I didn’t get to try the following restaurants during my visit to Boulder. However, they are on my list for the next time I’m in town.

Flagstaff House

Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Flagstaff House is Colorado’s premier fine dining experience. A five-minute drive from downtown Boulder, this mountainside restaurant is at 6,000 feet. It serves New American cuisine and has earned 41 consecutive Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ratings and AAA Four Diamond status for 30 years in a row.

The dinner menu boasts canapés of Royal Belgian Osetra Caviar, Beef Tenderloin Tartare, and an Artisan Cheese Selection. You can select one option from the Four Course Menu for each course. The entire table must order the Chef’s Tasting Menu. You can order a wine or zero-proof cocktail pairing for an additional fee. The tasting menu cannot be modified for dietary restrictions, but the items sound heavenly, nonetheless.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Reservations are required to dine for full dinner service at The Flagstaff House.

Frasca Food and Wine

Frasca Food and Wine is a restaurant that draws inspiration from the cuisine and culture of Friuli, Italy. Its wine list features over 200 varieties. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in northeast Italy, is a sub-alpine region of massive cultural blending and is geographically diverse and picturesque. Friuli is at the base of the Carnic and Julian Alps and is bordered by Slovenia, Austria, and the Adriatic Sea.

The Frasca menu, printed in Italian, offers Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, and Dolci courses. My favorite Northern Italian dish is the mushroom risotto, called Risotto Alle Spugnole, at Frasca.

Frasca earned a Michelin Star for high-quality cooking.

Avery Brewing Co.

The nationally recognized Avery Brewing Company’s motto is “Beer First. The Rest Will Follow.” Always bucking the norm as far as breweries go, Avery Brewing Co. produces eccentric ales and lagers defying categories or styles.

Known for its soul-inspired dishes and smoked meats, the restaurant offers world-class craft beers on 30 taps. You can take your beer on a self-guided tour of the brewing facility along the catwalk.

Chautauqua General Store

You can get your ice cream fix and stunning Flatirons views at the Chautauqua General Store. It is located next door to the Chautauqua Dining Hall and offers coffee and tea drinks, pastries, shakes, energy snacks, and merchandise with the Chautauqua brand.

Boulder Restaurants - Chautauqua Park.
Chautauqua Park. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Black Cat Farm-to-Table Bistro

Once they complete their permitting process, The Black Cat will offer alfresco dining, beautiful gardens, and stunning views of a working farmstead. Until then, you can dine at Bramble & Hare, their sister restaurant in Downtown Boulder off the Pearl Street Mall on Lucky 13th Street. Chef Eric Skokan and his wife, Jill, founded the neighborhood bistro and used it as testing grounds for their Front Range Cuisine.

The Kitchen American Bistro

The Kitchen American Bistro is based in Boulder, with other locations in Chicago and Denver. They’ve produced a cookbook that is a culinary voyage containing 100 signature recipes. The cookbook includes the legendary Tomato Soup, Cast Iron Roasted Chicken with black truffle cream, and Sticky Toffee Pudding (my name is on this one!).

Select from standards like hand-cut French or garlic fries and a burger for lunch. I’m more interested in the Halloumi Naan with tamarind & cilantro chutneys and other Mediterranean flavors. The Italian Tagliatelle with fennel pollen sounds appealing.

Happy hour is from 3 to 5 pm daily with selected wines, bubbles, and beers.

Oysters Rockefeller, Bone Marrow, and Lamb Tartare are some entrées selections on the dinner menu. Desserts include the Mousse Dome (peanut butter) and the Pot de crème–a chocolate custard, black currant, amarena cherries, and espresso bean. Is your mouth watering yet?

Brunch offerings include a Twice-Baked Croissant with almond cream, pear-ginger jam, and salted caramel, a Lobster Roll with dashi aioli, house crab boil chips, and so much more.

Dragonfly Noodle

Specializing in Asian, Sushi, and Indian cuisine, Dragonfly Noodle serves up late-night eats on the West End in Boulder. They make their ramen noodles in-house. You can also order premium chilled sakés, beers, and Sojus. When I visit, I’ll order the bao accompanied with fresh greens.

Boulder Restaurants - Centro Mexican Kitchen.
Centro Mexican Kitchen. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Centro Mexican Kitchen

Centro Mexican Kitchen specializes in Colorado-inspired Mexican cuisine in the heart of downtown Boulder along the Pearl Street Mall. Get there in time for happy hour from 3 pm to 5 pm Monday through Friday, and you’ll see why the bar is the restaurant’s centerpiece.

Build-your-own Taco Boards come with fresh corn tortillas, green rice, cabbage pico slaw, Mexican street corn, and spicy macha salsa. They make a mean burrito with low and slow-braised beef, charro beans, cheese, and more.

Sforno Trattoria Romana

Sforno Trattoria Romana restaurant was built around its beloved oven. Sforno, meaning “from the oven,” produces authentic Italian tastes in downtown Boulder. Specializing in Roman cuisine with an original wood-burning pizzeria oven, it is proud of its famous house-made mozzarella.

Rincon Argentino

Specializing in Argentinean cuisine, Rincon Argentino is a family-owned and operated restaurant that serves traditional empanadas, Milanesa sandwiches, veggie tacos, and more.

Final Thoughts

Boulder is a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and palate. Bon appetite!

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