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Charred octopus with chickpeas in guanciale vinaigrette
Charred octopus with dried and green chickpeas in guanciale vinaigrette at Frasca.
Ryan Dearth/Eater

The Ultimate Guide to Dining in Boulder

This small city is still one of Colorado’s biggest dining draws

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Charred octopus with dried and green chickpeas in guanciale vinaigrette at Frasca.
| Ryan Dearth/Eater

Once a hippie haven and now a thriving enclave for the well-traveled, this picturesque college town in the foothills of the Rockies has earned itself an international reputation for fine dining over the past couple of decades. But there’s far more to explore than might meet the eye of a tourist. The 21 spots on this map, ordered geographically from north to south, offer everything from Argentine street food to Japanese bar snacks to full Turkish breakfasts. (Shoutout to three brand-new arrivals with great promise as well: two outposts of Denver favorites, Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Ash’Kara, and Supermoon, from the team behind the much-missed Arcana.)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Little Tibet | Restaurant & Bar

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4479 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304
(720) 459-8336
Visit Website

Off the beaten path both geographically and culinarily, this serene little North Boulder sanctuary serves up Tibetan specialties rarely seen in these parts — not just momo and the hand-pulled noodles called thenthuk but also sha bhaley (fried patties filled with beef and onion); laphing (cold sliced bean jelly with chili sauce); and gyuma (blood sausage). It’s all worth trying — and washing down with butter tea.

Fried Tibetan beef-onion patties with dipping sauce
Little Tibet’s beef-and-onion stuffed sha bhaley.
Ruth Tobias

2. River and Woods

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2328 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 993-6301
Visit Website

Seating in the magical backyard would be reason enough to visit this quaintly appointed Pearl Street cottage, but chef Daniel Asher makes sure that what he calls its “elevated comfort food” matches the atmosphere, be it Southwestern-style poutine with Pueblo green chile or a kitchen-sink salad with Colorado-grown quinoa, root veggies, and fruit in honey-poppyseed vinaigrette.

Plate of fish and chips on butcher paper
Chef Daniel Ashers’ fish and chips.
Ruth Tobias

3. Frasca Food and Wine

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1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-6966
Visit Website

Winning multiple James Beard Awards (among countless other accolades) for its Friuli-centric Northern Italian cuisine, extraordinary wine cellar, and next-level hospitality, Frasca is the premier special-occasion destination in Boulder if not the entire Front Range. At its heart is an ever-changing four-course menu laden with delicacies like foie gras, geoduck clams, and Hokkaido sea urchin, but these days it’s also serving an even more luxurious prix fixe in its yurts and Alpenglobes. Conversely, for a more casual experience at a (much) lower price point, next-door sibling Pizzeria Locale serves up expert Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Pasta with cherry tomatoes and spring onions
Lumache with spring vegetables at Frasca.
Ruth Tobias

4. Izakaya Amu

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1221 Spruce St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 440-0807
Visit Website

While adjacent sibling Sushi Zanmai focuses on its namesake item, this tiny izakaya specializes in the small plates traditionally meant to accompany saké. That means everything from chawanmushi (a savory custard) and onigiri (nori-wrapped rice balls) to gyoza, fried squid legs, and grilled mackerel; asking the staff for pairing recommendations — or even putting the entire meal in their hands, omakase-style — is highly encouraged.

Two types of onigiri
Onigiri (rice balls) at Izakaya Amu.
Amu [official]

5. The Post Chicken and Beer- Boulder

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2027 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 372-3341
Visit Website

Operating five locations across the Front Range, the Big Red F restaurant group has proven The Post’s motto for a fact: “Hot chicken loves cold beer.” But there’s more to it than fried-bird platters, sandwiches, and all the trimmings paired with beers brewed at the Lafayette original; other must-trys include the chicken chicharrones with pinto-bean hummus, brunchtime huevos rancheros topped with “thigh fries,” and chocolate whoopie pies for dessert.

Platter of fried chicken with side dish
Fried chicken at The Post.
Mona Esposito

6. Avanti F & B

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1401 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 343-7757
Visit Website

Like its smash sibling in LoHi, this bustling Pearl Street Mall food hall boasts two bars and a rooftop deck, but the roster of stalls it houses is all its own (with the exception of Venezuelan hit Quiero Arepas, which graces both locations). Here you’ll find modern deli fare at Rye Society, hummus bowls and pita wraps at Boychik, bao and noodles at Pig and Tiger, pizza at New Yorkese, and market-driven salads and burgers at Rooted Craft Kitchen; for teetotalers, there’s also coffee from Method Roasters.

Arepa stuffed with stewed beef, black beans, sweet plantains, cheese, and avocado-cilantro sauce
The Pabellon at Quiero Arepas, stuffed with stewed beef, black beans, sweet plantains, cheese, and avocado-cilantro sauce.
Courtesy of Avanti F & B

7. Oak at Fourteenth

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1400 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-3622
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Ahead of the curve when it opened a decade ago with an emphasis on wood-fired cuisine, the fittingly named flagship of chef Steven Redzikowski and barman Bryan Dayton is now an old reliable. The seasonal menu mixes influences liberally — think celery-root baba ghanoush next to gnocchi with mushrooms, French feta, and English peas next to green chile–braised pork shoulder — but the apple-kale salad with almonds and togarashi is an all-time favorite; the same goes for the bourbon-based, Bénédictine-laced Across the Atlantic cocktail.

Food cooking in wood-fired hearth
Wood-fired fare is Oak’s calling card.
Adam Larkey/Eater

8. Black Cat Bistro

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1964 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-9110
Visit Website

Eric Skokan doesn’t merely source from local farms — he is the source, with a 425-acre property where he and his wife Jill grow more than 200 organic crops; mill their own grains; and raise heritage breeds of pigs, chickens, and more to supply his gem of a contemporary bistro. In fact, his farm is currently serving as Black Cat’s “dining room,” which is temporarily closed; click here for information on booking a daily changing three-course dinner there. Or keep it casual at Skokan’s rustic gastropub, Bramble & Hare, now back open for business.

Stew with tomatoes and herbs
In its current iteration, Black Cat’s menu is changing daily to take advantage of the bounty from chef-owner Eric Skokan’s farm.
Black Cat Bistro/Facebook

9. The Kitchen Boulder

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1039 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 544-5973
Visit Website

Spawning a multi-state empire since it opened in 2004, this farm-to-table pioneer is still worth a trip for the sticky toffee pudding alone — though it’s got plenty else to offer in its airy, convivial dining room, with a freewheeling menu that makes room for roast chicken with truffle cream and fries, black spaghetti with rock shrimp and ’nduja, and fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade. The second-floor lounge — aptly named Upstairs — has an effortlessly cool, lived-in vibe to soak up along with cocktails like the green bean–infused Jack the Giant Slayer.

Cozy bar with banquettes and ottomans
Upstairs at The Kitchen.
Semple Brown [official]

10. Zoe Ma Ma

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2010 10th St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 545-6262
Visit Website

In 2010, Edwin Zoe opened this little counter joint to give his mother, then a recent transplant to Colorado, a place to cook for her new community. Now, it’s one of Boulder’s most-loved success stories (there’s also a branch in Denver). Based on her recipes from Taiwan, the comfort-fueled menu centers on street foods, noodles, and stew, including signatures like pearl meatballs; duck-wonton noodle soup; and the CPR, a one-pot dish of chicken, potatoes, and rice.

Potstickers with two dipping sauces
Zoe Ma Ma’s potstickers.
Ruth Tobias

11. Osaka's

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2460 Canyon Blvd #1
Boulder, CO 80302
(720) 398-9115
Visit Website

The savory pancake called okonomiyaki gets a nifty twist in the hands of the welcoming Japanese couple behind this tranquil oasis in the Village Shopping Center, who not only serve it in skillets with a wide range of toppings but also shape it into buns for sandwiches filled with everything from sukiyaki beef and asparagus to sliced pork and noodles. Rounding out the menu are selections of teppanyaki, agemono, ramen, and sushi, as well as an extensive list of Japanese beers and whiskies, sakés, and shochus.

Ruth Tobias
Okonomiyaki sliders with chicken in plum mayo, teriyaki chicken, and mushrooms in butter ponzu.

12. Corrida

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1023 Walnut St #400
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-1333
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With a rooftop patio overlooking the Flatirons outside and a serious butchery program inside, this Spanish-inspired modern steakhouse counts as yet another of Boulder’s top celebration spots. The menu was pared back somewhat during the pandemic to center on a four-course tasting, but its hallmarks remain: Elegantly presented tapas, scrupulously sourced cuts of beef, and a beverage list that celebrates Spain from Sherry and wine to gin-tonics.

Lucy Beaugard/Eater

13. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

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1770 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4993
Visit Website

Hand-carved and -painted columns, furniture, and all, the stunningly ornate decor of this local landmark was shipped from Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan and assembled piece by piece as a gift of civic friendship. An eclectic menu with an emphasis on Central Asian fare supplements an extensive selection of teas to make for a leisurely respite beneath the kaleidoscopic ceilings.

Teahouse exterior with hand-painted and ceramic panels
Elaborate ceramic panels grace the exterior of the Dushanbe Teahouse.
facebook.com/boulderteahouse/

14. Efrain's of Boulder Mexican Restaurant

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1630 63rd St # 10
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 440-4045
Visit Website

A classic for Mexican comfort food, this cozy 23-year-old outpost of the even-older original in Lafayette does it all, from burritos and enchiladas to chimichangas and chiles rellenos to 17 different margaritas. But no meal here is complete without green chile somewhere: fresh-tasting yet fiery and chock-full of pork, it’s some of the best around.

A plate of green chile with pork, rice, and beans
Efrain’s chile verde plate with rice and beans.
Ruth Tobias

15. Basta

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3601 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303
(303) 997-8775
Visit Website

Though superstar chef Kelly Whitaker’s wood-fired, Italian-inspired flagship is currently undergoing a remodel, it’s still serving its fabulous pizzas; apps like oysters, chicken-liver mousse, and okonomiyaki with porchetta; and famous campfire-vanilla ice cream a few doors down at sister bakery-cafe Dry Storage — where you can also pick up a bag or two of organic and heirloom flour from Whitaker’s own mill.

Kampachi crudo with puffed rice
Kampachi crudo with puffed rice at Basta.
Ruth Tobias

16. Le French Cafe

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2525 Arapahoe Ave C-1
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 284-2265
Visit Website

The charm of this colorful breakfast-and-lunch spot run by a native French couple is such that no one who comes here seems able to resist throwing a little something extra — another Kir Royale, a raspberry tart to go — into their original order. But they all start with carbs, glorious carbs, in the form of savory or sweet crêpes and a wide array of sandwiches built on baguettes or croissants. (Unless, that is, they start with classic onion soup, Niçoise salad, or quiche Lorraine.)

Bacon, cheese, and lettuce on a baguette next to chicken curry on a croissant with fries.
Le French’s St. Malo and Limousin sandwiches.
Ruth Tobias

17. Blackbelly 

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1606 Conestoga St
Boulder, CO 80301

Born out of chef Hosea Rosenberg's passion for all things farm-to-fork and nose-to-tail, Blackbelly is now a Boulder staple complete with an adjacent butcher shop. Market-priced entrees of beef, pork, and lamb are the menu’s natural starting point, but seasonal vegetarian dishes such as burrata tartine with fava beans and spring peas or carrot farfalle in parmesan-seaweed brodo also shine. For something completely different yet equally worthwhile, Santo across town is a modern homage to the cuisine of Rosenberg’s native Taos, New Mexico.

Steak over chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes
Market-cut steak is a staple at Blackbelly, though the preparation is ever-changing.
Lauren Feder

18. Rincon Argentino

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2525 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4133
Visit Website

Run by a Buenos Aires native, this cheery café is perhaps best-known for its empanadas, with some 15 types of filling ranging from wild mushrooms and garlic to chicken with green olives, red peppers, and onions. But it also makes a mean steak-and-mozzarella sandwich, whether topped with ham-like the lomito completo or a breaded cutlet and marinara in the case of the milanesa napolitana.

Argentine sandwich with steak, ham, and cheese
Rincon Argentino’s lomito completo with steak, ham, and mozzarella.
Ruth Tobias

19. Flagstaff House Restaurant

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1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4640
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Owned by the same family for the majority of its nearly 70 years in business, this special-occasion institution is located a short but scenic drive up Flagstaff Mountain, where it boasts spectacular views of the Rockies — and contemporary American cuisine to rival the landscape from chef-partner Chris Royster. Though seasonal creations such as foie gras over black-pepper crêpe cake or white-asparagus panna cotta with green almonds, wood sorrel, and cured egg yolks are available à la carte, splurging on the former Chopped champion’s multicourse tastings is very much the point of a meal here — especially when paired with wines from the legendary, 16,000-bottle cellar.

Patio dining with views of the Rockies
The patio at Flagstaff House.
Ryan Dearth/Eater

20. The Breakfast Champion

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4800 Baseline Rd a109
Boulder, CO 80303
(720) 627-5040
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Of all the things one might reasonably expect to find at a south Boulder shopping-plaza outlet with a name as all-American as The Breakfast Champion, Turkish food probably isn’t anywhere among them. But that’s exactly what this friendly little cafe specializes in. The full Turkish breakfast for (at least) two includes some 17 small plates — meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, spreads, halvah, and more — as well as fresh-baked bread; also on offer are pastries like borek and poacha; pastirma (cured beef) or sucuk (a type of sausage) with eggs; and traditional Turkish coffee service. Lunchtime highlights include isekender kebab and sandwiches on the bagel-like bread called simit.

Turkish breakfast of meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, halvah, and more
A full Turkish breakfast at Breakfast Champion.
Ruth Tobias

21. Hot Pot Noodle House

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4800 Baseline Rd A-110
Boulder, CO 80303
(303) 494-4210
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Right next door to The Breakfast Champion — yet 4,000 miles away in culinary terms — is this no-frills Chinese find whose name says it all. Hot pot aficionados have got the works in store, with seven types of broth and nearly 70 other ingredients (duck liver, cuttlefish balls, sweet potato noodles, kelp, and tofu skin, to name just a few) to mix and match at tables with built-in induction burners. But the kitchen also turns out wonderfully spiced and textured noodle bowls, rice plates, and a smattering of snacks like lacy tofu fritters with chili sauce.

Guizhou-style spicy chicken with noodles and broccoli.
Hot Pot Noodle House’s Guizhou spicy chicken house noodle.
Ruth Tobias

1. Little Tibet | Restaurant & Bar

4479 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
Fried Tibetan beef-onion patties with dipping sauce
Little Tibet’s beef-and-onion stuffed sha bhaley.
Ruth Tobias

Off the beaten path both geographically and culinarily, this serene little North Boulder sanctuary serves up Tibetan specialties rarely seen in these parts — not just momo and the hand-pulled noodles called thenthuk but also sha bhaley (fried patties filled with beef and onion); laphing (cold sliced bean jelly with chili sauce); and gyuma (blood sausage). It’s all worth trying — and washing down with butter tea.

4479 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304

2. River and Woods

2328 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Plate of fish and chips on butcher paper
Chef Daniel Ashers’ fish and chips.
Ruth Tobias

Seating in the magical backyard would be reason enough to visit this quaintly appointed Pearl Street cottage, but chef Daniel Asher makes sure that what he calls its “elevated comfort food” matches the atmosphere, be it Southwestern-style poutine with Pueblo green chile or a kitchen-sink salad with Colorado-grown quinoa, root veggies, and fruit in honey-poppyseed vinaigrette.

2328 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

3. Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Pasta with cherry tomatoes and spring onions
Lumache with spring vegetables at Frasca.
Ruth Tobias

Winning multiple James Beard Awards (among countless other accolades) for its Friuli-centric Northern Italian cuisine, extraordinary wine cellar, and next-level hospitality, Frasca is the premier special-occasion destination in Boulder if not the entire Front Range. At its heart is an ever-changing four-course menu laden with delicacies like foie gras, geoduck clams, and Hokkaido sea urchin, but these days it’s also serving an even more luxurious prix fixe in its yurts and Alpenglobes. Conversely, for a more casual experience at a (much) lower price point, next-door sibling Pizzeria Locale serves up expert Neapolitan-style pizzas.

1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

4. Izakaya Amu

1221 Spruce St, Boulder, CO 80302
Two types of onigiri
Onigiri (rice balls) at Izakaya Amu.
Amu [official]

While adjacent sibling Sushi Zanmai focuses on its namesake item, this tiny izakaya specializes in the small plates traditionally meant to accompany saké. That means everything from chawanmushi (a savory custard) and onigiri (nori-wrapped rice balls) to gyoza, fried squid legs, and grilled mackerel; asking the staff for pairing recommendations — or even putting the entire meal in their hands, omakase-style — is highly encouraged.

1221 Spruce St
Boulder, CO 80302

5. The Post Chicken and Beer- Boulder

2027 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Platter of fried chicken with side dish
Fried chicken at The Post.
Mona Esposito

Operating five locations across the Front Range, the Big Red F restaurant group has proven The Post’s motto for a fact: “Hot chicken loves cold beer.” But there’s more to it than fried-bird platters, sandwiches, and all the trimmings paired with beers brewed at the Lafayette original; other must-trys include the chicken chicharrones with pinto-bean hummus, brunchtime huevos rancheros topped with “thigh fries,” and chocolate whoopie pies for dessert.

2027 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302

6. Avanti F & B

1401 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Arepa stuffed with stewed beef, black beans, sweet plantains, cheese, and avocado-cilantro sauce
The Pabellon at Quiero Arepas, stuffed with stewed beef, black beans, sweet plantains, cheese, and avocado-cilantro sauce.
Courtesy of Avanti F & B

Like its smash sibling in LoHi, this bustling Pearl Street Mall food hall boasts two bars and a rooftop deck, but the roster of stalls it houses is all its own (with the exception of Venezuelan hit Quiero Arepas, which graces both locations). Here you’ll find modern deli fare at Rye Society, hummus bowls and pita wraps at Boychik, bao and noodles at Pig and Tiger, pizza at New Yorkese, and market-driven salads and burgers at Rooted Craft Kitchen; for teetotalers, there’s also coffee from Method Roasters.

1401 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

7. Oak at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Food cooking in wood-fired hearth
Wood-fired fare is Oak’s calling card.
Adam Larkey/Eater

Ahead of the curve when it opened a decade ago with an emphasis on wood-fired cuisine, the fittingly named flagship of chef Steven Redzikowski and barman Bryan Dayton is now an old reliable. The seasonal menu mixes influences liberally — think celery-root baba ghanoush next to gnocchi with mushrooms, French feta, and English peas next to green chile–braised pork shoulder — but the apple-kale salad with almonds and togarashi is an all-time favorite; the same goes for the bourbon-based, Bénédictine-laced Across the Atlantic cocktail.

1400 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

8. Black Cat Bistro

1964 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Stew with tomatoes and herbs
In its current iteration, Black Cat’s menu is changing daily to take advantage of the bounty from chef-owner Eric Skokan’s farm.
Black Cat Bistro/Facebook

Eric Skokan doesn’t merely source from local farms — he is the source, with a 425-acre property where he and his wife Jill grow more than 200 organic crops; mill their own grains; and raise heritage breeds of pigs, chickens, and more to supply his gem of a contemporary bistro. In fact, his farm is currently serving as Black Cat’s “dining room,” which is temporarily closed; click here for information on booking a daily changing three-course dinner there. Or keep it casual at Skokan’s rustic gastropub, Bramble & Hare, now back open for business.

1964 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302

9. The Kitchen Boulder

1039 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
Cozy bar with banquettes and ottomans
Upstairs at The Kitchen.
Semple Brown [official]

Spawning a multi-state empire since it opened in 2004, this farm-to-table pioneer is still worth a trip for the sticky toffee pudding alone — though it’s got plenty else to offer in its airy, convivial dining room, with a freewheeling menu that makes room for roast chicken with truffle cream and fries, black spaghetti with rock shrimp and ’nduja, and fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade. The second-floor lounge — aptly named Upstairs — has an effortlessly cool, lived-in vibe to soak up along with cocktails like the green bean–infused Jack the Giant Slayer.

1039 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

10. Zoe Ma Ma

2010 10th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Potstickers with two dipping sauces
Zoe Ma Ma’s potstickers.
Ruth Tobias

In 2010, Edwin Zoe opened this little counter joint to give his mother, then a recent transplant to Colorado, a place to cook for her new community. Now, it’s one of Boulder’s most-loved success stories (there’s also a branch in Denver). Based on her recipes from Taiwan, the comfort-fueled menu centers on street foods, noodles, and stew, including signatures like pearl meatballs; duck-wonton noodle soup; and the CPR, a one-pot dish of chicken, potatoes, and rice.

2010 10th St
Boulder, CO 80302

11. Osaka's

2460 Canyon Blvd #1, Boulder, CO 80302
Ruth Tobias
Okonomiyaki sliders with chicken in plum mayo, teriyaki chicken, and mushrooms in butter ponzu.

The savory pancake called okonomiyaki gets a nifty twist in the hands of the welcoming Japanese couple behind this tranquil oasis in the Village Shopping Center, who not only serve it in skillets with a wide range of toppings but also shape it into buns for sandwiches filled with everything from sukiyaki beef and asparagus to sliced pork and noodles. Rounding out the menu are selections of teppanyaki, agemono, ramen, and sushi, as well as an extensive list of Japanese beers and whiskies, sakés, and shochus.

2460 Canyon Blvd #1
Boulder, CO 80302

12. Corrida

1023 Walnut St #400, Boulder, CO 80302
Lucy Beaugard/Eater

With a rooftop patio overlooking the Flatirons outside and a serious butchery program inside, this Spanish-inspired modern steakhouse counts as yet another of Boulder’s top celebration spots. The menu was pared back somewhat during the pandemic to center on a four-course tasting, but its hallmarks remain: Elegantly presented tapas, scrupulously sourced cuts of beef, and a beverage list that celebrates Spain from Sherry and wine to gin-tonics.

1023 Walnut St #400
Boulder, CO 80302

13. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302
Teahouse exterior with hand-painted and ceramic panels
Elaborate ceramic panels grace the exterior of the Dushanbe Teahouse.
facebook.com/boulderteahouse/

Hand-carved and -painted columns, furniture, and all, the stunningly ornate decor of this local landmark was shipped from Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan and assembled piece by piece as a gift of civic friendship. An eclectic menu with an emphasis on Central Asian fare supplements an extensive selection of teas to make for a leisurely respite beneath the kaleidoscopic ceilings.

1770 13th St
Boulder, CO 80302

14. Efrain's of Boulder Mexican Restaurant

1630 63rd St # 10, Boulder, CO 80301
A plate of green chile with pork, rice, and beans
Efrain’s chile verde plate with rice and beans.
Ruth Tobias

A classic for Mexican comfort food, this cozy 23-year-old outpost of the even-older original in Lafayette does it all, from burritos and enchiladas to chimichangas and chiles rellenos to 17 different margaritas. But no meal here is complete without green chile somewhere: fresh-tasting yet fiery and chock-full of pork, it’s some of the best around.

1630 63rd St # 10
Boulder, CO 80301

15. Basta

3601 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303
Kampachi crudo with puffed rice
Kampachi crudo with puffed rice at Basta.
Ruth Tobias

Though superstar chef Kelly Whitaker’s wood-fired, Italian-inspired flagship is currently undergoing a remodel, it’s still serving its fabulous pizzas; apps like oysters, chicken-liver mousse, and okonomiyaki with porchetta; and famous campfire-vanilla ice cream a few doors down at sister bakery-cafe Dry Storage — where you can also pick up a bag or two of organic and heirloom flour from Whitaker’s own mill.

3601 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303

Related Maps

16. Le French Cafe

2525 Arapahoe Ave C-1, Boulder, CO 80302
Bacon, cheese, and lettuce on a baguette next to chicken curry on a croissant with fries.
Le French’s St. Malo and Limousin sandwiches.
Ruth Tobias

The charm of this colorful breakfast-and-lunch spot run by a native French couple is such that no one who comes here seems able to resist throwing a little something extra — another Kir Royale, a raspberry tart to go — into their original order. But they all start with carbs, glorious carbs, in the form of savory or sweet crêpes and a wide array of sandwiches built on baguettes or croissants. (Unless, that is, they start with classic onion soup, Niçoise salad, or quiche Lorraine.)

2525 Arapahoe Ave C-1
Boulder, CO 80302

17. Blackbelly 

1606 Conestoga St, Boulder, CO 80301
Steak over chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes
Market-cut steak is a staple at Blackbelly, though the preparation is ever-changing.
Lauren Feder

Born out of chef Hosea Rosenberg's passion for all things farm-to-fork and nose-to-tail, Blackbelly is now a Boulder staple complete with an adjacent butcher shop. Market-priced entrees of beef, pork, and lamb are the menu’s natural starting point, but seasonal vegetarian dishes such as burrata tartine with fava beans and spring peas or carrot farfalle in parmesan-seaweed brodo also shine. For something completely different yet equally worthwhile, Santo across town is a modern homage to the cuisine of Rosenberg’s native Taos, New Mexico.

1606 Conestoga St
Boulder, CO 80301

18. Rincon Argentino

2525 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
Argentine sandwich with steak, ham, and cheese
Rincon Argentino’s lomito completo with steak, ham, and mozzarella.
Ruth Tobias

Run by a Buenos Aires native, this cheery café is perhaps best-known for its empanadas, with some 15 types of filling ranging from wild mushrooms and garlic to chicken with green olives, red peppers, and onions. But it also makes a mean steak-and-mozzarella sandwich, whether topped with ham-like the lomito completo or a breaded cutlet and marinara in the case of the milanesa napolitana.

2525 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80302

19. Flagstaff House Restaurant

1138 Flagstaff Rd, Boulder, CO 80302
Patio dining with views of the Rockies
The patio at Flagstaff House.
Ryan Dearth/Eater

Owned by the same family for the majority of its nearly 70 years in business, this special-occasion institution is located a short but scenic drive up Flagstaff Mountain, where it boasts spectacular views of the Rockies — and contemporary American cuisine to rival the landscape from chef-partner Chris Royster. Though seasonal creations such as foie gras over black-pepper crêpe cake or white-asparagus panna cotta with green almonds, wood sorrel, and cured egg yolks are available à la carte, splurging on the former Chopped champion’s multicourse tastings is very much the point of a meal here — especially when paired with wines from the legendary, 16,000-bottle cellar.

1138 Flagstaff Rd
Boulder, CO 80302

20. The Breakfast Champion

4800 Baseline Rd a109, Boulder, CO 80303
Turkish breakfast of meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, halvah, and more
A full Turkish breakfast at Breakfast Champion.
Ruth Tobias

Of all the things one might reasonably expect to find at a south Boulder shopping-plaza outlet with a name as all-American as The Breakfast Champion, Turkish food probably isn’t anywhere among them. But that’s exactly what this friendly little cafe specializes in. The full Turkish breakfast for (at least) two includes some 17 small plates — meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, spreads, halvah, and more — as well as fresh-baked bread; also on offer are pastries like borek and poacha; pastirma (cured beef) or sucuk (a type of sausage) with eggs; and traditional Turkish coffee service. Lunchtime highlights include isekender kebab and sandwiches on the bagel-like bread called simit.

4800 Baseline Rd a109
Boulder, CO 80303

21. Hot Pot Noodle House

4800 Baseline Rd A-110, Boulder, CO 80303
Guizhou-style spicy chicken with noodles and broccoli.
Hot Pot Noodle House’s Guizhou spicy chicken house noodle.
Ruth Tobias

Right next door to The Breakfast Champion — yet 4,000 miles away in culinary terms — is this no-frills Chinese find whose name says it all. Hot pot aficionados have got the works in store, with seven types of broth and nearly 70 other ingredients (duck liver, cuttlefish balls, sweet potato noodles, kelp, and tofu skin, to name just a few) to mix and match at tables with built-in induction burners. But the kitchen also turns out wonderfully spiced and textured noodle bowls, rice plates, and a smattering of snacks like lacy tofu fritters with chili sauce.

4800 Baseline Rd A-110
Boulder, CO 80303

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