Best restaurants in Boulder, Colorado – 2014-15

This concept worked well for nearby Louisville, so here are our top choices for Boulder, CO eateries and breweries… Soon to come: a handy table at the bottom for quick reference – location, specialty, etc.


Sanitas Brewing - beer samples

Craft beer and Boulder… almost as popular as weed and Boulder… Almost.

Argentine Fare

Rincon Argentino

Bar + Socializing

Absinthe House (rhymes with “neat market”)
T-Zero Lounge
The Rio Grande Restaurant (go for the margs, stay for the chips)
The Attic Bar + Bistro
Walrus Saloon

Bistro Cuisine

Chautauqua Dining Hall

Breakfast Bagels

Moe’s Bagels

Brunch

Brasserie Ten Ten (try the crepes, and order a cheese plate)
Lucile’s Creole Cafe (perfect brunch after a soccer game or hike; bring your appetite for the biscuits)
Snooze AM Eatery
Tangerine

Lunch @ Larkburger

Seriously good burgers – turkey, beef, tuna, truffle, portobello – at Larkburger

Burgers

The Sink (Obama was here)
Rueben’s Burger Bistro
(try the sweet potato fries)
West End Tavern (Boulder’s hidden gem for craft beer and distinctive bourbon)
Larkburger

 

Casual/Hip Dining

The Kitchen Next Door (the kale chips are the best in town)
The Kitchen Upstairs (great place to take out-of-towners, particularly if your company is picking up the tab)

 

Chinese Noodles

Zoe Ma Ma

 

Comfort Food

Murphy’s Neighborhood Restaurant

 

Craft Beer – Brewery

Bru Handbuilt Ales and Eats (can’t say enough great things about Bru; try the unfiltered ales and sourdough pizza)
Fate Brewing (coffee IPA? Yes – and it’s excellent.)
Shine
Southern Sun
Upslope Brewing
Sanitas Brewing
Boulder Beer (Order the barley veggie burger with blue cheese and real bacon. Trust me.)

Bru's 5-beer sampler

Bru’s 5-beer sampler is whatever you want it to be. You pick, they serve, everyone wins.

 

Craft Beer – Tap House

Backcountry Pizza + Tap House (cheap dinner – slice of pizza + Russian River Blind Pig IPA – always on tap)
Old Chicago Pizza + Taproom
Rueben’s Burger Bistro
West End Tavern

 

Craft Cocktails

The Bitter Bar
Salt the Bistro (check out the downstairs bar during happy hour)

 

Date Night

Oak at Fourteenth (order small plates and share with your better half)
Salt the Bistro
The Kitchen

 

Date Night (money no object)

Flagstaff House Restaurant (enjoy Boulder’s best view)
Black Cat Farm~Table~Bistro
Frasca Food and Wine (hard to find a better wine list – anywhere)
L’Atelier
Jill’s Restaurant

 

Farm to Table

Blackbelly Restaurant, Bar & Butcher
Bramble and Hare

 

Parisienne Macarons at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder

Don’t miss dessert at Brasserie Ten Ten – Parisienne Macarons paired with Taylor-Fladgate 20-year Port

French Fare

Brasserie Ten Ten
Mateo Restaurant Provençal (another top choice in Boulder cheese plates)

 

German Fare + Beer

Bohemian Biergarten (Boulder’s largest beer glasses and longest tables)

 

Gluten-free Menu

Shine (hip eatery + brewery)

 

Grain-free Menu

Blooming Beets (gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free)

Chorizo hash with poached eggs

Chorizo + sweet potato hash with poached eggs and dairy-free hollandaise @ Blooming Beets in Boulder — paired with local Firestone-Colorado-brewed, spiced-apple Wild Cider

 

Indian Fare

Tiffin’s India Cafe

 

Irish Fare

Conor O’Neills (watch futbol [soccer] here)

 

Italian Fare

Il Pastaio
Arugula Bar e Ristorante (grab a spot at this unique bar)

 

Latin Fare

Centro Latin Kitchen
Aji Latin American Restaurant (all-day happy hour on Sundays)

 

Mexican Fare

100% Mexicano (Boulder’s best Mexican food, in my opinion)

 

Mexican Fare (higher end)

Tahona Tequila Bistro (try the duck!)
Agave Mexico Bistro + Tequila House

 

Monday Teahouse

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

 

Nepalese, Indian + Tibetan Fare

Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant + Bar

Pizzeria Locale

Delectable pizza dough stretched and tossed before your eyes at Locale

 

Pizza

Pizzeria Locale (Artisan Italian + gluten-free crust)
Basta (foodie)
Backcountry Pizza + Tap House (pub slices + gluten-free crust)
Bru Handbuilt Ales and Eats (sourdough + gluten-free crust)
The Sink (pub pie + gluten-free crust)

 

Pub Fare

Dark Horse Bar + Grill (dive-y in a good way)

 

Sandwiches

Snarf’s Sandwiches
Salvaggio’s Deli (sandwiches served with attitude… for whatever reason)

 

Seafood

Jax Fish House

 

Southwest Fare

Zolo Grill

 

Sports Bar

Harpo’s Sports Grill

 

Steak House

Boulder Chop House

Boulder sushi

It’s OK to eat raw fish in a landlocked state… honest.

 

Sushi

Kasa Japanese Bar + Grill (say hi to Mimi)
Izakaya Amu

 

Tapas + Small Plates

The Med (one of Boulder’s best patios)
Riffs Urban Fare (yet another great tap/bottle list)

 

Turkey Burger

Larkburger
Rueben’s Burger Bistro
The Sink

 

Vegan/Vegetarian

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant (sit-down dinner)
Julia’s Kitchen (earthy casual/to-go)

 

Vietnamese Noodles

Black Pepper Pho

 

The Unchained Interview

Unchained Eatery in MSUD’s Slice Magazine

Unchained Eatery in MSUD’s Slice Magazine

Many thanks to the Metropolitan State University of Denver for featuring The Unchained Eatery in a recent issue of Slice.

“Slice is a magazine incorporating the discountable, delicious, and digestible ways for foodies to consume their favorite edibles in new and interesting ways.”
— Mario Sanelli, Editor-in-Chief, Slice Magazine

And here’s credit to my mom on how I broke into Foodiedom (courtesy of the aforementioned Slice article):

“I think it’s a natural extension of my journalism background,” Eric says. “I was struggling to choose a major in my first year at Oakland University in Michigan, and my mom suggested I give journalism a shot because she always enjoyed the ridiculous essays I wrote in grade school.

I never thought some silly stories I wrote as a kid might propel me toward work I still do today, but that’s how it worked out.”

Full article is here.

Best restaurants in Louisville, Colorado – 2014

Lucky Pie Louisville beer sampler

Lucky Pie’s craft beer samplers… Why order one when you can order three?

Louisville, CO - Old Town Evening

Louisville, CO – Old Town Evening

 

“He’s proud of his town… that’s a damn rare thing these days.” – John Candy as Del Griffith

I’m a Michigan transplant, but I love dining in my surrogate cityOld Town Louisville, CO boasts unchained, local-fare, foodie gems. Here are a few of my favorites….


 

Kids’ play area + adult booze area:

Lulu’s BBQ
Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

*Lucky Pie and Sweet Cow designed a large play yard/garden for kids next to the deck that doubles as a drinking yard for adults. Lulu’s is smaller, but it features cornhole and other “hard to hurt one’s self while drinking” games.

 

Comfort food/lounge:

The Empire Lounge

The Empire Lounge

The Empire Lounge – Try the mac’n’cheese.

 

Sports bar:

Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern

 

Pizza/beer:

Twelve Degree Brewing
Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Lucky Pie Pizza

Fresh Mozz’ Pie at Lucky Pie in Louisville

 

Mexican cuisine:

Casa Alegre

Casa Alegre - Louisville, CO

Casa Alegre – Louisville, CO

 

Breweries:

Twelve Degree Brewing

12 Degree Brewing - tasters

12 Degree Brewing – low-IBU tasters

Gravity Brewing (try the whiskey-barrel aged DIPA)
Crystal Springs Brewing (their classy tap room makes you forget you’re in an office park)

Crystal Springs beer sampler

Crystal Springs brewed a high-IBU, hoppy winner in the “13” IPA (far right)

 

Breakfast:

The Huckleberry

The Huckleberry - Louisville, CO

The Huckleberry – Louisville, CO – Try the crepes!

 

East Asian/Tibetan cuisine:

Tibet’s Restaurant and Bar

Chicken kebab at Tibet's in Louisville, CO

Chicken kebab at Tibet’s

 

Indian cuisine:

Taj Mahal III

 

Neighborhood pub:

Waterloo Restaurant (treat yourself to the potato-infused burger)

The Waterloo Mule

The Waterloo Mule

 

Chinese cuisine:

Spice China

 

Live music:

Por Wine House
Waterloo Restaurant
The Louisville Street Faire (Friday nights in summertime)

 

Italian cuisine:

Zucca Italian Restaurant

 

Thai cuisine:

Thai Monkey Club Louisville

 

Barbecue:

Lulu’s BBQ

 

Movie Night:

Cinebarre (pub fare and full bar available while you watch the latest Hollywood hit)

 

Deli/sandwiches/lunch:

The Porch Deli & Market (sadly, The Porch has closed… we’ll provide updates as to what new eatery will occupy the space)
Bittersweet Café & Confections
B.O.B.S. Diner

BOB's Diner, 12 Degree Brewing, and The Empire Lounge

BOB’s Diner, 12 Degree Brewing, and The Empire Lounge on Old Town Main Street

 

Dessert:

Sweet Cow Ice Cream

 

Wine bar:

Por Wine House

 

Leisurely rooftop drinks before or after eating elsewhere:

The Louisville Rex ***

***NOTE: The Rex is no more; it’s being replaced with the Madera Grill (as far as we’ve read)… we’ll add more info on that eatery after we’ve had a chance to try it.

Euro cafe:

Eclectic Café & Gallery

Wood-fired veggies and craft beer

Veggies always go down a bit easier with craft beer

Three brews that belong in every beer snob’s ‘fridge

Stone Levitation Ale, Ska's Modus Hoperandi IPA, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

Go-to ales: Stone Levitation, Ska’s Modus Hoperandi IPA, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

These are three of my favorites. They may not be your favorites, but I’m not holding that against you. This beer trio varies from sessionable to serious. You can start and end with Levitation. You can drink Modus Hoperandi all night if you have no responsibilities the following morning. You can have two glasses of 90 Minute and sleep well. You can do whatever the H you want, because this is America, and we Americans, apparently, do whatever we want at all times. Here’s the west-to-east-coast scoop:

  • California Amber Stone’s Levitation Ale is the standard for non-stop drinking on weekend afternoons (4.4%)
  • Colorado IPASka’s Modus Hoperandi is a bitter, extremely hoppy India Pale Ale; it’s a perfect example of the near-west-coast style IPA (6.8%)
  • Delaware Imperial IPADogfish Head’s 90 Minute is a rich, hoppy, malty, complex sipper; it will knock you off your feet if you’re not paying attention (9.0%)

These beers are all readily available at most booze-y stores in Colorado; dive in and drink up.

Stone Levitation Ale

Stone Levitation Ale costs ~$1.67/bottle. You can find crappy beer for 3-4 times that price at a bar, but I’m not sure why you would choose to do that.

 

Ska Modus Hoperandi

Colorado has four stellar IPAs, IMHO, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi is in the top two.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

If you haven’t experienced Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA, you’re late to the yuppie party. Buck up, cough up $2.99/bottle, and enjoy your damn life.

Beer in a Scotch glass – Uncle Jacob’s Stout by Avery

Beer in a Scotch glass png

If you’re going to drink yuppie beer, you may as well drink it from a Scotch glass.

First of all: apologies to those of you who may not be able to find this particular ¾ pint in a state near you… I feel for ya. I have a similar issue with Founders Centennial IPA, which is nowhere to be found in Colorado – although I’d love for someone to prove me wrong…

Here are three things to know about Uncle Jacob’s Bourbon Barrel Stout:

1. It’s a bottle of dessert. You can probably wash it down with chocolate cake, but the cake isn’t necessary.
2. This is likely the only 12 ounces of beer you’ll need to drink all night. And @ 14.83%, do not use a bong… not a beer bong, anyway, (Colorado + Washington, I’m looking at you.).
3. It pairs well with cheese. Really well. Grab some 24-36 month aged cheddar, and no one will doubt your yuppieness. You’re in!

Many thanks to Avery for this one! It’s one thick stout.

Uncle Jacob's Stout

Uncle Jacob’s Bourbon Barrel Stout… It’s “Chris Christie” thick.

BRU handbuilt ales & eats

Ian Clark, formerly of Centro and Jax Fish House, has officially nailed it with Bru handbuilt ales & eats in Boulder.

He could have stopped at unfiltered ales and sourdough pizza. That would have clinched it for me, but he took it to eleven. Here’s what to try at Bru:

- Citrum IPA: this is one of my favorite Colorado IPAs (the others being Odell, Avery, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi).
– Sourdough basil (margherita) pizza… they’ll substitute locally available spinach if basil is not in season.
Beer mustard butter – are you kidding me? This is the peak of culinary creativity. Do I bathe in it or eat it? Hey, I can bathe in it *and* eat it! (thanks, Gaffigan)

Bru should top your list of Boulder brewery destinations, and happy hour is a steal. Check out special Bru beer events here.

Drool factor follows…

Bru's 5-beer sampler

Bru’s 5-beer sampler is whatever you want it to be. You choose, they serve, everyone wins.

Bru trail mix

At Bru, trail mix means almonds, caramel corn, pecans, and spice. Order from the happy hour menu, and a huge portion is $2.

Citrum from Bru in Boulder

Bru’s Citrum is Colorado’s finest unfiltered IPA, IMHO.

Bru sourdough pizza

Why isn’t all pizza made of sourdough? I just ate a ‘Merican-size dinner, and this still makes me hungry.

Bru salad with poached egg

Sometimes you have to pass on pizza and eat salad, so your salad should at least have a healthy damn poached egg on it.

Bru bread and beer mustard butter

Slather your loaf with Bru’s tasty beer mustard butter.

Bru wood-roasted veggies

Wood-roasted veggies w/beer vinegar. Beta carotene, anyone?

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Boulder Beer Company – Colorado’s first craft brewery

Boulder Beer IPA sampler

IPA sampler – Why drink one when you can try four? The Mojo IPA and Mojo Risin’ are Boulder Beer staples.

Best veggie patty in Boulder

The Barley Burger Betasso – it’s one of Boulder’s best veggie patties, and I order it with bacon on top and a side of mashed potatoes, because why not? Keep Boulder weird.

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