Best Places to Eat on The Hill


If you’ve got the munchies on The Hill in Boulder, stop that stomach grumbling. Here are our eight favorite places to fill up on University Hill, plus some more foodspiration for you. Fill ‘er up.

Ultimate Guide to Boulder’s Neighborhoods

This article is part of a larger series. To see all the articles in this Ultimate Guide, click here.

Lots to look at on the walls of The Sink. Courtesy photo

1. The Sink

The Sink is our favorite place to eat on The Hill. Not necessarily for the food, although the food is delicious, even if it’s a bit naughty. (The Sink has some of Boulder’s best pizza and burgers.) The Sink is a Boulder institution. It’s been around for nearly a century and has a ton of personality: walls and ceilings covered in colorful murals. The Sink also has a claim to fame. Ask about the celebs who have eaten there (Obama) or worked there (Robert Redford). Try the famous Sinkburger.

Cocktails at Taco Junky. Courtesy photo

2. Taco Junky and Tequila Bar

Taco Junky serves some of our favorite tacos in Boulder County, and it makes the best margarita in the Denver/Boulder area, according to Dining Out Magazine. We love Taco Junky’s innovative and gourmet menu that totally redefines street tacos. Try a taco with curry chicken, or bison ribeye, or braised oxtail. Banh Mi in a taco? Oh, yes. We’ve yet to try a taco that wasn’t a runaway hit.

The atmosphere is wonderful, too. It’s hip, artistic, cozy and also oh so Boulder. Spend some time looking at the massive mural on the back wall. It tells a great story. This isn’t just some hipster taqueria. Everything was created with deep intention and meaning to the owners.

Illegal Pete's
Illegal Pete’s serves late-night food in two locations in Boulder. Courtesy photo

3. Illegal Pete’s

For when you’re on The Hill and want Mexican, but you want a monstrous amount of Mexican swaddled in a foil blanket. Skip Chipotle and opt for the Boulder spin on the made-to-order burrito baby: Illegal Pete’s.

These burritos are infinitely better (and fresher, all home-made) than any burrito chain, and they have some unique fillings, like potatoes, chicken pesto and zucchini. Plus, they have Pete’s signature queso, which is everything. Pete’s is open way late, too: until 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and midnight the other days.

4. Dot’s Diner on the Hill

If The Sink is a quintessential Boulder restaurant for burgers, Dot’s Diner is a classic Boulder breakfast joint for more than three decades. It’s a local fave (and a favorite indulgence for Big Head and the Monsters, who have roots in Boulder).

At its core, Dot’s Diner is a greasy spoon cafe, serving classic American breakfast and lunch. It’s laid back and delicious. Nothing fancy. Just total comfort food: grits, biscuits and gravy, eggs, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake. For lunch, there’s the likes of hot roast beef and meatloaf. The motto: “Just like old times.”

There are two branches in Boulder, including one on The Hill.

Surprise: Dot’s also serves Nepali food.

Sushi Hana on the Hill. Courtesy photo

5. Sushi Hana on the Hill

Lucky for CU students: One of Boulder’s best sushi spots is located on The Hill. Sushi Hana is a hidden gem worth seeking out. Once you’re there, it’s upbeat, friendly and cozy (not to mention it has one of the city’s top happy hours). The food blends sushi with Hawaiian influences and has a little bit of something for everyone, from sushi newbies to adventurous and experience sushi connoisseurs.

Cosmo's Pizza
Cosmo’s Pizza. Courtesy photo

6. Cosmo’s Pizza

Here’s a late-night splurge. Cosmo’s serves up hand-tossed pizza in three different locations in Boulder, including the most happening spot, on The Hill. There’s a dinner rush and then there’s a late-night rush at Cosmos, where you can order a classic or lightly crazier pizza (like BBQ chicken), or build your own. Cosmo’s offers gluten-free crust options or calzones for people who really, really like their gluten.

Café Aion
Café Aion. Courtesy photo

7. Cafe Aion

Cafe Aion is far from pretentious but it’s a bit nicer than many of the fast and casual joints on The Hill. Exposed brick walls and hardwood floors set a hip and elegant mood in a friendly environment where you can enjoy traditional Spanish and Moroccan tapas. Per the Mediterranean culture, the vibe is informal and the food is meant to be shared.

If you think tapas can’t be filling, think again. Here, you can order all kinds of paella, Moroccan-spiced pork sliders, oyster mushrooms with garlic and more. Expect plenty of local ingredients here, within the Spanish recipes. Weekend brunch is worth a try.

8. Insomnia Cookies

Cookie delivery. Aren’t those two words pure magic? That’s what makes Insomnia Cookies one of our favorite places to eat on The Hill: the fact that you don’t even have to be on The Hill to eat it. This bakery offers late-night food delivery of cookies (of all kinds of varieties), cookie cakes, cookie sandwiches, ice cream and brownies. There’s no “real” food here. Just dessert. And that’s just fine with us.

Cheba Hut
The White Widow sandwich at Cheba Hut, one of the most popular sandwiches. Courtesy photo

Get a Sandwich

The Hill has so many delicious sandwich shops that we can’t pick just one. Here are our favorite places to grab a quick sandwich near the University of Colorado campus:

  • Half Fast Subs on the Hill
  • Salvaggio’s On the Hill
  • Jimmy John’s
  • Cheba Hut
  • Deli Zone

Also Try

Here are some other restaurants near University Hill in Boulder:

  • Ado’s Kitchen and Bar
  • Lollicup
  • Roxie’s Tacos
  • Xoom Juice
  • Alforat Restaurant
  • Scrooge Maki
  • Gurkhas On the Hill
  • The Corner
  • Ado’s Kitchen and Bar
  • Thai Avenue
  • Boss Lady Pizza
  • Terra Thai
  • Bento-Ria
  • Fat Shack
  • Anita Slice and Sliders
  • You & Mee Noodle House

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