If you haven’t heard, the Michelin Guide has expanded into Colorado. And, earlier this month, the respected culinary guide announced its inaugural selections for Colorado’s best restaurants.
Yes, that Michelin—the one that manufactures tires and other transportation-related products. The history of how an automotive company became the leading voice in the world of fine dining is a fascinating one. But, backstory aside, for many foodies, Michelin approval is considered the ultimate accolade.
Today, Michelin’s anonymous reviewers use a simple symbol to communicate their opinion of a restaurant’s quality: stars.
The rankings go like this: One star means a restaurant is worth a stop, two stars means it’s worth a detour and three stars means it’s worth a special trip. Beyond the stars, the guide also makes other designations, such as “Recommended, “Green Star” and “Bib Gourmand.”
All told, 44 Colorado restaurants earned nods from the guide.
“These prestigious awards signify more than just recognition for our restaurants; they symbolize a significant elevation of Colorado’s status on the global culinary map and the state’s steadfast dedication to sustainability,” says Tim Wolfe, who directs the Colorado Tourism Office. “We’re set to attract travelers and food lovers from around the world, bolstering our economy and cultural influence.”
Just five restaurants throughout the state earned the coveted one-star designation, including Boulder’s very own Frasca Food and Wine. The upscale restaurant, located at 1738 Pearl Street, specializes in Northern Italian cuisine and has been a staple of the Boulder culinary scene since 2004.
Of Frasca, the guide wrote: “All are treated as special guests here, where the cooking is Italian, but in a hyper-specific way: it’s the food of the northeast Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. You’ll find pasta and seafood on the prix fixe and tasting menus, but Slavic and Alpine elements also appear. Focused and distinct, the menu might showcase a lesser known part of Italy, but the ingredients are clearly Coloradan. The plates are beguiling with a minimal, straightforward approach, as in cjalson, half-moon fresh spinach pasta pockets filled with an English pea and potato purée. Save room for dessert, like the beautifully arranged goat cheese semifreddo.”
The other Colorado restaurants that earned a Michelin star are:
- Beckon, led by chef Duncan Holmes in Denver
- Bosq, helmed by chef Barclay Dodge in Aspen
- Brutø, a Denver eatery run by chef Michael Diaz de Leon
- The Wolf’s Tailor, led by chef Taylor Stark in Denver
Michelin also recognized the accomplishments of other Boulder restaurants, including Blackbelly Market and Bramble & Hare, which both picked up Michelin’s Green Star for their sustainability practices. Denver’s Brutø and The Wolf’s Tailor also picked up a Green Star.
“It’s quite an impressive feat for a debut selection to include so many Michelin Green Stars,” says Gwendal Poullennec, international director of Michelin Guides. “Our famously anonymous inspectors were wowed by these restaurants’ high-quality, local ingredients, sourced seasonally and sustainably. It’s a very exciting time for the culinary community here, and we feel the momentum growing.”
Another Boulder restaurant, Basta, also earned Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation, which celebrates restaurants that offer a good value. Michelin also awarded its Outstanding Service Award to Sergei Kiefel and the front-of-house team at Frasca, as well as the Young Chef/Culinary Professional award to Kelly Kawachia at Blackbelly Market.
Several Boulder eateries also made it onto Michelin’s Recommended list: Blackbelly Market, Bramble & Hare, Dushanbe Tea House, Oak at Fourteenth, Stella’s Cucina and Zoe Ma Ma.
“This is a proud moment for Colorado,” says Poullennec.
We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations to all the chefs, restaurant owners and staffers who earned well-deserved recognition from the guide.