Ultimate Guide to Boulder’s Food Scene


Boulder may be one of the fittest cities in the nation, but it’s also one of the foodiest.

From food-centric events, to lavish restaurants with mountain views, to the seemingly endless coffee shops and best dirty spoon diners you could imagine, Boulder’s got it all.

And we’re not just biased. Boulder has been named the top foodiest town in America by Bon Apétit, and has appeared on multiple top cities for food lists from Livability, Food & Wine Magazine, Forbes and BuzzFeed.

Take our word for it. Boulder’s restaurants are top notch.

Here is the rundown on Boulder’s foodie scene.

Here for a Short Time? Hit these Foodie Highlights

Award-Winning Boulder Restaurants that Make Boulder a Foodie’s Paradise

Boulder is a foodie’s paradise.

Don’t just take our word for it (even though you totally should).

Boulder has so many statewide and national food-related honors it’s basically the valedictorian of the restaurant scene. You might not expect this from what has also been named the skinniest city in America, but Boulder loves its food.


New Restaurants

Boulder is never stagnant. The people are always on the go, so it’s only fitting to always have new restaurants to fuel all that action.

Boulder’s restaurant scene always seems to be booming. Here’s a look at some of Boulder’s newer restaurants.

Café Aion

Best Places to Eat on The Hill

Restaurants to Try This Year

Mandala Infusion

NoBo’s Best Restaurants

Food Trucks

Boulder’s Food Truck Round-Up

Unique Date Night Ideas from Boulder Locals

Watch the sun set behind the purple Flatirons on a rooftop bar with a glass of wine in hand. Or stroll, while indulging in locally made gelato, down the brick-lined Pearl Street Mall in the spring, when it’s bursting with rows of colorful tulips.

Boulder, you so dreamy.

It really is, though. Forbes once ranked the Denver-Boulder area the No. 1 Best City For Singles. It’s a great place to be single and it’s a great destination for a date.

Kitchen Next Door - Rachel Adams Vegan tacos-53

Top Pearl Street Restaurants

Attention foodies. This street’s for you.

The quirky Pearl Street Mall is one of Boulder’s hottest landmarks, and not just for the tulips in spring, fire-eating street performers in summer and long line of great shopping year-round.

Some of Boulder’s best restaurants are directly on or a few blocks off Pearl Street. And if it’s the best dining in Boulder, it’s some of the best dining in the nation. Because Boulder has a long list of national rankings for its food, including being named Bon Appétit’s Foodiest Town in North America.

A Fit Foodie’s Paradise
Next Door-Roasted Veggie Salad-Rachel Adams

Best Vegan and Vegetarian Food

There’s more than just salad here. A vegan or vegetarian diet can be indulgent, luxurious and innovative, too.

Whether you’re meat-free for health, environmental, ethical or personal reasons, Boulder is built for you.

Jill's Vegan and vegetarian coconut green curry

Boulder Loves Its Vegan Restaurants

7 Bar Snacks for Vegans and Vegetarians

The Healthiest, Tastiest Restaurants in Boulder

Narrowing down the healthiest restaurants in Boulder is an impossible task, partially because it’d be way easier to list the handful of unhealthy restaurants in Boulder. Most places here value locally sourced, organic, house-made, healthy everything. Even the late-night snacks, desserts and bar food have better-for-you options.

Bet You Didn’t Know You Could Eat Gluten-Free at These Restaurants

If you have a gluten sensitivity or are simply avoid gluten for the health benefits, eating out can be tricky. Bread is everywhere, gluten is sneaky and hides in unlikely places, and can you really be sure there isn’t any cross-contamination?

Luckily, Boulder has an abundance of restaurants where you can eat gluten free, worry free. While not all have completely gluten-free kitchens, many do.

A (Foodie) Family Affair

The Perfect Reservation: Restaurants For Everyone

No one wants to feel left out.

We’ve all been there, though. Friends want to go to dinner, you make the reservation, then you only find out at the table that someone can’t order anything due to a dietary restriction of one kind or another. Not only is it frustrating, it can be embarrassing. Fortunately, Boulder has plenty of restaurant options where no one has to be excluded, and you can make plans without having to worry ahead of time.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Boulder’s Best Patios

It’s summer in Boulder, and it just doesn’t feel right to be indoors. Even after a full day of hiking, biking, hanging by the creek or just walking around Pearl Street, it seems wrong to hide indoors when it’s still so nice out.

Next Door kids food

The Best, Family-Friendly Restaurants

Maybe your children like sashimi with a dash of wasabi. Maybe they like elegant spoonfuls of tuna tartare, followed by kale salad and duck confit.

Maybe. But probably not.

Dining With Your Dog in Boulder

Don’t expect to be able to bring your furry friend inside anywhere; we aren’t there yet. But there are plenty of great places to dine in Boulder with outdoor seating that do welcome dogs with open arms.


Farm to Table is All the Rage

How to Book a Farm Dinner in Boulder County

Farm-to-table meals in a restaurant have been done. The new way to eat fresh and local is to bring the table to the farm and cut out the “to” part.

Farm dinners are a huge trend in Boulder right now, as people look for more special ways to indulge, where the meal is a full experience. At farm dinners, a chef prepares a meal at the very farm where the produce was harvested. You often sit outdoors on a long, beautifully decorated table and dine as the sun sets under the Colorado sky. There’s something meaningful about seeing where the food on your plate grew and talking to the people who cared for it.

Boulder County Farmers Market, Unlike Anything Else

This is Boulder at its purest. Walk past colorful booths selling local produce and products and shake hands with the farmers who grew them. Indulge in enough healthy free samples to qualify as a full meal, while listening to free live music. Grab a snack for lunch and take it to the next-door park or creek, before heading to the dazzling Dushanbe Tea House for a cup of chai surrounded by statues and then taking a tour of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Experience Farm-to-Table in Boulder

So you’re the sort that likes to explore a region by the sweet juiciness of its peaches or the peppery bite of local farmers’ arugula. Relax, farm-to-table eater. You’ve come to the right place.

11 Ways to Explore Boulder’s Farm Food Scene

In this hip college town and techy hotspot, you might not expect that there are about 20,000 acres of farmland. But Boulder’s agricultural roots remain strong. In fact, Boulder County boasts more than 850 farms.

What does this mean for visitors? Tons of fresh produce, chances to learn about the rural side of life and another excuse to hang out under the beautiful Colorado skies.

Looking for the Best of the Best?

A Tour of Boulder’s Best Mexican Restaurants

In Colorado, we put green chile on everything: burgers, fries, chips, pizza, hot dogs, whatever. We also see nothing strange about wrapping everything in a tortilla.

We love our spicy food and we have high standards for our South of the Border-influenced fare.

Although Boulder itself isn’t extremely diverse, more than 21 percent of Coloradans identify as Hispanic or of Latino descent, according to the most recent U.S. Census. This means a great stream of delicious Mexican, Latin and New Mexican food.

Whether you’re visiting Colorado and have never tried Mexican food before, or you’re a salsa connoisseur, Boulder is sure to impress



This vs. That: Jefes vs. Taco Junky Tacos

So many tacos, never enough time.

In the name of journalism, we did some excruciating hard work for you and dove deep into investigating all things taco. We focused on two different taco shops, Jefe’s in Longmont (because Longmont has a particularly robust Hispanic population, at 26 percent) and one of the newer taco shops on the scene, Taco Junky, on University Hill.

Shrimp at Tandoori Grill

Where to go for Ethnic Food in South Boulder

From Indian to Nepali cuisine, the southern section of Boulder has several ethnic restaurants that are favorites among locals and serve authentic cuisine from around the world.


Best Pizza in Boulder

Pizza. The cheesy, gooey, deliciousness that has sustained college students nationwide for decades. But let’s be real. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 98; pizza is amazing. And Boulder definitely delivers in the pizza department.

Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar

Sushi Restaurants in Boulder

As a land-locked mountain city, it may surprise you to know just how much Boulder loves its sushi. The city of Boulder alone has more than a dozen sushi restaurants. And they’re fantastic, rivaling the menus of bigger cities and even some restaurants with easy access to fresh fish on the coast.

If you’re craving some fishy rolls of deliciousness, you don’t have to look hard. Here are five sushi restaurants in Boulder that you should try.

Brunch, Please

The Best Brunches in Boulder

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Yet it’s also crucial to get enough sleep at night. The solution: Sleep in and brunch big.

Boulder is a brunch boss. It has an impressive list of Sunday brunch specials and restaurants that specialize only in breakfast food. But you can also find delicious brunch at local Mexican restaurants, Cajun spots and high-end dining destinations. Whether you want a white-table special occasion, Bloody Marys and comfort food or a greasy spoon dive, Boulder’s got brunch covered.

Best Brunch

Best Brunch in Boulder: Greenbriar Vs. Centro

It’s the weekend. You want to sleep in, then bite the dog that bit you with a mimosa and leisurely munch your way through lunch, into the early afternoon. Boulder loves its brunch.

We decided to look at two of our favorite places to brunch in Boulder: Centro Mexican Kitchen and the Greenbriar Inn. They both feature fantastic brunch but do it in totally different ways. Here’s how they compare.

Get Your Caffeine Fill

Best Coffee Shops in Boulder

Watch out, Seattle. Boulder is one of the best places in the country to get a cup of coffee.

In fact, downtown Boulder has more independent coffee shops per capita than anywhere else, according to Redfin rankings.

And we’re not talking about a gaggle of Starbucks chains. Boulder boasts many local roasters — Ozo, Boxcar, Dragonfly, Allegro — and indie java spots galore.

Carabiner Coffee's Ol' Blue

Meet the Most Boulder Business Ever: Carabiner Coffee

It’s one part coffee shop. A little bit food truck. It’s completely free-spirited. You wouldn’t expect anything else from a business set in a roaming 1971 VW Bus.

“It’s about spreading as much love and inspiration as possible to those who wander up to the van to buy a cup of coffee,” founder Erik Gordon describes it.

This might be the most Boulder coffee shop ever.

Tea Houses

This vs. That: Boulder Tea Shops

If you want a quick and easy way to improve your health, drink more tea.

There are countless studies on the health benefits of tea: It’s packed with antioxidants, can reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack, can help you lose weight, is good for your bones, can soothe your belly and may even help with cancer, just to name a few.

It’s no surprise that health-conscious Boulder is full of tea houses.

Ozo vs. Boxcar

This vs. That: Ozo Coffee Vs. Boxcar Coffee

It’s like choosing the lesser of two evils. Except the lesser of two wonders, and neither can possibly be lesser. Just different.


For the Sweet Tooth
Day dream Dessert Co

Mmm, Boulder’s Best Desserts

Boulder may be known as one of the fittest cities in the country, but we’re also the foodiest. This means we have great dessert.

Whether you prefer a cold ice cream or a warm brownie (or both), or whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or want a bite-sized chocolate treat, Boulder has something for you.

Check out some of our favorite desserts in Boulder.

Creative and Tasty Fall Desserts in Boulder

Comfort. Edible comfort. That’s what we want, as the temps and leaves drop.

We want to warm our bellies. And yeah, maybe we want a wee bit of a food coma to transition us into winter hibernation.

The flavors of fall are so fun and make their way onto local dessert menus. Don’t wait until after you’re stuffed from Thanksgiving to treat yo’ self. Here are some of our favorite fall desserts in Boulder County, from pumpkin pie gelato made with local pumpkins, to pumpkin spice donuts, to warm apple pudding. Note: These are subject to change year after year.

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