1039 Pearl St., 303-554-5973
Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun
Third Place: Oak at fourteenth
Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
Fifth Place: SALT
Contemporary American cuisine is a deceptively tricky genre. Foods that get at the American heart often have a reputation for targeting the deep fryer and thus the arteries. But we’re increasingly attune to filling our plates with foods that cycle with the seasons, retain a palate that includes their natural flavors and satiate our need to feel healthy as well as full-bellied.
For all of these reasons, we’re so glad to have The Kitchen in Boulder — and apparently, so are a lot of people, as the restaurant is continuing to add restaurants across the Front Range.
They do what we love most about the current American food scene: highlight what’s growing here and now, working with local farmers to plate seasonal fare that never fails to get your mouth watering. From the stalwart salads and sandwiches on the lunch menu to dinner options that rotate through vegetarian dishes, drawing from quinoa and lentils to lamb, duck, steak and scallops, we can’t say enough. The one thing the folks at the kitchen don’t know how to do is disappoint.
THE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT
1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335
Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten
Third Place: Boulder Café
Fourth Place: The Kitchen
Fifth Place: Aji Latin American Restaurant
With more than two dozen hot and cold tapas to choose from, it’s no wonder Boulderites look to The Mediterranean Restaurant when they’re looking to get their appetizer on like Donkey Kong. From carnivorous chow like bacon-wrapped dates, to vegetarian-friendly vittles like falafel, to gluten-free treats like griddled shrimp, The Med’s got something for everyone. If the weather’s fine, enjoy your tasty tapas (and some fine people watching) on the umbrellashaded patio. Over 21? Congratulations! Go ahead and top off your meal of scrumptious snacks with an adult beverage during happy hour, every day from 3-6:30 p.m.
2124 14th St., 303-442-4743 518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
Second Place: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Third Place: The Buff Restaurant
Fourth Place: Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café
Fifth Place: Tangerine
Since 1980, Lucile’s has brought southern flair to breakfast. Where else can you get Louisiana-style chicory coffee and powdered-sugar beignets with your eggs Benedict or three-cheese omelet? Well, if you answered Longmont (or Denver or Fort Collins or Littleton), that’s only true because those are also Lucile’s locations. But don’t think chain — especially in Boulder. Each restaurant is a labor of love, often located in a Victorian house. They are tied together by the culinary direction of Chef Mickey Samuels, who has developed both the breakfast and lunch menus behind the scenes and always favors fresh produce and meat. No wonder customers like The Little Women Band have taken to song, titled, simply enough, “Breakfast at Lucille’s.”
2655 28th St., 303-442-1700
Second Place: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar
Third Place: Sushi Zanmai
Fourth Place: Zoe Ma Ma
Fifth Place: Japango
Chez Thuy may be known as a Vietnamese restaurant, but upon closer inspection you’ll soon find touches of French, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian cuisine. Chez Thuy has won Best of Boulder before — and it’s no surprise why. With an affordable and diverse menu — gluten free, anyone? — Chez Thuy is not a puritanically traditional Vietnamese experience. Instead, think of it as the place that has a little something for everyone, from pho to egg drop soup to soft-shell crab. On the side: A Thai ice tea or maybe one of those really sweet Vietnamese coffees.
MOE’S BROADWAY BAGEL
3075 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4427 2650 Broadway St., 303-444-3252 3267 28th St., 720-406-9000
Second Place: Einstein Brothers Bagels
Third Place: Big Daddy Bagels
Fourth Place: Panera Bread
Fifth Place: Mickey C’s Bagels
While donuts are in the middle of a renaissance of general wackiness, their dour, unsweetened cousin in ringed bread, the bagel, remains serious business. And not just for the lack of sugar. Bagels are cultural history, with the story of Jewish immigration baked into a delectable ring and topped off with a spritz of Yiddish. You try to meet someone for business over donuts, expect the deal to go south. Meet them for bagels, game on. You’re about to be a millionaire, ’cause everyone knows, “BAGELS ARE FOR CLOSERS!” [Editor’s note: isn’t that coffee?] [Writer’s note: Ssssssshhhhhh…] But here in Boulder, the mid-nation strategic bagel reserve, the choice becomes problematic. With high-end bagels out the genectogozoink, you have to be sure to choose the right one. But which is it? Well, once again this year, the people have spoken and proclaimed Moe’s Broadway Bagel king amongst unsweetened ringed breads. Now set up a business breakfast and make your fortune.
BREADWORKS BAKERY AND CAFE
2644 Broadway St., 303-444-5667
Second Place: Spruce Confections
Third Place: Great Harvest Bread Co.
Fourth Place: Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery
Fifth Place: Boulder BakedWhen Breadworks opened nearly 20 years ago, it was just one guy with a willingness to come into work at the wee morning hours, bake bread and then sell it to customers all day. But he’d hit a nerve in the local community — production doubled within weeks from 1,000 pounds to 2,000 pounds. Husband and wife team of Larry Domnitz and Colleen Doran still oversee this establishment, which has expanded from bread-baking to include pastries and a full café. While the menu includes plenty of pastries and baked goods to choose from, along with an array of soups and sandwiches to make for a full meal, the core of their operations is still in those freshly baked loaves coming out of the oven each day.
KT’S REAL GOOD BBQ
2675 13th St., 303-442-3717 7464 Arapahoe Road, 303-786-7608
Second Place: Moe’s Original BBQ
Third Place: Georgia Boys BBQ Company
Fourth Place: West End Tavern
Fifth Place: LuLu’s BBQ
A great barbecue joint keeps it simple —meat, potatoes, beans and, of course, juicy meats smothered in delicious sauce. No wonder our readers love this place. Like it sweet? Savory? Vinegary? KT’s Real Good BBQ has the sauce bases covered, and a short menu that lets them deliver quality over quantity. Eat like The King and get a heaping helping of slaw atop your BBQ sammich when you order it “Elvis style.” And let’s be real: Elvis wouldn’t stop after eating KT’s bestselling sandwich, “The Pig Pile.” He’d satisfy his sweet tooth with a mini key lime pie or brownie.
2124 14th St., 303-442-4743 518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814
Second Place: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten
Fourth Place: Tangerine
Fifth Place: Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café
A young BB King almost died rushing into a burning building to save his guitar. From that day forward, he called his guitar Lucille, after a woman who died in that fire, to remind himself never to do anything foolish again. But the only foolish thing Mr. King could do in Boulder would be to not eat at Lucile’s. The creole delights waiting inside range from the scrumptious to the delicious. Cornbread. Grits. Don’t fear the gravy, Mr. King. Run into the downtown Boulder building that is aflame with flavors like the Cajun breakfast, eggs sardou or Creole omelet.
And don’t forget there’s a Lucile’s location in Longmont as well. Your choice.
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-1487
Second Place: Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun
Third Place: Smashburger
Fourth Place: Rueben’s Burger Bistro
Fifth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill
We here at Boulder Weekly love when Best of rolls around because it’s basically mandated that for “research,” we go investigate the answer to life’s key questions, like, “Just how good is the burger at Larkburger that our readers picked as best?” Oh yeah. That good. We’ll begin by stating the obvious:
Larkburger’s establishment is a testament to the glory that is truffle oil. Get it on your burger, get it on your fries, and you’re pretty much set for life. Pair with that the all-natural ingredients — no preservatives or additives, in-house sauces and dressings and Black Angus beef and you’re pretty well on your way to a mouth-watering burger. Their operations also source eco-friendly options including utensils made from potato and corn starch, biodegradable containers, 100 percent wind-energy power and canola oil that goes on to power cars. Go ahead. Give it a try. We all know a good cheeseburger can be good for your soul, but this burger can be good to the planet, too.
EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT AND CANTINA
451 S. Pratt Pkwy., Longmont, 720-494- 0777 1630 N. 63rd St., Boulder, 303-440-4045 101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666- 7544
Second Place: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Third Place: Agave Mexican Bistro & Tequila House
Fourth Place: Zolo Grill
Fifth Place: Casa Alvarez
The cooking of spicy dishes at Efrain’s starts at 6 a.m. each morning, which seems a little early to us for green chili — but then again, breakfast burritos can be awfully tasty. So we’ll go with it. The locally owned restaurant has been plating up Northern Chihuahua-style Mexican food for more than 30 years, and now has locations throughout the county, so you are never too far from a good chimichanga.
THE MEDITERREAN RESTAURANT
1002 Walnut St. 303-444-5335
Second Place: The Kitchen
Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten
Fourth Place: Boulder Cork
Fifth Place: Oak at fourteenth
The Med is an unusually surprising collection of Mediterranean dishes — paella, tapas, veggie kebabs, wood-fired pizzas, pasta and beloved olive bread. It’s no wonder: This local mainstay draws inspiration from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco and Lebanon. Locally owned, The Med has, for more than 20 years, been a perfect place for the local business set, relaxed and always pleasant. It’s got a great central location, bright patio and, if you’re running late, a good happy hour, every day, from 3-6:30 p.m.
A SPICE OF LIFE CATERING & EVENTS
5541 Central Ave., Suite 272, 303-443-4049 %u2028
Second Place: Dish Gourmet
Third Place: Three Leaf Catering
Fourth Place: Savory Cuisines
Fifth Place: Sage & Savory Catering
So you’re getting married, eh? Well, don’t screw it up. You don’t want to have everyone you know and love and admire and respect and who you want to parade your love in front of to show up and mutter something about the chicken being a little dry because you chose, gasp, the wrong caterer! Might as well throw yourself into a volcano right there ’cause the rest of your marriage will clearly be doomed. Instead, just go with Spice of Life, as the people of Boulder have democratically chosen them as the most likely to take the meh out of the menu on your special day, wedding or otherwise.
1320 College Ave., 303-444-3055 1447 Pearl St., 303-444-3955
Second Place: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Third Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Fourth Place: Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant
Fifth Place: Big City Burrito
This is Boulder, Colo., dagnabbit: We don’t want no stinkin’ hormones or antibiotics in our meats. We need fresh veggies and preservative-free breads. That’s why our readers love Illegal Pete’s burritos. We’ve all been to an assembly-line burrito joint and been disappointed to find that every bite is different — Illegal Pete’s stirs your ingredients to ensure that you enjoy rice, beans, meat, cheese, guac, salsa or whatever else you had them put in this behemoth burrito with every bite. Got 99 problems, one of which is a gluten-intolerance? Illegal Pete’s has got you covered with gluten-free options as well.
3970 Broadway, Suite 102, 303- 440-3500 1345 Dry Creek Drive Suite A, Longmont, 303-776-6930
Second Place: Zoe Ma Ma
Third Place: Golden Lotus
Fourth Place: Moongate Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar
Fifth Place: Five Spice Asian Cuisine
What we love about Chinese menus: They can be so selfexplanatory. What’s in the cashew shrimp? Cashews and shrimp. The chicken with broccoli? Chicken and broccoli. Throw in the occasional Mu Shu Vegetables for a point of interest — and we’re still guessing you’re getting a plateful of vegetables in some spicy sauce. It’s tough to get lost.
Which is nice, because when you open China Gourmet’s menu, it could be easy to get overwhelmed. Column after column of delectable menu items look back at you — and only your belly will know best. So let it guide you to the best of the best Chinese food in town, whether you’re wanting Szechwan with your fish or Kung Pao with your chicken.
We’ll go ahead and give a shout out to the street-café feel and tasty noodle bowls at runner up Zoe Ma Ma, as well.
PIECE, LOVE & CHOCOLATE
805 Pearl St., 303-449-4804
Second Place: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Third Place: Chocolove
Fourth Place: Robin Chocolates
Fifth Place: Ritual Chocolate
Historians believe that chocolate has been prepared as a drink since man discovered the cocoa bean. A container found at an archaeological site on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico, dates chocolatey beverage preparation back 3,750 years.
Humankind has a pretty profound love affair with chocolate. Sarah Amorese, founder and owner of Piece, Love & Chocolate, makes it her personal mission to “enchant and entertain” patrons with display cases filled with chocolate pastries, cakes, tortes, truffles and confections to spoil even the most refined palate. PLC even offers chococentric gifts — books, clothing, cocoa butter-based beauty products and more. Enjoy chocolate cakes and tortes in a spectrum of traditional and surprising flavors, from Peaches ’n Cream to Left Hand Milk Stout. Cheesecake, whoopee pies, cannoli, cookies, chocroissants, brownies … It’s the stuff of your chocolatiest dreams.
East County Restaurant
EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & CANTINA
101 E Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666- 7544
Second Place: Colterra
Third Place: Lucky Pie
Fourth Place: The Huckleberry
Fifth Place: Sugarbeet
If you’re looking for great Mexican food, Efrain’s has been a mainstay in Boulder County for more than three decades. But forget Mexican for a second. This restaurant is tops when it comes to Best East County Restaurant. It makes sense. There are three locations — Efrain’s I in Lafayette, Efrain’s II (1630 N. 63rd St. in Boulder) and Efrain’s III (451 S. Pratt Pkwy. in Longmont) — and, though individually managed, they’re all great. Dishes like chimichangas, fajitas and the chili verde are prepared in the style of Northern Chihuahua, meaning the chilies are fiery and everything is fresh. The cooking starts at 6 a.m. though the restaurants don’t open until 11 a.m.
FLAGSTAFF HOUSE RESTAURANT
1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640
Second Place: Frasca Food and Wine T
hird Place: The Kitchen
Fourth Place: Oak at fourteenth
Fifth Place: Brasserie Ten TenThe French-American menu at the internationally recognized Flagstaff House has been devised by Executive Chef Mark Monette and was one of the driving forces that helped transform Boulder’s food scene into the envy of the nation. A visit to Flagstaff House includes access to one of the finest wine selections in the state. And its amazing mountaintop view overlooking Boulder creates an unmatched dining experience. This restauraunt has a rotating menu of culinary delights. If there’s a better 12-hour braised Berkshire “bacon” with roasted banana puree, cilantro and coconut broth in the city, BW readers certainly don’t know about it. Enjoy.
SNARF’S SUB SHOP
5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-3404 2128 Pearl St., 303-444-7766 645 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-774-1441 2130 Mountain View Ave., Longmont, 303-702-1111
Second Place: Cosmo’s Pizza
Third Place: Abo’s Pizza
Fourth Place: Boulder Baked
Fifth Place: Jimmy John’s
How can you tell you’re in Boulder? Because unlike the rest of the world, where delivery options consist solely of pizza and Chinese food, you can get some of the best sandwiches in town brought right to you from Snarf’s Sub Shop. You can call or fax in an order form and they’ll bring your pastrami and Swiss straight to you. It’s true, we here in Boulder County are some of the luckiest in the world because when our special sandwich supply runs short, we can just call the sandwich-makers to send us some more. Life is good thanks to you food delivery people. May your tips be large.
Food on the Hill
1165 13th St., 303-444-7465
Second Place: Café Aion
Third Place: Illegal Pete’s
Fourth Place: Half Fast Subs
Fifth Place: Cosmo’s Pizza
Pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, oh my! The Sink has been a staple on the University of Colorado Boulder’s student stomping ground The Hill since 1923. (History tidbit: The Sink was originally a European-style restaurant named Summer’s Sunken Gardens, where a sunken fountain in the center of the dining room caused patrons to lovingly call the establishment “The Sink.”) The Sink offers more than just good food, funky art, a colorful history (you’ve heard it: Robert Redford was once the janitor) and cold (local!) brews: in 2006, the restaurant committed to running on 100 percent wind power. It’s pretty much the most Boulder thing in Boulder.
GLACIER HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & GELATO
4760 Baseline Road, 303- 499-4760 3133 28th St., 303-440- 6542 1387 South Boulder Road, Louisville, 720-890-5992
Second Place: Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Third Place: Boulder Ice Cream
Fourth Place: Ben & Jerry’s
Fifth Place: Cold Stone Creamery
A spoonful of ice cream can transport you back to childhood. Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato helps Boulderites relive simpler times with homemade ice cream, often made from fresh, local ingredients. You can customize any flavor to suit your ice cream needs, or choose from Glacier’s more than 800 premade flavors. Feeling extra childlike? Add some rainbow sprinkles, gummi bears, Oreos, cherries or caramel sauce to your ice cream at the sundae bar. Frozen yogurt and sorbet offer alternatives for those looking to sate the sweet tooth but not break the caloric bank.
SHINE RESTAURANT AND GATHERING PLACE
2027 13th St., 303-449-0120
Second Place: Modmarket
Third Place: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
Fourth Place: Turley’s Kitchen
Fifth Place: Julia’s Kitchen
Shine’s gluten-free ravioli could set an Italophile’s heart on fire, which is OK, because they also have gluten-free Liberation Ale for extinguishing said fires. No wonder our readers chose Shine Restaurant and Gathering place their favorite destination for gluten-free dining.
The Blissful Sisters, formerly of Trilogy, started Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place as a center for living and eating well, and their menus focus on presenting balanced, healthy options, whether your dining restriction is for wheat or for meat. And in a world where the gluten-free and gluten conscious diners have increasing purchasing power, Shine is as pleasant a spot as they come for pleasing those palates while keeping everyone else in your dinner party happy and well satisfied.