Best of Boulder County 2011 – Food



The Mediterranean Restaurant

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Runner-up: The Kitchen

It’s fun to speak rapidly
when saying you’re going to a tapas bar, because sometimes people think
you said “topless bar.” In Sanskrit, the term “tapas” can mean either
spiritual suffering or spiritual ecstasy. Having appetizers at The Mediterranean Restaurant,
called The Med by locals, is definitely the latter. The tapas are so
delicious and offer such a wide variety that you can make a meal of
them if you choose, sampling everything from the Trucha de Antonio (or
smoked trout) to the Barbietolla (roasted red beets with horseradish
crème) to a traditional Caprese (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil).
Mix that with great wine or mixed drinks and wonderful conversation,
and you’ve got an unbeatable evening. Local culinary standout The
Kitchen was our runner-up this year, followed by Brasserie Ten Ten in
third place, Boulder Café in fourth and Aji in fifth.


Chez Thuy

2655 28th St., 303-442-1700

Runner-up: Hapa

The winner of this year’s
best Asian Fusion restaurant often works with big crowds, and for good
reason. Many patrons advise future visitors to carpool to the
restaurant, if possible, as parking gets tight. This year, Chez Thuy
earned the most reader votes, persuading taste buds with specialized
seafood, five-spice chicken and crispy spring rolls. The restaurant is
also known for its popular vegetarian dishes, such as the hot pot
served in a thick and flavorful black bean sauce. To finish off a meal,
Chez Thuy offers a fried banana dessert as well as a variety of sweet,
fruity drinks. Runner-up this year is Hapa, a sushi grill and sake bar
known for its suggestively named menu items, while third place went to
Khow Thai. Readers voted Japango in fourth place, while fifth place was
claimed by Moongate.


Moe’s Broadway Bagel

2650 Broadway, 303-444-3252

3075 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-4427

Runner-up: Einstein Bros. Bagels

The stories about the
humble bagel’s origins are as numerous as the many flavors of cream
cheese, but no one can say for sure which tale is real. There’s one
about it being a commemorative gift shaped like a stirrup given to the
king of Poland in 1683. (Apparently, the man didn’t want gold or art,
but bread.) There’s another one about how Polish Jews needed something
quick to bake after the dietary restrictions from the Sabbath ended.
Whatever the origin, soon after Jewish immigrants brought bagels to the
United States, they became a staple of American breakfast foods, and
nobody in Boulder does bagels better than Moe’s Broadway Bagel,
the perennial winner of the category. The family-owned business has
made fresh bagels, layering on inches of their trademark cream cheese,
since 1992, much to the delight of bagel-loving Boulderites. Einstein
Bros. Bagels is this year’s runner-up, while Big Daddy Bagels came in
third and Mickey C’s Bagels came in fourth.



2644 Broadway, 303-444-5667

Runner-up: Great Harvest

Breadworks opened
on Valentine’s Day in 1995, and Boulderites are still feeling the love.
Bread takes center stage here (if you couldn’t already guess), with
each loaf baked fresh every day. The supporting actors are stellar, as
well, with separate pastry, coffee, salad/sandwich and grab-and-go
stations. The pastries are particularly impressive, with crème brûlée,
croissants and tarts of all kinds, and even miniature desserts for
those with a smaller sweet tooth. Runner-up status goes to Great
Harvest Bread Co. and its massive samples, and Spruce Confections comes
in third. Boulder Baked follows in fourth place, and Tee & Cakes
rounds out the top five.


KT’s Real Good BBQ

2675 13th St., 303-442-3717

7464 Arapahoe Rd., 303-786-7608

Runner-up: Daddy Bruce’s

The expansive, delicious
world of barbecue has turned slow-cooked meats and carefully crafted
sauces into an art, and though Colorado isn’t known for its BBQ in the
same way as Texas, North Carolina, Georgia or Memphis, we sure are
blessed with a plethora of extremely skilled imitators. KT’s Real Good BBQ
founders Kirk and Tricia Jamison spent some quality time researching
the barbecue artistes of Memphis during the summer of 1991 and came
back with recipes and a business plan. They founded KT’s in 1992, and
they have grown strongly ever since, opening four locations, including
one in Broomfield and one in Denver. Since 1980, runner-up Daddy
Bruce’s Bar-B-Que has been making delicious meats in old-school fashion
in a barbecue shack close to Boulder High School. Boulder newcomer
(relatively speaking) The Rib House takes third.


Lucile’s Creole Café

2124 14th St., Boulder, 303-442-4743

518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303-774-9814

Runner-up: Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café

Breakfast has got to be
the best meal for dining out. We could eat a whole platter of bacon in
one sitting. Or a whole platter of beignets from Lucile’s Creole Café.
Since two of its five locations are in Boulder County (Boulder and
Longmont), you’re never too far from those warm, sugar-covered puffed
pastries of heavenly goodness. In addition to some divine varieties of
eggs Benedict, this homey New Orleans-style café serves a couple of
scrambles that we could eat daily: Farmer’s Eggs and Hank’s Eggs. The
former has sausage; the latter has avocado and tomato. Mmm, is it
tomorrow morning yet? Another of our favorites, the Walnut Café and its
sister, the Southside Walnut Café, took second place. The Buff
Restaurant came in third, followed by Dot’s Diner in fourth and
Turley’s in fifth.


The Kitchen

1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Runner-up: Salt

If we are what we eat, shouldn’t we at least know what we’re eating? At The Kitchen,
what goes into mouthwatering options like slow-roasted duck and porcini
mushroom soup is no mystery, thanks to sourcing from local farms all
spelled out on a blackboard in the middle of the dining room. While the
menu changes seasonally, you can always count on a fun and tasty meal
in the elegantly casual dining room, as organic is transformed into
gourmet. Also in tune with Boulder’s infatuation
with farm-to-table fare is our runner-up, Salt, where the menu draws
heavily on ingredients found at the farmer’s market during summer
months. Taking third place this year is Mod Market, followed by Leaf in
fourth place and Turley’s in fifth place.


Efrain’s Mexican Food Restaurant

101 East Cleveland St., Lafayette,


1630 63rd St., Boulder, 303-440-4045

451 S. Pratt Pkwy., Longmont,


Runner-up: Zolo Grill

With so many college
students residing in the area, it is no surprise that this category’s
winner is known for its strong margaritas and huge portions. Tucked
away from obvious restaurant destinations like The Hill, Pearl Street
or Twenty Ninth Street, Efrain’s Mexican Food Restaurant is
also praised for its authenticity. Efrain’s proved so popular, in fact,
they opened a second location, aptly named Efrain’s II in Boulder, and
third location in Longmont called (you guessed it) Efrain’s III. A word
to the wise — they cut you off after two Premier margaritas due to the
high alcohol content, and the chile verde will make you sweat. Modern
southwest cuisine and more than 150 varieties of tequila are available
at runner-up Zolo Grill. Rio Grande was voted third, followed by Agave
in fourth and Casa Alvarez in fifth.


Cosmo’s Pizza

1325 Broadway, 303-447-1133

659 30th St., 303-447-3278

Runner-up: Abo’s Pizza

Nothing says Boulder late night like a trip to Cosmo’s Pizza
after a tiring evening of studying or party-hopping on the Hill. A
favorite among the college crowd, Cosmo’s is the ideal restaurant to
stop in for a calzone big enough to swallow anyone within a 5-foot
radius. A chill staff and TVs dotting the room like a sports bar help
to make Cosmo’s a great place to wind down after a long night, with
enormous, just-greasy-enough slices of New York-style thin-crust pizza.
Kudos to anyone who can get the 24-incher out the door. Runner-up for
late-night cuisine goes to Abo’s Pizza, also known for humongous slices
of deliciousness. Those not in the mood for pizza may choose to head to
our third-place winner, the Dark Horse, for a burger, a beer and
Thursday night karaoke. Hapa came in fourth, and Boulder Baked came in



1360 College Ave., 303-444-7714

Runner-up: The Sink

If you’ve ever examined the hand-drawn figures shown eating Snarf’s
sandwiches on this restaurant’s menus, you’ll notice that the
characters are not just poorly dressed, but have eyes that have floated
off their faces. The guys have five o’clock goatees, and the one
reaching for the female’s sandwich has no ears on which to perch the
stems of his glasses. But they look happy, which is what you’ll be
after eating ’wiches at this Boulder original. The location on the Hill
had its building torn down, so it simply moved down the street to the
food court. Don’t forget that for a $10 minimum order, Snarf’s delivers
— hell, yeah — and its Hill sandwich engineers have delivered many a
tasty meal to Boulder Weekly. Last year’s champ, The Sink, came in
second place this year, followed by Illegal Pete’s in third place, Half
Fast Subs in fourth and Abo’s Pizza in fifth.


Noodles & Co.

1600 28th St., 303-546-9000

Runner-up: Snarf’s

There’s nothing like an
excellent meal after a long day at the office, but the thought of going
to the store for fresh ingredients and then cooking? Please. Times like
this call for great takeout, and Noodles & Co. knows just
what we’re craving. From classic spaghetti and meatballs to spicy
Japanese pan noodles and even home-style Wisconsin mac & cheese,
there is no shortage of pasta at this fast-casual favorite. Because the
menu has been expanding over the past few years, you’ll find much more
than its namesake, with a variety of soups and salads as well. Still, a
major sandwich craving can only be quelled by a masterpiece from
runner-up Snarf’s. Readers voted Khow Thai third, China Gourmet fourth,
and Nick-n-Willy’s fifth.


Boulder Chill

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-442-6955

Runner-up: Ripple

The cold treat was
originally titled “Frogurt” in the ’70s when it was released to the
American public. After getting rid of that scary name and appearing in
the hands of celebrities everywhere, frozen yogurt has become wildly
successful. Readers voted Boulder Chill the best place to
follow the trend. With multiple low-calorie, sugar-free and nonfat
flavors available, together with ice cream, this shop has something for
every palate. The friendly staff is also more than willing to layer
toppings so every bite is perfect. Now that’s service! Newly opened
Ripple, home to an amazing selection of toppings (cheesecake balls and
crumbled Pop-Tarts, anyone?) was runner-up. Smooch comes in third, with
Maiberry in fourth and Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelato in fifth.


Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato

3133 28th St., 303-440-6542

4760 Baseline Rd., 303-499-4760

Runner-up: Ben & Jerry’s

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream — and we absolutely wail for Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato.
With more than 200 flavors in rotation, this locally owned sweet spot
has all of your cravings covered, from Bing Cherry to Espresso
Chocolate Buzz (not to mention a few weird ones like Frozen Dead Guy,
in honor of the Nederland festival). And we can’t think of anywhere
else where you can do happy hour at an ice cream shop — Margarita and
White Russian versions amp up this treat to an adult favorite (and,
yes, a photo ID is required). You can even see how the selection of
sorbet, gelato and, of course, ice cream are made with tours of the
facility, which makes all the goods daily — and it would be downright
cruel if you didn’t get to try samples. No trip to the Pearl Street
Mall would be complete without a visit to our favorite friends from
Vermont, runner-up Ben & Jerry’s. Readers voted Cold Stone Creamery
third and Boulder Ice Cream Shoppe fourth, with Lindsay’s Boulder Deli
@ Häagen-Dazs rounding out the category.


Oak at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl St., 303-444-3622

Runner-up: Pizzeria Locale

Before a fire ripped through the hood exhaust at Oak at Fourteenth
in March, the restaurant was getting rave reviews for its innovative
and delicious takes on American cuisine. Opened just four months before
the fire, Oak at Fourteenth impressed diners with its variety of
dishes, like its Wood Grilled Colorado Lamb T-Bones, Citrus and Herb
Roasted Salmon Salad and desserts like the Citrus Cheesecake and the
Banana and Dark Chocolate Custard. Just reading the menu and its
offerings at brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night dining will have your
stomach growling. Unfortunately, the fire put the restaurant out of
commission for the time being as they reconstruct the fire-damaged
areas of the facility. We can’t wait until they re-open. Pizzeria
Locale, inspired by the pizzerias of Napoli, Italy, was the runner-up,
while The Pinyon, Café Aion and Pica’s Mexican Taqueria finished out
the top five.


Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant and Bar

825 Walnut St., 303-440-7151

Runner-up: Tandoori Grill

When it comes to Indian
food, there is no shortage of selection in Boulder. But when it comes
to an authentic experience and a truly mouthwatering menu, our readers
say that one restaurant stands above the rest. Sherpa’s, with
its comfortable catacomb dining rooms and Nepalese décor, provides an
excellent atmosphere for digging into a plate of Tibetan noodles,
delicious tikka masala, or creamy saag with a side of fresh garlic
naan. Each entrée is perfect for sharing and pairs spectacularly with a
warm cup of Sherpa’s specially brewed chai. The restaurant lives up to
its name, with genuine Sherpas on site from the Himilaya region of
Nepal and Tibet. Visitors are encouraged to stop in at the traveler’s
lounge to read up on starting their own adventures. Tandoori Grill is
our runner-up in this category, while third place honors go to The Taj.
Bombay Bistro came in fourth place, with Himalaya’s in fifth.


Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café

3073 Walnut St.
, 303-447-2315

673 S. Broadway, 720-304-8118

Runner-up: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Open for more than 25 years, both the Walnut Café and its sister site, the Southside Walnut Café,
have been busy hubs for Boulderites — just check out their crowds on
any given morning. Along with gut-busting breakfast burritos, egg
plates and omelets, there are several vegetarian-friendly options. For
diners with a sweet tooth, the menus also include items like the
Homemade Sweet Roll and Grananaola (yes, we spelled that right)
Chocolate Pancakes — a short or tall stack with granola, banana and
chocolate chips. Not an early bird? Not a problem. The cafés are open
until 3:30 p.m. every day. Runner-up goes to the Boulder Dushanbe
Teahouse with its to-die-for breakfast potatoes, and third place goes
to Brasserie Ten Ten. The Kitchen came in fourth place, and the
Chautauqua Dining Hall placed fifth.


Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café

3073 Walnut St., 303-447-2315

673 S. Broadway, 720-304-8118

Runner-up: Original Pancake House

The thing about Walnut Café’s pancakes
is that they’re huge! They offer both short stack and tall stack
servings, which are two and three pancakes piled high. But don’t let
the number of pancakes fool you. They’re about eight inches in diameter
and as thick as mattresses. The average person would probably feel full
with just one, but they taste so good, who wants to stop there? In
addition to the regular buttermilk pancakes, Walnut Café also offers
banana walnut, blueberry, blueberry cornbread and Grananaola Chocolate
pancakes. The same can be said about the restaurant’s waffles — real
fluffy, filling and tasty. They range from plain to banana walnut to
banana chocolate chip and fresh fruit. They even have a waffle loaded
with pecans, walnuts and almonds. Talk about going nuts! And they serve
these delicious creations all day. You can’t go wrong. Original Pancake
House, the well-known national chain, scored runner-up while The Buff
was voted third, Turley’s was fourth, and Le Peep was fifth.


Boulder Farmers’ Market

1900 13th St., 303-910-2236

Runner-up: Red Robin

There’s a reason kids across Boulder can’t wait to wake up early on Saturday morning, and it isn’t cartoons. No, it’s the Boulder Farmers’ Market
— the thrill of running around Central Park, gazing at all of the
mysterious wares made by upwards of a hundred vendors, eating fresh
fruit and pastries for breakfast, and getting to spend some quality
time with Mom and Dad. Even better, it’s the perfect place to teach
kids about healthful eating and sustainable shopping. For a blast
anytime, runner-up Red Robin serves up dozens of inventive burgers,
bottomless steak fries and balloons that kids are sure to enjoy while
gawking at hundreds of amusing posters. Taking third place is Noodles
& Co., while Mountain Sun and its sister Southern Sun take fourth,
and Wahoo’s Fish Taco came in fifth.


Chautauqua Dining Hall

900 Baseline Rd., 303-440-3776

Runner-up: Boulder Farmers’ Market

Chautauqua has long been a
must-see spot in Boulder for both tourists and locals alike, and for
obvious reasons. What other place in America combines stunning scenery,
picnics, concerts, hiking, history and a fabulous restaurant? Built in
1898, the Chautauqua Dining Hall offers a delicious American
menu and breathtaking views of the Flatirons. Pair a great meal and a
locally brewed draft beer with a seat on the restaurant’s gorgeous
wrap-around porch, and you will have experienced one of the
unforgettable highlights of Boulder. Boulder Farmers’ Market is this
year’s runner-up. The market offers delicious foods grown by local
farmers and is a great place to enjoy a day in Boulder’s Central Park.
Enjoy a cup of fresh brewed tea on the terrace of the Boulder Dushanbe
Teahouse, which was awarded third place. The Mediterranean Restaurant,
with its outdoor patio, came in fourth this year, while the West End
Tavern with its famous rooftop deck came in fifth.


Golden Lotus

1964 28th St., 303-442-6868

Runner-up: Moongate Bistro

The results for this
category are almost getting to be anticlimactic — not that that’s a bad
thing. After all, consistency is a large part of quality. Winning again
this year, Golden Lotus is beginning to establish its own dynasty in the Best of Boulder County. The
restaurant, suited for the more refined Chinese cuisine lovers of
Boulder County, is popular for the traditional dishes rarely seen in a
world of Americanized Chinese cuisine (Panda Express, anyone?). Their
house dinner specials run from $11.95 to $16.95 and come with your
choice of 12 entrees, a soup, a taste of each appetizer and your choice
of rice. There are vegetarian options aplenty, and Golden Lotus uses no
MSG in any of its dishes, so you don’t have to make a special request.
Runner-up went to Chinese- and Thai-serving Moongate Bistro, and third
to China Gourmet. Fourth place winner this year was Spice China,
followed by May Wah.


Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966

Runner-up: The Flagstaff House

The best of food and hospitality come together in one restaurant in Boulder’s much-lauded Frasca Food and Wine,
the creation of master sommelier Bobby Stuckey and master chef Lachlan
Mackinnon-Patterson. The two met while working at legendary California
restaurant The French Laundry, and ever since opening Frasca, the two
have received numerous prestigious awards from various national and
local publications, and with good reason. You’ll never taste better
Italian food, all inspired by the cuisine of Italy’s Friuli region.
Though the $70 price tag for a four-course meal makes regular dining
something only for the super-rich, it’s worth it on many levels,
including seeing Stuckey float around the dining room, educating even
the most philistine wine drinkers about the ins and outs of his
favorite drink. The fancy Flagstaff House and its gorgeous views took
runner-up. The Kitchen came in third, Salt came in fourth and Black Cat
took fifth.


Abo’s Pizza

1124 13th St., 303-443-3199

Runner-up: Proto’s

students know that pizza is a viable option for breakfast, lunch,
dinner or a late-night snack. Adults know pizza is always a hit with
kids and co-workers. Boulder thinks the best source for this magic pie
is Abo’s Pizza, where slices come oversized and toppings are
abundant in option. New York style buffs up with classically thin crust
made from dough tossed fresh daily. Generous amounts of mozzarella,
fresh toppings and a list of locally brewed beers to wash it all down
makes Abo’s a place to catch up with friends or check on the score of
the game between classes, all while enjoying a moderately priced slice
of pie. Abo’s is also open late night, where slices become part of a
fun night with friends or food for thought during late night study
sessions. Our runner-up this year is the always classy, always
delicious Proto’s Pizza Napoletana with locations in Boulder, Longmont,
Lafayette, Broomfield and Denver. Beau Jo’s of honey-for-your-crust
fame earns third place this year. Fourth place went to Nick-n-Willy’s,
with Cosmo’s in fifth.


Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Runner-up: Flagstaff House

There is truly nothing like the experience of sipping tea and dining in the Dushanbe Teahouse.
Given to Boulder about two decades ago by its sister city, Dushanbe,
Tajikstan, the teahouse is an exquisite display of handcrafted art and
décor that took about three years and more than 40 Tajik artisans to
create. Check out the eight colorful ceramic panels on the building’s
exterior that display patterns of a “Tree of Life,” and the indoor pool
featuring copper sculptures based on a 12th-century poem called “The
Seven Beauties.” Walking into Dushanbe is like walking into another
country, one filled with peace, beauty and serenity. The elegant
Flagstaff House with its internationally acclaimed cuisine and wine
list is this year’s runner-up, while The Mediterranean came in third.
The Kitchen earned a fourth place, and Frasca tied with Brasserie Ten
Ten for fifth place.


The Kitchen

1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973

Runner-up: Salt

Honey and fruit were some
of the original after-dinner treats, but when sugar arrived on the
tables of aristocrats in the Middle Ages, the dining table changed
forever. Our readers say The Kitchen offers the best sweets to
end a meal for blue bloods and the masses alike, serving dishes like
potato doughnuts and spiced hot chocolate, sticky toffee pudding and
affogato, a traditional Italian espresso-based treat. Salt, with its
pastry chef and dessert-wine pairings, was voted runner-up. The
Mediterranean Restaurant snagged third place, and readers chose Frasca
for the fourth spot, with the iconic Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse taking
fifth place.


Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966

Runner-up: Flagstaff House

Talk about dedication to service. Frasca Food and Wine sends
members of its wait staff to the Friuli region in Italy that inspires
its cuisine and wine. Now that’s an investment in treating your
customers well, not to mention your employees. Another sign of
dedication to service is that you are not rushed in Frasca; the wait
staff never pushes you to finish up as quickly as you can so that they
can turn over the table faster and increase their tips. There are two
seatings, one between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m., and the other between 8 and
10:30 p.m., which tells you to sit back and enjoy the gastronomical and
enological experience that few restaurants in Boulder can match. The
elegant Flagstaff House came in second place, and Mountain Sun/Southern
Sun placed third. The Walnut Café/Southside Walnut Café got fourth
place, with The Mediterranean Restaurant coming in fifth.


The Mediterranean Restaurant

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Runner-up: The Kitchen

The Mediterranean Restaurant
takes the crown again for Best Overall Restaurant. If you’ve already
tried the tapas, the Vongole E Prosciutto (gnocchi, clams and
prosciutto in a divine garlic, lemon and olive oil sauce) and you are
looking for something new and different, check out the Chef’s Table on
Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. There are 12 reserved seats, and you get five
courses of local, organic and seasonal fare for $40 (a wine pairing is
an additional $20). We’re talking about grazing on the likes of Braised
Red Wagon Farms Turnips and Isabelle Farms Butternut Squash Tortellini.
And if you have never eaten in The Med’s bright, colorful patio area,
you can’t call yourself a true Boulderite. The Kitchen is our runner-up
again this year, followed by Jax Fish House in third place. Frasca came
in fourth place, with the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse taking fifth.


Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Rd., 303-442-4640

Runner-up: Frasca Food & Wine

If you’re looking for storybook romance and elegance, you can’t beat the Flagstaff House.
Perched above Boulder amid ponderosa pines, Flagstaff House offers
internationally renowned cuisine and an award-winning wine list
designed for seduction. Whether you want a romantic night away from the
kids or you’re planning to pop the question, Flagstaff House has the
ambiance to turn your evening into a lifelong memory. Sit at a table
with an unobstructed view of the lights of Boulder, and let the views,
the food and the top-notch service carry you both away. Elegant Frasca
is our runner-up, with John’s coming in third. Black Cat is fourth in
this category, followed by L’Atalier.



Various locations around Boulder County,

Runner-up: Salvaggio’s

How do they do it? A Boulder original, Snarf’s
must have some secret, addictive ingredient that they slip into all of
their sandwiches that lets them edge out all other formidable
competitors, given this county’s vibrant sandwich-shop market. We have
long ago given up any resistance to their mystical powers, with the way
that an Italian Snarf satisfies like no other. Oh, and they have other
tricks up their sleeves — just check out their menu for more
temptations. And who could match their naming prowess when it comes to
the likes of Snarfmont for their Longmont shop. Don’t forget that they
deliver, too. Salvaggio’s Italian Deli is a worthy adversary, coming in
as our runner-up, followed by Half Fast Subs in third, Dish Gourmet in
fourth, and Deli Zone in fifth.


Sushi Zanmai

1221 Spruce St., 303-440-0733

Runner-up: Hapa

Sushi originated as a
salt-based method of preserving fish and rice in the days of yore. So
it’s somewhat ironic that most sushi devotees have modern refrigeration
to thank for their favorite dish. Now that fish can be transported from
the ocean to your table in a matter of hours, more and more people are
savoring cuisine that was once considered exotic. Voted Boulder’s
choice option, Sushi Zanmai is known for its fresh fish and
Saturday-night karaoke. In addition to traditional rolls, Sushi Zanmai
has a wide variety of specialty rolls with veggie and raw filet mignon
options for those in search of something different. Runner-up Hapa is
another favorite with two popular locations, one on the Hill and one on
Pearl Street. Sushi Tora takes third place, followed by Japango in
fourth and Kasa in fifth.



1710 29th St., #1076, 303-442-1300

Runner-up: Pasta Jay’s

Nothing beats authentic Italian cuisine alongside a robust glass of vino. Laudisio
understands this, and provides ambiance accompanied by plates that have
tickled the tummies and taste buds of Boulder residents for 14 years
and counting. The restaurant offers dining options for people with
dietary sensitivities, including gluten-free pizza, as well as the
comfort of classics like spaghetti carbonara and adventurous plates
like calamari and octopus risotto nero. Many wines hail from Italy and
are divided by the region of their country of origin. Whether you fancy
a red of the north or a barolo DOCG (described as the king of wine and
wine of kings) Laudisio has designed a dining experience to remember.
So, bring your date, bring your mom, bring yourself and enjoy a filling
and flavorful meal fit for royalty. Pasta Jay’s, whose delectable
garlic you can smell a mile away, is this year’s runner-up, and the
ever-popular Carelli’s takes third. Radda Trattoria came in fourth
place, and Il Pastaio took fifth place.


A Spice of Life Catering Services

5541 Central Ave., #272,


Runner-up: Sage and Savory

There’s been a lot of
criticism lately about how we’re all “outsourcing” everything we used
to do for ourselves. We can — and should — make our own soap, grow our
own tomatoes, darn our own socks, raise our own chickens. And while
it’s certainly true that we could all be a bit more self-sufficient,
some things are just best left to professionals. Catering a 200-person
gala dinner is definitely one of them. Unless you have a real flair for
cooking, a commercial-scale kitchen, more than 100 employees and a
decades-long history of customer satisfaction, you’re probably not
ready to cater your cousin’s wedding or your nephew’s bar mitzvah.
Instead, leave it to the folks who do have all that: A Spice of Life Catering Services.
Big or small, casual or formal, Spice of Life can accommodate just
about any event. Sage and Savory, a catering service both wise and
delicious, takes home runner-up honors this year. Big Bang is this
year’s third-place winner, while Bay Window and Savory Cuisine snag
fourth and fifth, respectively.



2525 Arapahoe Ave.,


Runner-up: Mountain

Sun/Southern Sun

Best Burger” is a
cutthroat, competitive category. In a vegetarian-friendly town like
Boulder, you’d think this award wouldn’t matter as much, but like
nearly every town in this state, we Boulderites know our beef. We want
our burgers stuffed with all-natural meat and cheese, made with only
the purest, most environmentally friendly ingredients. Larkburger
takes the patty this year, and with good reason: With all Black Angus
Beef, zero trans fats, and a commitment to sustainability via
compostable cups and containers, everything about Larkburger’s
signature burger is naturally delicious. Their truffle fries are
practically the best in town as well. Some great alternatives are the
burgers at the Mountain Sun and Southern Sun breweries, where you can
wash down your burger with some of the best beer in town. Smashburger
took third, the Dark Horse took fourth and the West End Tavern took


Illegal Pete’s

1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955

1320 College Ave., 303-444-3055

Runner-up: Chipotle

With fierce competition from big burrito chains like Chipotle and Qdoba, not to mention local favorites like Big City Burrito, Illegal Pete’s
is once again the best big-ass burrito you’ll find in Boulder County.
And it doesn’t hurt that Illegal Pete’s has a wide variety of burritos
to choose from: four kinds of chicken, six types of beef, four versions
of pork, a couple of fish burritos and five different vegetarian
burritos. They even have Poquito Burritos, a smaller version of their
burritos for those of you (and kids) who can’t handle the full-size
glory. Even if you’re not into the giant burrito thing, Illegal Pete’s
has a great selection of tacos, nachos, salads and quesadillas, so you
can’t lose! Our runner-up this year was Chipotle, which has about five
stores in the county, while third place went to Efrain’s Mexican
Restaurant. Big City Burrito and Santiago’s rounded out the top vote


The Mediterranean Restaurant

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Runner-up: The Kitchen

Everything may be set for
that killer deal you are about to close, but make sure you don’t blow
it with poor execution. Even the most seasoned broker can lose
customers with an ill-chosen power lunch. Three things are absolutely
essential to grease the wheels of commerce: a clean, no-nonsense
atmosphere, a light but expansive menu and, of course, a solid bar. The Med
boasts all three. The lunch menu has tapas that flexibly mix-and-match
any professional crowd, with a range of traditional starters like baba
ganouj and assorted treats swimming in olive oil to bold choices such
as mussels, lamb meatballs and tasty brochettes. For a serious meal,
choose among classy entrées from Greek, Italian, French and Spanish
cuisine. But no matter the occasion, the brightly lit courtyard will
ensure mind and body are comfortable when it comes down to business.
Within a block you can find our runner-up, The Kitchen. Third place
went to Brasserie Ten-Ten, while fourth- and fifth-place winners this
year are Boulder Cork and Laudisio.


Khow Thai Café

1600 Broadway, 303-447-0203

Runner-up: Chy Thai Cuisine

Khow Thai Café
became Boulder’s favorite Thai restaurant when it opened in 2002,
wowing us with its fantastic dishes. Toí Newman, the restaurant’s
incredible cook and founder, is a testament to overcoming enormous
obstacles as a way to achieve success. She and her husband Larry went
from worrying about the future of their tiny unknown restaurant —
including a period when road construction all but blocked their
entrance — to thriving in the success of dazzling customers with
delicious food. The menu contains various types of curry, stir-fried
entrees and noodle and rice dishes. You can enjoy the hearty meals as
is, or if you were feeling adventurous, go for the “Thai hot” option as
a way to literally clear your senses. And don’t forget to try the Thai
iced tea — a Boulder Weekly staff favorite. Runner-up goes to Chy Thai
Cuisine this year for its authentic and beautiful Thai food dishes.
Buddha Café was awarded third place, while Elephant Hut received fourth
place and Suki Thai Noodle House took fifth place.


Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

2010 16th St., 303-442-1485

Runner-up: Turley’s

Eat food, not too much,
mostly plants.” That sage advice is from Michael Pollan, the well-known
journalist, food activist and author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
While Pollan is lenient, advocating “mostly plants,” not necessarily
“all plants,” we could all do with a little more produce and a little
less beef in our diets. To that end, why not have a healthy — and very
tasty — meal at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant? Skipping meat at one meal
won’t kill you, honest. In fact, if the research is right, it’ll
actually extend it a few years. Turley’s snags the runner-up spot, and
third place goes to Mod Market and its array of delicious salads.
Fourth place goes to Ethiopian restaurant Ras Kassa’s and fifth to VG


Chez Thuy

2655 28th St., 303-442-1700

Runner-up: May Wah

There are plenty of fast-food pho options in town, but aside from serving up a delicious menu of Vietnamese fare, Chez Thuy
succeeds as a comfortable, reliable restaurant environment. The grilled
meats are succulent whether in soup or served atop fresh noodle salads,
and the large menu that caters to lunch and dinner will keep you coming
back to experiment. Since 1993, chef Thuy (pronounced “Twee”) has
offered your choice of seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes prepared in
traditional and modern styles. The curries and stir-frys are sure bets,
but the 40-plus list of chef’s specials include adventurous options
such as deep-fried catfish in ginger sauce, spicy sautéed frog legs and
a black bean hotpot with mushrooms and pineapple. The lengthy
vegetarian menu gives herbivores plenty of options, and the spice
levels vary to please mouths of any persuasion. May Wah takes runner-up
honors this year, with Kim’s coming in third, Black Pepper Pho taking
fourth and Vina Pho & Grill coming in fifth place.