Best of Boulder 2021 – Food

0
Susan France

VEGGIE BURGER
Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
Multiple Locations
Silver: Kitchen Next Door
Bronze: Larkbuger
Write-in: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries, our readers say, have the best veggie burgers. Whether it’s the black bean veggie burger, the garden burger, the Beyond Burger or a daily special, you have plenty of choices. Satisfying, flavorful and healthful, Mountain Sun’s veggie burgers are worth seeking out.

THAI
Aloy Thai

2720 Canyon Blvd., 303-440-2903
Silver: Busaba
Bronze: Chez Thuy
Write-in: Jai Thai

Aloy Thai’s menu offers an array of popular Thai favorites that includes everything from meals once made for royalty to appetizers and noodle dishes often found in the carts of street vendors in the Southeast Asian nation. Aloy Thai serves everything from drunken noodles to flavor-filled curries and, of course, pad Thai. You can also get traditional soups, salads, fried rice and more. There’s a reason this restaurant is named for a derivative of the Thai word for delicious. No wonder it’s our readers’ favorite.

FOOD TRUCK
McDevitt Taco Supply

3550 Frontier Ave., Unit A, 303-442-4130
Silver: Verde
Bronze: Los Dos Bros
Write-in: Biscuits @ Mike’s

Believe it or not, there was a time before food trucks. But we can hardly remember such “before” times, as food trucks have become a staple in the Colorado brewery, festival and patio scene. McDevitt Taco Supply started a decade ago as a food cart on Pearl Street, then a traveling truck and now posts up permanently at Sanitas Brewing. Which means you know where to find their “Super Heady Tacos” any day of the week.

PLACE TO EAT OUTDOORS
Rayback Collective

2775 Valmont Road, 303-214-2127
Silver: Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery
Bronze: Chautauqua Dining Hall
Write-in: Sanitas Brewing Company

If 2020 taught us anything, it was to enjoy — really appreciate — outdoor spaces where we could still gather, imbibe, snack and talk. Good thing Boulder has the Rayback Collective, with its ample outdoor space, lawn games, full bar, fire pits and food trucks. Tucked away from busy streets, the Rayback has always been a respite from the busyness of life, but we’re pretty sure our readers appreciated it more than ever this last year.

PIZZA RESTAURANT
Pizzeria Locale

1730 Pearl St., 303-442-3003
Silver: Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage
Bronze: Lucky Pie Pizza
Write-in: Crosscut Pizza

Friends and business partners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson found themselves lured to Naples, Italy, time and again, savoring the acclaimed pizza of the region. Already known for their James Beard Award-winning restaurant Frasca Food & Wine, the duo began to envision something very different: a simple neighborhood pizzeria in the style of those they were inspired by in Naples. Enter Pizzeria Locale, a celebration of the lean, lightly charred Neapolitan style. No matter whether it’s a red or white sauce, vegetarian or meat-loaded, dairy- or gluten-free, Pizzeria Locale has your pizza needs covered.

NEW RESTAURANT
Fringe Pizza

2900 Valmont Road, 303-386-4631
Silver: Peckish
Bronze: Scratch Kitchen

Nothing goes better with pizza than beer, and at Fringe Pizza, you can pour your own brew at Boulder’s first self-pour tap wall, featuring 16 beer and wine options. Fringe focuses on craft brews, seasonal offerings and limited releases to accompany its eclectic pies. Try a Sweet Heat pizza (garlic oil, soppressata, pickled red onion, basil, goat cheese, fresh mozzarella and Calabrian honey) or Eggplant Parmesan (San Marzano tomato, fried eggplant, basil, pepperoncini, fresh mozzarella, pecorino and balsamic glaze). If you’re not in the mood for a pie, Fringe has a great selection of shareable appetizers. So pour yourself a beer and dig in.

NEDERLAND RESTAURANT
Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

20 Lakeview Drive, 303-258-0176
Silver: Kathmandu Nederland
Bronze: Crosscut Pizzerria & Taphouse
Write-in: New Moon Bakery & Cafe

For years, Nederlanders and those visiting have flocked to Backcountry Pizza & Tap House to satisfy their hunger. Whether it’s after a ski day, a hike or just a stroll around Ned, Backcountry has pizza, entrees and beer (lots of beer) to satisfy everyone in your party. It’s no wonder our readers cherish Backcountry — quality food served in ample portions in a casual, fun atmosphere.

LYONS RESTAURANT
Oskar Blues Grill & Brew

303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685
Silver: Mojo Taqueria
Bronze: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew
Write-in: The Stone Cup

We haven’t asked our readers why they love Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons, but we’ve got a few guesses: craft beer, delicious food, live music and a sense of community. That’s what’s driven Oskar Blues since Dale Katechis opened the doors in 1997. It’s been a hot spot for Southern-inspired food ever since, a place where locals can kick back, grab a pint and maybe even pick a few tunes during an open jam session. The original Oskar Blues has grown into a nationally recognized brand. But nothing tops the magic of the Lyons location.

OVERALL RESTAURANT
Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640
Silver: Blackbelly Market
Bronze: OAK at fourteenth
Write-in: Fresh Thymes Eatery

Well, it’s hard to disagree with our readers here. If you’ve have had the good fortune to dine at Flagstaff House, that culinary trendsetter overlooking Boulder, then you know it’s worthy of being honored as the best overall restaurant. Executive Chef Chris Royster curates a cutting-edge menu, which can be enjoyed with a side of breathtaking views. Great service and great wine round out the Flagstaff House experience. Treat yourself and get there.

CHINESE
Zoe Ma Ma

2010 10th St., 303-545-6262
Silver: China Gourmet
Bronze: Flower Pepper
Write-in: Jin Chan Zhang Restaurant

The menu at Zoe Ma Ma of dim sum, noodle soups, cold noodles and more cuisine from Sichuan and Northern China make ordering too much food almost unavoidable. Offering the classic Chinese street food from its modest outpost downtown, this Boulder staple doesn’t accept tips, opting instead to tack on a 15% service charge to every order to ensure fair wages for all. Stellar business practices with stellar food? What’s not to love.

PHO
Chez Thuy

2655 28th St., 303-442-1700
Silver: Black Pepper Pho
Bronze: Boulder Pho
Write-in: Mile High Pho

Traditional Vietnamese pho is served with piping hot broth, rice noodles and thin slices of rare beef (the broth cooks the beef down a bit more as you eat). At Chez Thuy you can also get it with chicken, shrimp, pork, duck or even lobster. And of course you can order veggies only as well. Regardless of what meat, or non-meat, option you choose, the measure of a good pho is in the broth, enhanced by the fresh basil, lime, bean sprouts and onions that accompany every bowl. And don’t be fooled — pho can (and should) be enjoyed any time of the year. So what are you waiting for?

FOOD DELIVERY
Snarf’s Sandwiches

Multiple Locations
Silver: Cosmo’s Pizza
Bronze: Abo’s Pizza
Write-in: Dagabi Tapas Bar

Our readers’ favorite place for delivery, Snarf’s Sandwiches, is a local food staple. Its sandwiches — hot and cold varieties, including unique creations — are the perfect delivery food. If they’re cold, then they stay cold; if they’re hot, then we happen to think the (minimal) time it takes Snarf’s to get them to you just blends all the ooey-gooey goodness together.

JAPANESE
Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

1117 Pearl St., 303-816-3504
Silver: Japango
Bronze: Sushi Zanmai
Write-in: Izakaya Amu

Hapa is a Hawaiian term that describes a harmonious blend of Asian and American cultures. Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar’s menu is just that: traditional Japanese cooking fundamentals amplified, muted, or mixed with influences from a variety of styles of cooking. You can find the sushi staples here: fresh, simple nigiri and sashimi, spicy salmon and tuna rolls, California rolls. But our readers know the magic is in Hapa’s specialty rolls. Try a Booty Call Roll, with a whole lobster tail over a roll filled with snow crab salad, tempura asparagus, and shiso, drizzled with a garlic sake butter. Or give a nod to Boulder’s history with the Mork & Mindy roll, with Albacore tuna, salmon, chives and mandarin oranges. It’s not sushi, it’s Hapa.

BARBECUE
West End Tavern

926 Pearl St., 303-444-3535
Silver: KT’s BBQ
Bronze: Georgia Boys BBQ
Write-in: Busey Brews

It may have cheesesteaks. It may have cocktails. It may even offer surf and turf. But West End Tavern also has an expansive barbecue menu that our readers think is the best in town. With appetizers and sides like wings, cornbread skillets and burnt ends, as well as platters and family packs offering sliced brisket, St. Louis cut ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken and howdy hot links, there’s plenty to smother with either housemade or Carolina gold barbecue sauces — or both! 

ASIAN FUSION
Chez Thuy

2655 28th St., 303-442-1700
Silver: Aloy Thai
Bronze: Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar
Write-in: AOI Sushi & Izakaya

1993 was a good year. Boulder Weekly officially published its first edition that year. And Chez Thuy opened its doors for the first time. Lucky for us. Technically a Vietnamese restaurant, Chez Thuy embraces myriad culinary traditions, combining French, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian, all made with Chef Thuy’s special touch. You can order pho and hot pots, stir fry and curries, Thai iced tea, boba or fresh coconut milk. Order takeout or enjoy your meal in Chez Thuy’s unassuming and welcoming dining room. 

FOOD ON THE HILL
The Sink

1165 13th St., 303-444-7465
Silver: Illegal Pete’s
Bronze: Cosmo’s Pizza
Write-in: Roxie’s Tacos

The Sink has been serving food on the Hill since 1923… nineteen twenty-freaking-three. That’s not a restaurant, that’s an institution. The Sink is a go-to destination for pizza and burgers — for meat lovers and veg-heads alike — but the atmosphere is half the fun. The artwork on every wall captures generations of CU graduates and celebrities who have passed through and had a great time. Grab a cold pint of beer and search the walls for a trip through Boulder’s history.

LATE NIGHT
Cosmo’s Pizza

1325 Broadway, 303-447-3278
659 30th St., 303-447-3278
3117 28th St., 303-442-3278
1325 Broadway, Unit 108, 303-447-1133

Silver: Illegal Pete’s
Bronze: The World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill
Write-in: Peckish

It’s late at night, most restaurants are closed. But shining like a lighthouse on stormy seas, the signs at Cosmo’s Pizza locations beckon you and your stomach. Cosmo’s has thin-crust New York-style pizza with a bevy of topping options, so regardless of what you’re craving, you’ll likely find something to satisfy your late-night hunger.

BURRITO
Illegal Pete’s

1447 Pearl St., 303-440-3955
1124 13th St., 303-440-3055

Silver: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Bronze: Santiago’s
Write-in: Nopalitos

There’s been a lot of national talk this year of raising the federal minimum wage to provide a sustainable living for essential workers in the food service industry. But $15 is so 2019, at least if you talk to Pete Turner, who has been paying his employees at Illegal Pete’s $15 an hour (plus benefits) since then. Oh yeah, and Illegal Pete’s has our readers’ favorite burritos in town: huge tortillas are filled with your choice of innards — from meat and veggies to rice, beans and even green chilli — as you move through the line. 

BURGER
Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Multiple Locations
Silver: World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill
Bronze: Blackbelly Market
Write-in: The Hungry Toad

At any of Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries’ four locations around Boulder County, you can find mouth-watering burgers to suit any palate, from a basic cheeseburger (that’s anything but basic since Mountain Sun makes all of its burgers with all-natural, vegetarian-fed, steroid- and antibiotic-free Colorado beef) to a jam-packed Date Night burger with roasted poblano peppers, hickory-smoked bacon, melted goat cheese and a date purée. Vegetarians have no fear, because Mountain Sun serves Beyond Burgers that are just as juicy and filling as any beef patty, as well as other veggie burger options.

BUSINESS LUNCH
OAK at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl St., 303-444-3622
Silver: The Kitchen American Bistro
Bronze: Boulder Cork
Write-in: Scratch Kitchen

It’s a tricky thing, finding a spot to meet with potential business partners, dialogue with your team or do other business-related things. But our readers say OAK at fourteenth is the place to do it. That’s because OAK has a clean, modern dining room and it serves extremely well-executed dishes from a globally inspired menu. Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find this quality of food at such an affordable price practically anywhere else.

BAGEL
Moe’s Broadway Bagel

Multiple Locations
Silver: Big Daddy Bagels
Bronze: Woodgrain Bagels
Write-in: Rosenberg’s

Our readers love Moe’s Broadway Bagels, and it’s easy to see why. There are specialty bagel sandwiches like the thin and savory Ducktrap: lox filet, housemade plain cream cheese, egg, tomato and onion sandwiched between two halves of your choice of bagel. Of, if a straightforward bagel is what you’re after, choose between plain, poppy, sesame, Italian, cinnamon raisin, cinnamon sugar, garlic, onion, salt, blueberry and gluten-free options. All are available with homemade cream cheese: plain or plain lite, spicy jalapeno, veggie, scallion, lox, strawberry and tofu.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH
Lucile’s Creole Cafe

2124 14th St., 303-442-4743
Silver: Tangerine
Bronze: Snooze: An A.M. Eatery

Few things in life are as satisfying as breakfast or brunch at Lucile’s Creole Cafe. First, the homey dining area (Lucile’s is literally in an old home) makes for a comfortable place to eat. Start with beignets and coffee, and move onto entrées like red beans and rice, eggs Pontchartrain, blackened salmon or pain perdu — all New Orleans classics done right. And don’t forget to order one of the best bloody marys in town.

CHOCOLATIER
Piece, Love & Chocolate

805 Pearl St., 303-449-4804
Silver: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Bronze: Chocolove
Write-in: Moksha Chocolate

Boulder Weekly readers keep voting Piece, Love & Chocolate as their favorite chocolatier in town. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — and there’s nothing to fix at PL&C. Its thick and rich sipping chocolates, various truffles, cake, cookies and other sweet treats are irresistible. A stop by PL&C is the perfect way to end a day on Pearl Street — or start, we don’t judge.

FINE DINING
Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640
Silver: Frasca Food & Wine
Bronze: Black Cat Bistro
Write-in: Sugarbeet

If a restaurant offers a chef’s tasting menu, you know it’s fancy. The New American cuisine at Flagstaff House also boasts four-course and a la carte options, along with a world-renowned wine list and a spread of freshly spun ice creams or sorbets to pair with its other desserts (or enjoy all by themselves.) Sitting atop Flagstaff Mountain at 6,000 feet with breathtaking views, there’s no place quite like Flagstaff House to experience fine dining in Boulder County, according to our readers.

CATERING
Blackbelly Market

1606 Conestoga St., 303-247-1000
Silver: A Spice of Life
Bronze: Cured
Write-in: Lulu’s BBQ

Blackbelly Market brings culinary excellence from its award-winning restaurant to any special occasion, taking a custom approach to crafting a menu that fits your needs. With unparalleled cuisine and exceptional service, there is no detail too small, from choosing the right venue, customizing a menu and everything in between. Our readers trust Blackbelly will help craft their vision and make their special event exceptionally memorable.

APPETIZERS / TAPAS
The Kitchen American Bistro

1039 Pearl St., 303-544-5973
Silver: McDevitt Taco Supply
Bronze: Dagabi Tapas Bar
Write-in: Fringe Pizza

Who needs an entree when there’s appetizers? Our readers love to head to The Kitchen American Bistro, where sweet and savory appetizers offer delicious options for brunch, lunch or dinner. Grab a cup of coffee to complement a buttery-sweet kouign amann or a slice of maple cinnamon coffee cake. Order a mimosa and a plate of fried green tomatoes and pretend you’re on the cobblestone streets of Savannah, Georgia, or let your taste buds take you to The Big Easy with a plate of New Orleans BBQ Gulf Shrimp. These appetizers are so good you might not even make it to the entree part of the menu.

MEXICAN
Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

1630 63rd St., 303-440-4045
Silver: Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Bronze: T/ACO
Write-in: Tierra y Fuego Taqueria

Efrain’s offers a varied menu of authentic Northern Chihuahua-style food, following in the traditions of the high-altitude desert region where Efrain himself grew up, and where he learned to cook from his mom. Everything here is made fresh, as the chefs start cooking every day at 6 a.m. to bring Boulder County a huge selection of chimichangas, fajitas, chili verde and more. It’s no wonder Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina has been our readers’ pick for best Mexican year after year.

EAST COUNTY RESTAURANT
Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544
Silver: The Post Brewing Chicken and Beer
Bronze: The Huckleberry

The menu at Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Lafayette is extensive, so you’re going to want to take your time. Let us make a suggestion: start off by ordering one of Efrain’s large margaritas (seriously, they come in a mason jar) — go for a classic “coin” margarita with fresh lime juice or shake things up a bit with a smoky Sombra Mescal. Get some fresh guacamole while you’re at it. Then take some time to peruse the menu. Tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, big burritos… really big burritos. Whatever you chose, you’re going to be happy and full.

ICE CREAM
Sweet Cow

Multiple Locations
Silver: Glacier Homemade Ice Cream
Bronze: Gelato Boy
Write-in: Kilwins

Sweet Cow makes our readers’ favorite ice cream in small batches, with love and some of the finest, locally sourced ingredients around. The ice cream is always hand-crafted on site and served fresh daily at three different locations around Boulder County. There’s a flavor for every palate, from the basics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, to advanced flavors like The Big Lebowski (kahlua and vodka… the Dude abides) and vegan Thai iced tea.

INDIAN
Curry ‘n’ Kebob

3050 28th St., 720-328-4696
Silver: Kathmandu I & II
Bronze: Tandoori Grill
Write-in: Flavor of India

Boulder appreciates Indian cuisine. Just ask the Khan family over at Curry ‘n’ Kebob, our readers’ top pick for curries, tandori and kebabs. As the former owner of Colorado’s Taj Majal restaurants and Boulder’s Maharaja, this family is known for offering a delicious menu of Northern Indian cuisine with highlights from their home country of Bangladesh, with touches of British curry flavors. Order it mild, medium, hot or extra hot, and don’t forget to order some fresh naan and chutney on the side.

KID FRIENDLY
Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Multiple Locations
Silver: Lucky Pie Pizza
Bronze: Noodles & Co.
Write-in: Dagabi Tapas Bar

It’s no secret the folks at Mountain Sun Pubs and Breweries know how to have fun. So is it any surprise this local chain is also our readers’ pick for the most kid-friendly spot in Boulder County? With ample indoor space and patios to run around, games galore and menus full of kid-approved options, bring the whole family to any of the Mountain Sun locations for a good time. For all the parents out there, after a year of staying home and online learning, doesn’t that sound great?

ITALIAN
Carelli’s of Boulder

645 30th St., 303-938-9300
Silver: Pizzeria Locale
Bronze: Il Pastaio
Write-in: Fringe Pizza

Our readers say Carelli’s of Boulder has the best Italian food in town. It has a large menu that includes starters such as mussels, carpaccio, bruschetta and roasted olives. It then moves into soups, salads and pastas, including ravioli, spaghetti Bolognese, fettuccini alfredo and delicate angel hair aglio e olio. Chicken, fish, veal and other meats are featured in classic Italian preparations like piccata, Parmigiana and marsala. And don’t forget the pizza, paninis and calzones.

SANDWICH
Snarf’s Sandwiches

Multiple Locations
Silver: Moxie Bread Co.
Bronze: Organic Sandwich Company
Write-in: Lolita’s Market & Deli

Our readers say no establishment puts sliced meat and toppings together like Snarf’s Sandwiches. It’s got a menu that spans meat and veggie varieties, hot and cold, toppings aplenty… in short, you’ll get the sandwich you crave. Top your sando with the giardiniera pepper blend to kick everything up a notch.

PLACE TO GO ON A FIRST DATE
Rayback Collective

2775 Valmont Road, 303-214-2127
Silver: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Bronze: Jax Fish House
Write-in: Sanitas Brewing Company

First dates can be hazardous to your health. There’s the anxiety, the anticipation, the awkward conversation, the heated debates on Dutch maritime supremacy in the late 1600s. But, the atmosphere where your first date occurs can smooth out all those edges and make it an enjoyable experience. Our readers say the best place to go on this romantic adventure is Rayback Collective, which has food trucks, fire pits, tons of beer and kombucha on tap, and plenty of space to get lost if you decide a couple minutes into the date that it’s not going to work out.

BAKERY
Moxie Bread Co.

641 Main St., Louisville, 720-420-9616
4593 Broadway, Boulder, 303-903-9961

Silver: Spruce Confections
Bronze: Great Harvest
Write-in: Babette’s Pizza & Pane

As a local, independent bakery, Moxie Bread Co. makes choices driven by a desire to foster community… and to make amazing baked goods with organic, unprocessed grains. A trip to Moxie transports the mind to a patisserie somewhere in northwest France, with a counter full of fig and chocolate croissants, egg pastries and bubbling-over muffin crumbles. There’s focaccia, ciabatta, Jewish rye, Algerian and farmhouse breads. Popovers. Kouign-amman. Bretagne. And since all of their breads are made with 100% heirloom grains in a slow fermentation process, people with gluten sensitivities need not fear, only enjoy.

SEAFOOD
Jax Fish House

928 Pearl St., 303-444-1811
Silver: Flagstaff House
Bronze: Reelfish Fish & Chips
Write-in: Sushi Zanmai

Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is a Best of Boulder winner many times over because of its fresh, sustainable approach to seafood. Jax’s raw bar offers up to a dozen different varieties of oysters nightly as well as clams, chilled crabs and lobsters; all flown in daily. Behind the scenes, the chef creates innovative entrees that capture the essence of fresh fish with local and organic produce.

PIZZA SLICE
Cosmo’s Pizza

1325 Broadway, 303-447-3278
659 30th St., 303-447-3278
3117 28th St., 303-442-3278
1325 Broadway, Unit 108, 303-447-1133

Silver: Abo’s Pizza
Bronze: Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage

Boulder Weekly readers love Cosmo’s Pizza. This repeat winner of best pizza slice in Boulder has outposts throughout town, so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can drop everything and have a hot slice in your mouth in minutes. Slices with various toppings are ready for the taking, so might as well just put a finger on this page and get to Cosmo’s for a slice.

ORGANIC RESTAURANT
Flower Child

2580 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 110, 303-386-8090
Silver: Black Cat Bistro
Bronze: Fresh Thymes Eatery
Write-in: Organic Sandwich Company

If you know anything about Boulder, you know Boulder likes its organic food. And our readers say you can get the best organic food at Flower Child, with its array of healthy and fresh bowls, grains, greens, wraps, flavored lemonade, kombucha or even organic wine and beer. And these folks make every last bite from scratch, using locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients, promising to spread “positively delicious vibes… whether you’re vegan, Paleo, gluten-free or just hungry.” Well, if we weren’t hungry before, now we are.

RESTAURANT DESSERT
Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640
Silver: The Huckleberry
Bronze: The Melting Pot
Write-in: Dagabi Tapas Bar

If you’re looking for the best sweet treats in town, Flagstaff House is the place our readers recommend. Sitting atop Flagstaff Mountain, looking down into the Boulder Valley, a visit to Flagstaff House is pretty sweet even before the dessert — but order a slice of Blood Orange Cheesecake (with kumquat, lemon balm and ginger mousse) and take the experience to the next level. If it’s chocolate you crave, there’s Flagstaff’s Warm Chocolate Cake, with chocolate glaze, salted caramel ice cream and cocoa nibs. Vanilla may be basic, but not at Flagstaff, where Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée is served with an almond macaroon and fresh raspberries.

SUSHI
Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar

1117 Pearl St., 303-578-3071
Silver: Japango
Bronze: Sushi Zanmai
Write-in: Blofish Sushi

Did you know Mork & Mindy — the sitcom where Robin Williams plays an alien who marries his human roommate — was filmed in Boulder? If not, or if you forgot, Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar is here to remind you. Our readers’ favorite sushi place offers plenty of traditional fare —  from edamame to miso soup, from California rolls to salmon and avocado rolls. But where this menu really stands out is in its specialty rolls — the Booty Call roll, Foreplay roll, Orgasm roll and XXX roll will have you wondering if there are any limits to what sushi can be. And don’t forget to try the Mork & Mindy roll; head to Hapa to find out what’s inside.

TAKE OUT
Snarf’s Sandwiches

Multiple Locations
Silver: Aloy Thai
Bronze: Curry ‘n’ Kebob
Write-in: Scratch Kitchen

The menu at Snarf’s Sandwiches features oven-toasted sammies on that infamously delicious fresh-baked bread, entree-sized salads, soups and desserts — all of it conveniently available for take out. Go fancy with a prime rib and provolone sandwich or keep it laid-back with a turkey and Swiss. You can expect premium carved meats and sliced cheeses with freshly chopped veggies on every sandwich. And who can forget about that giardiniera pepper blend — it adds just the right kick. So let Snarf’s do the work for your next picnic or relaxed night on the couch.

PANCAKE/WAFFLE
Snooze: An A.M. Eatery

1617 Pearl St., 303-225-7344
Silver: The Buff
Bronze: Walnut Cafe
Write-in: Le Peep

At Snooze: an A.M. Eatery, you can enter pancake utopia (no, honestly, it’s right there on the menu: pancake utopia), a place where all of your pancake dreams come true. There are Blueberry Danish Pancakes (blueberry coulis, sweet cream and almond streusel surrounding a center of lemony cream cheese filling), Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes (caramelized pineapple chunks, housemade vanilla creme and cinnamon butter) and Sweet Potato Pancakes (topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter). Can’t choose? Get a pancake flight with all three. Vegan? Gluten-free? Snooze has you covered on all fronts.

TACO
T/ACO

1175 Walnut St., 303-443-9468
Silver: McDevitt Taco Supply
Bronze: Bartaco
Write-in: Tierra y Fuego Taqueria

Since opening a few years ago, T/ACO has been making street tacos that are hard to beat, according to our readers. Carnitas, mango caesar, shrimp, avocado… whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, T/ACO has something for you, and you may not know it until you try it. Such is the joy of T/ACO’s expansive and affordable menu — get the three you know you like, and one oddball choice, and you’ll probably leave with a new favorite taco.

WINGS
World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill

2922 Baseline Road, 303-442-8162
Silver: West End Tavern
Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
Write-in: Fresh Thymes Eatery

The World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill prides itself on serving three-joint Buffalo wings that come dressed in a variety of rubs and sauces: plain, hot, extra hot, barbecue, teriyaki, dry rub or a combo — served with ranch or blue cheese, as it should. This iconic and beloved dive bar __continuously wins best wings in Best of Boulder, and this year is no different. Whether eaten as an appetizer, a fourth-quarter stress snack or your full meal, you can’t go to Dark Horse without trying these famous wings.

AMERICAN RESTAURANT
Blackbelly Market

1606 Conestoga St., 303-247-1000
Silver: OAK at fourteenth
Bronze: World Famous Dark Horse Bar & Grill
Write-in: Flagstaff House

Since evolving his catering business into a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2014, Blackbelly Market chef/owner Hosea Rosenberg (winner of Top Chef Season 5) has been a leader in the local food scene. Shortly after the switch from catering, Blackbelly expanded its in-house butcher shop and launched an adjoining breakfast-and-lunch spot serving high-quality food. About that food — the evolving Blackbelly menu includes crispy pig ears with fried egg and red pepper jelly; local lamb with Meyer lemon labneh, crispy chickpeas and charred spring onion; and an otherworldly beef tartare with quail egg and fresh horseradish.

VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY
Flower Child

2580 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 110, 303-386-8090
Silver: Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant
Bronze: Fresh Thymes Eatery
Write-in: Whole Sol

Flower Child uses fresh ingredients from close to home to make healthy food for people of all dietary persuasions, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, Paleo or just a hungry person looking for a tasty bite to eat. And just because Flower Child can do sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free doesn’t mean it does flavor-free. Fresh avocado toast, warm grain bowls, hearty salads, hefty wraps… you can try it all at Flower Child’s bright and cheerful dining room in the Arapahoe Village Shopping Center, or order online for pick-up.

GLUTEN-FREE MENU
Flower Child

2580 Arapahoe Ave., Suite 110, 303-386-8090
Silver: Fresh Thymes Eatery
Bronze: Modern Market
Write-in: Whole Sol

Flower Child delivers a menu focused on freshness, which caters to vegans, vegetarians, Paleo dieters and, as our readers have pointed out, those on gluten-free diets. Now, you don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy Flower Child’s salads, bowls, wraps and more, but we know finding a consistently great place with gluten-free options isn’t necessarily easy (though it’s probably easier in Boulder than other places). So, rejoice gluten abstainers, and head to Flower Child.

RESTAURANT SERVICE
Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Road, 303-442-4640
Silver: Frasca Food & Wine
Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
Write-in: Dagabi Tapas Bar

We get it. After a year of eating at home, maybe even in front of the TV, you may be a little gun shy about dining out again. But that’s why restaurant service is so important to any dining experience. It’s important to know you’ll be met with friendly (mask-wearing) faces, with service that considers your particular needs and desires, all of which creates an environment where you can feel safe and secure. The folks at Flagstaff House know just what to do. The restaurant is known not just for its new American cuisine and extensive wine list, but for having some of the best service in town.