Denver and Boulder are both foodie towns, that is for sure. We’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be some of the star restaurants of the front range. In each of the categories; fine dining, casual dining, brunch and dessert, we have provided our personal favorite dishes as well a charming fact about what makes each establishment unique. We are confident that you’ll appreciate these places as much as we do. Okay, let's do it, Denver Food Vs. Boulder Food! GO!
We love this place! Tavernetta is the Denver sister restaurant of Pizzeria Locale and Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder -- both of which have solidified their place as staples in the Boulder food scene. At Tavernetta, the Italian influence is spotlighted by unique selections of artisanal meat and cheeses, carefully crafted regional pasta dishes and elegant yet approachable desserts. What we should also highlight is the impeccable service and attention to detail that really makes this place shine.
Best Dish at Tavernetta:
Most people come to Tavernetta for the Tagliatelle, a fettuccine-like-noodle which is accompanied by Maine lobster and Calabrian chile. But our guilty pleasure there is definitely the potato chips that appear after receiving a seat at the bar. We’re unsure as to what kind of secret ingredient is added to them, but they are dangerously addicting.
Making its home on the edge of the bustling Capitol Hill district, Gozo is centrally located in the Baker neighborhood on the South Broadway strip. The restaurant sits among several other local hotspots that have garnered excellent reputations in the Denver food scene. We love the vibe of this worldly little haunt as it satisfies our desire for unique wines and sophisticated yet unpretentious dishes. The handcrafted cocktails don’t fail to appease, either.
Best Dish at Gozo:
Drawing its inspiration from the Mediterrean basin, fresh greens are plentiful among the dishes and the rustic wood-fired pizzas are about as traditional as they come. Some of the dishes that continue to be their workhorses in our eyes are the truffle fries, the wood-fired mushroom risotto and our guiltiest of pleasures -- the prosciutto pizza.
New to the Capitol Hill district but boasting a second location in Jefferson Park, Sassafras American Eatery quickly positioned itself at the top of the list for Denver brunch enthusiasts. Respectively, this is a list that hosts establishments such as Death & Co. and Denver Biscuit Company. We agree with the enthusiasts and critics, Sassafras politely screams authenticity. This is southern hospitality at its rawest.
Best Dish at Sassafras American Eatery:
The beignets certainly deserve praise from the sweet-tooth in us as does the award-winning chocolate-dipped bacon milkshake. Our savory side craves the chicken fried eggs with bison hash while the refined diner in us can’t help but order the southern benedict. And what would a Cajun restaurant be without Po’ Boys? Sassafras offers five variations of the southern staple.
This stunningly sleek uptown eatery is an institution not just in Denver’s food scene but nationally as well. What sets this establishment apart from its competitors is Celebrity Chef Keegan Gerhard’s award-winning pastries and desserts. Dine at one of the several restaurants on the lively 16th Street Mall before making the short walk up the block to round out the night with one of their decadent confections. For a unique experience, we suggest sitting at the dessert bar where you can view your dish being created right before your eyes.
Best Dish at D Bar Denver:
What makes this place exceptional is that all of the items are prepared fresh to order. The cake and shake combination is hands down our go-to, a delectable triple layer chocolate cake accompanied by a milkshake. The gourmet milk and cookies deserve a nod strictly due to nostalgia. Consider this place your deal-closer.
Two of Colorado’s most decorated restaurateurs, a Master Sommelier and an award winning chef, (Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson) co-founded this refined, authentically inspired Northern Italian gem. The opening of Frasca came after the pair met each other while working at The French Laundry. Food fanatics from Boulder and beyond have been supporting the award winning restaurant since day one. No stranger to accolades -- the Boulder establishment has garnered three James Beard Awards for outstanding service and wine knowledge as well as several nominations. They celebrate their fifteenth anniversary in November with two nights of intimate wine dinners.
Best Dish at Frasca:
We’re simply satisfied with the rotating salumi and formaggi selections. Local seasonal produce and farm fresh cuts of meat determine a large portion of the rotating menu. The pork belly with habanada peppers, peaches, chanterelle mushrooms, and prosciutto has our loyalty at the moment. We also must give honorable mention of their wine list which hosts over 200 varieties including the house-created line of Italian wines, "Scarpetta," which is absolutely delicious.
The Med is, without a doubt, an establishment every Boulder resident is familiar with. Conveniently located across the street from the Galvanize Boulder campus, this massive indoor/outdoor restaurant plays host to one of the most popular happy hours in town. The expansive menu offers authentic yet familiar dishes that draw inspiration from the entire Mediterranean basin. Maintaining a well-deserved reputation within the Boulder food scene, the owners operate not one but three separate successful establishments, each within a block of each other. Brasserie Ten Ten, the French estaminet sits directly across from The Med while Via Perla serves upscale Italian fare at its location on the acclaimed Pearl street mall.
Best Dish at The Med:
We initiate every outing at The Med with the bacon-wrapped dates. To satisfy our desire for smoky and spicy, the Calabrese wood-fired pizza is the only way to go. Each dish sets up our senses for dinner which has got to be the paella -- this classic Spanish dish is executed to perfection and always satiates.
Conveniently located next to the Boulder Marriott, The Buff plays host to one of the most if not the most desired brunch services in Boulder. Having hospitably served the community for nearly twenty-five years, it should come as no surprise that it has created and retained an extremely loyal customer base. Also a short walk from the Google campuses, this spot makes for an ideal gathering spot for mid-morning and early afternoon meetups. Both lighter fare and hearty dishes pepper the menu appealing to appetites and dietary preferences of all kinds.
Best Dish at The Buff:
The breakfast burger always satisfies our carnivorous cravings, while the primo breakfast chimichanga pays appropriate homage to the southwest. It’s hard to deny the heartiness of the homestead skillets when your eyes are bigger than your stomach and the valley of the sun omelet is an excellent option before a sunrise hike at Chautauqua. We couldn’t forgive ourselves if we didn’t mention the Tatanka -- a quart sized jar, filled to the brim with a fresh bloody mary and peppered bacon.
Located in the heart of downtown just a quick walk from Twitter, Galvanize and most Pearl street businesses sits Boulder Baked. They specialize in fresh-made-to-order confections ranging from brownies and cookies to cupcakes and their renowned cookie cakes. Offering delivery six days a week until midnight should ensure you a dessert even after a late dinner. All items are THC-free contrary to what the business’s name might suggest.
Best Dishes at Boulder Baked:
We believe the marriage between chocolate and peanut butter is quite possibly the most sinful combination in the world of sweets. That being said, the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie cake might be the only item you ever order from them. Pairing this with one of several varieties of Boulder’s very own Glacier homemade ice cream is absolutely essential.
In conclusion, we feel fortunate to have not one but two great cities within arms reach of each other that are becoming major players in their respective industry. Receiving recognition on both local and national levels indicates that there is certainly something remarkable happening here. Whether you find yourself in Denver or Boulder, we’re confident that you’ll be abundantly satisfied when dining out and that you will quickly be discovering some of your own personal favorite spots. Let us know if you think we should add some to this list!
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If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!