Award-Winning Boulder Restaurants
For a town with a population of just 108,000, Boulder has more than its fair share of critically acclaimed chefs and restaurants. The town's eateries have been recognized by the MICHELIN Guide, the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and the Food Network, to name a few. You’ll stumble upon plenty of lauded eateries in town, but the following are among Boulder’s most decorated.
Since 2010, in-the-know locals have been quietly frequenting Basta and nodding in agreement about the exceptional food — particularly the famed burrata, the can't-stop-eating-it half-chicken dish, and bubbly wood-oven pizzas made with extraordinary care from heirloom grains milled at Dry Storage next door. Tucked away in the courtyard of an apartment complex, it's been one of Boulder's best-kept secrets for years. Now the esteemed MICHELIN Guide has taken note and granted Basta a Bib Gourmand distinction, presented to restaurants that provide a meal of good quality at a good value. Basta is one of just nine Colorado restaurants to receive the distinction.
Frasca Food and Wine
Called “The French Laundry of Colorado” (a reference to the famous Napa Valley restaurant), Frasca Food and Wine is where you go when only the very best will do. Featuring the food of northern Italy and an impressive wine program — and with a MICHELIN star, a MICHELIN Outstanding Service recognition and three James Beard awards (including the coveted Outstanding Service Award) under its belt — even the finest palates will be pleased here. Frasca also holds an AAA four-diamond rating.
Blackbelly Market is “Top Chef Season 5” champion Hosea Rosenberg’s first restaurant, with a focus on sustainable, locally sourced foods and a whole-animal artisan butcher shop attached. The MICHELIN Guide honored the restaurant with a green star (for sustainability efforts) and recognized butcher Kelly Kawachi as Colorado's Best Young Chef in 2023. The interior is simple and approachable, and a refreshing patio is the spot to be in the warmer months. Blackbelly was also named one of 5280 Magazine’s Best New Restaurants, and every year since, it has been recognized as one of their top 25 restaurants.
Oak at Fourteenth
A small interior feels exclusive but warm and welcoming, with glimpses into the open kitchen where Oak’s culinary artists work their magic, and a happening bar that turns outs perfectly balanced craft cocktails nonstop. Chef Steven Redzikowski is a James Beard nominee and the restaurant was recently added to the MICHELIN Guide.
A reprieve from the numerous burrito and pizza joints on the Hill (a neighborhood that borders the University of Colorado campus), Cafe Aion is worth seeking out. Chef Dakota Soifer earned the title of champion on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and commands an excellent menu in Boulder that features fresh, local ingredients and Spanish-inspired cuisine.
Bramble and Hare
Low ceilings, sheepskin-draped chairs, a window into the kitchen, a cool cocktail bar that blends into the dining room — it all creates an intimate atmosphere at Bramble and Hare that compliments the elegant cooking of chef and farmer Eric Skokan, a James Beard finalist. The MICHELIN Guide honored Bramble and Hare with a green star for its sustainability efforts. The vast majority of the restaurant's ingredients come from the chef's own farm, with the MICHELIN Guide noting, "Those impressive ingredients aren't gussied up in this kitchen, where a smart but straightforward cooking style allows them to truly shine."
Zoe Ma Ma
Chinese street food restaurant and local favorite, Zoe Ma Ma, was founded by Edwin Zoe, a semi-finalist for the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restauranteur, and features his mother, Anna Zoe's, beloved cooking. They were also added to the MICHELIN Guide in 2023. This isn't the restaurant's first brush in the limelight, though. The whole world got a taste of its "non-Americanized" Chinese fare when this eatery’s pork-filled steamed buns and za jiang main was featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" and an episode of "Cheap Eats."
The interior of Stella's glints and gleams with all the markings of a fine dining experience — one that it truly delivers on with its refined Italian cuisine. Its an approach that earned it a recommendation in the MICHELIN Guide, writing, "Chef Filippo Piccini impresses with a focused menu of pan-regional Italian dishes."
At the pinnacle of special-occasion dining (and perched on Flagstaff Mountain with spectacular views) is the Flagstaff House, a favorite for fine dining since 1971. Every year since 1983, the restaurant has received the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award for having one of the most coveted wine lists in the world. It's also a Forbes Travel Guide Four Star and AAA Four Diamond restaurant that you must see, taste and experience to believe.
In the second restaurant by Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, he brings to plates home cooking from his upbringing in New Mexico — think green chile, tortas and mole. Santo was added to the MICHELIN Guide in 2023, with the inspectors commending its "satisfying, rustic cooking with Mexican roots."
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
A must-see for any visit to Boulder, the teahouse is a spectacular Persian work of art, gifted to Boulder by our sister city Dushanbe, Tajikistan. But it's a must-taste as well, as noted by the MICHELIN Guide recommendation, which notes, "the menu reads like a world explorer's diary."