5 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. In fact, three of the 38 Standout Restaurants in Denver (according to Eater Denver) are actually in Boulder. You’ll stumble upon plenty of lauded eateries in town, but the following five are among Boulder’s most decorated.
Frasca Food and Wine
Called “The French Laundry of Colorado” (a reference to the famous Napa Valley Michelin three-star 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 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 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 interior is simple and approachable, and a refreshing patio is the spot to be in the warmer months. Blackbelly was 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.
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 nominee).
Honorable Mention: Zoe Ma Ma
We didn't want to leave out the Chinese street food restaurant and local favorite, Zoe Ma Ma. Owner Edwin Zoe was a semi-finalist for the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restauranteur. 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."