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Apr 13, 2007 08:42 AM

Telluride Food Scene

Hi All,

I just found out that my boyfriend might be taking me to Telluride in August or September. I've never been there before but am a foodie from the east coast so I was curious what the restaurant scene is like in Telluride.

Any suggestions or ideas?

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  1. :Lucky lady:

    In town (fine dining, good wine):
    221 South Oak (woman owner/chef)
    La Marmotte
    Bluepoint Grill (upstairs; Noir Bar is the downstairs club)

    Mountain Village:
    Restaurant 9475
    Isabelle's (I haven't been there myself; it's fairly new)

    Allred's (top of the free gondola; drop-dead views, $$$$)

    Funky classics:
    Baked in Telluride
    Floradora Saloon

    12 Replies
    1. re: ClaireWalter

      Wow! Thanks! THis is helpful and is getting me excited for the trip.

      1. re: ClaireWalter

        i'll be in telluride in a couple weeks and am planning on doing a lot of cooking while there (timeshare has a kitchen). if there's more than one grocery store in the town, do any of you have a preference for which carries quality ingredients? what will be local and fresh this time of year? is there a farmer's market?

        i'm a california girl, so what i'm used to cooking with (fish and lots of fresh produce) seems less likely in colorado, but perhaps i am mistaken? i'd love to take advantage of the best your area has to offer!

        1. re: artemis

          Local and fresh at this time of year? Telluride is not exactly farm country (at 8,750 so high that the frost-free period is meausred in weeks) and additionally has had something like 33 feet of snow fall this winter. There is farming and ranching lower down around Montrose, but nothing grows there in winter either. Telluride has a wonderful farmers' market, but it doesn't start until June -- and that doesn't help you at all. There are two markets in town, Clark's Market and the Village Market. Both are small and expensive. Clark's is more "mainstream," while Village market is more "granola." There is also a grocery store of some sort up in Mountain Village that I've never been to, but I'm guessing it's even smaller and more expensive.

          If you are flying into Montrose, which many people do, try to stop there at least for some staples. Montrose has both a City Market (part of the King Soopers/Kroger family) and a Safeway. The airport is north of town, and you have to drive south through town, so a shopping stop isn't really a detour.

          And if you decide to bake or boil anything, remember to adjust for the altitude.

          1. re: ClaireWalter

            thanks claire. is there a website you prefer that discusses high altitude cooking conversion?

            hmm... small and expensive. i was hoping there was something "whole foods-esque" since i realized that a trader joe's type would be a futile wish. these markets are smaller, i am guessing?

            we are flying into montrose, though your (likely brilliant) suggestion throws a kink in my romantic idea of daily grocery shopping.

            good to know about the produce. can you tell i'm from the west coast ;)?

            1. re: artemis

              Telluride has a population of only about 2,300 -- so no chance at all of a Whole Foods-type supermarket -- and in fact, there are no Trader Joe's in the entire state of Colorado. I think it's amazing that a town the size of Telluride has two decent markets of any sort (plus one in Mountain Village). Rich locals and tourists don't mind the high going rate, hire personal chefs or go out to eat. BTW, high prices are understandable, given the fact that EVERYTHING is trucked in over mountain roads from Montrose (65 miles), Grand Junction (90 miles) or Denver (about 350 miles).

              Excuse me for asking a personal question, but you're coming to one of the best ski resorts in America during an epic snow year (some say the best since 1983). Why would you want to spend so much time cooking?

              1. re: ClaireWalter

                on vacation with the SO and his dad (who has the timeshare). they are both expert skiers and will be playing together on triple black diamond slopes. they are very excited about the epic snow. i've never seen snow, and as part of my entertainment, i've been given an unlimited food budget. i like cooking. otoh, it is sounding to be much more of a challenge than i realized!

                i'm intending to get some snowboarding lessons or something, but i didn't anticipate spending my entire time doing that. your information has been very helpful. it looks like i may have to reassess...

                1. re: artemis

                  In Telluride, you might need the "unlimited food budget" just for Corn Flakes and coffee, so do stop in Montrose for the basics -- and treat yourselves to a meal out now and again.

                  Off-topic for food, but on-topic for Telluride, make sure that you have warm, footwear with decent traction. Chic little LA boots are an invitation for misery. I don't snowboard, but have tried it. Took a few lessons (I'm a writer a did a skier-learns-to-ride story years ago). Snowboarding has a fairly steep. It takes a few frustrating days for many (most?) people to get it, but once they do, they really love it. If it doesn't work for you, rent some gear in town and take Chair 10 to the Top-A-Ten Nordic Center and take a cropss-country ski lesson or at least go snowshoeing. There's a joke that "snowshoeing is a 12-step program. Take 12 steps and you're a snowshoer." It is that easy. Top-A-Ten is one of the few cross-country/snowshoe facilities that's high up on the mountain rather than down in the shady valley. Really beautiful.

                  For T-ride pix, go to The Telluride Ski Co pays Dave to blog. He roams all over the mountain (loves the steep and deep) and into the backcountry too.

                  Enjoy your time(share).

                  1. re: ClaireWalter

                    thanks claire. you've given me a lot of great ideas. i'll be sure to look into snowshoeing and xcountry sking at top-a-ten.

                    for the record, i'm from san francisco, not la!!!

              2. re: artemis

                As one who also likes to indulge in the "daily grocery shopping" romanticism, I can understand your disappointment. Maybe daily shopping is more of an urban-living thing than a mountain-town thing.

                But just because you need to buy staples in Montrose doesn't mean you can't still engage in some daily shopping for a loaf of bread for dinner, or pastries for breakfast, or a 1/4 pound of coffee for after dinner, or of bottle of wine.

                Take "exploration" as your theme & perhaps you could spend your daily shopping searching out every little food nook & cranny in the town.

                And then you could also write the definitive chow report when you return!

          2. re: ClaireWalter

            I took my husband and our three boys to Baked in Telluride last week for dinner based on this discussion, but I have to say that to me it wasn't funky. It was dirty and dark, and the employees looked hot, miserable, and annoyed. The food (pasta, sandwiches, pizza) was some of the most mediocre we encountered on a long road trip through California, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah.

            1. re: lmcneal

              Sorry to hear that your meal was unpleasant. We have eaten there a number of times and found the food tasty and reasonably priced [which isn't easy to come by in Telluride]. It is far from fancy but we have not found it dirty.

              I'd imagine most employees in a working kitchen environment are hot in summer; although not annoyed.

              1. re: lmcneal

                BIT is an institution in a town with few remaining institutions. I wouldn't think of going there for dinner, but I still kind of like it for a quick breakfast or for a to-go sandwich to take on a hike. It's certainly time-worn (part of the funkiness) but I never thought it was "dirty." Perhaps in this era of sanitized chains, anything vintage that is a bit warped, a bit chipped, a bit frayed around the edges seems dirty. Or maybe when you had your unhappy dinner there, it was.

            2. Elyssa--I travel to Telluride every fall for one of the festivals and would want to add a couple of places to your list. In town, both Rustico (Italian) and Cocina de Luz (Mexican) are worth visiting. Rustico is the best Italian in the town (admittedly not much competition); we go every time we're there. And, Cocina just has honest and tasty Mexican though they've expanded their space and increased prices some in the last few years.

              Artemis: There actually is a larger, sort-of-like a hybrid WF/Trader Joes type grocery in Telluride. The quality isn't as consistently high as WF but probably at Trader Joes level without bring private label. Didn't see it mentioned except for the passing reference to one possibly in Mountain Village. If you take the gondola up to and past Mountain Village, to the last possible stop, you'll get out right in front of it. Can't remember the name but, after coming to Telluride for a long time, I was surprised to find a store of that size and quality in a town so small. Prices are better than the two small places in town; many of the locals shop there.

              4 Replies
              1. re: midwesthound

                Actually, the grocery store you are talking about midwesthound is called "The Market at Mountain Village" and is at the terminus of the gondola, right next to the parking structure. It is very good and and very expensive.

                FWIW, Mountain Village is actually a separate community from Telluride. It has its' own government, post office etc.

                The original post is from February, so this won't help those folks, but may help others who search.

                In town, try these:
                The New Sheridan Chop House
                Cosmos {Cosmopolitan's} near the gondola
                Rustica Ristorante
                Honga's Lotus Pearl
                Fly Me to The Moon Saloon - burgers
                Siam Thai

                Baked in Telluride has great pizza and baked goods, and is terrific for all 3 meals. 127 South Fir Street 970-728-4775

                Poachers Pub lots of typical pub food,Blue Mesa Building 970-728-9647

                La Cocina de Luz, mexican, 123 East Colorado Ave., 970-728-9355.

                Fat Alley, for BBQ Fat Alley, 128 South Oak St., 970-728-3985.

                Shanghai Palace, for chinese, 126 East Colorado Ave., 970-728-0882.

                Smuggler’s Brewpub & Grille - pub food,
                225 South Pine St., 970-728-0919.

                The Sweet Life, burgers, malts, ice cream, 115 West Colorado Ave.,

                Merle’s Brown Bag, salads & sandwiches,
                120 West Colorado Ave., 970-728-5556.

                Maggie’s Bakery & Cafe, breakfast & lunch, 217 East Colorado Ave., 970-728-3334.


                1. re: DebitNM

                  That's it on the grocery store--thanks Deb.

                  Though have to weigh in a bit on the list. One person's opinion but, to me, it's more a list of most everything available (at least a high percentage of the places since Telluride is so small) versus a shorter list of the ones that really stand out.

                  For example, I'd have to agree with the previous imcneal on Baked in Telluride. We haven't found it to be "dirty" over the years but it is dark and pretty bare bones. More important--this is CH after all--we think it pretty mediocre even by Telluride standards. Guess the pizza and baked goods could be called "ok" but can't imagine saying it's great for all three meals.

                  Also, I have to call out Honga and disagree strongly with that recc. Honga has been in Telluride for many years and, just two or three years ago, moved from a side street to a much bigger location right on main street. They're trying to manufacture a scene big on trendy creativity but we found the result (went twice last year and again this year) to be hugely disappointing. Overly complicated food that really detracted from the flavors, high prices (yes, by Telluride standards) and wait staff with attitude. We won't go back

                  1. re: midwesthound

                    I know that this is an old post, but I just ate at Honga's and felt compelled to chime in with agreement. Overall, our meal was pretty awful. My Thai green curry had acceptable -- not great -- flavor, but had numerous inedible items in the dish. I was unable to identify these items, one may have been a radish of some sort, the others may have been items meant for flavoring and not for eating, but it was simply inexcusable that these items were served. To have to pick through your bowl and nibble items first to see if they could be eaten is just wrong.

                    My girlfriend's $25 fried rice with beef had ok flavor, but the beef was tough and flavorless. If the dish had cost $8, it would have been just ok, but at $25, that is simply unacceptable. Her ginger beer also was $5 (a bottle of soda for $5!). I understand restaurant markup, but that is ridiculous. And combined with the crappy meal, it just added insult to injury.

                    One appetizer, two entrees, one cocktail and one soda cost $100 with tax and tip. And it was easily the worst $100 meal I have ever had. I will not be back.

                    1. re: LurkerDan

                      Wow, that does sound absolutely awful. I would not pay that kind of money for either of those dishes, personally. Did you speak to the managment? I won't be recommending this restaurant any more.

              2. So I didn't end up going back in 2007. But I might be going Labor Day weekend now...will be doing the long drive from Denver after the Democratic Convention.

                Do these recommendations still stand? We will be going with some friends, but it is also our anniversary, so I was hoping to do a nice dinner Saturday or Sunday night. We are trying to keep the bill under $125 or so. Is 221 South Oak or Cosmopolitan good for this meal?

                Any other must tries for lunch or breakfast? Any sort of must try foodie shops---be it bread, chocolate, or cheese? Thanks!

                7 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa

                  On the drive, I would stop at Beau Jo's pizza in Idaho Springs.

                  Baked in Telluride: great for a doughnut in the morning. Never been there for anything else.

                  Fat Alley: I saw this recommended by someone, I think this place is terrible.

                  Lotus Petal: I like it. We haven't had a bad meal yet.

                  Have Fun!

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Cosmo has trendy food that is very good. It is at the base of the Gondola, so no views. If you want views: Allred's is the place. Food is as good, if not better than Cosmo's and a to die for view. You take the gondola to the St. Sophia stop and it is right there. The New Sheridan Steak House has top notch food, very old world feel to it, but no view.

                    I would make reservations now for Labor Day Weekend.

                    The Market in Mountain Village is a great place for wine, bread, cheese and any other foodie needs. See my post above for links and more ideas.


                    1. re: Elyssa

                      I was just thinking about this and since you are coming to Telluride, Allred's with it's excellent food and spectacular views really is the way to go. Cosmo, The New Sheridan, Rustica are all really nice restaurants with good food, but hey, you can probably get that where you live. What you can't get [if you are not from CO, anyway] is the view with food to match.



                      1. re: DebitNM

                        Thanks for all your recommendations. Do you think we can get out of Allred's for under $120? We usually order 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and 2 glasses of wine.

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          Is that with tax and tip? The appetizers will run an average of $15 each, the entrees will be upward of $30 each, the wine maybe $10 a glass and dessert $10. That brings you in at $120 before tax [another almost $10] and tip $20 or so and that will top $150. The entree will be chicken or vegetarian; more $$ for others. Check out the link, it has menu for appetizers and entrees.

                          Realistically, Telluride is a VERY expensive place and to eat at one of the higher end restaurants, $120 even before tax and tip is low. Rustica Risorante may be your best bet for a really good meal within your price.

                          Also, you hotel may require 2 or even 3 day minimum since it's Labor Day weekend AND Telluride Film Festival Weekend. I wouldn't be sure you can even find a room this late in the game.

                          1. re: DebitNM

                            I actually checked out the website after you recommended it. Seems a bit pricier then I was hoping for, but I'll put it on the short list considering the view.

                            I'm not worried about a bf's family has a house there. We are going to be in Colorado the week before for the Democratic Convention so we are are weighing our options on whether or not to make the 6+ hour drive to Telluride since I've never been. Thanks for letting me know about the Film Festival though.

                            1. re: Elyssa

                              Telluride is beyond gorgeous and very worthwhile visiting. If dinner is too expensive, take the (free) gondola ride to San Sophia Station and at lease have wine and perhaps an appetizer or two. The bar opens at 5:00.

                    2. Looks like I'm FINALLY making it to Telluride. We didn't go in August but are going instead over the holidays in December.

                      My parents want to treat me and my bf to dinner for our holiday present. Is La Marmotte still a good choice? If you had to chose between Marmotte and 221 South Oak which would you go with? I'm hoping to keep the price under $150. Any other places?

                      Anything new that I should know about for dinner, lunch, coffee, snacks etc? I'm very excited to visit.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Elyssa

                        It will be a treat indeed. $150 for how many people? Three or four?

                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                          Two people. We usually get 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and a dessert. Also a bottle or glass of wine (depending how we feel).

                          1. re: Elyssa

                            You should be able to get 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and some wine for $150. Most expensive entrees seem to be around $40. Bon appetit!

                            1. re: ClaireWalter

                              Claire which restaurant do you recommend?

                              Also any good coffee shops in the area? I'm looking for a cool place with good coffee and maybe some comfy chairs or couches where I can hang out and read. Bonus points for anyplace similar with a fireplace!!!

                              1. re: Elyssa

                                IMO, the restaurants cited are all excellent. They're all good -- and all pricey, but then, everything in T-rode is pricey.

                                Coffee shop: Steaming Bean on Colorado Avenue (the main drag in the original downtown) is my favorite. I also like the small coffee shop in the back of Between the Covers, the local bookstore. See for all in town and at Mountain Village. (FWIW, Baked in Telluride is a local institution but not a particularly comfortable coffee shop/cafe.)

                        2. re: Elyssa

                          I highly recommend Allred's which is at St Sophia mid mountain gondola. The views are the best in town and the food is excellent.

                          Cosmo's which is near by the Gondola base in town is also good. The New Sherian Chop house on the main street is excellent choice as well. I have eaten many times at all 3 and have never had a bad meal at any of them.

                          I have not eaten at Mamotte nor 221 South Oak, so no feedback on those, sorry.


                          1. re: DebitNM

                            Perhaps you should hit the EXPAND ALL Link above and re-read all of the posts. Some good info in them from a number of folks.

                          2. re: Elyssa

                            I just returned from a weekend in Telluride. Not sure when in December you are going, Elyssa, but if it is before Dec 19, be sure to make a reservation at Allred's. For the first time, chef Bob Scherner is creating a $35 three-course prix fixe ($60 with paired wines). There is a choice of seven appetizers, six entrees and three desserts. Pix at

                            Also, at Restaurant 9545 in the Inn at Lost Creek, newlywed executive chef and sous-chef Kelly and Dana Patton are reprising four of the six courses they prepared at the James Beard House in NY all winter long. The dinner is $95.45 for two people, with wines additional. It's another sensational value. Pix at

                            1. re: ClaireWalter

                              I'll be in Telluride from the 23rd-2nd. Do you know roughly what Allred's pre-fixe menu is normally priced at or if they have a tasting menu? I couldn't find much on the website outside of their current special.

                              Also thanks for the info on Restaurant 9545...sounds great! Btw do you know where I can find info the the special James Beard menu? Doesn't appear on the menu page of the website.

                              1. re: Elyssa

                                Elyssa - Click on the links in my post. All that info is there.

                          3. We have made dinner reservations for Honga's Lotus Petal, Allred's, 221 South Oak, and La Marmotte. I can't wait to report back on all our Telluride foodie experiences when I get back from vacation!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Elyssa

                              Just checked back into this string since we're heading to Telluride for film fest next week. Elyssa, did you like your spots? Didn't realize you booked at Hongas but hopefully you enjoyed it better than we did.

                              We'll be sticking with Rustico and Cosmos for better/bit more expensive more serious meals and Cocina de Luz and a thai spot on the west side of town whose name I always forget but which is surprisingly good.

                              Between the Covers is my pref for coffee over Steaming Bean hands down. There really aren't other options aside from those two that are coffee house places.

                              Unless anyone there recently can advise on places new in the last 10 months worth trying?

                              1. re: midwesthound

                                On Rustico's website, which appears to be a few years old, they say they do not participate in Colorado's cork and go law. Do you know if that is still their policy? We always want to order a nice bottle and take what's left over with us. We were glad Colorado started allowing that a few years back and have never run into this problem since then, but it appears this resto doesn't allow it. Anyone up to date on this?

                                1. re: midwesthound

                                  MWHound, could you let us know what you tried? I am headed there in two weeks, it would be great to know if you liked anything.