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New Places to try in Boulder/Denver & surrounding areas

Okay, so we are getting pretty bored with the dining scene in Boulder and are wondering if we might be missing something? Are there any tucked away, speshie places we maybe haven't discovered yet? Any ideas would be appreciated!!

We also haven't dined much in Denver and want to start going there more regularly. We have tried Fruition, Mizuna, and a few other little places...what are your must tries, favs, and don't misses?

Are there any good places to try in the surrounding towns like Louisville and Broomfield? We have yet to explore these areas except for NY Pizza which is pretty tasty!! I think I heard there was a good Thai restaurant that recently moved close by...


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  1. Well, what's new to you might be old to me since you didn't give any point of reference to your time frame. Or a list of the places you've tried and with whcih you are bored. Here's some suggestions:

    Pupusas Sabor Hispano on north Broadway.
    Restaurant 4580 just a little past Pupusas.
    Organic Orbit also in the same area.
    Scotch Corner at Broadway & Walnut. They have threatened to offer haggis but I haven't seen it on the menu.
    Tu Lien in Louisville. My favorite Vietnamese in the area.
    Carelli's at 30th & Baseline. Southern Italian comfort food with great atmosphere.
    Marcel's Chocolate Room in Louisville. Her truffles make a great meal.
    Westfalen Hof in Coal Creek Canyon. Authentic German except for the dearth of pork dishes. A crime! But excellent German beer on tap.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dogbreath

      I've only lived here for about 6 months, but think I have tried a majority of the restaurants in Boulder - so that might be too long to list.

      On your list, I have tried Pupusas, 4580, and Aji, and Carelli's. Thanks for the suggestions, you hit the nail on the head with the remote locations and unique restaurant choices.

      How is Organic Orbit? I've heard mixed reviews.

      I'm excited to try Tu Lien & we are always up for some good German beer!!

      1. re: lavendula

        Been to Organic Orbit once. Good, didn't knock my socks off. Nothing so unique that would compel me to return.

        1. re: dogbreath

          In Boulder,
          I haven't been to Organic Orbit yet but a friend and I are going there for lunch soon (next week, perhaps).
          Kava for sushi, one of these days

          IIn Denver,
          Via, because of James Mazzio.
          Osteria Marco, probably within the next few weeks.
          Black Pearl, because "tatamagouche" recommends it so highly.
          An Indian restaurant on Sheridan (I think) in Westminster or Thornton; I don't know the name, but several of my husband's Indian colleagues have told him that it is good and authentic-- and he has the details.

          1. re: ClaireWalter

            Claire, You're always such a great source of info! I didn't realize that James Mazzio was "back" and chef at Via. This place now jumps to the absolute top of my go-to list. I still believe that 15 Degrees was one of the finest places to ever inhabit Boulder.

            I'll be interested in reading your impression of Organic Orbit. The place got some hype in the Camera but I was not blown over by it. Don't get me wrong, our dinners were good but nothing really unique.

            1. re: dogbreath

              James Mazzio is a peripatetic sort, so I'm hoping he stays for a while!

    2. We live outside of Boulder and have given some local restaurants a try, these are a few pleasers that have left us pleasantly satisfied:
      Bloom @ Flatirons Broomfield- we weren't impressed with their initially opening years ago, but have returned recently and been very happy with our meals.
      Magnolia Steak& Seafood- Lafayette- They share a space with Sushi Mara, so you can also order off the sushi menu. It really is a little gem!
      Khow Thai- Broomfield -sit down version of the boulder take out location.
      Huckleberry-Louisville - we mainly dine for breakfast there.

      13 Replies
      1. re: eatplaylove

        Some people like SoBo Bistro in the Table Mesa Shopping Center (Broadway side). Meg Tilton reviewed it in the Friday section of this week's CAMERA, noting that it is expensive.

        Somebody just told me about a new Indian or Nepalese (I think) restaraunt on Table Mesa Road, east of Broadway and just west of US 36 (and also west of where the McDonald's was). The shopping center is on the south side of Table Mesa, set back from the road. The person who told me wasn't really specific about directions and didn't remember the exact name, but I suppose if you just drive around the little commercial building, you'll find it.

        Not new but 20 years old is the 14th Street Bar & Grill on the Pearl Street Mall. We went there y'day for a late lunch to celebrate an ailing friend's birthday -- perhaps his last. I hadn't been there for years, and I'd forgotten how pleasant it is. No knock-out food, but good and consistent. Reasonable prices too.

        I also have not yet been to Bimbamboo on Pearl, east of the Mall. I wasnt to say somewhere around 16th Street. Multi-Asian menu (some pho, some Thai, some other) that actually looked quite interesting.

        1. re: ClaireWalter

          Claire, there's a new Nepalese restaurant on Table Mesa in the space originally occupied by Rudi's many year's ago. Since then, that space has seen several restaurants come and go. The owners of this Nepalese place are the former manager and the former chef from Narayan's in the Meadows.

          Actually, does not bode well. Although I thought that the food at Narayan's was OK, the service and management was horrific. I ordered take-out several times and each order was either wrong or missing something. Actually, wherever I take out food these days, I make a point of checking it item by item. Narayan's was absolutley the worst at being accurate. Since I live in the mountains, there's no quick run back to the restaurant for a fix. My last time and I mean my LAST time there, I was in a rush and didn't do my usual check. Got home and they had *forgotten* to include the naan. I was not happy, called and let them know and that was my last association with them. Since the same inept people now own the new place, I doubt that I'll try it.

          Just had a dynamite dinner again at Brasserie 1010. I used to think that Kelly Kingford made the absolute best bouillabaise but the current chef is better! New things on the menu, too. Mobbed on Thursday night but worth the wait.

          1. re: dogbreath

            Dogbreath - I'm sure that's the same place that my friend recommended. Narayan's was around so many years ago (and so many meals ago) that I can barely remember it -- other than "small."

            Speaking of Kelly Kingford, have you any idea where she went after 4580?

            1. re: ClaireWalter

              The Chinese/Vietnamese Cheers, in the Diagonal Plaza, that struggling shopping strip at 28th and Iris, is now serving Indian food. I thought that's where the Narayan's folks went next, but perhaps I am thinking of the owners, not the chef.

              1. re: ClaireWalter

                Claire, I seem to recall reading that Kelly Kingsford eventually landed at Radda Trattoria but I can't vouch for that. Quite honestly, since Matthew Jansen's over the top arrogant remarks about Boulder food in last year's New York Times article, I can't bring myself to eat at either of his restaurants. That's just the way I am!

                1. re: dogbreath

                  If you want to find restaurants to dine in where the owners and exec chefs all have massive self-esteem problems, then you will have a hard time finding a place to eat. :) In the NYT article, Matthew said, "Boulder's restaurant scene is night and day different from 10 years ago" and "You could ski or mountain bike, but you had to cook at home." His quotes sounded worse because they came right after the journalist's opening paragraph that included statements about how Boulderites used to have to eat lentil mush.

                  I'm not sure how his quotes are over-the-top. I think dining in Boulder IS different from how it was 10 years ago. The quote about cooking at home may sound a little disrespectful to veteran chefs when taken out of context, yes, but have you chatted with him to find out if this media representation based on two sound bites is reality? I've met people who were nothing like the way they came across in the press, and I've grown to like people who gave me an initial bad first impression.

                  It's not like he said, "I taught that amateur John Platt how to cook 30 years ago!" or "The Monettes have a secret Two Buck Chuck collection in the cellar of the Flagstaff House!" That would be my idea of over-the-top quotes.

                  1. re: rlm

                    Actually it was Matthew Jansen who made the statement about Boulderites eating lentil mush. Something about how there were no decent restaurants until the influx of east and west coast urbanites. And he graciously saved us with his arrival and the opening of Mateo. He seemed to forget about John Platt, John Bizzarro, Mark Monette, James Mazzio, etc. etc. Having been in Boulder since 1968 I've seen great changes but I remember eating pretty damn well even before Mateo.

                    1. re: dogbreath

                      No, it was not Matthew Jansen who made that statement. The article is still online here:
                      The line about "mush like overcooked lentils" and the article's premise of how the "influx of urbanites" from NY and CA have modified the dining scene is from journalist Michelle Auerbach, a chef herself who has lived in Boulder for the last 11 years. For the record, Matthew grew up in Boulder, worked at Laudisio, and graduated from CU. And the owners of the other restaurants in the article (Frasca and The Kitchen) are not from NY or CA originally either. Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen is from England, Bobby Stuckey of Frasca is from Arizona and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca is Canadian (and his first gig was in the "glamorous coastal city" of St. Louis).

              2. re: dogbreath

                We ate at Brasserie once back in the summer. The food was awful and the service was worse. Is it worth trying again?

                1. re: lavendula

                  I love French food and wine, but I have never been a huge fan of Brasserie 1010 (although the croque madame for brunch is fine indeed). I had a bad coq au vin there once that put me off of the place (although this was when K.K. was still the chef so it's been a while). I see that they're serving Long Family Farms pork belly now alongside their duckie (and a myriad of sins can be forgiven over piggy and duck confit from where I stand). I'm just a little skittish about giving them another whirl unless someone can give very pointed recommendations as to what to order and why.

                  1. re: rlm

                    We have had good experiences and mediocre ones at Brasserie 1010, but the last couple of times I've felt as if I've discovered the secret: go for brunch and order the Hideaway Salad: romaine leaves, bacon, toast, a couple of wedges of crisp potato, a couple of fat anchovies (not the salted kind you mince into your caesar dressing), parmesan, all topped with a fried egg. All that for six bucks. They have great croissants there, too. And it was great twice in a row. (I must add that everyone else had varying luck with their dishes.)

                    1. re: vanillagrrl

                      The sad thing is that we find we have to have these "tricks" & "secrets" with so many restaurants - good for lunch or brunch only, only order this or that - a consistent restaurant is so hard to find these days.

                2. re: dogbreath

                  Has anyone tried the Nepalese restaurant? What is it called?

            2. After reading these replies and recs - I would go with SoBo. Its not as expensive as The Kitchen or the likes... but better... it is worth the money in the sense of quality. The food is amazing, the wine list is eclectic & I think the most expensive bottle I saw was in the low $80s with several ones offered in the 20-30 range. I love Aji but it offers only one style of food, Radda is over-rated in my mind, try something new is my advice ...

              2 Replies
              1. re: vafeed

                I am going to try Sobo, thanks :)

                We ate a Bimbamboo a couple of times. The food is actually really good. I recc. the Moroccan Tomato Soup and the bread plate. Be prepared for a looong wait though - the service is super slow and frantic at the same time - yikes!

                1. re: vafeed

                  Tried SoBo tonight. Superb. Service was top notch, everything was delicious. They have 2 vegetarian options that are not listed on the menu, just to let the secret out on that one. I had the vegan dish - a curried bunch of root veggies over quinoa. It was very good. Not amazing, but tasty and well executed. The beet salad with feta was more stimulating and an excellent starter. Pheasant special was the best my BF had every had. Nice! So happy to have a new place in Boulder. Keep the reccs coming PLEASE!

                2. Has anyone tried Rioja in Denver? I hear good things.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lavendula

                    Rioja is one of the top places in Denver. One of their hands-down best starters for dinner is the fresh bacon (cardamom spiced pork belly, madras curry scented fresh garbanzo bean puree) appetizer. I love how you can get small or large portions of any of the pastas (so you can sample a couple if you have a hard time deciding). I worship the artichoke tortelloni and saffron fettuccine. Both of those pastas typically also appear on the weekend brunch menu, and the lamb burgers and breakfast burritos and rioja benedicts are excellent then as well.

                    1. re: lavendula

                      I work downtown Denver and try to visit Rioja at least once a month for lunch. Its consistent and the service is top notch. I don't have a favorite item, because everything becomes my new favorite the minute I try it.

                    2. Have you made a trip (or two) to Longmont? We are actually starting to get some very nice restaurants here! A few of my favorites:

                      Two Dog Diner - Very upscale diner food. I had scrambled eggs with venison sausage one morning. I think they are now open all day, but breakfast and lunch for sure. Its in Prospect.

                      SugarBeet - New American, dinner only. High quality, local ingredients, seasonal menu. They have a strange location, but have done a great job with the atmosphere. Its a small, cosy, romantic place. Reservations are an absolute must!

                      Sushi Hana - I'm not a sushi fan myself so I've only had the cooked items. Shrimp Tempura, Pork Tonkatsu, Miso soup, all delicious! They have also done a nice job with the interior, though the exterior still looks a lot like Long John Silvers.

                      Terroir - Brand new, similar to SugarBeet (local, seasonal ingredients), but I think the food is a little more inventive. Sadly the atmosphere isn't great (reminds me of a bowling alley) but the food is terrific. I had fresh pasta with duck confit that was to die for.

                      Snow Mountain Creamery - Great ice cream. I think this is better then Glacier.

                      I'm sure there are others but those are my current favorites. There is also Mumtaz in Lafayette - greek "fast" food. They have an awesome, keep the vampires away, garlic sauce. They are only open until 6pm.
                      In Louisville Empire just opened. I haven't been there yet, but it looks like a good bet.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: frisbeesage

                        I've been to the Two Dog Diner -- and yes, "upscale diner food" is a good way to describe it. Or, as my husband calls it, "yuppified diner food." I view that as a compliment. :-)

                        Ditto on Sugarbeet. When we were there a couple of months ago, they were getting ready to expanded into adjacent space, so they do have a following.

                        When it's eat-outdoors weather again, Matini's Bistro at Terry and Sixth is really pleasant. I've only been there once for a group event, so didn't get a chance to order fr the menu, but I liked the ambience. Big old Victorian on a large lot w/ old trees.

                      2. I wound recommend in Denver:
                        Sushi Den

                        Even though its a chain, Bonefish is very good.

                        You know I haven't been to this place in a while but its very good if its still there-DaGabi in North Boulder
                        Sushi Tora, an all time classic

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: kamamm

                          We went to the new Scotch Corner Bar for happy hour this evening, and I would put it on a list of Places Not to Try. I wrote a lengthy blog post about it.

                          1. re: ClaireWalter

                            Well, I'm happy to report that we tried Rioja tonight and were blown away. I started with the yam soup (yum) and then moved on the the vegetarian squares, which are 4 different veggie options, each on their own little plate. Amazing. There was a polenta dish that was nice but cold (my only complaint for the entire dinner), a delish bok choy dish, AMAZING turnip raviolis (2), and then a carrot, carmelized onion concoction. I ate every last drop. My bf had the rack or lamb and was stunned at how sensational it was. He started off with the golden beet salad and again was blown away. We haven't been so happy with a restaurant experience in a long, long time. YAY!

                            We tried the Scotch Corner - service was awful, food was blah.

                            Speaking of service - we have bimbamboo one more shot today for lunch and sadly it will be our last. The service was that bad. My bf sent his food back b/c it was cold and under cooked - it never returned. WTF?

                            Sushi Den is our next "to do" in Denver. What's the deal with Lola?

                            I've never heard of DaBabi - is it still around?

                            Sushi Tora we do all the time - best sushi in Boulder. We find it's better at lunch time, for whatever reason. We haven't been that impressed the last few times we ate there for dinner. Second best is Zan Mai. Love their Green Hornet Roll :)

                            1. re: lavendula

                              Re "DaBabi." You must mean DaGabi, an Italian restaurant at North Broadway and Quince, Boulder. It's still around. Some people like it. I don't care for it.

                                1. re: lavendula

                                  No worries -- but w/ restaurant names like "Babbo" on the national foodie hot list, I thought you might really be looking for someplace else. :-) :-) too

                          2. re: kamamm

                            Regarding an earlier rec for Bonefish in Westminster: I know there are talented people who get their start in massive chains (even though those talents are constrained by corporate guidelines), but I’d rather patronize independent businesses. I only went to Bonefish after receiving an unexpected recommendation from a couple dining at another restaurant that I actually enjoy.

                            I disliked the fact that so much of the experience screamed “chain,” from the light-up pagers they give you while waiting to the boring, boxy shape of the room laden with un-sexy décor and filled with the sounds of horrendous piped-in music to the list of “Awesome” sides on the menu (which I must note were clearly lacking in awesome-ness) and the prominent place of White Zinfandels on the wine list which your overly-perky server is more than happy to push. The whole thing just reminded me too much of Chotchkie's in the movie Office Space. I would be willing to forgive them for these corporate transgressions if the food was great, but it was sadly disappointing. Based on “feedback” I had on them from one of their employees at another location, they place a prime emphasis on turning tables. So don’t be surprised if your entrée arrives on top of your app, for example. Even for a land-locked state, there are many other places where you can order seafood and be infinitely happier than you will with a trip to Bonefish.

                            1. re: rlm

                              Any new ideas? It's getting pretty sad when dinner time rolls around!

                              1. re: lavendula

                                I don't see that you've tried any of my recs for Longmont.....

                                Went to East Moon Asian Bistro (Longmont again) last night and had some really excellent crispy duck and chicken fried rice. We'll be going back there again.

                                1. re: lavendula

                                  Now that the weather is getting nice - Potager has a fabulous patio. Also Tables in Park Hill is mostly spot-on (Especially with appetizers).

                                  1. re: mandimay

                                    Is Tables new? First I've heard of it...Online menu doesn't wow me with its inventiveness, but then neither does Fruition's at first glance; execution is all in those cases...

                                  2. re: lavendula

                                    New ideas? Empire in Louisville. Sugarbeet and Terroir in Longmont.

                                    1. re: ClaireWalter

                                      I have given Empire two tries-- and would recommend just going for wine and appetizers. I was disappointed in the menu on both occasions-- we went once when it opened and once just recently. The menu has no consistency. I like eclectic-- I have lived in several of the top food cities in the US-- Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco--but you cannot order a complimentary meal from Empire's menu because the items are so random. Calamari salad had potential...until the occasional fishy piece of calamari. All of the appetizers were great and so was my wine. Dinners were not so exciting. The atmosphere is great but for the price you pay for a meal-- I would skip it or like I said, just do drinks and apps.

                              2. How about Efrain's on 63rd just south of Arapahoe? Love this place. In my opinion, Best med-low heat dish- the blue corn enchiladas (have them "hold the salad", which is the shredded lettuce on top, which does nothing but get slimey). Best dish with heat- the green chile bowl or costillas. I like the Mexican heuvos. The Mex version has the green chile, the "spanish" version has thin ketchup, so be aware.

                                Efrain's, I've found, is a place where you have to know how to order.

                                1. Hapa Sushi on pearl street in Boulder is wonderful. Its a very crowded, busy restaurant but worth the wait for a table or the noisy atmosphere. Try the Multiple Orgasm roll, its my favorite on the entire menu. Also for a refreshing start try the Chukka Seaweed Salad, its a great starter.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: 3star

                                    I will admit that I haven't done much dining in Longmont. I recently swore off Chinese food, but maybe you can convince me to try the Asian Bistro :)

                                    We tried Potager in the Winter, I think a return trip is in order.

                                    I just recently heard about Tables (from a Denver couple that I met at Jazz Fest!), and they told me that it is still kind of secretive so I'm not surprised that I haven't heard of it.

                                    Haven't tried Efrain's - any good veggie options there?

                                    As for Hapa, we really prefer Sushi Tora or Sushi Zanmai, for quality of ingredients and freshness. Just our personal preference though. We eat at one of these at least once a week.

                                    Thanks for the ideas, keep em' comin!!

                                    1. re: lavendula

                                      Efrains? Good veggie options? Not laughing at you, but merely at the thought. Veggies aren't really their thing. You could get the blue corn enchiladas with just cheese and not chicken, but I'm not making any warranties about the enchilada sauce not having chicken stock.

                                      1. re: lavendula

                                        Why have you sworn off Chinese? We think East Moon is fabulous but I have a big disclaimer - we don't (ever) eat sushi, so I absolutely can't speak to that side of the restaurant. So far we've had Teriyaki Shrimp (delicious! sauce was definately homemade), Crispy Duck and Duck with Shitake Mushrooms (both very good and we eat a lot of duck), Beef with Onions and Spicy Sauce (fabulous, tender beef, not overcooked broccoli and onions, and a sauce that actually WAS spicy), Chicken Coconut Soup (I must have told DH 3 times how good it was), Hot and Sour Soup (not my favorite rendition of this).
                                        If you are not into chinese, Terroir, SugarBeet, Snow Mountain Creamery and Two Dog Diner are ample reasons to head on over to Longmont.... I haven't been to Efrains yet but will add them to my list.

                                        1. re: frisbeesage

                                          Well, we have given Chinese a least a million chances...tried all the restaurants in Boulder, one in Louisville, and usually end up sick to our stomachs afterwards... after eating pretty bland and greasy food. Freshness and quality of ingredients is also key here. We have figured that it's not worth it! But, like I said, if you give me your word, I will try a new place!

                                    2. I haven't seen any mention of Red Tango here, and I think it is most excellent. It's Latin American, mostly Chilean and Peruvian. They do an osso bucco as a special that is delicious (and big enough to make two more dinners for me). And though I'm not vegetarian, their combo plate (chile de zapallo stuffed with butter nut squash and goat cheese drizzled with nutmeg cream sauce 1 steak or avocado tostada, 1 cheese enchilada smothered with mole pobalono) is one of my favorite things.

                                      Their menu is here:


                                      The service is friendly and efficient, and they have the full line-up of (properly made) Latin American drinks, plus a nice wine list.

                                      The location may seem a little funky (they took over several linked storefronts in a strip mall on 38th just west of Sheridan) but that also adds to its charm. It feels like a nice surprise!

                                      They're at:
                                      5807 W 38th Ave
                                      Wheat Ridge, CO 80212
                                      (303) 420-2203

                                      ‎I don't think they require reservations but it's probably a good idea. I've never seen a slow night there.

                                      Here's a Google link to maps, reviews, etc:


                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Kitt

                                        Oh, thanks! I'm always looking for places that serve Chilean food with the hopes that they'll have pisco sours. I'm on a quest to find all of the ones in the area. Favorites so far are Limon and used to be Rhumba in Boulder.

                                        1. re: RobynS

                                          They definitely have pisco sours, and capirinhas and mojitos ...

                                          I do mourn the passing of Piscos, which of course had excellend pisco sours.

                                          1. re: Kitt

                                            You're the second person I've heard give that place high praise recently. Will have to check it out.

                                          2. re: RobynS

                                            "Used to be Rhumba" is Centro. Same great patio for warm weather pisco-ing and munching.

                                            1. re: ClaireWalter

                                              Thank you. I keep forgetting the name. I'm heading to Boulder Tuesday for my birthday lunch so I might choose to there but haven't quite decided yet.

                                                1. re: RobynS

                                                  So where should I go to get some GOOD, red sauce Italian? I think I've tried every option in Boulder, but maybe I've overlooked something...

                                                  1. re: lavendula

                                                    Il Pastaio is hit or miss, but when it's on, it's truly good. The red sauce is authentic and homemade and the pasta is fresh. Atmosphere is pretty humble, but they do pasta and sauce to go. On a good day, this food reminds me of my mother's cooking, on a bad day it's just eh. We keep going back for those good days though.