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May 14, 2011 11:26 AM

Looking for good eats in Estes Park Area

My husband and I are traveling to Estes Park in late June. From what I understand there aren't a lot of good restaurants in the area. We are planning on stocking up on groceries in Boulder on our way to our cabin but would like to go out to dinner one night. We are fine driving about a half hour but hate go further than that ( want to enjoy some good wine)

Any ideas would be great. I've checked the boards for restaurants in Boulder but are there any other restaurants within driving distance to Estes Park. I'd also like to try to find some elk to grill while we are there. Does anyone know of a good butcher or meat market between Denver and Estes Park.

Thanks in advance for the help.


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  1. Stay off Elk Avenue (the main drag). Best fine dining is (or at least last year way) the dining room in the Mary's Lake Lodge. Excellent food, good wine list, good service. They also have a pub with more casual food . For more casual (and closer-to-town) dinner, try the Rock Inn. Right down the street is the Dunraven Inn, which has a rep for good Italian food, but I've never eaten there.

    Mary's Lake Lodge
    2625 Marys Lake Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517

    Dunraven Inn
    2470 State Highway 66, Estes Park, CO 80517

    1 Reply
    1. re: ClaireWalter

      I would steer clear of Rock Inn. You will go deaf on nights with live music, and the food is overpriced and not that great.

    2. It could be worth a trip to Nederland to the Black Forest restaurant. They serve elk and are pretty yummy. We don't like their bread as it seems to be packaged, sliced bread. But, we really like everything else!

      Black Forest Restaurant
      24 Big Springs Dr, Nederland, CO 80466

      1. Mac Gregor ranch, off of macgregor ave, behind the stanley hotel. You can google a map. They sell great beef out of the little office. they also sometimes have amazing chicken eggs.
        The beef is frozen. Thaw it in the fridge and enjoy some great steaks and burgers! Also, about halfway between lyons and estes is a colorado winery. You will see a little bridge with signs on your left. the wine tastings are fun (though the wine can be unremarkable), but they sell amazing smoked trout. Oskar Blues in lyons is also worth stopping in at for a beer on the way into the park.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bens

          The smoked trout at "the winery"(at Trout Haven Resort. if we're thinking about the same place) actually comes from Villa Tatra, also between Lyons & Estes Park. They also do wonderful smoked salmon and have a nice eastern European restauant.

          Herb's Meats in Broomfield. Also, there's a Whole Foods in Superior and 3 in Boulder (1 called Ideal Market, its traditional name before it became part of Whole Foods) and a recently reborn Alfalfa's Market. All have very good meat depts, but I don't know whether they carry elk.

          Villa Tatra
          729 Pinewood Dr, Lyons, CO 80540

        2. I don't know if this is what you have in mind for a dinner out, but Smokin' Daves is pretty good BBQ. Otherwise, I'd second the recommendation of the Rock Inn Tavern, especially if you can go on a night where they're having music (mostly local bluegrass).

          Rock Inn
          318 E Commercial Ave, Anaconda, MT 59711

          1 Reply
          1. re: monopod

            I'm originally from KC so my opinion of smokin daves may be biased but i was unimpressed. sat at the bar service was poor they forgot an order of fries

          2. Thanks everyone for the advice. Also does anyone know of Farmers Markets in the area. I've found one in Boulder that I'll probably use on Saturday, but if there is one in Estes Park that would be way more convenient. Thanks again for the advice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nolawino

              The Boulder County Farmers Market (, Saturdays, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. and a smaller one Wednesday afternoons, I believe 4 to 7 p..m) is arguably the best in the state. Excellent local produce, artisanal cheeses, breads, prepared foods -- and a dynamite food court w/ live entertainment. There is also a Saturday farmers market in Lyons, right down the canyon from Estes Park and therefore closer than Boulder ( I've never been to it. There also appears to be a thursday farmers' market in Estes Park, but I know nothing about it ( Ask at the visitors' center at the junction of US 36 and US 34 as you come into town.