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Sep 21, 2012 04:54 AM

Denver/Boulder restaurant itinerary

My husband and I are heading to Denver the first week of November. This will be our first trip away from our new baby and we are very much looking forward to some excellent food and at least one fancier meal for my birthday. Here's the list we've put together so far. Would love to get some advice/suggestions. One place I haven't come across is a good coffee place. We love to visit good coffee shops, e.g., blue bottle in brooklyn, intelligentsia in la, etc.

For reference, we are staying downtown at the Four Seasons.

-Snooze (Boulder or Denver)
-Four seasons
-Novo Coffee

-Rioja (Denver)
-Bistro Vendome (Denver)
-Restaurant Kevin Taylor (Denver)
-Beatrice & Woodsley (Denver, dinner only)
-The Kitchen (Denver or Boulder)
-Bones (lunch, Denver)

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  1. I just visited Denver, and while I can't comment on places I didn't visit, I can tell you that breakfast at Lucile's is worth including in your itinerary. I liked it better than Snooze! Lucile's has locations in Denver just south of downtown, and in Boulder (in an old residence, spread out over multiple small rooms, with outdoor seating on the front porch). See photos of the Boulder location below. (I didn't take photos of the food, but the beignets are fantastic, and I also loved the rice pudding porridge!)

    Also, for dinner, I recommend Flagstaff House in Boulder. The food is as good as any high-end restaurant around, and the view is amazing (it's perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the city).

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      One other place I liked a lot is Euclid Hall, which is in downtown Denver in the Larimer Square area. The atmosphere is rather loud and bar-like. It works for lunch as well as dinner, as many of their dishes are of the small plates variety. I absolutely LOVED the s'mores pot de creme for dessert!

    2. Have not eaten at all of those places, but it looks like a very good list. I agree with the other poster that Lucile's is a great choice. I love the Boulder location (it's crowded on weekends!), and the biscuits with the homemade strawberry rhubarb jam are amazing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LurkerDan

        Thanks for the input. I went ahead and made reservations for dinner at Bones, Rioja, and The Kitchen (Denver). We'll probably check out Snooze for brunch one morning and Pinche Tacos for lunch. Any other recommendations are welcome! I'll be sure to report back after our trip in early November.

        1. re: erinnf

          Unless you want a specific item that is only available on the dinner menu, I would go to Bones for lunch instead of dinner. It is really small and, to me anyway, the ambiance might not be what you are looking for at dinner. That being said, the food is amazing. You might try El Taco de Mexico for lunch or breakfast. It is a real Denver favorite and completely different from Pinche Tacos. Restaurant Kevin Taylor is only open for dinner but you can try his restaurant, Palattes, for lunch in the Denver Art Museum. I don't know if I would really recommend the Flagstaff House, unless you are going specifically for the view. The last time I was there, I wasn't all that impressed with the food. Maybe you could go for a drink or appetizers instead. Pizza Locale in Boulder is owned by the Frasca folks and has delicious pizza and desserts.

          1. re: Mimi

            I'm meeting friends for dinner in Boulder and made an early reservation at Pizza Locale - it looks great! thanks for the rec.

          2. re: erinnf

            FWIW, Rioja is from the same folks as Euclid Hall, which I loved (and praised, above).

        2. Great list. The only suggestions i would have would be Osteria Marco, in Denver for lunch or dinner. Its a frank Bonano restaurant. He owns Bones among others. Rioja is consistently one of our favorite places to eat. Kevin Taylor is hit or miss. Snooze is good, just be prepared to wait if its a weekend. For Boulder, i would recommend the Buff for breakfast. And Frasca for dinner. Have fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: erduffy

            I had Osteria Marco on one of my earlier lists - maybe I'll try to go for lunch or something. We plan to go to Snooze on a Monday or Tuesday, so hopefully we miss the crowds. I always think there is nothing worse than having to wait for hours for breakfast - not my idea of a good way to start the day. ;)

          2. erinnf - where are you coming in from? Looks like the DC area based on you posts but figured I'd check to ensure you were getting food a little more unique from home. Having lived in DC for 7 years, I'll add a couple suggestions to the list that will shine through in addition to the already-suggested places (although, you may be already filled up with reservations).
            - Twelve Restaurant
            - Z Cuisine
            - Il Posto
            - Fruition
            - Cocktails (and maybe snacks, too) at Green Russell and Colt & Gray
            - Finally, I know it sounds old & stuffy but the Palace Arms in the Brown Palace is a great special occasion place in Denver. The exec. chef, Thanawat Bates, actually used to cook at the Ritz in DC and worked with Jose Andres, Michel Richard, et. al. I'd recommend it for a BD dinner. . .maybe fancy but the food is solid.

            For coffee, Novo is a good selection. I'd say you could add Pablo's or Kaladi Bros. to the list. Also, if you like Intellegentsia, they pull Black Cat Espresso at Aviano coffee in the Cherry Creek North area.


            3 Replies
            1. re: ivandwu

              What's the deal with novo coffee? It looks like their locations are closed. Can you get coffee drinks at their roasting facility?

              1. re: erinnf

                I get it at 2 different coffee shops in Louisville. Cafe de Paris and Good Measure (formerly Dragonfly).

                1. re: erinnf

                  Novo closed all their coffee shops but will be opening 2 (I think?) new locations soon. There are quite a few places where you can get brewed Novo but no Novo-specific shop until the 2 shops open up. The roasting facility does a Friday cupping at Noon but no cofee service outside of that weekly event. In addition to RobynS' places, I know they have it as an coffee option at the Denver Bike Cafe in Uptown.

              2. Just returned from a great trip to Denver/Boulder area. Overall I was really impressed with the food options. See full report below:

                Bones: First meal upon arriving in Denver. Great pork belly bao buns, and excellent noodle dishes. The short rib noodle dish was good, although spicier than I expected. My husband had the pork shoulder and udon, which was rich and delicious. The kitchen sent out some shishito peppers (?) and that was an unexpected nice touch. House gin and tonic was a bit disappointing. Would definitely return. I did think the meal was a bit pricey for what we got though.

                Pizzeria Locale: Arrived at the tail end of happy hour and eeked in an order of meatballs, arancini and wine. The wine, $4 per glass happy hour special, did not disappoint! Shared a salad with tuna, white beans, etc. - great lemony dressing on top. Shared a margherita pizza - ok - and a corn, ham, cheese pizza. Excellent!

                Rioja: Birthday dinner! Enjoyed a really nice bottle of Ojai 2009 Syrah. Thought it was a fabulous bottle at a good price point. Hubby and I shared a citrus avocado salad. Alright, although the portion seemed very very small. Entrees were a yam gnocchi with pecans, mushrooms, kate and i can't recall the other ingredients. Very tasty dish - the yam gnocchis were extremely light and fluffy. Hubby had the roasted chicken dish with bacon raison bread pudding and kale. Wonderful complex flavors and very juicy chicken. He almost never orders chicken out, but this caught our eye and it did not disappoint! Cheese course for dinner fell flat - a blue cheese with grape gelee (too much gelee) and overpriced.

                Osterio Marco: Lunch. Good kale salad and beet salad to start. Carbonera pizza was ok, but the crust was really strange. Did not have the typical chewiness I expect in a pizza.

                Pinche Tacos: Awesome! We actually went for dinner and returned a day later for lunch. Guacamole was eh, but tacos were great. I liked the poblano, corn, griddled cotija taco, carnitas taco, and the fish taco. The tongue taco was ok, but too much salsa. Pork Belly taco also ok, but not the highlight.

                The Kitchen: I really enjoyed the atmosphere here. The space is perfectly designed - I'm also sad I never went to the restroom b/c in places like this I love to see what they do with that space. Started with a cocktail - I had the elvira (gin, st. germaine, lemon, dash of red wine) - unique and delicious. Shared a special appetizer - confit lamb with tzatziki and frisee. Wonderful flavors. The lamb tasted like kebab meat in a gyro, but it was real meat as opposed to mystery meat! I had the bolognese which was great. Hubby had a beef cheeks special with the Kitchen's version of the british side dish "bubble and squeak." Their version was rich potatoes with kohlrabi and something else. Very nice dish that was rich and comforting. Shared a pear and almond tart that was excellent. My glass of red wine wasn't very good, but that was the only low point of the meal.

                Never made it to Snooze and couldn't find a good coffee place. Overall though we were very impressed with the restaurants! I only wish the chowhound board was a little more active and specific to Colorado. Maybe in the future!

                1 Reply
                1. re: erinnf

                  Glad you had good food and thanks for the great report!