Dining suggestions in Fort Collins and Boulder?
Hello all! My husband and I are looking for any great suggestions you have of CAN'T miss meals!
We live in LA (just moved from NY) so ideally something unique and "colorado"...
We're so excited. thanks in advance!
For Boulder, West End Tavern for great everyday food, Mountain Sun Brewery for a Boulder brewery experience, the burgers there are great, The Kitchen- a must even if you can just squeeze in a lunch, Qs restaurant, everything there is so Boulder and very good. The first two are very reasonably priced for great food and the second two are a little more upscale. Spruce confections for a perfect morning cappuccino and MUST HAVE scones (or anything in the bakery case). Even if you hate scones, they do a strawberry/raspberry and chocolate scone that is still warm in the early morning- heaven. Mustards Last Stand for a Boulder hot dog and incredible fries. Snarfs for Boulder style sub sandwiches. If I made a list of places I'd go back to Boulder just to eat again, this would be it. Not knowing what kinds of food you eat, but it's a pretty accommodating place in terms of vegetarian, gluten-free etc.
we live in LA and visit Boulder and Denver frequently to visit friends and relatives. we dine out a few times when we're there but we have a 4 year old with food restrictions so our experience is limited. I would definitely visit The Kitchen and the Kitchen Next Door. I think the Next Door IMO is worth a happy hour visit bc their food is pretty wonderful for the price and have not found something comparable in LA that matches both quality and value. The other places I would like to visit are Oak at fourteenth and Black Cat. I'd also like to visit the Flagstaff House outside of Boulder.
I would skip pizza in Boulder. With Sotto, Mozza, Settebello, 800 degrees, Mother Dough etc., the best pizza there can't really complete. we went to Pizzeria Locale which we were told was the best pizza in town. The prices were on the high side, $100 for the 3 of us (2 pies, salad, app, 3 drinks) and there was something soggy about the pizza too. To be fair it may be an elevation thing and the center of the pies sort of remained slightly soggier than we liked. Maybe it was the topping but who knows. we also got a Caprese salad in the middle of November in Colorado. The tomatoes weren't very good but really who can I blame but myself for making such a bad choice. However, I'm used to restaurants of this caliber to not offer dishes that aren't in season. After an error i discovered they offer a house wine which is about $5 for a glass. I would have been perfectly happy with that but they don't print the offering on the menu which felt a bit sneaky.
I also hear the Avery Brewing company is one of the best brewery experiences out there. I didn't get a chance to go but my other half went twice during a short visit bc it was that good. Have fun. Boulder is beautiful.
For high-end fine dining, you can't beat Flagstaff House in Boulder. What makes it unique and local is the view. It's perched on a cliff overlooking the entire Boulder area. And the food is excellent. www.flagstaffhouse.com
For breakfast, Lucile's ( www.luciles.com ) and Snooze ( www.snoozeeatery.com ) are breakfast-focused restaurants, and both have locations in both Boulder and Fort Collins. I greatly prefer breakfast at Lucile's, whose location in downtown Boulder is in a converted Victorian home - not only for their hot beignets, but I also love their rice pudding porridge (and their trout is excellent also).
As someone who lives in Boulder and follows the food scene here (but unfortunately doesn't eat out as much as I'd like!), I find some of the recommendations here to be quite odd. The West End is really not the best Boulder has to offer for everyday food, it's a fairly basic pub that tries to be a little upscale and by most accounts is hit and miss at it. And the Mountain Sun burgers really aren't all that great. The beer, however, is quite good. The Mountain Sun is a little too "hippy" for my tastes (though if you're looking for the stereotype of Boulder, perhaps it's a good choice); I prefer the Southern Sun (and just tried their new place, Under the Sun, which definitely has the best food of the 3). If you like beer, I highly recommend visiting one of them, but Under the Sun is the only one that had food good enough to recommend to a visitor. If you're a beer fan, that could be a whole post in itself, but in addition to the Sun beers, the suggestion of Avery is a good one.
As someone who grew up in NYC, I have some sense of pizza, and the pizza here is fantastic, but of a certain style. Locale is authentic neapolitan pizza, and quite excellent. Yes, the pizza is a bit soggy in the center, it's not meant to be eaten as "slices". It's not necessarily everyone's taste re the style, but the flavors are excellent. The other top pizza places are also neapolitan, but not as much dedication to being so authentic (which is fine, authentic doesn't necessarily mean tasty). Other pizza that is top notch is Basta. Da Lupo is also good.
The Kitchen and Kitchen Next Door are good suggestions (Next door is the cheaper more casual place). Centro is good latin food, Zolo is good southwestern food, and might be something not seen much in NY (but probably does exist in LA).
Lucile's and Snooze are both good recommendations; if you go to Lucile's, you must get a biscuit and try the strawberry rhubarb jam.
Snarf's is a Boulder "classic", but honestly I'd take the sandwiches at Cured, Dish Gourmet, or Il Caffe any day of the week (all within a few blocks of the Pearl St Snarf's).
For high end dining, Frasca is a regular on nationwide "best" lists (but I've only eaten there once, can't afford it). Black Cat and Oak at Fourteenth are other top restaurants. Flagstaff is also a high end choice, and will have the best views by a mile, but I've never eaten there as I can't afford it.
Both are excellent, Next Door will be simpler and cheaper; that's what it is designed to be. the "better" meal would be at The Kitchen, objectively speaking (but that's not to say which you'd like more).
As for Boulder breweries, my opinions: the Mountain Sun/Southern Sun/Under the Sun make damn tasty beer. Avery's specialty beers are really special, but I find their "regular" beer to be just ok (which means, by all means go to the brewery and try some of the barleywine and imperial beers!). Upslope is good. Oskar Blues and Lefthand (in neighboring towns, Lyons and Longmont) are also good. There are a few new ones I haven't tried. I would avoid Walnut Brewery, Twisted Pine, BJs, and West Flanders (the last I've never been to, but haven't heard great things, but come to think of it, the only reviews I heard were about the food).
Almost every restaurant in Boulder will have some good local beers on tap, so no real need to go to the breweries. One other option, not in Boulder but in Louisville just a few minutes away, is Lucky Pie. Really good pizza, tons of local beers on tap, and Sweet Cow (great ice cream shop) right next door. Also, Glacier Ice Cream is a fantastic local ice cream chain.
I have lived in Boulder for 30 years but travel extensively for work and for pleasure. I agree with many of the recommendations but would strongly urge a visit to both Flagstaff House and Frasca, with the caveat that both are pricey! Flagstaff House has a view unmatched in Colorado except at the highest peaks, it has the largest wine list in the State, and entrees are paired - i.e. you order what you think you want, but always note that the chef matches it with another entree that he thinks is a good counterpoint. Frasca has the next best wine cellar in the State, is on every national list for "best in the U.S." restaurants, the owner-chef was a James Beard national winner, and the restaurant features cuisine of Fuiui-Venezia Glulia, a sub-alpine region in northeast Italy - totally unlike any Italian food you have ever eaten - absolutely superb, impeccable service, and the co-owner sommelier is also a national award winner (both the chef and the sommelier spent years in senior positions at the French Laundry before scouring the country for a site for their new restaurant; they picked Boulder).
I agree with "Q's," The Black Cat, The Kitchen, and Oak at 14th. Breakfast at Lucile's is excellent, the cuisine is cajun/Jackson Square New Orleans focused (beignets, collard greens, grits, etc.) I disagree somewhat about Mountain Sun - it definitely has a "dive" quality to it, but is one of the most popular places in town, the beer is outstanding and the burgers and other offerings are quite good, but to appreciate it you must take the entire establishment into account including the clientele, this is Boulder-Hippie-college professor-student-biergarten at its best, it can be loud, it can be raunchy, it will always be fun and no one can go there and take themselves seriously - and the "T-shirts" are really cool! Oh! And don't waste your time at the West End Tavern, Avery is worth the effort to visit and they are building a huge new brewery and restaurant to be opened in about a year, business is very good!
Finally, about pizza, Pizzeria Locale is located next to, and owned and operated by the same folks who own Frasca, and they make the pizza experience to the same quality as the "mother-house!" It's world-class pizza, but it most definitely is NOT Pizza Hut! It is true, Neapolitan pizza that you would have to go to Naples to duplicate; you eat it with a knife and fork like they do in Naples, you pair it with an outstanding wine (they have their own pizza-specific wine cellar, or you can order any wine from the Frasca cellar), the appetizers are excellent and unique as is the menu. Many people go to Locale expecting a better-than-usual "standard" pizza experience, Locale is NOT your "standard" pizza experience, it is a unique piece of downtown Naples at Naples' best and must be enjoyed for what it is intended to be, not for misplaced expectations - many friends who have dined there will no longer order "standard" pizza because they have come to recognize what a poor excuse for pizza most U.S. pizza vendors offer. . .
If time permits, you should also include The Med (Mediterranean) - it feature cuisines from around the Mediterranean Sea, offers a huge assortment of small plates (i.e. tapas), tends to be noisy, crowded, and always busy, but the food is outstanding and variable as seasons change. I major college hangout, too, for students and professors.