Chowhound In Boulder, CO Needs Help
I am a Philadelphia Chowhound who will be visiting Boulder,CO for the first time - on a business trip for three days. I will have access to a car. I am very flexible in choice of food and always enjoy the experience of local cuisine. Can fellow Chowhounds suggest any restaurants worthy of a Chowhound visit in the Boulder area? Thanks in advance.
We just got back from Boulder and Estes Park, and have been going to Boulder for 10 years, since our son started at CU (he did graduate and works there now). We were able to go to Frasca, and despite some friends' experience, it remains an outstanding restaurant. Our only criticisms are that they need to pay more attention to portion size. In Italy, a person can eat a 5 course meal and be able to walk becuse each course is small! I also hope that when the staff goes to Italy again, they try real gelato. The stuff they call gelato is ice cream, good but not as intensely flavored. We also tried the Gold Hill Inn, an interesting but very uneven place. Great soup and rabbit, but a cheese course served after the desert and straight out of the supermarket.
But the place that truely blew us away gets little mention here. The Greenbriar Inn is at least as good as Frasca. The food is creative, delicious and fun. The chef loves veggies, and they grow most of their own. My wife had a vegtable Wellington with a purified cauliflower sauce that was so good that I almost licked the plate. The filet with gorgonzola had a veg Napoleon and truffled potatoes, making for layers of complexity nearing a Todd English level. And the wine list is amazing. We had a 1996 Barolo for $110, and the list is long, deep and full of such bargains. Why the foodies and winos of Boulder don't rave about this pace is beyond me.
I have lived in Boulder for 20 years and 28 days, and you can include me as one who has never been to the Greenbriar. Always intend to try it, however. With so many good restaurants right in town, we tend to stay in our small orbit -- or go into the mountains or to Denver. So thanks for the glowing recommendation.
The Greenbiar rocks. We have been dining there for ten years. It is really cool to go there in the winter when it snows and sit by the windowed area. MUST HAVES: Tableside Caesar Salad, Beef Wellington, and tableside Banana's Foster. This place is a Colorado Classic.
Yes, it is mysteriously a foodie and wino sleeper....don't know why, but don't miss it!
Fred: Thanks for the tip about about Chef Heap at the Full Moon Grill. We won't go there! My experience with Heap was a fish dinner at Chattaqua that gave my wife food poisoning within 45 minutes. I called Heap to report the problem and he was in complete denial. He actually told me that "it couldn't happen, but would look it up and call me back". He didn't. Every first year culinary student is made to understand histomine poisoning.
Noteworthy: Chez Tuey on 28th for fast, efficient, inexpensive, tasty Vietnamese food.
Please excuse is this posts twice, we're having computer problems.
Since you have a car, I recommend a trip to Treppeda's in Niwot. It's an Italian deli and the food is fantastic--always fresh and flavorful. They're not open evenings, just for lunch (and maybe breakfast? I don't know.) To me, there's no better way to spend an early summer afternoon than outside at Treppeda's enjoying lunch.
I guess my husband and I are the only people in Boulder who truly dislike Lucille's (maybe it's because my husband used to live in New Orleans?). We find that the food is soupy and over-seasoned, and that the crowds are so overwhelming for the staff that they do not have time to adequately clean the restaurant as they serve. By the time you get seated for breakfast, the place is a mess (e.g., scrambled eggs on the floor).
For a much more serene, and in my opinion, better breakfast I would highly recommend the brunch at Q's or at Sunflower. For a quick bite at a local "breakfast dive," Rocky Mountain Joe's has some great granola pancakes!
We recently had a fabulous meal at a new restaurant on Pearl Street, The Kitchen, and I have to say that it was probably one of the best meals I've had during my five years in Colorado.
I would second recs to visit Zolo Grill and Full Moon Grill, though the strip mall locations of each might be underwhelming for a visitor.
And an afternoon stop at the Teahouse is really a treat - I agree that the food is not the best, but a pot of tea accompanied by a scone with some clotted cream and lemon curd is a great way to take a break.
Beacuse Dr. T just posted on this thread yesterday, it has now moved to the top of the Southwest Board. For anyone reading it now, be aware that the Full Moon Grill is no more. Last year, the owners moved lock, stock and wine barrel to the north side of McGuckin's and opened Alba. Bradford Heap is no longer with Alba or the Chautauqua Dining Hall. He is owner/chef of Colterra in Niwot, an excellent restaurant.
All the suggestions so far have been good, except for one with which I'll disagree. Avoid the Rio unless your idea of a good time is a noise level equal to being in the front row of a Metallica concert. You are just as likely to experience one of their margs on your shirt from some drunken college student. If you really want a margarita and Southwestern food, head to Zolo - one of the aforementioned Dave Query restaurants.
I'd also suggest Mateo for mediterranean/french and Amu for unique Japanese. Narayan's, located in a strip mall at Baseline and Foothills Hwy is fanatastic Nepalese and very reasonable.
Avoid the Red Lion Inn like the plague. Nice setting just a short way up Boulder Canyon but miserable food.
The corner bar in the Hotel Boulderado is a great place to hang out for drinks. Their lunch and dinner menu is pretty decent and the food comes from the same kitchen as their main restaurant, Q's.
Finally, don't give any spare change to the dirtbag panhandlers on the Pearl Street Mall. It only encourages them.
There are a couple of other regulars on this board who are more current on Boulder restaurants than I am, but I'll toss a few out. Chef Bradford Heap has the Full Moon Grill, and also does the food at the Chatauqua Dining Hall (which is a Boulder institution, very historic and folkloric). He is worth checking out. Q's, at the Boulderado Hotel is very good, higher end. Dave Query has several restaurants--I'd recommend Zolo's--fun southwesternish menu, or Jax for great seafood (and a very loud, hip, busy dining room).
I haven't been to Brasserie Tenten since they opened, but hear good things.
I'm not a big fan of Radek Cerny, but he is very popular, and his current restaurant is L'Atelier.
Maybe others will check in with opinions, enjoy Boulder.
p.s. Go to the Dashenabe (sp?) Tea House for tea and the architecture--they have a large tea selection and it is a fascinating building and story. Don't bother with the lunch or dinner menu.
re: Fred B
Richard: Thanks for the tip about Chef Heap having the Full Moon Grill...we won't go there! My experience with Heap was a fish dinner at Chattaqua that gave my wife food poisoning within 45 minutes. I called Heap to report the incident and he was in complete denial. Actually told me "it was impossible to get food poisoning, but he would look it up and call me back". He didn't. Any first year culinary student is made to understand histomine poisoning.
Lucile's is a fantastic breakfast joint. Their website is: http://www.luciles.com/ You may want to get their early in the morning or after the rush (around 10am). They are famous for having long lines... but are absolutely worth the weight.
For lunch or dinner, check out Sunflower: organic cuisine. Always interesting and DELICIOUS. Great atmosphere. They also have a great weekend brunch.
There are also great happy hours around town. I especially love the Boulder Cafe on the Pearl Street Mall. They have great seafood and fondue specials.
Great margaritas can be found at the Rio. The appetizers are mighty tasty too.
There are lots of other GREAT restaurants! Ask around. Everyone is bound to have their favorite place.