Readers’ Picks: Food

Published on: February 18th, 2013

Overall Restaurant


Places like Sugarbeet prove East Boulder County can hold its own against Boulder’s top spots. This intimate restaurant cuddled up into Longmont’s lesser-traveled neighborhood south of Old Town offers a seasonal menu of thoughtful dishes. It’s a luxurious experience with a distinctly Colorado vibe: comforting from the dishes of lamb and short ribs to the casual dining room. 101 Pratt St., Longmont

BOULDER: Frasca Food and Wine

Frasca is known for its unrivaled wine offerings and constantly changing Friulian-inspired menus. It’s also become Boulder’s culinary link to the outside world, bringing in the country’s top chefs—ie. Chris Cosentino and John Besh. 1738 Pearl St., Boulder


Contemporary American


Empire carefully walks a line between neighborhood joint and fine dining, serving as a neighborhood restaurant with a casual, friendly atmosphere and a focused, well-rounded menu speckled with seasonal touches. We are happy to walk that line with them. 816 Main St., Louisville

BOULDER: The Kitchen

From communal dining to dishes like their duck rillete—a jar of shredded duck topped with fruit-infused duck fat—and the simply done and simply delicious local proteins and produce, diners feel as though they have been invited into the home of the consummate culinarian. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder


Cheap Eats

EAST BOULDER COUNTY: Martino’s Pizzeria

Life is good with Martino’s around. We hate even thinking about the pre-Yee’Ro days. And one of the main reasons we love this Lafayette pizzeria is that we can grab lunch or dinner for less than $10. Check out the daily happy hour (from 4–6 pm) or just grab two slices and a drink for $6. 1389
Forest Park Circle, Lafayette

BOULDER: Snarf’s Sub Shop

Eating cheap is a way of life. And at Snarf’s, that lifestyle just makes sense. A Snarf’s sandwich has everything you could ever need in a meal: It covers all the food groups, it offers variety and it’s, like, way yummy. Multiple locations




Indulge not only wins the bakery category—but the Lafayette mainstay wins for garnering the most votes of any winner in any category. No doubt, Indulge has become a beloved institution in Boulder County, baking up intensely, ridiculously delicious sweets and treats. From their chocolate truffle torte to the French toast cupcake, we all win. 1377 Forest Park Cir., Lafayette


BOULDER: Spruce Confections

On the east end of Pearl Street and up north in the Holiday neighborhood, Spruce Confections has become a parking spot for cyclists, families and newspaper readers, sipping on Denver-based Kaladi Coffee. Spruce is very much a gathering place, and the attraction is the decadent pastries: the ugly muffins, which taste beautiful, and Heather’s wings, 768 layers of perfection. 767 Pearl St., Boulder; 4684 Broadway St., Boulder




A great bagel is like the light at the end of a tunnel: You go toward it. Big Daddy, with four locations, is such a beacon. Cooking up New York-style bagels baked consistently throughout the day to guarantee freshness, all you have to do is walk toward the light. Many locations

BOULDER: Moe’s Broadway Bagel

Even with quirky, friendly staff and a hand-written chalk menu, its rise to legitimacy starts with the bagel. With numerous types, countless cream cheese flavors and plenty of sandwich creations, Moe’s bagels are always fresh, doughy and delicious. Numerous locations




With a funky vibe—up-cycled everything—baskets of meat and drinks, even wine, served in Mason jars, Lulu’s has a feel unlike any other Boulder County restaurant. We can’t imagine a more perfect setting to dive into stacks of moist brisket, beer can chicken or slow-smoked pulled pork.
Just pour on some spicy
barbecue sauce, and you
are good to nosh. 701 Main St., Louisville

BOULDER: The Rib House

Finding itself in a new location on The Hill, these Kansas transplants are still serving up their brand of smoky goodness. While we dig the brisket, cheesy corn bake and the spicy chipotle potato salad, the hands down favorite here is Tracy’s Famous Illegal Ribs, juicy and falling off the bone. 1335 Broadway, Boulder; 1920 South Coffman
St., Prospect




The Huckleberry sits in Louisville’s downtown like a big purple bookend—often surrounded by hungry crowds on weekend mornings. And it’s no wonder. The Huckleberry has everything a breakfast-lover could ever need—French toast, biscuits and gravy, hot coffee and mimosas. 700 Main St., Louisville

BOULDER: Lucile’s

We often find ourselves
lusting after Lucile’s the way one might hunger for a long-lost love. The pillowy biscuits and perfectly bitter chicory coffee, the velvety rice pudding and the savory Eggs Jennifer, potatoes dappled with homemade ketchup and hot sauce. Without all this, we would be heartbroken. 2124 14th St., Boulder


Breakfast Burrito

EC & Santiago’s

Folded into a perfect package, the Santiago burrito is the breakfast staple for locals each day. And thanks to their ever- growing fleet of shops, a Santiago’s breakfast is never far away. Multiple locations



There are brunch people and then there are people who have no taste. Those may be fighting words, but we’d throw some punches to defend our brunch. Especially at The Huckleberry, which serves up the best of brunch. Try the Huevos Rancheros and prepare to brawl. 700 Main St., Louisville

BOULDER: The Greenbriar Inn

It’s Sunday morning, and the sun is shining on the patio of The Greenbriar Inn. You have your coffee, and your handsome server has been more than attentive with the Champagne. You’ve had oysters and a little Caesar salad. You’ve stuffed yourself with crisp bacon and quiche. You covered your plate with mussels and prime rib. Somehow, you will find room for dessert, and you will never be happier. 8735 Foothills Hwy., Boulder




Smashburger is one of those fast-casual concepts that is taking the food industry by storm. It’s like fast food, but not. We don’t like to focus on the “concept.” Instead, we concentrate on the mouth-watering 100-percent certified Angus Beef burgers cooked to order, topped with green chilies. Definitely not fast food. Multiple locations

BOULDER: Larkburger

There is something soul-satisfying about Larkburger’s simple offerings. The menu is not big, and the options are not broad. It’s quality over quantity, with the focus on the natural deliciousness of the juicy burger, the crisp veggies and the lovely brioche bun. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder




Spice China is a nice alternative to the vast majority of Chinese restaurants that fill East Boulder County shopping centers. The massive space is made modest only by the massive menu, filled with Shanghai specialties, inspired sushi creations and page after page of Chinese dishes, such as Cantonese lo mein and Cantonese giant prawns within a spicy Mandarin sauce. 269 McCaslin, Louisville

BOULDER: China Gourmet

China Gourmet is nearly hidden in the busy Lucky’s Market business district in North Boulder—but let’s be honest: no hectic parking lot, no obscured location, nothing could keep one away from the volcano shrimp or the firecracker chicken. Nothing! 3970 Broadway St., #102, Boulder


Coffee House


Cannon Mine is a neighborhood coffee shop. It’s where you see your neighbors and find yourself lost in conversation with the Lafayette mayor over steaming mugs of foamed milk and espresso. It’s where you fall in to the big leather couch and watch your town walk by while you savor every sip of your coffee and biscotti. 210 S. Public Road, Lafayette

BOULDER: Ozo Coffee Roasters

It seems these days everyone wants to meet at Ozo (“Arapahoe or Pearl?” you must ask). Get your compostable cup of Ozo-roasted coffee, and find a table or a chair or a spot to hover amid a sea of studying students, business meetings and friends settling into conversation. You will find a seat outside, and you will find satisfaction in this. 5340 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder; 1015 Pearl St., Boulder



EAST BOULDER COUNTY: Martino’s Pizzeria

Martino’s has gluten-free pride: Offering gluten-free pizza, sandwiches, cheesy bread, pasta or chocolate chip cookies. Or you can just get a salad. 1389 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette

BOULDER: Leaf Vegetarian

Gluten-free eaters can dine peacefully—along with vegetarians and vegans. At Leaf, your sophisticated palates will not be bored or offended, your sensibilities will not be trounced and your allergies will not be provoked. Here, all are welcome. 2010 16th St., Boulder




Indulge officially wins the best place to purchase an amazing dessert, serve it to guests during a dinner party and pretend you baked said amazing dessert (probably tiramisu or lemon raspberry cake). Well, I mean, you don’t lie. Just let your guests assume you are a baking genius! 1377 Forest Park Cir., Lafayette

BOULDER: Frasca Food and Wine

The Fruilian dishes created at Frasca are elegantly hearty. But their desserts have an intense flavor, bright colors and a balance of textures that put an exclamation point on each meal. 1738 Pearl St., Boulder


Colorado-Based Chain


There may not be anything more comforting than downing a giant burrito packed full of rice and black beans, chicken, three kinds of salsa, both cheese and sour cream and guac. Maybe that’s just us. Numerous locations



EAST BOULDER COUNTY: Pumphouse Brewery

When it comes to french fries at The Pumphouse, you can go with the traditional or you can try the sweet potato crinkle-cut fries! Slightly sweet and perfectly salty, these babies are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 540 Main St., Longmont

BOULDER: Larkburger

Larkburger’s fries are a breed of their own. Shoestring-like and speckled with coarse salt, a little package of their French fries packs a punch of potato-y scrumptiousness. Top them with truffle oil, parmesan and parsley. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder


Green Chile


Santiago’s green chile is classic Colorado-style green chile: thick and hearty with chunks of pork and slices of chiles. Order it hot, because that’s how it should be. Numerous locations

BOULDER: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant

Efrain’s green chile leaves us speechless. From the heat and the overwhelming blend of spices and chiles, a bowl—eaten with a spoon and a tortilla on the side—of Efrain’s will make you sweat and cry, and you’ll love every minute of it. 1630 63rd St., #10, Boulder




Taking your first bites of a Flavor of India meal of curries and the best darn chicken tikka masala you’ll ever have is a slow and steady process: bite, savor, grunt, bite, pause, savor, bite, reflect on first three bites, continue. 516 Main St., Longmont


A buffet is a buffet, correct? Not at The Taj, where our readers love to linger and dine on hot plates of saag and carrot pudding, amazing korma and crispy pakora. It’s the buffet of all buffets. 2630 Baseline Rd., Boulder




Zucca has become a fine dining favorite in downtown Louisville and a destination restaurant for residents elsewhere. It’s a sweet, warm and rustic eatery where a pleasant waitstaff serves big bowls of pretty pasta. 808 Main St., Louisville

BOULDER: Ristorante L

The restaurant previously known as Laudisio serves up delicious, crowd-pleasing classic and contemporary Italian food. Try the fettuccine con funghi, and you’ll fall in Love (with a capital L). 1710 29th St., #1076, Boulder




Efrain’s is not just a Mexican restaurant. It’s a gathering place for those seeking spice, community, flavor and plates full of bright red chili Colorado, chili verde, massive tacos and lovely flanks of rellenos covered in a bright tomato sauce. Numerous locations

BOULDER: Agavé Bistro & Tequila House

Agavé is a modern Mexican restaurant that serves traditional Mexican fare with contemporary touches. No plain ol’ bean and cheese burrito will allow you to experience this unique brand of culinary amazingness. Try the molcajete cielo, mar y tierra with cactus and chorizo or the tampiqueña with grilled arrachera steak and poblanos. 2845 28th St., Boulder




The Martini’s Bistro patio is famous and fabulous. Decorating the exterior of an early 19th century Victorian in downtown Longmont, it’s the Cadillac of patios, complete with cozy chairs and tables, couches, fireplaces and luxe landscaping. Now you just need a martini. 543 Terry St., Longmont


The Med is the patio in Boulder. It’s where locals go to lounge, drink wine and sip cocktails, settle into a table of tapas—mussels and hummus—and enjoy the company of others. It offers a little distraction from the outside world: just you and The Med. 1002 Walnut St., Boulder




Lunch is underrated. It’s often served at one’s desk, pulled out of a plastic bag, smashed and lumpy from the commute. Why settle? Sun Rose Café reminds us why lunch is so important: a pastrami grinder to keep you happy through the rest of the day, a smoked chicken salad to settle your midday blues and a Sun Rose quesadilla to put some pep in your step. 379 Main St.,  Longmont

BOULDER: Walnut Brewery

Walnut Brewery is known for its beer, and in Boulder, we do beer like Don Draper does martinis. Enjoy a three-beer lunch with a burger and fries, a chicken salad or French onion soup. 1123 Walnut St., Boulder




The fast-casual concept restaurant known as Mad Greens is a salad lover’s dream. It’s like a wonderland of veggies and toppings and dressings just waiting for you to make it your own. 2341 Clover Basin Dr., Longmont

BOULDER: Leaf Vegetarian

For a restaurant named Leaf, they best be serving up some tasty, leafy treats. You’ll find both classic salads and unique creations, especially with the Asian mizuna salad with wakame seaweed, jicama and sesame sweet chili vinaigrette. Word! 2010 16th St., Boulder





This friendly café in downtown Lafayette has become the area’s hot spot for sandwiches. We love the Bobby’s Fave or the Lafayette Cubano or the Dave’s Roast Beef or… 401 S Public Rd., Lafayette

BOULDER: Snarf’s Sub Shop

What is it about Snarf’s that has made it a local favorite? Well, it’s gotta be the snarfiness. What’s snarfiness? An indescribable flavor of yumminess that happens comes with each of Snarf’s subs, complete with toasty bread, a pile of meat and, of course, the giardiniera. Snarf! Multiple locations




Tucked away amongst historic houses on the edge of downtown Longmont, Tortuga’s is something you’d call “a find.” It’s a treasure. Unfussy and cozy, this eatery specializes in seafood inspired by Caribbean and Cajun flavors. Check the specials or sample jambalaya, etouffee or the catch of the day. 218 Coffman St., Longmont


Fresh from a renovation, Jax Fish House is now set for another 20 years of swimmingly smooth business, serving tasty, creative and modern dishes inspired by the fruits of the sea. 928 Pearl St., Boulder



EAST BOULDER COUNTY: Martino’s Pizzeria

Martino’s is like the funky second cousin of the haute pizzerias in Boulder. Here, your pizza is fun and possibly topped with ketchup and mustard (the bacon cheeseburger pizza) or spiced lamb meat, lettuce and tomato (the yee’ro). But you love this cousin so much because they are different and they make you feel so loved. 1389 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette

BOULDER: Pizzeria Locale

With the pizzeria trend still going hot in Boulder, it’s no small feat to win this category. Of course, Locale’s pizzaiolos have mad skills, and its contemporary take on the traditional Neapolitan pizzeria means delicious things for Boulderites. Yes, the pizzas come uncut (Suck it up! They won’t feed you either!), but it’s definitely worth the effort. 1730 Pearl St., Boulder




The Village Tavern’s menu is awesome—like awe-inspiring and impressive. But if you’re gonna pick just one thing, it’s all about the beef: Filet mignon, steak au poivre, steak Oscar, ribeye. Now you have to pick which one. 1 W. Flatiron Crossing Dr., Broomfield

BOULDER: Boulder Chophouse

The Boulder Chophouse has found a balance between being that old-school steakhouse and being trend-driven. It’s classic without being dated—a comfortable, warm setting for diving into a martini and a tender New York strip. 21 Walnut St., Boulder


Sushi/ Japanese


Out of the hustle and bustle of Longmont and inside the small storefront, the focus at Sakura is the sushi. Chef Kho and his team offer both traditional and contemporary creations that are more flavor and finesse than flaunting flash. 600 S
Airport Rd., Suite
F, Longmont

BOULDER: Sushi Zanmai

Sushi Zanmai has ingratiated itself into the preferences of Boulder residents over the years, becoming not just the place for sushi in the city but an entertainment destination, where college kids and sake-soaked locals practice their karaoke skills. Singing, sake and sushi…just doesn’t get any better. 1221 Spruce St., Boulder




Thai Kitchen has taken over East Boulder County with aplomb. Now with locations in Lafayette and Longmont, their lovely versions of traditional Thai recipes ensure that first-timers become regulars and regulars become obsessed. Multiple locations

BOULDER: Khow Thai Cafe

Khow Thai looks like a simple diner near campus. But what it lacks in lavishness it makes up for in deliciousness. This Boulder bastion of Thai cuisine offers a well-rounded menu of stunningly flavorful classics: spicy green papaya salad, curries, pad thai and more. 1600 Broadway St., Boulder


Healthy Meal


It seemed, for some time, that East Boulder County was void of all things healthful. But with Morning Glory, we can finally enjoy our gluten-free blueberry pancakes and a side of soy-sausage (ahem, soysage). Need to load up on goodness? Get the Buddha bowl. 1377 Forest Park Circle, Suite 101, Lafayette

BOULDER: Leaf Vegetarian

Rare is a restaurant that devotes itself to such a pure and honest objective: creating yummy, beautiful, well-developed dishes for vegetarians. It’s where we can find common ground during a not-so-common dining experience. 2010 16th St., Boulder