Best of the West: Readers’ Poll [Food & Drink]

Published on: February 26th, 2019

There’s nothing we love more than diving into some great grub, and so it seems, you do too.
In Boulder County there is plenty to choose from, and you chose the best there is.

FOOD

Best Overall Restaurant 

24 Carrot Bistro (EC)
24 Carrot is dining at its best, giving you all the joyous indulgence they can conjure without any form of regret. Healthy food made right to taste right. Vegans, vegetarians, or those hungry, hungry carnivorans, all will come and all will come back.

Flagstaff House (B)
Coming in as the heavyweight champion of fine dining, this historic restaurant is serving up delicious delicaces in a cabin in the woods with a view that’s as elevated as the cuisine.

 

Total Contemporary

Sugarbeet (EC)
Sugarbeet is definitely fine dining. The food is fantastic, the atmosphere is serene, and the attitude is classy. Bring your beloved, or schedule a formal meeting. Sugarbeet is there for you to awe, inspire and enjoy.

Blackbelly (B)
Seasonal food sourced locally. That’s what Blackbelly is doing and they’re doing it well. Whether you’re picking up meat or eating in, Blackbelly is giving us the tools we need to eat well while staying environmentally aware.

 

CHEAP eats

Tie Martino’s Pizzeria
Eats & Sweets (EC)

Cheap food needs to be good food. Period. First I’ll have pizza, then I’ll have some dessert. No wonder no one could make up their mind. Best cheap eats in EC right here, come and get it.

 Snarf’s (B)
Jimmy Seidel aka Snarf went on a quest to find the world’s finest sandwich. Deep in the midst of Boulder’s history it was found. Still serving up mind-altering sandwiches to this day with three locations (and a burger joint) Snarf’s is tearing up the norm. Try the eggplant parm … with bacon.

 

Bakery

Button Rock Bakery (EC)
Whether you’re looking for a little afternoon delight or a mid-morning treat Button Rock is baking up the goodiest goodies around.

Lucky’s Bakery (B)
Lucky’s is disproving the stereotype that the French are the best bakers. Their gorgeous selection of morning pastries from croissants to cakes, breads to muffins, pastries to fruit bars, chocolatiers and vegans alike will find love and come back again and again.

 

Gluten Free

Martino’s Pizzeria (EC)
Some of us can’t have gluten, some just don’t want it. Regardless of why, the best gluten free pizza is being served at Martino’s. And for those of you who scoff at gluten free anything, I challenge your presumptions right here right now, their GF pizza rules.

Shine Restaurant & Potion Bar (B)
Shine is unlike anything else in Boulder. From their potions to their jackfruit rancheros, they’re changing the way we think about food and we love that. You’re sure to find something you’ve never imagined before. Triplet owned, community based, magically infused.

 

Dessert

TIE: Eats & Sweets
Sweet Cow (EC)
Ice cream for I scream. That’s how it goes right? Regardless. I love ice cream and both these places are swirling, twirling and conjuring ice cream into the palm of your hand. All you have to do is pick, choose and say please.


Piece Love & Chocolate (B)
Tucked away behind a façade of flowers and colors on the west side of Pearl is our very own chocolatier. Dipping, spinning, pouring and mixing their very own chocolate, Piece Love and Chocolate is giving us a secret garden of our own to slip away to and rejuvenate in the beauty of chocolate.

 

Bagel

Big Daddy Bagels (EC)
Schmear time is Big Daddy time. Grab a bagel, get some coffee, and conquer the world. Anything from simple to full-blown, disappointment is hard to find.


Moe’s Broadway Bagels (B)
Of course we know Moe’s. They’re the bagel guys. True. They also serve delicious breakfast sandwiches with a whole bunch of different cream cheese flavors like bacon horseradish and maple walnut. As they say, only the best get baked.

 

BBQ

Georgia Boys BBQ (EC)
Beautifully slow smoked splendor. Huge menu. Outdoor summertime seating. Welcome to your very own slice of the South. Changing expectations since 2010, this place has roots starting small in Boulder and working their way up to what they’ve become today.


KT’S BBQ & Catering (B)
Straight-to-point good food. Tucked into Boulder’s Community Plaza Shopping Center just north of Pearl on Broadway, come for a sandwich, a basket, or have them cater your event (there’s even a catering calculator on their website).

 

Breakfast

Tangerine (EC)

Funkaliciously good brunch time is happening and we want more of it. Their second location has rocked its way to the top and we’re only hoping it stays that way.


Tangerine (B)

Oh my goodness. Bright orange, big booths and outrageously good food. Brunch nirvana if I’ve ever seen one. Any day of the week stop by for a mighty good time, chowing down on all the breakfast favorites you can remember. Try the hash, try the biscuits, try the bennys.

 

Breakfast Burrito

Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant (EC)
Here lies the essence of Colorado. Santiago’s is a staple of this beautiful state’s need for breakfast burritos. Mild or hot is the choice, half and half is the compromise. Luckily, they serve food the rest of the day too.


Blackbelly (B)
Besides being voted the best contemporary in Boulder, Blackbelly is making waves with their morning burritos. Farm eggs, hatch green chiles, tater tots and cheese. Want meat? No problem, they are a butchery after all.

 

Brunch

The Huckleberry (EC)
Huckleberry is serving up stacks, poaching eggs and doing all that needs to be done to send brunch and breakfast to the stars, through the galaxies, and beyond while we ardently hang on simmering in the beauty of their food.


Chautauqua Dining Hall (B)
Cast under the overwhelming beauty of the Flatirons, the best brunch in Boulder has found itself located in the Historic Chautauqua Dining Hall. It’s the perfect addition to any Sunday.

 

Burger

Waterloo (EC)
It’s burger o’clock and I’m going to the Waterloo for the best around. Their burgers are stacked high with quality ingredients and mouthwatering all-natural beef or bison. Paired with a beer or eaten on the patio (or both) we can’t possibly regret any of it.


The Sink (B)
Smack dab in the middle of Boulder’s infamous hill lies the Sink. A hot spot for the Buffs, but still redeeming. Come here for the best burger in down, grab a beer, admire the décor, play a little ring toss or sit outside and enjoy beautiful Boulder.

 

Chinese

Ting’s place (EC)
Great food, Malaysian varieties and lunch combinations that are too good to be true. Ting’s is rolling in as the best Chinese place in EC.

 

Zoe Ma Ma (B)
You vote, we write. The consensus is that Boulder doesn’t have very good Chinese food. It does however have Zoe Ma Ma. Super yummy street food is what they say and super yummy street food it sure is. Typical Americanized Chinese food it is not, it’s better.

 

Colorado Chain

 Illegal Pete’s (East County and Boulder)

Illegal Pete’s is good time burrito time (or whatever else you want to eat.) You tell ‘em what you want then you tell ‘em how to stuff it. Multiple locations with killer happy hours you won’t be disappointed.

 

Green Chile

Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant (EC)
We all know Santiago’s for their burritos and rightfully so. Luckily for us they serve food all day and are especially known for their green chili. Served mild, medium and hot. This stuff will weaken your knees and linger in your thoughts forever more.


Efrain’s (B)
Oh My Gosh. Green chile plate. I can’t get enough of it and probably neither can you. That is, if you can handle it. Rated the hottest on the menu, this plate will tingle your senses, light your mouth a blaze and send you into the green chile oblivion of the best kind. Get a marg alongside.

 

Indian

Taj Mahal 3 Restaurant & Bar (EC)
Indian food is good on its own. This place has that. Indian food is even better as a buffet. This place has that also. Everyday for lunch come drink chai, delve into the schmorgesbord and allow your senses to be thoroughly invigorated.


Sherpa Restaurant (B)
Since 2002 Sherpas has been providing Boulder with the most delicious Himalayan food. Set in the confines of what appears to be a neighborhood home the mood is cozy, the food is delicious and the story of this place is inspiring. Try the momo’s to share in a variety of different fillings. Vegetarians will definitely find multitude of options.

 

Italian

TIE: Pinocchios
Parma trattoria (EC)
Titans never call a draw, but for these two Boulder County Italians a tie has fallen and is here to stay…for now. They’re both just so good! From old school recipes to new world vibes, fresh mozzarella, fresh bruschetta and homestyle ravioli Italy lives on in all its glory right here in our beloved Colorado.


Pasta Jay’s (B)
West side of Pearl Street Mall, outdoor seating, big ol’ meatballs, large wine selections, tasty appetizers and a family friendly atmosphere perfect for celebrations of any kind.

 

Mexican

Efrain’s II (EC)
This place is a legend. They’ve been providing us with the best Mexican food around. From enchiladas to their green chile to their excellent menu of margs, I can’t imagine anyone ever having been disappointed… ever. Seriously though, No bs good food, from mild to hell bound, from free chips to freshly mixed guac Efrain’s can’t be beat.


ZOLO Southwestern Grill (B)

Voted best Mexican food in Boulder they’re serving up fine dining in a casual setting. Deviating from the norm to bring you delicious dishes such as Cedar Planked Verlasso Salmon and Wild Mushroom Tamales, ZOLO is making a name for themselves and we love it.

 

Patio

Waterloo (EC)
Centrally located on Main Street in Louisville expect this place to be packed and with good reason. Bringing back the art of rooftop patio-ing Waterloo is teaching us what it means to live our best lives.


West Flanders Brewing Co. (B)
Pearl Street Mall. Outside Seating. Delicious beer. Voted best patio in Boulder this place knows it and doesn’t mind to flaunt it. Whether you’re stopping by for something to eat or having a drink with friends the patio is waiting for you.

 

Lunch


The Roost (EC)
Rustic good-timing locally sourced sanctuary of hope for all those who wish to dabble in the righteous art of tasteful food. Music in the evenings, lunch during the day and drinks all day round. Bada bing, bada boom.


The Kitchen (B)
Dining the way we want it. The Kitchen is determined to provide Boulder with excellent food while fostering and maintaining personal relationships with farmers all over the country. Serving up the best lunch in the city.

 

Sandwich

  
Snarf’s Sandwiches (East County and Boulder)

What a battle of the sandwiches – not one, not two but five great sandwich places up for the honor, but  Snarf’s brought out double the number. Congrats Snarfs! What a thunderous win in the most heated battle of our poll!

 

Seafood

Reel Fish
Nowadays it would be absurd to not offer an overwhelming variety of different foods. Reel Fish is that absurd. Fish is the name, fish is the game. Come here for fish, fish, and more fish. Did I mention they have fish?

Jax Fish House  & Oyster Bar
Have a reservation because this place is packed. Once you come and try you’ll know why. Whether you’re at the bar eating oysters and drinking a martini, or you’re sitting down with friends or family gazing upon one of the massive combination plates, seafood heaven has been found and you’re in the midst of it.

 

Pizza

Martino’s & Rosalee’s (EC)
Old school pizza joints serving up the best pizza around. Both so good no one could make up their mind and a tie was called. These two have that sweet, sweet Italian vibe seeping through all that they do and we love it.


Pizzeria Locale (B)
It doesn’t get more authentic than this place. Beautiful crust, fresh toppings and delectable cheese all cooked right in front of you in a wood-fired oven. We come here for a little slice of Italia. That’s amore.

 

Steak

740 Front St (EC)
Whether it’s the eight ounce filet or the twenty ounce bison ribeye “Cowboy Bone-in” steak, this place is determined to provide you with a dining experience as noticeable as their extensive history. Being the last standing saloon of the original thirteen of Front Street, this place has been satisfying customers for over a century.


The Cork (B)
Voted best steak in Boulder, The Cork is just what we expect from a steakhouse. Fine dining, quality food and a wonderful atmosphere to spend time with friends and family. They know a lot, they offer a lot and we love that almost as much as we love their steaks.

 

Sushi

Sakura Japanese Cuisine (EC)
Combinations, combinations, combinations. Whether you’re looking for two rolls with three pieces of sushi, three rolls, one roll, a bento box or Chirashi (assorted sashimi over rice) Sakura gives you the ability to pick and choose exactly what you want with whatever else you could or might want for a fair price.


Sushi Zanmai (B)
Sushi served with dignity. Sit at the bar and watch the inevitable be carefully sliced, organized, served. Try the Wasabi Tobiko Nigiri to cleanse your sinus, otherwise stick with the rainbow roll. If you want diverge onto a path of utter oblivion and seem to know what you’re doing – Salmon Roe Nigiri with a quail egg on top. Come Saturdays and get freaky with karaoke and super happy hour.

 

Thai

Busaba Thai (EC)
Here’s what they do. They make food that tastes good. Is it what you may find at ‘some other’ Thai place? Heck no! This place is cooking up originals, they’re making their mark, and their changing the way we see Thai food. We’ll be here and so should you.


Aloy Thai (B)
Well-known, authentic, and utterly goooood. A staple of Boulder. If you like Thai, you like Aloy Thai. Oh yeah, it’s been on Diners, Drive-in’s, and Dives. If Guy Fieri eats here, we should probably also.

 

Vietnamese

Pho Cafe (EC)
Vietnamese EC Pho Cafe (another close battle between Pho Duy and Pho Huong Viet – like 1 vote away). Yup Pho is good, and Pho Café is just the place for it amongst other things. They’re authentic, they’re tasteful, they’re providing us with great food right here in Lafayette.


Chez Thuy (B)
Do I even need to tell you? The reigning champion of forever, Chez Thuy has been warming our very being for years and years and we can only hope that they continue to do so forever and ever more.

 

Healthy

Morning Glory (EC)
Scrumdiliumcious! Owned and operated with the belief that healthy food can transcend the stereotypes of expensive and meek, Morning Glory is serving up delicious and beautiful food in varieties to suit all patrons.


Leaf (B)
Leaf is dining at its best, giving you all the joyous indulgence they can conjure without any form of regret. Healthy food made right to taste right. All are welcome and will surely find something that ignites their very souls. Love Live Leaf.

 

Taco

Marco’s Hot Dogs & Tacos (EC)
Sure they sell hot dogs and hot damn are they good. But have you noticed the word TACOS on their sign? That’s right, tacos tacos tacos, they’re the best around.


Bar Taco (B)
The music is good, the seating is great, the Margs are perfect… but the tacos… the tacos are mind-alteringly fine. With traditional options like Chicken Pastor, Carne Asada, and Spicy Chorizo, or not so traditional ones like falafel, seared swordfish, or cauliflower everyone is sure to find just what they desire.

 

Chef

Dallas Houle | Leaf
If Leaf is magic then Chef Dallas Houle is the magician. He’s the mastermind, the executive chef, the one coming up with beautiful food like the Jamaician Jerk Tempeh, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and finally a vegetarian ‘sushi’ that we can all agree is a little better than a cucumber roll.

 

DRINK

Coffee 

Brewing Market (EC)
Whether you’re looking for a cup o’ joe, a tasty pastry or a top shelf espresso machine, the brewing market has what you need. Casual and calm this place is perfect for reading the morning paper (if anyone still does that), meeting up with friends, or enjoy the blissful morning sunshine with a warm drink and your beloved dog.


Ozo Coffee Roasters (B)
Coffee shops are certainly not hard to come by in our beloved Boulder. Ozo has been and always will be a cornerstone of what it means to serve up coffee with purpose. Whether all you want is a cup of drip with a little cream or a triple shot lightly frothed whole milk cappuccino with a dollop of hazelnut and a whole lotta chocolate, they’re there for you.

 

Bar

Miner’s Tavern (EC)
Good ol’ local bar. Since 1926 the Miner’s Tavern has been serving downtown Erie it’s a dive all the dives aspire to be. Making sure to buy their burgers, steaks, bison, and chicken from local farmers allows this bar to serve quality food at even better prices. From micro-brews, to domestic favorites, a pool table, and outdoor seating, this is a local favorite.


Murphy’s (B)
Two locations. Great food. Best bar in Boulder. Come gather round, have a drink, bring your friends, and let the good times roll. Better yet come Thursday’s at 5:30 at the North location and Tuesday’s at 5:00 at the South Location to see the great Lamont, Boulder’s very own magician.

 

Brewery

Pumphouse Brewery (EC)
Sports bar meet great beer. With enough space to accommodate you, your friends, your friend’s friends and all your coworkers, this place is perfect for getting together, drinking good beer, eating quality food, and watching the game. Head on over Thursdays for Ladies night, and don’t worry fellas, Tuesdays are for the boys.

 

Southern Sun, Mountain Sun, Under the Sun (B)
The entire mountain sun family won, all three got huge votes, Can I say more? These three rock and Boulder knows it. February is Stout Month, arguably the best month of the year.  Be sure to go in to any location  and try one of their coffee stouts or get adventurous with one of their other experimental stouts. 

 

Bloody Mary

12 Points (EC)
Bloody Mary, named for the British Queen with a fondness for execution. And the bloody at 12 Points slays. Come sit outside and relax while the distillery is hard at work cranking out to insure that your Bloodys keep coming.

Foolish Craig’s Cafe (B)
Ghost Chili. What! Don’t worry they also have Lemon Basil Vodka to put in your Bloody if you can’t… I mean you don’t feel like handling the heat. Add Bacon. Then have some breakfast, order another Bloody maybe kick it south, add some tequila and call it a Maria. Here, you’re bloody isn’t just a side, it’s the main attraction.

 

Best Bread

Moxie Bread Co.
Bread is good, bread is delicious, bread is the staple of life. I love bread and I’m guessing most of you do as well. Moxie isn’t dabbling in the wonders of sliced bread, we’re talking freshly formed, freshly baked, freshly served loafs of heirloom wheat.

 

Happy Hour

95A Bistro & Sushi (EC)
It’s time for $5 happy hour! And $1 off specialty cocktails. 95A Bistro and Sushi is rocking our worlds Tuesday through Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. and all day Mondays. Tapas, Sushi, Drinks, it doesn’t get any better. 

The Med (B)
What’s even better than the authentic Italian they’re cooking up? Their happy hour. Drinks on special are awesome, but have you ever paired them with hot or cold tapas? What about fresh mussels? There’s no limits to this happy hour, well, except the hours.

 

Margarita

Lunada Eatery & Cantina (EC)
I want a margarita and I want a good one. Luckily for me and any of you who want the same Lunada’s got it. Fresh lime juice, quality tequila, exquisite salt rim jobs. They got what we want and they got it now.

Rio Grande (B)
I don’t care what they say, this place has a rooftop deck that can’t be beat. And the best part of drinking a marg is where you drink it. High above downtown Boulder, with views in all directions, you can delightfully drink Boulder’s best Marg. On the rocks or frozen, you call the shots, which just may come later.

 

Wine Bar

Bin 46 Wine Bar & Restaurant (EC)
Huge wine list with Tuesdays and Thursdays half off the Bin Picks (aka top shelf wines for less). Come here to expand your palettes, your horizons, and your understanding of what it means to drink a truly great wine. Drink a glass, try a flight, get a bottle.

SIP (B)
Located on the east side of the CU campus, this quaint locale serves as a great place to come together with friends for a glass of wine. Their large selection should satisfy even the most knowledgeable, and for those who don’t indulge in a grape’s true destiny, there’s plenty of beer too.

 

Liquor

Atlas Valley Purveyors (EC)
Family owned, family operated with three generations in the store. This proud shop is taking big steps to serve you all that could be that you may need: spirits, wines, beer, they have that. Proper glasses, fine cheese, sweets, they have that too, alongside all the things that a neighborhood market ought to have.

Hazel’s Beverage World (B)
Hazel’s is like a department store for liquor, it’s huge. Wide variety, big discounts and knowledgeable staff. Whether you’re stocking up for a party or determined to make the best cocktail in town they got what you need.

 

Wine Shop

PJ’s Spirits (EC)
Whether you’re looking for a bottle of Chianti for under twenty or wanting to impress your girlfriend’s oenophile parents with a bottle Chateauneuf du Pape Pj’s is there for you. With selections that span and prices that make us all happy, PJ’s has won itself Best Wine Shop EC.


West End Wine Merchant (B)

How many of us like to drink wine but don’t really know what we’re talking about? How many of us get overwhelmed by most wine selections? The people at West End Wine Merchant are there for you. Small, intimate and the attention is on your wine needs, whether you know what you are talking about or not.

 

Distillery

Longtucky Spirits (EC)
Turning heads while they show us what it means to be a quality spirit, Longtucky is distilling some of the best locally made spirits. With a cocktail bar waiting to host,  you’ll be sure to have a good time.

Vapor Distillery (B)
They sourced beautiful Colorado water straight from the Arapaho Glacier, added top-shelf botanicals, and voila: Boulder’s finest, award winning spirits. Come by for the distillery tour, have a drink at the bar, take a bottle home and see why Boulder’s newest has quickly become Boulder’s best.

 

Bartender/Mixologist

DJ Reimer – 24 Carrot bistro
D.J. Reimer is BOCO’s very best. He and his team are churning down, cranking up, and discovering new meanings for what it means to indulge. From homemade liqueurs, smoked cocktails and recipes new and old, the way we drink, the way we think about drinks and the way we experience drinks is changing.

 

Cannabis 21+ Recreational


The Farm
Recreational Cannabis is a growing industry, with new products being released all the time. From flower to shatter to edibles, the innovation is obvious and happening right before our eyes. The Farm is right there providing you with a friendly place to find everything you might need.

Cannabis Medical

Terrapin Care Station
Coming in as the best for Medical Cannabis, Terrapin is providing quality at prices that are oh so right with a selection that will guarantee that you find exactly what you’re looking for. Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to Terrapin, they are just that good.

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