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Starting with Starters: the 20


Eating. We do it 3 times a day, 21 times a week, and 84 times a month (or at least we should); and yet we never seem to know what we want to chow down on. Luckily for you, the Yellow Scene Magazine team has narrowed it down a bit. Boulder County is known for the views, the hiking, the shopping, and most importantly, the food. Dive into the best starters at our favorite eateries in BOCO.




Busaba Thai – Crab Cheese Rangoons




Busaba is a charming restaurant tucked away in the heart of Louisville, Colorado. The delightful name originated from the Thai word for “flower”, and this eatery has continued to blossom over the last decade.


This hidden gem is by far one of the best thai restaurants in Colorado. They are known for their authentic crab cheese rangoons and for their strong house made sauces. Relish the crisp and light taste of the crab rangoons partnered with a house made tangy sweet and sour sauce. The inviting, orange, sweet, and sour sauce sauce is not what you’d typically expect from your average dipping sauce. The Busaba sweet and sour sauce packs a strong kick of flavor that consumes the pallet. Make sure to arrive early, Busaba does not take reservations and their outdoor dining area does fill up fast!




Organic Sandwich company – Turkey & Brie Sandwich




The Organic Sandwich company is an adorably simple sandwich shop located on Pearl Street. A perk of this sweet spot is the fact that it has a second location in Louisville. Farm to table fresh ingredients are this shop’s real hustle.


Miller grew up in the midwest with her sister Bonnie, eating homegrown meals cooked by their mother. As they aged they came to a realization that food these days just isn’t the same these days. Their sandwiches are made with love, care, and, of course, only the freshest locally sourced ingredients.


We recommend the house favorite, Turkey & Brie Sandwich on a baguette. This delightfully unusual sandwich brings quite a bit of flavor to the table. The turkey & brie sandwich is a sweet yet savoury treat that is light on the stomach, with sliced apples, a homemade honey-mustard, brie, and carmelized onions.




Savoury Cuisines Catering – Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewer




Savoury Cuisines Catering is a customizable catering business that creates specialized menus for customers. “Let’s say we have a couple that is getting married… the wife is from Guadalajara but the husband may be from Iowa and they want food from there, too. So then I say, ‘great we will do let’s do a steak this way, or the sides another way’. We try to make our catering as custom as possible.” Bob Sargent creates food specifically catered to feed your heart.


Sargent presented the exquisite lemon pepper chicken skewer, featuring oven roasted tomatoes paired with a creamy lemon vinaigrette,  house pesto, and the house balsamic. Bite into the chicken skewer and be greeted by an eruption of flavor. Each bite brings you to a world of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors that integrate impeccably with the dish. Sargent explained, “We have been making this dish for years, and it has always done pretty well. Everyone loves it.”




Piripi – Gambas Al Ajillo and Scallop & Shrimp Ceviche




Argentinian owner and Executive Chef Hugo Meyer has come to Erie to give Coloradans a global culinary experience. Piripi is a sophisticated eatery featuring Spanish inspired Latin and Mediteranean tapas dishes. “This is a place where people can come to share little plates of food and have a lot of fun with sangria, wine, and drinks.”


The Piripi house favorite Gambas Al Ajillo is an alluring live presentation dish featuring deliciously tender shrimp, red hot chili peppers, garlic, and olive oil served in a piping hot ceramic dish. This live plate is presented while the dish is still actively boiling, delivering a slight garlic taste with a hint of smokeyness. The second house recommendation is their Scallop & Shrimp Ceviche. Unbothered by competition, Piripi may be new but they stand unrivaled when it comes to the quality and authenticity of their food.




The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House – The North African Crispy Cauliflower




Boulder is known for many breathtaking views including Flagstaff, Boulder Creek, and The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. This spectacular, eclectic building is originally from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where it was constructed. The building is truly a feast for the eyes, but there’s more to feast on.


The North African Crispy Cauliflower smells delectable and will have your mouth watering. This unique dish draws you in with its cinnamon scent and appealing presentation. The tender cauliflower is seasoned with paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then it is lightly fried and paired with house made lemon tahini, harissa, and chermoula pistachios. The lemon tahini gives the plate an uplifting zesty bite. In fact this dish is so popular that the restaurant has had a difficult time keeping up with the demand. The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a gem. Call and make a reservation, as this destination has limited seating and high demand.




Cafe Aion – Mideast Platter




There are nights where we want to go out with some friends, have a few drinks, and nights we just want to “graze” as we please. For any night out, just get in the car and head to Cafe Aion. Walk through the door, and you’re sure to be pleased as you are greeted by brick work, a rustic fireplace, a bohemian inspired bay window with seating, stunning wall art, and a robust selection of wine and cocktails. The true heart to this novel restaurant is the generous selection of ever changing small seasonal dishes.


Get your hands on the “Mideast Platter”. The roasted beet hummus, an unusual shift on hummus that gives the pallet an airy taste and gives your eyes a ravishing hue to enjoy. Pair that with the house made flatbreads and their signature goat’s milk feta cheese infused with lemon and scallions. This zesty cheese pairs seamlessly with just about anything on the menu. The chicken shawarma brought a sweet and savoury taste to the platter, the dolmas (rice wrapped in grape leaves) brought a brimey pickled flavor to the table. The entire platter creates an adventurous journey for your taste buds to enjoy.




The Dugout Bar and Grill – Gourmet Taco Sampler




The Dugout Bar and Grill is the type of restaurant that seems simple enough at first, but when it comes to the food this joint is full of surprises. The Dugout Bar and Grill menu features a wide range of meal options like burgers, wings, and hotdogs, the tacos are what this bar has hidden up their sleeve. The unusual Asparagus Taco has a modern twist, it features tender fried asparagus, fresh mango salsa, and house made teriyaki aioli. The Coors Field Taco is contrived of juicy steak, cilantro, onion, queso fresco, and a house made avocado salsa. The Gourmet Fish Tacos are filled with evenly grilled mahi-mahi, chipotle aioli, mango salsa, and fresh romaine lettuce. The Avocado Taco processes a lightly fried avocado, a smoky chipotle aioli, cabbage, and peppers. This wonderful vegan option doesn’t leave you feeling like you are missing out on the true dining experience. These tacos deliver a smokey and zesty taste that leaves you wanting more.




Arcana – Masa Hushpuppies and
Hamchi Ceviche




Arcana is this dazzling American eatery with a chic interior featuring tiffany blue booths, sky lights, metallic wallpaper, and geometric chandelier lighting. The most recent development with Arcana is their limited regional vacation series metamorphosis menu over the next 90 days. The month of September serves as “Mexico Month”, diving into an ever changing culinary adventure with Arcana.


The Masa Hushpuppies consist of a combination of peculiar ingredients including charred corn, watermelon radish, poblano, cotija cheese, lime, and chipotle aioli. The hushpuppies provide you with a smoky taste and a light and fluffy texture. The Hamachi Ceviche is made up of grapefruit, ginger, red onion, mint, cucumber, and sunflower seeds. This seemingly light dish packs a citrus filled punch that plays for and or against the taste of the fish.


Make sure to make your way to Arcana over the next several months. October will serve as “Japan Month” and November will be labeled as “Italy Month”.




Oak At 14th – Tuna Tartare and
Bread to Begin




The Oak At 14th menu was developed by none other than the Chef and Owner, Steve Redzikpwski. The abundant menu has a variety of entrees, small plates, and desserts. Not only does the restaurant specializes in fine cooking, but mixology as well!

The Ahi Tuna Tartare is a fascinating plate that passes a slightly fishy taste but is paired with a lychee- cucumber relish that delivers a vinegar like taste. The dish also contains ingredients such as basil, habanero peppers, lime and rice crisps. The Bread To Begin buns paired with nori butter is an oversimplified choice, the sesame covered buns provide an ample amount of garlic butter flavor. The nori butter pairs with the buns flawlessly. Come to Oak At 14th and enjoy the Stylized modern decor, a delicious specialty cocktail, and a captivating meal.




Mateo – Mousels Provencal




Mateo is a modern french inspired eatery run by none other than the sauve Matthew Jansen. The menu is a conglomeration of seasonal menu items, small plates, and intricate entrees. Every component of the mateo menu is house made and their ingredients are all locally sourced whenever possible.Jansen explained, “ There is a reason people continue to come back, if you cook your food the right way every time, then it works. Just do it the right way.”


The Mousels Provencal is among the most popular small plates on the Mateo menu. The shellfish dish is prepared with steamed bouchot mussels, persillade, pastis, and seasoned tomato. This unsullied dish is made up of only the freshest of ingredients and it really translates to the taste buds. 




Waterloo – Grilled Avocado Appetizer




The Waterloo has a relaxed atmosphere, but don’t let that fool you, the food at the Waterloo restaurant is fine dining quality.


The top seller for this relaxed restaurant is the popular grilled avocado appetizer. The grilled avocado dish may be the most simplistic on our top 20 list, but it most certainly is not simple when it comes to flavor . This dish delivers the pallet to a world of sweet yet tangy flavour. The flavor overwhelms the consumer in the most pleasant way. The robust flavor originates from the delectable green chili infused honey that is drizzled over the grilled avocado. The dish also features goat cheese and house cut tortilla chips.


No reservation no problem most days you can pop in and find a table at the waterloo in record time.


Be sure to visit this Louisville treasure before the outdoor seating is gone for the winter.




Tangerine – Huevos Rancheros




Tangerine is a quaint little breakfast spot. The owner Alec Schuler is eager and ready to tell us all about his unique menu. “First off everything here is made from scratch. We take breakfast up to a higher level than your typical breakfast restaurant. We take our food to a fine dining level.”


His Huevos Rancheros is the best dish to express what his eclectic restaurant is all about. The huevos rancheros dish resembled Colorado Sunshine. During the first bite you will be greeted by a rush of smokey flavor paired with the fresh zing of Tangerine’s house made pico de gallo. The lightly breaded potatoes paired with the huevos rancheros packed a salty punch. You can wash it all down with a beautifully crafted cappuccino or latte of your choice. Tangerine is by far the ultimate brunch destination.




SALT – Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Bone Marrow Platter, and Sashito Peppers With Bacon




SALT is a rustic restaurant. “We’ve been doing the farm to table “thing” since before it became a thing. Everything is house made, even down to the ketchup. We honor mother nature with the way that we cook. We celebrate all types of people and all types of eaters. For people who eat gluten free, we make almost everything on the menu gluten free. For the individuals who choose to eat a plant based diet, we celebrate them too. In fact we kick ass at it.”


The Crispy Brussel Sprouts dish includes brussel sprouts, agave, beet hummus, almonds, and lime. The fuchsia hummus plays off of the smokey taste of the brussel sprouts. The Sashito Peppers with Bacon has a spiced smoky flavor of the peppers balanced by the salty and savoury taste of perfectly cooked bacon. The Bone Marrow Platter paired with a house made balsamic and bread is a peculiar dish. The marrow creates a buttery base that plays off of the acidity of the balsamic.




Hickory & Ash – Beer Belly




Hickory & Ash is a high end meatery with a menu developed over time by Executive Chef, Ryan Taylor. The menu consists of meals derived from fresh sustainable locally sourced ingredients.

The Beer Belly is a beer braised pork belly that is cooked in a bit of ginger, soy, brussel sprout leaf, pickled raisins laid on a bed of celery root puree. The beer belly plate is a well balanced dish with a perfect hint of both savoury and tangy flavors.  The plate gives off hints of citrus tones that play well off of the smoky flavor of the brussel leaves. The plate delivers a light and airy feel to the consumer. All around this beer belly dish is sure to have a bit of everything for any meat lover.




Flavor of India – Samosa Chat and Chicken Marsala




Daman Singh started Flavor of India back in 2006, and from there Flavor of India has gained popularity with the locals.


The Chicken Marsala has a warm and inviting taste of the chicken marsala is unrivaled by contending Indian restaurants in the Colorado area. The marsala sauce draws the eyes in with it’s bright coloring while it warms the heart and soul while packing a punch of delightfully overwhelming flavor. The Samosa Chat is an appealing plate featuring stuffed potato pastries that are garnished with chickpeas.

We recommend the Flavor of India restaurant for all seasons but we have to admit with the upcoming change of the seasons on its way, this restaurant is just what you’ll need to warm up on those cool winter days.




Frasca – Stuffed Roasted Quail with Fogwa Chicken Sausage




Frasca is a superior venue inspired by Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region in Italy that is seeped in a blend of cultures and mesmerizing beauty. Frasca has continued to carry on the tradition of the farm to table cooking and has been sure to keep the authenticity of their cuisine intact.


The Roasted Stuffed Quail with Fogwa Chicken Sausage creates a robust savoury taste paired with a hint of a brimey tone. The quail itself is tender and extremely juicy while the chicken sausage delivers a hint of an acidic touch. Pair the dish with a glass of wine. We recommend the house pairing with Petrussa Friuli Colli Orientali. This wine plays off the savoury taste of the dish by countering with a full bodied pepper taste. No matter what you choose off of the Frasca menu, your inner bougie bitch is sure to emerge.




Pasta Jay’s – Garlic Knots




Jay Elowsky founded Pasta Jay’s in 1988.  This family oriented Italian restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating along with ample delivery options. You are guaranteed a quality meal cooked with the freshest ingredients and served with passion.


The garlic knots invite you to bite into a warm and fluffy knot to be greeted by delicious parmesan cheese and a full bodied garlic taste. The best part about the Garlic knots starter is the fact that you have a range of sauces to choose from. The tangy marinara, the zesty green pesto, and the creamy alfredo sauce. Each sauce provides it’s own twist when coupled with the garlic taste of Pasta Jay’s garlic knots. One thing is for sure, your table will find themselves fighting over the last garlic knot, and you just might need to order some more.




Gondolier Italian
Eatery – Spicy Fried Calamari




The Gondolier Italian Eatery was founded by Gary Kugel in 1960. Gary’s eldest son Nelson took over in 2001, he transferred to the restaurant to the infamous Boulder location, Peart Street. In 2013 Nelson saw it was best to move the eatery one more time. He explained, “We’re committed to return to a simpler time, maintaining our traditional traditional favorites. People tell me how they had their first date with their wife at the Gondo, came here with their college buddies, or came with their families growing up. That is what makes this place so special, and why I am committed to keeping the restaurant and it’s traditions moving forward.”


The Gondo menu has a variety of tasty traditional Italian dishes but above all we recommend the Spicy Fried Calamari. The spicy calamari provides a crisp and spicy start to your meal that really gets your appetite going. No matter the occasion, The Gondolier Italian Eatery is the perfect stop for your dining needs.




Sherpa’s Restaurant – Traditional Steamed




Sherpa’s was founded by Pemba Sherpa in order to bring the experience, adventure, and taste of the Himalayas to Boulder.  Enjoy scratch meals only made from the freshest of ingredients and derived from Sherpa’s old family recipes.


Though it may seem over simplified, the homemade traditional steamed dumplings are by far the best small plate Sherpa’s has to offer. The dumplings deliver a savoury and spiced tone to the pallet while their gorgeous dipping sauce overruns the taste buds with hints of ginger, garlic, turmeric, and other spices. It is the perfect dish to kick start your appetite before you dig into Sherpa’s Himalayan cuisine. Be sure to make a reservation, grab a cold beer, and some spectacular food.




The Empire Lounge & Restaurant – Fried Brussel Sprouts and Louisville Poutine




The Empire Lounge & Restaurant has been a staple on mainstreet since early 2008 and has continued to thrive to this day.


The Empire Lounge & Restaurant menu’s fried brussel sprouts and the Louisville poutine take the prize for best items on the menu. The brussels are lightly breaded, fried, and then topped with a dollop of ricotta cheese, walnuts, and a tangy lemon mustard vinaigrette. As for the louisville poutine, it is a traditional canadian dish with an Empire twist. This dish is contrived of russet potatoes, fried cheese curds, bacon, and a veal demi-glace. Each dish delivers a savoury yet smoky taste that would pair well with any locally brewed beer. The poutine dish would be great for a night on the town with the boys. While the brussels dish is a bit lighter but don’t get it twisted, it will fill you up by the last bite.

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