Greetings from Berlin! I've been a bit MIA on the blog lately because I'm hopping around Europe to put together travel guides of some destinations I've been wanting to see for a while (stay tuned to read about my trips to Portugal, London, Scandinavia and more!) Until those travel guides are ready, let's rewind a bit to a trip I took this spring while traveling in the U.S.
On my trip to Colorado this past March, I made a point to go back to Boulder. For those of you who don’t know, I used to spend roughly a week a month here for my old job, which means I know the town pretty well. This also means I ate my way through just about every restaurant imaginable (thanks to my former company’s generous per diem). Long story short, I know more about dining options in Boulder than just about any other city in the world.
Boulder may be known for it's iconic Flatirons (rightfully so) but it also has a blossoming food scene that you could truly plan an entire trip around. It's been named "America's Foodiest Town" by Bon Appétit, one of "Five Secret Foodie Cities" by Forbes and boasts many other culinary accomplishments, including James Beard Awards.
So where are the best spots to eat when you visit? Get your pen ready (and be prepared to stay a while).
As I mentioned in my previous Colorado Travel Guide, The Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants of all time. But this restaurant family boasts more than just one eatery. It's sister restaurant Next Door was opened to ensure that everyone in the community had access to affordable, real food. Today, it's an urban casual eatery that serves affordable, real food that's sourced from American farmers and serves over 10,000 guests a week collectively at it's 4 locations. It's high energy atmosphere is a great spot to visit
I recommend the buffalo cauliflower to start (complete with blue cheese crumbles, chopped celery + parsley).
For a main, I love the concept of their 50/50 burger: where the patty is comprised of 50% meat and 50% mushrooms. The goal here is to aim for balance. You don't have to be a full blown vegetarian to contribute to reducing meat consumption. If we cut back together as a community, we can still make an impact while enjoying ourselves. Regardless of your position on the topic, this burger is tasty and worth trying.
Overall, Next Door offers a great ambiance and delicious food at an affordable price tag (plus you can feel good that you're supporting American farmers and real food.
1035 Pearl St. Boulder, CO 80302
Frasca is someplace I always wanted to eat while I was working in Boulder, but for whatever reason I never made it there. So for this trip, I put it at the top of my list. From start to finish, the experience at Fresca is impeccable. The wine list alone is impressive (boasting over 200 varieties).
Frasca is the creation of Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, and their inspiration for the restaurant is one of the coolest I've heard:
Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a sub-alpine region in northeast Italy. Steeped in tradition, nestled at the foot of the Carnic and Julian Alps and bordered by Austria, Slovenia, and the Adriatic Sea, it is a region of immense cultural blending, geographical diversity, and idyllic beauty.
A huge part of Friulano food tradition is the neighborhood Frasca. Historically found throughout Friuli, Frascas were friendly and informal gathering places, a destination for farmers, friends, and families to share a meal and a bottle of wine. Identified by a tree branch hanging over a doorway portal, they were a symbol of local farm cuisine, wine, and warm hospitality. As the harvest came to a close, the branch would wither and change colors to indicate the end of the season. The Frascas would then close their doors until the next year.
Our meal at Frasca was one of the best I've ever had. Every taste, sip + bite was a treat for my tastebuds. Every person we came in contact with was warm and hospitable. The ambiance couldn't have been more dreamy. If you're looking for a fine dining experience while visiting Boulder, you'll absolutely find it (and likely more) at Frasca.
1738 Pearl St, Boulder CO 80302
I know I’ve already mentioned it and linked to my former statements, but I can’t have a restaurant guide about Boulder that doesn’t properly outline why this place is amazing. The Kitchen is actually a family of restaurants across Colorado (and now Chicago too) but the original location is along Pearl Street in Boulder. The Kitchen restaurants are built by a community of craftsman, serving food & drink from local farmers, ranchers and purveyors for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. They are committed to environmentally friendly practices, including composting, wind power, eco-friendly packaging and recycling. But above all, they believe in the power of good food and good drink to connect people as family, friends and a community. They're my favorite place to eat in the state of Colorado, and I promise you won't be disappointed with whatever location you visit.
1039 Pearl St. Boulder, CO 80302
Blackbelly started as catering, and soon thereafter became Blackbelly Farm. The idea was to create food from the source to the plate without a middleman, and embrace the food of the seasons. It's now their mission to not only know where the food comes from, but to serve their customers with the very best product they can find. The menu items are inventive, fresh, but most importantly- delicious. Be sure to order a cocktail with your meal, because every single one I've had has been incredible.
1606 Conestoga St. Boulder, CO 80301
If the weather is nice and you're craving a delicious margarita from scratch, head to the rooftop of Rio Grande as fast as you possibly can. While they have seven Colorado locations, I'm biased to the one in Boulder (you just can't beat the view of the foothills). Their mission is simple: treat people well and deliver wholesome food. I think they do a pretty incredible job at both.
1101 Walnut Street Boulder, CO 80302
Black Cat is unique because every single menu item comes directly from their very own 130 acre, Certified Organic farm located just outside the city. They also supply a bounty of restaurants, CSA's and booths at both the Boulder and Denver Union Station Farmer's Markets. Not only do all the ingredients come from the farm, but they are harvested every single day. Because of this, the menu changes daily and always has a sense of discovery and delight (and as you can imagine, everything has a freshness you can truly taste).
1964 13th Street Boulder, CO 80302
Some other favorites I'd recommend trying if you have time?
Have you eaten anywhere else in Boulder that I failed to include? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by, friends! Stay tuned for more travel tips coming to the blog shortly.