Why is Boulder Colorado Dining Different?

Boulder Colorado restaurants offer more than dining. With more restaurants than cities many times larger, there is something not only for everyone, but for everyone's changing moods as well. Outdoor patios are popular when the weather is good, and that's most of the time. And so many Boulder Colorado restaurants go out of their way with a unique atmosphere. So what kind of food you ask? You name it. Boulder dining allows you to gastronomically experience some of the most creative dishes around. Or, you can get some great food with little money, thanks to the demand by the university students.

So its the vast variety of dining, generally located in or near the core downtown area of the city, that makes Boulder Colorado different than most cities. Even for those of us who live in Boulder, keeping track of what's new on the Boulder dining scene is never ending. And, always a fun topic for discussion.

Anyway, let's start with the all time favorite restaurants where you can experience uniquely Boulder Colorado dining.

"Mindy's Guide" to Dining in Boulder

Where to Eat

Boulder has incredible dining choices that run the gamut from fast to exquisite. We cover traditional restaurants, “real” coffee shops and markets where you can buy prepared foods or items you can prepare at your lodgings.


From the worldly to the vegan, from the trendy restaurants downtown, along Pearl and Walnut streets, to the neighborhood haunts away from downtown, Boulder does not lack for choices of food. There are standard fast-food and chain selections but if you want to dine in uniquely Boulder places, here are our recommendations

  • Try the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for a traditional Tajik dish as well as eclectic fare from around the world and of course, their extensive tea list. Even if you aren’t hungry you’ve got to see the interior and exterior of this building! Masterfully crafted in Tajikistan, and then shipped in boxes to be rebuilt in Boulder as part of a sister city exchange.
  • Another must is the veranda of the Chautauqua Dining Hall at Chautauqua Park. On warm summer days there is always a wait but it is work it! Try breakfast or brunch and if you are so inclined, you can walk it off by taking a leisurely hike on the surrounding mountain trails without moving your car.
  • There are many Japanese restaurants and sushi options but you should try Sushi Zanmai whose staff has hosted Japanese royalty.

Coffee Shops

Sorry, Starbucks; there are excellent local coffee shops in Boulder. We recommend the following:

  • Trident – an old Boulder favorite just west of Pearl St Mall. Knowledgeable baristas. Great coffee (and pastries if you get there early). Eclectic mix of ½ price new books for sale next door.
  • Laughing Goat – new to Boulder with weekly poetry reading that hearken to the 1950’s. Good coffee. Popular with the wi-fi crowd
  • Vic’s – 3 Boulder locations. Try the original on Broadway across from the Hospital. Very popular with medical folks, housewives and others.
  • Spruce Confections – 2 Boulder locations. The original on West Pearl. Good coffee and wonderful fresh eats. Nice courtyard for people watching and to bring the dog.

Food Markets

During the warm spring through fall months, you can find the Farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays by the Creek near the Dushanbe teahouse and BMoCA museum. Here you’ll see a plethora of mostly organic produce, herbs, flowers, honey, breads, pastries and loads more. There is often some musical entertainment, plus food stalls for you to grab a drink, snack or lunch.

Especially if you are staying in a cabin or other lodging with a kitchen or refrigerator, you’ll be happy to know that Boulder is the headquarters of Wild Oats market, has a very robust Whole Foods market, and there are many other healthy markets plus a food co-op. In addition, there are Safeway and King Soopers grocers.

-- Excerpt from: "Mindy's Guide to Boulder, Colorado" by Mindy Makuta