baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

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boulder love

I don’t live in Boulder, Colorado. I live 3000 feet above it in a tiny mountain town. But Boulder is my home base and there is a lot to love about that small city nestled at the foot of the glorious Colorado Rockies. I cut my food blogging teeth on this hip and charming town. Boulder has amazing food, very good people, and wonderful small businesses. I am decidedly biased when it comes to Boulder, after all – we moved here for quality of life and we have it in spades. Here are some of my posts on Boulder area businesses (mostly food-related) that I love and hope you’ll love too.

Asian Seafood Market – my local Asian market.
L’Atelier – a favorite restaurant on Pearl Street’s east end.
Atlas Purveyors – best tea and coffee shop on the downtown scene. [Atlas closed in 2013. We are sad.]
Best Dining Deals in Boulder – some of my favorite eats at a bargain price.
Boxcar Coffee Roasters – yet another fantastic coffee shop (also, excellent coffee beans).
Brasserie 1010 – French bistro dining and a favorite happy hour haunt.
Chez Thuy – Viet cuisine.
Culinary School of the Rockies – great cooking classes and programs.
Cured – delectable cheeses, salumi, wines, and gourmet delights with knowledgeable and friendly staff to help you choose.
Flagstaff House – the finest dining with the finest view of the town.
Frasca – amazing authentic Italian food that will knock your socks off.
Japango – a nice option for sushi if my favorite place is closed.
Jax Fish House – phenomenal seafood.
John’s – lovely intimate dining.
The Kitchen – classic, elegant, quality food. Their Community Night is THE BEST.
The Med – pretty much one of the best places to go for happy hour in town.
Oak at Fourteenth – wonderful eclectic eats (New American Cuisine) in a hip and casual atmosphere.
Pica’s Mexican Taqueria – fresh, casual, delicious Baja-style fare.
The Pinyon – a casual restaurant that serves up fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced American cuisine that will knock your socks off. [Sadly, they are now closed.]
Pizzeria Locale – my favorite pizza in town (or anywhere for that matter).
Proto’s – great pizza.
Savory Spice Shop – you really shouldn’t be buying spices ANYWHERE else.
Sushi Tora – my go to sushi joint serving the best and freshest fish.
Wizard Within Wands – gorgeous handmade gifts.
Zoe Ma Ma – the only authentic Chinese food to be found in town. I love Ma Ma!

41 nibbles at “boulder love”

  1. Jen T. says:

    Hi! These are great Boulder suggestions. What are your favorite Denver restaurants? I need suggestions for a college graduation event!


  2. jenyu says:

    Jen T – sorry, I don’t know much about Denver since I rarely get down there.

  3. Alyce says:

    Is the tiny mountain town you live in Estes Park? I used to live there and spend much time in Boulder. Now I live in its sort-of sister, Santa Cruz.

  4. jenyu says:

    Alyce – Nope, I live in Ned(erland) :)

  5. Karen says:

    Hey there! I have been living in colorado for the past year… Looove colorado and I absolutely adore Boulder. Currently living in Winter Park, and cooking up a storm ;) keep up the good work. I’ll be checking around your site a bit :)

  6. Courtney Walsh says:

    Hi Jen! Thanks so much for your awesome Boulder Love post about Boulder restaurants! Would love to invite you to The Kitchen’s newest addition to its family, The Kitchen [NEXT DOOR]. My email is if you’d like to come in for a complimentary lunch or dinner!

  7. Stacy says:

    Thanks so much for this list! We just moved to Louisville not long ago and this list will provide great guidance for our exploration of Boulder.

  8. Natalie says:

    Love Boulder! I lived there for 5 years (now in grad school in foco) and you have definitely named some of the amazing places to eat. I think these other places deserve mentioning too though.
    Sherpa’s- for tasty Nepalese food and beautiful outdoor seating
    The Med- for great Happy Hour drinks and food
    Tandoori Grill- for heavenly Indian food (the chana masala is beyond words!)

    And if you ever go to Denver you should try out Rootdown. I’m fairly certain you’ll love it since you appear to have damn fine taste in food:).

  9. Lori Thayer says:

    Happy to have stumbled upon your site! I’m a Denver-ite. I love seeing your posts about Boulder, CO.

  10. Cheryl Kwiatkowski says:

    Dear Jenny,

    Since last night, I’ve enjoyed your website so very much. It was lovely to have such a selection of culinary designs and know such a rich history of your Chinese heritage. Thanks again for sharing. God Bless you Richly.

    Cheryl Kwiatkowski

  11. Kat @ SensibleLessons says:

    So happy to have found your blog! Love love it! I live in Denver and often find myself in Boulder for foodie needs :)

  12. Margie says:

    Just stumbled onto your blog via Pinterest (I think it might have been the lemondrop martini recipe… now I’m curious to see what kind of citrus Vodka I can find locally). I’m in FoCo (but commute to Littleton/KenCaryl twice a week), haven’t been to Boulder (or Ned) in years, but expect to soon, if the TraderJoe’s rumor pans out.

    I also enjoy photography, albeit with my lowly little 6.5 megapixel, 10x zoom 4-year-old Kodak EasyShare DSLR. Looking forward to catching up on your blog. :)

    And some one of these days maybe I’ll add to my old blog (life got hectic a couple years ago when my firstborn got married, and I’ve yet to return — too busy reading others’ more interesting blogs!).

  13. Alison says:

    Just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I live in Boulder right now but I do love Ned. You have some pretty decent restaurants up there as well including Backcountry Pizza, Savory Cafe, plus a few others. My boyfriend and I always go eat dinner up in Ned to get away from Boulder city life!

  14. Raf says:

    You should try this place; It goes well with the others on your list

  15. Sara says:

    I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and I absolutely love your photos and recipes. I live in Prague which makes finding certain ingredients difficult, but I’m known for making your candied orange peels around the holidays. Always a hit! Not only do you inspire me, but your writing cracks me up! I laugh out loud whenever I read your posts and it always gets me in the mood to experiment in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your wit and brilliance!

  16. Laura says:

    Hi there! Been following your blog for about 2 years, your pictures are beautiful and many of your recipes are total go-tos. While looking for something to make for dinner tonight I remembered you are in Colorado! I moved from Baltimore md to Dolores co yesterday! …with a dude studying physics (a colorado native) and a mostly black dog… It’s my first time out west at all and it is nice to look at your blog with new relevance :)

  17. Living through the Senses says:

    I just found your site via a pintrest pin, only to find that you’re based near Boulder. I just moved here myself less than a month ago, and am happy to have found such a fun local resource!

  18. Jennifer says:

    I found your blog through another one that I was reading. I was going to guess that you lived in Ned before I ever read this page. I grew up in Ned back in the day. I’ll just comment here about your char sui bao…do you think you can bake these? I like them baked better than steamed and buy them every time I’m in San Francisco.

  19. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – I know there are baked versions of char siu bao, but I’ve never made them. I imagine they aren’t quite the same as the recipe for steamed buns. Best that you try googling it.

  20. ashley says:

    I, too, stumbled onto your website (pinterest!), and it makes me miss Boulder so! I lived there for 6 years. Even though I live in New York City now, where you can supposedly find any kind of fabulous food, I miss the restaurants in Boulder like crazy!

    Thanks for sharing, and bringing back some great foodie-memories.

  21. cgk says:

    Hi, do you have access to any dim sum restaurants in Boulder? I’ve never been, but wondering what the local Chinese community is like – or if there even is one? Many thanks, just found your blog and am really enjoying it!

  22. jenyu says:

    cgk – I don’t know of any IN Boulder, but there is one in the same shopping center as Pacific Ocean Market (something like Emperor Seafood) in Broomfield that serves dim sum. That’s the closest one I know of.

  23. Heather says:

    I can’t wait to try some of these places out when I go back to Boulder. I sure miss the area. When I was very young we lived in a square mile town at about 9,820 feet or so that was above of Left Hand Canyon rd.. I think. I sure miss it and love those mountains more than any I know.

  24. LuAnn says:

    I am another who found your site on Pinterest. I was raised in Boulder (back when it was just a glorious little college town) and although I love where I live in the Inland Northwest, now and again I’ll yearn for Boulder’s charm. Your site is especially appealing to me as I fancy food and photography as well. Do you ever post your camera settings when you post a photo? I’ve learned so much by copying others. Thanks for sharing!

  25. jenyu says:

    LuAnn – I generally do not post the settings since I post so many photos. But you can always ask if there is a particular image that interests you.

  26. Debra says:

    Hope all is well with your friends in Boulder. The photos we’re seeing here in Albany, NY on the news is very devistating. I hope the rain stops soon for you and yours in the area.

  27. jenyu says:

    Debra – thank you for your concern. We are fine and our friends are more or less okay, with varying degrees of damage to property. xo

  28. monica says:

    I think you should try, and would love, Cafe Aion on the hill. Check it out. When my husband and I want to get a away for less than an hour, it’s the spot to hit. Or for lunch….. or brunch.

  29. jenyu says:

    monica – thank you, we have dined there several times and we love it. But I just haven’t had the time to post about it :)

  30. Amy says:

    Thanks for posting this list Jen! My husband and I are heading to Boulder for a short trip, and I used your recs to pick out a few restaurants to try.

  31. William says:

    Thank you for a wonderful blog. Re; Boulder, I love it too in so many ways, but it’s just sooooo ‘white’… ethnically too sterile. Anyway, lovely blog!

  32. Jennifer says:

    I too live near Boulder, about 15 mins away in Longmont. I hear there is suppose to be a great Native American restaurant on Canyon, but I am yet to find it! There is a hidden gem in the Boulder Village Shopping Center called Cuba Cuba! An excellent little Cuban restaurant! Highly recommend it.

    Denver restaurants……Tuk Tuk Thai is wonderful, Tocabe Native American restaurant is delicious, Racines is an absolute favorite for brunch or any time of day, HIGHLY recommend going there if you are in Denver, and of course the Cherry Cricket for burgers and pud fare if you find yourself in Cherry Creek. The Market at Larimer Square is delightful as well, it has a deli, gourmet foods market, and coffee bar – truly a treat to go to with friends ;) Hopes this helps!!

  33. Sherri says:

    We vacationed through Boulder a couple years ago, and fell in love with the Dushanbe Tea House. The entire tea house is a most beautiful hand-built (no power tools used) and decorated gift from Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe Tajikistan. Their tea and food is beautiful also.

  34. Melanie says:

    Oh, just saw someone recommended Cafe Aion. It IS yummy and the ambiance (which has become more and more important to me) is very pleasant. I’m glad to hear your point of view on restaurants and shops. I’ve wondered about Savory Spice. I’ll have to make a stop there. Thanks for re-posting about all these local goodies. (I love Pizzeria Locale, too).

  35. Ben says:

    I lived in Boulder. I moved away because I thought it was too cold but I have to go back to see my Dad from time to time. This is a great list so I will have to visit some of the food places, like Zoe Ma Ma that I have missed.

    I also recommend Chez Thuy. I love that place.

  36. Bob Gordon says:

    Love the list. Great place to start, listing out your faves. Figured your small town 3000 feet up to be Ned, liked seeing that confirmed in the comments. I’ve been in #Boulder a long time, also blogging (sometimes on food) and still, have not been everywhere on your list. So the gauntlet is thrown, challenge on, I’m trying something new today and will come back to find more food suggestions another day.

  37. Nicole says:

    My husband and I just moved to Boulder and someone had given us a housewarming gift from Wizard Within Wands, so it was ironic that I saw it on your list. We have found your list pretty helpful since we moved and absolutely love Flagstaff House – we have heard that it is rated one of the best restaurants in Boulder. We also tried Zoe Ma Ma the week we moved in and were still unpacking, so we brought it home and it was amazing!

    Thanks for the info everyone!

  38. micah mcdaniel says:

    You are starting to really make me homesick. I spent a good amount of time in Ouray: the rough and real Colorado. Eating at the Bonton, soaking in the natural hot spring baths, climbing to the top of Red Mountain at 12000 ft and stopping to watch ice climbers along the way are just a few things that you do while trying to catch your breath the first two weeks you are there. At 9500 feet, you think you will never breath again, and then somehow you just forget about it. The natural falls, the abandoned gold mines with their little gifts of nuggets, and the beautiful flowers from Yankee Boy Basin are a few things that make me wanna cry. I miss the tall white thin Aspen’s with their golden leaves and the mountain with the gold mine we spend summers showing the tourists. Whenever we had a problem we took it to the mind of the mountain, and soon it would be solved. I’m not kiddding. Ouray is a magical place, and one survives there by invitation only. It accepts you or rejects you, because life there is hard. You can’t be a transient, because one unprepared night outside would make you bear food in the summer and an ice cycle in the winter. If you are a good hearted person, the mountain lets you stay, and the spirit of Ouray will provide. It’s a beautiful place that is wildly Colorado. I need to go back soon and rejuvinate my soul.

  39. Kendra says:


    These are wonderful suggestions to eat at in Boulder! I especially love Pizza Locale and The Med! Thank you!

  40. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! I love your blog! My fiancé and I are going to be staying in Nederland for a long 4th of July weekend next week, and we were wondering if you had any suggestions for food places in Nederland and hikes in the area.

  41. jenyu says:

    Kim – My two favorites in Nederland are Salto and Crosscut Pizza. There is also the James Peak Brewery (haven’t been in a long time), New Moon Bakery (never eaten here, but some friends frequent the place), The Deli at 8263 (I like their sandwiches, but haven’t been in a while), and Kathmandu. As for hikes, it’s hard to know what’s open right now because our snow is about a month late in melting – many of the trails are still under snow. Local trails that are clear include Caribou Ranch Open Space (4 miles) and Mud Lake Open Space (2 miles). The main trailheads nearby include East Portal out of Rollinsville, Hessie out of Eldora, and Brainard Lake Recreation Area near Ward. Hessie is the lowest in elevation, so will be more melted out, although I’m not sure how far in you can get without skis (possibly to Lost Lake – a short 1.5 miles in). Have a great time!

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