I have taken the longest hiatus from posting any content on here, and I wish I could say it’s because I was too busy trying all these restaurants in Boulder these past several months, but that would only be a little bit true.
Nah, really I’ve been busy with a new job, working on my sport climbing outside, and learning how to mountain bike (pray for me).
But I’m back, busier than ever, and ready to chat eats in Boulder, Colorado. Let’s get into it.
Eating my Way through Boulder, CO
Wapos Mexican Cocinca is for the OGs. They’ve been in Boulder forever, and if you’re familiar with a lot of the restaurants you can find in Boulder (especially in and around Pearl Street), there’s several reasons Wapos stands out.
For one, they actually offer free chips and salsa. I haven’t found many other Mexican restaurants in Boulder that do this, and coming from Arkansas I’m used to most if not all Mexican restaurants having free chips and salsa. So if that’s what I’m looking for that day, Wapos is where I go.
Wapos also has a happy hour every single day, with Monday being an all-day happy hour – almost unheard of in Boulder. They do great prices on beers, wine, margaritas, sangrias, and even shots (though I can’t say I’d go for that deal on a Monday).
The last thing I really love about Wapos is the look of the restaurant. The restaurant is a combination of haphazardly thrown together covered patios (built with random materials nailed, screwed and duct taped together) that branch off of the main restaurant, which is in fact quite small. They also added a series of tables that cover their lawn during that their pandemic that seem to be a permanent fixture (I’m not mad).
I’d say for Wapos, I mostly go there for the happy hour and free chips and salsa, but I love their guacamole and they also hae a full menu, so you can really make a whole evening of it.
In my head, T/aco is kind of the opposite of Wapos. It’s right off Pearl Street, has the trendy ambience to prove it, and ultimately provides an entirely different experience. I go to T/aco for two reasons, and they share one commonality: pineapple.
T/aco offers a salsa trio that includes a red, verde and pineapple habanero salsa. The other two are great, but that pineapple haberno salsa is one of the best – and hottest – things I’ve ever eaten.
Pineapple reason #2 – T/aco sells a pineapple margarita, which I’ve never seen or had before, but I am the biggest fan of it. They have an impressive line-up of other margaritas, including their house, smokey, grapefruit mint, strawberry, and pomegranate marg. I’ve had their house, coin and pineapple habanero margaritas, so I’ve got some work to do if I want to try them all.
T/aco also offers a variety of street tacos and what they call “North of the Border” eats. The fact that you’re also right off Pearl Street and at the base of the Flat Irons makes this a pretty great spot to hang out.
La Choza’s been around for over 15 years here in Boulder, and you would honestly have trouble finding them on accident. They’re tucked away in a tiny restaurant off Broadway over by University Hill.
I don’t go to La Choza necessarily for the locale or the drink specials; it’s all about the food. They have a ton of taco options including barbacoa, carnitas, al pastor, and asada. They also offer burritos, tortas, quesadillas, fajitas, chimichangas, nachos, and a variety of delicious sides, hot sauces, and salsas.
If their quesadilla, barbacoa tacos and pico de gallo are any judge on quality, portions and taste, their entire menu gets a raving endorsement from me. I also like the fact that it’s low-key and tucked away, making it ideal if you’re looking to beat crowds or enjoy a quiet meal.
It’s a close call, but I think Thai food is my favorite cuisine (or Indian food, I’m indecisive!). But I love Thai food of all styles, especially after spending a month in Thailand, and Boulder/the Denver Metro Area has no shortage of delicious Thai restaurants.
There is one Thai restaurant that stands above the rest though, and that is the great Buddha Thai. They’ve got the expected Thai dishes like tom yum, pad prig khing, pad see eyew, and pad thai. Not to mention a bunch of yummy appetizers.
My favorite thing about Buddha Thai though, is there curry game. They’ve got green, panang, massamon, yellow, red, and one called jungle – all amazing (I’ve had all but the jungle curry). There’s also the added bonus that I while pay around $12 for a curry meal, it’s big enough that I can have it for dinner 3 nights in a row. I’ll take that deal.
I can eat sushi year-round, but it’s an even better treat during the summer months. Now, there are a lot of other – and cheaper – sushi restaurants in Boulder, and I think around 5 just off of Pearl Street. But Blofish is top tier in terms of quality.
Colorado’s a landlocked state, and I tip my hat to the people over at Blofish for offering what’s probably the freshest fish in the city. I was blown away by the tuna roll and salmon sashimi I had.
If you look at their menu, you might raise your eyebrows at the price, but it’s a scenario where you get what you pay for, and you’re getting the highest quality raw fish in Boulder here.
Sherpa’s Adventure Restaurant & Bar
One of the first restaurants I visited after moving to Boulder was Sherpa’s Adventure Restaurant & Bar. The first thing you notice about this “restaurant” is that the venue is a converted, two-story house with wrapping porch and expansive patio. In addition to finding a full bar and lots of table sitting, you’ll also find a photo gallery dedicated to Sherpa guides that the family knows, climbing gear, and adventure books everywhere.
Where food is concerned, Sherpa’s menu features a number of Nepalese appetizers like samosas, Tibetan dumplings, pakora, and naan. You’ll also find delicious Nepali-Indian entrees like korma, curry, daal, and vindaloo. In addition to carrying the usual beer and wine, Sherpa’s also offers lashi, tea, and their trademarked chai.
Next Door American Eatery
I’m a big believer in earning your food, and nothing sounds better after a 30-mile bike ride than a cheeseburger. There are tons of places in Boulder where you can find a great burger, but I really like Next Door American Eatery for their food and location.
They are right on Pearl Street, with a large outdoor seating area that gives you a perfect views of the mountains to the West. Their menu is pretty diverse, with snacks that range from pork steamed buns to guacamole, and Peruvian chicken skewers to poutine. Their entrees also run the gambit, and include Baja fish tortas, birria tacos, falafel, halloumi naan, and mezze lamb meatballs. A bit unusual, but it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to properly do the “Pearl Street experience.”
Remember how I said nothing tastes better after a bike ride than a cheeseburger? Same idea, but pizza after rock climbing. I don’t know why a ginormous pizza after a day at the crag sounds so good to me but it does and that’s when you go to Backcountry Pizza.
Backcountry Pizza is the most famous taphouse in Boulder, and maybe Colorado. It’s got one of the widest selection of craft beers and ciders I’ve ever seen, with over 60 rotating taps and 300 bottles for you to choose from. They’re also famous for (usually) having Pliny the Elder on tap.
As far as food goes, there’s a bunch of delicious appetizers and wings, sandwiches and burgers, and of course their pizza. I’m torn between their Mediterranean and Mr. Pesto pizzas in terms of which one I like the most.
Introducing Boulder’s landmark burger and beer bar – Dark Horse. Founded in 1975, it’s probably less famous for its food and more for its out-of-the-box interior decorations. The place is like a cross between an antique store and a the backstage, prop area of a run-down theatre. It’s amazing, and the food is a bit legendary.
At the iconic saloon, you’re gonna have your usual choices of bar food, including hamburgers, domestic and craft beers, wings, fries, etc.
Truthfully, the food is good, but what you’re really after is just the experience of visiting Dark Horse. It’s so unique and I haven’t found anything else like it in Boulder. There’s a pride in the chaos and lack of trendy ambience that people come to expect in Boulder, and I really appreciate that about them.
Coffee & Breakfast
In a land of mimosas, bloody maries and extravagant brunches, I’m such a fan of the traditional, old-school diner scene, which is why Dot’s Diner is my favorite place to get breakfast in Boulder. Self-proclaimed as the place “where the folks get their yolks,” Dot’s Diner has been a Boulder staple for over 40 years!
You’ll find all the usual breakfast staples, pastries, and lunch entrees, but what gets me very time is the collection of Nepalese plates that have their own space on the menu. I haven’t seen any other diner do this and I am not mad about it.
Snooze – an AM Eatery
Snooze is easily the best-known brunch spot in Boulder, and probably the most basic, haha. But there’s no denying that their food and drink game is strong.
My go-to place is their Snooze Classic, but their breakfast tacos, benedicts, French toast, and pancakes are killer, too. As far as drinks go, they’ve got a variety of mimosas (my favorite is the sparklin’ with a splash), a delicious Bloody Mary and an excellence beermosa.
Moe’s Broadway Bagel
If you’re looking for an OG Boulder breakfast, you can’t go wrong with Moe’s Broadway Bagel. Their bagels range from asiago to sesame, poppy to pumpernickel, and cinnamon sugar to cranberry walnut – and that’s just to name a few.
They’re best known for their coffee & bagel-of-the-day deal, but they’ve also got some amazing burritos and specialty sandwiches. You can also get a bundle of bagels to get you through breakfast for the week – don’t forget one of their many cream cheese options!
Obviously this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great restaurants and cuisines you can find in and around Boulder. If there’s a restaurant not on the list that I should check out, gimme the details in the comments!