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Frozen Yogurt

RIPPLE

1682 30th St., 303-444-0690

Second Place: Boulder Chill

Third Place: BOOM Yogurt Bar

Fourth Place: Aspen Leaf

Fifth Place: Two Spoons Gelato and Soup

The do-it-yourself frozen yogurt craze may seem a little out of place for a town voted to the “Skinniest Place in America” pedestal, but apparently that’s not the case. Boulder loves its yogurt bars, and above all the others it loves Ripple. The yogurt craze can be pretty overwhelming to the uninitiated. First, you get to build your own bowl and pay by weight which can make for a few “eyes bigger than the stomach” experiences at the beginning. It also doesn’t help that there is a seemingly endless array of potential toppings which can cause the yogurt amateur to start scooping wildly at every available chocolate, caramel, fruit, candy or cereal in sight. Our readers apparently appreciate that Ripple offers all-natural and locally sourced yogurt and toppings, which helps support the eat-local sentiments of our food-smart town.

Gluten-Free Menu

JULIA’S KITCHEN 4457 Broadway, 720-389-5578

Second Place: Laudisio Italian Restaurant

Third Place: Shine

Fourth Place: Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant

Fifth Place: Restaurant 4580

The folks over at Julia’s Kitchen make gluten-free meals that mean not having to skip on flavor, or miss dessert, to avoid gluten. The menu includes hummus pizza with thick crust and black bean burgers smothered with barbeque sauce on a sprouted grain bun. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, then check out their long list of desserts, including apple spice coconut muffin tops and cherry fig banana millet bread pudding.

Their philosophy is that making a delicious meal only requires simple ingredients.

The food at Julia’s Kitchen is not only gluten-free, but 100 percent plant-based and organic — in other words, the ideal Boulder meal.

Ice Cream

GLACIER HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & GELATO

4760 Baseline Rd., 303-499-4760

3133 28th St., 303-440-6542

1387 S. Boulder Road, 720-890-5992

Second Place: Ben & Jerry’s

Third Place: Cold Stone Creamery

Fourth Place: Boulder Ice Cream Shoppe

Fifth Place: Lindsay’s Boulder Deli at Haagen-Dazs

Summertime is quickly approaching, and with the heat comes cravings for the long-adored frozen confection: ice cream. The results of this year’s vote show, once again, there’s no debate about Boulder County’s ice cream king: local franchise Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato. There are two locations in Boulder alone, each boasting a menu of more than 80 flavors, including Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Apple Pie and Birthday Cake. You’re sure to find something here that you’ll love, whether it is the homemade hot fudge, sorbets, gelatos or frozen yogurts. Get your sample spoon ready for some action!

Indian/Nepali Restaurant

SHERPA’S RESTAURANT

825 Walnut St., 303-440-7151

Second Place: Tandoori Grill

Third Place: The Taj

Fourth Place: Bombay Bistro

Fifth Place: Kathmandu

Going to an Indian restaurant should be an adventure. Even for jaded, seasoned foodies, dining subcontinent-style is a chance to venture into the unknown, try something new, and see your plate and your world in a different way. If you want to play it safe, make a sandwich.

And if a single meal can’t get you in an adventurous mindset, Boulder’s best Indian and Nepali restaurant has something for that, too. Sherpa’s Restaurant can actually take you there. Like, actually, actually, really take you there. Alongside a menu littered with South Asian cuisine both slightly familiar (Chicken Korma) and not-at-all familiar (Tibetan Thupka), adventurers-intraining can plan their next trip with a travel library, guest speakers and a staff that appears to be fascinated with both dining and dashing about. Ask for owner Pemba Sherpa, who also runs Sherpa Ascent International, if you’re anxious to tackle Nepal’s heights. And if not, you can park it at Sherpa’s bar and settle for the best Indian/Nepali food in town.

Italian Restaurant

PASTA JAY’S

1001 Pearl St., 303-444-5800

Second Place: Laudisio

Third Place: Carelli’s Ristorante Italiano

Fourth Place: Il Pastaio

Fifth Place: Arugula Bar e Ristorante

There aren’t too many people who don’t enjoy Italian food. After all, there’s pizza, there’s pasta, there’s parmesan; what more could you want? The answer to that question is the Italian restaurants of Boulder.

The choices in our town are myriad. It’s like touring the old country without the cost of airline tickets. Northern cuisine one day, food from the southern provinces the next and a dose of Italian street food the day after that. Our readers picked Pasta Jay’s as their favorite Italian this year and we’re pretty sure that the early warm weather played a role. At Pasta Jay’s, you get great Italian food served up in an open air space that truly feels like your on a side street in Milan. As with most of the winners in this year’s food category, we suggest you try each of these fine establishments. After all, you saved all that money not buying a ticket.

Japanese Restaurant

SUSHI ZANMAI

1221 Spruce St., Boulder 303-440-0733

Second Place: Hapa Sushi

Third Place: Sushi Tora

Fourth Place: Japango

Fifth Place: Kasa

It comes as no surprise that Japanese fare is exceedingly popular amongst Boulderites, as evidenced by the high number of these restaurants in our town. Clean flavors, low-fat ingredients, and our love of out-of-tune karaoke contribute to our love affair with this healthy cuisine. Sushi Zanmai is the perfect spot for the raw fish connoisseur, featuring everything from entry-level salmon and tuna sashimi to such culinary double black diamonds as sea urchin. Those desiring something other than fish can also opt for selections such as beef sukiyaki and curry udon noodles. Hapa takes traditional Japanese selections as a starting point, and infuses it with a touch of Hawaiian culture and pop art decor. For example, you’ll find poke, Hawaiian-style raw fish, over a seared taro cake. For an entree, traditionalists can choose a teriyaki dinner, while the tropically minded might experiment with Kalua pork.


Best Place for a Wisconsin Fish Fry That’s Not in Wisconsin ROCKY FLATS LOUNGE 11229 Colorado 93, 303-499-4242

Friday night at the Rocky Flats Lounge is the closest thing to a small-town Wisconsin community fish fry you will ever experience without actually being in Wisconsin. We have no idea where all these transplanted cheeseheads come from, but they come out of their hiding places on Friday nights at the RFL to create one of the area’s best-kept secrets.

If you want to have some fun that is most definitely a change of pace, hit the Lounge on a warm Friday night this summer. If you intend to go, here are some helpful hints to ensure you are entertained as opposed to becoming the bar’s source of entertainment. Don’t make jokes about Brett Favre putting his cell phone down his pants for a photo-op. Don’t suggest that they put a Peyton Manning poster over the Favre or Rodgers wall art already on display. Don’t ask what constellation Bart Starr is in. If someone says the word “Nitschke,” they aren’t mispronouncing the philosopher, just down a shot and say, “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Don’t ask, “Are you from Boulder?” They aren’t. And finally, if you are wondering if you should call for reservations … Please stay home.

Late Night Food

COSMO'S PIZZA

1325 Broadway St., 303-447-1133

659 30th St., 303-447-3278

Second Place: Abo’s Pizza

Third Place: Boulder Baked

Fourth Place: Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fifth Place: Hapa Sushi


For some reason, food just seems to taste better when you’re eating it after midnight. Whether you’ve been up all night cramming for that modern Chinese history final, stalking your ex-boyfriend (and planning revenge) on Facebook, or getting to the bottom of as many pint glasses as possible, chances are you’re hungry. And you want pizza. Now. The good news: Cosmo’s Pizza is available for you to stuff your face with gooey, warm slices of delicious pizza pie until 2 a.m. The bad news: Only the location on 30th Street delivers (Broadway is strictly walk-in). But hey, let’s face it. When you want pizza after midnight, you’ll get pizza after midnight, whether you have to use a phone or your legs to get it. Surely it won’t take much convincing to get your friends to hop on the savory Cosmo’s Pizza train, either. And if 1:59 a.m. is too late for you to make a decision on which toppings to choose, pick a Cosmo’s Specialty Pizza and they’ll decide for you. Still got room in your tummy after Cosmo’s? Drop by runner-up Abo’s Pizza to compare slices. Not enough? Boulder Baked, the Dark Horse and Hapa all stay open late. Pop into any of those joints. You’ll easily leave with the top button of your jeans undone.

Lyons Restaurant

OSKAR BLUES GRILL & BREW

303 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-6685

Second Place: Lyons Fork

Third Place: Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse

Fourth Place: La Mariposa

Fifth Place: Pizza Bar 66

Oskar Blues, Lyons Blues Grill & Brew is a joint (using this term in the most affectionate way possible) that lives up to its name with plenty of live blues, American regional eats like blackened redfish and jambalaya, and even a beer or two. Well, maybe more than one or two, as Oskar’s features several of its very own craft brews that have garnered international recognition. These include Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. While it hasn’t been around as long as Oskar’s, the Lyons Fork is handily gaining a reputation for sophisticated fare ranging from vegetarian almond and herb couscous to a duck confit tamale. Weekend brunches here feature basic egg breakfasts as well as house omelets, smoked salmon plates and sweet corn soup with basil pesto.


New Restaurant

RIFFS URBAN FARE

1115 Pearl St., 303-440-6699

Second Place: Snooze

Third Place: Shine

Fourth Place: Tangerine

Fifth Place: 100% Mexicano/Kitchen [Next Door] (tie)

Ever notice that it’s getting harder and harder to find a new restaurant that isn’t a chain? We have, and that’s why we’re so excited by this category’s winner. Riffs Urban Fare is actually new and something truly different. We admit that we aren’t completely clear as to the definitions of “urban fare.” But what the heck. If Riffs says its food is urban, who are we to disagree? So with that in mind, urban fare is apparently served at a “foodbar” with a social environment. It is accompanied by an intriguing cocktail list and has no single theme surrounding the food. Really, you can get ravioli, hummus, chile rellenos and a burger, all under one roof. If this is urban, we like urban and our readers do, too.


Best Place to Eat Breakfast in Last Night’s Clothes THE VILLAGE COFFEE SHOP 1605 Folsom St., 303-442-9689

Ever wondered where CU students end up when they finish their walk of shame on a Saturday morning? They all go to The Village Coffee Shop, judging by the mass of bleary-eyed, dolled-up youngsters patronizing said café on any given weekend. “The Village,” as its devotees adoringly call it, is a true gem in Boulder, one of the last true greasy spoon diners in town. Cheap food, sassy waitresses, blazing fast service and to-die-for hashbrowns explain the place’s popularity, and if it’s your first visit, make sure you tell your server. Just trust us.

“Apparently I need to get out more!”

Organic Restaurant

THE KITCHEN

1039 Pearl St., tel: 303-544-5973

Second Place: Leaf

Third Place: Black Cat

Fourth Place: SALT the Bistro

Fifth Place: Turley’s

Diners are increasingly concerned with where their food comes from, how it’s raised, and who is producing it. Environmental and personal health concerns, to say nothing of matters of taste, have led many eaters to demand fare that’s either local, certified organic, or both. The Kitchen, a selfdescribed “world-class neighborhood restaurant” adroitly blends the worlds of ecological sustainability with downright tasty food. The wine list is exclusively composed of organic or sustainably produced vintages, and their purveyor list reads like a Who’s Who of local farmers. These suppliers include pork producer John Long, Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy and Cure Organic Farm. Preparations like fried artichokes and char-grilled Florida shrimp are relatively simple, which helps to better spotlight the wholesome qualities of the ingredients. Meatless main courses like roasted squash are also on tap, along with seared Alaskan Cod and strip steak — all presented in a lively yet hospitable setting.

Overall Restaurant

THE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: The Kitchen

Third Place: Jax Fish House

Fourth Place: SALT the Bistro

Fifth Place: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

If the Best of Boulder restaurant awards were the Oscars, The Mediterranean Restaurant would likely be Meryl Streep. Like the actress, who has toplined everything from Sophie’s Choice to The River Wild (battling Kevin Bacon, at that!), this dining institution artfully plays many and diverse roles. Besides garnering best business lunch honors, The Med is highly regarded for its tapas-rich happy hour and wood-fired pizzas. But you don’t have to be a businessperson to make the most of this restaurant. It also provides a varied $5 kids menu. Like Streep, the versatile bill of fare here has something for just about everyone, whether it’s a platter of traditional spaghetti with Long Farm pork meatballs or a fresh take on the Cobb salad, highlighting peppered yellowfin tuna. An unquestionably lively atmosphere, patio space that’s a top spot for al fresco dining and dead solid reliability make this eatery a repeat winner.


Best Single-Term Mayor Who Also Owns a Kickass Restaurant DENNIS COOMBS

In January, when Longmont Mayor Dennis Coombs stuck his neck out for equality and became the second mayor in the state (Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was the first) to sign on to “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” he may well have guaranteed that he won’t be re-elected in a city that has traditionally leaned conservative. But the times, they are a-changing, as evidenced by the Democrat’s victory last fall. We laud him for his stand to support same-sex marriage, and we like the burgers and brews at his Pumphouse pub on Main Street.

Mexican Restaurant

EFRAIN'S

1630 N. 63rd St., 303-440-4045

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666- 7544

451 S. Pratt Parkway, Longmont, 720-494- 0777

Second Place: The Rio Grande

Third Place: Zolo Grill

Fourth Place: Agave Mexico Bistro

Fifth Place: Casa Alvarez

Nothing can get a party started quite like a Mexican restaurant can.

Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or a break-up, the beginning of your 20s or the end of your 30s, a great Mexican restaurant takes your usual shebang, gives it a swift kick in the piñata, dresses it in a vibrant poncho, and transforms it into a fiesta. Which is why you might want to think about spending your next birthday dinner at family-owned Efrain’s, where the employees never even stop to take a siesta (open from roughly 11 a.m to 9 p.m.), and you’ll enjoy the most authentic and delicious dinner for your dinero. Dine in or take-out is available, so no matter where you’re sitting with your sombrero on, you’ll be able to slurp their flavorful chili verde. Need to give your mustache a little more space to breathe? Hop on your burro and ride over to runner-up Rio Grande. If it’s nice out, grab a spot on their rooftop patio and order a margarita. Once you’re two deep, you’ll swear you saw Speedy Gonzalez running down the street.

Nederland Restaurant

KATHMANDU RESTAURANT

110 North Jefferson St., Nederland, 303- 258-1169

Second Place: Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery

Third Place: Savory Cafe

Fourth Place: Backcountry Pizza

Fifth Place: Neopolitan’s Italian Restaurant

Whether you’re limping off the Fourth of July trail or pulling in from a day at Eldora, the array of spices, Colorado drafts, and casual color of the Kathmandu Restaurant makes for a welcomed recovery meal in any season. Kathmandu shares a breadth of Indian and Nepali cuisine during a daily lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., accompanied by a fresh naan bread basket at your table. Browse the menu for a common selection of Indian and Nepali appetizers, naans, parathas, saags and curries with a range of meat and vegetable entrees to refuel famished adventurers. Entrees include seeming limitless curries, kormas, saags and masalas, and sauces are also available with non-dairy ingredients.


Best-Kept Longmont Dining Secret MARTINI BISTRO 543 Terry St., 303-651-2772

OK, so we acknowledge that by revealing this somewhat hidden gem, we may experience longer wait times and reservation lists, but it’s worth it. We’ve been frequenting Martini Bistro for years, and while some may hone in on its noteworthy cocktails (martinis like the Dirty Old Man come with a half-full shaker), we like the food. It’s reasonably priced, beautifully presented and delivered in the elegant atmosphere of a Victorian mansion. The service is on par with the best restaurants in the county. Plus, this place has a great patio. Check it out, if you haven’t already. Just don’t tell your friends. We want to keep this to ourselves.

“Pickled Lemon is so tasty and fresh. Everyone should try it!”


Kid-Friendly Restaurant

NOODLES & CO.

Various locations around Boulder County

Second Place: Red Robin

Third Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun

Fourth Place: Walnut Cafe/Southside Walnut Cafe

Fifth Place: Wahoo’s Fish Taco

We’ve always wondered why more restaurants didn’t follow the McDonald’s model and have a play area for the kids to blow off some steam and leave the grownups to enjoy a semi-quiet meal in peace. Well, Noodles doesn’t have a play area, but pasta is one of the easiest kid-pleasers there is, and Noodles does it well. We can safely say their food is way better than McDonald’s, and healthier, too. You’ve got everything from a classic mac and cheese to spaghetti and

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