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Fan’s Chinese Cuisine

7960 Niwot Road, #C9, Niwot 303-652-6249

Fan’s Chinese Cuisine, situated in a Niwot strip mall near a sheriff’s office substation, serves up dishes free of MSG, as well as gluten-free choices. Outside of that, the reasonably priced lunch bill of fare is a Chinese-American hall of fame, spotlighting such chestnuts as chow mein, Szechuan beef and vegetarian Buddha’s Delight. Top choices included flavorful Mongolian beef garnished with expertly stir-fried pepper and onion, as well as the fresh-tasting Grand Marnier shrimp.

Synopses of recent restaurant reviews. To read reviews in their entirety, visit

Santa Fe Coffee & Burrito Co.

33 S. Main St., Longmont 303-996-1010

Longmont’s Santa Fe Coffee & Burrito Co. certainly lives up to its name. This welcoming breakfast and lunch spot features caffeine ranging from classic diner coffee to espresso drinks and hearty, New Mexico-influenced meals. Morning highlights include anything with the green chile; piping hot skillets such as the Santa Fe, featuring bacon, chorizo, potato, bell pepper and onion; and the compelling enchiladas and eggs.


1710 29th St., Suite 1076, Boulder 303-442-1300

While Laudisio is best known for its Italian-influenced lunches and dinners, it certainly satisfies with its solidly constructed brunch menu on the weekends. Offerings include egg-based dishes such as a Hazel Dell mushroom frittata, sweet choices like a perfectly balanced lemon ricotta pancake, and breakfast pizzas topped with prosciutto. Other noteworthy items include the hearty steak and eggs sided with homefries, and the piping hot Italian-style donut holes.

Whole Foods Market

2905 Pearl St., Boulder 303-545-6611

The expanded food court at the Pearl Street Whole Foods quite literally has everything from soup to nuts.

Available items range from a crisp, anise-scented fennel salad to a surprisingly flavorful interpretation of Chinese barbecued pork. Made-to-order fare includes taqueria-style Mexican street food and Asian noodles, highlighted by the Vietnamese-influenced pho ga, a chicken and rice noodle soup.


Oak at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl St., Boulder 303-444-3622

Oak at Fourteenth is back with a vengeance, serving up winning gourmet fare inspired in part by American regional cuisine. A sleek interior coupled with denim-clad waitstaff give it a subtle cowboy-meets-foodie feel, accented by attentive service. Dinners include a porterhouse steak for two and house-made pastas. At lunch, the shrimp grits are sublime, and the winning $11 burger lunch special includes two grass-fed patties, Old Bay seasoning-scented tater tots and house-made root beer.

Pearl Street Steak Room

1035 Pearl St., Boulder 303-938-9604

Wagyu steak is a pricey delicacy, and the Pearl Street Steak Room is a coolly retro venue where people can indulge their taste for this artisan beef. Richly marbled, sweet and tender, the Wagyu filet’s a good way to go, especially after one of their smooth martinis. The adventurous can start their meal with chicken-fried sweetbreads, but more sedate choices like duck confit also tempt.

The Bitter Bar

835 Walnut St., Boulder 303-442-3050

The Big Red F Restaurant Group’s foray into the world of artisan cocktails, The Bitter Bar, has taken over the former Happy Noodle venue. Drinks here range from original award-winning concoctions such as the Gone Fishin’, featuring naval-strength rum and ginger liqueur, to Irish Coffee. But the focus on libations doesn’t detract from the food, which includes such winning options as a fresh-tasting lobster risotto and the unique gingerbread cake garnished with bacon caramel popcorn.


2027 13th St., Boulder 303-449-0120

Boulder’s Shine is the newest venture from the Emich triplets, late of Trilogy fame. Shine is a bar and restaurant as well as a performance and gathering space showcasing everything from world music concerts to yoga classes. The menu features healthful offerings ranging from locally sourced, grass-fed beef burgers to meatless jackfruit tacos. There is also a selection of housemade beer, and various elixirs and potions flavored with herbs and touted for their restorative qualities.

95a Bistro and Sushi

1381 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette 303-665-3080

95a Bistro and Sushi is a worthwhile addition to the East County dining scene. It provides an opportunity for a reasonably priced lunch prepared with care, an intriguing small plate meal, or a dinner combining comforting home cooking with gourmet flair. Winning small plate choices, none of which cost more than $7, include clams and chorizo, braised pork over potato, and chile pepper and avocado tempura.


1739 Pearl St., Boulder 303-442-7233

Chef Radek Czerny’s L’Atelier, deeply influenced by classic French cuisine, builds upon a traditional foundation. At dinner, starters range from Thai-spiced mussels to traditional escargot and shrimp Louis. Classicism marks the entrée menu, which includes filet mignon and rack of lamb. The lunch menu features lighter options like a tuna nicoise salad and a salmon, lettuce and tomato panini, and both meals feature the can’t-miss lobster ravioli.


2731 Iris Ave., Boulder 303-449-4473

For those desiring a lighter, reasonably priced meal combining bar standards with a touch of gourmet, try the small plates menu at the North Boulder location of Murphy’s. Marked down for happy hour, this menu includes south of the border specialties like Six Bite Nachos, larger than the name suggests. Other winning options here include the falling-off-the-bone Caribbean pork ribs with habanero mango sauce and the smoked salmon with brie on crostini.

Aloy Thai Cuisine

2720 Canyon Blvd., Boulder 303-440-2903

Formerly Chy Thai, Aloy Thai Cuisine claims the same ownership and food as its predecessor with an upgraded dining room. Indeed, the solid Thai selections of the old venue live on, and the lunch menu provides an oppor tunity to enjoy several classic choices for less than $9. Lunch highlights include the red roast chicken curry and Pad Kra Pow, a basil-scented stir-fry.


1606 Conestoga St. #3 Boulder 303-442-0585

The Grateful Dead is the main influence on the ambience at Minglewood, a new eatery primarily catering to a lunchtime worker crowd near 55th and Arapahoe. Hot and cold sandwiches, entrée salads and a rotating selection of soups and desserts make up the bulk of the menu. Rotating special highlights include the lamb meatball panini and cream of red pepper soup .


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