Colorado Restaurants: What's Delicious Right Now

Colorado has upped the yum-factor on farm-fresh dining. Find out how local ingredients, south-of-the-border influences, outdoor on-the-go dining, beer pairings and celebrity chefs are making the state’s cuisine tastier than ever.

By: Staff Writer
Updated: March 13, 2024

Livin’ the Local Life

Colorado does farm-to-table better than just about anywhere else. Restaurants across the land strive not only to source vegetables and meats from local farmers, but many are also starting to grow backyard gardens and purchase farmland to fill out their menus (see Denver’s Fruition and Boulder’Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro, among others). Colorado’s abundance of homegrown ingredients has hit its stride, and restaurants can’t resist featuring them as the daily special.

Gourmet on the Go

Where burritos and hot dogs were once the only foods sold in mobile food trucks, a spate of "gastro carts" in Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins now proffer such delicious bites as blackened ahi tuna (Barbed Wire Reef), Italian hand-cut ribeye sandwiches (Marchio's Grill), stacked arepas (PigLatin), plant-based po'boys, tacos and more (Denver Vegan Van) and slow-cooked bowls (Crock Spot).

The trend — which is not likely to be a short-lived one given the creativity and deliciousness it has inspired — fits in naturally in Colorado, where a surplus of sunny days and mountain views lend themselves to the outdoor dining experience.

Farm-to-Table Dinners & Events

An idyllic setting and fresher-than-fresh fare? That’s the idea behind farm functions across the state offering delicious eats right onsite with highlights like live music and agricultural surroundings.

Just a few places to find out what happens when farm meets table include 63rd St. Farm in Boulder, which hosts Mingle & Feast events on Thursday evenings throughout the summer and fall; Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette, a pastoral oasis that opens up for themed monthly dinners June through October; and Fox Fire Farms in Ignacio, where live tunes are paired with wine from the farm's vineyard on Friday evenings. And Louisville-based Whistling Boar serves upscale meals on farms various Colorado farms with their Farmhouse Supper Club dinners. Find more culinary, farm and ranch activities.

Fare From South of the Border

Colorado’s Southwest location means Mexican cuisine is a major influence. The state has taken the best parts of this cuisine and made it is own — with the star being green chile. This pork-filled stew, often smothered over burritos, is a must-taste for visitors.

The city of Pueblo was recently named one of the 10 most surprising food cities in America by Livability, largely because of its devotion to delectable dishes featuring the fire-roasted chile, which is grown in the area and roasted until the skin falls right off. Puebloans serve their pride and joy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a true taste of local tradition, try it atop a Sicilian sausage sandwich, a delicacy that was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Food Wars” in 2010.

Celebrity Chefs Live Here

Gourmands the world over are tipping their hats to chefs making magnificent food in Colorado. To name a few:

  • Aurora's Caroline Glover (Annette) was the city's first ever chef to nab the title of Best Chef, Mountain at the 2022 James Beard Awards and was named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs in 2019. 
  • Based in Colorado Springs, (FourThe Studio) Brother Luck has accomplished numerous culinary feats, including winning his episode of "Beat Bobby Flay," appearing as a "Chopped" finalist and studying in Japan and China.
  • Denver’s Frank Bonanno (MizunaSalt & Grinder) has won two Food Network challenges, and in 2010 and 2011 he was nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur award.
  • Jennifer Jasinski (RiojaBistro Vendome) made waves in season 5 of "Top Chef Masters" and also won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2013.
  • Keegan Gerhard, host of “Food Network Challenge,” opened his D Bar dessert cafe in Denver's Uptown neighborhood in 2008, and a new location in Central Park.
  • Kevin Taylor’s Denver restaurants have been winning national awards since 1987.

MICHELIN Guide Recognition

In 2023, the MICHELIN Guide inspectors came to Colorado and named five One-MICHELIN-Star restaurants, four Green Star restaurants, nine Bib Gourmand designations and 30 Recommended restaurants. See which ones made the list.

Want More?

Check out these Colorado restaurants with great patio views

Sink your teeth into these Colorado must-eat foods