From Peak To Plate, Colorado’s Culinary Offerings Inspire Travelers to Immerse in Local Flavors & Experiences

Denver, Colo. (February 27, 2024) -- Colorado shined bright on the national culinary stage in late 2023,  when the prestigious MICHELIN Guide unveiled its inaugural selection for the state and honored chefs and restaurant teams at 44 restaurants. This momentous occasion celebrated the diversity, quality and exceptional talent that define the state's vibrant culinary landscape. However, Colorado has long been a culinary stronghold thanks to its rich Western heritage, multicultural influences, commitment to locally sourced and sustainable food products, distinct weather and mountainous terrain that inspire unique takes on new and classic dishes.

Below is a sampling of distinct and delicious culinary offerings from across the state. For more mouthwatering inspiration, visit

Iconic and Only in Colorado Culinary Experiences: Colorado is home to several iconic restaurants that have stood the test of time and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

  • Casa Bonita in Denver was immortalized in the Colorado-based cartoon “South Park” for its pink exterior, immersive tropical decor, indoor waterfalls and cliff divers. The restaurant reopened in 2023 after a multi-year renovation under new ownership from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and with a new elevated menu from James Beard Nominee Dana Rodriguez who is showcasing traditional Mexican dishes reminiscent of her upbringing in Chihuahua, Mexico.
  • The Buckhorn Exchange is Denver's oldest restaurant, with "Colorado's #1 liquor license," serving buffalo, elk and other game specialties. Part of the dining experience is the decor with over 500 hunting trophies, Native American artifacts, Western memorabilia and a beautiful 150-year-old European bar. 
  • Woody Creek Tavern near Aspen has served as a popular spot for locals and visitors alike for over 40 years and was a favorite of lauded journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. The Tavern's eclectic décor includes walls papered over with many years' worth of Colorado memorabilia, Polaroids, posters and more. 
  • The Fort in Morrison specializes in game meat and is influenced by American Indian and Mountain Man cuisine, bringing back popular recipes from the 19th century and adding a modern twist.The Fort building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a full-scale adobe replica of Bent’s Fort, an important fur-trading fort originally in Southeastern Colorado. 
  • The Dining Room in the historic Windsor Hotel in Del Norte offers up food worthy of any metropolis with a seasonally rotating menu peppered with local ingredients, from beef and bison raised on nearby ranches to local honey, making for elegant fare with Old West flair. 
  • Pikes Peak Summit House visitor center on the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs uses a special recipe to fry donuts at 14,115-feet, where the air is thinner, and water has a lower boiling point. To get the delicious fried treats and experience breathtaking views, visitors can hike, bike, or drive up one of the tallest mountains in the state. 
  • The Cruise Room is Denver’s longest-running bar born the day after the Prohibition repeal in 1933, and has remained open since its founding. Drawing inspiration from the RMS Queen Mary, the space’s décor showcases a wide array of unique vintage design features including a distinctly retro Art Deco design and wine bottle-shaped layout. 

Elevated Dining From Peak to Plate: Colorado’s food scene is refreshingly unpretentious, encouraging chefs to experiment, create and collaborate, and across the state, chefs and restaurants are delivering inspired menus and dining experiences. 

  • MICHELIN Guide expanded to the Centennial State in fall 2023 as Colorado became the guide's eighth destination in North America. The first edition of the MICHELIN Guide Colorado recently awarded five One-MICHELIN-Star restaurants including Beckon (Denver), Bosq (Aspen), Brutø (Denver), Frasca Food and Wine (Boulder) and Wolf’s Tailor (Denver). In addition, Colorado received thirty MICHELIN Recommended restaurants, four Green Star restaurants and nine Bib Gourmand designations. 
  • The Penrose Room at the historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs offers an elegant ambiance, gracious service and a creative menu. The Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond dining experience serves up contemporary European cuisine inspired by the seasons. 
  • Sweet Basil in Vail is a mountain-town favorite with Mediterranean, Italian and Asian influences.
  • Rootstalk and Radicato in Breckenridge have earned chef Matt Vawter his first nod from the James Beard Foundation in 2024 thanks to his approach to “elevated everyday” cuisine that he defines by sourcing the highest quality ingredients and treating them with masterful techniques.
  • Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction serves up a menu crafted from the Grand Valley’s best farmers, winemakers and brewers from chef Josh Niernberg. This summer Bin 707 is relocating and expanding, and the team is also launching Jojo's Dinette & Superette. 
  • Pêche in Palisade is an upscale bistro, offering a beautiful selection of seasonal American fare and many local wines. The restaurant was a 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Outstanding Hospitality. 
  • 221 South Oak in Telluride is led by owner, chef and cookbook author Eliza Gavin and serves rich, delicious mountain food including staples such as rack of lamb. 
  • Annette in Stanley Marketplace serves up scratch-to-table dishes perfectly suited for any palate from James Beard Award winner Caroline Glover. This summer, she is expanding her culinary offerings with the opening of  Traveling Mercies, an oysters and cocktail bar. 
  • The Periodic Table in Steamboat Springs explores the great dining periods and locales of the world. This transformative dining experience entirely reinvents itself each winter and summer season, pairing exciting thematic destinations with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

Colorado’s Culinary Journey Across Cultures: Colorado’s culinary flavors are reflective of the state’s storied past and inspired by its increasingly diverse communities. 

  • Tocabe, an American Indian Eatery in Denver, specializes in Native American and Indigenous cuisine and is one of only a handful of American Indian restaurants in the United States. With a philosophy of native first, local second, Tocabe’s menu combines traditional Osage family recipes with elements of modern American Indian fare. 
  • Mawa’s Kitchen in Aspen serves up hyper-seasonal cuisine reflective of celebrated chef Mawa McQueen’s international heritage with a focus on Afro-Mediterranean dishes with French-American flair. 
  • sắp sửa opened in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood in June 2023 as a culinary memoir to Vietnamese Americans and is a 2024 James Beard Semi-Finalist for Best New Restaurant.  Once a beloved Colorado pop-up, the husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant bring the lived experience of a first-generation Vietnamese American to life by marrying traditional dishes with childhood food memories. 
  • Yuan Wonton is where James Beard nominated chef Penelope Wong serves up her OG Chile Oil Wontons and Sichuan Eggplant Dumplings
  • Hop Alley is a Michelin Bib Gourmand Awarded Restaurant where Chef Tommy Lee and his team share their take on modern, regional Chinese cuisine. 
  • In Pueblo, the city’s strong Italian roots are celebrated at heritage restaurants such as Gagliano’s Italian Market & Deli and Collette’s Catering
  • Mango House, an immigrant- and refugee-led food hall in Aurora is home to six outstanding culinary concepts, including Urban Burma, Jasmine Syrian, Golden Sky Asian and Nepali Spice. With more than 300+ independently operated ethnic restaurants, the city of Aurora offers mouthwatering world cuisine, sure to satisfy adventurous eaters.
  • Comal Heritage Food Incubator in Denver recently moved into its new, larger location at the RiNo ArtPark and serves up some of the most delicious Mexican, Syrian and Ethiopian food in the city. The Incubator’s mission is to help immigrants and refugees learn about entrepreneurship and professional food services while celebrating their own culinary traditions. 
  • Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a gift from Boulder's sister city —  Tajikistan, offers an artisan-style chai both at its traditional teahouse and in to-go bottles. 
  • Sherpa House Restaurant and Cultural Center in Golden offers mouth-watering Himalayan cuisine and traditional Sherpa culture with interior décor that is an authentic representation of a typical Sherpa house in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal. 
  • El Taco de Mexico is a no-frills joint in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District that has drawn crowds since 1985 for tasty tacos and anything smothered in its famous green chile. In 2020, El Taco was honored by the James Beard Foundation as one of America’s Classics. 
  • Cactus Flower Restaurant in Pueblo has served-up both traditional Mexican dishes as well as plates with a uniquely American twist for more than 30 years.

Food and Drink from the Land to the Table: With about 35,000 farms 
and ranches, over 300 breweries, 140 wineries, 100 farmer’s markets and over 
90 craft spirits distilleries, it’s almost guaranteed that a Colorado culinary experience will be local, sustainable and crafted from the heart. 

  • EsoTerra Ciderworks in Dolores seeks out feral trees and historic orchards native to the area to curate ciders that are distinctively Southwest. 
  • Dune Valley Distillery that recently opened in the San Luis Valley utilizes the valley’s vast potato crop as the basis for local spirits while running entirely on renewable biogas technology.
  • Parts & Labor Brewing Co. in Sterling handcrafts all its beers inside a renovated, century-old Cadillac dealership repair shop. New brews are always on tap along with popular locally-sourced wheat beers, IPAs, stouts and ales. 
  • Bramble & Hare in Boulder is a MICHELIN Green Star recipient and is stocked by its sister Black Cat organic farm to offer 3-course farm dinners, craft cocktails and wine in a charming dining room.
  • James Ranch Grill near Durango offers a "table on the farm" by sourcing its main regenerative ingredients from the James Ranch itself. Cattle and pigs feed only on the green grass of the 400 acre ranch, chickens are pasture raised and the regenerative vegetables are either grown on-site or sourced from local farms in the summer. 
  • The Farmhouse at Jessup Farms in Fort Collins offers rustic-inspired modern farm fare, hand-crafted cocktails, and genuine hospitality in a 19th-Century farmhouse and partners with many local growers, producers, brewers and creators. 
  • The Colorado Farm Brewery in Alamosa, takes farm-to-tap to a new level as the only brewery in the world where every ingredient in its estate beers comes from the farm in which they brew.
  • Jack Rabbit Hill is an innovative, certified-biodynamic farm located in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley. The diversified operation includes 20 acres of wine grapes and tree fruits, medicinal herb gardens, pasture, and cattle and offers estate wines (JRH Farm Wines), custom-blended keg & box wines for restaurants and stores (WineTapistry), craft spirits (CapRock Gin, Vodka & Brandies, and MEll Zero Waste Vodka), and single orchard ciders (New Avalon Grower Ciders). 
  • The Farm Bistro in Cortez serves up fresh produce and meat sourced right from Montezuma County.

Immersive Dining Experiences Off the Beaten Trail: There’s nothing more Colorado than dining outdoors, hiking to your meal and soaking in the breathtaking beauty of the state’s landscapes any time of year. 

  • Tennessee Pass Cookhouse outside of Leadville can be accessed via hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter and offers an intimate, candlelit four-course dinner of classic Colorado cuisine. 
  • Magic Meadows Yurt, a backcountry yurt outside of Crested Butte, provides a truly magical setting for moonlight snowshoe and cross-country ski dinners during the winter months. 
  • Beano’s Cabin offers sleigh ride dinners up through Beaver Creek's iconic aspen groves to an exquisite gourmet dinner. Travel on horseback or complimentary shuttle to this mountainside retreat in the summer and fall. 
  • Alpino Vino, one of the highest elevation restaurants in North America is a quaint European chalet on the Telluride Ski Resort that offers a prix fixe Northern Italian dinner accessible via a snow coach in the winter. 
  • Pine Creek Cookhouse, is nestled at the base of the Elk Mountains near Aspen and is accessible via cross-country skis, snowshoes or horse drawn sleigh in the winter as well as hiking in the summer. 
  • Paragon Guides in Vail offers guided “Take a Llama To Lunch” hikes where the llamas do the heavy lifting to hike to a gourmet picnic lunch. 
  • Climax Revival near Leadville offers Pack Burro Picnics where burros lighten the lunch load. 




ABOUT COLORADO: Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine and 28 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments, 26 scenic and historic byways and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800 COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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