In Boulder, good food is always within arms reach. The Boulder County Farmers Market is among the best in the nation, offering locally grown vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and wine to the city’s farm to table restaurants. This, in combination with Boulder’s proclivity towards environmentalism and health, creates a demand for fresh yet tasty meals at the city’s restaurants, with non-GMO, gluten free, and vegan options for the health conscientious.

With nearly 600 restaurants to choose from in Boulder, it’s hard to narrow down which eateries yield the best food and flavor. To help you decide, I’ve narrowed down the top three highest rated restaurants in Boulder according to ratings from Yelp and TripAdvisor.

#1) Amu

Wear your finest cashmere socks to this Japan-inspired restaurant. Keeping with Japanese custom, patrons eat at low tables and are asked to remove their shoes before dining. The plates are small and artful, and designed to pair with sake. Much like a brewery, Amu offers flights, or sake samplings, so patrons can enjoy a variety of flavor.

Unfamiliar with Japanese food? One cool feature of this Boulder restaurant is ‘Omakase,’ or entrusting the chef with your food selection. Known especially for their fresh raw or cooked seafood, every dish is packed with flavor and artfully served.

Yelp Score: 4.5

TripAdvisor Score: 4.5

#2) The Buff

An unambiguous double entendre, eat in “The Buff” is their slogan, proudly serving the ‘naked’ entrees Boulderites have come to love. While most breakfast joints serve greasy, carb-heavy meals, The Buff boasts many gluten-free, house-made, whole-food options. Open for breakfast and lunch, menu items range from hearty skillets to salads, with a to-die-for Southwestern Kick section in their menu. My personal favorite? The french toast. It’s simple yet packed with flavor, and topped with the best maple syrup I’ve ever tasted. And where would brunch be without a bloody mary or mimosa? At The Buff, both drinks are only 99 cents when purchased with an entree.

Just make sure to arrive early to avoid the lines.

Yelp Score: 4.5

TripAdvisor Score: 4.5

#3) Rincon Argentino

This latin style restaurant is known for serving the ‘best empanadas ever.’ The warm pastry is stuffed with spicy beef, chicken, and chorizo meats, fresh vegetables, and house-made sauces like salsa verde and asado. All their ingredients are fresh, and many come from local Boulder farms, like Hazel Dell Mushrooms. This restaurant doesn’t exclude vegetarians or gluten-free eaters, offering gluten-free empanada pie and espinaca.

Rincon Argentino is decked out with photos are artifacts from Buenos Aires, yet maintains a casual atmosphere with order at the counter service and indoor and outdoor seating.

Can’t get enough empanadas? Order the pre-made empanadas to take home and bake. It’s good home cooking without any of the work.

Yelp Score: 4.5

TripAdvisor Score: 4.5

Dinner is Served
It’s no wonder that chain restaurants seldom survive in this foodie town. With so many fresh, authentic dishes to choose from, you’ll be visiting these Boulder restaurants again and again.

Katy Caballeros moved to Boulder from Grand Rapids, MI. She studied English and writing at Aquinas College and pursued a liberal arts career path gone crooked, occupying jobs ranging from telemarketer to kindergarten phonics tutor. Passionate about local advocacy, Katy admires Boulder’s proclivity towards progress, scholarship, and environmentalism. When she isn’t writing or listening to KUNC, Katy likes to explore local cafes and bookstores with her partner, Em. Passionate about motivating young people, Katy is an assistant coach for the Boulder High School cheerleading team (Go Panthers!). Grateful to be welcomed into the Boulder community, Katy wants to give back by informing Boulderites about the best places to play and visit in their community.