Jordan Wallace, pizzaiolo, gets a fire going in the Stefano Ferrara pizza oven at Pizzeria Locale.
Jordan Wallace, pizzaiolo, gets a fire going in the Stefano Ferrara pizza oven at Pizzeria Locale. ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )

The best retail spots in Boulder, as voted on by Colorado Daily readers, are as follows:

BEST ASIAN FOOD

Chez Thuy

2655 28th St.

303-442-1700

chezthuy.com

Who's down for some pho? Yeah, everybody is right now. Chez Thuy is consistent in their offerings: good pho, good broth, good fixings.

The other good news is that while regulars love the place for its vast menu, it's not intimidating for pho novices. You don't even really have to pronounce "pho" right (unless your date is judgey).

RUNNER-UP

Khow Thai

1600 Broadway St.

303-447-0273

khow-thai.com

BEST BAGEL

Moe's Broadway Bagel

2650 Broadway St.

303-444-3252

3075 Arapahoe Ave.

303-442-4427

moesbagel.com

It's tough to imagine Boulder without this classic bagel shop slinging dough at groggy citizens (or, of course, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hikers on their way to Sanitas). Our favorite is a breakfast sandwich on an Italian bagel, but we won't look at you funny if you pick up mini-bagels. They are pretty cute, after all.


Advertisement

RUNNER-UP

Einstein Bros Bagels

1693 28th St.

720-565-0413

2400 Baseline Rd.

303-543-1525

einsteinbros.com

BEST BAKERY

Spruce Confections

767 Pearl St.

303-449-6773

spruceconfections.com

Max Sheahan lays cheese down on a  pizza at Cosmo’s.
Max Sheahan lays cheese down on a pizza at Cosmo's. ( Zak Wood )

Be seen and be fed: Spruce Confections has a lovely Pearl St. patio just west of the mall, and if you can score a seat there on one of our fair city's many warm, clear days, you're in for a slice of heaven. Grab a savory sandwich or do like we do and opt for some chai and a pastry. We won't tell your dentist.

RUNNER-UP

Boulder Baked

1911 Broadway

303-444-4999

boulderbaked.com

BEST BEER

SELECTION

Mountain Sun

1535 Pearl St.

303-546-0886

627 South Broadway St.

303-543-0886

mountainsunpub.com

From the Alpha King-winning Hop Vivant down to the ever-popular Blackberry Wheat, there's something at the Sun for everybody.

While we're past the Sun's Stout Month (February), they keep good stouts on hand all year round -- and every month, as far as we're concerned, is hops month. We think we hear an FYIPA calling our name. Back in a few (days).

RUNNER-UP: TIE

Liquor Mart

1750 15th St.

303-449-3374

liquormart.com

Old Chicago

1102 Pearl St.

303-443-5031

oldchicago.com/boulder

Leaf’s vegetarian meals range from veggie takes on the mainstream, like the TLT (tempeh, lettuce, tomato), to original dishes loaded with flavor.
Leaf's vegetarian meals range from veggie takes on the mainstream, like the TLT (tempeh, lettuce, tomato), to original dishes loaded with flavor. ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )

BEST BREAKFAST

The Buff

1725 28th St.

303-442-9150

buffrestaurant.com

Great for meeting the folks while hitting them up for some cash or meeting your buds out to wash way last night's party, The Buff is a Boulder institution.

You want a no-nonsense breakfast with just enough grease and a solid Bloody Mary or mimosa? Hit the Buff. You won't regret it.

RUNNER-UP

Lucile's Creole Café

2124 14th St.

303-442-4743

luciles.com

BEST BREW PUB

Mountain Sun

1535 Pearl St.

303-546-0886

627 South Broadway St.

303-543-0886

mountainsunpub.com

No bar feels more like home than the Mountain Sun. There's just something about the friendly servers, the relaxed, homey atmosphere and -- oh, yeah -- the brew.

The Mountain Sun brings the party and brings the noise while the Southern Sun has more room for a couple of kids or stretching out those sore muscles after your Flatiron ascent.

RUNNER-UP

Walnut Brewery

1123 Walnut St.

303-447-1345

walnutbrewery.com

BEST CLASSY BAR

The Kitchen Upstairs

1039 Pearl St.

303-544-5973

thekitchencafe.com

If you're looking for a classed-up night on the town, you have to go to Pearl Street. And if you're looking for a great classed-up night on the town, you have to go to the Kitchen Upstairs.

The wine list -- and fine beer list -- won't disappoint and the vibe is metropolitan in a way you won't find elsewhere in Boulder. Put on your nice jeans, Boulder. We'll see you there for a tasting hour.

RUNNER-UP

Bácaro Venetian Taverna

921 Pearl St.

303-444-4888

bacaro.com

BEST COFFEE HOUSE

Laughing Goat

1709 Pearl St.

303-440-4628

thelaughinggoat.com

The Laughing Goat quickly established itself as a hangout for people who like caffeinated beverages in an artsy setting.

Some say it's the only heir to the legacy of longtime Boulder hangout Penny Lane, and there's something to that: good music that you won't find anywhere else, that cluttered-on-purpose feel and a strong sense of community are what keep people coming back to the Goat.

RUNNER-UP: TIE

The Cup

1521 Pearl St.

303-449-5173

thecupboulder.com

Vic's

2680 Broadway St.

303-440-8209

vicsespresso.com

BEST DELI/SANDWICH SHOP

Snarf's

1360 College Ave.

33-444-7714

2128 Pearl St.

303-444-3404

5340 Arapahoe Ave.

303-444-7766

goodtimesburgers.com

It just sounds like you should eat it, doesn't it? A Snarf's-sized smoked briskey sandwich with barbecue sauce and swiss cheese.

These expert sandwichmongers have been sating the savage beasts of Boulder for a long time. Pile it on any way you want it and dig in.

RUNNER-UP

Half Fast Subs

1215 13th St.

303-449-0404

halffastsubs.com

BEST DESSERT

Cheesecake Factory

1401 Pearl St.

303-546-0222

thecheesecakefactory.com

What's in a name? Well, desserts. Maybe the fam's in town (love it when Dad buys), maybe you're looking for a pre-packaged, count-on-it celebration date or maybe you just need some goddamn cheesecake. Who you gonna call?

RUNNER-UP

The Kitchen Upstairs

1039 Pearl St.

303-544-5973

thekitchencafe.com

BEST DIVE BAR

Sundown Saloon

1136 Pearl St.

303-449-4987

sundownsaloon.com

Yeah, you know what you want -- you want a night at the 'downer. Gimme a PBR or whatever else in one of those sweet, squat glasses, we'll mingle briefly around the showoffs shooting stick and then we'll hover over one of the booths until the couple sitting there get the hint and split. Then hold down the fort until closing time, because the jukebox is solid, the beer is flowing and the people are our people.

RUNNER-UP

Dark Horse

2922 Baseline Rd.

303-442-8162

darkhorsebar.com

BEST ELEGANT DINING

Frasca

1738 Pearl St.

303-442-6966

frascafoodandwine.com

If you want a nice dinner, you might as well hit a homerun with it. Frasca is a world-class restaurant with food to die for and a master sommelier to tell you all about the bouquet of your tipple. We don't know about you, but we don't like our tipples to get too dry. Come on, don't take it that way -- you're such an oenophile. Point is, you just won't find a finer modern restaurant in Boulder, and the voters know it.

RUNNER-UP

Flagstaff House

1138 Flagstaff Dr.

303-442-4640

flagstaffhouse.com

BEST FAST FOOD

Good Times

2050 26th St.

303-449-5185

goodtimesburgers.com

Oh mommy, what we wouldn't do for a Good Times burger right now. These guys do the fast food thing right: the burgers are tasty, fresh and never frozen, and they'll toss on some bacon at the drop of a hat. If that's not enough for you, and we know it's not, the Wild Fries will keep you coming back.

If that's not enough, then it's time to consider dessert: delicious frozen custard. It's the best fast food dessert in town, mercilessly beating the daylights out of any other options. Creamy, cold and rich -- hot weather or cold, we need our custard.

RUNNER-UP

Chipotle

919 Pearl St.

303-544-9383

1650 28th St.

720-406-0500

chipotle.com

Larkburger

2525 Arapahoe Ave.

303-444-1487

larkburger.com

BEST

HAMBURGER

Larkburger

2525 Arapahoe Ave.

303-444-1487

larkburger.com

Here's the thing about burgers: every ingredient counts. Even if there's a lot of stuff going on, one bad pickle can throw off your whole noshing experience. Larkburger gets that -- they've called themselves "quick-gourmet" to separate themselves from fast food, but really it is what fast food should be.

They make all of their sauces in-house, they hand-form the patties when you order them -- it's almost as if they want to give you something that goes beyond being simply edible. What a concept, right? These burgers are delicious, and the care with which Larkburger makes them pays off.

RUNNER-UP

Dark Horse

2922 Baseline Rd.

303-442-8162

darkhorsebar.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR

The Med

1002 Walnut St.

303-444-5335

themedboulder.com

The Med's happy hour is legendary with good cause. A group of any size can plop down, get started on some bevvies and slowly pick its way down the tapas menu, trying a bit of this, some of that until everybody's found their favorite and ordered seconds.

There's no reason anyone should ever leave happy hour with an empty stomach, and there's no reason happy hour should ever be cut short by people getting too tipsy because they're not balancing their booze with their carbs. And if you're at the Med, there's no reason you should have to worry about either of those scenarios. Eat up!

RUNNER-UP

Laudisio Italian Restaurant

1710 29th St.

303-442-1300

laudisio.com

BEST ICE CREAM

Glacier Home Made Ice Cream & Gelato

4760 Baseline Rd.

303-499-4760

3133 28th St.

303-440-6542

glaciericecream.com

Glacier Ice Cream is the real deal -- quality ingredients, home-made scrumptiousness and about 80 flavors to choose from in their stores. Plus, there's more than ice cream. Glacier also whips up sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurt and non-dairy frozen goodness right here in Boulder.

Some of Glacier's top picks include Death by Chocolate (which claims to cram in the maximum legal limit of chocolate), Chai (a spicy blend in Madagascar Bourbon vanilla) and Key Lime Pie (it boasts half the fat of regular ice cream).

How can we not all scream for ice cream?

RUNNER-UP

Ben & Jerry's

1203 Pearl St.

303-444-5725

benjerry.com

BEST INDIAN/NEPALESE FOOD

Sherpa's

825 Walnut St.

303-440-7151

sherpaascent.com/restaurant.htm

From their hearty dishes to their climbing- and Buddha-inspired décor, Sherpa's Restaurant brings the culture of the Himalaya to the edge of the foothills Boulder.

Warm up your appetite with their fluffy naan or or flaky samosas, then dive into their traditional dishes, like saag or tikka masala, most of which you can order vegetarian or with chicken, shrimp, lamb or even salmon. For a tasty Tibetan treat, try the momos, vegetarian or not, which are served with a delicious chutney for dipping.

RUNNER-UP

The Taj

2630 Baseline Road

303-494-5216

tajcolorado.com

BEST ITALIAN FOOD

Laudisio Italian Restaurant

1710 29th St. #1076

(303) 442-1300

laudisio.com

One thing we love about Laudisio is that they're everywhere with their mobile oven, sharing pizza with the unwashed masses at farm-to-table events, outdoor markets and wherever else they can park the thing. You just get the sense that they know the city from being out and about so much.

But if that's the only way you're experiencing Laudisio, you're obviously missing out on their award-winning wine list. So enjoy the mobile oven when you see it, but get yourself under their roof for the full-on Laudisio experience -- and arrive hungry.

RUNNER-UP

Pasta Jay's

1001 Pearl St.

303-444-5800

pastajays.com

BEST JUICE BAR

Rush

1207 13th St.

303-546-9666

4593 N. Broadway

303-442-7874

rushbowls.com

If Rush's goal is to cram as many all-natural goodies into their multitude of smoothies as possible, they seem to have achieved unequivocal success. Or enlightenment. Maybe that's just the American Buddha smoothie (raspberry, peach, green tea, frozen yogurt and milk).

The same goes for Rush's bowls, which they call a "meal in a bowl." Loaded with fruit and granola and topped off with more yummies, Rush offers these in-house or portable for to-go crunchy goodness.

And since Rush pledges pure, natural foods, health nuts who walk in the door need not fret. Win.

RUNNER-UP

Jamba Juice

1669 Euclid Ave.

303-449-5245

1695 29th St.

720-565-0407

3053 Arapahoe Ave.

303-247-1170

3325 38th St.

303-938-1271

jambajuice.com

BEST LATE NIGHT FOOD

Cosmo's Pizza

1325 Broadway St., Boulder

(303) 447-1133

659 30th St., Boulder

(303) 447-3278

cosmospizza.com

There's something about running out for Cosmo's Pizza at 1 a.m. that makes it a little extra delish.

Is it that the spicy ranch dip -- so popular they sell it by the pint -- is better late at night? Or that giant slices, drenched in great ingredients like feta cheese or sun-dried tomatoes, take up the whole plate and make you feel like you could stay up until sunrise?

Or the fact that you waited in line for those slices when you should've been finishing that mid-term paper (busted!)?

Eat in at either location and soak up the ambiance; both are open until 2:30 a.m. every night.

RUNNER-UP

Pearl Street Pub

1108 Pearl St.

303-939-9900

BEST MARGARITA

The Rio Grande

1101 Walnut St.

303-444-3690

riograndemexican.com

The Rio's margarita menu has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation as the best in town. Beauty is, whether you go for a standard house marg, agave or the Big Tex (has a hint of orange, longhorns), you can't go wrong.

OK, the only way you can go wrong is if you try to exceed the Rio's three-marg limit. But take our word for it -- the portions are generous. Three is plenty. In fact, you'll need to put together a custom nacho order to absorb some of that limey-sweet goodness.

RUNNER-UP

Tahona

1035 Pearl St.

303-938-9600

tahonaboulder.com

BEST MEXICAN FOOD

Efrain's

1630 63rd St.

303-440-4045

efrainsrestaurant.com

You want spicy? There's a scale at Efrain's, and it's 1 to 10, where 9 and 10 can only be perceived by people who still have tongues and sinuses after the first three bites.

This is seriously good Mexican grub, and if you want to show you're a real aficionado, skip the (amazing) menu and just ask for the Efrain's burrito: "real manly meal which includes a variety of our delectables rolled into a large flour tortilla, smothered in who knows what." Yeah, that's right. It's a burrito surprise. A big one. But we know how this story ends: With a happy food nap on the couch. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, chile verde. Goodnight, hunger.

RUNNER-UP

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

1101 Walnut St.

303-444-3690

riograndemexican.com

BEST NEW BAR

Absinthe House

1109 Walnut St.

303-443-8600

boulderabsinthehouse.com

Thanks to the 2007 lift on the long-time ban of absinthe in the U.S., Boulderites can head to this bar to sample its assortment of the namesake drink.

But the lines to get in on Saturday nights aren't just for the sweet green nectar. The music pumping out the door from an assortment of D.J.s keeps the party coming in. On Wednesdays, it's a slightly different dancing crowd, with salsa lessons at 7:30 and an open floor for salseros the rest of the night.

RUNNER-UP

Salt

1047 Pearl St.

303-444-7258

saltboulderbistro.com

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Pizzeria Locale

1730 Pearl St.

303-442-3003

pizzerialocale.com

Conceived of by the folks who brought you Frasca, Pizzeria Locale is one of the best parts of Boulder's recent pizza boom. The pizzeria boasts Napoli-inspired pies with swankier ingredients, like arugula and prosciutto. They'll also do gluten-free crust if you ask. Just save room for the butterscotch pudding at the end of the evening.

RUNNER-UP: TIE

Pizzeria da Lupo

2525 Arapahoe Ave.

303-396-6366

pizzeriadalupo.com

Salt

1047 Pearl St.

303-444-7258

saltboulderbistro.com

BEST OUTDOOR FOOD/DINING

The Med

1002 Walnut St.

303-444-5335

themedboulder.com

See Best Happy Hour.

RUNNER-UP

West End Tavern

926 Pearl St.

303-444-3535

thewestendtavern.com

BEST PIZZA

Cosmo's Pizza

1325 Broadway St., Boulder

(303) 447-1133

659 30th St., Boulder

(303) 447-3278

cosmospizza.com

See Best Late-Night Food.

RUNNER-UP

Abo's

1035 Pearl St.

303-443-1740

1124 13th St.

303-443-3199

637 S. Broadway

303-494-1274

2761 Iris Ave.

303-443-1921

abospizza.com

BEST ROOFTOP

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

1101 Walnut St.

303-444-3690

riograndemexican.com

Watching the sun set over the Flatirons with one of the Rio's famous margaritas in hand, it's easy to forget all your worries. That's what makes the Rio's rooftop a little magical on a nice evening. (Or it's the tequila.)

Planning to park for a while and take advantage of the three-marg limit? Start with some chips and guac, then move on to crab and shrimp enchiladas. Sun still setting? Time for dessert and your third marg -- Big Tex? Agave? Make it a good one.

RUNNER-UP

West End Tavern

926 Pearl St.

303-444-3535

thewestendtavern.com

BEST SEAFOOD

Jax

928 Pearl St.

303-444-1811

jaxfishhouseboulder.com

Despite our mountainous base here in Colorado, Jax always lands a stellar variety of fresh seafood. And the menu is fresh, too -- from curry to wasabi to Cajun, the menu at Jax on any given day is always a pleasant surprise.

Speaking of getting fresh, Jax has one of the more unusual happy hours in Boulder: oysters for a buck each, or oyster shooters -- an oyster in a shot glass with bloody mary mix and vodka -- for $2.

RUNNER-UP: TIE

Hapa

1220 Pennsylvania Ave.

303-447-9883

1117 Pearl St.

303-473-4730

hapasushi.com

Sushi Tora

2014 10th St.

303-444-2280

sushitora.net

BEST SPORTS BAR

Lazy Dog

1346 Pearl St.

303-440-3355

thelazydog.com

Sports fans have been gathering to watch the Buffs -- and just about any other game happening anywhere -- for a decade. With more than 40 televisions, it might seem like the place to watch the game. And it is. But it's also the place to chillax on the rooftop, kick back with their brew of the day, munch on fried green beans and talk smack about pool sharking your pals in the game room.

RUNNER-UP

Harpo's

2860 Arapahoe Ave.

303-444-9464

harpossportsgrill.com

BEST SUSHI

Hapa Sushi

1220 Pennsylvania Ave.

303-447-9883

1117 Pearl St.

303-473-4730

hapasushi.com

Don't bother acting coy when you order magic mushrooms as an appetizer at Hapa. With 69, foreplay and climax rolls on the menu, they've heard it all. Save your bashfulness for when you ask for the multiple orgasm -- smoked salmon, crab and cream cheese rolled for your pleasure.

As a bonus, you get to enjoy your multiple orgasm (roll) with a sake cocktail in a chic modern setting. Was it good for you?

RUNNER-UP

Sushi Zanmai

1221 Spruce St.

303-440-0733

sushizanmai.com

BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

Leaf

2010 16th St.

303-442-1485

leafvegetarianrestaurant.com

The chefs at Leaf believe your food should be bursting with taste whether you're vegetarian or a carnivore. To do that, they track down the best organic and seasonal ingredients to create eclectic cuisine for herbivores and omnivores alike. They even have raw offerings -- the raw lasagna features zucchini and squash "noodles."

Leaf also provides a full bar that includes organic and biodynamic wines...and a serene setting to savor them in.

RUNNER-UP

Half Fast Subs

1215 13th St.

303-449-0404

halffastsubs.com

BEST WINE SELECTION

Laudisio's

1710 29th St. #1076

(303) 442-1300

laudisio.com

See Best Italian Food.

RUNNER-UP

Frasca

1738 Pearl St.

303-442-6966

frascafoodandwine.com