The Rocky Mountains on a spring day
Article may contain sponsored links

Colorado's Culinary Delights: A Gastronomic Guide for Food Lovers

Always wanted to visit the stomping ground of Alexis Carrington after Dynasty was on TV back in the '80s? There's no better time. Colorado is currently awash with restaurants serving up inventive locally-sourced dishes, washed down with refreshing craft beers, although Alexis might prefer champagne.

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

If, inspired by picturesque scenes of the Aspen slopes and Rocky Mountains in Dynasty, you've always fancied visiting Colorado, then now's your chance.

The State is a beautiful place to visit, with plenty of things to do for the older traveller, including hiking, skiing or simply enjoying the outdoors and the wildlife.

But if skiing and trekking aren't your thing, don't worry. Colorado is a vibrant culinary haven waiting to be discovered by food enthusiasts. Its rich tapestry of local produce, farm-to-table feasts and innovative chefs make it an irresistible destination for any discerning palate - not just Blake Carrington's.

When Colorado cuisine is recognised, Denver, Boulder, and Aspen - home to the world famous Aspen Food & Wine Classic - tend to get most of the glory, but there’s also so much more to it than that. And you don't have to be a rich oil baron to enjoy it.

Here’s exactly where you should start. Happy eating!

The Best for: Fine-dining in Colorado

Le Roux, Denver

Brainchild of Chef Lon Symensma and business partner Christopher Davis-Massey, the team behind ChoLon, Cho77, BorraCho Tacos and Concourse, Le Roux is regularly named as one of the most romantic restaurants in Colorado. Designed to make diners feel as though they are in France or Italy, it’s a place where crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, taper candles top the tables and framed menus and awards line the walls.

You’re there for the food though, of course, so dig into the likes of foie gras, mousse, tartare, seasonal vegetables, meats and fish. *chef’s kiss*.

La Marmotte, Telluride

The epitome of fine dining in Colorado, this sophisticated eatery set among the mountains of Telluride offers a fine style of provincial French cuisine with fine wines to match. Occupying a former ice house, the menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect truffled mussel chowder, seared scallops, steak au poivre and a gooey molten chocolate cake. The ideal location for a Carringtons/Colbys reunion.

Cache Cache Restaurant, Aspen

An old-school steakhouse that has made quite a name for itself among Aspen regulars, Cache Cache opened back in 1987 and has been serving well-dressed patrons uncomplicated yet excellent cuisine ever since.

Keen to serve local ingredients where possible, Cache Cache gets its meat from Dog Patch Farm, which is a couple of hours away from Aspen, while for non-red meat eaters everything from rotisserie chicken and mac-and-cheese, to salads and mussels grace the menu.

The sign outside Le Roux, Denver


A delicious meal plated up at Cache Cache Aspen


The Best for: Farm-to-Table Ingredients in Colorado

Fruition Restaurant, Denver

A regular on many ‘best restaurants in Denver’ lists, Fruition is the baby of Chef Alex Seidel, Denver’s vanguard of ingredient-centred eco-conscious cuisine (he even has his own 10-acre farm where he produces fruits, vegetables and cheese, and raises animals for his restaurant and others).

Menu highlights include luscious lamb tartare topped with soft-scrambled eggs, fettuccine alla chitarra in a sauce of tomato-braised octopus and ricotta gnudi with truffle, However, we highly recommend opting for the five-course tasting menu, with 1 per cent of every sale donated to Zero Foodprint, a nonprofit that provides grants to farmers aiming to convert to regenerative farming practices.

Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver

A handsome spot complete with wood floors and tables, tufted leather banquettes and a sultry palette of brown and blue, expect an elegant take on American comfort food as this farm-to-table restaurant, where guests are never disappointed. Tuck into half confit Miller farms chicken, perfectly-cooked venison and Tomahawk steaks.

The Regional, Fort Collins

Working with local Fort Collins farms and single-family Colorado suppliers to cook homegrown comfort food, The Regional sources its ingredients from nearby farms, ranches and docks. Whether that’s creamy shrimp and grits, oysters or crispy fried chicken and curly fries, you’ll get a true taste of the state at prices that won’t break the bank.

The exterior of the Fruition restaurant in Denver


A table laid out at Mercantile, Denver


The Best for: Casual Eats in Colorado

Basta, Boulder

Pizza doesn’t come much better than at Basta. After all, head chef Kelly Whitaker is an unofficial ambassador for creating a sustainable food system, founding nonprofit Noble Grain Alliance in 2016 to bring back local grains. At this laidback Boulder eatery, he grinds grains into fresh flour that becomes crispy-crusted pizza, indulgent pastas and perfectly doughy breads that you won’t be able to forget about anytime soon.

El Taco de Mexico, Denver

Dig into quintessential Colorado dish green chile at this casual Mexican taqueria, which opened back in 1985. Authentic cuisine includes pozole, gorditas and chilaquiles, so pull up a yellow stool overlooking the kitchen and settle in for the night.

AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q, Denver

A Texas-style barbeque spot serving fresh from the smoker wood-fired BBQ in a mountain cabin setting dining room, AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q is a must for meat fans. Boasting a traditional menu comprising cornbread, plump and juicy sausage stuffed with fresh jalapeños and cheddar cheese, and beef belly ends smoked for at least 14 hours, be sure to wear loose trousers for this one.

The exterior of El Taco de Mexico, Colorado


The meat feast on offer at AJ's Pit Bar BQ


The Best for: Craft Beers in Colorado

Aspen Brewing Company, Aspen

Hot since 2008, Aspen Brewing Company was the first contemporary craft brewery in the Aspen and Snowmass area. Today, you can find barrel-aged brews like the Cougar, an exquisite aged-blonde ale, the Independence Pass Ale, their rendition of the India Pale Ale and unique seasonal options that are most certainly worth a try.

Avery Brewing Company, Boulder

One of the most famous places to get excellent beer is Avery Brewing Company. Passionate about producing eccentric ales and lagers that defy styles or categories, its 30 taps of world-class exclusive craft beers are best enjoyed alongside its menu of soul-inspired dishes and smoked meats.

Great Divide Brewing Co, Denver

One of the most decorated breweries in America, recognised for brewing some of the globe’s most balanced yet flavourful beers, the Great Divide Brewing Co has won numerous accolades over the years, including plenty of World Beer Cup Awards. From IPAs to barrel-aged stouts, you’ll find it all here and then some.

The Avery Brewery complex in Colorado


An Aspen Brewing beer being poured


When to Visit Colorado

While the best time to visit Colorado depends on what you want to do, if you’re there to eat then you can’t go wrong with September and October. All about the harvest, expect farmers’ markets and outdoor festivals as well as that all important ‘fall’ foliage. Just think, what would Alexis do?

We have many more travel articles here on Life/Redefined, including ones on Madagascar and Thailand. Visit our Travel section to get more inspirational ideas about where to go next.

A landscape scene towards the Rocky Mountains in Colorado


A road sign welcomes visitors to Colorado