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First Bite—Boulder County’s annual restaurant week—provides a wonderful excuse for you to break out of your dining rituals and explore the diverse local food and beverage scene that the community has to offer. Starting today and running through November 19, the annual event returns to the city of Boulder and its surrounding municipalities, with restaurants offering three-course prix-fixe dinners for just $29 per person. While most of the participating restaurants are within Boulder city limits, there are a handful of restaurants outside the city that may not be on your radar—but they should be.
Here are five Boulder County restaurants that are well worth the drive.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the Louisville dining scene, 740 Front is in fact one of the state’s oldest bars. Built in the late 1800s, this American dining saloon has an open and inviting dining room serving hearty dishes that pay homage to the town’s old West cowboy days. While the First Bite menu is dominated by meaty options (think Flatiron steak), it also offers chicken and sweet corn pasta, a hot cheese dip with spinach, and a variety of other comfort food fare. 740 Front St., Louisville, 720-519-1972
In the quaint town of Niwot, Colterra is a fine dining gem. With chef Bradford Heap of Salt the Bistro and Wild Standard at the helm, you can expect local, sustainably sourced ingredients to shine in dishes inspired by both southern France and northern Italy. This week, you can build your three-course menu from a choice of 13 different dishes, including house-made charcuterie, a tian of autumn vegetables, and local pumpkin spice cake. 210 Franklin St., Niwot, 303-652-0777
Thanks to its wide selection of craft beers and weekly live music, Samples has become a Longmont community favorite. The First Bite menu begins with steak tartare, moves on to pillowy ricotta gnudi with butternut squash and brown butter, and ends with a sinful s’mores pot de crème, a delightful combination of crushed graham cracker, chocolate mousse, and marshmallow crème. 370 Main St., Longmont, 303-327-9318
It may be small in size, but Lyons Fork has been serving up big flavors—as well as specialty cocktails and brews—since 2010. Head to this charming spot on Lyons’ main drag for pan-seared salmon with grilled apple farro, melted leeks, toasted hazelnuts, and ginger cream. The special menu also features marinated buffalo tenderloin with house-made pappardelle and Duck Mac Nuggets—a playful dish composed of duck confit, Irish cheddar cream sauce, and pasta. 450 Main St., Lyons, 303-823-5014
A member of Three Leafs Concepts (the group behind the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, Chautauqua Dining Hall, Aji Latin American Restaurant, Leaf, and Three Leaf Farm), Zucca offers a menu of classic dishes from the southern regions of Italy, served up in a warm atmosphere. Seared scallops, slow-braised pork osso bucco, and shrimp and herb cannelloni are just a few of the dishes available. Be sure to save room for dessert, which will be your choice of fried Nutella panzotti (similar to calzones) or a limoncello-infused Italian petit four cake. 808 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-6499