Boulder’s 5 best upscale restaurant staples

Five of Boulder’s top spots for a nice meal

By BLDRfly Staff Oct 29 2020

As we dive into Boulder’s vibrant food scene, we profile some locally owned restaurants that take the cake in one way or another. These come from a thorough review of the local restaurant scene, conversations with restaurateurs and locals in BLDRfly editors’ network. If you have one to nominate, reach out to us at

This week, we profile some of the valley’s most noteworthy upscale restaurants that have become Boulder staples: Flagstaff House, Frasca Food and Wine, Oak at Fourteenth, Santo and Black Cat.

Santo — 1265 Alpine Avenue

Santo’s open bar space. Image: Santo.
Hosea Rosenberg

Chef Hosea Rosenberg opened Santo in 2017 as his second Boulder restaurant after launching Blackbelly in 2011. Santo serves modern New Mexican cuisine, inspired by Hosea’s childhood home of Taos, New Mexico.

Hosea first joined the restaurant world while working towards his Engineering Physics degree at University of Colorado and has remained ever since, even winning Bravo TV’s “Top Chef, Season 5” in 2009.

Known for its fire-roasted chiles and posole, traditional Mexican stew, Santo serves up a smorgasbord or soups, salads, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and, of course, margaritas.

Santo’s Duck Carnitas Tacos, made with duck fat apples, cranberry tomatillo salsa, lemon balm and cilantro and its assortment of salsas. Images: Santo.

Frasca Food and Wine — 1738 Pearl Street

Frasca Food and Wine. Image: Frasca Food and Wine.
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Known for Italian plates made with locally-sourced ingredients, Frasca Food and Wine reflects the joint vision of restaurateur and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, a Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters” alum.

Since it opened its doors in 2004 as the first of the team’s restaurants, Frasca has served high-end food inspired by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy — a northeast region bordering Austria, known for its red and white wines. In addition to its menu of traditional Italian food, from linguine carbonara to gnocchi and risotto, Frasca also has a wine list of over 200 varieties.

Frasca offers a four-plate menu for $110, or you can select individual plates with starters like the Radicchio and Root Salad, which comes with radicchio, rutabega, celery root, sunchoke, pecan and kumquat; Paccheri Alla Buzara, durum wheat pasta with lobster and lobster mushroom and its Beef entrée which comes as a dry aged ribeye with bone marrow, red dandelion green, porcini mushroom and marble potato.

Frasca’s Scallops. Image: Frasca Food and Wine.

Oak at Fourteenth — 1400 Pearl Street

Steve Redzikowski

Launched in 2010 by certified Sommelier Bryan Dayton and Chef Steve Redzikowksi, Oak at Fourteenth serves local and seasonal “New American Cuisine” — which means a melting pot of traditional American cooking techniques crossed with foreign components and innovative use of seasoning and sauces.

Oak’s dishes range from Key West Pink Shrimp Wontons with baby bok choy, crispy shallots, yuzu ponzu and cilantro to Brussels Sprouts Caesar, Tempura Fried Sweet Potatoes and Miso Glazed Ora King Salmon to the OAK Grilled Prime Double Cheese Burger with Gruyere, maitake mushrooms and truffle aioli and its Whole Roasted Port Shoulder hoisin glazed with steamed buns and sesame scallion slaw. Yum.

An assortment of Oak’s food, from mussels to its Caesar and burger. Images: Oak at Fourteenth.

Black Cat — 1964 13th Street 

Eric Skokan

Launched in 2006 by Eric and Jill Skokan, Black Cat Farm~Table~Bistro operates a 425-acre certified organic farm in Longmont on which it grows over 250 types of plants as well as its own grains that it mills as an active member in the Colorado Grain Chain.

From its roasted winter squashes and pumpkins to roots, greens and heritage pork and lamb, Black Cat is one of Boulder’s original farm-to-table operations. While its restaurant dining rooms at 1964 13th Street are still closed due to Covid, Black Cat still accepts bookings for its locally famous on-site farm dinners at its home base of 9889 N. 51st Street, Longmont.

Some of Black Cat’s farm dinners. Image: Black Cat Farm.

Flagstaff House — 1138 Flagstaff Road

Flagstaff House’s labyrinth-like glass interior. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.
Chris Royster

Tucked a few hundred feet up Flagstaff Mountain, Flagstaff House has served up some of Boulder’s highest quality food and unmatched patio views for nearly 50 years from a cabin originally built as a summer home in 1929.

Chris Royster heads up Flagstaff House’s kitchen as its executive chef, adding his own creative twists to its seasonal menus as he experiments with ingredients and finds new recipes to test drive. Flagstaff serves everything from oysters and Israeli Caviar (be ready to pay top dollar at $228) to duck liver and steak.

Some of its representative dishes include Musk Melons with marinated heirloom tomatoes, Banyuls, nasturtium and 18-month prosciutto and Driver Caught Scallop with squash, maitake mushrooms, prosciutto and perigordine, both pictured below.

Musk Melons and Driver Caught Scallop. Images: Flagstaff House.

[Boulder’s Flagstaff House Restaurant gets a refresh]

 Header Image: Santo’s bar. Image: Santo.