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ALL THE HEALTHIEST RESTAURANTS IN BOULDER

14 PLACES

UPDATED JAN 12, 2020

No matter what “healthy” means to you, Boulder has something to satisfy. With restaurants for the veg-heads, gluten-free, or paleo diner, the Boulder dining scene is full of options for any time of day and any type of diet.

author

CAROLINE SMITH

FITT BOULDER CONTRIBUTOR

The “righteous eats” at Fresh Thymes are packed to the brim with goodness. Whether you need a carry-out course, a quick snack, or a sit-down meal, Fresh Thymes has it all ready to go. Want to take a cooking class? They’ve got it. Need a caterer? They’ve got that, too. With gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian, paleo, and vegan options, Fresh Thymes has options for every healthy lifestyle on the map.

Most locals have heard of the St. Julien. You know, that fancy hotel just off of Pearl St. But have you heard of Jill’s? Even if you have, you might not know that they have entirely vegan options on what is, essentially, a secret menu. So, the next time you’re at the bar at the St. Julien and want to mix things up, give the plant-based plates a try. If you want a full experience, swing by at the end of the week to partake in Vegan Friday. From 11:30am to 1pm, you'll enjoy an abundance of meat- and dairy-free dishes during their usual lunch buffet hours.

The Thrive menu might be somewhat daunting if you’re new to the raw vegan scene, but you can order with confidence because their delicious eats appeal to all. Plus, everything is organic, gluten-free, soy free, raw, and vegan. With superfood-packed smoothies, snacks to-go, options for kids, local kombucha, and wildly green salads, Thrive is killing the healthy food game.

Cafe Aion is truly a gem on The Hill. The cafe has worked to recreate the “humble taverns of Spain” while serving traditional Spanish tapas. For vegans and non-vegans, Cafe Aion is a quaint spot if you’re looking to order up a delicious, nutritious meal. Take your time, though, Cafe Aion is all about community and conversation! Bring the whole group and embrace the adventurous, but always healthy, menu.

It says it all in the name — this place is made for the huge vegetarian and vegan populations of Boulder. Recently laying claim to real estate on Pearl Street, Leaf offers some fancier veg options and even hosts afternoon tea on Saturdays, as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday. With raw vegan options, too, Leaf really does it all.

Straight from Black Cat Farm, the dishes at Black Cat are fresh, locally sourced, and delicious. The 350-acre certified-organic veggie farm just outside of Boulder supplies the restaurant and farmers market booths with all their goodness. You can even visit the farm for a small fee to see what goes down behind the scenes. Meanwhile, back in their 13th St. kitchen, Chef Eric Skokan creates a seasonal menu and makes daily changes to reflect what was harvested each day. It might sound complicated, but in reality, it’s quite simple: Black Cat grows your food, harvests your food, cooks your food, and serves it to you.

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This uber-healthy fast-casual spot with seriously positive vibes has become a favorite in cities like Austin and San Diego, and they’ve amassed a major local following since opening their Boulder doors in 2018. From the brains behind True Food Kitchen, Flower Child focuses on fresh food, making every deliciously healthy bite from scratch. No matter your diet, these eats are the real deal (and they'll do their best to accommodate any restrictions!). What are you waiting for? Find your happy place at 2580 Arapahoe Ave.

Next Door serves real food from local farmers. Planting down in Boulder in 2011 on Pearl St., Next Door works to support schools outside of its restaurant biz. On Monday nights, they host an event where 50% of food and drink sales go to a local participating school. Plus, their online menu is wildly easy to use. Check off the nutritional/allergy details you follow and watch the menu morph to fit your unique health needs.

Next Door’s sister restaurant shares similar values, unsurprisingly. The Kitchen is an American bistro (also on Pearl Street) that’s been a must-stop since it opened in 2004. Despite having a different menu blooming every season, the classics and basics of their menu stay constant. If you’re looking for some American comfort food with a gourmet twist, The Kitchen is your dream come true.

Founded by two NYC transplants who fell in love with Colorado’s active and healthy lifestyle, Whole Sо̄l Blend Bar made its home right on Pearl Street Mall. Their 100% vegetarian and gluten-free menu is filled with super-nourishing plant-based bо̄ls, salads, and toasts that you have to taste to believe. Top your bowl with vegan cookie dough or mix some meatless protein into that smoothie. Go savory with the Bruschetta Pesto Toast (hemp pesto, tree nut cheese, tomato, balsamic glaze on local Kim & Jake’s bread!) or the tofu scramble (it’s loaded with veggies). If you do eggs, they’ve got those too. And yes, they’re organic.

Protein Bar is tucked away at 29th Street Mall and is open from 8am to 8pm, so your protein needs can be met at pretty much any hour of the day. With breakfast options, salads and bowls galore, and killer smoothies, there’s really no better (and tastier) way to pack in the protein. And protein doesn’t just mean meat, they’ve got plenty of protein-packed plant-based choices too. Plus, they offer online ordering and a speedy delivery service, so if your legs are too tired from climbing the Flatirons all day, hit the couch and skip the pizza because you can order in a nutrient-packed meal in minutes!

Modern Market proves that food doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be healthy and delicious. And healthy, delicious food doesn’t have to break the bank either. Modern Market uses simple, whole ingredients that come from farms, not factories — and the ingredients still make it to your plate in just a few minutes. Its food is made in-house, from scratch (yes, even the salad dressings), which results in a menu that satisfies virtually any dietary requirement. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, take-out or sit-down, Modern Market is ready with seriously good eats.

Shine describes itself as a place for locals, travelers, visitors, and passersby to celebrate and build community through delicious, healthy food. “The Blissful Sisters”, its three founders, are proud to share their award-winning potions with you, as well as live music, dance, and yoga parties. Shine serves up plates for carnivores, vegans, and paleo eaters alike, and the menu features farm-to-table comfort food with 100% grass-fed meats and wild seafood in a 100% gluten-free and GMO-free kitchen. Shine isn’t just a place to sit down and eat — you’ll definitely want to stick around and soak up the good vibes at their new spot on Canyon Blvd. even after you’ve paid the bill.

This fully plant-based, fast-casual spot may not be Boulder-born, but it is a favorite among veggie-lovers. And just because they’ve expanded across the country doesn’t mean their menu is full of pre-made packaged food. Nope, they’re committing to serving up healthy, house-made eats crafted with a rotating selection of organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. Score a dish (we suggest the Thai Chili Brussels Sprouts) at 29th Street mall.

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