LOOKING FOR THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS?
We’ve lived in Steamboat Springs since 2015, we’ve eaten at every restaurant in town (it’s true!), and we’ve even worked in many of the restaurants listed below over the years. So, if you’re hungry while visiting Steamboat Springs, we’ve got you covered.
Steamboat Springs is a beautiful ski and ranching town in northwest Colorado, and it just happens to be our favorite place on Earth.
So, continue with the 25 best restaurants in Steamboat Springs, from gourmet bistros to family dining to the top breakfast spots and everything in between.
Best Restaurants In Steamboat Springs: Quick Guide
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick list of the best places to eat in our small ski town:
- Backdoor Grill – best burger in Steamboat, excellent for families
- Cafe Diva – best fine dining restaurant
- Creekside Cafe & Grill – best breakfast restaurant in Steamboat Springs
- Los Locos – best restaurant near Steamboat Resort (the ski mountain)
- Hypnotic Chicken – best “fast food”
Best Casual & Family Restaurants In Steamboat
Steamboat is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and very family-oriented, so local restaurants are used to people coming in with muddy hiking boots and tired children.
Here are the top five casual and family restaurants in Steamboat Springs:
1. Backdoor Grill
Our friend, John, runs the kitchen at Backdoor Grill, one of the best restaurants in Steamboat Springs. Since opening its doors in 2014, it’s become a cherished local hangout and even ranks among the 10 Best Burger Joints in America.
In 2021, Dave Eliason, the owner of Back Door Grill, opened his second location in Fort Collins, Colorado.
But there’s even more to Back Door Grill than its famous burgers. Back Door has a fantastic atmosphere and friendly staff. In fact, they recently won “Best of the Boat” for Best Hamburger, Best Lunch Spot, Best Mud Season Special, and Best Waitstaff.
You can also enjoy awesome happy hour deals that vary throughout the year. And if you’re visiting Steamboat during off-season, you’re likely to find deals that are out-of-this-world.
My personal favorite burger is the Buzz Lightyear, but many people prefer the Dirty Harry, which features peanut butter, bacon, and a glazed donut… Crazy!
*Let us clarify some Steamboat lingo here: ‘Best of the Boat’ is a local competition where people can vote for their favorite businesses.
2. O’Neil’s Tavern & Grill
After seeing huge success with Backdoor Grill, Dave Elliason went on to establish O’Neil’s Tavern & Grill, the only authentic Irish pub in downtown Steamboat. The Tavern has a laidback and welcoming vibe, with a large outdoor patio during the warmer summer months.
There’s something on the menu for even the pickiest eaters to enjoy, from traditional Irish fair to loaded sandwiches and salads.
Personally, I like the pretzel and bangers. The beer cheese for the pretzel is to die for! And to top it off, they have incredible happy hour deals. Daytime happy hour runs from 3:30-5:30pm, late night happy hour is from 10:00pm-12:00am.
3. Los Locos
Another one of the best restaurants in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is Los Locos.
Los Locos is a newer restaurant located in Steamboat’s Ski Time Square on the mountain. While they specialize in an array of delicious tacos, they also offer other tasty Mexican bites.
Los Locos has a modern and trendy atmosphere. It’s a great spot year-round, whether you’ve just come off the slopes, or you’ve had a lazy morning and just want some tacos. They also have a great tequila selection and happy hour deals on nachos, tacos, draft beers, and margaritas.
Personally, I go for the asada tacos and house margaritas. Although it seems basic, it’s delicious!
We highly suggest visiting Mazzola’s for a delicious Italian dinner to replace our recommendation for Rex’s (it has since closed). Created by the same owner of Laundry, Rex’s, Salt & Lime, and more, Mazzola’s won’t disappoint.
Mazzola’s offers hearty dishes created by top-of-the-line chefs. My favorite dish is the Penne Vodka Shrimp and Mike tends to go for the Bison Lasagna.
Be sure to arrive at Mazzola’s early because it’s a small establishment. We like to get there right around 5pm to make sure we get a seat. Alternatively, you can make a reservation or sit at the bar (although the bar is also quite small!).
5. Mahogany Ridge
One of our go-to restaurants in Steamboat is Mahogany Ridge, famous for its self-brewed craft beer and twisted pretzel with beer cheese dipping sauce.
We highly recommend visiting Mahogany Ridge for their half-price happy hour deals and $1 tapas menu, which are perfect for sharing with friends and family. Although the vibe is a bit more upscale, don’t hesitate to bring the family with you to this restaurant.
Mike loves to order the beetroot salad, and I’m partial to the shepherd’s pie. But if you’re on a budget, opt for the twisted pretzel with cheese as a meal. I realize it isn’t much of a meal, but this is a giant pretzel, and it’s to die for!
This restaurant also offers an outdoor seating area, so if you’re visiting Steamboat Springs in the summer, sit outside for fabulous views of downtown.
6. Mountain Tap Brewery
Located on Yampa Street next to the river in downtown Steamboat, Mountain Tap Brewery has an open-concept layout with indoor and outdoor dining. While they’re best known for their wide selection of tasty beers and delicious pizza, they also offer plenty of light bites, too.
Mountain Tap Brewery takes pride in its custom brewing process. They attribute the unique, fresh taste of their beer to the pristine mountain water running down from Buffalo Pass, about 13 miles away.
Local Tip: My favorite beer at Mountain Tap is the Passionate Pedal. I like this beer so much that we get growlers and take it home with us!
Best Fine Dining Restaurants In Steamboat Springs
If you’re planning a romantic getaway, celebrating an important event, or simply enjoying the finer things in life, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our 6 recommended fine dining experiences in Steamboat:
7. Cafe Diva
Located in Ski Time Square close to the luxury Steamboat Grand and Sheraton Resort, Cafe Diva is a boutique restaurant offering gourmet mountainside dining with a selection of healthy and seasonal dishes to choose from.
Cafe Diva’s head chef (Kate) carefully curates a new menu for each season, using only naturally raised meats, sustainably caught fish and seafood, and fresh produce from family farms.
Every Wednesday evening, you can enjoy Kate’s tasting menu paired with wines specially selected by the in-house sommelier.
8. Aurum Food & Wine
You can’t speak of the best restaurants in Steamboat Springs without mentioning Aurum. At Aurum, modern chic meets a warm mountain feel. The interior of this restaurant is to die for.
Located along the banks of the Yampa River, Aurum is truly a unique spot. Once you’ve overcome the cute decor, indulge in the equally tasteful food and drink.
Aurum has a gorgeous patio overlooking the rushing river. This outdoor space is open in both summer and winter thanks to many patio heaters.
There is often live music in the lounge area or outside. Mike actually plays music every once in a while at Aurum when we aren’t traveling. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to watch him perform.
9. E3 Chophouse
E3 Chophouse’s motto of “from range to restaurant” holds true with their grass-fed beef coming directly from the E3 Ranch in Kansas. This is a premier destination for hardy steak in Steamboat. This restaurant rivals Ore House, which we’ll talk about next.
Jeff LaRoche, owner and founder of E3 ranch and restaurant, has recently opened a new E3 Chophouse in Nashville too. His business partners at the new location are none other than country stars Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
Located in the tranquil, yet sophisticated Pine Grove neighborhood of Steamboat, Ore House has been serving up fantastic food since 1971 and is frequently named one of the best restaurants in Steamboat.
This historic restaurant is set in a converted barn dating back to 1889, when it was part of a 280-acre homestead belonging to one of the valley’s first ranchers.
Today, the Ore House welcomes guests with a premium Western dining experience. House specialties include locally raised beef and Rocky Mountain ruby red trout. There is also an extensive wine list, and the attentive staff will recommend the best pairing for your dish.
I went to Ore House recently for the first time, and it was everything I had always hoped it would be (see picture above). Absolutely worth giving five stars!
Laundry is the creation of chef and entrepreneur Rex Brice, owner of Rex’s American Grill mentioned earlier. Located in the historic Soda Creek building in downtown, once home to the Steamboat Laundry, Dry Cleaning, and Pressing business from 1910-1977.
Now, Laundry offers an urban vibe with a contemporary and slightly eclectic menu of charcuterie boards, featuring smoked cheeses and house-cured meats. There is also a beautiful oasis-like patio overlooking the creek.
Primrose opened its doors in February 2021 and prides itself on a “mountain-certified social dining” experience. The head chef creates exquisite seasonal dishes using the finest hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood.
Primrose is the perfect place for healthy bites and tasty cocktails. There is also a large dog-friendly patio, perfect for warm weather days. And guess what? Primrose was featured as one of ‘Colorado’s culinary gems’ in Saveur magazine just six months after opening.
Spend the day soaking in Steamboat’s famous hot springs before heading to one of the best restaurants in town for dinner.
Best Breakfast Restaurants
Whether you need to fuel up on a hearty breakfast before a long hike or you’re looking for a relaxing brunch before a day of skiing, you’re bound to find exactly what you want in Steamboat.
Here are our favorite four breakfast spots in town:
13. Creekside Cafe & Grill
Oh, Creekside. Let’s just say that you’ll struggle to find a cafe in a more idyllic setting. Not to mention, the food at Creekside is to die for. Showing up to Creekside will likely lead to you standing in line for a table, but I can tell you it’s worth it.
Creekside has an amazing atmosphere, located in a quiet part of town under shady trees and along the banks of a bubbling creek.
Open daily from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm, Creekside is by far the best spot in town for breakfast or lunch (and frequently named the best overall restaurant in town, too).
Creekside is known for its exceptional breakfast items and Bloody Marys. Our favorite things to order are the “Wafflelaughagus” (say that ten times fast!) and their incredible eggs benedict. They also serve great coffee and breakfast cocktails to start your day on the right foot.
14. Freshies Restaurant
Every year, locals vote for the best restaurants in Steamboat Springs (Best of the ‘Boat) and every year, Freshies is ranked among the top.
Freshies is partnered with local farms so all the ingredients they use, from dairy to poultry to bread, are served fresh daily. Don’t be underwhelmed by the simple atmosphere.. Freshies has an amazing breakfast menu, and you’ll leave satisfied every time.
There is so much to choose from, whether you want sweet or savory, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Freshies is known for its healthy power bowls and cold-pressed juices. My favorite is the Southwest skillet. Thank me later! 😉
Located right on Steamboat’s main street (Lincoln Ave), Winona’s is a great place to stop for breakfast, lunch, or a tasty treat. It’s one of the most iconic diners in town, so it’s usually pretty busy.
Winona’s is especially known for their bakery where they produce fresh goodies every morning.
Aside from traditional breakfast sandwiches and burritos, Winona’s is most famous for its homemade giant cinnamon rolls and baked goods. Custom event cakes and special orders are also available on request.
16. Colorado Bagel Company
Colorado Bagel Company is a real hidden gem and it’s conveniently located near the big stores in Central Park Shopping Plaza. Their unique mountain-style bagels are baked fresh every morning using pure Colorado water.
You can choose from a variety of cream cheese flavors, and breakfast or deli sandwiches are also available.
Colorado Bagel Company uses premium Boar’s Head meats. And they also serve up great coffee from local roasters. You’re guaranteed “real food served quickly at affordable prices with friendly service”.
Steamboat Restaurants With A View
You’ll be in awe of the gentle mountains in Steamboat Springs. You’ll love the rapids rushing down the Yampa River. And the best part? You can experience 360º views of the Yampa Valley at one of the rooftop restaurants below:
17. Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant & Taqueria
Vaqueros is one of Steamboat’s family-owned Mexican restaurants. The owners of Vaqueros actually own several restaurants around town. But this is their hidden gem thanks to the crazy view you can get from the rooftop patio.
Spend your evening gawking at Howelson Hill, Mount Werner, and Sleeping Giant in the distance. You can see all three from the top of Vaqueros downtown.
Everything is made from scratch daily, from the authentic tacos to the fresh shrimp ceviche to the stuffed empanadas.
18. Salt & Lime
Located in downtown Steamboat, Salt & Lime opened its doors in 2016 and has been a thriving hotspot for tourists and locals alike (and most certainly me). Serving up Mexican plates with a modern and urban twist, Salt & Lime focuses on tacos and exquisite margaritas.
Salt & Lime has a refreshing, colorful atmosphere with some funky wall art. But its rooftop seating is the main draw. Salt & Lime has the best rooftop patio in town and there’s nowhere we’d rather be for happy hour.
When you go to Salt & Lime, order a pitcher of cucumber margaritas (shown in the picture above), bison fundido, and of course, chicken tinga tacos. I have been ordering the same thing for 7 years and I’ve never been disappointed.
19. Slopeside Grill
As the name implies, this ski-in ski-out bar and grill is located right on Steamboat’s ski mountain. Although it’s open during the summer as well, Slopeside is the best restaurant in Steamboat Springs for powder days.
Ski your heart out all day and end up back at Slopeside for an après snack and cold beer.
There is ample outdoor seating to soak up the winter sun and admire the beautiful alpine views. Slopeside is a family-friendly restaurant serving up classic Americana grub. They often have live music and a legendary ice bar during ski season.
20. Truffle Pig
Located at the base of the Mount Werner ski area, Truffle Pig is one of the most convenient après ski and dining spots after a long day on the slopes. Truffle Pig uses fresh ingredients to craft casual American cuisine.
In all honesty, the food isn’t our cup of tea and it’s quite pricey, so we tend not to eat here.
But the views are definitely worth stopping in for a drink. The atmosphere at Truffle Pig is also cozy, relaxed, and they usually have live music during happy hour, too.
Cheap Places To Eat
If you’re visiting Colorado on a budget and can’t afford trendy restaurants, or you just want to grab a quick snack or lunch on the go, here are 6 best affordable restaurants in Steamboat Springs:
The owners of this downtown restaurant immigrated to Utah in the Skull Creek area near Dinosaur Monument as sheep herders. Since then, they moved to northwest Colorado and started their Greek cafe as a testament to their roots and traditions.
Skull Creek Greek serves up amazing pitas, gyros, salads, baklavas, and other Greek delicacies. In fact, it’s something Mike and I crave every week, so we eat here a LOT.
There are dine-in seating options inside the cafe and on the patio outside, or you can get a tasty meal to go, too. Grab a gyro and consider walking down the block to Yampa Street. Here, you’ll be able to sit along the Yampa River and watch tubers float by in the summer.
22. Taco Cabo
Taco Cabo used to be located on the other side of town near Golden Leaf, but has since moved along the Yampa River on Yampa Street in downtown Steamboat.
This is the locals’ favorite restaurant spot for homemade tacos, burritos, tamales, and in-house baked bread and biscuits. And my personal favorite? Chile rellanos (shown below)!
Taco Cabo is a simple, no-frills-attached restaurant, which is why we love it. While fancy restaurants are exquisite, we tend to flock to affordable and quick places to eat.
We especially love sitting out on the deck with one of their original cocktails, made with freshly squeezed juices and signature house mixes.
23. The Commons
The Commons is a brand-new establishment in downtown Steamboat Springs that offers several different dining experiences in one. If you’re with a group of people that have different tastes, this is the perfect restaurant for you.
How does it work? I’m glad you asked because it seems to be a hot question for anyone visiting The Commons. Here’s what they have to say:
When you first enter The Commons, find a table or sit at the bar. Next, check out the menus of all the small restaurants within The Commons. During our visits, there were four restaurants to choose from. I personally order from Poke The Bear, which has a Poke Bowl menu.
Once you choose your food, order and pay directly through your phone. When your food is ready, you’ll pick it up from the counter.
We were thoroughly impressed by The Commons. We’ve seen places like this in Denver and other major cities, but to have this option in Steamboat is a big win.
24. Hypnotic Chicken
If the curious name isn’t enough to draw you in, you’ll smell the delicious chicken tenders from miles away. Hypnotic Chicken is a new eatery in Steamboat’s Fish Creek area and it’s one of our absolute favorites.
It’s conveniently located, more affordable than most restaurants, and has fast service.
It’s sort of a hybrid fast food concept, as Hypnotic Chicken has both a drive-thru and a bar. Their claim to fame is their amazing chicken tenders, and I highly recommend getting the ‘Hypnotic Hot’ tenders. Let’s just say, you’re never too old for chicken tenders!
Of course, this Steamboat restaurant has more than just chicken tenders on the food menu, but you’ll know exactly why I recommend them when you try them out for yourself.
25. Sunpie’s Bistro
Last but not least, Sunpie’s Bistro is one of Steamboat’s favorite neighborhood bars situated on the Yampa River. It’s the ultimate summer spot with a fantastic outdoor bar and a huge backyard. But be careful, their infamous Hurricane is the strongest drink in town, you’re only allowed 2 max per person.
Sunpie’s offers something a little different for Steamboat. The owners moved up from New Orleans, so you’ll find some good ol’ Creole cooking including po’boy, gumbo, fried shrimp, oysters, and crab bisque.
Note: Sunpie’s is a dive bar. It is not fancy by any means. If you’re looking for a fancy restaurant, this isn’t it.
Where To Stay
Please note that our small town is going through a major housing crisis. While we want and need tourists to come visit, please be mindful of where you book your stay.
For the sake of saving our town, please consider staying in hotels as opposed to Airbnbs or vacation rentals. Here are your best options:
✅ Homewood Suites by Hilton Steamboat Springs – Consider staying at this brand new location on the east side of Steamboat.
✅ The Bristol Hotel – For a more affordable place to stay, consider staying downtown at the quaint Bristol Hotel located right on Lincoln Ave. You can’t get more central than that!
How To Get There
From Denver, the best way to get to Steamboat is by driving. We recommend driving because it’s absolutely gorgeous and it will take approximately the same amount of time.
Sure, the flight is short (29 minutes), but remember security, baggage claim, etc.
The drive from Denver to Steamboat is only about 2.5 hours, so it’s not too far. Take into consideration that this is subject to change in the winter and driving to Steamboat becomes more dangerous, especially over mountain passes.
That’s quite the list if we do say so ourselves. Although there are even more restaurants in Steamboat, we’re pretty confident that our top 25 list will keep you occupied during your holiday.
Steamboat is full of amazing and original places to eat, and there are always exciting new restaurants opening, too. So, regardless of your foodie preferences or budget, you’re bound to find the perfect place for you.