With its quaint antique shops, turn-of-the-century buildings and cozy restaurants, Littleton has a charm all its own. While antiquing and going through memory lane, stop by one of the restaurants to grab a bite to eat and mingle with the town folks. Here are the 10 best restaurants in Littleton, Colorado.
This quirky restaurant features everything from cars to ‘cue. Occupying the old Merle’s Alignment Center at 2609 West Main Street, which started out as a gas station in the 1930s, the building was abandoned for a few years when a group of friends all pitched in to purchase it and turned it into a contemporary, auto-themed restaurant.
Wanting to be more than just a place to drink, Merle’s serves progressive comfort food, even coming up with a great kid’s meal. The “progressive comfort food” includes barbecue (with a vinegar-based sauce), tasty wings and burgers that are ground in-house with chef David Baudier running the helm.
9. Farm House Restaurant at Breckenridge Brewery
Lofty ceilings with exposed joists give a relaxed and airy feel to the open bar and dining areas. The windows let in sunlight and offer unadulterated scenes of the park, bike trails, river and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With 24 taps, including six guest taps, the bar offers a wide variety of beers. There are two wine taps and an extensive wine list and cocktail menu, some of these even feature barrel-aged spirits. The menu has a wealth of house-made items such as breads, sausages and corned beef. The main goal of the menu is to simulate the kind of food you would find while visiting family in the country; imagine Dad out on the grill cooking up Prime Colorado beef cuts. A favorite on the menu is the tender, juicy buttermilk fried chicken and the scrumptious complimentary pork rinds.
8. Thai Bistro
Whether you need a quick lunch or are craving a full Thai food experience, put the Thai Bistro at the top of your list to check out. For the mild eaters out there, not all Thai food has to be hot. The chefs can bring up the heat on most of their dishes to match each diners comfort (or pain) level. They masterfully mix exotic spices to create authentic Thai dishes right here in Colorado.
When you need a refreshing drink to tame the heat from your entrée, you will be impressed with the options at their full bar. Don’t forget to check out the chef’s specials featuring duck and several fish dishes. After your first bite, it’s not hard to see why they have won so many restaurant awards.
7. Virgilio’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar
This well-known Italian restaurant in Littleton is the namesake and brainchild of a man who was born in the outskirts of Naples, Italy, and emigrated to the US in 1966 along with his family. When he arrived, he was, in his own view, appalled at the way Americans viewed and treated food, such as tomato sauce in a can and bread being offered in a plastic bag. Virgilio wanted to make a change on how food should be made, so he opened Virgilio’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar. Taking inspiration from the way his mother cooked, he formed the menu. Reminiscent of pots of tomato sauce simmering slowly on the stove, bread fresh from the oven, and the ever-present scent of olive oil in the kitchen, the food at Virgilio’s pays homage to truly authentic Italian style cooking. Pizzas made in a traditional brick oven and tomato sauce made from scratch. No short cuts, just true, honest to goodness homemade Italian cuisine.
6. Smokin Fins
Situated in a corner at the entrance of the newly renovated Foothills Fashion Mall, Smokin Fins serves delectable mouth-watering seafood, sushi, and barbecue.
The restaurant originally started as Lucky Fins in Meridian, Idaho. The nationwide chain has since grown into six branches in multiple cities: Boise, Littleton, Colorado and Chandler, Arizona. The chain serves fresh, local ingredients with modestly priced seafood together with burgers and sandwiches. Smokin Fins put in an industrial smoker and started to serve brisket, sausage, pork, and salmon. With its secret recipe in-house rubs, their chefs cook up juicy, tender meats that add an oomph effect to the dining experience.
5. Zaika Indian Cuisine
A hidden gem on the corner of the Southbridge Plaza Shopping Center is the quiet, unpretentious facade of Zaika. Yet, behind the doors of the Indian cuisine restaurant tells a different story.
The name Zaika literally means “flavor” in Hindi but the local owners who came from Nepal say that to them, it means “sophisticated taste.” Their passion for food is seen in the one-of-a-kind, delectable cuisine that is seasoned to a tee and the warm hospitality that meets you the moment you step inside. The fresh food menu showcases cuisine from Northern India. There is always something for everyone, be it vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or meats. Their best sellers include the Kauli Manchurian (cauliflower florets sautéed in a soy-tomato-garlic sauce), Garlic Naan, Adraki Lamb Chops (ginger marinated rack of lamb with house ground spices) and Goat Curry (locally sourced from Colorado). In addition to the food from the North, Zaika also serves unique Southern Indian cuisine such as Chicken Kozhambu (medium spicy chicken entrée with fresh coconut) and Kerala Seafood Curry (shrimp, scallops and fish cooked in coconut-flavored keralite-style sauce). With each of their lunch entrées, servers will also give you a side of soup or salad, rice and naan. To top it all off, Zaika also boasts a full bar with scrumptious cocktails.
4. Nono’s Cafe
Come and wear your handy elastic-waistband jeans to Nono’s Cafe, a Southern-style eatery that takes comfort food to the next level. NoNo’s features food that is so bad and good, from huge bacon-filled breakfasts to a gravity-defying, stacked macaroni and cheese that’s served as a welcome complement to their extensive list of entrees. NoNo’s also captures the flavors and spices of traditional New Orleans with gumbo, catfish dishes, every kind of Po’ boy sandwich you can think of, and beignets for dessert. At Nono’s Cafe even the grilled salmon comes covered in a creamy sauce, so if it’s a light dish you’re craving, this is definitely not the place for you.
3. Los Dos Portillos
If first-rate Mexican food is what you’re craving, then Los Dos Potrillos is the place for you. This Mexican-themed restaurant specializes in virtually everything from breakfast burritos to a scrumptious molcajete.
Los Dos Potrillos is the go-to place for savory, authentic Mexican dishes and boasts a remarkable tequila selection. Guests can sample a wide selection of fresh and zesty meals from starters to soups and seafood selections. Entrée favorites include the mouth-watering steak picado and the crispy tacos de carnitas stuffed with pork, avocado, pico de gallo, and beans. Their extensive menu with wallet-friendly prices will surely be a delight to all Mexican food enthusiasts. The complimentary, unlimited tortilla chips and salsa will fill your grumbling stomach even before your food arrives.
2. The Melting Pot
Fondue fanatics will go weak in their knees for this restaurant. They have a massive list of delectable main course fondue options (steak, lobster, pasta, chicken, pork and even vegetarian dishes) with lots of hearty broth choices, as well as a half-dozen sinfully decadent chocolates. They even have mouthwatering cheese fondue appetizers and salads. The bar menu will leave you reeling with delight as it is loaded with great wine selections and signature cocktails. The ambiance is fairly upscale, which makes the Melting Pot in Littleton a popular choice for birthdays, anniversaries or any other celebrations.
1. Café Terracotta
The unassuming yet lovely and charming Victorian facade of this Littleton house-turned-restaurant will surely be a surprise to first-timers. With elegant dishes from around the world, Café Terracotta is sure to please even the most discerning palates. “Café Terracotta it is not only about excellent food, drink, atmosphere, and service; it is about relationships, about being open”, a quote from its website gives people a glimpse of the noteworthy experience.
Located just a stone’s throw off Main and South Curtice streets in Littleton, the restaurant is very accessible to locals and tourists alike. The inside of the café offers a more contemporary look with exposed bricks and wide open dining floors. The kitchen is open and provides guests a sneak peek of how the chefs work their magic and prepare their meals. The restaurant boasts a nice garden patio for guests to soak in the sun as they please. Art pieces on the walls are alluring and are for sale by local artists.
The staff at Café Terracotta is detail-oriented and attentive, even on its busiest days. Though there can sometimes be a short delay, fans and patrons say that it is well worth the wait. Their pear, ham and brie omelet from the breakfast and brunch menu has a certain tanginess and sweetness that is a delicate balance, like yin and yang. If eggs, sandwiches or a selection of mimosas aren’t your thing, you can always come back in the evening for Café Terracotta’s scrumptious dinner selections. The café offers small portion, wallet-friendly meals ranging from Ahi Tuna Tacos to Sweet Chili Buffalo Calamari, as well as hearty more filling meal options. The café also has an extensive wine list with a selection of Old World and New World wines, and even has some locally made Colorado wines. If you’re into great food, and you love a local, upscale, yet affordable atmosphere, remember, Café Terracotta is just a stone’s throw away.
So, there you have it folks, the top ten restaurants in Littleton, Colorado. The next time you are in the area, don’t forget to drop in at one of these local Littleton restaurants and experience the best of Colorado.