While the mountain town of Estes Park may not offer the wide range of eateries you would find in a large city, this charming town’s restaurants, breweries, and bakeries offer up some enticing options for the foodie. Get away to Estes Park, where you can expose your taste buds to the best food in Estes Park; an eclectic selection of meats, let your conversation linger over drinks and views, and treat yourself to a dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth craving.
Day 1: Broaden Your Palate
Estes Park is a great place to broaden your palate to include a variety of wild game meats, which are popular in the area. Head to The Grubsteak for a sampling of local favorites such as elk, buffalo, and yak. Along with hand cut steaks, The Grubsteak offers burgers with your choice of elk, yak, buffalo, duck, or veggie. If you’re not sure you want to commit an entire meal to wild game meat but would prefer a sampler, try the wild game sampler at Hunter’s Chophouse. This appetizer allows you to sample a variety, including smoked buffalo, jalapeño elk, apricot boar, and pheasant.
Day 2: Find Your Drink of Choice
The perfect meal only gets better when you add to it a quality drink. Take a self-guided tour among some of the best places to eat in Estes Park for great drinks, including the Rock Cut Brewing Company, Snowy Peaks Winery, and Elkins Distilling Co. The Rock Cut Brewing company does not serve food, focusing only on perfecting their craft brews. Try a variety of tastes with an order of their flight. Snowy Peaks Winery offers locally handcrafted wines, artisanal cheeses, and gourmet foods, and are open year-round for winery tours and tastings. The Elkins Distilling Company offers Colorado Craft Whisky, spiced liqueurs, and craft cocktails which can be enjoyed on an outdoor patio offering panoramic views of Longs and Meeker Peaks. The grand mountain atmosphere on the patio makes this a worthy stop in its own right!
Day 3: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Craving
Satisfy your sweet tooth in Estes Park, where there seem to be a disproportionately large number of candy shops and ice cream parlors for such a small mountain town! The saltwater taffy here is legendary, which you can pick up at The Taffy Shop or Purple Mountain Taffy Company. Tucked away in a more residential area, don’t overlook Cinnamon’s Bakery, which serves up giant homemade cinnamon rolls in a variety of flavors. You’ll also spot the Donut Haus by its lengthy line of patrons extending from the door. These freshly made donuts are well worth the wait, which tends to go quickly. From old-fashioned cake donuts to glazed and twists, breakfast just become a whole lot sweeter at Estes Park’s Donut Haus!
Day 4: Treat Yourself to the Best Food in Estes Park
Estes Park is home to its share of top-rated restaurants, enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike. Twin Owls Steakhouse is a popular option for meat-lovers, and the historic log cabin setting with vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams keep in step with Estes Park’s mountain town charm. Twin Owls Steakhouse is opening a brand-new location, which boasts sweeping views of the Estes Valley. This eatery offers portions of hearty flavors, including favorites such as elk medallions, short ribs, and stuffed mushrooms. A thoughtful presentation style makes this an upscale favorite for celebrating special occasions! For something considerably more low-key but equally as delightful to the palate, try Smokin’ Daves BBQ & Brew. This eatery has several locations in Colorado and is known for their excellent entrees smothered in their special BBQ sauce. From platters of beef brisket to ribs, come hungry when you plan a meal at Smokin’ Daves! Sandwiches and seafood dishes offer additional choices for those wanting to forgo the barbeque.
Day 5: Get Adventurous
When in the Rocky Mountains, you may as well get adventurous and try the infamous dish that originated in the region – Rocky Mountain oysters. What began as a rancher’s way of letting no part of an animal go to waste ended in this dish made from bull testicles. For those who have yet to try this interesting dish, many say they have a similar taste and texture to calamari or venison. If you’re brave enough, give them a try yourself at one of Estes Park’s eateries. A good place to start is Wapiti Pub, where they come sliced and breaded, then fried to golden perfection and served with a side of cocktail sauce.
Day 6: Sample Some Spice
If hopping around Estes Park’s eateries has inspired you to add some flare to your own cooking back home, consider stopping in at Pepper Palace to sample some of their famed spices. Hot sauce, barbecue and wing sauce, seasonings, salsa, and more line their shelves. Samples are also available so you can taste before you buy, with one option so spicy tasters are even required to sign a waiver before partaking. Try it if you dare and select a few sauces to spice up your own dishes once back home!
Day 7: Find Your Cup of Joe
With ten coffee shops located in Estes Park, it’s only a matter of time before you discover you perfect cup of joe. Each coffee shop offers up its own flavors and ambiance, in addition to the caffeine pick-me-up you need to get your day started. Consider stopping in one of these Estes Park coffee shops to get your day off on the right foot! For its unique ambiance, stop in Raven’s Roast, which is situated in a former historic church that has been converted into quaint shops. Coffee on the Rocks also offers a pleasant atmosphere, with outdoor tables and a serene duck pond. Snag a table along the pond and watch the ducks and geese as you sip a perfectly crafted latte. For their environmentally friendliness, head to KIND Coffee, where a portion of proceeds go to the local community and 1% for the Planet. KIND offers riverfront seating, as well as fresh fruit smoothies and a good organic tea selection. As the only certified organic and fair-trade coffee shop in Estes Park, this is a good option for the conscientious coffee drinker.
Estes Park Vacation Rentals
Eat and drink your way through an epicurean getaway with the best places to eat in Estes Park! If you’re still in search of Estes Park accommodations, browse our listings here! Book a vacation rental in Estes Park that will put you in perfect proximity for enjoying all the town’s best restaurants and bars. At Mountain Village at Lake Estes, we offer vacation cabins situated along the shores of Lake Estes, situated right near Estes Park’s charming downtown. Our Estes Park vacation rentals offer over 1,500 square feet of living space, including a full kitchen with upgraded appliances perfect for preparing and enjoying meals in the privacy of your home on your Estes Park epicurean getaway! Each home offers private outdoor space that includes a covered, furnished deck. Unwind in the evenings with drinks on the deck with the warmth of the outdoor fireplace, followed by a soak in the private hot tub. With scenic views of Lake Estes and the surrounding mountains, as well as close proximity to the shops and dining of downtown, these Estes Park vacation rentals offer the best of both worlds. The detailed photos in our listings show exactly what you can expect when you book one of our luxurious cabins on the lake!