12 Best Restaurants in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Fort Collins is a vibrant college town in northern Colorado, home to Colorado State University. With its pedestrian-friendly downtown area and array of culinary options, Fort Collins has established itself as a dining destination in the state. From casual cafes to upscale eateries, the city offers something for every palate.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 12 of the best restaurants that Fort Collins has to offer. From classic steakhouses to contemporary bistros, these establishments provide exceptional cuisine in welcoming environments. We have included restaurants serving American fare along with ethnic options like Mexican, Italian, and Asian.

For each restaurant on our list, we provide a brief description of the cuisine, atmospherics, signature dishes, and what makes it stand out. Whether you’re a local looking to revisit an old reliable or visitor eager to experience Fort Collins’ eclectic food scene, our lineup of the 12 best restaurants in Fort Collins will leave your appetite satisfied.

The Melting Pot


Type of Cuisine: Fondue
Atmospherics: Upscale, intimate, romantic
Signature Dishes: Cheese fondue, chocolate fondue
What Makes It Stand Out: Elegant fondue dining destination providing a variety of broths, cheeses, and chocolate fondue options. The menu also includes salads, meat, seafood and vegetable entrees for cooking tableside.

For a refined date night spot in Fort Collins, look no further than The Melting Pot. This upscale fondue restaurant provides an intimate and romantic atmosphere with dim lighting and cozy booth seating. Guests can choose from an extensive selection of gourmet cheese and chocolate fondues, accompanied by fresh fruit, vegetables, and breads for dipping.

Savory main courses like meats and seafood can also be cooked tableside in bubbling broth fondue pots. From the initial cheese course to decadent dessert, you’ll enjoy a memorable multicourse dining experience at The Melting Pot.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery


Type of Cuisine: Breakfast
Atmospherics: Laidback, colorful, vibrant
Signature Dishes: Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes, Cornmeal Crusted French Toast
What Makes It Stand Out: Specializing in unique and creative breakfast and brunch options, from sweet to savory. Known for signature pancake flights and specialty coffee drinks.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery stands out in the Fort Collins breakfast scene with its playful retro decor and innovative morning meals. From pancake flights to decadent Benedicts, the menu features unexpected twists on classic breakfast fare.

Signature items like the sweet and tropical Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes or the Cornmeal Crusted French featuring vanilla crème anglaise showcase the kitchen’s knack for flavor. Whether you opt for savory plates like breakfast pot pie and tacos or sweeter options like cinnamon rolls and cocktails, the vibrant, laidback ambiance makes Snooze an ideal place to start your day.

The Welsh Rabbit Bistro


Type of Cuisine: European Bistro
Atmospherics: Cozy, rustic, cheese-centric
Signature Dishes: Welsh Rarebit, Cheese Boards, Fondue
What Makes It Stand Out: Specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and extensive artisanal cheese selection accompanied by wines, beers and ciders.

For inventive grilled cheese sandwiches and fondues in a charming setting, visit the artisanal cheese haven of the Welsh Rabbit Bistro. Tucked into a historic building with exposed brick walls in Old Town Fort Collins, this cozy eatery pairs European comfort foods with an extensive cheese and beer menu.

Their signature Welsh Rarebit dish features melted cheese blended with mustard, beer and spices over country bread, showcasing the kitchen’s knack for savoring cheese flavors. Other favorites include the bacon and fig jam melt, broccoli cheddar soup, cheese boards and seasonal fondues. With regional wines, local craft beers and gluten-free options, the Welsh Rabbit Bistro offers comfort in the form of cheese, bread and community.

The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Type of Cuisine: Mexican
Atmospherics: Lively, festive, traditional
Signature Dishes: Enchiladas, Margaritas, Tableside Guacamole
What Makes It Stand Out: Fort Collins favorite for authentic Mexican cuisine, signatures cocktails and hospitable service since 1986.

Serving Northern Colorado since 1986, the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant is a local favorite when it comes to traditional South-of-the-Border cuisine in an upbeat, festive setting. Housed in a converted 1903 Victorian home just northwest of Old Town, the interior’s bright colors, strings of lights and breezy patio match the warmth of the service.

While the scratch kitchen serves up Tex-Mex staples like chimichangas and tacos al pastor, guests particularly rave about the Rio Grande enchiladas baked in red or green sauce along with signature frozen margaritas. Other standouts include tableside guacamole preparation, Tres Leches cake and an extensive tequila menu perfect for sipping a Sunrise in Sangre de Cristo. With its balance of hospitality, tradition and taste, the Rio Grande delivers an authentically vibrant Mexican dining experience.

The Regional


Type of Cuisine: New American Tavern
Atmospherics: Sleek, modern, gastropub
Signature Dishes: House fries, Braised rabbit cavatelli, Grass-fed burger
What Makes It Stand Out: Local epicurean ingredients fused into elevated gastropub dishes meant for sharing, with craft whiskey cocktails.

Bespoke cocktails and a hyper-regional, seasonal New American menu meet at The Regional, a contemporary gastropub along Fort Collins’ Elizabeth Street. Inside the sleek modern interior accented by wood and brick, the vibe evokes an upscale neighborhood tavern. The menu emphasizes high-quality ingredients from area purveyors, showcasing them through elevated yet comforting dishes meant for sharing.

From grilled cauliflower to five spice duck wings, small plates tantalize with bold flavors and textures. More substantial offerings like the grass-fed burger, braised rabbit cavatelli or seared scallops showcase the kitchen’s finesse with regional flavors. An extensive craft whiskey program complements the food with aged spirits shining in classic and modern cocktails. With its balance of sophistication and familiarity, The Regional brings a progressive new gastropub experience to Old Town Fort Collins.

Silver Grill Cafe

Type of Cuisine: American
Atmospherics: Historic diner, bustling, old-fashioned counter seating
Signature Dishes: Cinnamon rolls, Omelets, Hash browns
What Makes It Stand Out: Long-running Fort Collins institution open since 1933 serving classic no-frills American diner fare in an nostalgic setting.

Step back in time at the Silver Grill Cafe, a beloved Fort Collins institution continuously operating since 1933. Upon entering the historic diner, with its worn red leather booths and long counter lined with swivel stools, prepare to encounter old-fashioned sodas, hearty omelets, giant cinnamon rolls and the hospitality of owner Mark Fingerson, who inherited the grill from his father.

Locals and tourists alike flock here for the cinnamon rolls, fluffy yet decadent pastries served warm and dripping with gooey frosting. Beyond baked goods, their scratch kitchen turns out diner staples like omelets, chicken fried steak, hot beef sandwiches and bread pudding made using historic recipes since the restaurant’s early days. Whether you snag a seat at the counter or a booth, the Silver Grill Cafe offers a satisfying taste of enduring Americana in Northern Colorado.

Blue Agave Grill

Type of Cuisine: Mexican Fusion
Atmospherics: Modern, intimate, upscale casual
Signature Dishes: Shrimp sope, Chimichangas, specialty margaritas
What Makes It Stand Out: High-end modern fusion of Mexican and Southwestern flavors using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Known for seafood and signature margaritas.

For an elevated take on Mexican cuisine in sleek yet laidback environs, visit Blue Agave Grill in central Fort Collins. Chef Ian Hinton puts a progressive spin on traditional techniques and ingredients from Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. Starters like crispy shrimp sopes with mango salsa and entrées including short rib chimichangas demonstrate his knack for fusing flavors and textures while allowing quality ingredients to shine.

The seafood-centric menu also features items like Veracruz-style halibut and salmon with roasted poblano cream. Colorful contemporary art lines the intimate dining room, whose warm woods and candlelight create a welcoming, upscale casual ambiance. From specialty margaritas to an extensive tequila selection, the bar program complements Blue Agave Grill’s bold, sophisticated flavors.

Jax Seafood Restaurant

Type of Cuisine: Seafood
Atmospherics: Nautical-themed, lively, fish house
Signature Dishes: Jax Famous Lobster Roll, Cajun Ribeye, Oysters Rockefeller
What Makes It Stand Out: High quality fresh seafood and wide-ranging menu also featuring steaks in an energetic Colorado fish house setting since 1993.

With fresh seafood receiving top billing backed by hearty steaks, Jax Fish House brings a taste of the coast to Fort Collins in an inviting, high-energy environment. Since 1993, the nautical-themed dining room and oyster bar have served top quality sustainable catches from U.S. waters and beyond. Fans flock here for Jax’s signature fried lobster roll doused in brown butter on a toasted split-top bun, joining favorites like mustard barbecue salmon, seafood cioppino and Alaskan halibut.

Always incorporating seasonal specials, Jax also boasts an array of the landed catch’s best friends, from aged Midwestern beef to Rocky Mountain trout and elk. Rounding out this “fish house and steak place” are regional craft beers and boutique wines. Thanks to gracious hospitality, bustling atmospherics and the stellar seafood selection, Jax continues to anchor Old Town Fort Collins’ dining scene.

The Crooked Cup Coffee House

Type of Cuisine: Coffeehouse
Atmospherics: Cozy, studious, laidback
Signature Menu Items: Pour over coffees, teas, pastries
What Makes It Stand Out: Specialty coffee drinks and teas served in a studious, relaxing environment conducive to studying, reading and connecting.

Step into The Crooked Cup in Fort Collins’ Laurel Village for pour over coffees, loose leaf teas and made-from-scratch pastries served up in a cozy, conscientious setting. Come for the top-notch caffeination sourced via direct trade; stay for the community ambiance that has made The Crooked Cup a go-to neighborhood hub.

The multi-roaster coffee program prepares single origin beans via methods like pour over and French press, producing intricate brews best sipped while lounging in their comfy chairs or outside patio. Complementing are nitro cold brews, signature lattes and a tea menu sourced directly from farmers. With its focus on quality over quantity, the Crooked Cup makes room for connecting over card games, studying solo, or simply enjoying baked goods from Fort Collins bakery The Fox and the Crow.

Totally 80’s Pizza

Type of Cuisine: Pizza, Arcade
Atmospherics: 1980s nostalgia, lively, family-friendly
Signature Menu Items: Specialty pizzas, arcade games
What Makes It Stand Out: Spacious pizzeria with choice arcade games serving creative pizzas in a vibrant, 1980’s-themed setting.

For family-friendly dining complete with vintage arcade games, Totally 80’s Pizza delivers a nostalgic blast from the past through inventive pies and playful decor. Upon entering the high-energy room decked out in 1980s memorabilia, guests may find it hard to decide between ordering the signature Mac Daddy mac & cheese pizza or racing to play favorites like Pac Man and Space Invaders.

After selecting one of their full-flavored specialty pizzas, from Thai chicken to Hawaiian, dining patrons can pass pizza and play time in the expansive two-story space housing Skee-Ball, Pinball and other classic coin games. With reasonable prices, swift service and deftly prepared food, Totally 80’s Pizza scores big for birthday parties, coworker gatherings or parents looking to introduce their kids to old-school entertainment with great pizza.

The Still Whiskey Steaks

Type of Cuisine: Steakhouse
Atmospherics: Swanky, intimate, upscale
Signature Dishes: Filet mignon wrapped in bacon, whiskey flights and cocktails
What Makes It Stand Out: Classic high-end steakhouse fare alongside extensive whiskey cocktail offerings within a sophisticated setting.

For finely aged steaks and small-batch whiskeys served in retro-glamorous environs, patrons make their way to The Still Whiskey Steaks in Midtown Fort Collins. Channeling throwback steakhouses of the Mad Men-era, Still’s intimate interior of tufted leather booths, drapes and chandeliers sets the stage for executive chef Jason Shaeffer’s contemporary twists on steakhouse classics.

Guests indulge in bacon-wrapped filet mignon, creamed spinach and old fashioneds prepared tableside, complemented by raw seafood towers and fresh oysters. Making the most of Colorado’s booming distillery scene, the bar team crafts its own infusions for unique whiskey flights and cocktails. Balancing polished service with a laid-back vibe, Still Whiskey Steaks delivers quintessential steakhouse elegance blended seamlessly with modern craft libations.

Social

Type of Cuisine: Gastropub
Atmospherics: Sleek, modern, trendy
Signature Dishes: Bar bites like avocado fries and deviled eggs, artisanal brick oven pizzas
What Makes It Stand Out: Hip downtown gastro lounge fusing updated American bar fare and brick oven pizzas within an ultra-chic industrial setting.

Blending contemporary gastropub cuisine with swanky environs, Social indubitably lives up to its name as a see-and-be-seen downtown destination. Situated along Mountain Avenue in the heart of Fort Collins nightlife, the ultra-chic industrial space sets the stage for executive chef Matt Vawter’s bar-focused small plates and artisanal brick oven pizzas meant for sharing.

Tastefully lit black velvet booths provide fronts row seats to mixologist Dane Thorn’s eye-catching libation laboratory, which produces seasonally-driven craft cocktails on tap. Creative bar bites range from duck fat fries to avocado fritters with sweet corn salad and harissa crema. For more substantial fare, brick-oven fired pies like the truffle mushroom pizza deliver crave-worthy flavor combinations using high quality ingredients. With its sleek aesthetics, ever-evolving menu and energetic vibe, Social continues driving Fort Collins’ culinary conversation.

Conclusion

With appetites satisfied, we conclude our tour of 12 of the best restaurants that Fort Collins has to offer. From comforting classics to contemporary standouts, these dining establishments provide exceptional flavor within inviting environments. We aimed to highlight must-try eateries showcasing the diversity of Fort Collins’ food scene, spanning steakhouses to coffee shops to Mexican cuisine.

Whether planning a special night out or simply searching for a quality meal, our lineup provides a taste of the most celebrated dining locales in Fort Collins. From the brunch innovation of Snooze to the timeless Americana of the Silver Grill Cafe, the culinary creativity of chef-driven establishments like The Regional and Blue Agave Grill, or the drool-worthy seafood at Jax Fish House, these restaurants demonstrate why Fort Collins has emerged as an appealing foodie destination.

So pull up a seat and savor a while at one of these 12 best restaurants in Fort Collins, Colorado. Just come hungry and ready for a memorable meal.

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