Best Restaurant- Rocky Mountain Region

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | July 12th, 2010 | Restaurant News

Moving east from the Pacific Hawaii region, Think Tasty now heads to the Rocky Mountain region.  Encompassing Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, we will share our top ten picks from the many that were submitted.  For the next ten days, readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite place.  Voting will end at 5:00 pm EDT on Thursday, July 22nd, and the winner will be announced on Friday.

1. 1515 Restaurant, Denver, CO

1515 Restaurant is located in the historical neighborhood of LoDo in Denver. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains, the restaurant fosters an intimate dining experience based on the accomplished Restaurateur Gene Tang and his dedication to service, Chef Chuck James’ focus is on original cuisine and the restaurant’s commitment to sustainable practices.Executive Chef Chuck James is gaining notoriety for his vision and table fare while preserving a socially-responsible mission. His strict use of locally-available meats and produce and grown on-site herbs helped 1515 Restaurant receive recognition as one of the top 50 sustainable businesses in Denver. But it is his unique cuisine which has gained the attention of the masses.

2. The Cabin Restaurant, Park City, UT

Enjoy one of the finest dining experiences in Park City. The Executive Chef prepares the best in creatively inspired New American cuisine. The menu includes a new selection of salads, steaks, chops, fresh fish and delicious desserts. To compliment this exceptional menu, we offer an award winning wine list recognized by Wine Spectator and a cocktail bar that’s sinfully great (pun intended). Cozy up next to a fire or bask in semi-private seating, it’s all available there.

3. Deadwood Social Club, Deadwood, SD

Deadwood Social Club manages to be a local fixture in the middle of Deadwood’s tourist-drenched Main Street, partly because it’s a little out of the way: up a narrow stairwell, away from the crowds looking at Wild Bill Hickok tributes in the Saloon No. 10 downstairs. The décor is a strange blend of 19th-century frontier Victorian and northern Italian, which reflects the menu: Tuscan-inspired pastas and vegetables with beef and bison steaks from local ranches. The wine list (more than 100 the last time it was checked) is a distinct bonus.

4. Elephant Bar, Albuquerque, NM

At the bar, service is fabulous – courteous, efficient, they do not hover or ignore. The staff seems genuinely interested in your dining pleasure and experience. Ambiance is jungle related but modern. One lunch of note is the coconut crusted shrimp, known by some as the best shrimp ever eaten. The lamb is also adored, as it melts in your mouth and is seasoned perfectly. Presentation of the meals on the plate is nothing short of artistic. A restaurant patron also noted that their daiquiris are exquisite.

5. Luminaria, Santa Fe, NM

Luminaria is celebrating its 2nd anniversary at The Inn and Spa at Loretto.  At Luminaria, Chef Brian Cooper’s signature dishes highlight the best of American cuisine with Santa Fe flair, including, award winning tortilla soup, chile crusted shrimp with house made fettuccine, smoky ancho seasoned steaks and a number of locally sourced dishes. Enjoy a glass of wine under the stars on the patio softly lit by lanterns. Luminaria received Wine Spectator’s 2009 Award of Excellence.

6. The Palace Restaurant, Durango, CO

The Palace Restaurant is a Durango landmark and tradition for over 40 years. Located in the original historic Palace Hotel, the restaurant retains the elegant character of late 19th century Western architecture and design. Chef Paul Gelose strives to retain the authenticity, creating a casually elegant and fun atmosphere complemented by a menu that is both modern and timeless. Whether sipping margaritas on the patio on a warm summer day or enjoying a center cut filet by the fire in the dining room on a cold winter’s evening, you will experience comfort, delicious and well-prepared food, and attentive service.   Just taste their Chicken and Dumplings with Cranberry Compote and your taste buds will vote!

7. Pirogue Grille, Bismarck, ND

Pirogue Grille specializes in Midwest prairie cuisine, using local fruits, vegetables and meats. Featured items include locally raised bison, lamb and beef, and house-made venison sausage. Homemade chokecherry chocolate ice cream and Rhubartinis are two examples of popular, house-made seasonal specialties. The ambiance has a metropolitan feel featuring exposed brick walls, high ceilings and a rich walnut bar. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and Walt Disney World’s Culinary Management Program, chef proprietor Stuart Tracy previously was Chef de Cuisine at the Fairmount Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma, California, and Executive Chef at The Rivery.

8. Talisker on Main, Park City, UT

Talisker on Main is the first public offering from Park City’s preeminent residential developer and private club, Talisker. The restaurant is an opportunity for the public to experience a “taste of Talisker” through cuisine and unparalleled service. Talisker on Main opened January 2010 and translates to historic Main Street with American Artisan cuisine and unrivaled service. Under the culinary direction of Chef John Murcko, long-time beloved Park City chef, the restaurant serves dinner nightly. Interior design by Denton House Interiors presents an unexpected Park City occurrence, with four distinct dining areas (dining room, wine room, outdoor patio, and living room).

9. Westbank Grill, Jackson Hole, WY

Westbank Grill is a modern American steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, featuring an equally exceptional menu and atmosphere. Located in Teton Village, its signature dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients and include succulent items, such as Wyoming Buffalo Rib Eye with Sun-dried Huckleberry Sauce and delectable homemade desserts, such as Banana Foster, Vanilla Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream with Walnut Nougat Crunch. Westbank Grill is nestled at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and features a cozy indoor fireplace, year-round outdoor heated seating on the terrace and breathtaking mountain views.

10. Wine Cellar Restaurant, Rapid City, SD

Wine Cellar Restaurant is a casual fine dining restaurant that features European & Californian cuisine at its finest! The food is made to order with the freshest seasonal ingredients. They have an extensive wine menu with over 70 wines by the bottle and over 50 available by the glass. They also have an outstanding selection of imported and domestic beer. Wine Cellar Restaurant is situated in beautiful historic downtown Rapid City in one of its many historic buildings. The hardwood floors and 12′ high tin ceilings encompass their intimate dining room complete with linen table clothes, fresh flowers and a host of candles. In their wine bar, they have a 12′ custom made pinewood bar with a brass foot rail and an impressive view of their wine collection.

[poll id=”4″]

Please note that there are strict regulations on voting. Additionally, our system audits for fraudulent votes.

  1. Lupe Hirt says:

    Until what date can you vote?

  2. Michele says:

    Voting ends on Thursday, July 22nd at 5:00 pm EDT.

  3. Dan says:

    The Deadwood Social Club is very cool. Love the outdoor patio on the second floor, especially on a cool night with the fire pit going.

  4. katie says:

    Love Love LOVE the Deadwood Social Club! the food is amazing, we love the martini bar-and you can’t beat the birds eye view of Historic Main Street Deadwood from the outdoor patio!
    its the best in the west!

  5. Ilene says:

    Pirogue Grille brings local flavor to the table with delicious creativity! Stuart and staff believe in and support local foods.

  6. George says:

    Can’t speak for the others but the Deadwood Social Club is amazing. The atmosphere can’t be beat for a wild west town and the food is fantastic.

  7. Liann says:

    If you truly want to treat yourself when in Deadwood, the Deadwood Social Club is the place to be—scenery, atmosphere & food are wonderful.

  8. pkl says:

    Wine Cellar Restaurant is incredible! The food is all fresh, made to order and there is no deep fat fryer (yea!), the deserts are ALL made in house as well as the salad dressings and the many sauces. They make their own europen thin crust pizza from scratch too and serve them with house infussed oils to drizzle on them. The menu also has Tapas, Pastas, Filet, Fresh Catch, Vegitarian, and so on…. the chef staff that loves to cook for you and they do beautiful presentation on every plate and the servers are the best around, enjoy the outdoor patio this summer! They take reservations for ANY size (1 to 50)!

  9. Marilyn says:

    Go local foods in Pirogue Grille, Bismarck, ND!

  10. Marilyn Isaacson says:

    Go local foods at Pirogue Grille, Bismarck, ND

  11. maggie belle says:

    Pirogue Grille is a fabulous restaurant ! Food and staff are superb !
    And – it has a charming cozy bar if one doesn’t want a full meal – the Lamb burger is great and big enough to share (along with homemade still warm potato chips : )
    I lived and dined in Mpls for 30 some years before moving to Bismarck and the Pirogue would be a top restaurant there !

  12. Mary Eisenbraun says:

    Pirogue Grille, Bismarck- you won’t find anything better. TOP NOTCH Chef and service.

  13. Very pleasantly surprised to find this local gem–equal to any 5-star restaurant.

  14. mel webster says:

    The food is excellent, the service superd, however, no rack of lamb. their appetizers are unique.

  15. Carolyn Lamb says:

    The Palace Restaurant in Durango, Colorado should win, hands down: This is a 40 year old restaurant in a 100 year old building. There used to be a brothel upstairs and I would bet there was a gun fight or two in the building way back when. The Palace IS the WEST. The decor is beautiful, classic, Western Vicotrian but the food is modern and delicious! And a cold margarita on the sunny porch, watching the narrow guage trains roll in is too cool. Vote for The Palace!

  16. Kris Bartosiak says:

    Is commenting the same as voting?? The Palace in Durango is great–a wide variety of great food, good service and a wonderful location too!

  17. Michele says:

    Commenting is not the same as voting. However, it gives patrons the opportunity to share thoughts about their restaurant, which may influence others to vote for it!

  18. Jon Stagnitti says:

    Lived in CO and WY for many years and travelled throughout the West and Southwest for play and for my work as a resort mgr. The Palace Restaurant in Durango personifies the character of the region, old and new. The history of the building and town can be seen, felt, heard (the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge railroad station is right next door) and tasted with great food and drinks. The food is as fresh and tasty as any I experienced and the laid-back atmosphere filled with friendly people enjoying themselves doesn’t let you forget you are in the West. It’s an experience.

  19. Jim Stag says:

    A restaurant that used to be a brothel? The Palace rocks!!

  20. karen saner says:

    The Westbank at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole is AWESOME!
    Their steaks are great, especially the buffalo! But my fav is the Seafood Buffet on Thursday nights! A fantastic buffet of seafood appetizers that you can make a meal out of (my loves are the crab legs and shrimp!) Then you get a meal and go back for the dessert buffet! Tons of (just the right size) desserts that you have to go back for cuz you can’t fit all the ones you want to try on one plate! The servers are personal and know their wines! Can’t find a better place in Jackson Hole in my book!

  21. Lauren Lalley says:

    I want to cast my vote for The Palace Restaurant in Durango,CO. This restaurant has delicious food and a wonderful western atmosphere. It’s a winner!

  22. Anthony says:

    The Palace Restaurant in Durango is by far one of the best restaurants I have dined at. The food is sublime, the service is excellent, the staff is friendly. Great food and great atmosphere. Just outstanding. When you are in Durango, I highly recommend The Palace. A must stop on your vist.

  23. MG says:

    My family just spent the 4th of July weekend in Durango and we ate at the Palace twice. First time for dinner and the Duck was fantastic and then their incredible Sunday Brunch. It was out of this world. If you every make it to Durango, one stop you have to make is the Palace restaurant. It’s the BEST place in town to eat or hang out on the deck or cozy little bar. The staff is attentive and professional and the restaurant has a down home feel to it.

  24. Sarah Rosch says:

    The Westbank Grill at The Fours Seasons in Jackson Hole, WY is fabulous! We visited there at Christmas. Our meal was terrific and I would highly recommend it. The staff was extremely attentive [high marks from me on this point!], the ambiance was inviting with wonderful views, and the whole dining experience was perfection! I agree with another responder–the desserts are exquisite. If you haven’t been there yet, do add Westbank to your list!

  25. Deirdre Riley says:

    I vote for the Cabin Restaurant in Park City, Utah! The food is fantastic, I especially love their brunches. The service is excellent!! Everyone I have dealt with there is very nice, very professional and genuinely wants you to enjoy yourself.

  26. Dick Walstad says:

    We have eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, and the Pirogue Grille is one of our favorires. Stuart Tracy is a master chef

  27. Walt Moroz says:

    The Palace lives up to the name….great food, great ambience,great service and staff…you are treated like a Queen or King at the Palace…Chef Paul will make your visit a memorable one…

  28. ramon rosa says:

    West bank grill is the best for me, no questions asked

  29. cathy says:

    Love the service, I always feel pampered and everyone is so attentive to my needs. 5 stars for sure.

  30. Paul says:

    I have eated at many great places across this great nation and the Palace is by far my favorite. Chef Paul is one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. The food is out of this world and the staff and management (Carmen) go out of their way to make sure your dining experience is a great one. The bar is the best anywhere very cozy on a cold winter night. I recommend the Palace to anyone who visits Durango. 5 Stars

  31. mary hornbuckle says:

    The Palace Bar and Grill in Durango, Colorado is high on our list of favorites. When we visit Durango, at least 5 times a year,we always make it a point to have lunch in the Palace Bar. Our food is outstanding, service is friendly, prompt, but not rushed. And whatever you do, have their freshly baked rolls—+++++++++++

  32. Marilyn Summers says:

    My vote is for the Palace in Durango. Love an early summer dinner on the patio, watching the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge trains come in. Food is great and the atmosphere is perfect for our historic town.

  33. Billy T says:

    So many good things to say about The Palace. Excellant location next to the train station, the porches and surronding landscape compliment food and drink, the wine list and the staff’s knowledge of the wine is exceptional, the food and service are 5 star, and who can forget the Painted Lady Saloon. This will quickley become your favorite place when eating and drinking in Durango!

  34. Laura says:

    The Palace Restaurant, Durango, CO

  35. Cameron says:

    I vote for The Cabin, Chef Clement is both a fantastic chef and person. His team is filled with passionate chefs from a diverse background. I had the pleasure of both eating at the Cabin and working at the Cabin this winter. More than an exceptional experience on both fronts.

  36. Alex says:

    Pirogue Grille in Bismarck, ND is amazing!!! I love eating there. The food is fantastic and the service is amazing. I have not once had a bad experience and I’ve been eating there for three years now. LOVE IT!

  37. Bonnie Inga says:

    Pirogue Grill has the most delectible dishes. It is very relaxing, pleasant employees, top notch service and just reading their menu makes me salivate! They are unique in that they use only the freshest of foods as well as local foods. You can tell the Chef loves what he does….I taste the love in every bite. Qudos to Pirogue Grill — thumbs up!

  38. Troy Nies says:

    Pirogue Grill has fantastic food, very informed staff and a wonderful atmosphere. I’ve been to several others on the list, but I had to pick Pirogue.

  39. Jerry McLain says:

    The Palace in Durango is OUTSTANDING!! It’s like stepping back into the Old West. Service is excellent; food is fabulous.

  40. Darlene C. Kautzman says:

    Pirogue Grill is the best! The ambiance’, the the menu. Stuart and his staff turn an ordinary evening into an extraordinary evening every time!

  41. Michelle Tollefson says:

    Not only is the food extraordinary, but it is so great that Stuart is working in his native state cultivating our tastebuds so uniquely.

  42. Peggy Hulteng says:

    The Pirogue Grille is a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience! Each course is beautifully presented,the food is outstanding and the service is gracious and most accomodating.

  43. Rosemary Leidholdt says:

    Piroque Grille is just Awesome….it’s dining at its best!!!!

  44. Barbara says:

    Pirogue Grill. Great food, suberb wine list, and wonderful desserts. Stuart and his staff love what they do and will go above and beyond to make your dining experience the best.

  45. tom sarkovics says:

    How can you not pick the Palace in Durango. If Chef Paul was good enough for Oprah, he is good enough for me…and you!!

  46. Linda says:

    The Palace is my very favorite restaurant. The food is extraordinary and the ambiance is tops – I absolutely love it!

  47. Andrea says:

    Pirogue Grille is the best. Creative fusion of tastes, amazing homemade ice cream, tastey unique martinis, and best of all, gluten free food choices!

  48. liz sarkovics says:

    the palace restaurant is by far one of the best in the west!!! Once you eat there you will agree!

  49. Tina beekmann says:

    The palace is the best restaurant because the owner is personable and has a great atmoqsphere. They also have excellent food and service.

  50. Mandi says:

    I’m sorry. As a long-time Durango resident, I find it hard to believe that The Palace is the considered the best restaurant here. I’m pretty sure most of the comments supporting it are from friends of the owner.

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