11 Best Restaurants in Estes Park to Visit

by Anna Spencer
best dining in estes park

As the Rocky Mountain National Park gateway, Estes Park charms tourists worldwide, enthusiastic to take in the outdoor recreation openings and striking alpine scenery. The park is within an appealing mountain town known for its plentiful outdoor activities and magnificent natural beauty.

However, it’s not just the natural scenery that makes Estes Park extraordinary. It also boasts an exciting food scene, with the best restaurants Estes Park is known for and taking full advantage of the finest ingredients produced locally. From casual inns dishing up homemade luxury foods to classic dining zones serving game meats, Estes Park’s eateries showcase the distinct flavors of Colorado.

Discover the Top 11 Dining Destinations in Estes Park

The best restaurants in Estes Park, Colorado, embrace dairy from local farmers, artisanal meats, sourcing fresh produce, and farm-to-table principles. Visitors can also find multiple local brews on tap and craft beers within this park.

Estes Park has a choice for everyone, whether a memorable meal featuring Colorado’s culinary delicacies, a casual lunch between hikes, or a romantic night out. Below are 11 top eateries and restaurants to check out during your visit to make the most out of the park’s dining scene.best restaurant estes park co

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1) Twin Owls Steakhouse

Visit Twin Owls Steakhouse in Estes Park downtown for an enticing dining experience. As its name suggests, this steak-focused eatery offers first-class cuts like strip roasts and filet mignon from Colorado ranches. They prepare and season steak options to perfection, matching nicely with sides like creamy spinach.

Beyond steak, you’ll find a range of game options and seafood flown in fresh. With its warm, rustic interior of stone and timber, Twin Owls provides an upscale yet cozy ambiance for a special night out.

2) Big Horn Restaurant

Big Horn Restaurant is among the best dining in Estes Park, serving hearty morning meals in a cozy, diner-style setting. Their omelets made with farm-fresh eggs are a standout. Try the Sicilian omelet paired with spicy Italian sausage, peppers, and provolone cheese.

Also, Big Horn’s sticky pecan rolls with gooey caramel sauce are a great way to fuel up before a day of mountain adventures. For those who are health cautious, try the avocado toast with beets and sunny-side eggs.best restaurant estes park co

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3) Ed’s Cantina & Grill

For a family-friendly or casual dining choice, inquire into Ed’s Cantina & Grill, adjacent to Big Thompson River. This local inn offers a delicious blend of American fare and Tex-Mex, like spicy burgers.

One tasty menu item is Ed’s Fish Tacos, which chefs fry and beer batter to golden perfection. With dog-friendly outdoor seating and live music on most nights, it’s a lively spot to enjoy the mountain views and grab a bite. Tourists would not want to miss their juicy margaritas either. Ed’s offers some of the most enjoyable meals in Estes Park.

4) Smokin’ Daves BBQ & Brew

No tour to Estes Park Colorado’s best restaurants would be complete without wallowing in some trustworthy barbecue. For arguably the finest BBQ in Estes Park, head to Smokin’ Dave’s. Their smoker churns out delicious, finger-licking excellent meats, including sausage, chicken, pulled pork, and ribs.

Beyond the meats, this eatery serves favorites like cornbread, cheese, and mac. And with some state’s craft beers on tap, it’s a heaven for barbecue fans.

5) Bird & Jim

Right along Moraine Avenue, Bird & Jim has a romantic, intimate ambiance with fresh flowers and string lights everywhere. The menu focuses on outstanding comfort food featuring regional and seasonal ingredients.

Local favorites entail cheese and mac with bacon, elk meatloaf, and crispy fried chicken. Also, this eatery has a great craft cocktail menu so guests can indulge in a pre-dinner drink on their charming patio.

6) Wapiti Colorado Pub

Wapiti Colorado Pub is an excellent inn for pub grubs and freshly made beers. Its menu entails duck in preparations like cottage pies, open-faced sandwiches, sausage rolls, and locally obtained ingredients like wild boar or elk.estes park colorado best restaurants

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For dessert enthusiasts, the pub’s sticky toffee dessert is a must-try. With beers on tap highlighting Colorado’s best breweries, it’s a favorite get-together spot for families and beer lovers. You can also attend the pub’s lively trivia nights.

7) Rock Inn Mountain Tavern

Take your dinner or lunch at this legendary restaurant and see stunning sights as you take your meal. Established in 1937, it’s among the oldest functioning eatery in Estes Park. Dine out on their picturesque wrap-around deck to immerse in Longs Peak’s nearby mountains and scenic landscapes.

Visitors can enjoy feta cheese, fresh salads, stacked burgers, lettuce, and spinach artichoke dip. Try their mile-high mud pie desserts, in-house smoked trout, or Gold Canyon Angus beef for the Rockies flavor.

8) Sweet Basilico

Head to Sweet Basilico for homemade Italian diets like veal, fresh gelato, pastries, or cookies. It’s among the best restaurants in Estes Park, CO, for an ideal breakfast to kickstart your day with choices like spicy smoked salmon, bagel sandwiches, crepes, or waffles.

You can visit this cafeteria for a coffee break over their decadent desserts and tasty Italian cream cakes. It also serves pasta, pizzas, and paninis for those craving Italian comfort food. It is a favorite dessert and local lunch spot.

9) Estes Park Brewery

For beer fans desiring to feel the mountain town ambiance, Estes Park Brewery could be their ideal destination. This Colorado-inspired pub perfectly pairs beers made on-site with brewpub dishes like spinach-artichoke dip, elk sliders, or bison burgers.

Their extensive year-round heated patio delivers excellent sights over the river, so be early to grab a spot. Besides local brews and meals, it’s a lively destination to enjoy regular live music performances.

10) Nepal’s Café

Guests desiring to taste a Nepalese dish in Estes Park can visit Nepal’s Café. It is among Nepalese eateries within the town offering authentic meals like mom-Nepalese dumplings, lentil soups, butter tea, curries, or Nepali rice pudding.

You will enjoy the café’s stylish decor as you take cuisine with traditional preparation tactics and spices. It’s also an excellent choice for vegans, with various meatless selections homemade from generational recipes and ingredients.

11) Notchtop Bakery & Cafe

Begin your day on a fresh mark at Notchtop Bakery & Cafe, an enticing domestic cafeteria for fresh-baked items, lunch, and breakfasts. Ranging from muffins to scones and cinnamon rolls, their bakery display overflows with flavorsome choices.best place to eat estes park

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The café utilizes high-level approaches and recipes that fashion a softer and lighter baked item. They serve visitors their favorite breakfast sandwiches, smoked salmon bagels, and burritos and pair these with high-quality ingredients. It is affordable and one of the best places to eat in Estes Park.

Make Reservations in Advance

With such remarkable dining choices, spaces fill quickly, particularly during busy vacations. Thus, book reservations in advance if you wish to visit a particular restaurant. It guarantees you’ll be able to enjoy those crisp waffles at Big Horn Restaurant or savor that appetizing steak at Twin Owls.

Planning ahead ensures you won’t miss out on these exceptional dining experiences during your time in Estes Park. Some of the tricks to scale up your reservations are:

  • Call your favorite eateries a few days or more before your visit to book reservations, particularly during peak tourist seasons.
  • Ask your restaurant or guesthouse’s concierge for assistance making reservations at the best dining sites. They often have influences to get desirable tables.
  • Check eaterie’s websites in advance for reservation policies and to book online if available.
  • If you can’t make an early booking, consider having a late dinner or an earlier lunch to avoid peak hours.
  • Walk-ins are usually welcome, but you risk not being seated during busiest times or long waits.
  • Join waitlists if a cafeteria is fully taken in case of cancellations.


From local cafeterias with mountain sights to upscale restaurants offering elk tenderloin, Estes Park’s dining scene has something to satisfy every visitor. These eateries make the most of Colorado’s bountiful domestic ingredients through perfectly aged steaks, sticky BBQ ribs, or juicy bison burgers. Most of these best inns also foster Colorado’s flourishing craft beer business by providing extensive taps portraying local brews.

On your forthcoming Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park tour, spare time to explore the town’s admirable drink and meal offerings. Refuel at one of these superior and first-class eateries after a day of mountain adventures or scenic hikes. You’ll find that Estes Park’s food scene is just as unforgettable as the lovely natural landscape.

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