I recently met a woman who just relocated to Grand Junction from Italy. As we talked, our conversation turned to food. She asked me if I would share a list of the best restaurants in the Valley. Well, if there’s one thing I know, it’s good food. Here’s the list I shared with my new friend:
626 ON ROOD
This little gem is located in downtown Grand Junction and is considered the wine bar of the Valley. In addition to having the best selection of wine, the food is delicious. Not sure how I could just name one favorite dish, but the Chile Relleno en Nogada made with lamb barbacoa and almond sauce is a must-try dish.
Fresh, local, casual cuisine. Café Sol serves large creative salads, paninis and amazing soups. My favorite salad is the Café Sol with mixed greens, fresh herbs, roasted beets, spicy candied walnuts, goat cheese, apples, banana bread croutons and house dressing. Café Sol serves at least three different soups each day, providing gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian options—homemade, every day.
I’m obsessed. Lately, I could eat here every day. And like 626 and Café Sol, they source their ingredients from local farmers. The guacamole is pretty much the tastiest thing on earth. The recipe changes a bit with each season. In late summer, it’s made with radishes, peach gastrique, puffed amaranth, red jalapeno, white pico, green onion and serano. My favorite taco? Twice fried yam. You gotta go.
BIN 707 FOODBAR
While Bin’s menu will satisfy the most sophisticated palates, they’re famous for their Bin Burger—served with beehive white cheddar, frisee, beefsteak tomato, truffle aioli and skinny fries. I can’t put my finger on what makes this burger so scrumptious but the quality of beef and the truffle aioli are my guess. And if you really want to go all out, ask for the truffled mushroom or Sriracha kitchen fries.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the best Italian food is right here in Grand Junction. Enzo’s has a large, diverse menu and everything is fresh and made from scratch. For starters, I suggest the Ahi Carpaccio–Lightly seared sushi grade tuna, capers, red onions, lemon essence, shaved Parmigiano, and extra virgin olive oil drizzle. And then the Saltimbocca–Seasoned scaloppine, prosciutto, provolone cheese, fresh herbs in a white wine garlic butter sauce, served with side of sautéed spinach, potato croquette or angel hair pasta. Served with chicken or veal. Are you drooling yet?
It’s kind of a big deal. Located in little ol’ Fruita, this pizza joint has become a favorite of mountain bikers and tourists from around the world. The locals love it too. My favorite pie from Hot Tomato is the seasonal “Peach”. It’s made with mozzarella, Canadian bacon, fresh Palisade peaches, gorgonzola cheese topped with fresh rosemary. This pizza is available until the peach season ends, which is usually around the end of August.
Also in Fruita, you’ll find Camilla’s Kaffe – it’s my family’s favorite breakfast spot. I usually order the special, which is oftentimes something like this: eggs topped with carne asada, smothered in their homemade green chile sauce, cheese and roasted poblano peppers. The portions are large and the calories high, so you’ll want to get in a bike ride before or after indulging at Camilla’s.
If you are a fan of Mexican food, you’ve come to the right area. There are many excellent Mexican restaurants with authentic south-of-the-border dishes in the Grand Valley. Taquerias and taco trucks serve homemade tamales, burritos and tortas. Looking for the best margarita in town? It’s a tie between Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant’s margaritas (made with fresh squeezed limes, no sweet & sour mix) and MX Tapas Bar Restaurante’s fresh jalapeno watermelon margarita.