Whether you’re on your way to or from the Rockies, just happen to need a place to stop on your way through Colorado, or are picking the destination out specifically for a fancy meal, Estes Park offers a spectacular selection of restaurants for a variety of occasions!
While you might be on top of the natural things to think about when booking a dining location – the menu, your guests’ dietary requirements and preferences, location, and travel time – there are a variety of factors you might not have thought about around what you need from a restaurant.
Pet-friendly locations, whether reservations are required, the availability of parking nearby, and price range are all other considerations that you’ll need to take into account – and we’re here to help you do that with this handy guide!
In this ultimate guide, we’ll be looking over a variety of restaurants categorized by the meal of the day we’ve picked them for, giving you at-a-glance information to satisfy most of your questions about each particular diner, and saving some special picks for the very end of the article!
So, if you’re looking to dine out in Estes Park, read on as we explain what you should look for in your choice of eatery!
Best Breakfast Spots
While you might not immediately jump to breakfast as the meal of choice to eat at a diner or restaurant, having somebody else take care of the meal after you’ve just got into town after an overnight drive can be just what you need to help a day start smoothly.
Luckily, these excellent breakfast spots have got you covered!
- Address: 393 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 1173
- Price Range: Around $10 for a single dish, which constitutes an average breakfast.
- Cuisine: As you might expect, mostly eggs – omelets, frittatas, and scrambles take pride of place, but they also offer some sides such as pancakes and salads. They market themselves as offering “home cooking away from home”.
- Reservations: While the Egg of Estes does accept reservations (and these might be useful at peak weekday breakfast times and during the weekends), they are not required.
- Opening hours: These vary by season. In winter, the Egg opens at 7 am and closes at 2 pm on weekdays and 2:30 on weekends, while in summer it opens at 6 am but retains the same closing hours.
- Parking: The Egg has a small car park, or there is paid public parking just down the road.
- Pet-friendly: The Egg is not advertised as a pet-friendly destination, but you can always ring ahead and check!
The Egg of Estes is a great first choice for your breakfast plans if you’re a lover of all things egg.
From purely egg-focused meals such as their deluxe egg sandwich to delicious desserts such as the Vive La France french toast, they’ve got you covered for all your eggy breakfast needs!
While they might not offer vegan menu choices – something that would be pretty tricky to do as a store running on the premise of eggs, eggs, and more eggs – the Egg of Estes does offer some vegetarian menu items (as well as gluten-free ones) that are clearly indicated on their menu.
They also commit to taking special care around allergens; while they can’t guarantee that no cross-contamination can occur, this is still a good sign for those with dietary restrictions.
Finally, you can grab a beverage of choice to wash down your delicious breakfast – and with a variety of drinks on offer from coffee to fresh juices, you’re certain to find something that fits your tastes!
- Address: 457 East Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 6624
- Price Range: Mains range between $5 and $10, with sides between $2 and $5.
- Cuisine: Some great sweets and savories on offer, the common theme being good hearty breakfasts with a range of meal bases.
- Reservations: The front page offers you the opportunity to be waitlisted, and it’s best to check the website before you head in in case they’re full. If nobody is on the waitlist, you can head on in!
- Opening hours: The Mountain Home Cafe is open from 7 am every day and closes at 2:30 pm every day except Sunday (when they close at 2 pm).
- Parking: There is a car park outside Mountain Home Cafe for the wider shopping center area. Alternatively, there is public parking a few hundred meters up the road.
- Pet friendly: The restaurant accommodates pets, but you might have to sit them outside depending on what facilities are currently available.
The Mountain Home Cafe is another great option for breakfast in Estes Park. \With a reasonable range of breakfast options covering eggs, burritos, oatmeal, steak, and more, you’re sure to find something you like.
They also cater to some dietary requirements, including vegetarians and those who are gluten-free.
However, they state that there is a high risk of cross-contamination for some items, so those with severe gluten allergy/coeliac disease should steer clear of the indicated menu items.
They also offer a kid’s menu, with fun Mickey Mouse pancakes for your little ones to enjoy!
- Address: 459 E Wonderview Ave #5, Estes Park, CO 80517, United States
- Phone Number: 970 586 0272
- Price Range: $7-$20 is the range you’ll be looking at for most of their offerings over all their menus.
- Cuisine: Notchtop focuses on high-quality, organic, and accommodating foods for people of all kinds of dietary preferences and requirements.
- Reservations: Notchtop does not advertise themselves as requiring reservations, so you should be able to just walk in!
- Opening hours: Notchtop is open every day from 7 am to 3 pm.
- Parking: There is plenty of parking nearby in the wider shopping complex, meaning you should be free to get a meal without stressing about where to stop!
- Pet-friendly: Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area, but if it’s cold or if these tables are full you may be unable to sit with your pets.
The Notchtop Bakery and Cafe is a great choice for those looking for natural and/or accommodating meal options.
With a focus on making things from local ingredients, from scratch, and without unnecessary ingredients and additives, you can be certain of getting some top-notch breakfasts at Notchtop!
They encourage guests to relax and/or chat while their meals arrive, and provide booths that offer some privacy and seclusion meaning you can settle in and enjoy some privacy with your breakfast (even on a busy day).
4. Brunch & Co
- Address: 333b E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 577 4104
- Price Range: One of our pricier options, with breakfasts from $15 to $30.
- Cuisine: Taking the angle of breakfast fine dining, a lot of high-class and high-impact menu items are offered by the team at Brunch & Co!
- Reservations: Reservations are required at Brunch & Co, and can be made on their website. Make sure to include the correct party size and arrival time!
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm, Weekends 8 am to 8 pm.
- Parking: There is a parking lot available for the hotel complex that Brunch & Co is located in, meaning you should be able to get a good spot!
- Pet-friendly: Brunch & Co is not advertised as pet-friendly, but you can ring ahead and ask! They are likely to be constrained by the hotel’s rules.
Brunch & Co is a great choice for a gourmet breakfast, with a variety of sizeable and delicious breakfast dishes available for you to try! Their dishes range from omelets and steak to biscuits and gravy – in other words, a very wide selection!
They offer just one vegetarian and gluten-free option in the form of “the Scamble”, a great selection of tofu and vegetables to cater to those with dietary requirements.
As they are located in the hotel lobby, they’re an extra great choice if you happen to be staying in the Stanley Hotel!
- Address: 225 Park Ln, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 9564
- Price Range: Most breakfast items are in the $12-$15 range, with some closer to $20.
- Cuisine: Locally sourced ingredients are used to create a range of breakfast favorites, including sweet and savory options.
- Reservations: Claire’s does not offer reservations, but you can call ahead to request a seat so that you have a spot at the top of the queue once you arrive.
- Opening hours: Claire’s is open 11 am to 7 pm Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with a later closing time of 8 pm on Friday. They are open 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday and 8 am to 7 pm on Sunday.
- Parking: There is parking on the side of the street in front of the restaurant, or you can pop into the paid public parking lot just a few feet up the road.
- Pet friendly: Claire’s is not advertised as pet friendly, but you can always call ahead and ask! Plus, if you get a park out the front, you won’t be too far away from your animal companions while eating regardless.
Claire’s is a great choice for visitors or residents of Estes Park to eat breakfast at, offering an easy entrance from the road into its dining area.
This, plus the lack of a requirement to reserve a seat, means you can just walk right in if you’re ready to order and the restaurant isn’t already too busy.
Plus, with the bank just nearby, you can withdraw money easily if you want to pay with cash at the restaurant or need change for a parking meter or later activities!
The interior has a very homey feel, with wooden flooring and a cozy seating arrangement meaning you’ll feel just in the right place while eating your breakfast.
Best Lunch Spots
Claire’s makes our list for lunch spots again, for its great selection of lunch options and the same cozy feel and proximity to parking that we described in the breakfast section.
For lunch, you’re looking at a slightly pricier menu – their pricing is fairly flat across entrees, sides, and mains with most dishes coming in the $10 to $20 range.
Plus, with options including fish and chips, burgers, sandwiches, and more, there’s sure to be something to your taste on the lunch menu too!
- Address: 401 West Elkhorn Avenue, Estes Park, CO, 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 2792
- Price Range: Most lunch mains are in the $10 to $16 range, with other dishes being slightly less expensive.
- Cuisine: Big Horn offers some delicious smoked meats, and in general their dishes focus heavily on meat-based food, ranging from red meat to chicken and fish.
- Reservations: Big Horn takes online reservations and recommends you make them to ensure you get a table!
- Opening hours: Lunch begins at 11:30 am, and the restaurant is open every day for lunch unless otherwise specified on their website.
- Parking: There is a parking lot outside the restaurant. If this is full, you might struggle to find other parking options.
- Pet friendly: Big Horn welcomes pets so long as they remain on the patio, so you can ensure your animal companions aren’t sitting in a hot car while you eat your meal.
Big Horn Restaurant is a great choice for those wanting a hearty, meaty, lunch. With a wide range of options including some gorgeous smoked meats in burger buns, you’re sure to enjoy the succulent range that they provide!
If you’re looking for something veggie, they do provide a vegetarian burger along with some a la carte options – but this probably isn’t the place to choose if you’re not a fan of meat.
Mountain Home Cafe also makes a return to our recommendations, again motivated by its great environment and a great lunch menu to come together with its breakfast offerings.
With mains in the $10-$15 range, and sides and entrees in the $1-$10, the Mountain Home Cafe offers a slightly cheaper selection for the midday meal than other eateries and doesn’t skimp on the offerings.
Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and soups are all on offer and should provide a great range for those looking to ease the rumblings of their stomachs!
9. Brunch & Co
Brunch & Co. too makes our lunch list as well as our breakfast list!
While they advertise their menu as being for brunch, these meals suit a main meal of lunch equally well – ranging from burgers to turkey to banh mi. Plus, you can pick up some excellent seafood options from their beyond brunch menu!
Again, the prices of Brunch & Co’s food are slightly higher than some of our other options, but it’s worth it for the food they offer. Expect to spend somewhere between $20 and $30 on most mains.
Best Dinner Spots
Potentially the most typical meal to go out for, dinner at Estes Park is well-served by a variety of restaurants. We have five great picks to help you choose where to eat:
- Address: 1700 Colorado Peaks Drive, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 6409
- Price Range: Most dinner mains are in the $20 to $40 range, with appetizers closer to the $10 to $20 range.
- Cuisine: With some gorgeous fish and seafood options, Dunraven offers a selection of great meals with a classic feel, along with some great favorites such as lasagna for those wanting a more homelike experience.
- Reservations: Reservations are accepted and recommended for indoor seating, but outdoor seating is not able to be reserved – just turn up!
- Opening hours: Dunraven is open 7 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday, but they stop serving their daytime menu at 2 pm.
- Parking: There is a sizeable car park outside Dunraven, but if this is full you may struggle to find other parking nearby.
- Pet-friendly: Dunraven is not advertised as pet-friendly, but you can always call ahead and check!
Dunraven provides some great meals for dinner, ensuring that you get the most out of your evening meal with a wide range of dishes covering seafood, pasta, and steak.
They offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for those who need to cater to dietary restrictions.
Inside, you’ll find some unique decor, with many dollar bills lining the walls along with some altered replicas of the Mona Lisa.
Guests can write memories on dollar bills and staple them to the walls before they leave – a fun activity to make the experience memorable!
Plus, these dollar bills are donated to charity as they fade and age, meaning that your experience will be passed on to those in need.
11. Bird & Jim
- Address: 915 Moraine Avenue, Estes Park, CO
- Phone Number: 970 586 9832
- Price Range: Dinner mains will set you back between $20 and $50 depending on which section of the menu you go with. Salads come in at $15 each and soups/broths are in the $10 to $15 range.
- Cuisine: Aiming towards artisanal Coloradoan cuisine, you’ll find a variety of great food here focusing on putting a gourmet spin on some local favorites.
- Reservations: Reservations are encouraged and managed through the Bird & Jim’s website, but assuming there is space you can also just walk into the restaurant!
- Opening hours: Open every day, with dinner served from 4 pm until closing. Closing time varies based on season.
- Parking: There is a small streetside car park by Bird & Jim, but no other large area of dedicated public parking nearby.
- Pet friendly: Bird & Jim is not advertised as pet friendly, but you can always call ahead and check!
The Bird & Jim provides a great selection of local food made fancy, with ingredients sourced from nearby providers and turned into a wonderful selection of dishes.
From the succulent Mountain Jim Burger to the delicious spread of the Carnivore, you’ll find something you love on their menu.
They offer gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options for all sections of their dinner menu apart from the cast iron section, which only has gluten-free options.
The name comes from an old story about Isabella Bird and her guide Mountain Jim, transgressing traditional societal boundaries of that era by making her own way into the mountain wilderness.
- Address: 900 Moraine Ave suite 301, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970-586-3098
- Price Range: Entrees and mains range between $30 and $50, with appetizers, burgers, and salads in the $10 to $20 range.
- Cuisine: Many of the items on the menu constitute a fine dining experience of themselves, and the menu overall has a distinctly refined feel.
- Reservations: Wayfinder encourages reservations, which you can make through their website, but also takes walk-ins assuming that the restaurant is not full.
- Opening hours: Dinner is served from 4:00 pm until closing every day – an exact closing time is not listed on the website, so ring ahead to be sure that you will have enough time to sit down and eat!
- Parking: There’s a car park near the Wayfinder that should provide you with plenty of space to park.
- Pet friendly: Wayfinder is pet friendly, provided you sit in the outdoor dining area.
The Wayfinder restaurant is a great choice for those looking for a sublime dining experience with scenery to match.
Located by a gorgeous lake and with the mountains overlooking the eatery, it’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy a dinner.
Whether you’re after a premium beef steak, a perfect shrimp linguine, or some fish and chips, you’ll certainly find something you want!
Unfortunately, vegetarian options are thin on the ground on the Wayfinder’s dinner menu, with only two salad options meeting the requirements. Gluten-free diners are better catered for.
- Address: 134 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970-586-8838
- Price Range: With most dishes being in the $15 to $35 range, you’ll find the Grubsteak restaurant to be a great choice if you’re looking for a more affordable night out.
- Cuisine: Focusing on some simple home comforts, the Grubsteak restaurant aims towards hearty sandwiches, burgers, and steaks.
- Reservations: Unless you are bringing an exceptionally large party, the Grubsteak doesn’t explicitly require reservations – however, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to ring ahead.
- Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 am-8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-9:00 pm.
- Parking: There’s a large paid public park just around the corner from the Grubsteak Restaurant which should give you plenty of space to park up and enjoy your meal.
- Pet friendly: The Grubsteak is pet-friendly, but will only accept dogs if they are in patio seating – so it’s worth ringing ahead to check that this is available before you bring your pooch in tow!
The Grubsteak is a perfect place to pick up some classic dinner fare, with most dishes letting you enjoy the real Colorado of cuisine.
From delicious fish to beef, game, and salads, you’re sure to find something you like – and there’s a “little prospectors” menu for the kids as well!
While vegetarian and gluten-free options are not clearly indicated on their menu, their website does say they cater to these requirements, so you should be able to find something to suit those with these dietary restrictions.
Best Dessert Spots
While going out for dessert might not be top of mind, sometimes you just want something specific after dinner – or maybe you’re bringing the kids back from a trip and want something to quell the c–mplaints.
Either way, Estes Park’s dessert providers have you covered!
- Address: 509 Big Thompson Ave #300, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 1976
- Price Range: While not entirely clear on their website, it appears that a whole pie goes for around $30 – so you can expect around $5 per slice.
- Cuisine: Unsurprisingly, the Pie Shop sells pies! They have a variety of these available, with a list spanning some 30 listings. They also provide other sweet goods including cookies, scones, muffins, rolls, and more.
- Reservations: No reservations appear to be required, although you can book ahead to pick up a pie at a particular time.
- Opening hours: Season dependent – in Summer, the pie shop is open 7 am to 9 pm each day, while Winter curtails that to 8 am to 8 pm.
- Parking: There’s a large car park nearby that serves the wider complex that the Pie Shop is part of, where you should be easily able to find space to leave your vehicle.
- Pet-friendly: Outdoor dining areas are available for those with dogs or other pets.
If you’re looking for some classic pie goodies to round out an evening (or the end of any meal!) you can’t find a better place than You Need Pie! After all, who else could match your exact desire quite as perfectly?
With a wide range of pies (subject to seasonal variation), you can pick up almost anything your heart desires – and that doesn’t even touch on the other dessert options that the store provides!
You can also purchase savories at the Pie Shop, with classic hearty dinners on offer as well.
15. Donut Haus
- Address: 860 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO, 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 2988
- Price Range: Prices are relatively cheap, although there are no exact amounts on the official website – you’ll need to go in and see, or ring beforehand.
- Cuisine: Donuts, donuts, and more donuts – along with a few other pieces of sweet carbohydrate fare such as loaves and rolls.
- Reservations: You can call early to place an order or attempt to reserve something you particularly want. You can also walk in and purchase things, although this is vulnerable to stock availability, especially later in the day.
- Opening hours: The Donut Haus is open Wednesday to Sunday, 6 am to 12 pm.
- Parking: Located just behind a gas station, there is a small car park outside for you to use while you pick up your donuts.
- Pet friendly: With a track record of supporting animal shelters as can be found on their Facebook page, it’s likely that Donut Haus will be amenable to pets. However, you should check before you go in as they are not advertised explicitly as being pet-friendly.
The Donut Haus is something of an institution in Estes Park, having been around in one form or another for more than 50 years.
While there’s been a change in ownership over that time, the donuts remain true to form with some excellent choices available, including sugared, glazed, and filled options.
You can also pick up a hat or t-shirt at the Donut Haus if you want a memento of your visit!
16. Munchin’ House
- Address: 130 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 586 8483
- Price Range: A single-scoop ice cream will set you back around $4, depending on your choice of cone and flavor.
- Cuisine: Ice cream is the order of the day at Munchin’, along with some great beverages if you’re looking for something a bit warmer.
- Reservations: Munchin’ House does not accept reservations.
- Opening hours: 10 am to 10 pm each day.
- Parking: There is limited on-street parking nearby, but no dedicated parking lot. You may need to have somebody jump out and pick up some food, or park some distance away and walk over.
- Pet friendly: With such a narrow and confined space, you’ll be better off leaving your furry friends outside while you queue up.
While it might look small, Munchin’ House offers a great range of ice creams and coffee, seeking to ensure that everybody in the family gets something they enjoy.
They offer a whopping 40 ice cream flavors that can be combined in various ways, and the coffee is provided at an espresso bar.
If you love a flavor enough, you can even purchase a pint to bring home!
- Address: 920 W. Elkhorn Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517
- Phone Number: 970 480 1501
- Price Range: Expect to be paying around $5 for each sweet treat.
- Cuisine: Muffins, rolls, and buns constitute the offerings of Cinnamon’s.
- Reservations: Reservations are not advertised on the website of Cinnamon’s Bakery, so it’s safe to assume you won’t need one. Just make sure you get in before they run out of food!
- Opening hours: 7:30 am to 10 am Friday to Sunday – but beware, the bakery will close early if they sell out fast!
- Parking: There is a car park just outside, a short turn off the main road – perfect for proximity to the bakery!
- Pet friendly: Cinnamon’s Bakery is not advertised as being pet friendly, so you should call ahead if you’re thinking of bringing along your furry friend.
A more recent entry to the Estes Park dessert market, Cinnamon’s Bakery opened in 2016 and after a quick ownership change in 2019 has maintained high-quality baking standards to the present day.
With offerings including pecan sticky buns and delicious cinnamon roll bread pudding, you’ll be able to find something for all the family.
They even offer a gluten-sensitive blueberry muffin for those who are intolerant to gluten; however, those with celiac disease or severe intolerances should check with the bakers first to determine suitability.
Too Many Options? Here’s My Favorites
I know that it can be hard to decide when presented with so many excellent options! Luckily, I have a few picks of my own that I would recommend for just about anybody.
|Why it’s my favorite
|Notchtop Bakery & Cafe
|I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth – particularly around breakfast time – and so I’ll often pick up the fantastic cinnamon roll french toast combo, or the excellent banana split waffle.
If I’m looking for something a bit more substantive, I can’t go past the Colorado burrito!
|While it might be a bit pricey, there’s just something about the atmosphere (and the food) that makes this place feel like home.
|Big Horn Restaurant
|A smokestack brings some gorgeous hickory flavors into a variety of meats, making a perfect taste sensation!
If I’m feeling like some extra spice, the extra jalapenos give me exactly what I need.
While I normally eat a relatively small lunch, I’m known to enjoy the soup and salad selection from time to time as well.
|The animal theme is a great way to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Rockies! Plus, the variety of lunch options means I can almost always find something I like, no matter the mood I am in.
|Dunraven at The Estes Park Resort
|Beginning with some gorgeous Mona Lisa’s Mushrooms underneath the eyes of the paintings is a great appetizer!
I would then choose some of the gorgeous lasagnas to round out my meal – or, to treat myself, I might occasionally have a 10oz top sirloin, medium rare. Delicious!
|The quirky atmosphere provided by the decor and a selection of favorites that won’t break the bank make Dunraven one of my top-rated restaurants in the Estes Park area.
|Like I said about breakfast, my sweet tooth is strongest in the morning, and I can pick up some donuts from Donut Haus as a pre-lunch snack fairly easily.
While I normally go for a chocolate donut, the maple-iced pretzels are also excellent!
|There’s a reason this has stayed around in Estes Park as long as it has – and it always feels like I’m sampling a bit of local history whenever I pop in.