Picture 43Radek Cerny has been around the culinary world, and it shows in the sophistication of his successor to local legend Papillon—Boulder’s L’Atelier. The Czech native has cooked everywhere from New York to Vail, getting to know Paul Bocuse and Mick Jagger along the way; and in this spare, subdued “studio,” to translate the name, he distills those life lessons into exquisite contemporary French fare, from Escargots with Potato Foam to Lobster Ravioli with Beurre Blanc to the Sculptured Chocolate “Bag” filled with ice cream, fruit and topped with a mint leaf.

Insider’s Tip: To defray a bit of the cost, come on Tuesdays, when the entire wine list is half-off—or for lunch, a somewhat humbler but no less satisfying affair with housemade pâtés and breads for grilled panini.