AURORA | Having worked in restaurants in the Philippines, Russia, Portugal and around the United States, Tim Freeman isn’t easily surprised by much.

So, with that experience under his belt, Freeman, the executive chef at the new Borealis restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center said northwest Aurora seems pretty tame.

“Nothing I’ll see on Colfax is gonna shock me,” he said with a laugh.

While Aurora’s dining scene has thrived in recent years, in large part due to a slew of ethnic restaurants that tops any locale in the metro area, fine dining has long-been tough to find in Aurora.

The Wine Experience Cafe in Southlands and Summit Steakhouse at East Yale Avenue and South Havana Street are largely the only options for Aurora diners who don’t want to leave the city, and both of those are in Aurora’s southern reaches.

The northwest corner of the city — and for that matter most of Aurora’s older neighborhoods — are generally left out when it comes to fine dining.

Freeman said Borealis will change that — though he said defining the term “fine dining” can be tricky. “Fine dining is all about a feeling,” he said.

Borealis won’t have fine linens on the table, the atmosphere will always be relaxed and the lunch service will be decidedly casual, Freeman said.

But when diners leave dinner with a belly full of squid salad or a green chile that Freeman insists is the best he’s ever tried, they’ll have that fine-dining feeling.

Stephan Meier, the hotel’s general manager, said he wouldn’t describe the restaurant as fine dining precisely, but as “Nouveau American.”

The restaurant will offer something for everyone, he said, whether they want that fine-dining experience or something else.

“That can range from a fantastic children’s menu to having high-end dinner,” he said. “The entire spectrum is available.”

Freeman, 38, was born in Alabama and grew up mostly in Texas and Ohio. For the past 25 years he’s been in a kitchen, working at the White House when Bill Clinton was president and spending plenty of time abroad, too.

That time abroad included a 10-year spell in Russia that started when Freeman didn’t speak any Russian. That made working in a kitchen — and trying to communicate with the rest of the staff — nearly impossible. But, Freeman said, he wouldn’t trade those rough first months in Moscow because they make any challenge he faces now seem paltry by comparison.

And, Freeman said, that time spent abroad was crucial not just to his culinary skills — he specializes in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine — but to his ability to manage a kitchen staff.

“You learn a unique set of problem-solving skills,” he said.

It also gave him a fondness for diversity, something that is on display in the Borealis kitchen where 12 different nationalities are represented.

That diversity brings a certain authenticity and integrity to the food, he said, and it’s something he’s particularly excited about.

“I think we will be just fine here,” he said. “And we will definitely make some waves.”