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The tampiqueña carried hints of what Tamayo could do; the well-seasoned filet mignon was a pleasant change from a kitchen that seemed to have lost its salt shakers. So was the deeply flavored mole, for which chef de cuisine Arnold Rubio (who's been at Tamayo for thirteen years, the past seven in this position) takes three kinds of chiles, two types of chocolate, another twenty-some ingredients and three days to make. Ladled over a cheese enchilada, the mole is the poster child for the kind of complex, authentic Mexican cuisine for which Sandoval is known. It's almost worth risking poor service and the kinds of rowdy guests (read: bachelorette parties) attracted to Tamayo's lengthy tequila menu just to get more of that mole.

Location Info

Map

Tamayo

1400 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Downtown Denver

Details

Tamayo
Guacamole tostada sampler $12
Squash-blossom quesadilla $9
Tortilla soup $9
Corn on the cob $6
Caramelized plantains $6
Al pastor tacos $14
Huitlacoche enchiladas $19
Mahi-mahi $24
Tampiqueña $28
1400 Larimer Street
720-946-1433
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

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Almost. But right now, the million bucks put into Tamayo doesn't look like money well spent.

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33 comments
laurennn
laurennn

I have been to Tamayo once and it was uninspired, both the food and service. I have chosen not to go back and spend my money elsewhere. Benny's is better than this!

jen8081
jen8081

Reading through previous comments, I'd like to point out: a. that I am not saying Gretchen is a bad person, I just didn't enjoy this particular review... thought it was overly harsh on some points, b. I am not anonymous, a PR professional, (or Tamayo staff hahah), and c. I have enjoyed Tamayo very much and hope that they'll make their service more consistent and that Gretchen will give them another chance sometime soon.

jen8081
jen8081

I agree that not all Richard Sandoval establishments are created equal, however I disagree with the article. I appreciated 'TheJeff's' finesse in his comment, and felt inclined to speak up with another view. To say you've been to La Sandia recently does not say you've been to Tamayo...and of course we all love Yontz, Selby, and Jasinski, but modern mexican doesn't need an award-winning chef to make it worth the experience. We're talking about exceptional service, and to simplify--great mexican food with extra attention to presentation. Is Lola refined? Yes. Delicious and satisfying? I would argue no. But cuisine like many things is subjective, so I agree to disagree with 'thejeff'.

Although I can't say I'm a regular at Tamayo, we've dined three times since the remodel (2 brunch, 1 dinner) and I have been impressed each time. Granted, there were no complaints about the service during any of these visits, and that is an important part of the experience. For dinner, we had the carne asada and halibut - both were fantastic; cooked perfectly, well-seasoned, pulle sauce was delicious...At brunch we had the corn referred to in the review and thought it was delicious!

All of this said, I thought this article was poorly written. Sounds like Miss Gretchen had second-rate service the day she dined. That is a shame and many great restaurants have problems like this from time to time. Sounds like Tamayo could work on more consistency in service. I don't feel like her critiques on the food itself is warranted, she just seems upset about the service. Maybe she was just trying too hard to be funny, but it came off as amateur and discredits the review for me. Some comments just don't seem to fit - referring to the bachelorette crowd for example. We sat next to a pretty large and rambunctious bachelor party at Colt & Gray a couple weeks ago...does that mean anything? Again, I think the review just gets so far away from what one would need to know in a food review it just made it difficult to read - I found myself skipping lines. When reading food reviews I appreciate honesty and don't feel I have to agree with a critic, but I don't enjoy mean for meanness' sake and I didn't think this particular article was funny, interesting, or right.


StangerDanger46
StangerDanger46

OUCH! From my understanding the reviewer went 4 times and 2 out of the 4, had a bad experience. So the other 2 must have been good! Let's read those "reviews"! This reads like a public bashing. People's jobs are at stake when reviews like this come out. I have been to other mexican restaurants in Denver (LOLA) and their service was sub-par at best! The margaritas aren't that great either, got ice!!

As a server, I would NEVER tell my guests that their, "food is under the heat lamp", who says that?! 

In my own opinion I think this is an attempt to assassinate the character of Chef Richard Sandoval. Don't know the guy but I saw him on Top Chef Masters, not his finest moment, but nonetheless did it for a good cause, charity. 

To me this is a little more than convenient that this review came out after Chef Sandoval was eliminated from Top Chef Masters. Got John Wilkes Booth? (Gretchen/Westword is J.W.B, get it/)

heartthewestword
heartthewestword

Having just read Gretchen's latest review of Pizzeria Locale, it is painfully obvious that this "reviewer" simply does not like Tamayo, or from the reads of it, any of Richard Sandoval's restaurants. After reading her article, I truly felt confused as to where she was going with the ever-changing Denver with our Bronco quaterbacks, to Marczyk's over-priced soups. This was not only a sad excuse of what I thought was to be a review of one of my favorite restaurants, but rather just bad journalism.

I happen to love Tamayo, along with Zengo and several other wonderful restaurants throughout Denver, and it is very unfortunate that the Westword would allow such a poorly written article out of their press.  I have never had a bad experience at Tamayo, rather find their new make-over briliant, along with their food and their service is certainly more attentive than any I have had at some other Larimer Square restaurants.

Didn't the Westword just write up Richard Sandoval, and some of his other Chefs, glorifying their food and expertise? Perhaps the Westword's writers like Gretchen Kurtz and Lori Midson should spend a little more time working together, rather than contradicting the other's work.

Shame on you Gretchen Kurtz, and the Westword for that matter.

dspam
dspam

I have never had a bad experience at Tamayo, it's been our favorite spot on larimer for years, there's certainly always room for improvement in any business, but to say that Tamayo isn't worth revisiting is simply unfounded @GretchenKurtz . 

I'm posting to voice my support and love of tamayo, and Richard Sandoval's delicious food, but while I'm at it, Gretchen, your review is completely open ended, and not well written.

You've failed to mention any of their cocktails, or any of My favorite dishes, all you were focused on was your water glass, and the bachelorettes clearly having a better time than you......


nopenope
nopenope

Wow, looks like a lot of the PR flacks have shown up to comment.  I have never had good service at any RS restaurant anywhere in the US.  I had one good meal at La Sandia at Northfield when it first opened.  Never had a good meal since that one either. 

jorgitoinDenver
jorgitoinDenver

Even if TheJeff does not believe that people can make an opinion because is different than his here are my 2 cents....

This review seems to be very vindictive, its not objective and yes i don't give this reviewer much credibility from her 4 times she visited a restaurant...i do think Tamayo has the best Mexican Food in Denver, i'm from Mexico so i know what i'm taking about

parmaker
parmaker

This review sounds so personal and vindictive. Seriously, how could this restaurant have lasted so long if it was so bad? Tamayo is one of the best restaurants in Denver. I don't give this review or reviewer much credibility.

WillieStortz
WillieStortz

I didn't think anyone ever went back to Tamayo a second time. 


Take away the location and this place would have closed 5 years ago. They serve some of the most unexciting, uninventive food around. 

If you want to try upscale Mexican done right, go visit Paxia.

TheJeff
TheJeff

I think the review is spot-on.  Sandoval's entire enterprise seems to have grown large and unwieldy, and quality has suffered as a result.  When Tamayo first opened, I thought it was fantastic, but it's been on a downward slide for years.  Chefs have changed, and the food quality, creativity, and service are simply sub-standard.  The silly "maybe Taco Bell is more your speed" style comments here indicate people with very limited experience with quality "modern Mexican" or other elevated cuisine.  There are many great dining establishments in Denver, but this particular cog in a chain of twenty-something restaurants is not among them. 

Richard Sandoval may have popularized this style of cuisine, but he's certainly not doing it well anymore (a recent Sunday brunch at the Park Meadows La Sandia is one of the worst meals I've ever had period).  I would love to see Sean Yontz (who commanded Tamayo at its best, Tambien at its best, and the dearly departed Chama at Belmar) open a great high-end Mexican joint.  Right now, I'd say Lola is doing this type of cuisine better than anybody else in Denver.  It's nothing particularly special, but at least food quality and service are consistent.  For great "Modern Mexican," there's no beating Topolobampo in Chicago.

g.bluth
g.bluth

Um mm...what are you talking about, food critic?!? Tamayo is one of my favorite spots in Denver. Is it because Tamayo doesn't pay for advertising with you that you are so biased??? You always write bad things about them.

clblanch
clblanch

"I don't believe it!  Tamayo has been amazing since my first visit 5 years ago, and it was amazing a month ago on my last visit.  I'm not sure your facts are straight Westword!"

courtneyaustell
courtneyaustell

This review is so off it is not even worth the full read.  I have never had a bad experience at Tamayo or any of its sister restaurants.  I love the authentic, traditional, yet modern twist this restaurant offers on its plates and cocktails.  Westword has been wrong before and I could only wish they admit it this time.  Go back to Taco Bell and get the 2am quesadillas you are trying to compare Tamayos exquisit ones to.  Seriously - I don't believe a word you wrote about this restaurant.

tophsg
tophsg

Tamayo is one of my favorite places! I don’t believe this article.

tchisum
tchisum

I was just there and food and service were amazing!! Not sure where this article is coming from?

Rusanne King
Rusanne King

Thats disappointing...i love that place....

Lisa Levy
Lisa Levy

I like Tamayo...haven't been there in a while, but still like it. :)

CONative
CONative

I am very surprised at this review. My husband and I, plus family and friends, have been to Tamayo's many times over the years and we have never had an unpleasant experience. The food and service have always been superior. We have especially enjoyed the addition of the brunch on weekends. This review does an injustice to this wonderful restaurant.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

ouch, that's one of the worst reviews I've read here.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

I've always thought this place overcharged and under-delivered.  Doesn't sound like much has changed.

brawest
brawest

Was there a couple weeks ago for the first time. Horrible service. We ordered drinks and then didn't see anyone for 20 minutes. A shame since I work on the same block and the food was good, but I will not be returning.

TheJeff
TheJeff

@jorgitoinDenver I absolutely welcome opinions that differ from mine, but I would take those opinions a lot more seriously if they came from people with any sort of history here other than telling us how awesome Tamayo is.

I have yet to hear the defender(s) elucidate just how this review is "vindictive," and the complaint that it's "not objective" is absurd.  Of course it's not.  Critical reviews are, by their very nature, the subjective opinions of the reviewer. 

As best I can tell, Gretchen Kurtz is a professional restaurant critic who has written for a variety of publications.  I'm not sure why these random people have decided that they "don't give her much credibility," or why they think anyone should care whether they do or not.  

Out of curiosity, just how many times must one visit a restaurant to before coming to the conclusion that it is a waste of their time and money?

TheJeff
TheJeff

@parmaker You know who I don't give much credibility to?  The seven people like yourself who are either anonymous or have never posted on a Voice site before who miraculously showed up to tell us how off-base they think this review is and how much they, their friends, and their families enjoy the food and service at Tamayo.  How fortunate for the Tamayo management that a group of new anonymous posters suddenly arrived and came to their defense!

Bad restaurants find financial success all the time.  Are you familiar with the phrase "Over a billion served?"

There was a time when Tamayo was indeed one of the best restaurants in town.  Those days are long gone.  I would suggest that you spend a week having dinner at Fruition, Bittersweet, Rioja, Mizuna, The Squeaky Bean, Old Major, and ChoLon, then tell me about how Tamayo belongs in their company.

nopenope
nopenope

@CONative You must be a PR flack.  Or you are related to someone at the restaurant (or RS himself) if you actually get any decent service.

nopenope
nopenope

@Bagwhan You should have read the review WW did of Josephines years ago.  To this day, the most scathing restaurant review I have ever read.  Scathing, but spot on.

StangerDanger46
StangerDanger46

@TheJeff @parmaker Mc Donalds is the best! 

Also, TheJeff, I think you just named ALL of fine dining in Denver. You forgot Casa Bonita! That place has been tearing the ass out of Denver for years and years! Have you ever seen Rioja on South Park?! I don't think so my friend. 

ps. Never talk to strangers. 

StangerDanger46
StangerDanger46

@nopenope You must be and ex disgruntled employee of Tamayo. I think I remember you!!

 
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