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Food & Drink

  • Best Barbecued Ribs

    Brothers BBQ

    As fans of the unbelievably good ribs at Brothers BBQ on Leetsdale since it opened three years ago, we didn't think the British-born O'Sullivan brothers could get any better. But then they opened a second location in an old convenience store in central Denver -- a spot where they can serve cold beer alongside their hot 'cue -- and Brothers… More >>
  • Best Dinner After 10 p.m.

    Dazzle

    You'll be dazzled by the late-night look of Dazzle. Even after the funky dining room closes, the intimate, elegant lounge keeps things cooking, serving up down-home favorites with an upscale twist. Stumble in at midnight on a Friday or Saturday night, and you can still snag a dazzling bar burger: a quarter-pounder on focaccia with your choice of Stilton or… More >>
  • Best Kosher Pizza

    Pete's Pizza - CLOSED

    Pete's Pizza makes a righteous pie -- and that's even more impressive since all of the pizzas that come out of this kitchen are completely kosher, right down to the meat toppings. For anyone who keeps kosher but still craves America's favorite food, Pete's is a real garden of eatin'. … More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Domo Japanese Country Foods Restaurant

    While some Japanese restaurants focus on sushi and others concentrate on cooked dishes, Domo offers the entire Japanese experience -- from the folk-art museum that depicts daily life to the Zen garden and aikido dojo to the fabulous, country-style foods. The latter includes nabemono, with many ingredients cooked together in a clay pot; yakimono, with a choice of meats or… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Thai Bistro

    It's easy to have Thai restaurant ties in a town with so many good Asian eateries. One might have a superb pad Thai, another ambitious curries. But Thai Bistro has something that none of Denver's other Thai restaurants do: chef/owner Noi Phromthong. His cooking is all about the Thai philosophy of balance: sweet coconut milk, spicy chiles, sour limes, bitter… More >>
  • Best Chocolates Dedicated to Lucille Ball

    Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

    If you love Lucy, you'll love the chocolates that the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory turns out in her honor. The brainchild of Lucille Ball's children, Lucie and Desi Arnaz, Lucy's Chocolate Factory was inspired by that all-time favorite I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel try to keep up with a speeding conveyor belt covered with chocolate. Rocky… More >>
  • Best New Grocery-Store Amenity

    Imperial Chinese Restaurant

    King Soopers scored a real coup when it bagged an outlet of the Imperial Chinese Restaurant for its remodeled Greenwood Village Store. Call anytime between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., and your food will be ready when you are. Or stop by while shopping for staples and order a real necessity: great sesame chicken, egg rolls and many other Imperial… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Patio -- Rural

    The Wildflower at the Lodge at Vail

    When spring hits, the Wildflower opens up its gorgeous patio, known as The Terrace. Situated on the backside of Gore Creek and at the base of Vail Mountain -- which means you're protected from the wind -- the enormous wooden deck offers wildflower-framed views of the mountains, with huge yellow and white umbrellas providing shelter from the sun. This is… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    The Fourth Story Restaurant & Bar

    We were looking for a well-rounded roster of wines, one with enough offered by the glass to give us plenty of sampling opportunities; with some international favorites mixed with a rarity here and there; with reasonable prices that could stretch from a casual meal to a big splurge; with a choice of a few bubblies; with some interesting domestics; and,… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Santino's on Downing

    The menu says that "only grandma could make it better," but we don't see how even she could improve on the food at Santino's on Downing. Chef/owner Santino "Sonny" Rando's marinara, for example, is the red sauce of dreams, slow-simmered until the fresh, herb-enhanced tomatoes cook down into a thick, rich liquid. It's just the right consistency for ladling over… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying

    Flagstaff House

    If someone says they like you, make them prove it by taking you to the Flagstaff House. A meal in this beautiful old building high in the foothills is a pampering treat from start to finish. The staff is accommodating, the wine list overwhelming, and the entire menu absolutely luxurious. Of course, it's going to cost your friend -- and… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Sunflower

    Admittedly, Sunflower isn't totally vegetarian: This sunny Boulder eatery does offer free-range poultry, wild game and fresh seafood. But the many dishes that it bills as vegetarian are indeed animal-free (they can come with raw-milk cheeses, but that's optional) and absolutely delish. Start with a tofu-filled nori roll, fried in a tempura batter and served with a soy-sake dipping sauce,… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Flying Dog Brewery & Tavern

    Every dog has his day, and now it's Flying Dog's turn to howl. After losing its Broadway Brewing space last year (the old Silver State Laundry building is now scheduled to become lofts, natch), the brewery/pub had to battle to get this new place -- a space long ago abandoned by the Mile High Brewing Co. -- up and running.… More >>
  • Best Soups

    Philadelphia Filly

    On a cold, wintry day, there's nothing more gratifying than wrapping your mittened hands around a steaming bowl of soup. Particularly if that soup's from the Philadelphia Filly, an old-fashioned quilted-metal cart that keeps things cooking on the 16th Street Mall right at Broadway. The recipes come from Sally Rock and Dale Goin, who long ago shut their restaurant of… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Amenity

    Barolo Grill

    Sure, plenty of those chain operations now offer signing bonuses, health insurance and other benefits of membership in the organization. But do they serve mamu? At Barolo Grill, Blair Taylor's elegant, intimate eatery, the staffers all share in a free, post-business meal known as mamu, named in honor of "someone's grandmother's favorite meal," according to Taylor. The mamu offerings vary… More >>
  • Best Place to Score With a Thirty-Something Still Praying for Dot-Com Financing

    Tommy Tsunami's Pacific Diner

    Their hair is perfect, their clothes are perfect, their cell phones are always on, and their IPOs are on hold. So in the meantime, why not gather around the bar at Tommy Tsunami's on weekend nights to suck down some sushi? Inspired by the funky setting, or maybe the seeming New York late-nightness of it all, these young urban pros… More >>
  • Best Server -- Female

    Wendy Berve, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

    If you can't imagine that the star server at a serious steakhouse such as Del Frisco's Double Eagle could be a grandmother, then you've never encountered the magnificent Wendy Berve. Five minutes after she's started working your table, you'll feel as though you're in the most capable hands in town; ten minutes more and you'll want her to be your… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Service for Forty

    The Restaurant Source

    This restaurant supply house was once wholesale only, but now that it's open to the public, it's become the Restaurant Source for household cooks as well. Just about anything you've ever coveted at a local restaurant -- creamers, crumbers, squeeze bottles, cheese shakers, serving trays, booster seats, whisks, chafing pans, dishes, glasses, linens, tongs, baking molds, syrup pitchers and another… More >>
  • Best Place to Get the Royal Treatment

    Corner of Wadsworth and Alameda

    At first glance, the intersection of Wadsworth and Alameda seems like just another busy corner -- but look again. This place has a certain regal quality that can't be denied. Perhaps that's because it's overseen by King Donut and Dairy Queen, which both rule on the northwest corner. If only Denver still had a Jack in the Box, the royal… More >>
  • Best Cinnamon Rolls

    Moe's Broadway Bagels

    Talk about rolling in dough: Moe's Broadway Bagels, creator of one of the town's top bagels, has the best cinnamon-roll recipe, too. We're sweet on these jumbo rolls, which are dense but not too heavy, swirled with just the right amount of cinnamon and slicked with plenty of ultra-smooth, sugary icing. Paired with a cup of Moe's Dazbog coffee, this… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Triana

    The "Shoestrings and Romesco" tapas offering at Triana, a snazzy restaurant named for a barrio in Spain, sounds more like a singing group than the area's most fabulous French fries. And, in fact, these are actually Spanish fries: long, thin-cut, skin-on potatoes that have been deep-fried and then liberally sprinkled with salt and -- get this -- sugar, so that… More >>
  • Best Breads

    Tasteez Market & Bakery

    Tasteez is a very well-bread market. Pastry chef/chocolatier Michael Bortz creates artisan loaves with crackly, chewy crusts and soft, textured interiors that hold the scents of hearth and home. Every day, Bortz sets out boules, baguettes, ciabatta and brioche -- a sweet, raisin-studded bread that makes first-rate French toast -- along with specials that include stollen, the German Christmas yeast… More >>
  • Best Place to Score With a Forty-Something Who Has Season Tickets to the Rockies

    Fadó Irish Pub

    Now that the wife is gone and the kids are around only half the time, these guys can spend time -- and money -- on whatever they want. And what they want is to take themselves out to the ballgame, then over to Fadó for a pint o' Guinness and other belly-enhancing carbos such as mashed potatoes in gravy and… More >>
  • Best Osso Buco

    Ambrosia Bistro

    Chef Mark Gordon, late of Coos Bay and Mo-dena, has fine-tuned his adventurous menu at Ambrosia, a handsome east Denver bistro featuring a lovely patio. But he has made no changes in his matchless rendition of osso buco, the classic Italian dish of sautéed veal shanks, veal stock, white wine, a touch of tomato, vegetables and herbs. Simmered for five… More >>
  • Best Grown-up Drink

    Lemoncello

    Campo de Fiori, a recent Italian transplant from Aspen and Vail, makes a lot of things from scratch, but it's the thought of Campo's super-sweet, lemon-blendy Lemoncello that really gets our mouths watering. To make this intoxicating elixir, the staff fills a vat with 100-proof liquor -- vodka, grappa, whatever's lying around -- chokes it with lemon peels and then… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak Omelette

    Rip Griffin's Truck Stop

    Next stop, Kansas! But before you leave the state, stop off at Rip Griffin's and refuel with "The Fill-up," a giant omelette stuffed with chopped chicken-fried steak and American cheese that's glued together with white gravy -- the same white gravy that's poured all over the top. That should hold you till Topeka.… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Dixons Downtown Grill, Racines, Goodfriends - CLOSED

    The third time's a charm for the margaritas served at Dixons, Racines and Goodfriends, a trio of local eateries owned by Lee Goodfriend, David Racine and Dixon Staples. Try as we might, and we've tried them all (it's a dirty job but we're urp to the task), we have yet to find a better margarita. The devilishly good drink is… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito

    Barricuda's

    After a brief, dark period during which it dropped its burritos and went upscale, Barricuda's -- formerly the Ogden Cafe -- is back in the swim. Its breakfast burrito is still a killer: stuffed with scrambled eggs, salty home-fried spuds and your choice of ham, sausage or bacon, and smothered in a gringo green chile of the gods. (Despite its… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Taquería Pérez

    From her place of honor on the wall, Our Lady of Guadalupe has her eye on everyone who enters this bright storefront -- and we think she likes what she sees coming out as well. Taquería Pérez makes the most wonderful tacos in town: flat, round, soft corn tortillas are mounted with meats that tickle your tastebuds. Look up when… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    Wild Willy's Capsicum Cantina

    Go south, young man, for the wildest, woolliest green chile in the West. Bill "Wild Willy" Miller has parlayed his extensive line of commercial salsas and chiles into Wild Willy's Capsicum Cantina, a colorful little eatery that puts his products to a real taste test. The menu is short and spicy: just a few wraps, a couple of tacos, chips… More >>
  • Best à la Carte Brunch

    Old Stone Church

    For whatever sins you committed Saturday night, the Old Stone Church offers the easiest penance going: a warm, cozy Sunday brunch complete with innovative dishes and fresh-squeezed OJ. Start with a mimosa and an exploration of the bread basket, whose contents include such homemade delights as focaccia, icing-gooey cinnamon rolls, mini poppyseed muffins, cranberry-filled scones and homemade croissants. But you'll… More >>
  • Best Roast Chicken

    DeLorenzo's Delicacy Shop

    No one's crying fowl over DeLorenzo's. This gourmet takeout shop knows how to do chicken right: Drench it in lemon juice, sprinkle it with fresh parsley and a smattering of pepper, and then slow-roast it in a rotisserie oven until the skin is crackly crisp and soaked with juices. When you bite into this bird (a half per order), more… More >>
  • Best All-You-Can-Eat Deal

    Thai Landing

    Spread the word: From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Thai Landing offers the best lunch buffet in town. Just $4.60 buys this all-you-can-eat feast, which always includes at least one of Thai Landing's complex curries, along with pad Thai, chicken wings, egg rolls, several vegetable dishes, fried and steamed rice, a salad bar and a soup (hope… More >>
  • Best Plate of Spaghetti

    The Saucy Noodle

    The Saucy Noodle is back, and it's better than ever. Neither rain nor snow nor last spring's restaurant-gutting fire could put an end to this Denver institution. Today the Saucy Noodle is run by Erin and Nathan Markham -- original owner Sam Badis, Erin's dad, passed away five years ago -- and it has both an expanded space and a… More >>
  • Best Dinner After 1 a.m.

    McCoys Restaurant

    It's 3 a.m. You're tired and you're hungry. You don't want a Grand Slam -- you want some home cooking that'll calm your frazzled nerves. You want the real McCoys. Open 24-7 and operating diner-style, McCoys specializes in good, inexpensive comfort food: country-style fried chicken and mashed potatoes covered with pepper-speckled white gravy, a remarkably tasty plate of spaghetti with… More >>
  • Best Place to Cut the Cheese

    The Truffle

    Something's in the air, and it smells like cream spirit. From cow's milk bleu to well-aged goat, Dave and Kate Kaufman have their knives on the pulse of imported cheeses, and they sell the best of them at The Truffle. Let the government confiscate what it will: This duo is determined to make sure Denver gets the raw goods, be… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Little Ollie's Chinese

    Since Charlie Huang opened his Little Ollie's in Denver (the original is in Aspen), the eatery's gone through a few growing pains. But today Little Ollie is all grown up and serving the cleanest-tasting Chinese food in town. This is flavor-filled fare that showcases natural ingredients and puts a fresh spin on traditional favorites. The steamed whole sea bass, for… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    New Saigon

    At long last, we found a better Vietnamese restaurant than New Saigon, one with even more than the hundreds of dishes this place offers, one with even more deeply flavored sauces, one with an even more welcoming attitude. To get there, hop on a plane bound for Saigon. Get off and start walking...… More >>
  • Best Starters

    Potager

    Potager knows how to get a meal off to a great start. This "kitchen garden" offers an ever-changing roster based on what's in season, and the appetizers are an ideal way to sample as much as possible, in realistic portions for a good price. From the always-stunning soufflé of the month to unique salads, homemade pâtés and innovative crostinis, Potager's… More >>
  • Best Chocolate Cake

    Manhattan Grill

    The Manhattan Grill is full of unexpected finds: a drop-dead-gorgeous porterhouse, killer crab cakes and a marvelous Manhat- tan (well, perhaps that's not so unexpected). Now it turns out the chocolate cake is a sleeper, too. A super-sized confection thick and dense enough to lay the foundation for a Cherry Creek townhome but so moist it has the texture of mousse,… More >>
  • Best Old Grocery-Store Amenity

    Penny horse rides

    Here's proof for your kids that a penny hasn't lost its value: One cent still buys ninety seconds of bucking, rocking, vibrating thrills for the pre-kindergarten set. The mechanical steeds stand ready near the checkout counters at all metro King Soopers locations, and while one ride doesn't buy a frazzled parent quite enough time to run back and pick up… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Patio -- Urban

    Highlands Garden Cafe - CLOSED

    Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. The Highlands Garden Cafe is not only a wonder of a restaurant, but its garden comes close to heaven on earth. When owners Pat and Chuck Perry expanded their eatery into the Victorian house next door, they added to their outside patio as well as their inside dining area. And when Pat wasn't in… More >>
  • Best Beer List

    Falling Rock Tap House

    There's a reason that beer geeks from around the globe fall into Falling Rock when they come to town. More than seventy reasons, to be precise. Falling Rock Tap House has over six dozen taps that pour some of the world's best beers (and no supermarket swill) -- everything from local draft gems and national craft treasures to rare imports,… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Tante Louise

    Tante Louise has been around for forty years, but everyone's favorite relative is as spry as ever. For classic French fare with a contemporary twist, for gracious service, for Old World elegance and an unbeatable wine list, Aunt Louise is the lady.… More >>
  • Best Resurrection of a Restaurant

    Bang!

    When owners Cissy Yin and Jeff and Chris Oakley closed the original Bang! last fall, their faithful customers hardly knew what to do with themselves. Fortunately, the popular Highland eatery reopened less than a month later in a space across the street, this time with a liquor license, table service and a bit more space. Now serving dinner only, the… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Dish in a Non-Vegetarian Restaurant

    Chinook Tavern

    When we eschew meat, we like to sink our teeth into the sun-dried-tomato polenta at Chinook Tavern. Sharply flavored tomatoes fill the creamy-centered, crunchy-crusted polenta; a garlic-packed pesto and velvety housemade mozzarella add depth; and roasted red bell peppers and sautéed mushrooms bring sweetness and earthiness into the mix. The dish is so big, it's almost enough for two very… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar for Food

    Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill

    At too many sports bars, the chef is a former high school quarterback who thinks he should be in the kitchen because of his great touchdown pass of '76 -- a glorious moment he re-creates every time he turns out another imitation pigskin burger. But Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill has a real star in front of the stove:… More >>
  • Best Minestrone

    Luigi's Bent Noodle

    The menu at Luigi's Bent Noodle issues a challenge: "If this isn't the best minestrone recipe you've ever tasted, we want your recipe." Hey, we surrender -- we know we don't have any- thing to beat this minestrone, and we doubt anyone else this side of Italy does, either. Luigi's minestrone is a thick, hearty tomato-based stew of vegetables, super-soft beans,… More >>
  • Best Bathroom for Hermaphrodites

    Busara

    Busara deserves praise for its dedication to authentic, spicy food. But it should also be commended for its open-mindedness when it comes to more personal matters. This trendy Thai restaurant in LoDo features three privies -- one for men, one for women, and one for men and/or women. So if you're part of a couple that enjoys doing everything together,… More >>
  • Best Server -- Male

    John Carl
    Tante Louise

    Although the career waiter has gone the way of the Studebaker and the eight-track, that sad fact doesn't slow John Carl one bit. After fifteen years as the most graceful, attentive server at one of the town's most graceful, attentive restaurants, Carl still loves his job at Tante Louise. "It's not what I went to college for," admits the Iowa… More >>
  • Best Coffee Service

    Flagstaff House

    The Flagstaff House has been a special-occasion destination for three decades now, and its coffee service goes the extra distance for diners who've made it up the mountain -- and must still find their way back down. Rather than the usual stuffy coffee presentation, the Flagstaff offers a fun "Sugar Tray," its compartments filled with colorful, squeal-inducing tidbits used to… More >>
  • Best Sticky Buns

    Full Measures Bakery

    Hey -- nice buns! John Stamper, owner of Full Measures, has the bottom line on baking. He knows how to pack all the butter and sugar that will fit into a ball of dough, then makes it even sweeter and richer by coating the outside with butter and sugar, too. The result is the sugar addict's drug of choice, a… More >>
  • Best Smothered Fries

    Chubby Burger Drive-In

    There are many theories as to how it happened, but the most popular one goes like this: A while back, a cook was standing behind the counter at the Chubby Burger Drive-In enjoying his favorite snack -- a plate of French fries (a hangover menu item from the previous owner) drowned in cheddar cheese and green chile (a speciality of… More >>
  • Best French Toast

    WaterCourse Foods

    Anyone can take a slice of bread, soak it in an egg batter, fry it and call it French toast. But chef/owner Dan Landes pays attention to the details at his vegetarian-focused WaterCourse Foods, and so he uses sweet, nutmeg-flecked banana bread, sliced thick and fried until golden, for his French toast. You can skip the syrup (although it's available);… More >>
  • Best Place to Score With a Fifty-Something Whose Ex-Spouse Got the Mercedes

    Déjà Vu

    There they sit, mostly at Deja Vu's bar, well-manicured and well-lubed, looking for someone with whom to lament their lot in life and talk tax shelters. Their purses (or their money clips) match their shoes (or their bolo ties), and they look longingly at the bar menu before announcing that the Atkins diet has been a godsend. Food of choice:… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

    Del Frisco's Double Eagle is still the meat to beat. At this classy steakhouse, the prime, dry-aged, cut-to-order beef is inevitably what's for dinner. To go with it, order one of the substantial sides -- the skillet potatoes and onions will put hair on your chest -- along with a bottle of wine from Del Frisco's well-stocked cellar and a… More >>
  • Best Tequila Bar

    La Cueva

    Man does not live by tortilla alone. For example, there's also tequila. Tequila that's twenty years old, tequila that's a hundred years old, tequila that comes in that familiar Jose Cuervo bottle, tequila that comes in containers worthy of museum status. The tequila just keeps coming to La Cueva, a 27-year-old restaurant on East Colfax that welcomed in the millennium… More >>
  • Best Chips and Salsa

    Benny's Restaurante & Cantina

    Although it seems like Benny Armas, owner of Benny's Restaurante & Cantina, has been around forever (he started in the kitchen at the late, great Oak Alley Inn twenty years ago, and today his namesake place has lines out the door), his chips are always fresh and his salsa always sassy. A second after you reply "yes" to what are… More >>
  • Best Burrito to Go

    The Burrito Co.

    If you have a big hunger and not much time, head for the Burrito Co. All day long, people keep pulling up to this takeout-only spot on Santa Fe. They get in line, choose from dozens of possible orders (our favorites all involve the succulent shredded beef), wait about two minutes -- and then collect their orders at the handy… More >>
  • Best Tamales

    La Casita, La Casa de Tamales

    Paul Sandoval is the masa of his domains, since his two spots -- La Casita and La Casa de Tamales -- still serve up the best tamales in town. These little corn-husk-covered delicacies -- at once soft, moist, mealy and chewy -- come red (chile mixed with pork), green (chile with cheese) and vegetarian (with jalapeños, tomatoes, corn and onions).… More >>
  • Best Red Chile

    Julia Blackbird's

    Julia Blackbird's, a charming little eatery that stands in northwest Denver but has its heart in New Mexico, makes a red sauce that's as multi-layered, deeply colored and earthy as red-rock country. Made from chiles grown in Chimayo, a town about 25 miles north of Santa Fe, this sauce benefits mightily from the chiles' rich flavor and slight heat. Try… More >>
  • Best Power Breakfast

    Rialto Cafe

    At night, the Rialto Cafe is one of the snazziest restaurants around, offering both live jazz and some of the most decadent desserts imaginable. But in the morning, starting at an eye-popping 5:30 a.m., the Rialto gets down to business -- serious business. This discreet, dimly lit space is just the place for the solo salesman to get his thoughts… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Smacks Cafe

    Smacks Cafe is a very small eatery that sits in a strip mall and looks like the sandwich shop it used to be. In short, you'd never expect the place to fry up the best chicken this side of the Mississippi, but that's exactly what Smacks does. Deep-fried to order, the fried chicken can take anywhere from fifteen to thirty… More >>
  • Best Free Happy Hour

    Del Mar Crab House

    Don't be crabby: Join the downtown club that's already found the best place to get happy -- and fed -- as the weekend swings into action. When you buy two drinks during Friday's 4-6 p.m. happy hour at Del Mar Crab House, the feed is free -- and it's a real catch, including shrimp-filled quesadillas, peel-your-own shrimp, hot wings, pepper… More >>
  • Best Thin Pizza

    Tonti's

    Who'd think that a tiny Italian eatery in Parker would offer the area's best version of New York-style pizza? There's no question, though, that Tonti's makes the real thing: a drippy pie with a sweet, sweet sauce, thin, crackery crust and enough cheese that each bite creates a string that could stretch from one end of the restaurant to the… More >>
  • Best Guilt-Free Butcher

    Timberline Meats

    From the heady aroma of medium-rare prime rib that greets you each Wednesday through Saturday, to the USDA prime steaks laid out like Tiffany flatware, to the astounding jumble of delicacies in the freezer -- ostrich cutlet, anyone? Elk medallion? Colossal prawn? -- Timberline Meats is a carnivore's dream. But anyone can sell meat: What sets Timberline apart is the… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Roy's Cherry Creek

    While Roy's Cherry Creek landed in Denver just over a year ago, it's definitely a keeper. Owner Roy Yamaguchi, an internationally renowned chef whose chain is based in Hawaii, knows how to combine exceptional service, sleek but luscious surroundings and imaginative, well-executed seafood dishes made with the freshest specimens available (try the oily, deeply flavored monchong or the cornmeal-rubbed dorado)… More >>
  • Best Soup to Please the Palate and Clear the Sinuses

    Golden Plate

    Golden Plate's hot-and-sour dumpling soup more than lives up to its name. Tender, pork-filled pasta pockets come swimming in a pungent, fiery liquid laced with fresh cilantro, green onion and five-alarm red peppers. The soup is a perfect blend of spicy and tart, and the dumplings add a dash of salt -- as well as doughy relief -- to balance… More >>
  • Best Indonesian Restaurant

    Isle of Singapore Cafe

    Granted, Isle of Singapore Cafe may be Denver's only Indonesian restaurant at the moment. Still, this modest storefront deserves kudos for its authentic Asian fare, which includes unusual dishes from Singapore and Malaysia as well as Indonesia. (Skip the Chinese offerings.) The seafood and chicken dishes are out of this world (or close enough), and downing a durian smoothie, made… More >>
  • Best Finishers

    janleone

    There isn't a dud anywhere on the menu at Jan Leone's self-titled janleone: The Brie baked with brown sugar and walnuts and the escargot with Gorgonzola are splendid starters, and the carbonara pappardelle and seafood-stuffed lasagne are inspired entrees. Still, we confess to a certain soft spot for the desserts by Leone's daughter, Mara. Although the closing lineup changes periodically,… More >>
  • Best Place to Catch Your Thanksgiving Dinner

    Four Direction Farm

    Want to really ruffle some feathers? Don't just serve a holiday bird -- catch it yourself. At Four Direction Farm, Charlie and Merrilee Gilman raise then release several thousand pheasants into the wild population, which makes their land outside of Hotchkiss a great place to catch your own holiday dinner. For $300 per person, you get a hunting dog, a… More >>
  • Best Black-and-White Cookies

    New York Deli News

    A specialty of New York delis, black-and-white cookies got some extra attention a few years ago when they were featured on an episode of Seinfeld ("Look to the cookie!" Jerry shouted). But these unusual delights have long been a culinary curiosity. Also known as half-moons, the cookies are made using the basics: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, baking powder, salt,… More >>
  • Best Tofu Selection

    Safeway

    When a store is as huge as the Castle Rock Safeway -- which is 50 percent larger than your average Safeway -- you have to fill it with something. But after stocking the typical meat-and-potatoes supermarket fare, as well as fresh sushi, Chinese takeout, a pizza bar and a Starbucks counter, the store still had room, so it added a… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Patio -- With Jets

    The Perfect Landing

    Talk about vroom service: Perched beside a major commuter airport, the Perfect Landing offers an unbroken view of the Rockies, from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak -- unbroken, that is, except for the private jets that take off and land every few minutes. Although you can see all the action from the big picture windows, a seat on the second-floor… More >>
  • Best Beer Store

    The Wine Company

    Ignore the grape-friendly name and the odd strip-mall location: The Wine Company boasts the city's best boutique beer selection, and its coolers hold treasures that aren't sold anywhere else in Colorado. The hundreds of American and imported craft and microbrews available here are kept under refrigeration and tended by savvy staffers who drink what they sell. And if by chance… More >>
  • Best New American Restaurant

    Mel's Bar and Grill

    Call it New American, call it contemporary, call it fusion. Whatever you choose to call it, the food at Mel's Bar and Grill is undeniably delicious. Owners Mel and Janey Masters juggle international ingredients with domestic tastes, and somehow their dishes all work. Looking for an upscale meatloaf? Try the buffalo. Looking for an Asian fish dish? Try the seared… More >>
  • Best Romantic Restaurant

    The Cliff House @ Pikes Peak

    If it was good enough for Clark Gable, the 128-year-old Cliff House is good enough for us -- but we don't know what Clark would make of that @ that's been added to the name. Never mind; such pesky thoughts will disappear the minute you step into the cream puff of a dining room, all Victorian splendor with its custard… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    Although Vesta Dipping Grill digs deep to create some of the most flavorful meat and fish dishes in town, we like to dive into the three salads on the menu at this groovy hangout. Like every other course here, the salads show how paying close attention to details can result in big taste dividends. And so a Thai-beef version features… More >>
  • Best Artichoke Dip

    Patsy's

    Think metro Denver has a growth problem? Over the past decade, a certain appetizer has sprawled across menus from Castle Rock to Longmont, clogging major arteries with gluey, mayo-heavy artichoke goo. But Patsy's, a venerable red-sauce joint in the heart of northwest Denver, promotes smart growth with its artichoke-and-ricotta dip, a sweeter, lighter version of the ubiquitous starter. … More >>
  • Best Cell Phone Service

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    The hippest hangouts go against the flow. While restaurants across the country are banning those irritating cell phones, Vesta Dipping Grill welcomes them. And if you're sitting at the bar, the bartender will even provide a handy adapter so that you can recharge the sucker. Vesta has your number. … More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Night Shift Saloon

    At the Night Shift Saloon, the hamburger is as God intended when he first conceived of this most amazing creation. In the beginning, there's a huge slab of ground beef, which is charbroiled until it boasts craggy bits of grill-blackened meat and drips with juices; then it's covered with a thick, thick blanket of Velveeta-like cheese that melts to create… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Humor

    Buca di Beppo

    Mamma mia! Stepping into Buca di Beppo is like walking into the greatest Little Italy flea market ever -- the place overflows with old photographs of Italian starlets and tacky souvenirs from the Vatican. So you'll understand why your companion might spend an inordinate amount of time in the basement bathroom: Retiring areas for both sexes are full of hilarious… More >>
  • Best Self-Serve

    The Melting Pot

    There's nothing cheesy about serving yourself, not when you get to cozy up to a warm pot of fondue at the Melting Pot. You get your choice of seasoned broths or oils, as well as your pick from a variety of meat-and-veggie combos; after the raw ingredients arrive, you fire up the table and get cooking, plunging the cut-to-order tenderloin… More >>
  • Best Tea Service

    Oak & Berries Tea Room at the Historic Holiday Chalet Bed & Breakfast

    If it's not quite to grandmother's house you go, the Oak & Berries Tea Room is the next best thing. Better, in fact, if your relatives didn't live in the elegant, high-Victorian style of the lovely Holiday Chalet, a B&B as well as the best place in town for tea. Roxanne Mays, former manager of afternoon teas at the Brown… More >>
  • Best Dolly Madison Store

    3835 E. 48th Ave.

    I scream, you scream, we all screamed when the Dolly Madison dairy stores closed this year, after giving the scoop to local ice cream lovers for over half a century. But you can take cold comfort in the fact that one outlet of the Dolly Madison chain is still serving: The shop inside the Dolly Madison plant is open to… More >>
  • Best Bread Puddings

    Trattoria Stella

    Man does not live by bread puddings alone, although one bite of Trattoria Stella's creations might suggest otherwise. Pastry queen Marna Freeman often has two or three puddings on the menu: The fruit-filled puddings vary depending on what's in season -- the occasional combo of blackberries, cherries and lemon is to die for -- and the others usually involve either… More >>
  • Best Mashed Potatoes

    Emma's Restaurant

    Very good things come in small packages. Tiny, charming Emma's has big ideas when it comes to food, and there's no finer example of this than the finger-lickin'-good spuds. These taters have an ideal texture -- light but not overwhipped, with teeny lumps to prove they're real -- and just the right amount of flavor from garlic that's been cooked… More >>
  • Best Pancakes

    Peppers

    You'll flip for the flapjacks at Peppers. Light and fluffy but still substantial enough that a stack of two makes a full meal, these slightly sweet, slightly malty hotcakes are the diner pancakes of your dreams. A ball of butter and a pitcher of warm syrup complete the picture. Of course, Peppers makes everything from scratch (the pies are marvelous,… More >>
  • Best Place to Score With a Sixty-Something Who Loves the King as Much as You Do

    Lookin' Good Lounge & Restaurant

    Uhh, huh, huh, oh, yeah, this is a shrine to Elvis, and the folks who frequent the Lookin' Good love the King almost as much as they love the Greek, Mexican and American fare that this kitchen has been cookin' up for 23 years. Lookin' Good's owners, Tim and Angela Melisaratos, love the King even more: They've filled their place… More >>
  • Best Cheap Steak

    Columbine Steak House & Lounge

    Columbine is less about the steaks and more about the scene -- one of the most interesting you'll find in this town. People from all walks of life pass through the forty-year-old joint, and some even order the steak. Which means that group, at least, will go away happy, because when the grill guy is in a good mood, the… More >>
  • Best Tequila Bar at the Airport

    Que Bueno!

    Need a shot of liquid courage before you check to see if that United flight is leaving anywhere near on time? Stop by Que Bueno!, which also happens to serve the best food you'll find at the airport -- big, fat burritos filled with your choice of commendable fillings and topped by salsas that range from mild to so fuerte… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    El Ranchito

    When most people in this town talk about great Mexican food, they're talking about the kind of burrito you find at El Ranchito. Don't bother telling them that the burrito was invented by Mexicans working in California, not Tijuana; and don't dare suggest that this style of burrito was designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. In fact, since… More >>
  • Best Chile Relleno

    Playa de Oro - CLOSED

    Get stuffed at Playo de Oro, a quiet, corner eatery that's half takeout, half eat-in -- and all about delicious, soft chiles rellenos. While many Denver diners are fans of the egg roll type of relleno, that's probably because they've eaten one too many disappointing soft versions, which too often go wrong in the cooking process. But Playa de Oro… More >>
  • Best Power Lunch

    CityGrille

    It's noon. Do you know where your legislator is? Chances are she's wolfing down one of Denver's best burgers at CityGrille, the gathering place/watering hole for anyone who's anyone at the State Capitol -- not to mention anyone who lobbies anyone there or across the street at city hall. But CityGrille isn't just for the power elite; if these walls… More >>
  • Best Chicken Wings

    Piper Inn

    The Piper Inn isn't tough to spot: It's the small, low bar on Parker Road that's hiding behind that wall of gleaming Harleys. Inexplicably named after the venerable airplane line, the Piper Inn is smoky and noisy and can be a great place to watch two grown men fight over a gal wearing not much more than thigh-high boots and… More >>
  • Best Dinner Under $5

    Kokoro

    You'll be bowled over by the bargain that is Kokoro. Since the Colorado Boulevard location opened in 1985, Kokoro has been serving healthy food for a very slim price, and the deal is the same at the newer site in Arvada. The regular-sized rice bowls and noodle bowls all come in at under $4 and are plenty for a meal,… More >>
  • Best Thick Pizza

    Parisi

    The crust on Parisi's pizza isn't the thick, thick Sicilian-style, but it's not crackly-thin, either. Let's split the difference and agree that this crust is simply delicious, thick enough to hold a ton of toppings, but not so thick that you're done for after a single slice. Simone Parisi, a native of Florence, Italy, and his wife, Christine, a native… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Sushi Den

    We've said it before, and we'll no doubt say it again: Sushi Den slices up the best sushi in town. The setting is stylish, the fish spanking fresh, and the owners adventurous enough to import their own from Japan so that Denverites can get a rare, raw look at what sushi should really be.… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    King's Land Seafood Restaurant

    This is some dim sum. King's Land, a cavernous Chinese restaurant at the edge of a parking lot that's surrounded by Asian markets and eateries, puts on the most authentic dim sum spread in town. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, the kitchen sends out carts in rapid succession bearing an… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    India's Rang Mahal

    Don't hold this inviting eatery's location against it -- once you're inside the patchouli-scented space that is India's Rang Mahal, you'll forget all about the strip mall outside. Rang Mahal, which means "color palace," lives up to its name: The restaurant is full of sensual delights, from the perfumey smells of incense to the rich fabrics that decorate the space… More >>
  • Best Chocolates

    Sweet Rockin' Coffee

    Caterer Tammy Davis, who first tempted us at a little diner called Divine Temptations, is back -- in a new space, but still up to her old tricks. Although Sweet Rockin' is an adorable bakery on its own, with an excellent coffee bar and breakfast and lunch items that satisfy both a hungry stomach and a sweet tooth, the real… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Boulder County Farmers' Market

    Every Saturday morning beginning April 7 and every Wednesday afternoon beginning May 9, latte sippers mingle with Boulder and Denver chefs, serious home cooks with chatty socializers, at the Boulder County Farmers' Market, the largest farmers' market in the state. It begins the season with flats of seedlings -- tomato, pepper and eggplant, to be nurtured inside, as well as… More >>
  • Best High-Fortune Fortune Cookies

    Dragon Cafe

    There was a time when fortune cookies contained messages imparting ancient Chinese wisdom, little snippets of philosophy to digest along with the food. But as times change, so do our concerns for the future -- which Dragon Cafe recognizes with fortunes that are right on the money. And so when you break open a cookie here, you'll get the message… More >>
  • Best Wine Shop

    Mondo Vino

    You've got the whole world in your hand when you're holding a bottle at Mondo Vino, a new wine shop whose contents span the globe. Every major wine-producing country is represented here, and owner Duey Kratzer, a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers, is more than happy to spend a few minutes -- or a few hours, if you… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Funky Buddha Lounge

    The Funky Buddha may be named for a chubby Eastern avatar, but what's really worshiped inside this happening club is the martini. The cocktail menu boasts a dizzying number of variations on the ol' James Bond standby; deciding between "shaken" and "stirred" is the least of your worries. Whatever you choose, you'll be able to sip your drink in style.… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Pita Jungle - CLOSED

    It would be annoying that chef/owner Sam Kraydie keeps announcing that Pita Jungle is the best Middle Eastern restaurant around -- if it didn't also happen to be true. This vibrantly decorated, fern-draped eatery boasts the town's top baba ghanouj -- the eggplant charbroiled for extra flavor and mashed with lots of lemon -- as well as killer kabobs, homemade… More >>
  • Best Southwestern Restaurant

    Julia Blackbird's

    Denver's never been overrun with Southwestern eateries, but we'd gladly surrender to this one. Everything in Julia Blackbird's pays homage to the Southwest, from the bright, colorful art and knickknacks -- the decor duplicates the owners' home -- to the chile-infused food made by chef/part owner Julia Siegfried-Garrison. The menu is basic, there's no liquor license (although we hope that… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Triana

    The barrio in Sevilla, Spain, called Triana is colorful and lively, the birthplace of famous bullfighters, a mecca for poets and folksingers, and quite possibly the original home of tapas. The restaurant in Boulder called Triana is colorful and lively, a mecca for foodies, the birthplace of Boulder's most well-rounded Latin scene and quite possibly the purveyor of the most… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad

    Bravo! Ristorante

    When it comes to Caesar salad, Bravo! plays a different tune. Not content to offer the usual romaine pile topped with Caesar dressing, croutons and parmesan, this elegant Italian eatery hails Caesar by adding endive and radicchio, which boosts the bitterness and also inserts color, and then tosses the greens with crisp romaine in a well-balanced blend of garlic, anchovies,… More >>
  • Best Old Bar

    Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill

    While recent Census Bureau statistics enlightened some locals to the fact that Denver is becoming an increasingly diverse city, patrons of Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill have known it all along. On any given night (or late morning, or mid-afternoon), the deliciously dilapidated interior crawls with the young, the old, the hip and the downtrodden -- all united under a… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches

    The Spicy Pickle - CLOSED

    Is that a pickle in your pocket, or are you just happy to see the best sandwiches in town? Both Spicy Pickle outlets specialize in friendly, efficient service that quickly crafts sandwiches out of top-notch ingredients. The breads provide the base: They're made by Il Fornaio and prove the ideal foundations for subs (thick, chewy Italian loaf) and panini (a… More >>
  • Best Eavesdropping Aid

    The Palm Restaurant

    Over there -- isn't that the city's top attorney having someone for lunch? And over there -- a greedy developer eyeing his companion's steak the same way he'd eye an empty plot in the Platte Valley! Take note of all the action on your special Palm Restaurant notepaper, thoughtfully provided by the management of a steakhouse known as much for… More >>
  • Best Over-the-Top Burger

    3rd Ave. Eclectic Burgers and Cuisine

    The Over-the-Top Burger at 3rd Ave. Eclectic Burgers and Cuisine is off the charts in more ways than one. If you have too many, your bank account may seize up even before your heart: This burger will set you back a fast $22. But it's worth experiencing at least once if you're intrigued by the thought of a half-pound of… More >>
  • Best Service

    Briarwood Inn

    When your water glass has been empty for an hour and you're eating steak with a spoon, when your second course arrives a half hour after the first and your check is set down before dessert, remember this: You could be sitting in the elegant Briarwood Inn, sipping champagne and celebrating the kind of ser-vice this town hasn't seen on… More >>
  • Best Place to Score With a Twenty-Something Whose Parents Still Pay the Rent

    California Pizza Kitchen

    After a hard day of shopping at the Gap, world-weary twenty-year-olds with more disposable income than the average office worker head to the CPK, as the California Pizza Kitchen is known by those in the know, to bond over barbecued-chicken-covered pizza and chopped salads. Look for them in groups of giggly blondes (at the tables) or Goth wannabes of either… More >>
  • Best Soft Serve

    CJ's Frozen Custard

    Coney Island is known for its thrills, and its most thrilling accomplishment may have been the invention of frozen custard back in 1919, a confection that later reached its peak popularity in the Midwest. Neighbors Cathy Haug and Joy Gunderson so missed the frozen custard of their youth that they decided to open CJ's Frozen Custard, in the process giving… More >>
  • Best Tea Service for Tots

    Country Gardens Tea House

    The side business of a flower shop tucked away on a dusty stretch of south Broadway, the Country Gardens Tea House isn't fancy -- which makes it the perfect place for an adult tea party with little girls Monday through Saturday (Sunday is reserved for parties). At the top tea price of $9.99 per customer, no matter the customer's size,… More >>
  • Best Applesauce Doughnuts

    Dutch Boy Donuts

    All those Kremey-come-lately doughnut joints keep coming to town, but Dutch Boy Donuts stubbornly hangs on. It's been frying up terrific doughnuts for 52 years, and a recent facelift should make the place good for another 52. Fortunately, nothing's been changed about the applesauce doughnuts; they're still a sweet way to start the day. … More >>
  • Best Paddy Melt

    Stockyards Inn

    Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling -- calling for you to get your buns up to the Stockyards Inn for the town's best patty melt. But because the Stockyards' owners are Irish -- very -- their version is known as a "paddy" melt. Except for the spelling change, though, this is a quintessential take on the classic… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Gateaux

    When this simple, inviting bakery opened, it seemed like we'd been waiting for Gateaux our entire lives. From moist, hearty muffins and fruit-filled scones to chocolate-coated petits fours, oversized cookies and cinnamon rolls coated in crunchy sugar and topped with a rich cream-cheese icing, Gateaux takes the cake -- which is only fitting, since its name means "cake" in French.… More >>
  • Best Fish and Chips

    Hemingway's Key West Grille

    Papa would be proud of the way Hemingway's Key West Grille has come into its own. These days the kitchen consistently cooks up some of the best seafood in town, serving it in a fun, casual nautical setting that captures some of Key West's appeal. But we doubt the author ever reeled in a catch as tasty as his namesake's… More >>
  • Best Cheap Breakfast

    Miguel's Breakfast Club

    There's no Miguel at Miguel's Breakfast Club anymore -- he was the manager who up and left not long after this modest spot opened -- but the movie poster for The Breakfast Club still hangs behind the pool tables as a reminder of where the rest of the name came from. More important, owner Mary Ramirez is still here. Ramirez… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Blue 67

    You'd think that with 67 martinis to choose from, we'd find one that we like. But the problem is, we like them all. In fact, we like everything about Blue 67, a hip, inviting spot with jazz in the background and decor that appears to be a Japanese decorator's take on the swinging '60s. The drink roster includes some martinis… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    20th Street Cafe

    The 20th Street Cafe bills itself as a "working man's cafe," but this increasingly upscale area doesn't have many working men these days -- not the sort the café was originally designed to serve, at any rate. But everyone from day laborers to high-paid attorneys can appreciate the down-home cooking served in this storefront, including a great chicken-fried steak, pounded… More >>
  • Best Place to Nurse a Hangover

    Jamba Juice

    If the night was too long and you were too easy, head to this healthy juice joint for a quick pick-me-up. Order a Vitamin C-packed smoothie (Jamba Juice offers dozens of variations, including Berry Lime Sublime and Orange Berry Blitz) or straight juice (wheatgrass, carrot, ginger and the standard orange are among the choices), then add such boosters as echinacea,… More >>
  • Best Original Big Burrito

    El Taco de Mexico

    Long before those new Mexican grills started popping up on almost every corner, featuring big, big burritos the size and weight of bricks, stuffed with quality meats and drapped with an assortment of nuevo salsas, there was El Taco de Mexico. At this very down-home, very authentic Mexican joint, the friendly servers take big, fresh flour tortillas and wrap them… More >>
  • Best Tostada

    Mexico City Lounge

    In honor of the new century and the ever-improving ballpark neighborhood, Mexico City Lounge has done a thorough house-cleaning -- right down to remodeled bathrooms and a tiny expansion that put two tables in the former kitchen -- and moved the kitchen to the back of the old Larimer Square storefront. The change in kitchen locations apparently necessitated an oil… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch Buffet

    The 35th Avenue Grille at the Park Hill Golf Club

    Sometimes you don't feel like getting all gussied up and heading out for a Sunday brunch that's going to require loosening your belt just to finish the meal and then downing seven Tums afterward. Sometimes it's enough to go somewhere that's easy on the eyes, heart and pocketbook. And those are the times we head to the newly remodeled 35th… More >>
  • Best Power Munch

    1876 Restaurant
    Hyatt Regency Denver

    Remember, time is money -- which is why so many businesspeople bank on the lunchtime buffet at 1876. The spread is a real deal: $10.99 buys all you can eat of whatever cuisine is featured that day (sometimes an assortment of Mexican dishes, sometimes Italian), as well as a pass by the make-your-own sandwich board and two soups. But the… More >>
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