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Food & Drink

  • BEST HOMEGROWN CHOCOLATE

    Chocolove 1-888-Chocolove

    The very name "Chocolove" sounds like the title of a bad '70s blaxploitation flick. This chocolate is embarrassing to buy, tough to develop a taste for, and every bar comes wrapped with a love poem that's almost unforgivably cheesy. But still, we've got nothing but love for what's coming off the small-batch production line at this Boulder-based company, which reflects… More >>
  • BEST NEW WEST RESTAURANT

    Elway's

    Big John doesn't cook at Elway's. Although this Cherry Creek steakhouse boasts Elway's larger-than-life name over its larger-than-life doors, John isn't flipping your burgers, grilling your steaks, assembling your s'mores or bringing your order to the table. Those tasks fall to the excellent kitchen crew and floor staff overseen by manager extraordinaire Tom Moxcey, who works hard to translate Elway's… More >>
  • BEST WILD WEST RESTAURANT

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    There was a time when the West was a new frontier where anything was possible and everything was for sale. It was a time of risk-taking and big gambles, of catastrophe and payoff. And though venture capitalists have taken the place of cowboys, and captains of industry now live where cattle barons once kept their herds, that Wild West spirit… More >>
  • BEST AMERICAN MENU

    Bonnie Brae Tavern

    Over the past seventy-odd years, few modern influences have slipped into Bonnie Brae Tavern to mess up the place. Since they opened the onetime roadhouse right across the street from the headquarters of the Denver Temperance League in 1934, members of the Dire family may have slapped on a few coats of paint and changed some menu items, but otherwise… More >>
  • BEST NEW AMERICAN MENU

    Mel's Restaurant and Bar

    "New American" has come to mean many things. The words are applied to cuisines as varied as the obsessive food geekery of Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, the chem-lab weirdness of molecular gastronomy, and the burgers-and-beer rosters of a thousand neighborhood taverns daring enough to use leaf lettuce rather than iceberg. But what New American really means is a… More >>
  • BEST SERVING-UNTIL-MIDNIGHT MENU

    Wazee Supper Club

    Founded by the same guys -- Angelo and Jim Karagas -- who gave us My Brother's Bar, and now part of the Wynkoop family of restaurants, the Wazee Supper Club has been a favorite destination for Denver's night owls since 1974. The space is classically art-deco, with black-and-white tile floors and a beautiful long bar that's served as a second… More >>
  • BEST SERVING-UNTIL-MORNING MENU

    Monkey Bean

    Sometimes you really want ricotta pancakes at three in the morning. Sometimes you need a panini-pressed breakfast burrito and a strong cup of coffee. And sometimes all that's required is a plate of cocktail wieners and a Rice Krispies treat. No matter what you're hungering for, there's a good chance that owners Monique Costello and Amy Rosewater will have exactly… More >>
  • BEST FUSION MENU

    Zengo

    Give and take, back and forth, yin and yang -- Zengo's menu, concept and even its design are structured around the idea of taking something good and pairing it, topping it or mashing it together with something even better. Technically, Zengo bills itself as a Latino-Asian fusion restaurant -- which is strange enough -- but what it really does is… More >>
  • BEST BIG-PLATES MENU

    Carmine's on Penn

    A "family-style" restaurant is almost always synonymous with a very, very bad restaurant. Not so with Carmine's on Penn, where gigantic plates and pastas served by the pound receive all the care and attention normally seen only at very fussy, regular-size-plate restaurants. Here, tables groan under deep bowls of linguine with white clam sauce and gigantic platters of pasta Montana… More >>
  • BEST SMALL-PLATES MENU

    The 9th Door

    In adopting -- and adapting -- the theme of drunken, lazy, artistic Spanish dining, the 9th Door has deliberately painted itself into a very good culinary corner, forcing the kitchen to stay true to the influences of Spanish cuisine and the bar to the ideal of fully tanked Spanish drinking habits. The menu was designed by consulting chef Michel Wahaltere,… More >>
  • BEST TASTING MENU

    Sushi Sasa

    Omakase. That's the magic word at Sushi Sasa: Cook for me. When you say this at the sushi bar, you free chef Wayne Conwell or a member of his talented crew to assemble a unique, adventurous, individual feast (priced at $60, $80 or $120, depending on the number of courses). And once the food arrives, there's no doubt that you're… More >>
  • BEST MENU, PERIOD

    Nine75

    Nine75 -- the original Nine75, soon to be joined by at least two sibling restaurants -- has had some ups and downs since it opened in the former home of Moda. There was a period when the house was struggling to find its niche, a longer period where it was trying to get found by the kind of customers who'd… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO

    Viva Burrito Company

    Viva Burrito Company has zero decor, zero ambience (unless you're really turned on by cement) and is basically just a little red box with a kitchen, but the food coming out of that kitchen is fantastic. Not white-tablecloth fantastic; plastic-silverware-and-paper-napkin fantastic, with a serious "Gimme twenty bucks and I'll show you the real Mexico" vibe. The show starts with Viva's… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP BREAKFAST

    20th Street Cafe

    No wi-fi, no cappuccino, no dress code and no service past 2:30 in the afternoon. That's what makes the 20th Street Cafe our favorite breakfast bar. But the prices -- which top out under the ten-dollar mark -- also make it the best place in Denver for breakfast on the cheap. The venerable cafe isn't fancy, and it doesn't have… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST

    Original Pancake House

    Strong coffee, excellent corned beef hash, unrivaled cherry crepes and fresh-squeezed orange juice like neon rocket fuel: At seven o'clock in the morning, it doesn't get better than this. The Original Pancake House uses nothing but the best ingredients and the best products, and employs line cooks who know how to work fast and clean and how to execute a… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO SKIP THE MCMUFFIN

    Emogene Patisserie & Cafe

    Come on, give us one good reason why some cheapjack McBreakfast thing bought from a creepy clown is your favorite way to start the day. Done? Good. Now ditch the drive-thru and get yourself down to Emogene for the breakfast sandwich -- a perfect blend of three scrambled eggs, muenster cheese, frisee and fleur de sel on brioche, all for… More >>
  • BEST ASIAN BREAKFAST

    Pho 79

    Soup is good food -- especially for breakfast -- and there's no better place to start slurping than Pho 79. There are three local links in this short Vietnamese chain, and any of them is an ideal spot for an eye-opening bowl of hot pho and a cool glass of coffee that delivers like a fix of crystal meth. Our… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH BREAKFAST

    Katherine's French Bakery

    Sure, we make fun of the French. We have to, because the French, unlike us Americans, really know how to live. Take breakfast, for example. Here, we're constantly bombarded by ads and doctors telling us to eat our twigs and berries and take our vitamins and make sure to balance our intake of carbs and proteins. Meanwhile, in Paris they… More >>
  • BEST JET-TRASH BREAKFAST

    Prima Ristorante

    Brunch at Prima runs from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and the very first item on the menu is "Unlimited Prosecco, $8." Seriously, eight bucks. Seriously, unlimited. You walk into this Kevin Taylor restaurant tucked into Hotel Teatro, you sit down (these days, probably only with a reservation), you open your menu, and you demand all… More >>
  • BEST BAGELS

    The Bagel Store

    The Bagel Store sits in a quiet strip mall in the heart of Leetsdale's Little Russia, tucked away in the back tier next to a baby-supply store. It doesn't take plastic, is staffed by young guys who look like the Beastie Boys circa 1986, when License to Ill was first flying off the shelves, and has limited hours, from 6… More >>
  • BEST CINNAMON ROLLS

    Johnson's Corner I-25 at exit 254 1-970-667-2069

    It's comforting to know that some things in the world never change. The sun will rise, the sun will set, and now and forever, Johnson's Corner will make the best cinnamon rolls known to man. Since 1952, this family-owned and -operated truck stop has been serving down-home, King of the Road cuisine to hungry truckers, travelers and wanderers of every… More >>
  • BEST JELLY

    Frasca

    Frasca's red-pepper jelly, which serves as a condiment on its cheese plates, is amazing. It has a haunting flavor -- sweet, peppery, sharp, astringent and salty all at the same time, tasting vaguely like the egg roll sauce at a good Chinese restaurant, a little like expensive port-wine jelly, and solidly of red bell peppers. Once you start eating it,… More >>
  • BEST HANGOVER BREAKFAST

    Mezcal

    If your situation is dire, skip the menu and go straight to the bar at Mezcal for a tall glass of the house sangrita mix (a spicy tomato juice, used for making its bloody Mary and other such health-food drinks) and two cans of Pacifico off the short, sweet Mexican beer list. After that, you may actually be recovered enough… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST AT TWO IN THE AFTERNOON

    Lucile's

    Thank God for Fletcher Richards, who, in his wisdom, decided that what the world really needed was another outlet of Lucile's, his insanely popular Boulder breakfast joint. And thank God twice that he decided to open it in Denver. The space he picked is perfect, with lots of floor space, an upstairs lounge, a next-door waiting area and a second-floor… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST AT TWO
    IN THE MORNING

    Breakfast King

    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the Breakfast King is here for you. You, the night owl, the club kid, the insomniac or vampire; you who've never understood how anyone can sleep before the sun comes up. And over all those long nights, the Breakfast King has never forgotten that the first duty of… More >>
  • BEST BRUNCH

    Bistro Vendome

    Don't get us wrong: Chef Eric Roeder also does a great dinner at Bistro Vendome. He's got that whole hidden-French-bistro thing down, and when Larimer Square gets to looking like the run up to a well-dressed soccer riot on weekend nights, you'd be advised to duck down the little alley that leads to Vendome for a glass of wine and… More >>
  • BEST QUICK LUNCH

    Diana's Greek Market and Deli

    Everyone at Diana's knows that time is of the essence for the downtown lunch bunch, and they work like champs to deliver. One minute from order to plate -- that seems to be the average since Vic and Diana Katopodis took over the Economy Greek Market four years ago and made it entirely their own. Everything here is short-order, counter-served… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP LUNCH

    Oshima Ramen

    In Japan, ramen is a proper meal, eaten sitting down or standing up, on the street and in regular ramen restaurants decorated with big-eyed laughing cartoon children and Day-Glo pandas. More than soba, more than udon, the humble ramen noodle is Japan's most culturally identifiable food -- its Big Mac, its mac-and-cheese. And here in Denver, we're lucky to have… More >>
  • BEST MOTHERF*&$ING EXPENSIVE LUNCH

    Capital Grille

    Lunch at the Capital Grille doesn't have to be that expensive, but since you're already here, why not whip out that platinum card and make something of your day? Forget the iced tea and have the bar pour you a couple of top-shelf martinis instead. Screw the value-shopper cheeseburger (it can be gotten better and cheaper elsewhere) and go for… More >>
  • BEST THREE-HOUR LUNCH

    Le Central

    Le Central has always been our escape hatch, our parachute, our emergency exit from the daily grind. And while the art of extended lunching has been largely forgotten in this era of eighty-hour work weeks and over-scheduled everything, it isn't completely lost. Yet. And while you can get in and out of Le Central in a hurry -- bolting down… More >>
  • BEST PATIO LUNCH

    Cafe Star

    When the sun is out and the skies are clear, there's no better place to get a taste of the city than the patio outside Cafe Star. First, it's right on Colfax, and Colfax is the heart of Denver, at the center of the eternal battle between retail and residential. The streets are full of neighbors and street creatures, friends… More >>
  • BEST PATIO ANYTIME

    West End Tavern

    At the West End Tavern -- Dave Query's remaking of a classic neighborhood hangout -- the patio is all about the view. And the ashtrays. With precious few places left in the Republic of Boulder where you can light up and surprisingly few restaurants with a clear view of the Flatirons, the West End's rooftop patio is the ideal spot… More >>
  • BEST LIQUID LUNCH

    Pho Fusion

    One day Tom Bird realized that no one in Denver had combined the booming fast-casual restaurant model with the fresh, healthy benefits of Vietnamese cuisine. And so he started Pho Fusion, which serves not just pho, but spring rolls and lettuce wraps, a decent cup of Vietnamese coffee and a spread of popular mutt-Asian entrees. But the four pho offerings… More >>
  • BEST HOLE-IN-THE-WALL

    Grandpa's Burger Haven

    Grandpa's Burger Haven is a hole-in-the-wall in the truest sense, a spot where you shout your order through an actual hole in the wall. Originally, this was all there was to Grandpa's -- just a little white-and-chrome box with a kitchen inside and a window to shout your order through. Today there's a kind of enclosed solarium where customers can… More >>
  • BEST VIEW INSIDE A RESTAURANT

    West End Tavern

    How to put this delicately... There's this one seat on the patio at West End Tavern that some might consider the best seat in the house. At first glance, however, it looks like the worst seat in the house -- closest to the door between the patio and the stairs, closest to the waitress station, on a corner that everyone… More >>
  • BEST VIEW OUTSIDE A RESTAURANT

    Peaks Lounge Hyatt Regency Denver

    On a clear day, you can see forever -- or at least to the Continental Divide, stretching out sixty, seventy, a hundred miles away to the north and southwest. From Peaks Lounge, tucked into the 27th floor of the Hyatt Regency Denver, the views are as stunning as the setup of the hotel itself. Grab a table by the window… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP DINNER

    Mickey's Top Sirloin

    Last year, Mickey's moved from its decades-old home to a brand-spanking-new spot across the parking lot. And while the joint lost a little bit of historic funk in the process, it didn't lose any of the sirloin that makes it a top cheap-dining destination -- not the cows pictured on the walls, and not those served on the plate. Although… More >>
  • BEST MOTHERF*&$ING EXPENSIVE DINNER

    Opus Restaurant 2575 W. Main St., Littleton 303-703-6787 - CLOSED

    Chef Michael Long is a genius. Not the stuffy, pocket-protector kind, but more the mad scientist sort. And his laboratory is Opus, where every night he brings his smart, bent vision of New American cuisine to bear on the ever-changing menu. There are lobster chops and gingered chicken, pumpkin flan from the attached patisserie, innovative appetizers, beautiful desserts. And it's… More >>
  • BEST MOTHERF*&$ING EXPENSIVE WAY TO END A DINNER

    Frasca 1738 Pearl St.

    By the time they've made their way through the rest of Frasca's rich menu, diners probably don't notice the hefty price tag attached to the chocolate platter, a "selection of housemade chocolates" tucked among the tarts and cheeses. An excessive and decadent bank-breaking offering of a dozen or so handcrafted candies featuring Valrhona chocolate and every trick in the chocolatier's… More >>
  • BEST DINNER DEAL

    Frasca

    Seem weird that a restaurant would offer both the best expensive dessert in the area and the best dinner deal? Well, maybe it would be weird if the restaurant were anyplace but Frasca. This spot is all about juxtaposition, and nowhere is that more clear than on the community nights that Frasca celebrates every Monday, offering a multi-course, prix fixe… More >>
  • BEST DINNER UNDER $5

    Palm Tree Grill

    Spam is a funny thing. So maligned, so wrongly identified with trailer parks and camping trips gone horribly wrong, this pink and quivering loaf of tinned meat has taken some serious hits over the years. And yet like sweetened condensed milk and processed rice pudding, it's also become inextricably linked with certain cuisines where its existence sometimes made the difference… More >>
  • BEST DINNER UNDER $10

    Parisi

    At Parisi, the trick isn't finding something satisfying for dinner that will cost less than a ten-spot. That's easy: The extensive menu includes several dishes so cheap and so good that we'd gladly pay double if there were, say, only one order of the gnocchi Sorrentina left in the kitchen and someone in line ahead of us. No, eating cheap… More >>
  • BEST DINNER UNDER $25

    Rioja

    Rioja is not a cheap restaurant, by any means, but it offers two of the best meals in the city for under twenty bucks each. The first is the Rioja picnic. Just $14.50 buys you a big plate filled with everything necessary to make an antipasto freak smile: Spanish chorizo; shaved, dried duck breast; speck; a little goat cheese; a… More >>
  • BEST QUICK DINNER BEFORE
    A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

    Sam's #3

    Last year, Sam's #3 opened in pretty much the same spot where the original Sam's closed almost fifty years before, and ever since, culture vultures have had a surefire option for gulping a fast dinner before taking in a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex a block away. Even though the menu is incredibly extensive, offering everything from fried… More >>
  • BEST DECENT DINNER
    WHEN DINING WITH KIDS

    Coral Room

    The biggest difference between the original Coral Room in the Highland neighborhood and this new, improved model at Stapleton is how it accommodates that one indispensable accessory of the 21st-century nuclear unit: children. Kids can be the fine-dining kiss of death, so it makes sense that a restaurant designed expressly for upwardly mobile thirty-something families would include space for pint-sized… More >>
  • BEST DINNER DESTINATION
    FOR MAKIN' BABIES

    Z Cuisine

    If French is the language of love, then French food is the cuisine of lust -- an entire canon of recipes and preparations that, when done well, can make a lady's panties leap from her body and a gentleman's thoughts turn to committing impure acts of passion in the street. And Z Cuisine does things so very, very well that… More >>
  • BEST DINNER DESTINATION
    FOR IMPRESSING THE FOLKS

    The Fort

    Dad wants steak. Mom wants chicken. Your little sister is on some kind of freaky, fish-only, zero-tolerance diet. And you just want enough whiskey to get you through a meal without strangling anyone or being forced to have another talk about your impending court date. So head to the hills -- specifically, The Fort. Housed in a replica of the… More >>
  • BEST DINNER DESTINATION
    FOR IMPRESSING A DATE

    Deluxe - CLOSED

    Sex and food are powerful motivators, and no restaurant combines these two things better than Deluxe. There are high-backed banquettes in front, cozy two-tops in the back, leopard-print carpets, dim lights and cool jazz drooling from hidden speakers, all of which combine to showcase chef Dylan Moore's beautiful and overwhelmingly sensuous take on the California Cuisine revolution of the mid-'80s.… More >>
  • BEST DINNER DESTINATION
    FOR IMPRESSING A BLIND DATE

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    Argentine food is sexy. The tastes and smells, the combinations of flavors -- spicy and sweet, salty and savory -- and the esoteric mix of culinary styles that come from centuries of immigration and invasion all work together to weave a tapestry of pure sensualism. Buenos Aires Pizzeria does right by Argentine cuisine, offering dozens of unusual pizzas, empanadas, pastas… More >>
  • BEST DINNER ON YOUR
    OWN DIME

    Mizuna

    Mizuna is a restaurant you can love for a lifetime. Ever-changing, impeccably serviced by a thoroughly professional floor staff and as comforting as dinner in your favorite uncle's kitchen, it's a neighborhood place that draws in crowds (and these days, cooks) from across the country, all of them coming to taste the first, best expression of Frank Bonanno's hard work,… More >>
  • BEST DINNER ON SOMEONE ELSE'S DIME

    Sushi Den

    Maybe you've never tried sea-urchin roe -- a delicacy among the Japanese, a pricey indulgence for hard-core fish-heads here in Denver. Maybe you've never tried toro, the fatty belly of massive tuna that can fetch a higher price than its weight in cocaine on the blood-slick floors of Japanese fish markets. Needlefish? Raw shrimp? Tempura crab in blueberry ponzu sauce?… More >>
  • BEST DINNER WHEN
    DINING ALONE

    Duo

    No matter where you find yourself sitting -- at the bar, in the brick-faced dining room, pressed up against the pass rail or lurking in one of the corners -- a solo dinner at Duo is a truly transporting experience. This neighborhood bistro boasts two of Denver's best chefs (John Broening in the kitchen and Yasmin Lozada-Hissom on pastries), but… More >>
  • BEST GREEN CHILE

    Jack-n-Grill

    When you want the best green chile, go to a green-chile expert. And when you're looking for a green-chile expert, Jack-n-Grill's Jack Martinez is your man. Before starting this solidly New Mexican restaurant, Martinez was a chile importer -- a guy who lived and breathed chiles and who has opinions on all of them. For example: "Colorado-style" green chile, with… More >>
  • BEST COLORADO-STYLE
    GREEN CHILE

    CityGrille

    Green chile has cult status in this state, and there's no better place to worship the peculiar concoction that is Colorado-style green chile than at CityGrille. Colorado verde is thicker and gooier than New Mexico green, and the fat chunks of pork give it more muscle and depth. While this hometown version might be considered blasphemy in Hatch country, at… More >>
  • BEST USE OF CHILES IN A
    NON-MEXICAN RESTAURANT

    Gaetano's

    Only in Denver will you find an Italian restaurant doing something interesting with New Mexican chiles, and only at Gaetano's will you find "Tasty Treats." This bizarrely Southwestern take on Italian stuffed peppers puts green chiles and ground sausage inside a pastry shell, and gross as that may sound, it's actually quite a tasty treat indeed. When the Wynkoop family… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SMELL THE CHILES ROASTING

    Nick's Garden Center 2001 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora 303-696-6657

    Smell, they say, is the most powerful of all the senses. A smell can trigger memory, inflame passions, evoke emotion and transport us more quickly than any other sense in our biological arsenal. And if there's any smell more indicative of life in the American Southwest than the odor of green chiles roasting in an outdoor drum, we don't know… More >>
  • BEST TACO

    El Taco de Mexico

    It's named El Taco de Mexico for a reason: Tacos are what this little Mexican lunch counter does best. All of the tacos on the menu -- from the most pedestrian shredded-beef variety to the gastronaut special packed with ropy calves' brains -- are as authentically Mexican as you're going to get this side of Tijuana. So is the eatery… More >>
  • BEST GREASY TACO

    El Toro

    Once a slew of relatives worked the Mexican joints up and down Larimer Street, turning out the same great, greasy tacos with cookie-cutter efficiency. But family members split off, others moved on, and finally the last, best repository of the secret taco formula is El Toro, a modest joint tucked into an industrial area off of Colorado Boulevard. But there's… More >>
  • BEST DRIVE-THRU TACO

    Viva Burrito

    The deep-fried taco is a rarity these days. But Viva Burrito offers them 24/7/365 -- and you don't even have to get out of your car. Order a taco plate at the window, and you get two wholly inauthentic tacos, the corn tortillas fried, wrapped like a fist around lumps of shredded beef that's tender and chewy at the center,… More >>
  • BEST TACO NUEVO

    Nine75

    If something as naturally good as a taco has to get all gussied up, then Troy Guard is the guy you want to do the job. He starts by tearing out the taco's guts, turning it into a wonton, opening it up and stuffing it with white rice and flash-seared ahi tuna and bright chunks of mango -- but he… More >>
  • BEST BURRITO

    La Casa de Manual

    Big burritos have become big business, the stuff of nationwide chains and wild IPOs. Today you can get your burrito filled with pork from hand-fed pigs and guaranteed-gasless beans, topped with your choice of six exotic salsas and soy sour cream. When a simple burro becomes that complicated, though, it's time to get back to basics. And there's nothing more… More >>
  • BEST TAMALE

    Villa Cafe

    For generations, the tamal was the humblest expression of Mexican comfort food. But in recent years, with the popularity of all things Mexi-culinary exploding, tamales have been brought out of the cocinas and into the limelight, subjected to all manner of torturous revisions that have done nothing whatsoever to improve on their essential perfection. A bit of meat, a bit… More >>
  • BEST TORTILLA SOUP

    Milagro Taco Bar

    Although Frank Bonanno is still tinkering with many things at Milagro, the tortilla soup is already perfect -- a silky puree of fried tortillas and chicken stock, garlic, onions, a hint of tomato so light it barely changes the soup's lovely nut-brown color, and a lace of huitlacoche (Mexico's answer to truffles, which are Bonanno's answer to everything) that gives… More >>
  • BEST TORTILLA SOUP IN A BAG

    Qdoba Mexican Grill

    It's always a pleasant surprise to find a chain restaurant doing something well -- particularly when it's a local chain like Qdoba, which has long been overshadowed by the success of Chipotle. Using its basic fixings, Qdoba recently added a tortilla soup to its takeout repertoire that's flat-out delicious -- a thick, hearty soup that's essentially a deconstructed taco soaked… More >>
  • BEST CHIPS AND SALSA

    Sabor Latino - CLOSED

    It should come as no surprise that Sabor Latino makes the best chips and salsa in town. After all, tortilla chips are the french fries, the bar peanuts, the potato chips of the Southwestern world, and Sabor Latino is Denver's best bulk purveyor of all things Central and South American. This comfortable, quaint neighborhood restaurant does excellent arepas, it does… More >>
  • BEST FREE CHIPS AND SALSA

    Chama

    With excellent, fresh, crispy chips and three fantastic salsas: That's how every meal at Chama begins, and it's how your meal can end, as well, if you politely ask the house to pack a little extra to go. The trio of salsas are perfect in their own right, covering the full spectrum of heat and flavor. There's a cool, green… More >>
  • BEST FREE SNACKS

    Luca d'Italia

    The amuse-bouche, though overdone in some places and simply ridiculous in others, is always a sight to behold at Luca d'Italia. Here, Frank Bonanno and his crew use flavors that will no doubt repeat in the coming meal to construct a one-bite masterpiece perfect for putting guests in the proper frame of mind to appreciate the brilliant, complicated simplicity of… More >>
  • BEST MARGARITA

    Chama

    We're not sure who concocted the first margarita -- there are various accounts, none conclusive -- but we know that person was a genius. Combine fresh lime juice with a good, 100 percent agave tequila and triple sec, and eureka! Sadly, over the years that original formula has been bastardized, with sweet-and-sour replacing lime juice, and peaches, strawberries and even… More >>
  • BEST CLASSIC MARTINI

    Avenue Grill

    The classic martini is a thing of beauty, an expression of elegance distilled into a glass bucket of gin and two olives. At the Avenue Grill, the bartenders know exactly what a proper martini is about, and they pour them untainted by modernity or nouvelle gimmicks. Gin, gin, gin and olives is the right formula, with just a kiss of… More >>
  • BEST CONTEMPORARY MARTINI

    Parallel Seventeen

    Because there will always be those who can't leave well enough alone, there will always be one place that does wrong better than anyone else. This year, that place is Parallel Seventeen, with its wrongheaded but very right-tasting Vietnamese Coffee Martini. Made of chilled Vietnamese coffee, vanilla Stoli, Kahlúa and a single dot of sweetened condensed milk lurking in the… More >>
  • BEST MARTINI CART

    Brown Palace Hotel

    There are few experiences more genteel than enjoying cocktails in the Brown Palace Atrium: The space is casual, yet has a well-heeled charm augmented by the tinkling piano, super-comfy seating and a fabulous ceiling eight stories above, complete with skylights and chandeliers. And then the martini cart, covered with elite liqueurs and elegant silver shakers, drifts tableside to mix up… More >>
  • BEST USE OF LIQUOR
    IN A KIDS' DRINK

    West End Tavern

    The West End Tavern has that whole notion of backyard-picnic comfort food down. But perhaps its greatest contribution to that laziest of cuisines comes not from the kitchen, but from the bar -- where the tenders will adulterate all your memories of happy summer afternoons by whipping up a killer root beer float using Thomas Kemper small-batch artisan root beer… More >>
  • BEST BEER LIST

    Falling Rock Tap House

    Of all the beer joints in all the towns in all the world, we walked into the Falling Rock Tap House -- and it's a miracle we were ever able to leave. Because this is not just the best beer joint in Denver, but maybe the world. And not just because Falling Rock has at least seventy beers on tap,… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL MICROBREW LIST

    Falling Rock Tap House

    Although Falling Rock can -- and does -- stock beers from around the world, it devotes a good part of its on-tap real estate to Colorado microbrews, showcasing an industry that could be this state's most liquid asset. The lineup changes often and usually includes such noteworthy brews as Avery IPA, Cheshire Cat Arrogant Brit and Left Hand Black Jack… More >>
  • BEST BREWPUB

    Wynkoop Brewing Company

    What's a brewpub made of? Well, brew and a pub. And Wynkoop wins on both counts. It makes -- and sells on site -- more beer than any other Denver-area brewpub. And there's no question that it's pubbier than the rest. Warm, woody, comfortable and friendly, with a menu full of good food (get the vegetarian chili and have the… More >>
  • BEST TEQUILA LIST

    Chama

    We raise our glass to Chama -- technically, Chama Cocina Mexicana y Tequileria -- which takes the last word in its lengthy name seriously. Chama stocks more than 200 varieties of tequila -- some of which we'd never seen north of the Mexican border before -- and its bartenders are happy to instruct you in all the nuances of this… More >>
  • BEST TEQUILA AMBASSADOR

    Ryan Halbert

    For three years, Ryan Halbert served up some of the town's best margaritas at Lola, and he was always a font of agave education. He'd take diners on liquid tours of Mexico at Lola's many tequila-tasting dinners, guiding them through the differences between silver, blanco, reposado and anejo styles of 100 percent agave tequila, and making sure that they were… More >>
  • BEST WINE LIST

    Frasca

    For a few years, Adega -- with its wine wall and booze bible -- always won the battle of the bottles. This year the title goes to Frasca. First, of course, there's the wine list: the canonical roster of bottles and producers and vintages lorded over by sommelier Bobby Stuckey. But a wine list is about more than labels; it's… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH WINE LIST

    Z Cuisine

    Z Cuisine has two wine lists. The first is a standard roster sketched in looping, handwritten script full of appellations and Chateau de blah-blahs that will defeat anyone without an extensive knowledge of wine and region, not to mention the ability to read French. The second is a chalkboard hung beside the list of the night's fare, showing by-the-glass wine… More >>
  • BEST YOUNG WINE BAR

    Brix - CLOSED

    One of the things that makes Brix so charming to certain people -- and perhaps disconcerting to those expecting less nonchalance -- is that the place is so laid-back that it can be hard to tell who's an employee, who's a partner, who's a delivery guy and who's a customer. Brix has a lot of friends-of-the-house, and people just sort… More >>
  • BEST OLD WINE BAR

    1515 Restaurant

    Gene Tang loves wine, and if you get a restaurateur who loves wine, odds are you're going to get a restaurant shaped -- and sometimes defined -- by its wine list. But Tang has managed to check some of his more extreme vinous impulses, and over the past few years he's been studying the sommelier's handbook, slowly integrating his wine… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH FRIES

    Hog Heaven Bar-B-Que

    For five years, the trailer sitting in the parking lot was the home of Hog Heaven. Owner and pit man Rod Ashby -- a former truck-drivin' man who got his taste for 'cue on the road -- has had the standing location in Bailey for another six. So that's eleven years of cooking barbecue, and in that time, Ashby has… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH TOAST

    240 Union

    The kitchen at 240 Union depends heavily on the smarts of its cooks and its mesquite grills -- grills that were a symbol of the California Cuisine "revolution" of the mid-'80s -- and that's appropriate, because a lot of 240 Union's menu reflects both a fierce, sometimes funny intelligence and the slow, natural tempering of the Californian ideals of seasonality,… More >>
  • BEST FRITES

    Bistro Vendome

    How frite it is: At Bistro Vendome, chef Eric Roeder offers three kinds of steak frites -- a classique, an au poivre and a Roquefort. His galley bangs out dozens of orders every night, cutting the spuds, blanching the frites, leaving the thin strips to rest, then dropping them into oil for a fast fry that gives them the ideal… More >>
  • BEST MOULES ET FRITES

    Le Central

    There's nothing more soothing than a huge bowl of fresh mussels, perfectly cooked, surrounded by hedgerows of frites fresh from the fryer. Moules et frites is comfort food for the terminally overserved, for those who eat more meals out than they do at home and can appreciate both the vigorous innovation of today's young chefs and the beautiful classicism of… More >>
  • BEST FRIED CHEESE

    The 9th Door

    The small plates at the 9th Door have a lot of big tastes -- and the biggest may be the fried cheese. While we like a nice plate of white-trash mozzarella and canned marinara as much as the next guy, the 9th Door offers a much classier take: deep-fried balls of goat cheese topped with a drizzle of spiced honey.… More >>
  • BEST CHEESE COURSE

    Duo

    We're consistently amazed by the lengths to which some restaurants will go to find the weirdest, funkiest, most hyper-regional cheeses to fill out their boards. There have been cheeses produced only in one tiny region of Italy or France, at one monastery, or by a blind, six-toed virgin who takes her cheese-making directions directly from God. But Duo brings the… More >>
  • BEST FRIED CHICKEN

    Castle Cafe

    Real pan-fried chicken is a rarity. Making it is labor-intensive, time-consuming, messy and ties up a godawful amount of stove-top real estate in a busy galley. Good pan-fried chicken is even rarer, because there just isn't that much call for it in this part of the country -- and unless you were raised way down south or in Kansas City,… More >>
  • BEST CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK

    Breakfast King

    Believe it or not, in this age of diet plans and weight-loss drugs, of liposuction and tummy tucks, we still hear from people desperate to know where they can get a good chicken-fried steak. And every time, we tell them to go to the Breakfast King. At any hour of the day or night, the King is ready to whip… More >>
  • BEST FRIED SHRIMP

    Sapa

    The "Hanoi Delights" plate at Sapa is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Chinese pupu platter: a huge sampling of appetizers arranged on one dish and meant for sharing. But like the archetypal pupu platter with its sole pork rib, this plate also features one item destined to inspire bitter rivalries between friends trying to divvy up the bounty. In Sapa's… More >>
  • BEST FRIED DUMPLINGS

    Szechuan Chinese

    Denver is full of dumplings. And not just Chinese pot stickers, but gyoza and shumai, pierogi and momo and samosas and every other ethnic dumpling derivative you can think of. But the best dumplings in town are hidden away in a Lakewood strip mall at Szechuan Chinese. These dumplings are huge and crisp-skinned, stuffed with excellent, slightly gingery pork paste… More >>
  • BEST STEAMED DUMPLINGS

    Spicy Basil

    Granted, shumai are not technically dumplings -- at least, not by China's definition. But then, Spicy Basil isn't a Chinese restaurant. It's a Thai restaurant that takes a few worldly departures on the menu, one of them leading to the town's best shumai. The kitchen makes these shrimp-and-pork dumplings to order, steaming them off and serving them hot off the… More >>
  • BEST FRIED ARTICHOKES

    Somethin' Else

    Sean Kelly has been frying baby artichokes for a long time. He had them on the menu at Aubergine, his original restaurant. He carried them over to the menu at Clair de Lune, and when Clair closed, the fried artichokes migrated onto the small-plates menu at Somethin' Else, where they're still one of the most popular items. All of this… More >>
  • BEST FRIED DESSERT

    Coral Room

    The Coral Room is firmly rooted in Asian-urban minimalism -- but it goes over the top with its coconut tempura banana. This dessert is an absolutely deadly fusion of Japanese, Indonesian, French and Caribbean flavors that's so good we had to order a second, just to make sure that our first banana wasn't some kind of freakish mistake. It wasn't.… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR DESSERTS

    Duo

    An ad on craigslist brought pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom to Duo's door. After that, everything has been magic -- including the dessert list. This short, sweet board of intelligent choices draws raves from anyone with a sweet tooth (or any teeth at all) and has made loyal fans willing to wait in long lines for a taste of Lozada-Hissom's beautiful… More >>
  • BEST HOT DOG

    Old Fashioned Italian Deli

    The Old Fashioned has held down this corner of West Littleton Boulevard through two generations, beginning with Tom Panzarella and continuing today with Tom and his boy Dave working the counter side by side. When you step inside, every day of those two decades folds around you like a blanket of history. The place does not hide its years, but… More >>
  • BEST HOT DOG CART

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs 16th and Arapahoe streets

    "Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs": That's the sign hanging from the cart, complete with a laughing, bandanna-wrapped skull that gives the name a little outlaw flavor. The cart is a beauty, too: lots of stainless steel and polished aluminum, twin umbrellas and a full grill. Biker Jim (aka Jim Pittenger) works with his radio playing, surrounded by coolers full of soda… More >>
  • BEST HAMBURGER

    Bud's Bar

    When it comes to burgers, Bud's Bar is the winner and still the chomp. It's not much to look at -- a modest country joint catering to neighbors and weekend bikers down from the big city for a little road time. But its burgers are a sight to behold. That's because back in the kitchen, they've spent decades cooking nothing… More >>
  • BEST GREEN-CHILE CHEESEBURGER

    Cherry Cricket 2641 E. 2nd Ave. 303-322-7666

    The Cherry Cricket makes not only the best green-chile cheeseburger in Denver, but one of the best in the country. Granted, that part of the country where people care about great green-chile cheeseburgers -- or who even know what a green chile is -- is fairly small. But the green-chile cheeseburger is big in the pantheon of immigrant America's most… More >>
  • BEST BBQ

    Bugling Bull Trading Post

    Barbecue is complicated. You've got your Southern-style and your coastal, your K.C. classic with its smoky-sweet sauce and your vinegary Carolina tidewater; there's Texas barbecue that's mostly beef, Midwestern chicken and deep-South hot links. Everyone has a favorite style and a favorite place. But you find the very best barbecue -- from rub to sauce to meat and heat --… More >>
  • BEST BBQ IN A NON-BBQ RESTAURANT

    Cuba Libre Bistro and Wine Bar 12684 W. Indore Pl., Littleton 303-904-3707

    While there aren't many authentically Cuban dishes at Cuba Libre, the few traditional items made by chef John Daly are dead-on in terms of gut-level flavor and texture. The ropa vieja -- which is also available in a nueva variety -- is made from slow-roasted brisket deeply flavored with smoke, then doused with a thin tomato demi that both mellows… More >>
  • BEST BBQ SAUCE IN THE LAST PLACE YOU'D EXPECT IT

    Whole Foods

    We didn't go looking for barbecue sauce at the new Whole Foods on East Hampden-- but once we found it at the Paradise Barbecue counter, we were hooked. The sauce is haunting, smoky, spicy and sweet all at the same time, just barely thick enough to cling to the meat being dipped in it but never so watery that it… More >>
  • BEST BUNS

    Forbidden City Buffet

    The big draw at Forbidden City is volume. Volume and easy access. Volume, easy access and seriously cheap booze. The bar sells three-buck glasses of chardonnay, margaritas and -- because the crowds always include a lot of first- and second-generation Russian and Eastern European immigrants -- entire bottles of vodka. But even with the hundreds of square feet of food… More >>
  • BEST BRAINS

    L'Atelier

    Sweetbreads -- the thymus and hypothalamus glands taken from the base of a fresh calf's brain -- are an acquired taste. But there's no better place to acquire that taste than at L'Atelier, where chef Radek Cerny nightly works his freakish magic on some of the least appetizing bits of a whole variety of animals. Here the sweetbreads are seared… More >>
  • BEST LEGS

    Vesta Dipping Grill 1822 Blake St. 303-296-1970

    Vesta Dipping Grill -- the brainchild of chef Matt Selby and Josh Wolkon -- has been here almost nine years, and it still feels as fresh as it did the day it debuted in LoDo. Night after night, it fills seats and turns tables as though it were a brand-new hot spot -- but Vesta's never turned down the heat,… More >>
  • BEST CACTUS

    Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe

    If only green beans tasted as good as the cactus at Rosa Linda's, kids would never have to be told to clean their plates. The kitchen here uses the nopales in tacos, in burritos, mixed in with lettuce and pico and other such adulterating flavors. But we like to pull the packages apart until we end up with a taco… More >>
  • BEST BREAD -- PUDDING

    Udi's Bread Bistro

    Doing excellent bread a mile above sea level is tough; it takes some funny chemistry to make the stuff come out just right. But the bakers at Udi's have the knack, and not just for making bread. Their real contribution was figuring out what to do with the leftovers -- and that's turn it into the best bread pudding we've… More >>
  • BEST BUFFALO

    The Fort Trading Company www.thefort.com

    Buffalo isn't cheap, but if you're a fan of these walking buffets of the plains, then go directly to the Fort Trading Company, an offshoot of the Fort restaurant. Sam Arnold has put together a variety of cuts and packages, providing natural, hormone-free, Colorado-raised and free-range buffalo that you can buy and have shipped back home. Although the site also… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF BUFFALO

    Luciano's Pizza and Wings - CLOSED

    Kris Ferreri grew up in Buffalo, cut his teeth on the two-note cuisine that made Buffalo famous. Chicken wings and pizza, pizza and chicken wings -- that's really all Buffalo has besides the Bills. And now we have the wings and pizza, because Ferreri now runs a joint on Broadway, where he offers Denver an honest taste of the things… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF PHILLY

    Taste of Philly

    From top to bottom, the taste of Philly is exactly what Taste of Philly delivers. The little storefront looks like an authentic East Coast operation with its tiny dining room, Eagles pennants and requisite framed pictures of Rocky Balboa. The counter is always crowded, the six tables cluttered with dine-in customers and people waiting for their to-go orders. The cooler… More >>
  • BEST HOAGIE

    Pat's #1

    Pat's #1 is not the best restaurant in the world. The french fries are terrible, the soda machine is sticky, and the help is only occasionally helpful. But none of that matters, because no one makes a better hoagie than this Pat's. The rolls are fantastic, the ingredients fresh and stacked tall, and we're pretty sure they put heroin in… More >>
  • BEST SANDWICHES

    Tables

    Last spring, Amy Vitale left Strings to start Tables, a cozy little spot in Park Hill, with Dustin Barrett. And in the process, the partners moved sandwiches to an entirely new level in this town. Tables' menu recognizes sandwiches for exactly what they should be: transport vehicles for the best ingredients, front-loaded in interesting combinations. So here, a simple turkey… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF MIAMI

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    Not surprisingly, Buenos Aires Pizzeria is best known for its South American pizzas and, to a lesser extent, its fantastic spread of empanadas. But this spot also offers the best Cuban sandwich we've found outside of the Cuban neighborhoods of Miami. Thick-sliced ham, good Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on grilled bread -- that's all that constitutes a Cuban. But… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF NEW YORK, OUTER BOROUGHS

    Big Bill's New York Pizza

    Big Bill's has great pizzas, calzones and chicken parm sandwiches, as well as the requisite New York mementos hung all over the walls to let everyone know that this is the real deal. But what truly gives Bill's an honest feel of New York's blue-collar latitudes are the Drake's Cakes stocked proudly behind the counter. Just as Tastykakes are key… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF NEW YORK, MANHATTAN

    Deli Tech - CLOSED

    Although New York is renowned for celebrity hot spots and chef-driven ego-bistros, the delis there offer the truest taste of Manhattan. And here in Denver, that taste is best represented by Deli Tech -- an authentically styled New York deli (right down to the etched skyline and brisk service) that offers everything a proper deli should. There are huge stacked… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF NEW JERSEY

    Somethin' Else 1313 E. 6th Ave. 303-831-1992

    We have the fine state of New Jersey to thank for producing Sean Kelly, for giving him his first kitchen jobs, and for sending him to Denver, where -- after doing apprentice work at some of the city's best houses, then opening and closing a few joints of his own -- he now walks the floor and oversees the kitchen… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF NEW MEXICO

    Little Anita's

    Any Denverite who's ever spent time in the Land of Enchantment will tell you that while the New Mexican outposts of Little Anita's are nothing to write home about, our two locations are an indispensable hedge against homesickness for the regional flavors that make Albuquerque and its environs such a foodie hot spot. The blue-corn enchiladas slathered in green chile… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF NEPAL

    Sherpa's Adventurers Restaurant

    Owner Pemba Sherpa -- a native of Nepal who grew up in the shadow of Everest and made his living as a mountain guide before settling in Colorado -- wanted to create a "traveler's lounge," a place where climbers and adventurers could gather and plan, reminisce and share stories over cold beers and warm butter tea. And he did just… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF EL SALVADOR

    La Praviana

    When Hector and Maritza Gil took over a former omelet house, they kept breakfast filled with eggs, bacon, potatoes and dollar cups of coffee but added a lunch and dinner menu that reads like a greatest-hits collection of every food standard south of Brownsville and Laredo: bistec encebollado, platanos fritos con crema, fried yucca, carne asada, tortas, Salvadoran-style chicken tamales,… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF PERU

    Los Cabos II

    The true measure of a good ethnic restaurant is its ability to not only serve something that no non-native in his right mind would dream of eating, but to make that thing so good that it immediately becomes part of the reluctant gastronaut's gustatory lexicon. And Los Cabos does just that with its chupe de camarones, an unquestionably bizarre soup/stew… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF THE REVOLUTION

    Potager

    In the late '70s, American cuisine was in such a sad state that the notion of taking local, seasonal produce and fresh vegetables and grilling them up for dinner was considered absolutely revolutionary. This simple act of rebellion against the staggering heaviness of classicism and the old European canon gave rise to the American food revolution, and Potager continues to… More >>
  • BEST TASTE OF HOME

    Rialto Cafe

    There's no place like home, and there's no taste more reminiscent of home than mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, the creation of these spuds is often sloughed off by cooks who see them as nothing more than a cheap way to fill a plate and a belly. But Rialto Cafe takes this dish seriously and takes great care in making its wonderful,… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA -- THIN CRUST

    The Oven

    Mark Tarbell, owner of the Oven, has won many awards at his various restaurants. And now he's earned another with the thin-crust pie made at the Oven, his very winning restaurant in Belmar. These pizzas aren't traditional, New York-style thin crusts, but rather very rustic, very scratch-built natural pies that just happen to have thin crusts. The kitchen here makes… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA -- THICK CRUST

    Beniamino's

    The pizzas aren't just thick-crust at Beniamino's, they're deep-dish. And they're not just deep-dish, but stuffed pizza, the sort made famous by any number of restaurants on Chicago's South Side. Owner Ben Guest knows the difference, because he came straight from the Windy City to Denver, bringing his skills and the proper pans with him. While it may be a… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA -- NEW YORK STYLE

    Big Bill's New York Pizza

    If you're looking for a raucous, crowded, family-friendly, suburban Italian restaurant with New York city transit maps, 9/11 memorials and a lot of crazy crap on the walls, Big Bill's is your place. But this is also the best spot in town to get a slice of a serious, New York-style thin-crust pizza -- a gooey, greasy, foldable wedge that… More >>
  • BEST PIZZA -- INTERNATIONAL

    Pizzeria Mundo

    John and Patrick Pool came up with a quirky way to take pizza global at Pizzeria Mundo: They simply name pies after cities (or areas) around the world, then cover them with ostensibly appropriate toppings. The New York, for example, is a fairly straightforward version of the classic Bronx 'za, with cheese, pepperoni, sausage and then a spicy red sauce,… More >>
  • BEST STRIP-MALL ITALIAN

    Patsy's

    Technically, Patsy's isn't in a strip mall -- but it's tucked into a strip of co-op galleries in northwest Denver and embodies all that's great about the strip-mall-Italian experience. First and foremost, it's a neighborhood joint and knows how to take care of its regulars. And some of those regulars have been coming a long time. Patsy's has been making… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Luca d'Italia

    Since the moment it opened two years ago, Luca d'Italia has turned out Denver's best high-end Italian food, no contest. Since its very first day of service, since the first plate hit the rail, Luca has been doing the most overdone cuisine in the food world better, smoother, sharper and with more obsessive precision than anywhere else in town. Even… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN FOR YOU
    AND A DATE

    Ristorante Amore

    Want to take your date out for an Italian meal? That's amore. Really. Ristorante Amore, Greg Goldfogel's intimate outpost in Cherry Creek, is a wonderful little spot that turns out carefully prepared and beautifully executed Italian fare. From the pumpkin-and-butternut-squash ravioli and gnocchi with prosciutto to a simple fondue of roasted garlic, fontina and sundried tomatoes, chef John Smilanic-Beneventi understands… More >>
  • BEST STEAKHOUSE

    Capital Grille

    Is it possible that a steakhouse could be better than Capital Grille? Cheaper, maybe. Less crowded and clubby, absolutely. But every night, Capital Grille justifies big tabs with little details: the padded tabletops, the great knives, the newspapers on the bar, the sherry in the lobster bisque, the egg in the bearnaise. It does the big things right, too. The… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP STEAKHOUSE

    Steakhouse 10 3517 S. Elati St., Englewood 303-789-0911

    "Cheap" is a relative term when it comes to steakhouses. A one-man meal at Steakhouse 10 could easily run forty bucks, but the Kallas family piles on the value. Here there's no worrying about customizing plates, or adding pricey sides, because the steaks all come with potato and vegetables included. The Greek influence is an added bonus that shows through… More >>
  • REALLY CHEAP STEAKHOUSE

    Bastien's

    Bastien's sugar steak takes the prize -- it's an American classic. But so is Bastien's itself, a steakhouse that's been in constant operation since 1937 and left pretty much untouched since its heyday in the late '60s, making it the ultimate in anti-retro swank and earned cool. If Dino and the boys were ever to roll through town, Bastien's is… More >>
  • BEST BUTCHER'S COUNTER MEATS

    Tony's Meats and Specialty Foods

    People are getting a lot smarter about their meat. Not too long ago, most folks couldn't have told you the difference between choice and prime, between loin and strip. Now customers are asking about marbling and breed, looking for butcher's cuts like hanger and wanting to know exactly where their lambs or pigs are coming from. Lucky for us, we've… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    Jax Fish House

    If restaurateur, chef and culinary man-about-town Dave Query has a signature spot that captures the evolution of his empire, it's Jax in LoDo. Here, in a retooling of the original Boulder fish house, Query's vision and his attempts to meld the upscale with the down-home come together most smoothly. From the brick walls sketched with graffiti to the big horseshoe… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET CRABS

    Chez Thuy

    There are moments when you just know you've eaten one of the best somethings of your life -- the best chili dog, the best foie gras, the best what-have-you. From the first bite of a soft-shell crab at Chez Thuy, we knew it was the best we'd eat in our lives -- until we came back and had an even… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT

    Sushi Sasa

    Wayne Conwell, the chef/owner of Sushi Sasa, is a man obsessed with details. From the precise alignment of a piece of fish on a plate to the shape of a hundred different hand rolls, nothing is too small to warrant his attention. And from his post behind the sushi bar at Sushi Sasa -- his white-on-white-on-white dream of what a… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Sushi Den

    Forget everything else on the menu at Sushi Den. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but if you're walking into a place that has not just the best sushi in Denver but some of the best sushi outside of Japan, why would you want to eat anything else? What sets Sushi Den apart is simple: It's the fish. But… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE
    RESTAURANT

    Domo

    The Zen garden at Domo is the ideal spot to sit and consider how lucky you are to live in Denver. Seriously, here you are, smack in the middle of a city smack in the middle of a nation half a world away from the peace and calm of the region that invented this cuisine, eating teriyaki and tonkatsu and… More >>
  • BEST VIETNAMESE
    RESTAURANT

    Kim Ba

    Kim Ba is one of Denver's oldest Vietnamese restaurants, a shirttail relative of more famous spots on South Federal, and has held down this near-invisible space in a ghost-town strip mall for nearly twenty years. In that time, owner Ba Forde has perfected her menu into a cornucopia of ultra-traditional flavors, reflecting in proper ratio the variety of ethnic influences… More >>
  • BEST NOUVELLE VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

    Parallel Seventeen

    Using as her inspiration the imperial cuisine of Hue and the family dinners that her mother still cooks on weekends, Mary Nguyen opened Parallel Seventeen just in time to prove that the small-plates fad did not begin and end with the Spanish. Here she's arranged a menu that offers the best of Vietnamese cuisine, designed with a modernist's touch. The… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai 13000 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora 720-858-9121

    Traditional cuisines are often damaged by the profusion of assimilated knockoffs that surround them. It's sometimes easier for an ethnic restaurant to just go with the flow, dumb down its food and reap the inevitable rewards as timid diners flock in for the sweet curries, the bland rice and the gummy sesame-everything. But give credit to Pim Fitt, owner of… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    King's Land Chinese Seafood Restaurant

    On Saturday and Sunday mornings, King's Land really shines. During the crush of service for weekend dim sum, this gigantic space that can easily seat 300 people sometimes packs in 400. And all the while, the carts never stop moving, the people never stop pointing, and the food never stops coming until you surrender and beg for the check. For… More >>
  • REALLY CHINESE RESTAURANT

    JJ Chinese Restaurant 1048 S. Federal Blvd. 303-934-8888

    JJ Chinese isn't much to look at, but all the scenery you need is right on your plate. This little storefront cooks mostly for the Chinese immigrant community looking for a taste of what it considers comfort food, but it also offers ample pleasures for the daring gastronaut willing to sample chicken feet and sea cucumbers right alongside the regulars.… More >>
  • BEST AMERICAN CHINESE RESTAURANT

    P.F. Chang's China Bistro Seven metro locations

    If you're going to Americanize a cuisine, you might as well go all the way. At P.F. Chang's, the portions are American-huge, the flavors American-intense, the drinks American-expensive and the business model American-kinked to put maximum butts into maximum seats and turn the dining room as quickly as possible. And yet a meal here can be very good -- and… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

    Star of India

    How could we not love a place that fills an entire parking lot with the smoky scent of its tandoor ovens? When the front doors are open and the wind is just right, you can smell Star of India from an acre away. And inside, it's like being wrapped in a blanket of spice: You settle into one of the… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

    Masalaa

    Sometimes even ardent carnivores need a break, and when the urge for veggies strikes, we head to Masalaa. Here, vegetarian is not the cuisine of denial that it is in so many other places, but rather one that celebrates all the goodness inherent in the vegetable kingdom. Indian food is generally greenery-friendly, but Masalaa raises the bar with its delicious… More >>
  • BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

    Sunflower Restaurant

    Our favorite dish at the town's best vegetarian restaurant is the steak and eggs. Always has been, probably always will be -- particularly ordered rare. You know what else is good at Sunflower? The cioppino with Maine lobster and Manilla clams. And you know what else? Every other dish on the menu, meat-free or not, because chef Jon Pell understands… More >>
  • BEST VEGETARIAN BAKERY

    WaterCourse Foods 206 E. 13th Ave. 303-832-7313

    We dare you to try the Boston cream pie, the chocolate mousse tart in its vegan shell, the wheat-free spelt-flour molasses-and-ginger cookies. Try any of the items cranked out daily by the crew at WaterCourse, and you'll quickly understand why we consider this bakery the best. Using none of the ingredients that any sane baker would consider fundamental to the… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

    Istanbul Grill

    On Friday and Saturday nights, it's hard to get a table at Istanbul Grill. The kitchen sells out of food some nights, and things are 86'd off the menu as early as seven o'clock. And the crowds keep coming, with people bringing their friends, bringing their families. In the small, austere, lemon-yellow dining room, the food never stops arriving. And… More >>
  • BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT FOR LUNCH WHEN YOU HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO BE

    Hookah Cafe

    Hookah Cafe is comfortable, casual, eclectic -- which is just a polite way of saying the chairs and tables don't match -- with plastic sheeting covering the tablecloths and minimal decor consisting of Lebanese flags, sponge-painted ceiling and hookahs displayed next to the kitchen. But that's fine, because the smells of pipe smoke and spiced tobacco, of tabouleh and onions… More >>
  • BEST CENTRAL/SOUTH AMERICAN RESTAURANT

    Sabor Latino - CLOSED

    Sabor Latino's feel-good ambience makes this an easy place to love. The dining room is comfortably rustic, and the atmosphere hangs somewhere in that inviting, tender middle ground between aging white-tablecloth class and neighborhood eclecticism. The restaurant does a brisk trade in baked empanadas filled with pino (a Chilean mix of chopped meat, fried onions, raisins and deep, earthy spices),… More >>
  • BEST AMERICAN RESTAURANT

    Joseph's Southern Food

    Joseph's looks a lot like the old roadside soda fountains you can still find in small towns along the blue routes in West Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. It's small and crowded with stuff -- soda machines, ice cream coolers, bar stools and displays of candy, desserts and glass bottles of Orange Crush. Everything about the place -- from its… More >>
  • BEST NEW AMERICAN RESTAURANT

    Black Pearl

    The menu at Black Pearl is studded with dishes like an "unassembled" clam "chowdah" (the quotes courtesy of the house), Asian-influenced seared tuna and a truffled mac-and-cheese, all trend-humping examples of the culinary smart-assitude that makes New American food so laughably stupid. And yet that unassembled clam chowder is absolutely delicious. And that seared tuna -- one of the most… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

    Z Cuisine

    Z Cuisine is a warm little bistro that's like a perfect fantasy of Paris, requiring no passport, no baggage, no feigned appreciation of the films of Jerry Lewis or Gerard Depardieu. We love the old iron gate hanging open by the front door, the fact that there's nothing else on this quiet block save a few old houses and a… More >>
  • BEST CHEF

    Rebecca Weitzman

    Rebecca Weitzman is a natural, a smart, hardworking chef who runs the kitchen at Cafe Star, one of the best houses in the city. She wrote (and continues to refine) a menu that took the overused, overworked, insipid and childish notion of comfort food, knocked the dust off and -- with a rigorous application of skill and intelligence to a… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT

    Cafe Star

    Table for eight on a Saturday night? Cafe Star will fit you in. Special requests? Done. Problems on the floor? Handled. Whether you're coming here for multiple flighted courses, paired wines and one of the best meals of your life or just to grab a quick beer and a pizzetta with friends, Cafe Star is ready -- because this is… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT NEIGHBORHOOD

    Cherry Creek

    Belmar has the Oven and Chama. Sixth Avenue has Table 6, Somethin' Else, Barolo Grill and more. Larimer Square is overflowing with great restaurants, and Highland is like a small-plate foodie nirvana these days. And yet this has been Cherry Creek's year -- not for the old dogs pulling new tricks, but for the young blood making this neighborhood a… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    Z Cuisine

    Over the past twelve months, many great restaurants have opened in Denver. But Z Cuisine is the best. In addition to its intimate room, amazing food, wonderful service and obsessively dedicated chef, Patrick Dupays, it has a special je ne sais quoi -- that indescribable, warm and electric vibe of a house working at its absolute peak. Every dinner here… More >>
  • BEST HOMEGROWN CHAIN

    Chipotle

    Steve Ell's little-burrito-chain-that-could has come a long way in the dozen years since it opened its first outlet at 1644 West Evans Avenue -- all the way to Wall Street, where it raised $45 million on its first day of public trading this year. En route, Ells entered into a partnership with (read: sale to) McDonald's, making Chipotle another… More >>
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