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  • Elway\'s

    Best Taste of Denver

    Elway's

    If you wanted to give people a true taste of Denver, where would you send them? For us, Elway's -- Big John's eponymous temple of meat -- comes out on top every time. For the scene, the service, the staff and the sly humor implicit in the menu's design, Elway's is that single restaurant that defines what it is to… More >>
  • Best Sometime Italian

    Tonti's

    Tonti's is an enigma. It's a tiny strip-mall joint, almost always empty except for a couple of employees hanging disconsolately around the counter. And while about half the time what we get off the short, predictable menu (pizzas, calzones, stromboli, meatball sandwiches) is completely forgettable, the other half it's fantastic beyond any rational explanation. At its best, Tonti's makes the… More >>
  • Best Dinner for $10 (for two)

    Tacos D.F.

    You might recognize the name "Tacos D.F." It was painted on the side of a great lonchera that once prowled the streets of Denver. Now all the pleaures of that taco truck can be found in the same spot night after night, in a little joint in the middle of a strip mall along Parker Road. The space is warm… More >>
  • Best Taste of Denver on the Cheap

    Brewery Bar II

    Legislators and local union leaders, cowboys and cooks. You never know who'll end up at Brewery Bar II on any given day, because everyone who knows and loves Denver for its less cosmopolitan charms passes through here eventually, looking for cold beer, hot chile, gloriously sloppy Meximerican grub of no discernible geographical provenance and that certain dim-lit and rough-edged temper… More >>
  • Cafe Star

    Best Taste of the New West

    Cafe Star

    Cafe Star isn't a French restaurant -- though some of the preparations (like the duck confit) are certainly Continental in origin -- and given the worldliness of its cuisine, it isn't a completely American restaurant. It isn't a fine-dining restaurant -- it's too fun for that -- but neither is it just a neighborhood restaurant, because there are nights when… More >>
  • Buckhorn Exchange

    Best Old West Restaurant

    Buckhorn Exchange

    At the Buckhorn Exchange, every square inch of space that isn't being used for the butchering, cooking and plating of meat is covered with something meat-related. Hundreds of dead animals are mounted on every available bit of wall; every nook and cranny is jammed with gewgaws and antique bric-a-brac, more than a century's worth of Old West history that dates… More >>
  • Vesta Dipping Grill

    Best Way Out West Restaurant

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    Ten years ago, Vesta broke new ground when it introduced the notion of a hip, sharp and trendy dipping grill to Denver. Amazingly, ten years later, the place remains the absolute definition of a hip, sharp, trendy and groundbreaking restaurant. In the interim, others have tried to copy the dipping-grill concept; what sets Vesta apart is chef Matt Selby's way… More >>
  • Mel\'s

    Best American Restaurant

    Mel's

    Funny that it would take two Brits with French wine pretensions and a long history of globe-trotting culinary excess to come up with Denver's premier American restaurant. Owners Mel and Janie Master have helped define Denver's place in American food history for decades, the last twelve of them at Mel's in Cherry Creek. Nearly every great young chef now working… More >>
  • Deluxe

    Best New American Restaurant

    Deluxe - CLOSED

    It seems impossible, but Deluxe has managed to get better over the past few years. That's saying something, because it was pretty damn good to begin with and has always been one of our favorite spots for kicking back and treating ourselves. The menu -- a kind of Bizarro World take on the California Cuisine revolution, cooked as if the… More >>
  • Bastien\'s

    Best Old American Restaurant

    Bastien's

    When your grandfather thought about a nice dinner out, Bastien's may have been the spot he had in mind. Big fat steaks, ageless cocktails and a tacky, shmaltzy, absolutely dead-on swinger's swank put this place high on our list of favorite restaurants. Forget fusion, forget classicism or over-intellectualized retro-ironic menus that take a half-page explanation just so that everyone will… More >>
  • Zengo

    Best Taste of the Past

    Zengo

    There was a moment there, right around 2004, when it seemed like Latino-Asian fusion would be the Next Big Thing. And Denver was on the cutting edge, because international restaurateur Richard Sandoval introduced it first at Zengo. But just as Zengo was hitting its stride, the rest of the restaurant world was turning back toward an embrace of purity, sustainability… More >>
  • Tula

    Best Taste of the 21st Century

    Tula

    One meal at Tula should be enough to make almost any Denver diner reconsider just what it means to eat Mexican food. The menu here is deep and simple, elegant and approachable all at the same time. Chef/owner Chris Douglas brings French training, a sushi chef's eye for detail and a no-bullshit sense of the inherent excellence of his ingredients… More >>
  • Best Taste of the Future

    Potager

    Every decade, every era, every movement in modern cuisine seems attended by a requisite affectation. A few years ago, every serious kitchen needed a sous-vide setup. Before that, it was a compressed CO2 gun for making foams. Before that, it was squeeze bottles and specialty tools like fish spatulas and jeweler's pliers in the knife kit. Today, every big-name chef… More >>
  • Sushi Sasa

    Best Tasting Menu

    Sushi Sasa

    At Sushi Sasa, chef Wayne Conwell and his crew make great sushi. Since Conwell served a very old-style apprenticeship among some of the modern masters of the craft, that's a given. But it's with his omakase menus -- personalized, multi-course tastings -- that he truly shows the depth and breadth of his skill. With this sudden freedom from the constraints… More >>
  • The 9th Door

    Best Small-Plates Menu

    The 9th Door

    The small-plate fads may be dying, but the 9th Door deserves to stick around. Rather than compromise in the face of changing tastes, it remains dedicated to traditional Spanish flavors: anchovies, a handful of olives and almonds, some sour goat cheese laced with honey, pan-fried artichokes and potatoes sparked with romesco. The plates may be small, but that sounds like… More >>
  • L\'Atelier

    Best Fusion Menu

    L'Atelier

    Frozen oils, liquid potatoes, horseradish foam -- chef Radek Cerny's latest run of menus at L'Atelier haven't even been fusion so much as Venusian, heavily influenced by the work of Ferran Adria at El Bulli and running the ragged outer edge between border-jumping French/ Spanish/American/Asian cuisines and the flummery of ultra-modern gas-and-lasers molecular gastronomy. Sure, it's fusion -- but the… More >>
  • Opus

    Best Fusion Restaurant

    Opus - CLOSED

    Over the years, Michael Long has played many roles. He's been an employee and an owner, a wild-eyed genius and a flake, a scientist whose kitchen was a laboratory where he experimented with molecular gastronomy, and a chef whose primary goal was feeding people what they wanted to eat -- not necessarily what the chef wanted to cook. And within… More >>
  • Sketch Food & Wine

    Best Late-Night Menu

    Sketch Food & Wine

    Sketch serves late, but more important, Sketch really comes alive late at night -- when restaurant crews, homeward-bound Creekers, the hammered, the shattered, those whose nights are coming to an end and those whose nights are just getting started all seem to converge on the subterranean wine bar. The by-the-glass list and super-call booze (the Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal at… More >>
  • Breakfast King

    Best 24-Hour Menu

    Breakfast King

    Breakfast King is great for breakfast, and it's a good spot to wolf down a burger for lunch or a chicken-fried steak on a lazy Sunday evening. But if, like us, you sometimes find yourself desperately in need of a gigantic burrito, a ham steak, some corned beef hash or maybe just thirty cups of coffee and a slice of… More >>
  • Toast

    Best Breakfast

    Toast

    Toast serves everything you've dreamed about in your wildest, most gluttonous dreams. For starters, there are pancakes: beautiful, brilliant, wicked messes of chocolate and peanut butter, blueberry and lemon zest, bananas and ice cream. Then there are plates of greasy bacon, decadent Benedicts, spicy sausages, sweet chai-infused French toast, eggs of every description and bottomless cups of coffee. Though new… More >>
  • Best Cheap Breakfast

    The Bagel Store

    The Bagel Store sits in a quiet strip mall in the heart of Little Russia, but it's staffed by young guys who really know their Jewish doughnut. You can smell the place doing it right, and if you show up early (the shop closes at 2 p.m. on the dot), you can even look through the doors to the huge… More >>
  • Best Breakfast in Bed

    Les Delices de Paris

    There's no better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed, and there's no better place to stock up than Les Delices de Paris. Walking into the warm, bright, well-scrubbed interior of the little pastry shop -- which is decorated almost exclusively with the diplômes and certificats de travail earned by owners Alexandre and Christelle Donat -- is… More >>
  • British Bulldog

    Best International Breakfast

    British Bulldog

    It might be seven in the morning, but across the pond in Merry Olde England, the lads are already tying on their spikes and getting ready to have a bit of a kick-around. If you're one of that growing number of Americans with a taste for English Premier League soccer and are willing to get up and out of the… More >>
  • Pho 79

    Best Really International Breakfast

    Pho 79

    Some people are willing to take a chance on unfamiliar cuisines at dinner, some will risk it at midday. But for Denver's true gastronauts, breakfast is when you earn your stripes. And there's no better (or more delicious) international wake-up call than Pho 79. At any time of the day, the only thing on the menu is pho -- but… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito

    Santiago's

    Although burritos are the breakfast of champions in Denver, there are two camps on what constitutes a proper breakfast burrito. One side likes theirs on a plate, served huge and messy, slopped up with chile and requiring a fork. Then there are those who like them thin, manageable and ready to go. We fall solidly into this camp, but we… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito at 2 A.M.

    Viva Burrito Company

    It's late, you're hungry and you've got a car full of dumb-ass buddies who are already too fucked up to drive and far too irresponsible to be trusted with choosing an appropriate spot for a late-night burrito fix. It's at moments like these that you should be thankful for Viva Burrito Company. The Leetsdale location has zero decor and zero… More >>
  • Los Carboncitos

    Best Taste of the D.F.

    Los Carboncitos

    Free chips and salsa, a night-and-day crush of crowds that would send any demographer running home in tears, and huaraches -- the greatest food ever named after a shoe. These are just some of the attributes that make Los Carboncitos a true taste of the Distrito Federal. This is the Mexican equivalent of an American diner -- an all-comers oasis… More >>
  • Best Burrito Vendor

    Milagro Burrito

    Let's face it: Any burrito vendor is going to look pretty good when you're leaving a club at 2 a.m. -- or when you arrive at the office at 8 a.m. (after having left the club at 2 a.m.) with a hangover, jonesing for the fix that only green chile can provide. And as long as we're being honest, we… More >>
  • Mee Yee Lin

    Best Taste of Hong Kong

    Mee Yee Lin

    This year, the longtime dim sum favorite Mee Yee Lin left West Alameda for Aurora -- but it might as well be Hong Kong, if you're ordering the Hong Kong shrimp dumpling soup. The powerful, salty clear broth is filled with whole-leaf greens and about a dozen wispy, shrimp-packed dumplings that drift like sea anemones around the bottom for a… More >>
  • Super Star Asian

    Best Dim Sum

    Super Star Asian

    When it opened early in 2006, Super Star Asian didn't just raise the bar on Chinese cuisine. It took the bar, broke it over its knee, threw the pieces away and then made an entirely new bar that's held so high you can't even see it from the kitchens of most of the Chinese joints in this town. The daily… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum for Beginners

    Palace Chinese Restaurant - CLOSED

    Dim sum can be daunting for those who haven't learned how to pick through the chicken feet and curried cuttlefish to find the exotic morsels more suited to American tastes. But at the Palace, blessed are the meek. Dim sum dining in this attractive restaurant is pleasant and unhurried, without the chaos and clatter of more authentic dim sum rooms.… More >>
  • Bistro Vendôme

    Best Brunch

    Bistro Vendôme

    When the crew from Rioja took over Bistro Vendôme last year, fans wondered what would happen to the classically French menu. Sure, the restaurant would continue to occupy one of the choicest bits of hidden real estate in the city -- with a stunning patio for warm-weather meals -- but Rioja's contemporary Mediterranean/Spanish/Italian food didn't seem to fit with Vendôme's… More >>
  • Best Brunch With Grandma

    Brown Palace

    For decades, the Brown Palace has served its signature afternoon tea to legions of Denver's blue-haired bluebloods. But while perfectly brewed Darjeeling, tea cakes, finger sandwiches and scones with Devonshire cream may not be your cup of tea, so to speak, take a look around the Brown Palace's lobby atrium any afternoon between noon and four and you'll understand exactly… More >>
  • Best Afternoon Tea

    Dushanbe Teahouse

    Boulder's Dushanbe Teahouse is the ideal place to escape the daily grind. From the trellised gardens out front to the fountain inside, every inch of this building (broken down and shipped in pieces all the way from Tajikistan) is designed to comfort the spirit and transport the body. The dress code is Crocs, dreadlocks and pants made of hemp, and… More >>
  • Best Taste of NOLA

    Lucile's

    The Cajun/Creole fad ebbs and flows faster than the tides. Up in Boulder, however, one place has not only held on, but it's flourished over three decades of service: Lucile's. This New Orleans-style breakfast joint has been serving huge plates of biscuits and gravy, sugar-dusted beignets, thick-cut bacon, fat sausages and the best egg plates this side of the French… More >>
  • Tokyo Joe\'s

    Best Chain

    Tokyo Joe's

    Chain restaurants are creatures of convenience: They're the places where you eat when you don't want to think about where you want to eat. The best of them insinuate themselves seamlessly into your world and your lifestyle -- and Tokyo Joe's is definitely one of the best, not just for Denver, but for the fast-food world at large. The Japanese… More >>
  • Best Free Lunch (or Dinner)

    SAME Cafe

    Owners Brad and Libby Birky started SAME Cafe (So All May Eat) with a simple philosophy: Everyone ought to be able to eat well and affordably in their neighborhood. With that in mind, they decided not to demand money from anyone who comes to eat at their small cafe -- which features an ever-changing menu of healthy pizzas, salads, soups… More >>
  • Best Quick Lunch

    Famous Pizza

    Famous Pizza was an institution in this town thirty years ago, and this outpost is still a must-stop for anyone in need of a quick lunch. For five bucks, you can get two slices of whatever's in the box -- which is bound to start with a classic New York thin crust, no matter what's on top -- and a… More >>
  • Best Cheap Lunch

    Ba Le Sandwich

    Banh mi -- Vietnamese sandwiches with a distinctively French twist -- are the plats du jour here, every jour of the week. There are a dozen or so varieties available at the counter, from classic pork pâté with pork and more pork to spicy pork and barbecued pork and even all-vegetable offerings, all mounted on dwarf baguettes that have the… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches

    Pat's #1

    The best way to judge a sandwich joint is how you order there. At a decent sandwich joint, you'll order lunch. At a good one, you'll order lunch and maybe a little something extra for dinner. But at the best sandwich joint, you'll empty bank accounts and max out credit cards in order to buy enough food to feed you… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches From a Gas Station

    South Philly Cheesesteak

    Jerry? The guy who owns this franchise-but-not-a-franchise of the South Philly Cheesesteak Company that's located in a Conoco? Yeah, he's nuts, and he'll talk your ear clean off if you let him. But he's also some kind of sandwich-making genius -- a savant, or just one of those guys with a direct line to God. Jerry's menu is long, and… More >>
  • Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    Best Cuban

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    The best Cuban sandwich in town -- a miracle of pork, pork and pork, Swiss cheese, sharp mustard and pickles on lardy grilled and pressed bread -- just happens to be made at Buenos Aires Pizzeria, an Argentine joint best known for its pizza, empanadas and gnocchi. Weird? Maybe in any other city, but in Denver, it's just another example… More >>
  • Cowbobas

    Best Cheap Dinner

    Cowbobas

    Corn dogs, gravy fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, T-bone steaks and boba tea. Of all the freaky fusions created by Denver's odd patchwork of ethnic neighborhoods, Cowbobas -- a Vietnamese cowboy steakhouse built, stocked and staffed without a hint of retro irony -- may feature the best. You can feel the Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese and American cultures rubbing up against each… More >>
  • Best Taste of Your Childhood

    P.B. Loco

    P.B. Loco speaks directly to those soft and gushy, sacked-out-in-front-of-the-TV-watching-Transformers memories of a particularly peanut-butter-obsessed slice of the Denver dining demographic. If you don't like peanut butter...no, if you don't love peanut butter, don't come here, because peanut butter is all this place serves, in myriad varieties, in sandwiches that run from the common (chunky peanut butter and marshmallow) to… More >>
  • Steuben\'s

    Best Taste of Someone Else's Childhood

    Steuben's

    Steuben's, brought to us this past year by the same people who brought us Vesta Dipping Grill ten years ago, opened huge with a full board of American classics from around the country. Over the following months, it only got huger -- and today it shows no signs of slowing down. But Steuben's does have one problem: In attempting to… More >>
  • The Cherry Cricket

    Best Green-Chile Cheeseburger

    The Cherry Cricket

    We love green-chile cheeseburgers. We've eaten a lot of them in this city, and although none has been the green-chile cheeseburger of our dreams -- that exists only at the Owl in New Mexico -- the Cherry Cricket's green chile cheeseburger is darn good. Part of that can be attributed to the atmosphere in which it's served: aggressively anti-Creek. More… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Bud's Bar

    Bud's Bar served the best bar burger last year, and ten years before that. Odds are pretty good that this small, insanely popular, biker-friendly roadhouse will serve the best bar burgers ten years from now, too. For decades, it has served nothing but burgers, and that single-minded focus has paid off with a two-fisted American classic that puts Bud's ahead… More >>
  • Best Taste of What Might've Been

    Griff's Burger Bar

    The exact history of the Griff's Burger Bar chain is somewhat sketchy, but had the fast-food industry gone a little differently, we like to think that Griff's might have been a victor in the drive-thru burger war. We can imagine a time when Griff's -- not Burger King, not McDonald's -- would have come out on top and blanketed the… More >>
  • Old Fashioned Italian Deli

    Best Hot Dog

    Old Fashioned Italian Deli

    In genetics, it's known that environmental stress breeds both diversity and specialization. Same thing goes for food. And since there's almost no environment in the lower 48 more harsh than that of Buffalo, New York, in the winter, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Buffalo boasts a wide range of regional cuisine (chicken wings, pizza, beef on weck, etc.)… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog Cart

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    We love hot dog carts. Seriously, a couple of dirty-water dogs, something salty out of a foil bag and a cold Coke is often the only thing that carries us through the day. But sometimes even the traditional charms of a street-corner vendor are not enough, and that's when we make the trek to the 16th Street Mall for one… More >>
  • Best Taste of the
    Windy City

    Chicago

    Stepping into Chicago the restaurant is like stepping into Chicago the city, thanks to decor dominated by case after case of colorful memorabilia devoted to the Bears, White Sox, Black Hawks and, yes, even the Cubs. Indeed, placards on the tables list significant events that have taken place since 1908 -- when the Cubs last won the World Series --… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Menu

    Dazzle

    Although Dazzle is best known as a dazzling jazz bar, it offers a great riff on happy hour. First, we like its idea of a happy "hour" being a hundred and fifty minutes long on weekdays (it's an hour shorter on weekends). Second, we like how happiness comes at a flat rate: $5 a plate. Third, we love that happiness… More >>
  • Elway\'s

    Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Elway's

    This isn't to say that we wouldn't eat at Elway's on our own dime. We would, and have, more times than our credit limit can bear. But what we are saying is, if you've got the chance to stick The Man with the bill, then go ring up a whopper at Elway's. Start with a couple of classic martinis at… More >>
  • Palace Arms

    Best Dinner for $2,000 (for One)

    Palace Arms

    To begin, a few ounces of the Palace Arms' diminishing stock of real, pre-embargo caviar, which will run you anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Then order a shot -- but sip it! -- of very well-aged 1870s cognac ($575). After that the prices become somewhat more terrestrial for a beautiful bowl of perfect consommé, a classic loup de mer or… More >>
  • Duo

    Best Special-Occasion Dinner

    Duo

    It's funny how Duo's dining room -- a simple space with pale wood, exposed brick, white tablecloths -- initially seems underwhelming. At first blush, it looks like any one of a hundred other neighborhood joints going for casual bistro elegance. But Duo begins to reveal itself as soon as the menus come out -- and once the plates start arriving?… More >>
  • Frasca

    Best Dinner on a Monday Night

    Frasca

    Monday nights at Frasca are community night -- a time for owners Lachlan Mac-kinnon-Patterson and Bobby Stuckey, as well as their front- and back-of-the-house crews, to give a little something back to the community that's been so good to them. And how better for this chef and master sommelier to express their gratitude than with food? Every week, they put… More >>
  • Mizuna

    Best Dinner, Period

    Mizuna

    Frank Bonanno, owner of Mizuna and Luca d'Italia, has had a pretty wild run recently. There was the complicated publication of his first cookbook and the flurry of promotion that followed. There was the dissolution of his partnership at the floundering Milagro Taco Bar and Harry's up on 17th Avenue. There was the loss of two of his Mizuna vets… More >>
  • Best Cheese Course

    Fruition

    Like mod haircuts and hot pants, the cheese course seems to wax and wane in popularity year by year. There are seasons when it seems that every restaurateur in town is dumping bucketloads of money into the acquisition of increasingly strange and powerful cheeses from around the globe, others when it's tough to find a wedge of cheddar anywhere. But… More >>
  • Duo

    Best Desserts

    Duo

    Pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom is just one of the many reasons that Duo has taken off. But she's a big reason. Her desserts -- rustic apple-cranberry tarts, completely addictive sticky toffee puddings and frozen pistachio nougat, to name just a few -- are the stuff dreams are made of (you know: sugar, chocolate, more sugar, buttercream). Any one of them… More >>
  • Palace Arms

    Best Free Dessert

    Palace Arms

    Unless you order very, very carefully, dinner at the Palace Arms may cost you the price of a decent used car -- but at least the macaroons brought with the bill are free. They also happen to be among the most delicious little cookies we've ever tasted, with a delicate texture and hints of honey, almond and sugar.… More >>
  • Best Moments

    Restaurant Kevin Taylor

    Restaurant Kevin Taylor is not only the finest expression of the classical talents of Denver's most prolific Big Name Chef, but it's provided some of our most surpassing moments of culinary bliss this past year. Not every one of the seasonal menus is perfect, but when this kitchen is on, it's brilliant, rising so far above Denver's culinary status quo… More >>
  • Chama

    Best Place to Be a Regular

    Chama

    There are places around town where one visit is enough. One meal off the menu and you know everything there is to know about the place. But there are other restaurants, other menus, that reveal themselves only over time. Chama is one of those restaurants, and the menu, designed by chef Sean Yontz, is one of those menus. On the… More >>
  • Brix

    Best Place to Be Irregular

    Brix - CLOSED

    On the best nights at the original Brix, it's hard to tell who's an employee, who's a customer and who's a friend. Everyone just seems to wander around carrying drinks and plates, jumping from table to table doing shots and carrying on conversations about everything under the sun. Though located in Cherry Creek, Brix is about as anti-Creek as you… More >>
  • Best Lemonade

    Bourbon Grill

    Ah, the yin and yang, the sweet and sour of Colfax, Denver's most diverse and delicious street. At Bourbon Grill, you'll find everyone from hipsters to hookers, yuppies to immigrants, cops to East High students all congregating outside the little storefront to quench their common thirst with a big Styrofoam cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade.… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    City, O' City

    When City, O' City opened in the former home of WaterCourse, it quickly became the talk of the town because it reminded everyone of that one really great coffeehouse/bar in Williamsburg...or was it in the Mission? No, Amsterdam! It's easy to see why a space where espresso drinkers can mingle with port sippers and pint guzzlers might make you think… More >>
  • Best One-Two Punch

    Paris on the Platte/Paris Wine Bar

    Paris on the Platte has long been one of Denver's finest jolt joints -- and now it's among the few that can legally allow cigarettes, too, due to the Platte's designation as a tobacconist. As a result, Paris is a sturdy, smoky spot for the laptop set, with a menu full of caffeinated creations that make your eyes bug into… More >>
  • Best Barista

    Doug Naiman

    This is a town teeming with baristas: tattooed, spike-haired baristas; convenience-store baristas; baristas entombed in drive-up booths; smarmy Starbucks baristas; barely breathing baristas. But once in a while you come across someone who just understands the art of making espresso, and Doug Naiman has clearly bean there and done that. He patiently extracts his wicked brew from this Beauvallon bistro's… More >>
  • Best Beer List

    Falling Rock Tap House

    Falling Rock Tap House could be the best beer joint not just in Denver, but in the entire beer-drinking world. Every fall, folks in town for the Great American Beer Festival make a pilgrimage to this LoDo institution to partake of a few of the more than seventy beers on tap -- all craft brewed, "no contract brews or megaswill."… More >>
  • Best Microbrew List

    Great Divide Brewing Company

    Great minds drink alike: That's the slogan of the Great Divide Brewing Company. We'll tap into that sentiment -- and there's no better place to do so than in the Great Divide Tap Room, a cool new space carved into the Ballpark neighborhood brewery. Sitting and swilling in this cozy, clubby nook, you can sample from the eight taps dispensing… More >>
  • Best Colorado Distillery

    Stranahan's Colorado Distillery

    We've been waiting a long time to toast Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey. But creating a brand-new whiskey takes time, and it wasn't until last spring that the very first barrel of Stranahan's was tapped at this micro-distillery in the Ballpark neighborhood. That initial taste was well worth the two-year wait, though. Stranahan's is smooth sipping whiskey that tastes as golden as… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Wynkoop Brewing Co.

    When the Wynkoop Brewing Co. opened almost twenty years ago in LoDo, there was no Coors Field, no sports bar every few steps, no brewpub every few steps past that. The Wynkoop was a pioneer not just in the microbrew industry, but also in this neighborhood, and for too many years, it's been taken for granted. But no more. Lately… More >>
  • Best Taste of Tomorrow's Brews

    North Star Restaurant & Brewery

    A longtime resident of Highland, former Wynkoop brewer Kyle Carstens thought the area was perfect for a brewpub -- but it took him years to finally get his North Star brewpub up and running. Still, there's no denying that this place was worth the wait. Not surprisingly, the home brews are great -- but the ambience of the cozy, spring-green-painted… More >>
  • Palace Arms

    Best Wine List

    Palace Arms

    The regular wine list offered to diners at the Palace Arms is as dense and heavy as a Leon Uris novel, containing both the house's most easily moved everyday bottles and a selection of the treasures kept buried in the basement. The full list is more like the Bible, written in large print on heavy-bond paper. For serious oenophiles only,… More >>
  • Z Cuisine

    Best Wine List for Mortals

    Z Cuisine

    If you know almost nothing about wine, can't speak French and couldn't care less about growing region, age, legs, microclimatology or varietals but still don't want to make a fool out of yourself by accidentally ordering the French equivalent of a bottle of Mad Dog to go with your cassoulet, Z Cuisine has the solution. On the wall near the… More >>
  • Frasca

    Best Wine List for Tasting

    Frasca

    It's the tajut -- the sample, the half-glass of vin ordinaire -- that makes Frasca a must-stop destination for those still trying to find their way in the wine world. But Frasca takes a good idea several steps better. The impressively long list of tajuts -- organized by Certified Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and his floor staff -- was put… More >>
  • Mezcal

    Best Tequila/Mezcal List

    Mezcal

    On the island in the middle of Mezcal's wraparound bar are dozens and dozens of bottles of tequila and mezcal -- from the cheapest, greasy-yellow-death variety up through the finest, most artisanal small-batch liquors ever to come out of Mexico. Then there's the small fridge mounted in the back wall, where the best of the best, the house's favorites, are… More >>
  • Mezcal

    Best Margarita

    Mezcal

    We tried. While our tequila-snob friends sipped at their Coin-style marg, we knocked back every house margarita we could find. We sucked down so many that our teeth started squeaking from all the sweet and sour. And again and again, we kept coming back to those palate-cleansing house margs mixed up at Mezcal. Rather than try to cover up a… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Menu

    Vita

    Vita is proof that there's life after death -- because this new Italian restaurant in part of the old Olinger Mortuary space is very lively indeed. Part of that is due to the interesting menu, part to the chic interior -- and a lot to the very impressive cocktail menu that specializes in mixing fresh ingredients in very fresh ways.… More >>
  • Gaetano\'s

    Best Classic Cocktails

    Gaetano's

    Though now a member of the Wynkoop family of bars and restaurants, this old-time neighborhood Italian joint and former Mob bar still has a couple things going for it. First, the atmosphere (bulletproof front door, basement vault, Frank-and-Dino-at-the-Copa decor) and fifty-odd years of history at Gaetano's can't be bought, but must be earned. And second, the tenders working behind the… More >>
  • Parallel 17

    Best Contemporary Cocktails

    Parallel 17

    At Parallel 17, there are many good things to eat. There are always pretty things to look at. And there are several fine things to drink. But the one that counts is the Vietnamese coffee martini. Of course, this is not a true martini (that can only be one thing -- gin, gin, gin and an olive), but it is… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Capital Grille

    Since the day it opened in a brand-new building tucked into a very revitalized Larimer Square, the Capital Grille has been the idealized steakhouse in a town that is very, very serious about its steaks. Everything about this restaurant -- from the dark and clubby decor to the white tablecloths atop the padded tabletops, the excellent bar and the high-roller… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse for Democrats

    Club 404 - CLOSED

    Even though this Broadway landmark now sports a renovated dining room, it hasn't lost an inch of history or an ounce of soul. Club 404 is the kind of joint that attracts everyone from local construction workers to the guys from Antique Row, Broadway street creatures, daytime drinkers, broke neighborhood hipsters, finger-licking carnivores and families looking for a cheap night… More >>
  • Northwoods Inn

    Best Steakhouse for Republicans

    Northwoods Inn

    The steaks are big, the sides are big, the tables are big -- everything about the Northwoods Inn is big except the prices, which are reasonable if you consider that the meals are all-inclusive and portions can be measured by the pound. This is a family spot, owned by the same family for generations (and through two locations) and catering… More >>
  • Buckhorn Exchange

    Best Steakhouse for Tourists

    Buckhorn Exchange

    If you have friends coming in from out of state, a passel of carnivorous German tourists to impress, family in town expecting a "real Western experience" or just a pressing need to find a menu with balls (literally) late on a Thursday night, head on over to the Buckhorn. The staff is one of the friendliest and most accommodating in… More >>
  • Cabin Creek Smokehouse BBQ

    Best BBQ

    Cabin Creek Smokehouse BBQ

    The standard barbecue offerings at Cabin Creek are excellent: the ribs stiff and smoked all the way to the bone with a surface like shellacked hardwood; the pork juicy, fatty, tender and woody-sweet, turned electric with the addition of a great Carolina mustard-and-vinegar sauce. But what elevates this spot above all other barbecue joints is the rest of the menu.… More >>
  • Best BBQ Sandwich

    Sam Taylor's Bar-B-Que - CLOSED

    The worst thing about barbecue is waiting for it. And the worst thing about wet barbecue is that it can't be eaten while driving. Well, not without seriously compromising the resale value of your ride. Thus, the very worst thing about Sam Taylor's barbecue -- which comes slathered in a thick, sticky, gloss-black sauce, a Tennessee-meets-K.C. riff that packs both… More >>
  • Best BBQ Pork

    Yazoo BBQ Company

    When Yazoo owner Don Hines says he's doing Deep South barbecue, he's not kidding. He's from Mississippi, and it shows when he smokes. His meat cooks low and slow -- twelve hours -- over a combination of hickory and pecan wood, with only a strong dry rub to keep it company. As his website advises, "All Yazoo meat items can… More >>
  • Best Asian BBQ

    Pacific Ocean International Market

    Barbecue isn't an exclusively American passion. Far beyond the traditions of this country's pit masters, there's a world full of ropa vieja, churrasco and smoky roasted pig head that drives us just as wild as that perfect shredded pork butt redolent of hickory and slapped with a brush of sweet-hot K.C. mop. To us, barbecue is a global sensation, a… More >>
  • Best BBQ From a
    Drive-Thru

    Jim 'n Nick's

    What's better than barbecue? That's right: fast barbecue. While Jim 'n Nick's has all the trappings of a traditional barbecue restaurant -- tables, menus, waiters and such -- what makes it special is the drive-thru. Not only can you order off the entire menu here, but service is lightning-quick, and the real wood smokers fill every car with the smell… More >>
  • Best Potato Chips

    Govnr's Park

    In thirty years, you learn to do some things right. And Govnr's Park, which marked its thirtieth anniversary last summer, does potato chips very, very right: sliced thin, freshly fried, salted and served on greasy waxed paper.… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Via

    Since chef James Mazzio took over the kitchen at Via, a lot of things have improved. The biggest improvement? Definitely the fries, which are now so good they'd be impossible to improve on. Served in a tall paper cone stuck inside a cool wrought-iron holder, in both presentation and taste these are reminiscent of the award winners that Mazzio served… More >>
  • Castle Cafe

    Best Fried Chicken

    Castle Cafe

    This is great chicken, slow-cooked chicken, tender and greasy chicken sheathed in a crisp armor of salt-and-peppered batter, a one-off of the incomparable Kansas City style practiced by places like Stroud's and a hundred and one less well-known fry joints and chicken shacks. It's also chicken that can take more than forty minutes to arrive, because every bird that's ordered… More >>
  • Best Taste of Southern Hospitality

    Joseph's Southern Food

    Fried chicken is not really meant to be eaten in a dining room. It's meant to be eaten around the family dinner table, or sitting on a splintery picnic bench in the sun, or standing on the front porch watching the sun go down. At Joseph's Southern Food, you have no real choice but to take your chicken on the… More >>
  • Reiver\'s

    Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Reiver's

    A makeover, a change of staff, and suddenly this old watering hole has become a real restaurant, where you'll find the best chicken-fried steak in the city. Over the years, the kitchen crew at Reiver's has gone through some serious ups and downs, but the joint is definitely back on top now, with a renovated dining room and a passion… More >>
  • Best Chicken Wings

    Wingman - CLOSED

    For decades, the guys working the fryers at Wingman have been perfecting their craft. And it's a credit to the deep appreciation of regional and international cuisines possessed by so many Denverites (natives and transplants alike) that this local chain has been so successful, because Wingman's craft is the art of chicken wings -- one of the three things (the… More >>
  • Luciano\'s Pizza and Wings

    Best Taste of Buffalo

    Luciano's Pizza and Wings - CLOSED

    Luciano's does wings. Luciano's does pizza. And that's pretty much all Luciano's does. At any rate, that's all that matters to anyone who cares about the archetypal flavors of Buffalo, where pizza and wings are the alpha and omega. Here the wings are fried hard, sauced with Frank's RedHot and served to-go in a cardboard box (more important to the… More >>
  • Best Fried Cheese

    Fruition

    Of all the things for a chef to be good at, Alex Seidel may be best at making fritters. While still on the line at Mizuna, he did apple fritters to go alongside the autumn presentations of foie gras. Now that he has his own place with Fruition, he starts off the menu with an amazing carpaccio of beets graced… More >>
  • Szechuan Chinese

    Best Fried Dumplings

    Szechuan Chinese

    Szechuan Chinese holds down one of the worst imaginable locations in all of restaurantdom, in a nearly inaccessible strip mall off Sixth Avenue. Still, for close to thirty years, the customers have kept coming. And most of them are coming for the dumplings: heavy and huge, as big across as a balled fist. The dough is just the right thickness;… More >>
  • El Coyotito #3

    Best Shrimp Cocktail

    El Coyotito #3 - CLOSED

    El Coyotito #3, a little storefront on Leetsdale (we have no idea where #1 and #2 may be) gets a lot of things right. Service is fast and friendly. There's a great Spanish-only jukebox in the corner. And while the standard Mexican fare (tacos, burritos, etc.) is only good, the seafood is great. The presentations are simple, the flavors fresh… More >>
  • Tula

    Best Shrimp-and-Beer Cocktail

    Tula

    One can of Pacífico and one poached shrimp with lots of salt and just a touch of spice: That's all it takes to make a chelada. Conveniently enough, that's also all it takes to win yourself an award for finding two great tastes that taste great together.… More >>
  • Jack-n-Grill

    Best Green Chile

    Jack-n-Grill

    Over the years, patriarch Jack Martinez has tried a lot of things to build his business at Jack-n-Grill. He's expanded the menu, he's expanded the building, gotten a liquor license, franchised his concept and done everything short of handing out dollar bills to get people in the door. But in truth, he's never really had to do much of anything,… More >>
  • Reiver\'s

    Best Colorado-Style Green Chile

    Reiver's

    If you're going for Colorado-style green chile, you need to forget everything that makes a classic New Mexican verde or the tamal sauces you find at some of the more authentic norteño Mexican lunch counters around town. A Colorado green should be definitive in its own way, a thick stew full of chiles and pork and whatever else the kitchen… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    Señor Burrito

    You can tell how good the food is at Señor Burrito by the way all the customers lean forward each time an order is laid out on the counter and the way all but one lucky someone fall back into their chairs, disappointed when they discover that the food coming out of the kitchen isn't for them. This little space… More >>
  • Best Tamales

    Amaizing Corn Tamales

    The easiest way to find these guys is to go to the vendors' area of the Boulder County Farmers' Market and look for the longest line. Then get in it, wait, and several minutes and a few bucks later, you'll walk away with the best corn tamal in Colorado. The masa is soft and sweet, rich with corn's natural sugar,… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Tacos D.F.

    Simplicity. In the food world, this is an often overlooked attribute. But not at Tacos D.F. When you order an asada taco here, you get a generous pile of chopped, marinated carne asada taken fresh off the grill (along with whatever grilled onions were stuck to it) and wrapped in a fresh tortilla. That's it. But that's more than enough.… More >>
  • El Taco de México

    Best Taste of Mexico City

    El Taco de México

    All day, every day, whenever you need it and whatever you want: That's the defining joy of having a joint in town like El Taco de México. Though the crowds ebb and flow, the work in the open kitchen is constant, with the women there always chopping, stirring, slicing and cleaning to stay on top of the rushes that hit… More >>
  • Taquería Patzcuaro

    Best Taste of Michoacán

    Taquería Patzcuaro

    Taquería Patzcuaro is almost three decades old, and with its recently acquired liquor license, it should last at least another thirty. Just about everything at this time-honored sit-down spot comes steeped in the flavors of Michoacán. From the mar y tierra plates and camarón al mojo de ajo in its deceptively simple lime and garlic sauce to the tacos albandíl… More >>
  • Best Taste of Oaxaca

    Del Maguey Mezcal

    There are only two ingredients in a good, unblended mezcal: water and the hearts of agave cactus. And yet with just this, the village palanqueros who make Del Maguey mezcal -- working in a style and with equipment unchanged since the sixteenth century -- manage to come up with more than a half-dozen truly unique tastes, each one based, like… More >>
  • Best Taste of the New World

    Senor Ric's

    Papier-mâché-parrot Mexican. Carnival Mexican. Meximerican. We're still struggling to come up with a simple descriptor that describes the kind of Mexican food being done at places like Ric's -- the carefully considered fusion of Mexican flavors, Texan innovation, Borderlands heat and American tastes that will no doubt be the modern flavor of Mexican cuisine as it spreads throughout the rest… More >>
  • Los Carboncitos

    Best Free Chips and Salsa

    Los Carboncitos

    Los Carboncitos is one of the best free-chips-and-salsa joints in town, and we're amazed that they're still just giving this stuff away. Every meal here begins with a basket of fresh chips and a caddy of four free salsas running the gamut from merely hot to truly punishing. Honestly, we've considered on many occasions stopping in, eating a whole basket… More >>
  • Best Cactus

    Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe

    There are spots where you can get a great beef-cheek taco; places where the asada burritos are as big as your head. But there's only one Mexican restaurant in town where our favorite plate is, technically, a vegetarian one. That restaurant is Rosa Linda's, where the cactus tacos keep us coming back year after year. The tough outer petals are… More >>
  • Taquería Patzcuaro

    Best Carnitas

    Taquería Patzcuaro

    With all the high-end Mexican and nouvelle Mexican and fake chain Mexican restaurants coming and going in Denver, it's easy to forget places like Taquería Patzcuaro. It's easy to forget how friendly owner Francisco Almanza and the guys who work the floor are, how forgiving they are of our abysmal Spanish, how generous the kitchen can be when it comes… More >>
  • Best Taste of Federal

    Avanza Market

    This is International Street. It's not Mexico, not Vietnam, not Korea or China or Costa Rica or any of those places in their entirety, but neither is it entirely the United States. It's an American smash map where things like borders and capitals and national languages have ceased to matter. Drive it, and you're in the middle of the engine… More >>
  • New Saigon

    Best Taste of Old South Federal

    New Saigon

    Back in the day, this stretch of Federal was called Little Saigon because it was the neighborhood most densely populated by the recently arrived wave of post-war Vietnamese immigrants. Not surprisingly, these newcomers to the Rocky Mountain West brought some of the flavors of their old home with them and began founding authentic Vietnamese restaurants among the strip malls. A… More >>
  • Three Sons

    Best Taste of Old North Denver

    Three Sons

    For generations, Three Sons served as the defining taste of Italian cuisine in north Denver -- but a few years ago, the place was almost moribund. Then came changes in ownership, in kitchen staff, in menu, even in style, and Three Sons has gone from bad to very, very good. It still looks like a cast-off movie set from some… More >>
  • Venice Ristorante

    Best Italian Restaurant

    Venice Ristorante

    Five years ago, owner Alessandro Carollo had just one small storefront restaurant. Then there were two. Then there were name changes and alterations in concept. And then, completely out of the blue, Carollo moved into an enormous space recently vacated by one of the hottest, most talked-about restaurants in Denver (Adega), which anchors one of the hottest, most talked-about neighborhoods… More >>
  • Frasca

    Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Frasca

    Yes, Pearl Street is a neighborhood. Just because it isn't your neighborhood doesn't mean it doesn't count. And though chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson has a tendency to go off-book with wide-ranging plates influenced by countries all over the map, at heart and in spirit, Frasca is still an Italian restaurant. As a matter of fact, at heart it's a neighborhood Italian… More >>
  • Luca d\'Italia

    Best Return to Form

    Luca d'Italia

    Frank Bonanno's been dealing with a lot, and his load was starting to show at Luca d'Italia. It's not that dinners here were ever bad; they were just less amazing than they'd once been, less effortlessly blissful. But over the past year, Bonanno has put his legendarily obsessive focus back on Luca, and the restaurant has come back strong. Once… More >>
  • Best Ciabatta

    Dolce Sicilia Italian Bakery

    Dolce Sicilia has authentic Italian cookies, tasty sandwiches and serious tiramisu, but we're most partial to its remarkably inexpensive scratch-baked breads, including semolina, baguettes and heavenly ciabatta: a powdery crust, not too tough or too flaky, wrapped around a wonderfully textured, chewy-airy center that screams of quality ingredients and straight-from-the-oven freshness. A jug of wine, a loaf of this stuff… More >>
  • The Oven

    Best Pizza

    The Oven

    There's something to be said for a place that does pizza and nothing but pizza. No pastas, no hoagies, no chicken parm sandwiches or slices of up-from-frozen cheesecake. Although the Oven doesn't quite rise to that level of obsessive focus -- you can get apps of olives and fresh mozzarella, still almost liquid, and there are a few other slight… More >>
  • D Note

    Best Gourmet Pizza

    D Note

    Get past the naming conventions (every specialty pie here is named after a song, a band, a musician, whatever), get past the open-mike nights and the D Note's double life as a live-music venue. Get past the location -- smack in the middle of cutesy Olde Town Arvada -- and the overt half-vegetarianism of the place. Just get here for… More >>
  • Best Rocky Mountain Pie

    Wazee Supper Club

    Decades before "Rocky Mountain High" became Colorado's second official state song, diners were singing the praises of the Wazee Supper Club. In fact, the Karagas brothers opened their restaurant bar in 1974, just two years after John Denver wrote that song, and today the Wazee is just as much an examplar of this state as is that cheesy number. And… More >>
  • Best Place to Reminisce About Peter Frampton Before He Felt Like
    We Do

    Oblio's Pizzeria

    The pizza is tasty, but it's the ambience that really draws people to Oblio's -- that and the liquor license that so many Park Hill NIMBYs fought against. Today ex- naysayers tie their drooling golden retrievers to the fence and join the queue of folks waiting for a seat in the jammin' joint. Fortunately, neighborhood respectability has not ruined Oblio's;… More >>
  • Best Taste of Naples

    Via

    Two things saved Via from slipping into that great, yawning pit of mediocrity above which so many restaurants hang. First, there was last fall's hiring of chef James Mazzio and his decision to stand his post right on the line. And second, there were the pizza ovens -- real wood-fired ovens of the very, very old-school variety that could turn… More >>
  • Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    Best International Pizza

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    Buenos Aires has long been a magnet for immigrants. Successive waves of wanderers from Italy, Africa, Asia and elsewhere have washed up in that cosmopolitan city, and each group has brought a little taste of their homeland with them. And now we have all those tastes here in Denver at Buenos Aires Pizzeria, where Buenos Aires native Francis Carrera serves… More >>
  • Buenos Aires Grill

    Best Taste of Buenos Aires

    Buenos Aires Grill

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria features the full spectrum of Argentine immigration in pizza form, but Francis Carrera's Buenos Aires Grill goes much deeper, offering perfect renditions of many of the international plates that have fed generations of Buenos Aires residents and shaped the cuisine of that city. The focus at this lovely restaurant is definitely meat -- a churrasco board dominates… More >>
  • Sabor Latino

    Best Taste of Latin America

    Sabor Latino - CLOSED

    Denver has always had plenty of Mexican restaurants -- old Mexican, new Mexican, regional Mexican, Mexican done both fancy and plain. But it wasn't until recently that we started tasting the true potential of internationally influenced Latin American cuisine. That potential is best realized at Sabor Latino, a charming spot that serves up ceviche, bandeja paisa with plantains and Colombian… More >>
  • Los Cabos II

    Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Los Cabos II

    Los Cabos II picks up extra points for authenticity. Well, authenticity -- and the giant stuffed llama. When the dining room is quiet, this restaurant can (and does) double as a sort of Peruvian cultural museum -- but it's best during the lunch and dinner rushes, when everyone's ordering and then digging into huge plates of multi-ethnic South American grub.… More >>
  • Limón

    Best Taste of Lima

    Limón

    Chef/owner Alex Gurevich had some sort of epiphany during a trip to Peru a couple of years back. He saw the blooming of an entirely new cuisine based on the borderless, international flavors of traditional South American cooking and came back to Denver with the desire to open one of the first Novoandino restaurants in the United States. That's exactly… More >>
  • Red Tango

    Best Fried Plantains and Ceviche

    Red Tango

    Fried plantains and ceviche aren't the only dishes that Red Tango does well, but they're the dishes that Red Tango does better than anyone else in town. Strange combination plates of enchiladas and tortas, ceviches, Italian ravioli stuffed with crushed black beans and topped with butterflied prawns soaked in ancho chile -- the menu has these, too, and we've tried… More >>
  • Best Raw Fish

    Sushi Den

    The worst fights we've ever seen at Sushi Den haven't been over the last piece of o-toro, but over the last seat at the sushi bar on a Friday night. And that's odd, because we'd punch a nun if she was standing between us and some of the brilliant, beautiful, achingly fresh fish brought in by the convoluted and murderously… More >>
  • Sushi Sasa

    Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    At Sushi Sasa, a meal isn't just about the food, it's about the whole experience of dining. With its white-on-white decor, attentive servers, jewel-box space (with an overflow bar and lounge downstairs) and a menu that stretches the idea of nouvelle Japanese beyond just the over-played tricks of torch-seared salmon skin and sushi-with-sauce, dinner here is a true adventure. And… More >>
  • Oshima Ramen

    Best Taste of Tokyo

    Oshima Ramen

    Finding a McDonald's in downtown Tokyo is easy; finding a real ramen noodle house in the United States is much more challenging. So how lucky are we to have Oshima Ramen, a link in a chain of ramen noodle shops that is to Japan what Mickey D's is to this country? Very lucky. As a matter of fact, we're the… More >>
  • Domo

    Best Japanese Restaurant

    Domo

    Not only is Domo Denver's best Japanese restaurant, it's one of the best and most interesting restaurants that Denver has ever produced. Part restaurant, part Zen garden, part Aikido dojo, part Japanese cultural center, Domo is all Japanese -- fiercely original, fiercely regional and fiercely independent. Everything here -- from the tree-stump seats and northern Japanese peasant cuisine to the… More >>
  • Kim Ba

    Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Kim Ba

    Denver is heaven for fans of Vietnamese food. We've got the good stuff and the bad stuff, the authentic and the fake. We've got more pho restaurants than you can shake a stick at, and dozens of good noodle-bowl joints. But when we're really craving all that Vietnamese cooking can be, we head for Kim Ba. Not only is this… More >>
  • Best Taste of Hanoi

    Ha Noi Pho - CLOSED

    If you're from Vietnam, this is comfort food. If you're not, it's a fantastic education in the less common flavors of Southeast Asia. Gelatinized duck's blood, fishscale mint, sawgrass and other, even less recognizable ingredients are pretty much par for the course at Ha Noi Pho, but you'll be amazed at how quickly a brave heart, a strong stomach and… More >>
  • Parallel 17

    Best Nouvelle Vietnamese

    Parallel 17

    At Parallel 17, executive chef and owner Mary Nguyen has resurrected a branch of Vietnamese cuisine that had been largely ignored for years. Her menu is composed primarily of Vietnamese small plates, a style once prized by the royal family in Hue and practiced by generations of Vietnamese home cooks for every family celebration -- but she's given each of… More >>
  • Pho Saigon

    Best Taste of Saigon

    Pho Saigon

    Pho Saigon's space -- a box with some tables -- is forgettable, and the menu a seemingly simple board of Southeast Asian classics. But what sets Pho Saigon apart is the cosmopolitan sense of otherness that comes from cramming in a mixed-demographic crowd and feeding them, in rapid-fire succession, foods that twenty years ago half the people eating here would… More >>
  • Chopsticks China Bistro

    Best American Chinese Restaurant

    Chopsticks China Bistro - CLOSED

    The "American Chinese" restaurant is just about extinct, now that everyone is eating stir-fry noodles and lettuce wraps and even Grandma has the occasional yen for gingered pork dumplings. But melting-pot Chinese food has its place, too, and that place is Chopsticks, a restaurant that serves authentic fare as well as simple sweet-and-sour dishes and protein/noodle combinations. For the adventurous,… More >>
  • Super Star Asian

    Best Authentic Chinese Restaurant

    Super Star Asian

    If we could go to only one restaurant for the rest of our lives, Super Star would rank high on the list. Although there are probably better restaurants in Denver, sitting in that blank, almost anonymous space (just a restaurant-shaped hole in Alameda Square, next to the place that offers herbal medicine, phone cards and tax advice, just down from… More >>
  • Best Chinese Takeout

    East China

    There are few pleasures in life more satisfying than laying out a huge spread of Chinese takeout on the coffee table and settling in for a late-night Barney Miller marathon on cable. Maybe it's the notion of eating straight from those waxy cardboard cartons. Maybe it's the freedom of gorging yourself on cheap, greasy sweet-and-sour chicken and eating dumplings with… More >>
  • Han Kang

    Best Korean Restaurant

    Han Kang

    At many Korean restaurants, the food seems like an endless repetition of grilled beef, rice, onions and the occasional egg. But at Han Kang, that's just where the food begins. The best dishes on this menu are those that are nearly unpronounceable -- deeply flavored soups, spicy seafoods, mounds of bright vegetables and proteins tossed together in endless combinations. And… More >>
  • US Thai

    Best Thai Restaurant

    US Thai

    US Thai is so delicious, so friendly, so addictive that we had to make a half-dozen visits over the course of a couple of weeks just to make absolutely sure that the restaurant was as good as we thought it was. And it was, every single time. This is authentic Thai food done in a simple, street-food style that forgoes… More >>
  • Royal Peacock

    Best Indian Restaurant

    Royal Peacock - CLOSED

    For decades, Royal Peacock's Shanti Awatramani has been serving some of the best Indian food in the United States. Before that, he worked in some of the best Indian restaurants, hotels and resorts in Bombay. He grew up in the hotel-and-restaurant business (as did his niece, Laxmi Lalchandani, who often runs the floor at the Peacock these days), and everything… More >>
  • Little India

    Best Indian Buffet

    Little India

    At this point, Indian buffets are almost ubiquitous. Which is handy, because that means you never have to go very far in Denver for an inexpensive hit of saag paneer or tandoori chicken. But with the profusion of options, it's also more and more difficult to tell the good from the bad. There's an easy solution for that: Just head… More >>
  • Jewel of India

    Best Taste of History

    Jewel of India

    Anyone can invent some freaky, prawn-and-jackfruit Asian fusion plate with chrysanthemum flowers and pierogi. Some people might even think it inspired. But for us, true talent lies in the ability to cook the favorite plate of your great-great-great-grandfather and make it just the way he liked it more than a century ago. If that ancestor liked Mughlai cuisine -- the… More >>
  • Masalaa

    Best Vegetarian Indian

    Masalaa

    Creamed spinach can be great, but the best friend that creamed spinach ever had was a steak. Make that the best American friend that creamed spinach ever had was a steak, because there are plenty of ethnic restaurants where vegetarianism is not about the denial of pleasure (read: meat), but the glorification of vegetables. And at Masalaa, you'll be so… More >>
  • D Note

    Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    D Note

    The D Note's menu isn't entirely vegetarian, but the parts that are -- better than half of the offerings, with many of them completely vegan -- are so good that you'll barely notice the lack of pepperoni and hot Italian sausage. And if you do, there's always the other half of the menu on which to slake your carnivorous bloodthirst.… More >>
  • Mercury Cafe

    Best Greens

    Mercury Cafe

    Who is this city's most fierce, forward-forging green advocate? The answer is blowing in the wind. This year, Marilyn Megenity -- who infuses her Mercury Cafe with good, organic food and intelligent entertainment and fuels her own car with vegetable-oil fuel -- took out a loan on her home so she could install two forty-foot-tall Air X turbines on the… More >>
  • Best Garden in a Restaurant

    Gaia Bistro

    Gaia is the goddess of the earth and everything that comes from the earth, including all of the wonderful dishes -- the buttery quiches and buckwheat crepes wrapped around peppered lamb loin with wild mushrooms and fragrant pots of French-pressed, organic Kaladi Brothers coffee -- served by Patrick Mangold-White and Jon Edwards at Gaia, a restaurant tucked into a little… More >>
  • Best Flowers in a Restaurant

    Flower Wraps - CLOSED

    Platt Park residents Val and Carolyn Erpelding combined their talents -- he's a chef (and an accomplished ice sculptor), she's a florist -- to create the multi-purpose Flower Wraps, a restaurant/coffeehouse/flower shop that gets people coming and going. Situated adjacent to the Louisiana and Pearl LRT station, the restaurant part of the operation serves breakfast, lunch and "twilight" menus for… More >>
  • Rioja

    Best Picnic on the Patio

    Rioja

    Chef/co-owner Jen Jasinski has put up many impressive menus at Rioja. But with all her housemade pastas, salads, Colorado lamb dishes and an ever-changing pork-heavy, Mediterranean board, there's always been one delicious constant: the Rioja "picnic." Combining Spanish chorizo, air-dried duck breast, shaved speck, Italian gorgonzola and assorted olives, nuts and condiments, this plate truly has something for everyone.… More >>
  • Ya Hala

    Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Ya Hala - CLOSED

    The space is small and more than a little ragged. The service runs at a pace somewhere between slow-but-friendly and glacial. And the menu seems oddly foreshortened. But at Ya Hala, all that matters is the food -- and the food is absolutely fabulous. The kitchen must be imbued with some kind of natural magic for the deep-but-narrow cuisine of… More >>
  • Best Taste of Persia

    House of Kabob

    For twenty years, House of Kabob has been jammed into this strip mall, tangled up with other Middle Eastern markets and restaurants. That's twenty years of Persian cuisine, twenty years of kabobs and lamb tongue and herbed yogurt and pita. And while the room -- done in regal purple, with pale wood tables and booth backs -- certainly shows its… More >>
  • Yanni\'s Greek Taverna

    Best Taste of Greece

    Yanni's Greek Taverna

    At Yanni's Greek Taverna, no meal can start without ouzo, no meal can proceed without a big spread of mezedes (Greek tapas), and no meal is complete without somebody ordering the lamb. When the wind is right, when owner Yanni Stavropoulos has the gigantic outdoor rotisserie grill fired up in this strip mall off Monaco, the odor of roasting meat… More >>
  • Best African Restaurant

    Arada Ethiopian Cafe

    Last year, Arada moved out of its home on East Colfax and into a small, comfortable space on Santa Fe surrounded by taquerías and art galleries, in just the right area for catching hungry adventurers looking for an interesting dinner on a Saturday night. It's a nice place with scratchy tablecloths and no silverware, strong, sweet black coffee served in… More >>
  • Cafe Paprika

    Best Taste of North Africa

    Cafe Paprika

    Bastilla and sweetened black coffee at Cafe Paprika: That's the one order that captures the essence of Morocco in particular and North Africa as a whole. Ginger and cumin and saffron, cinnamon and powdered sugar, a billion layers of phyllo dough with shreds of herbed chicken stuck in between, the heat of the coffee on your fingers through the filigreed… More >>
  • Restaurant Aix

    Best Taste of Provence

    Restaurant Aix

    Tuna nicoise; grilled Andouille sausage with charred peppers, olives, almonds and pumpkin seeds; a cheese plate with poached pears and lavender honey; mushroom tarts in cognac sauce. These are just a few of the unique tastes of Aix-en-Provence featured at Restaurant Aix. Feeling a bit more Mediterranean? No problem. The menu also features shrimp risotto and mussels in a roasted… More >>
  • Le Central

    Best Taste of Paris on the Cheap

    Le Central

    We go to Le Central like Catholics go to confession -- as a way to clear the head and save the soul after a week spent doing wrong. For serious fans of French food, Le Central is a required stop. But even if you just dream of spending a lazy Sunday afternoon hanging around a Parisian cafe reading Rimbaud and… More >>
  • Z Cuisine

    Best French Restaurant

    Z Cuisine

    One of the best, most recognizable dishes in the epic French canon is cassoulet. And at Z Cuisine, one of the best, most recognizable dishes on chef/owner Patrick DuPays's chalkboard menu is a cassoulet maison that does proud every French cook ever tasked with carrying on the cassoulet tradition. One taste of DuPays's version -- which combines a leg of… More >>
  • Limón

    Best Opening

    Limón

    When Limón opened last July, it did so without the opening-night fireworks that have become rather customary for Denver's big addresses. But this was by design. What looked like one of those open-the-doors-and-pray scenarios was actually orchestrated inside and out by Kate LaCroix from Dish Publicity, and it worked amazingly well considering that the only thing more difficult to find… More >>
  • Lola

    Best Move

    Lola

    There was no doubt that Lola had outgrown its original location. It had outgrown the space within a few weeks of Dave Query and chef Jamey Fader opening their little coastal Mexican seafood shack on South Pearl. What was never a sure thing, however, was whether the loyal crowd of regulars, neighbors, brunchers and margarita-suckers would follow Lola to its… More >>
  • Solera

    Best Comeback

    Solera

    Goose Sorensen, owner of Solera, has been through a rough couple of years. Strategic errors, an attempted (and ultimately abortive) expansion into the breakfast market, the dissolution of a bad partnership -- all of these things (combined with Sorensen's forays into the national food scene that kept him away from Denver for days or weeks at a time) were dangerous… More >>
  • Jack-n-Grill

    Best Taste of Denver When Coming Home

    Jack-n-Grill

    Home is where the heat is. No matter how long you've been away from Denver -- a month, a week, a day -- as you head back into town from DIA, you can feel yourself jonesing for great Mexican food. And now you can get a fast fix just off Peña Boulevard, at this second outpost of Jack-n-Grill, a sort-of… More >>
  • Tables

    Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Tables

    Even without lunch (which Tables recently stopped serving), even without those lines that once stretched out the door and past the patio, even without the walk-in traffic and the look of surprise on the faces of everyone discovering the place for the first time, Tables stands as Denver's best neighborhood restaurant. Why? Because dinner here can so quickly and so… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Neighborhood

    Highland

    Seventeenth Avenue is coming along. LoDo has a lot of great restaurants. Larimer Square has more good restaurants in one block than other parts of town have restaurants. But the real culinary explosion is on the edge of Highland, which is suddenly bursting with phenomenal restaurants. From small and fiercely ethnic joints to innovative nouvelle houses doing cutting-edge cuisine to… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant Neighborhood

    Sixth Avenue

    How long have we been saying that Sixth Avenue is going to be the next hot restaurant neighborhood? For years. But this year, we may finally be right. With Table 6 mounting a second-wind resurgence, the Master family consolidating their New American/California influence at Montecito, Fruition packing the former home of Somethin' Else, Lime XS doing surprisingly well and a… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant (Since March 2006)

    Fruition

    Fruition is not yet as good as it will one day be. But since chef Alex Seidel and Paul Attardi, both ex of Mizuna, opened their restaurant just a couple of months ago, it's already proven itself more than good enough to deserve top honors as Denver's best new restaurant. And as it grows into its space, its neighborhood and… More >>
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