Food & Drink

  • Best Taste of Colorado

    Frasca Food and Wine

    Three years ago, Frasca won Best New Restaurant honors — and since then, it's continued to rack up kudos on both a local and a national level. This year, it takes our prize for Best Taste of Colorado because Frasca, more than any other restaurant in the area, has become both the standard of excellence for local operations and the… More >>
  • Best French Breakfast in an Italian Restaurant

    Radda Trattoria

    Everyone knows the classic French breakfast is half a pack of Gauloises chased with two café au laits and the dregs of last night's wine. The second-best French breakfast? That would have to be a brioche, a little butter, a little bacon...and the dregs of last night's wine. While Radda is technically an Italian restaurant, it lets you dine in… More >>
  • Best High-End Italian Restaurant

    Venice Ristorante & Winebar

    As far as Italian food goes in Denver, it doesn't get any better than Venice. As a matter of fact, as far as Italian food goes just about anywhere outside of Italy (and possibly parts of New York and Philadelphia), it doesn't get any better than Venice, the restaurant that Alessandro Carollo opened in the massive space vacated by Adega.… More >>
  • Best Mid-Range Italian Restaurant

    San Lorenzo Ristorante

    Carpaccio di bue dressed in lemon and oil, grilled salmon with roasted potatoes, garretto d'agnello — spring lamb braised in red wine, served with grilled eggplant and potato purée. Those are just a few of the dishes that chef/owner Craig D'Alessandro has in regular rotation on his menu at San Lorenzo. Amazingly, this restaurant isn't some highfalutin' downtown joint, but… More >>
  • Best Everyday Italian Restaurant

    Patsy's Inn

    Beyond the homemade pasta and authentic decor, Patsy's has something special going for it: consistency. For decades, Patsy's has soldiered on — always dependably good, always serving exactly what you want when you're craving a big plate of spaghetti dotted with clams and a glass of something cheap, red and fruity. Patsy's may not be breaking any culinary ground, and… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant in the Last Place You'd Expect It

    Osteria Marco

    Okay, so maybe not the last place you'd expect to find a great Italian restaurant. That would probably be Antarctica, on the moon or in the men's room of the Greyhound station in Provo, Utah. But still, finding a great Italian restaurant in Larimer Square — once home to the awful Josephina's — and in a basement space at that,… More >>
  • Best Hole-in-the-Wall

    Tacos D.F.

    Tacos D.F. began its life as a taco truck — a great taco truck that worked the fertile territory along South Parker Road. Although it now has a roof, walls and a real address, it isn't anything more than a great taco truck with a roof, walls and a real address. In keeping with a neighborhood lonchera, all orders are… More >>
  • Best Tacos

    Tacos y Salsas

    Denver is a taco-lover's paradise. Between all the taquerías and taco trucks, pretty much anywhere you go, you can find a taco within fifty feet. But finding a good one is something else entirely. And that's why when we're craving tacos, we head for Tacos y Salsas on South Federal (which, unlike the original outlet in Aurora, serves alcohol). Not… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Tacos

    Kiva - CLOSED

    With $2 happy-hour beers — including imports — and a happy hour that actually stretches for three hours, until 7 p.m., this Southwestern joint is already a winner. But the purchase of two happy-hour beers or two of Kiva's signature blue KivaRitas (also $2 each) also buys you free rein at the taco bar. The plates and shells are small,… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Tacos

    Mezcal

    At Mezcal, the talents of partners Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz combine to create a great bar, a great neighborhood hangout, a great place to go when you're feeling like behaving badly. From the Mexican-soap-opera-and-lucha-libre theme in the dining room to the wondrous collection of tequilas and mezcals behind the bar, there are many reasons to love the place. Our… More >>
  • Best Tamales

    Agave Grill

    Naturally, when we're hungry for a great tamal, we head to a restaurant owned by a couple of Brits, with a kitchen commanded by an ex-Floridian just back from France, set in the middle of a privileged suburban enclave. We head for Agave Grill, which is run by the Master family, and where chef Chad Clevenger oversees the creation of… More >>
  • Best Occasional Tamales

    Phil's Place

    The bar might be Phil's, but his mother, Junie Garcia, is in charge in the kitchen. Six days a week, she cooks up a roster of far-from-standard Mexican standards: breakfast burritos, steak tacos, cheese enchiladas and a hot, hot green chile she made famous at the Bamboo Hut. But Junie's best creation may be her tamales, which stuff spicy shredded… More >>
  • Best Colorado-Style Mexican Restaurant

    La Fiesta

    There was a time when our favorite Korean restaurant was in a huge, ex-McDonald's space. There's a Chinese restaurant we really like that grew in a space vacated by a Taco Bell. And our favorite outpost for Colorado-style Mexican grub is a joint that opened forty years ago in a former Safeway: La Fiesta. Here, the fine and traditional cuisine… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Mexican Restaurant

    Tambien - CLOSED

    Tambien is all about the timing. When Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz realized that Sketch just wasn't going to make it, they closed it up, fast, and turned the basement space into a darker, more sophisticated version of Mezcal. Today, Tambien is a great spot for after-dark boozing and carrying-on, with an uncomplicated menu full of Mexican comfort foods, a… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    Jack-n-Grill

    Until everyone gets it through their heads that real green chile means roasted, chopped green chiles, a little liquid and nothing else, Jack-n-Grill is going to keep winning this award, because it remains the only place in Denver where you can get authentic New Mexican-style green chile — along with killer vaquero tacos, giant breakfast burritos and cups full of… More >>
  • Best Roasted Green Chiles

    Nick's Garden Center & Farm Market

    There are a lot of places around where you can pick up roasted green chiles; hell, some Wal-Marts roast 'em right in front of the store. But we like to get our bags full of Hatch chiles at Nick's. For one thing, Nick's is a garden center, which means the roasters are set up among the trees, vegetable stands and… More >>
  • Best Chips and Salsa — Traditional

    Reiver's

    Reiver's, which got its start with the sniffles-and-Steely Dan crowd, became an entirely new restaurant last year with a top-to-toes remodel of everything from the menu to the interior by owner Dan Shipp. It's still a neighborhood hangout, but now it's a comfortable place where anyone would want to hang out. And you could hang out for a long time… More >>
  • Best Chips and Salsa — Non-Traditional

    Tibet's

    We know that pappadum isn't exactly a tortilla chip, and that spicy greenish-red stuff that's served alongside it at Tibet's isn't exactly salsa. But we don't care, because we also know that this stuff is addictive and free.… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Los Carboncitos

    At Los Carboncitos, salsa is an elemental part of the meal, and every table is supplied with a caddy full of different varieties. No chips, though: That chips-and-salsa thing is an American invention, and Los Carboncitos is about as far as you can get from an American restaurant without updating your passport. This bright spot operates like a cool, urban… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    WaterCourse Foods

    Though we've never been crazy about restaurants that self-identify as vegetarian (believing that starting from such a limited culinary position can only serve to strangle any creativity or free thinking in the kitchen), WaterCourse Foods has been in the game long enough to overcome any such restrictions. The result is a restaurant that has the vegetarian and vegan ethos worked… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Eating Your Vegetables

    Masalaa

    Masalaa is a great vegetarian restaurant because it's really not a vegetarian restaurant. Rather, it's a restaurant that just happens to not have meat on the menu — a fact that can easily go overlooked while you're gorging yourself on idly, aloo paratha, kofta curry with vegetable fritters, the most delicious aloo mutter anywhere, channa saag with chickpeas and a… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Breakfast

    The Corner Office

    In London, the butchers from Smithfield Market celebrate the finish of a long day with a couple pints of Guinness, some beans and a plate of black pudding. In the swing-shift industrial towns of Northern China, men put away bowls of congee rice porridge and yu za kuei (fried crullers) before trudging off to the factories. Here in Denver? We've… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Although Oceanaire is beloved for the chicken-fried oysters and delightful bacon steaks with which it's slowly murdering a certain restaurant critic, this restaurant is really a classic fish house that looks like a gilt ocean liner from the early twentieth century. Each day, the menu lists the fish that have been delivered fresh from distributors around the world: Loup de… More >>
  • Best Lobster

    Cherry Crest Seafood Market

    Cherry Crest Seafood Market not only serves the best lobster in Denver, but it also has the best lobster deal in Denver. In season, you can get a full lobster dinner for around twenty bucks — easily half the price of the competition. And Cherry Crest is steaming and cracking Maine lobsters — the best — while some of the… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Seafood to Go

    Cherry Crest Seafood Market

    Is the line to eat at Cherry Crest too long? Check this out: The market part of the restaurant offers a takeout-only, New England-style steamer special of two one-and-a-half pound lobsters, the catch of the day, clams, mussels, corn on the cob and potatoes, laid down with seaweed in a steamer bucket and ready to go for just $70. That's… More >>
  • Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    Sushi Sasa seemed perfect the minute it opened. Odd, then, that it seems to only get better. Or maybe not, because chef/owner Wayne Conwell is the sort of person who strives to best even himself. From the gorgeous white-on-white dining room (which is usually packed) to the sushi bar at the back and the product of the cooks working behind… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Sushi Den

    Sushi is simplicity personified in a culinary tradition that already values the most basic, the most unadorned, the most spare presentation of ingredients imaginable. Yet any meal at Sushi Den is complicated by the fact that owner Toshi Kizaki has worked for the past twenty years to institute a system whereby the sushi we get in Denver is almost as… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Sushi Restaurant

    Osaka Sushi

    Osaka Sushi isn't easy to find, but it's worth the search. Regulars love this place with a fervor bordering on obsession and even have their own personal sake boxes, stacked like a child's blocks behind the bar. The menu focuses on sushi, but also features other Japanese convenience foods — gyoza and donburi, yaki soba and bowls of multi-colored fish… More >>
  • Best Sushi in the Last Place You'd Expect It

    Mori Sushi Bar - CLOSED

    There are people who have been going to Mori for decades, since long before Coors Field and LoDo existed, people who somehow happened on this sushi bar in the back of an old VFW hall and got hooked. Although Mori has gone more upscale in recent years — even adding a sake bar — it's still a comfortable spot, with… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up the Sushi Habit

    Japon - CLOSED

    Less formal and intimidating than other sushi joints, Japon is a great place to go if you're just starting to get into sushi. Here the stakes are a little lower and the pace a little slower, a benefit of Japon's Old South Gaylord neighborhood setting. But the fish is undeniably excellent and the crew behind the bar approachable and helpful.… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Domo Restaurant

    Year after year, Domo never fails to impress with its rigid adherence to the traditional cuisine of Northern Japan, its unwavering commitment to authenticity in ingredients and preparation, and the fact that we somehow can sit, stuffing our faces, for two hours on what is essentially an old tree stump and still get up at the end of dinner without… More >>
  • Best Ramen

    Oshima Ramen - CLOSED

    Oshima Ramen doesn't just serve the best ramen in Denver, it serves the best ramen in America — because this is where Keiji Oshima's ramen invasion of the United States both began and ended. So we're the lucky inheritors of both Oshima's vision and his unparalleled Super Original Oshima Ramen, which is about as far from those 29-cent packets of… More >>
  • Best Pie After the Opera

    Sam's No. 3

    Blueberry, peach, apple and cherry — with a revolving menu of pies made fresh daily, Sam's No. 3 is great spot to grab a slice after a night at the nearby Denver Performing Arts Complex. The only thing flakier than the delicious crust might be the crowd surrounding you — an eclectic bunch that's apt to include hipsters, workers getting… More >>
  • Best Japanese Fast Food

    Kokoro - CLOSED

    Founded in Denver by Mareo Torito, Kokoro has specialized in speed, low prices, freshness and healthy ingredients — with a Japanese accent — for twenty years. The South Colorado Boulevard Kokoro is the best of the three still operating (the others are in Arvada and at 555 Broadway). It looks like an old Woolworth's lunch counter taken over by a… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Kim Ba

    Denver has many good Vietnamese restaurants, but our favorite is Kim Ba. There may be better places for pho, for frogs' legs, for other individual dishes. But no crew works the grills better than the one at Kim Ba, and there's no other Vietnamese kitchen in Denver that does everything with such simplicity, confidence and excellence as Kim Ba's.… More >>
  • Best Traditional Vietnamese Restaurant

    Ha Noi Pho - CLOSED

    Jellied blood. Fishscale mint. Unpronounceable soups filled with unidentifiable ingredients. Sound like your kind of dinner? Then you need to get down to Ha Noi Pho for a taste of the authentic peasant/market/street-corner cuisine of Vietnam. This spot doesn't boast much in the way of decor, and on a slow night, the staff might be sitting around playing cards. But… More >>
  • Best Nouvelle Vietnamese Restaurant

    Parallel 17 - CLOSED

    Parallel 17 isn't all nouvelle; in fact, most of the menu is a very traditional and almost historic presentation of small plates that date back to the imperial cuisine of Hue. But it's the modernist touches that set Parallel 17 apart from the vast panoply of authentic Vietnamese restaurants in this city. It's the updated sauces, the modern plating and… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho 79

    In Vietnam, pho is breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack, both a morning pick-me-up and a comfort at the end of a long day. And at Pho 79's Aurora branch (there are two other locations), regulars have gotten the message that soup is good food. Here, the beef noodle soup — likely the single-most defining flavor of Vietnamese cuisine —… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    US Thai Cafe

    We've spent years wandering the streets of Denver, looking for good pad thai, masamun and papaya salad — and found a lot of versions that were mediocre, even bad. And then we discovered US Thai Cafe. At this tiny spot, all the classic dishes of Thai cuisine have a depth and breadth of flavor quite unlike anything we'd ever tasted… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Thai

    Thai Pepper II - CLOSED

    We've only eaten in Thai Pepper II's dining room once. That's because we can't sit still when we start thinking about this Thai food. So when we have a craving, we call in an order to Thai Pepper, which quickly bags up a brilliant take-away order of curry, rice, rice-paper shrimp and noodles. The menu is just long enough to… More >>
  • Best Thai Curry Soup, Korean Beef and Sushi

    Uoki

    American restaurants are good at mashing a dozen ethnic or regional favorites onto a single menu and calling the resulting mess "comfort food," "American regional" or something even goofier. Ethnic restaurants do the same thing when they throw Americanized Chinese dishes, Vietnamese favorites and sushi together on a single board, under the inclusive banner of "Asian fusion." And both the… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Chopsticks China Bistro - CLOSED

    Chopsticks is a strange restaurant: It's one of the city's most authentic Chinese spots, yet it also serves some completely inauthentic dishes. At Chopsticks, you can eat Chinese pocket sandwiches full of delicious, saucy, shredded meat or completely non-threatening chicken lo mein — and then, halfway through your meal, decide that what you really want is a little cold jellyfish… More >>
  • Best American Chinese Restaurant

    Szechuan Chinese Restaurant

    For thirty years, Szechuan Chinese Restaurant has been doing business in one of the worst imaginable locations in all of restaurantdom — but somehow it's managed to build, and keep, a dedicated crowd of regulars. They flock here for the friendly, accommodating service, the huge menu with well over a hundred options, and the low prices and large portions. But… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Lola

    On Sunday morning, we worship at the church of Lola, which doubles as a coastal Mexican restaurant the rest of the week. Sliding into our pew (make that booth), we give thanks for the basket of homemade breads (occasionally even pseudo-Pop-Tarts!) with which you can start the meal, for a menu that includes not just pancake and egg offerings, but… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant for Kids

    Ling & Louie's

    Randy Schoch, owner of the Ling & Louie's chain, is making a real effort at gastronomic decency, redefining an already redefined culinary gestalt (quote/unquote Asian cuisine) and taking it through the stages from Asian to Asian-American to family-friendly yuppie-Asian. And somehow he manages to raise the bar by aiming lower than the competition. His best ideas? Offering children's bento boxes… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Royal Peacock - CLOSED

    For more years than we can remember, Royal Peacock has been serving not just the best Indian food in the area, but some of the best Indian food anywhere — the kind you can eat once and dream about for years after, or eat every day and still crave at midnight. There's no gimmickry here, no flash, no bizarre international… More >>
  • Best Indian Atmosphere

    India's Restaurant

    India's shows its love for the culture and cuisine of India on the walls. Every flat surface, every spare inch of space, is covered with statuettes and serving bowls, with tapestries and flags, with seemingly every tchotchke, keepsake and souvenir ever produced by busy hands on the Indian subcontinent. In India, this place would probably be made fun of like… More >>
  • Best Tibetan Restaurant

    Tibet's

    How lucky are we to not only have a Tibetan restaurant, but a genuine competition for the best Tibetan restaurant? This time, Tibet's takes the prize. Started last year by former staffers from other local Tibetan restaurants — and a chef who once cooked for the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan monastery! — Tibet's celebrates both the culture and cuisine… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Ya Hala Grill - CLOSED

    Ya Hala isn't much to look at from the outside — just a squat cement bunker hunkered down on Colorado Boulevard. As a matter of fact, it isn't much to look at from the inside, either. The lobby/bakery is a bit run-down, the dining room looks roughly used. But the food coming out of this place more than makes up… More >>
  • Best African Restaurant

    Arada Ethiopian Restaurant

    The Arada Gebeya, one of the great spice markets of Africa, is located in central Addis Ababa. And now its namesake restaurant, Arada, has brought the true flavors of Ethiopian cuisine to the center of Denver, introducing a flock of customers to its deliciously authentic fare. Although this city has a surprisingly large number of Ethiopian restaurants, Arada is the… More >>
  • Best Caribbean Restaurant

    8 Rivers Cafe - CLOSED

    Chef Scott Durrah opened this small cafe in the Highland neighborhood just so he could share the Jamaican and Caribbean flavors he loves with Denver. But in the process, he showed us just how refined and just how casual these tastes can be — offering a rough and rustic menu of Caribbean comfort food done with a careful and restrained… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Los Cabos II

    Over the past couple of years, Central and South American food has become a hot style as young chefs looked even farther south of the border for inspiration. But Denver has had its own inspirational Peruvian restaurant for years. Behind an unassuming downtown storefront is Los Cabos II, a combination restaurant/cultural center that's decorated with native art (and a giant… More >>
  • Best Nouvelle Peruvian Restaurant

    Limón

    Yucca chips, potato salads, causa potato cakes and a spread of ceviches are only the start at Limón, chef Alex Gurevich's love letter to the modern cuisine of Peru, known as "Novoandino." Here the classic dishes of this ancient food culture are reimagined for the modern world, yet made with traditional, imported ingredients and a deep understanding of where the… More >>
  • Best Mariachi Brunch

    El Tejado

    El Tejado doesn't just serve some of the town's best, and most varied, Mexican food — fried snapper that you might find in Puerto Vallarta, street-style tacos and a thick, gravy-like green chile that could only be made in Colorado. During Sunday brunch, it serves that food with a side of mariachi music. The good-humored musicians play all the standards… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    French 250

    Everything about French 250 — from its jewel-box subterranean space to its long and luxurious menu of hard-core French classics to the uncompromising work being done by the brigade that makes everything from scratch, in the proper French style — speaks directly to our love of classicism and the old, the storied and the traditional in the French canon. Here,… More >>
  • Best Everyday French Restaurant

    Le Central

    Most haute cuisine is too heavy to eat every day. But Le Central practically cries out for you to return each afternoon for a bowl of Denver's best French onion soup, a plate of snails and a glass of wine (or three). The menu here is huge and very traditional, full of French comfort foods and specials. The moules et… More >>
  • Best Crepes

    Crepes 'n Crepes

    A crepe, when done correctly, is simple — just a wrapper that holds all the good stuff in one place. But while it's simple, it can also be delicious. And no place in town makes more correct, simply delicious crepes than Crepes 'n Crepes. That's because Crepes 'n Crepes is uncompromisingly, unabashedly and unstintingly French. The cooks are French. Owners… More >>
  • Best American Restaurant

    Duo

    Salt-brined and grilled pork chops in cider-blue cheese sauce with mashed potatoes, a steak topped with bacon, roasted quail with a pecan grit cake and cranberries. Such dishes translate into one thing: a quintessentially American restaurant. At Duo, chef John Broening and his crew have been quietly redefining the standards of American cuisine, incorporating local and regional elements into classic… More >>
  • Best New American Restaurant

    Fruition

    Today Fruition is getting play all over the country as one of the best restaurants in the United States, with stories in glossy mags and big awards. But you know what? We loved Fruition before it was cool, when it was a great neighborhood restaurant and the entire town its neighborhood. Fruition wasn't even two months old when we named… More >>
  • Best Fusion Restaurant

    Izakaya Den

    Miso soup? Check. Homemade Satsuma-age and nikumaki with burdock root? Check. For about thirty seconds, Izakaya Den seems like nothing more than a late-night version of Sushi Den, its sibling across the street. But then you see the panzanella salad on the menu, the roasted red and yellow beets with green tea-smoked mozzarella, the curried Maine lobster with apricot-shallot veloute,… More >>
  • Best Taste of the Future

    L'Atelier

    Chef Radek Cerny has never been an easy guy to pin down. In his earliest days in Colorado, he was just another French-trained classical chef who had a few weird tricks with potatoes and a string of gigs that pointed up those talents. But lately he's been venturing down some pretty strange culinary avenues and coming back with absolutely brilliant… More >>
  • Best Tasting Menu

    O's Steak & Seafood - CLOSED

    Ian Kleinman's molecular-gastronomy tasting menus at O's Steak & Seafood at the Westin Westminster are absolutely amazing. His dedication to pushing the boundaries of cuisine to strange and unusual places — mixing his years as a classically trained chef with an essential, up-from-nothing, hey-let's-see-what-this-tastes-like spirit — is admirable, as is his rigid, almost doctrinaire insistence that the results still be… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Frank Bonanno

    This has been Frank Bonanno's year. While cutting his losses on a couple of ventures, he continued to ensure that the French/Mediterranean-inspired Mizuna and the solidly Italian Luca remained two of the city's most consistently excellent restaurants. And then last December, he opened Osteria Marco in Larimer Square, a neighborhood already full to bursting with great restaurants — and it… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Your Brunch Booze

    Wynkoop Brewing Company

    For those of us who just know we're not going to be able to drag ourselves out of bed for Sunday brunch, the Wynkoop Brewing Company is a required last stop on Saturday nights. Because this brewpub not only sells its excellent brews by the glass, but also by the jug, to go. So if you know you're going to… More >>
  • Best New Neighborhood Restaurant

    Big Hoss Bar-B-Q - CLOSED

    Not only do Hoss Orwat and his crew make some wicked barbecue, but they've made that wicked barbecue the focus of a great neighborhood restaurant — the kind of place that, in a perfect world, would exist within walking distance of every person's home. This joint draws a crowd from every imaginable demographic — from families out for a meal… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Izakaya Den

    Izakaya Den is a beautiful restaurant — dimly lit, with a lovely, blonde-wood sushi bar and huge beams made from imported cedar, set and carved by Japanese craftsmen — but that's not why it's the year's best new restaurant. The menu, designed by Toshi Kizaki and executed by one of the most talented crews in town, is ridiculous, a Japanese-Mediterranean… More >>
  • Best Brunch Booze

    Dixons - CLOSED

    Having booze with breakfast, or even for breakfast, does not make you an alcoholic, no matter what your mother/significant other/parole officer says. At Dixons, drinks are a respectable way to start a new day. And in case your last day ended badly, Dixons even removes the stigma of hangover abatement by serving up wake-up cocktails in respectable portions. Usually reserved… More >>
  • Best Brunch Bubbly

    Prima Ristorante - CLOSED

    Unlimited prosecco: eight bucks. Getting smashed before noon on a Sunday morning: priceless. But while the drink-until-you're-done deal during brunch at Kevin Taylor's Prima Ristorante may be enough recommendation for fans of daylight misbehavior, this lovely little restaurant also puts out a killer brunch spread for those who actually want some food with their weekend pick-me-up. From shaved melon and… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts in a Barbecue Restaurant

    Tin Star Cafe & Donuts

    Tin Star does only two things — barbecue and doughnuts — which means it comes very close to any sane person's idea of how heaven might smell. When he took over the longtime doughnut joint four years ago, owner Andrew Schutt — a trained chef and veteran of several of Denver's biggest-name kitchens — tried adding a deli to the… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Taste of Colorado

    Karl's Farm Dairy

    Those tourist shops at Denver International Airport and on the 16th Street Mall get their Colorado-branded souvenir knickknacks from somewhere — but it sure ain't Colorado. That Estes Park shot glass your father-in-law bought last year was more likely crafted on the shores of the Yangtze than the Cache La Poudre. Still, there's a great spot to find true Colorado… More >>
  • Best Pancakes

    Toast

    Bananas Foster pancakes. Strawberry-banana cheesecake pancakes crusted with crushed graham crackers and topped with a strawberry cream-cheese sauce. Lemon-blueberry pancakes spiked with gingersnap and lemon curd, and Oreo cookie pancakes with marshmallow fluff and hot fudge. You'll flip for the flapjacks at Toast, a charming breakfast spot that's reason to rise and shine.… More >>
  • Best Breakfast on the Go

    Waffle Brothers - CLOSED

    When hunger strikes on the 16th Street Mall, the mighty Waffle Brothers, John Power and Rod Dupen, are at your service. Starting with a warm, Liège-style Belgian waffle — caramelized around the edges thanks to the inclusion of imported nib sugar in the batter — as a base, the bros then pile on the toppings you request, everything from the… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Pastries

    Les Delices de Paris

    The croissant at Les Delices are excellent — buttery, flaky, crisp and puffed just right so they collapse against the teeth almost before you bite into them. The brioche are delicious, the tartellet like tiny fruit jewel boxes. And owners Gerard and Christelle Donat certainly know their way around the big-ticket items — the cakes and display pieces. But for… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Bluepoint Bakery

    Man could live by bread alone, if it were made at Bluepoint Bakery. This is a huge production bakery with an enormous book for everything from breads to desserts to pastries, but the breads are the real star: at least a dozen kinds of French bread, twice the number of dinner and sandwich rolls, eight pan breads and a half-dozen… More >>
  • Best Lunch for Those With No Bread

    SAME Cafe

    SAME Cafe owners Brad and Libby Birky have done the impossible. Not only did they open a restaurant with no prices on the menu and no cash register on the premises (just a box into which customers are asked to put a "donation," paying whatever they can or whatever they choose to), but they've managed to keep it open for… More >>
  • Best Cheap Lunch

    Johnny's Diner - CLOSED

    A $2.89 blue-plate special at lunch? You can't beat that — not even if you go through a McDonald's drive-thru for a Happy Meal. And while a Mickey D's lunch will do nothing but make you feel bad for eating such junk, at Johnny's you're not only getting real lunch from an honest-to-Jesus local business, but you're getting a little… More >>
  • Best Deli for Breakfast

    Zaidy's Deli

    Go for the homemade corned beef hash and eggs, stay for the lox 'n latkes. Zaidy's serves the kind of breakfast that makes you want to move in right across the street from this deli so that you can visit every day — or possibly kidnap one of its cooks and make him live in your closet, cooking potato pancakes… More >>
  • Best Deli for Lunch

    Fisher Clark Urban Delicatessen

    Best corned beef sandwich, best international ham-and-cheese, best Cuban, best one-shelf market in Denver — we could easily heap kudos on this tiny Bonnie Brae deli and market. But they all add up to one thing: Fisher Clark is the best lunchtime deli destination in the city. All of the bread is brought in fresh from Bluepoint Bakery, and everything… More >>
  • Best Deli

    The Bagel Deli & Restaurant

    Paul and Lola Weiner opened their first Bagel Deli in 1969 and ultimately consolidated operations on East Hampden Avenue, where for decades this deli has been the go-to spot for a thick egg-salad sandwich, salt bagels, matzo brei or chicken liver. Today the Weiners' daughter, Rhoda, and her husband, Joe Kaplan, run the Bagel Deli. It's a distinctive spot, full… More >>
  • Best International Kosher Deli

    East Side Kosher Deli

    For almost twenty years, Michael and Marcy Schreiber have overseen this large kosher oasis that stocks everything from candies and snacks to Hanukkah candles and kosher ramen. There's a bakery, a very busy deli counter (complete with an old-fashioned plastic-number dispenser to keep an orderly flow), a fish department (specializing in lox, natch) and, all the way in the back,… More >>
  • Best Last Taste of Colorado

    Mesa Verde Lounge

    As you wait to fly out of Denver, load up on liquid memories of your time here. High above the A Concourse you'll find Mesa Verde, an eatery named for one of this state's most historic sites — and a spot where you could make some history of your own. Mesa Verde promises that here you can "drink up, eat… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Sandwich Fixin's

    The Truffle

    Since Rob and Karin Lawler took over the Truffle last year, we've been impressed by both their stock and their skill in getting the word out about said stock. And for Denver's sandwich fanatics, there's no better place to while away an hour or an afternoon, tasting a little of this and buying a whole lot of that. The Truffle… More >>
  • Best Asian Sandwich

    Ba Le Sandwich

    Ba Le Sandwich, a small, brightly lit sandwich shop smack in the middle of Denver's best Vietnamese-restaurant neighborhood, is a destination both for Vietnamese immigrants looking for an honest taste of home and adventurous gastronauts looking for a taste of foreign climes on the cheap. Both appreciate the banh mi, the classical collision of French and Vietnamese culinary tradition that… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches in a Pancake House

    Toast

    Toast is a real eye-opener. Not only does it serve great breakfasts — including the town's best pancakes — but it offers a terrific lineup of sandwiches. From the simplest apple-and-brie sandwich (made with tart Fujis and a smear of cranberry pecan aioli) to a smartly fusion-y peppered chicken wrap with queso añejo, smoked chile cream and fresh salsa to… More >>
  • Best Torta

    Tacos D.F.

    At Tacos D.F., a former taco-truck-turned-restaurant-proper, the most extreme torta on the board might be the cubano — a monstrous thing made of ham, milanesa, cheese, beans, lettuce and a whole hot dog, split lengthwise and seared on the grill. But the best is the simple ham with avocado: ham stacked thick on a soft, lardy bun with sliced avocado,… More >>
  • Best Meal in a Bun

    Kolache Factory - CLOSED

    They could be the new breakfast burrito, or maybe the new office sandwich, or even the new family dinner. Kolaches have the potential to be all these things — and more. A novel food idea brought to us by those not-so-waistline-conscious Eastern Europeans, kolaches are slightly sweet, freshly baked meals that stuff a bun with everything from eggs and bacon… More >>
  • Best $19 Sandwich

    Ship Tavern

    Yes, we understand that few people are going to run out and drop twenty bucks on a sandwich. But the lobster-salad sandwich at the Ship Tavern is well worth the price. Essentially a lobster roll, it loads what must be half a Maine lobster, perfectly cooked, onto a homemade brioche roll, and binds everything together with a thin mayonnaise that… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Lunch

    Elway's

    As annoying as the phrase "Let's do lunch" has become, we love hearing it when the destination of choice is Elway's, a Cherry Creek mainstay that defines the power lunch — as well as the power brunch, the power dinner, the power nightcap, the power getting-smashed-at-the-bar-and-hitting-on-the-cocktail-waitresses. But this nexus of new money and old-fashioned indulgence also happens to be a… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up the Tab — Lunch

    Capital Grille

    Dinners at the Capital Grille can be murderously expensive. That dry-aged and hand-sculpted 24-ounce porterhouse, with sides, will run as high as your monthly car payment, and some of the bottles on the "Captain's List" could bankrupt a small Third World nation. But if you need to pick up a tab at a place that makes an impression, take our… More >>
  • Best Cheap Dinner

    Club 404 - CLOSED

    Is Club 404 a dive? Absolutely. But we mean that in only the sweetest, most endearing way. If you're looking for wasabi mashed potatoes and tenderloins with mango chutney, this is not the place for you. But if your idea of atmosphere is cheap beers at 10 a.m., 365-days-a-year Christmas lights and a seasoned waitress who could tell you firsthand… More >>
  • Best Melting-Pot Dinner

    Cowbobas

    Cowbobas is a combination cowboy steakhouse and Vietnamese boba tea shop that serves coffee and corn dogs. You can get a cheeseburger and a crystal jelly fruit tea, a ten-dollar steak that tastes exactly like the steaks Dad charred on the backyard grill when you were a kid, a grilled cheese sandwich and a jackfruit smoothie so syrupy sweet you'll… More >>
  • Best Locally Based Chain

    Smashburger

    Yes, Smashburger is a small chain — but we don't expect that to be the case for long, not with such a genius concept and excellent execution. At Smashburger, the Denver-born idea of "fast-casual" dining is applied to the Denver-born idea of the cheeseburger, and the result is a culinary mash-up of a Chipotle-style business model, a sleek, modern diner… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Begin with the massive plateau de fruits de mer — that'll run you $79, shaved ice included. Then there's whatever fish is fresh that night, prepared in a way that could be plain, could be fancy, but is guaranteed to be stunning: real Dover sole wrapped around a stuffing of crab meat and sauced with a simple, elegant lemon beurre… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up the Tab — Dinner

    Wazee Supper Club

    You finally did it: You beat all the competition and nailed down that contract for the National Widget Manufacturing Summit. You're feeling good, your staff is feeling good, and you want to take everyone out to celebrate. But not at a steakhouse — the NWMS was a nice payday, but not that nice. Still, you don't want to go too… More >>
  • Best First-Date Dinner

    9th Door

    So, there's this girl or guy you really like. You've been pursuing (read: stalking) him or her for months now — courting in the most old-fashioned way. You've bought flowers, burned your name on his or her lawn, taken a page from Tom McGuane and nailed your hand to his or her front door, even successfully fought off three restraining… More >>
  • Best Second-Date Dinner

    Fruition

    What? You actually got a second date? Well, good for you. Now the trick is to make the new love of your life think that you're a person of sophistication and taste — the sort who knows not to comb his hair with the salad fork or challenge the hostess to a drinking contest in the middle of the dining… More >>
  • Best Late-Night American Menu

    Steuben's

    Denver remains a tough place to find a great meal late at night. Enter Steuben's. With a kitchen that serves until midnight on the weekends and eleven on school nights, Steuben's is your best bet for a real late-night dinner, whether you're looking for good, alcohol-absorbing grub, beating back a savage attack of the munchies or simply want a solid… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up an Off-Duty Line Cook

    Dixons - CLOSED

    Another thing Denver doesn't have enough of? Dedicated food-service bars — places where the line dogs can go after their shift, knock back a few cocktails, have a snack and behave badly among their own kind. There are a few such charmed and charming joints in town, but the best is Dixons. With its central downtown location, liberal pours, long… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up an Off-Duty Chef

    Izakaya Den

    Some people like cops, some go for doctors, others are only interested in bikers, punks or nerds. And there's also a distinct subset of the singles scene interested in food-service employees — specifically cooks and chefs. For those whose tastes run a bit higher in the brigade than the Jäger-drunk commis or sullen, strung-out grillardin, Izakaya Den is a must-stop… More >>
  • Best Tap Room

    Great Divide Brewing Company

    Great Divide's tap room was the last space finished in the brewery's remodel, but it was worth the wait. The old tap room — the starting and ending point of tours at Great Divide — had a chilly, concrete decor, and it's difficult to enjoy even free beer samples when you're shivering. Its reincarnation is much warmer and features two… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Bull & Bush

    The Bull & Bush, which is modeled after an old London pub with its low ceilings, dark wood and brass rails, didn't start out as a brewpub. But then, back when the Peterson brothers founded the B&B in 1971, there weren't any brewpubs in Colorado. Instead, it racked up another first when it hooked up to satellite dishes for sports… More >>
  • Best Cheap Breakfast

    Rosie's Diner

    The dollars-to-grub ratio at Rosie's is always skewed hugely in favor of the archetypal Big Hungry Boy, but it's during breakfast that this diner really shines. Bacon and eggs for five bucks? That may not sound like a bargain, but consider that this meal consists of two eggs, four strips of bacon, a mountain of hashbrowns and a full stack… More >>
  • Best Beer List

    Falling Rock Tap House

    The Colorado Rockies may have bombed in the World Series last fall, but a block away from Coors Field, Falling Rock Tap House continues to boast a world-class beer list that's simply unbeatable. This casual, comfortable bar has more than sixty beers on tap and many, many more kinds in bottles, from cities across the country and countries around the… More >>
  • Best Wine List — Classic

    Palace Arms

    A Penfolds shiraz from 2000. La Tache Burgundy, 1999. A Château Ausone Bordeaux, 1995, and a '98 Cheval Blanc. Need we go on? Okay, how about a bottle of 1990 Petrus? An '89 LaTour? Bottles of Lafite-Rothschild from (almost) every important year dating back to 1978, a cellar full of Mouton-Rothschild. Then there's the Haut-Brion Bordeaux, the '28 Château Margaux?… More >>
  • Best Whiskey List

    Pints Pub

    Before any of you dedicated drinkers of the Irish dew get all up in arms, we'll admit that the whisky list at Pints Pub, though unbelievably deep, broad and inclusive, is primarily a list of Scotch whiskys. And while there are a few Irish whiskeys-with-an-e listed toward the bottom — Bushmills, Clontarf, Connemara and Tyrconnel, as well as pop-cult classics… More >>
  • Best Tequila/Mezcal List

    Mezcal

    There are as many good reasons to spend a night drinking tequila and mezcal as there are great places in Denver to do it. But if you're looking for the best, head directly to Mezcal. Since this Colfax cantina opened four years ago, it's been like a shrine to the best use of the humble agave cactus. Whether you're looking… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Tambien - CLOSED

    When Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz decided to duplicate the success they'd had at Mezcal with Tambien, they actually outdid themselves on the margaritas. Although the house recipe is ostensibly the same here as at Mezcal, Tambien puts a little more care — and a slightly larger tequila pour — into these deceptively simple drinks. There's no sweet-and-sour to make… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Churchill Bar

    There's a twist to the martini at Churchill: You can still enjoy it with a cigarette or cigar. But the fact that this bar in the Brown Palace fits through the anti-smoking law's cigar-sales loophole isn't the only reason a martini here is something to savor. There's the room itself, which is woody, clubby, and filled with leather furniture you… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail

    Jax Fish House

    When we walk into Jax, the LoDo outpost of a fish house that got its start in Boulder, we still get a twinge of nostalgia for the old Terminal Bar that once occupied this building. But after ten years, Jax has proven itself more than see-worthy. And the great horseshoe-shaped bar — a holdover from the Terminal days — is… More >>
  • Best Champagne List

    French 250

    When you're celebrating in style and price is (almost) no object, French 250 is the place to pop the cork. All of the major labels are well represented on this constantly changing champagne list, and there are some lesser-known rarities that give it character. And while you'll pay top dollar by the glass (and three times top dollar for a… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    El Taco de México

    There's a flighty kind of magic in the air at El Taco de Mexico on its best weekend mornings, something frail and almost inexplicable, moments when the swirling white church dresses and the tock of cleavers in the kitchen and the fast, hard-edged patter of Spanish at the counter all come together. The spell can easily be broken by a… More >>
  • Best Champagne Bar

    Corridor 44

    Corridor 44 does fans of sparkling wine a service by cracking some truly fine bottles of the bubbly and pouring it by the glass. Perrier Jouët Grand Brut, Moët & Chandon White Star, even Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label — the best champagne you're going to get before you start paying as much for your booze as your entree. And now,… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Rosie's Diner

    With its ridiculously cheap prices, massive portions, high-volume galley, vintage candy counter and '50s malt-shop decor that manages to come off as more sincere than shlocky, Rosie's is a great diner. Just about everything on the menu is award-worthy — from the malts and thick shakes to the chicken-fried steak. The only thing distinctly un-dinery is the bubbly service staff… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Encore Restaurant - CLOSED

    When Encore opened last December, it came equipped with some cool history, since it occupies part of the old Lowenstein Theater, and great neighbors — Twist & Shout and the Tattered Cover. Encore also has a classic long bar, an interesting menu and savvy owners (the folks who brought us the Black Pearl). But what Encore really has going for… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Rocky Mountain Diner - CLOSED

    The difference between good fried chicken and bad fried chicken is a narrow margin — a few degrees of heat on the pan, a few millimeters of breading or batter. But the difference between good fried chicken and great fried chicken is huge, often measured in things like generations, miles and state lines. And while the Rocky Mountain Diner is… More >>
  • Best Chicken and Waffles

    The Corner Office

    There are essentially two kinds of restaurants in the world: those run for the benefit of customers and those run as playgrounds for chefs. The Corner Office is unabashedly one of the former, and that "unabashedly" is why it's so successful. With no shame, no tongue-in-cheek, smirking irony, the bar will pour you a double whiskey while the kitchen lovingly… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Davies Chuck Wagon Diner

    Davies Chuck Wagon was built in 1957, maybe one of the best years for diners, definitely one of the last. It's a Mountain View, constructed in Singac, New Jersey, and the name is appropriate, because from the street out front, you can see the foothills rising over a hump in the land. It's doubly appropriate, in fact, because of all… More >>
  • Best Chicken Rice

    Isle of Singapore

    Chicken rice, the unofficial comfort food of Singapore, is exactly what it sounds like: chicken and rice and nothing else. But at Isle of Singapore, these two ingredients add up to big flavor. Officially billed as Hainanese chicken rice, it comes as a plate of white rice piled with chunks of rudely hacked, bone-in and double-boiled chicken. You're supposed to… More >>
  • Best Fried Pickles and Samosa

    British Bulldog

    The British Bulldog is an odd duck even for a city like Denver, which is full of odd ducks. Here you'll find the British tradition of mixing bangers-and-mash comfort food with Indo-Pakistani tiffin tin in full swing, so you can get an expertly pulled pint, a side of Scotch sausages and a plate of Peshawari chicken or chappli kebabs all… More >>
  • Best Fried Bananas

    Tropical Grill

    A few things that are good early in the morning: breakfast burritos, blow jobs, strong coffee, forgiveness for last night's sins, that first cigarette of the day — and the banana lumpia at Tropical Grill. These tropical pastries are wickedly addictive, and we've found ourselves driving to Aurora for another fix as soon as the last grease-and-sugar high wears off.… More >>
  • Best Fried Pumpkin

    Cebiche

    Lomo saltado. Hot empanadas and a sweating bottle of Cristal or Quilmes beer. Chupes de this and chupes de that, a small plate of ceviche clásico or ceviche mixto and then, of course, the ubiquitous papas a la huancaina. At Cebiche, most of the menu might seem old hat to anyone who's already discovered the joys of Peruvian cuisine. But… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito

    Señor Burrito

    Señor Burrito has the breakfast-burrito category all wrapped up. For starters, it serves breakfast burritos whenever it's open — a big consideration for those of us who keep strange hours. And no matter what time you get a breakfast burrito here, it's always well-made — big but not too big, with just the right blend of blandness and spice, and… More >>
  • Best Fried Plantains

    Red Tango

    Red Tango does a lot of things very, very well. The menu includes excellent arepas, rellenos, enchiladas with cocoa mole, potato cakes and potato soup and fried potatoes. But what this kitchen does best (and it's not an easy task) is plantains: fried, thick-cut and buttery, crisp at the edges and gooey in the middle.… More >>
  • Best Fried Cheese

    Big Hoss Bar-B-Q - CLOSED

    Of all the things that man has invented over the course of history — the wheel, zombie movies, the interweb — fried cheese has to be in the top ten. And no one in Denver does fried cheese better than Hoss Orwat and his crew at Big Hoss Bar-B-Q. Their version is a decidedly Midwestern take — batter-dipped curds of… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Old Fashioned Italian Deli

    The guys at the Old Fashioned know from good hot dogs. Why? Because they're from Buffalo, a town that long ago went to the dogs. Here, they're Sahlen's brand, boiled to a beautiful ruddy pink and served on a simple bun, with a little twist of casing that makes a tail at both ends. The standard at the Old Fashioned… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Bud's Cafe & Bar

    The winner and still the chomp. Bud's Bar in Sedalia has seen a lot of changes over the years, including a new owner, but this classic roadhouse remains dedicated to the noble art of burger-makin'. In fact, for decades it's made nothing but burgers: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, double hamburgers, double cheeseburgers and nothing else. Not even french fries. And given the… More >>
  • Best Bar Burger

    My Brother's Bar

    Although Bud's Bar still makes the area's best burger, the burger at My Brother's Bar comes very close — and it's flavored by decades of tradition, since this address has been a bar longer than any other location in Denver, back to at least 1880. But unlike a Bud's burger, which we can take outside and eat while sitting on… More >>
  • Best Burger Bar

    Cherry Cricket

    There are great burgers, and then there are great burger bars. And the best of these is the Cherry Cricket. The kitchen not only turns out a mean green-chile cheeseburger, but also offers a plethora of variations for those poor, deluded souls who like to top their patty of grilled cow with something other than a strong hit of green… More >>
  • Best Green-Chile Cheeseburger

    Steuben's

    The green-chile cheeseburger was a fixture at Steuben's back when the restaurant was just a glimmer in the eye of partners Jen and Josh Wolkon and Matt Selby. They recognized that the green-chile cheeseburger is a unique example of Southwestern Americana — a dish with deep roots that inspires the kind of fanatical devotion generally only seen among religious fundamentalists… More >>
  • Best Strip-Mall Burger

    Smashburger

    Meat candy. That's the only way to describe the thin, crispy, lacy rind of caramelized beef juice that fries up around the edges of a perfectly smashed smashburger at Smashburger — the new, homegrown chain that actually came up with a different way to do burgers, smashing them down on a very hot grill, then letting customers pick from a… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Big Hoss Bar-B-Q - CLOSED

    It has been said, often and loudly, that Denver has no great barbecue restaurants. And while this is true to a point, it's a point beyond which all arguments fall apart. Denver may not have the kind of historic barbecue joints that most folks think of when they think of great barbecue. But what we do have are many places… More >>
  • Best Breakfast for Hipsters

    City, O' City

    At City, O' City — the all-things-to-all-people coffeehouse/restaurant/hangout that Dan and Michelle Landes opened in the former home of their original WaterCourse Foods — everything is laptops and nose rings, hummus, leg hair, Lou Reed on the stereo and twig-and-berry ascetics swooning over fig pizzas and falafel. At night, the place draws big crowds. But we like it best in… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Breakfast

    Ha Noi Pho - CLOSED

    Not everyone has the time, the taste or the temperament to forgo their morning bowl of Muesli or Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs in favor of the flavors of Southeast Asia. But for those who do, there's Ha Noi Pho, which offers not only traditional breakfast pho and a tall glass of Vietnamese coffee thickened with a shot of sweetened, condensed… More >>
  • Best Free Chips and Salsa

    Taquería Patzcuaro

    The once-ubiquitous free chips and salsa at Denver's Mexican restaurants have become harder and harder to come by lately. But Taquería Patzcuaro, one of the city's most venerable joints, continues this proud tradition, gifting every table with a basket of freshly made chips and Patzcuaro's extra-hot green salsa. What makes this salsa so good is a secret, but we've been… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up BBQ

    Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q

    Jim 'n Nick's might be a chain, but it's a chain backed by real guys: Jim and Nick Pihakis, a father-and-son team who ran the business together until Jim died not long ago. Now Nick is overseeing the expansion of the brand into barbecue-loving parts of America, including Colorado, which should bid Jim 'n Nick's a warm welcome. Because not… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Super Star Asian

    We've lost count of how many different versions of dumplings are served at Super Star; of how many different ways pork can be prepared; of how many huge plates of delicious salt-and-pepper shrimp we've seen disappear just before the cart makes it to our table. But an unexpectedly delicious dish is always just a cart away. Taro balls, for example… More >>
  • Best Pulled Pork

    Yazoo Barbeque Company

    Here's how to tell if a barbecue joint is good: Count how many times you've been disappointed because it's sold out of nearly every damn thing. This is a regular problem at the original Yazoo BBQ location (there's a newer outpost in Greenwood Village), where dinner is often catch-as-catch-can, depending on how many other Deep South barbecue freaks have gotten… More >>
  • Best Korean BBQ

    Sae Jong Kwan

    What's called "Korean BBQ" isn't really barbecue by the traditional American definition, but grilled meats (and assorted other things) served family style and generally cooked on a tabletop grill. But it's just as addictive as the American version, and when we get a hankering, we head for Sae Jong Kwan — aka House of Korean BBQ. From the outside, the… More >>
  • Best Chinese Barbecue

    Pacific Ocean International Supermarket

    While we're firmly of the opinion that, like jazz or summer blockbusters, barbecue is an American art form, plenty of international practitioners come up with some pretty good versions all on their own. The Chinese, for example. They have one of the oldest food cultures on the planet, and at the center of the canon is Chinese pork barbecue —… More >>
  • Best Breakfast for Hippies

    Mercury Cafe

    Marilyn Megenity has been working to save the world with food for more than three decades, and at the Mercury Cafe, it looks like she's winning. From wind-driven electrics and a fryer-oil-to-biodiesel recycling plan to a local, sustainable, green but not exclusively vegetarian weekend brunch menu featuring organic egg omelets with quinoa and whole-grain hotcakes, breakfast here is something even… More >>
  • Best Greek BBQ

    Yanni's Greek Taverna

    Yes, there are things besides BBQ on the menu of Yanni Stavropoulos's Greek restaurant: dolmades, mezedes, souvlaki, ouzo and all the other stuff you'd expect. But why would you want anything else when you can have barbecued lamb? When the wind is right and the outdoor rotisserie grill is fired up, the odor of roasting meat and garlic and wine… More >>
  • Best Irish Barbecue

    Cabin Creek Smokehouse Barbeque

    Okay, so there really isn't anything called Irish barbecue. But if there were, it would probably look just like the BBQ masher at Cabin Creek Smokehouse. This is the ultimate barbecue-junkie hangover food: a bowl of mashed red-skin potatoes topped with pulled pork, topped again with cheese and again with sour cream. And while you can continue on from there… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant Neighborhood

    Lower level, 250 Steele Street

    There have been good restaurants in this subterranean space (Bistro Adde Brewster, Sketch), and there have been truly horrible ones. But never before have there been two great restaurants, operating side by side and on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Defying both real-estate and restaurant law, Tambien and French 250 have managed to make their underground digs and odd… More >>
  • Best Barbecued Bacon

    Han Kang

    Han Kang seems to give away more food than it charges for — what with all the garnishes, sides, sauces and snacks that come free with every meal at this traditional Korean joint. While English is definitely a second language here, you can easily get yourself fed by just pointing, nodding and doing a little pantomime. And be sure you… More >>
  • Best Place to Make a Pig of Yourself

    Los Carboncitos

    Los Carboncitos is a temple to all things piggish, where the humble swine has been elevated to a position of vaunted honor — its loin, its chops, its belly and fat used in marvelous excess. Not everything on the menu is made of pork, but there's nothing on the menu that doesn't have a pork-heavy option. And in many cases,… More >>
  • Best Booze and Bellies

    Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace

    Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace may have a funny name, but it takes its booze very, very seriously. From day one, the staff has been exhorted to think of the bar as an extension of the kitchen — a place where only the best ingredients and most rigorous prep will be accepted. The results are some seriously powerful and… More >>
  • Best Last-Date Dinner

    Osteria Marco

    Never mind that this restaurant has great food. When it comes to dumping a date, it's all about location, location, location. And the subterranean pork palace known as Osteria Marco is just the spot to ditch someone. Why? Because at one end of the room is a staircase leading to street level, and tucked off to the side are the… More >>
  • Best Food and Bellies

    Marrakesh

    The lunch buffet at this comfortable LoDo spot is an impressive spread. But the more impressive sight comes at dinner, when the North African dishes — soups, tagines, grilled meats — are spiced up even further by the addition of live belly dancing.… More >>
  • Best French Breakfast

    Bistro Vendôme

    Bistro Vendôme has a number of things going for it: the best location in Denver, tucked in the back of Larimer Square with a lovely garden; the buzz of a wildly (and deservedly) popular restaurant; and the sort of weekend breakfast menu that makes unabashed Francophiles weep into their French press coffee. There are gueles de bois hangover drinks, crepe… More >>
  • Best Bacon Steaks

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Yes, Oceanaire is a seafood restaurant — but our very favorite offering here is a plate of nothing but bacon steaks. No garnish, no vegetable, no starch, no health warning from the surgeon general about the dangers of eating a giant plate of pig at a single sitting. To create this miracle, chef Matt Mine, a former fish butcher who… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Z Cuisine À Côté

    Patrick Dupays already operated one of the city's best French restaurants, Z Cuisine, so when he announced that he'd picked up a second spot just two doors down from his original restaurant and was planning on turning it into a wine bar, Denver's francophiles were (literally) beside themselves with joy. And with good reason, too, because Z Cuisine À Côté… More >>
  • Best Beef Steak

    Elway's

    Elway's is a beautiful restaurant. The service rides the perfect edge between businesslike decorum and occasionally goofy informality — and so does the menu, which offers both innovative dishes (a handmade spread of s'mores) and more standard steakhouse fare. But there's nothing standard about Elway's massive, 22-ounce, USDA Prime bone-in rib-eye, cut so as to preserve the most fat, the… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Menu

    Izakaya Den

    Funny thing about Izakaya Den: Owner Toshi Kizaki didn't write the menu for you. He didn't write it for the market, for the scene, for any specific demographic. He came up with the concept, the cuisine, many of the specific menu items to satisfy the wants and needs of one person only: Toshi Kizaki. See, Toshi, who also owns Sushi… More >>
  • Best High-End Steakhouse

    Capital Grille

    When the Capital Grille came to Denver, people doubted that it would make a dent in a city already fat with high-end steakhouses. But those people were wrong. Capital Grille came to Denver with a deep understanding of what a steakhouse customer wants, and a sharp awareness of what it takes to thrive in an overcrowded market. The managers, chefs,… More >>
  • Best Low-End Steakhouse

    Bastien's

    While Denver certainly boasts more than its fair share of upscale steakhouses, there's only one Bastien's — a place where people feeling more Humphrey Bogart than Gordon Gekko have been going for great steaks for decades. With its own kind of strange magic, Bastien's pulls everything — service and food, booze, decor and history — into one seamless, inimitable, only-in-Denver… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    The Oven

    Here's the secret of the Oven's success: Everyone from owner Mark Tarbell to the cooks in the kitchen to the servers on the floor understand that they're cooking for friends. And when you're cooking for friends, you want to take care of them. Which the Oven does, turning a simple pizza dinner into an event, full of friends and good… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Pizza

    Sazza

    It's a well-established fact that the best pizza in the world is a New York-style thin crust, dripping with orange grease, topped with nothing but double cheese and pepperoni. But if you're one of those people who simply must have pineapple or Peruvian mountain potatoes on your pie, then you need to head directly to Sazza. Here a plain red-and-white… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Frasca Food and Wine

    It helps to have the right help in a restaurant. You want well-trained and passionate people working at every stratum — from chef to dishwasher. That's the ideal situation, and while many restaurants fall short of the ideal, one does not: Frasca. Everyone here knows his job, is passionate about his job, does his job as best he can. And… More >>
  • Best Bourbon List

    West End Tavern

    When owner Dave Query set out to remake the West End, a longtime Boulder institution, a few years ago, he made a decision to lay in the area's biggest stock of bourbons. Today, the bar offers everything from the once-bum-juice/now-cool Bulleit Bourbon and old friends like Wild Turkey and George Dickel to Sazerac rye and the $45-a-shot Jim Beam Distiller's… More >>
  • Best Pizza for Poets and Rockers

    D Note

    The D Note is many things to many people. Its space is full of art and live music, its newsletters full of poetry, and its menu full of pizzas tagged with musical references, both obscure and not so. Are you a fan of They Might Be Giants? Check out the Particle Man, a combination of pepperoni, black olives, spinach, red… More >>
  • Best Hot-Dog Cart

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    Biker Jim Pittenger is still our top dog. No other vendor shows the kind of careful dedication that he brings to Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, his cart parked in Skyline Park. He's got a cool portable grill, offerings ranging from Alaskan reindeer sausage laced with sriracha to white veal brats to serious grilled dogs with mustard-and-nothin', and crowds lined up… More >>
  • Best New York-Style Pizza

    Big Bill's

    Big Bill's is packed with the sort of shlocky, I-heart-New-York paraphernalia that generally makes us run screaming from the premises. But we make an exception for Bill's, because it actually knows a thing or two or three about true New York-style pies. The pizzas here are big, thin and perfectly cooked, redolent of char, covered in sweet red sauce and… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Slice

    Famous Pizza

    It's late. You're feeling peckish, but you have neither the patience for a full sit-down meal nor the intestinal fortitude for a dirty-water hot dog or street-corner tamale. Head directly for this Famous Pizza outlet, where there's absolutely nothing to recommend about the service, decor or crowds — but the slices are incredible. They're always hot and always fresh (provided… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Radda Trattoria

    Everyone should be so lucky as to have a restaurant like Radda in their neighborhood. It's a great restaurant, but it's also a comfortable restaurant, an unassuming restaurant, a restaurant where families come to eat penne al cinghiale and rogue CU economics professors argue over plates of golden-brown pressed chicken. The board is made up mostly of small plates, little… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Bull & Bush

    The Bull & Bush, which is modeled after an old London pub with its low ceilings, dark wood and brass rails, didn't start out as a brewpub. But then, back when the Peterson brothers founded the B&B in 1971, there weren't any brewpubs in Colorado. Instead, it racked up another first when it hooked up to satellite dishes for sports… More >>
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