Food & Drink

  • Best Free Dinner

    Morrison Holiday Bar

    The Morrison Holiday Bar makes tasty, strong drinks; the covered patio is always open; there's live music Thursday through Saturday, karaoke on Sunday and a jazz/blues band on Monday, plus card games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; and you never have to pay a dime to walk in the door. In other words, there's always a good reason to be… More >>
  • Best 24/7 Restaurant

    Breakfast King

    Breakfast King has always been there for us, through early-morning breakfasts and late-night breakfasts; breakfasts when the sun is just peeking up over the horizon and we haven't yet been to bed; and breakfasts at four in the afternoon when we've just woken up from whatever the night before had brought us. And no question, when Denver's night owls are… More >>
  • Best Cheap Breakfast

    Rosie's Diner

    There are plenty of spots around town where a man of little means can get himself a hot breakfast. But there's no better spot for the archetypal cheap American breakfast than Rosie's. This custom-built '50s-style diner full of gleaming chrome and sock-hop decor seemingly stalled its pricing strategy a couple of decades back and offers massive plates of everything that's… More >>
  • Best International Breakfast

    Pho 79

    A cement bunker filled with soup: That's Pho 79. It doesn't serve anything more than pho and rocket-fuel Vietnamese coffee and a few boba tea drinks — but then, it doesn't need to. Long a popular breakfast spot for the local Vietnamese community and usually far more populated (at least during the morning hours) by members of that group than… More >>
  • Best Corned Beef Hash

    Mona's

    Everyone, even the most hard-core, everything-from-scratch purist, will admit that the best corned beef hash in the world is the stuff that comes straight out of the can — mushy, smelling like cat food and with that slick white cap of fat on top that would keep the hash fresh even if the can remained unopened for 10,000 years. But… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    El Noa Noa

    We love a Mexican restaurant that opens for breakfast. And if there's one thing we love more than a Mexican restaurant that opens for breakfast, it's a Mexican restaurant that opens for breakfast and then continues to serve that breakfast all day long — a mercy for those of us whose notion of "breakfast" is somewhat fluid, defining it only… More >>
  • Best Rainy Day Breakfast

    Bagel Deli

    We don't know what it is, exactly, but certain cuisines and certain restaurants are always better when the weather is right. A smoothie is always sweeter when the sun is out. A plate of goulash or bowl of borscht always tastes better in the frozen dead of winter. And a rainy day always — always — makes the food at… More >>
  • Best Pancakes

    Toast

    There's almost nothing in this world as fine as a perfect stack of pancakes. Aged whiskey, a good lay, a stripper who's actually doing it to pay for her philosophy degree — these all edge out a perfect plate of flapjacks, but not by much. And when you're looking for that perfect plate, the place on your list should be… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Among the Hipsters

    Snooze

    Snooze has answered its wake-up call and settled into a vibe where the food is as good as the concept and decor, as nicely made-up as most of the customers clamoring for a table during the weekend breakfast rush. This is one of the very few spots in the city where hipsters go to see and be seen before noon… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Among the Hippies

    WaterCourse Foods

    It's a measure of how far this city has come in the pursuit of dangerously untested culinary thrills (the eating of seitan, the serving of meals made of nothing but vegetables, creating a Buffalo wing made of tofu, which does not have wings) that a place like WaterCourse Foods — where all of these high-wire gastronomical games are played daily… More >>
  • Best Traditional Eggs Benny

    DJ's Berkeley Cafe

    The guys in the galley at DJ's Berkeley Cafe really care about their Bennies. They only make them until eleven each morning (mostly because if they offered them all day, they'd never stop), and they make every single hollandaise sauce to order (no small trick on a busy line). They also recognize the difference between a classic Benny (with eggs,… More >>
  • Best Non-Traditional Eggs Benny

    Lucile's

    In New Orleans, people might say that eggs Sardou is just as traditional as any white-bread, ham-and-holly eggs Benedict. But here in Denver, this Gulf prawn-and-spinach version is an exotic, rule-breaking freak Benny — and the best thing on Lucile's menu full of very good things. As such, it stands as incontrovertible proof that any classic recipe ever touched by… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito

    Santiago's

    We've eaten a lot of breakfast burritos over the years. We've eaten what some people might consider a truly shocking number of breakfast burritos. And every time we're put on the spot and asked, straight out, for the best breakfast burrito in Denver, our answer is always the same: Santiago's. This homegrown chain offers a wonderful way to start the… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Beatrice & Woodsley

    Brunch at Beatrice & Woodsley is like waking up in a dream — and it's not just because of the fantasy interior of this new restaurant, designed to resemble a turn-of-the-last century Colorado cabin. It's also because of the fantastic food. Chef Pete List and his crew of culinary hooligans serve turtle soup, beautiful frog's legs, pear clafouti, pork belly,… More >>
  • Best Traditional Brunch

    Ellyngton's at the Brown Palace

    You don't get more traditional than the Brown Palace, and the Sunday brunch at Ellyngton's is a completely over-the-top version of the classic, high-society Sunday brunch. Here you'll find everything from egg and waffle stations to carving stations with white-toqued chefs slaving over hot steamship rounds, to salad, sushi, and pastry boards from the in-house bakery. If you want to… More >>
  • Best Mostly Mexican Brunch

    Lola

    This isn't your typical huevos breakfast place. Lola's creative weekend brunch menu — right now, at least — includes crawfish and grits, catfish, chicken-fried pork, even a breakfast torta with smoked shrimp, Serrano ham and tomato-jalapeño jelly. And then there are the weekly specials, each one more inventive than the previous week's. The flavor is distinctly Mexican, with an emphasis… More >>
  • Best French Brunch

    Bistro Vendôme

    It's worth going to Bistro Vendôme every weekend just to see what sort of crepes du jour the kitchen is cooking up. It's worth going twice in a single weekend just so you can have the croissants with rose jam and croquet madame and bier rouge one morning and the steak tartare, mussels in garlic-wine broth and gaufre maison with… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Star Kitchen

    Chinese brunch may be the best brunch of all — and newcomer Star Kitchen, started by the former chef at Super Star Asian, serves the best dim sum in town. The carts keep coming out of the kitchen, full of baskets and bowls, all steamy and smelly and packed with surprises. And then there are the plastic cafeteria trays, loaded… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    City Bakery

    Want to know who made the great bread you had at that restaurant last night? Odds are good that it was City Bakery, the bakery and dessert-a-teria started last year by freaky bread savant Michael Bortz. Bortz started out in Denver as an independent, then went corporate as a baker for Paradise Bakery when the chain started making some serious… More >>
  • Best Croissants

    Daniel's of Paris

    Plain croissant, almond croissant and chocolate croissant: Daniel's of Paris makes the best croissants in the city, in three varieties, each a little bit better than the other. The plain croissants are fluffy and buttery and light, the almond stiff and filled with a delicious almond paste as addictive as heroin. And the chocolate? Eaten hot and fresh, they are… More >>
  • Best Cheap Lunch

    Ba Le Sandwich

    Ba Le is a hole-in-the-wall in a neighborhood full of a million other holes in a million other walls. But Ba Le is also a real hole in one: a spot frequented not just by members of Denver's Vietnamese community, but by hordes of Denver diners on the lookout for something new, something delicious and something definitely cheap. Ba Le… More >>
  • Best Quick Lunch

    Viva Burrito

    Take one Mexican restaurant, add a drive-thru, and what do you get? Another Best of Denver award for Viva Burrito. This spot is a great at virtually any hour of the day — breakfast burritos in the morning, enchiladas in an unbelievably good red chile after work, deep-fried tacos on the way home from the bar — but perhaps the… More >>
  • Best Quick and Cheap Lunch

    Brooklyn MC's

    In both atmosphere and attitude, Brooklyn MC's establishes itself as one of those straight-outta-the-boroughs New York pizza joints the minute you walk through the door. And then a pizza comes out of one of the big deck ovens, thin as a dream, looped with swirls of red sauce and splotches of cheese bubbling the way real mozzarella will. It's a… More >>
  • Best Non-Fast-Food Value Meal

    Kolache Factory - CLOSED

    If ever a food deserved to take off as a fast-food staple but didn't, it's the humble kolache. Sure, it's been ripped off as everything from Hot Pockets to Pizza Rolls, but the only place that gives kolaches the care they deserve is the Kolache Factory, a small, Texas-based chain. And while the traditional kolache is a simple, yeasty, slightly… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Lunch

    Sushi Den

    No question about it, Sushi Den has some of the best sushi in the city. Matter of fact, Sushi Den has some of the best sushi in the country. This is wonderful fish, fresh and delicious and artfully prepared with an artist's restraint. The one thing it isn't? Cheap. Even lunch at Sushi Den can easily damage your bank balance… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches

    Masterpiece Delicatessen

    At Masterpiece Delicatessen, partners Justin Brunson and Steve Allee do some pretty amazing things with a little bread, a little meat, a little this-and-that. Their simplest creations — egg sandwiches, grilled cheese, turkey with pears and cranberry honey — show their command of the artistry of restraint (just enough, never too much), while their more complicated plates demonstrate a high-end,… More >>
  • Best Secret Russian Deli

    Solomon's Grocery and European Delicatessen

    It's a long way from Uzbekistan to Aurora, but Bukharan immigrant Solomon Gurzhiev and his family take the miles in stride at their Russian-Jewish deli, where they feature a compact selection of imported Eastern European foods as well as more than eighty kinds of deli meats, smoked fish, sausages, pickles and cheeses. Authentic is the word at Solomon's, where the… More >>
  • Best Cheap Dinner

    Taquería Patzcuaro

    Nothing on Taquería Patzcuaro's menu costs more than eleven bucks, and almost everything is worth twice what you'll pay for it. Carnitas Michoacán or carne adovada for nine bucks? Four tacos albañil for $7.50? Those are bargain prices, particularly since these are some of the top carnitas, carne adovada and tacos albañil in the city. And the ambience in this… More >>
  • Best Really Cheap Dinner

    Las Tortas

    Las Tortas sells tortas and nothing but tortas — about two dozen varieties, from the simplest steak-and-chicken Jalisco to the most bizarrely overpowering La Macha, with steak Milanesa, chorizo, chile, a fried egg and a hot dog crammed together on a roll. There's a counter on one side where you order and pick up, a few high-top tables on the… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Restaurant Kevin Taylor - CLOSED

    Kevin Taylor and the staff at his eponymous restaurant create some of the most incredible high-end food in Denver. Roasted Maine lobster and truffle bisque; French foie gras with a peanut financier, pineapple jelly and vanilla foam; lamb rack and belly with minted jus; and the best pavé of salmon anywhere. It's all there for the asking — if you… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Menu

    Izakaya Den

    Denver has always had a shortage of good late-night restaurants. Most places in town lock the doors around nine or ten and leave the late-night service to the drive-thrus, bars, diners and street-corner burrito vendors. So before the clock strikes eleven, head to Izakaya Den, which has a great menu for late-night snackers: a combination Italian/Mexican/French/American/Japanese board that offers both… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    D Bar Desserts - CLOSED

    D Bar Desserts is a dessert bar, but it's also an excellent snack bar, with a cool little menu simply called "Things We Like to Eat" offering such delicious diversions as dressed avocado and dates and bacon. After working your way through this menu (and maybe a glass of wine or two), you'll definitely want something sweet to finish off… More >>
  • Best First-Date Dinner

    Le Central

    First dates are tricky. You want a restaurant that's inexpensive but not cheap. You want a restaurant that's loud and crowded in case the two of you have nothing to talk about, but not too loud or too crowded in case you hit it off so well you actually want to hear what the other person is saying. You want… More >>
  • Best Date-Night Dinner

    Osteria Marco

    So, the first date went well. The second went even better. The third paid dividends, and now you're dating. You're in a relationship, with all of a relationship's pitfalls. To smooth out the rough spots, keep Osteria Marco in mind. This restaurant is the perfect place for a couple to relax once again into each other's company. The service is… More >>
  • Best Dinner With the Kids

    Locanda del Borgo

    Okay, you're done dating. You've navigated the end game, gotten married, made a family. But you're still a human being! You can't live forever on Happy Meals and quote/unquote family restaurants. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and take the kids to a place with real chairs and silverware and a menu with no pictures. That's where Locanda… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Deal

    Lancer Lounge - CLOSED

    In these debilitating economic times, stretching your dollars as far as they can possibly go isn't just frugal; it's the only way to make sure you don't end up in a sleeping bag outside of Jesus Saves. Bless its soul, the Lancer Lounge — already known far and wide for stiff pours and recession-friendly prices — has your back with… More >>
  • Best Family-Friendly Happy Hour

    Red Trolley - CLOSED

    Who's the party pooper who decided that happy hours were just for the boozin' crowd? Shouldn't everybody be able to revel in that special time of day when the sun slants just right through the trees and proprietors slash prices like maniacs? Red Trolley, the popular new ice cream joint on West 32nd Avenue, is happy to cater to the… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Menu

    Le Central

    From 3 to 5 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday at Le Central, owner Robert Tournier more or less gives the house away, offering about twenty small plates at two bucks or less. We're talking rillette, chicken-liver pâté e foie, Merguez sausage or pissaldiere for $1.50 each, and moules Provençal, duck confit or salmon fumée for $2. Meanwhile, all well drinks,… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Food

    Delite - CLOSED

    Last spring, Deluxe owner Dylan Moore opened Delite right next door to handle the overflow from his excellent restaurant. But on some nights it seems to work the other way around, as Delite fills up early. And while, sure, the bar is the focus here, the menu — an offshoot of the Deluxe board and dosed with the same vaguely… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub

    Nestled in Idaho Springs, less than a half-hour from Denver, Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub is going on fifteen years and boasts an ornery streak that can only come from watching, with a mix of business pleasure and nativist horror, as the traffic builds over the years. Still, Tommyknocker welcomes all comers and delights all kinds, from locals and tourists to… More >>
  • Best House Margarita

    Mezcal and Tambien

    Denver drinkers used to be content ordering snifters full of ice, cheap tequila, sweet-and-sour mix that made your teeth squeak, maybe a lime wedge, and all sorts of top-secret (and cheap) ingredients guaranteed to give them a big headache in the morning. If they wanted to get really fancy, they might even order their margaritas frozen so they didn't have… More >>
  • Best Wine List — Price

    Z Cuisine/À Côté

    We love a place informal enough to list its bottles on a chalkboard — even if we're cowed by the fact that we can't correctly pronounce most of them. But at Z Cuisine and its sibling wine bar, À Côté, we have no doubt that anything we drink will be delicious. Z Cuisine has stayed true to its concept as… More >>
  • Best Wine List Selection

    Solera

    There are great French wine lists in town. Great Italian ones, too. There are lists that stick to certain countries, certain growing regions, certain tastes; ones made for pairing and ones made for impressing the wine snobs. But the list at Solera has a different goal: It simply wants to get good bottles into the hands of those who need… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria

    What's the most important thing to have at a great wine bar? No, it's not the wine.  It's the scene. Because no matter how good the wine might be (and at Lala's, it's very, very good), you don't want to be sitting there drinking it all by yourself. And in just six months, Lala's has become a regular hangout, a great space where… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Avenue Grill

    The photos on the wall of the Avenue Grill date back to the '80s, but the feel of this bar dates back much further, to those classic cocktail lounges of the '30s and '40s. And you can taste that golden era in the martinis, which the amiable bartenders mix up big, bold and icy-cold. The martinis here are such a… More >>
  • Best Classic Cocktail

    The Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel

    The Cruise Room is the very definition of a classic. This cocktail lounge in the historic Oxford Hotel opened the day after Prohibition ended — and it's been this town's most liquid asset ever since. Modeled after a bar on the Queen Mary, the narrow, neon-lit room boasts original art-deco decor, bas relief depicting toasts from around the world (Hitler… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail

    Root Down

    Root Down's bar may be located in an old service station, but Justin Cucci's new restaurant is completely contemporary, from its "field-to-fork" mentality reflected in a menu full of locally sourced ingredients to its streamlined dining room (with amazing views of downtown). But we keep returning to the bar, where Root Down's adventurous spirit is reflected in original cocktails featuring… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Encore - CLOSED

    An encore performance by Encore, which continues to serve the best french fries in the city. They're hand-cut shoestrings, perfectly fried, then given a drizzle of hot mustard sauce that sounds a little scary until the first minute you taste it on the hot frites. After that, you'll be a shameless addict, hooked for the rest of your days and… More >>
  • Best Steak Frites

    Brasserie Felix - CLOSED

    There's not much in this world that's as comforting as a perfectly done plate of steak frites. And in this town, there's no better plate of steak frites than the one coming from Brasserie Felix's kitchen. Good thing, too, because if a restaurant calling itself a brasserie can't knock this classic of comfort-French gastronomy out of the park, it had… 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 city that knows from good 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 is "flying… More >>
  • Best Cart on the 16th Street Mall

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    "Biker Jim knows his wieners." That's what it says on what has to be one of the only websites in America run for and by a hot dog cart guy. But then, Biker Jim doesn't exactly run a normal hot dog cart. While you can get a simple all-beef with mustard, Biker Jim also has Alaskan reindeer sausage, German white… More >>
  • Best Big-Ass Burger With a Side of Rock and Roll

    The Counter - CLOSED

    The Counter is a concept restaurant, a pure product of the 21st century, of the fast-casual boom and West Coast culture. The interior is spare and spartan; the staff wears blue jeans and tattoo-art-inspired shirts. The art on the walls is black and white, with a rock-and-roll theme. And the burgers? They're huge and bloody and sold sushi-bar style, with… More >>
  • Best Burger With a Side of Classical Music

    My Brother's Bar

    My Brother's Bar has a million things going for it — from a building that's held a bar since the 1880s to the classical music piped through the place to the friendly crowd of regulars to the eclectic menu cooked up out of the tiny chuckwagon kitchen — but the most important thing is the burger. My Brother's not only… More >>
  • Best Drive-Thru Burger

    Griff's Burger Bar

    Denver doesn't have an In-N-Out burger. But it has the next best thing: a Griff's, one of the few survivors of an also-ran chain in the burger wars of the last century. We love the weird, lost-outpost vibe of this Griff's, the sense that this spot has been cut off from history and forgotten by the powers that once brought… More >>
  • Best Burger in the Last Place You'd Expect It

    Jax Fish House

    Colorado beef grilled up a perfect mid-rare, topped with white cheddar, on a soft, grilled brioche roll and sided by hand-cut fries. A great seafood restaurant has no business making such a great burger. It seems wrong, almost greedy. But there it is: Chef Sheila Lucero and her crew at Jax make a burger that can stand proudly among the… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Bud's Bar

    Bud's Bar is a survivor. It survived a change in ownership and the smoking ban, and it still came out on top. We've eaten burger after burger across the metro area, but we always return to Bud's. Bud's not only serves the best burger in Denver, but it serves the best burger in Colorado, one of the best burgers in… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Yazoo Barbecue Company

    Small place, big flavor. Sometimes we crave Yazoo's amazing pulled pork, at other times its ribs. But once when we stopped in for ribs, the tiny kitchen was out, so indeed we got a BOB — chicken breast wrapped in bacon and jalapeños. then smoked — and almost died from pleasure right on the spot. In fact, the only problem… More >>
  • Best BBQ Ribs

    Big Papa's - CLOSED

    On the best days, you can smell Big Papa's from across the parking lot. On the best days, you somehow manage to sneak in between the rushes and be out of the place in ten minutes, tops, with an order of Denver's best ribs. But even on bad days, those ribs are good enough to turn everything else around.… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Shrimp

    Big Hoss Bar-B-Q

    No other BBQ joint can touch the shrimp at Big Hoss — and we can't keep our hands off them. Served in a trough and doused with Hoss Orwat's special sauce, they're as close as you can come in Denver to the taste of the vinegar-sharp and spice-shot barbecue of the South Carolina tidewater region. And once you're done with… More >>
  • Best BBQ in the Last Place You'd Expect It

    Jim 'N Nick's

    It's not odd to find good barbecue in Aurora, but it is unexpected to stumble across good barbecue in a gigantic outdoor mall. Because who in their right mind would go to a spot like Southlands looking for pulled pork and cornbread? And who would imagine that you could not only find it here, but you could get that good… More >>
  • Best Korean BBQ

    Sae Jong Kwan

    Korean barbecue isn't barbecue at all by the traditional definition — but when it's as good as what's called barbecue at Sae Jong Kwan, who stands on ceremony? Sae Jong Kwan (aka: House of Korean BBQ) is almost a gastronaut hideout, a spot where adventurous eaters gather to stuff themselves with meats and vegetables and other odds and ends all… More >>
  • Best BBQ Bacon

    Han Kang

    Bacon is already cured. In some cases, it's even smoked before it ever makes it to your table. So why not barbecue it again, Korean style? At Han Kang, a big plate of raw bacon, cut into easy-to-eat chunks, is brought to the table with one of those propane-fired portable grills. Throw on the pork, let it cook, and prepare… More >>
  • Best All-Pork Menu

    The Berkshire

    It seems like such an obvious idea: a restaurant dedicated entirely to the glory of the pig, serving pork and pork products. And yet Denver had no all-pig restaurant until Andy Ganick came along. His brainchild is the Berkshire, a restaurant whose menu is like something out of the sickest, most indulgent food fantasies: all pig, all the time. Pig… More >>
  • Best Fried Fish

    GB Fish and Chips

    Fish, chips, prawn chips, Cornish pasties, bikers, punks and soccer jerseys — what more could you ask of a neighborhood chipper in Denver, Colorado? Owner Alex Stokeld has done a fine job of transforming this cement bunker of a space into a down-and-dirty fish joint, with picnic tables in the dining room and beers at the bar. All of the… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Coleman's Soul Food - CLOSED

    Henry Coleman, owner and head cook at Coleman's Soul Food, which took over the space occupied for decades by Ethel's House of Soul, knows from Detroit soul food, Detroit comfort food, Detroit's streetside, slapdash, eat-while-walking cuisine. He's a veteran lunchwagon cook from the city. Now, behind the rail of his kitchen at Coleman's, he knocks out specials (roasted barbecued chicken… More >>
  • Best Roasted Chicken

    Bistro One - CLOSED

    A roasted chicken is a benchmark dish for any kitchen. It can be the simplest or cheapest or most popular dish. But at Bistro One, it is none of those things. Instead, it's the soul of the menu — classic, traditional, borderless. The bird comes stuffed with cornbread, its little legs crossed, roasted to a perfect golden brown, surrounded by… More >>
  • Best Rotisserie Chicken

    Thai Lotus

    At Thai Lotus, the crew is Thai and the food obviously Thai, unkinked for the American palate, presented the way the best immigrant cuisines are — as recalled from home. The menu is, for the most part, a standard retelling of the country's culinary history: lad na and pad thai, curried this and that, and "hot" meaning hot-hot, like crying… More >>
  • Best Chicken and Waffles

    The Corner Office

    The chicken and waffles at the Corner Office may well be the city's only chicken and waffles — but even if there were dozens of competitors, this plate would still be the best. It's dinner and dessert in one — a beautiful mix of crisp and salty fried chicken mounted atop a lovely waffle, dusted with powdered sugar and served… More >>
  • Best Grits

    Venue - CLOSED

    Grits: the ultimate comfort food. So poverty-simple, and now, like Britney Spears, so trash-gone-superstar. It's the American polenta, the best thing to happen to high-end food costs since wasabi mashed potatoes. Just about every kitchen cooks grits these days, and just about every kitchen cooks them poorly. But not at Venue. Holly Hartnett's kitchen treats grits with care and respect,… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food

    Table 6

    Here's how you decide which restaurant in a city has the best comfort food: You spend a couple of months doing nothing but eating and obsessing over food, going out at all hours of the day and night for tacos and tamales and foie gras and fried chicken. Then you spend weeks assembling a list of the best of the… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    The Oven

    Mark Tarbell is some kind of pizza genius. We don't know what, exactly, he had to sell to the devil in order to gain his magical pizza-making skills and then apply them to the Oven, but his sacrifice was worth it. Because even with all the fierce and bitter competition in this town over what is essentially some dough, tomato… More >>
  • Best Authentically Italian Pizza

    Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria

    You could cut the kitchen right out of the center of Marco's, airlift it to Rome, set it down in the middle of that city — and any Italian cook could step right up and get back to business. But we'd miss that kitchen, because it's the heart of a great, hip new hangout in the Ballpark neighborhood. The ovens… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Pizza

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    We've eaten big pizzas and little pizzas. We've had fancy-fancy dining-room pizzas and organic pizzas and a thousand-and-one digressions on the Spago-fied California pizzas. And not one of these quote/unquote gourmet pizzas had us aching for another bite. Instead, we find ourselves longing for the modest dining room of Buenos Aires Pizzeria, where the pizza is as gourmet as it… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Patsy's

    Just in case you were ever wondering, yeah, every neighborhood Italian joint back east is a little like Patsy's. Which is to say that every one of them has a claim to some kind of history, serves a wicked good linguini with white clam sauce, has a weird bar filled with exactly the kind of guys you never want to… More >>
  • Best High-End Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Il Posto

    There was something about Il Posto that moved us on our very first meal there. It wasn't the food, and it certainly wasn't the staff. No, it was something about the vibe — some indefinable hum of friction between the kitchen and the floor, the customers and the chalkboard menus hung high on the walls, that just made the place… More >>
  • Best High-End Italian Restaurant

    Venice Ristorante

    Just looking at the menu at Venice Ristorante is like reading poetry. Actually eating off that menu is amazing. Some restaurants decline over the years, others reach a mid-level plateau and just hang there forever after. Only rarely does a restaurant continue to improve across the years, though, and Venice is one of those rare finds. From its start as… More >>
  • Best Strip-Mall Italian Restaurant

    Cafe Jordano

    Maybe you've heard stories about the little Italian place in Lakewood that won't take reservations because if it did, there'd never be an open table for the neighbors, a place where regulars arrive a half-hour before the start of dinner, jockeying for position and counting heads to make sure they'll get a seat. Welcome to Cafe Jordano. The fare here… More >>
  • Best Mexican in a Former Chinese Restaurant

    El Viva Villa - CLOSED

    The first time we ate at El Viva Villa, we immediately wanted to eat here again. The second time we ate here (roughly six hours after the first time), we knew that it was going to go into heavy rotation on our dining schedule. While there's nothing unique about the space (other than the fact that it used to be… More >>
  • Best Homegrown Mexican Chain

    Tacos y Salsas

    Tacos y Salsas is a tough place to miss. It's as bright and shiny and carnival-colored as the street outside is gray and grim and run down by long, rough use. It almost seems like a spot where clowns should go to buy their floppy shoes and hand buzzers, all red and yellow and orange. But this homegrown chain is… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Tacos D.F.

    Sometimes the simplest spots are best, and it doesn't get much simpler than Tacos D.F. Basically a taco truck parked indoors, Tacos D. F. hands you the best tacos in the city, hands-down, through a hole in the back wall. It cooks up plenty of other things (soups and stews, tortas and burritos), but tacos are the kitchen's true pride… More >>
  • Best Tamales

    Lime - CLOSED

    How sweet it is! Lime, the homegrown chain that started in Larimer Square and now stretches from Greenwood Village to Winter Park, is known for its Tuesday-night tacos, its fresh (flour) chips, its strong margaritas. But our favorite item here is the tamales, offered both as an app and an entree. The tamales are vegetarian and all about corn, corn… More >>
  • Best Free Sopapilla

    Little Anita's

    There's Colorado Mex, Tex Mex, Cali Mex and New Mexican Mexican food, best exemplified in this city by the three Little Anita's outlets (soon to be joined by a fourth). But one Little Anita's item erases all borders: the complimentary sopapillas at the end of every meal. Little Anita's starts making these fried treats every day at 10 a.m., guaranteeing… More >>
  • Best Chips and Salsa

    Los Carboncitos

    There have been two big developments at Los Carboncitos this year: They've added a third location, on East Sixth Avenue, that serves alcohol — and all three restaurants now serve chips (although you may have to ask for them). And Los Carboncitos still has the best salsa in the city. As a matter of fact, it has three or four… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Racines and Dixons

    Sibling restaurants Racines and Dixons are great places for casual breakfasts, power breakfasts, late-night snacks and the last drink of the night. But we're particularly partial to their nachos — the biggest, boldest plate of nachos in town, a piping-hot heap of food for under ten bucks. You can customize them with black or refried beans, subtract the sour cream… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    Santiago's

    It took us a year to make this decision. Seriously, a year. We spooned our way through bowl after bowl around the city, through green chiles thick and thin, sweet and sour, dull and devilishly hot. And we kept coming back to Santiago's. Fortunately, it was easy to do so, because this homegrown chain keeps opening up more stores all… More >>
  • Best Mexican Happy Hour

    La Fiesta

    La Fiesta has won many Best of Denver awards, and it's eligible for so many more. Best Mexican Restaurant in a Former Grocery Store. Best Strictly Colorado-Style Mexican Restaurant. Best Wednesday Special (chile caribe). Best Weekday Lunch-Only Mexican Restaurant. Oops, that no longer applies. Because La Fiesta has now extended its hours on Friday, and Friday only, to 9 p.m.,… More >>
  • Best Friday-Night Mexican

    Mezcal

    Mezcal is a fantastic starting and ending place for any Friday night. Why? For so many reasons. Let's start with the fact that the kitchen serves until one in the morning. The cheap tacos, which we've loved since day one, are just the thing to fortify you before you head out to whatever weirdness awaits you downtown — and work… More >>
  • Best Saturday-Night Mexican

    SeÑor Burrito

    So you're planning on getting out there and tearing it up on Saturday night? Well, cowboy, you might want to put a little something in your stomach before you start sucking down the shots — and Señor Burrito is just the place to do it. Or maybe you're thinking about catching a movie at the Mayan. Why not grab a… More >>
  • Best Sunday-Morning Mexican

    El Taco de México

    Yeah, it's busy. Yeah, real estate at the counter (bests seats in the house) can be tough to come by, particularly on Sunday, when people are stopping in before and after mass, on their way to work or just going home. The ladies working said counter won't take any shit, and they'll get pissed if you dither too long over… More >>
  • Best Low-End Steakhouse

    Bastien's

    Bastien's isn't retro. The rest of the world might be leaning in that direction, looking for cool, but Bastien's is something else entirely: It's classic. Looking for the cocktail culture of the '50s? Bastien's has it. Early-'70s swinger swank? It has that, too. Bastien's doesn't change with the times; the times change around it. Like they say, even a broken… More >>
  • Best High-End Steakhouse

    Capital Grille

    We've eaten at every steakhouse in this steakhouse-heavy town, and we've never found anything that tops the Capital Grille. Everything about this restaurant — from the hand-cut steaks and perfectly set tables to the flawless service, cool lunches and killer weekend dinners — is a model against which all other steakhouses might be judged. And thus far, no others have… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse Menu

    Elway's

    Everyone in this town serves steaks. Most restaurants serve pretty good ones. But no other steakhouse in the city has a menu like that at the original Elway's, which covers all the traditional steakhouse basics (big whacks of beef, lobster tails, shrimp cocktails and creamed spinach), then turns the whole concept on its ear, fooling with the formalized, high-rolling boys'… More >>
  • Best Meat Market

    Marczyk Fine Foods

    Yes, you're probably going to pay top dollar for your meat at Marczyk Fine Foods. But trust us, it's worth it. If you really care about the quality of your food, you should shop at a place where owner Pete Marczyk and his staff take pride in offering nothing but the best of the best. Just peeking through the glass… More >>
  • Best Meet Market — Aged

    Elway's

    On Wednesdays all through the summer, the scene at Elway's is hot! Aged, but hot. While bands play in the courtyard, cougars prowl through the bar and the patio, looking for fresh prey. And sugar daddies are doing the same, looking for the next sweet young thing. Should they strike out, there's always a consolation prize: real red meat in… More >>
  • Best Meet Market — Raw

    The Park Tavern

    Face it, fellas: The Yetis you're meeting on that snatch.com Internet dating site just aren't panning out. And ladies? You want it, but you don't want to give it up to a Neanderthal or have to wear a penicillin wetsuit just to get shagged. It's okay to be horny like rockets. And when you need some booty but have no… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Oceanaire

    What does it take to run a great seafood restaurant a mile above sea level and a thousand miles from the nearest ocean? The kind of system that hums behind the scenes at Oceanaire — a business structure that brings in fresh fish daily, six days a week, following supply lines that run back and forth across the globe, all… More >>
  • Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    At Sushi Sasa, the attention to detail makes all the difference. There's no need here for plastic grass garnishes, lumps of fake wasabi, bias-cut plating or two dozen stupidly named rolls that are all tuna, avocado, cucumber and tobiko. At Sushi Sasa, even the simplest tekka maki is a work of art, lavished with the kind of attention that other… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Sushi Den

    Oceanaire may be the modern embodiment of a system that facilitates swift and stunning deliveries of fish from all corners of the globe to little ol' Denver, but Sushi Den blazed the trail that others would follow. For two decades, Sushi Den has labored toward perfecting a supply line whereby fish that were swimming yesterday could tonight land on the… More >>
  • Best Sushi Bar

    Sushi Katsuya

    The sushi at Sushi Katsuya is excellent, the service friendly and precise. The restaurant is relatively inexpensive, not too kitsch, not too spare, and fairly quiet on most nights, a place of solace for those whose consolations come more from the East than the West. But you'll never feel alone, because Sushi Katsuya quickly makes you a regular. The employees… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Oshima Ramen - CLOSED

    Maybe it's the rock-bottom prices. Maybe it's the authentic fare. Maybe it's that we've got noodle bars on the brain. Maybe it's the freaky little alien-moose thing that stands as the house mascot, because we've always had a weakness for creepy mascots and patron cartoon characters. Maybe (probably) it's all of those things. This year, we kept finding ourselves returning… More >>
  • Best Traditional Japanese Restaurant

    Domo

    Not just Japanese, but country Japanese. And not just country Japanese, but country Japanese focusing specifically on the peasant food eaten in the mountains of Japan, with decor to match. Strange as it may sometimes seem (scallion omelets and giant clam sashimi and wonderful, cold buckwheat noodles), each plate that comes from the kitchen at Domo arrives freighted with both… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Traditional Japanese Restaurant

    Kokoro

    An argument could be made that all Japanese food is fast food. Dumplings and noodle bowls are basic convenience foods, and sushi's ready with the slash of a knife. But Kokoro puts a uniquely American (and, arguably, uniquely Denver) spin on this idea that lands its noodle bowls, rice bowls, gyoza and sushi right between Chipotle fast-casual and old-time Woolworth's… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Kim Ba

    Denver has about a thousand Vietnamese restaurants, and most of them are pretty good. But even in this ocean of eateries, a few stand out as truly special, and the best of all is Kim Ba. Virtually every plate that comes out of the kitchen at Kim Ba (and yes, we've tasted almost all of them) is a model against… More >>
  • Best Modern Vietnamese Restaurant

    Parallel Seventeen - CLOSED

    On the one hand, Parallel Seventeen is like a Vietnamese tapas restaurant — the style having been co-opted by owner Mary Nguyen from the banquets once held by the Vietnamese royal family. On the other, it's a proper sit-down restaurant that is almost fusion-y in its modern reinterpretation of the traditional French-Asian cuisine of Vietnam. Put those two competing influences… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese-American Restaurant

    Pho Fusion - CLOSED

    We love the pho at Pho Fusion. We love the Vietnamese coffee and the noodle bowls, too. Also, we love the lo mein and the sesame chicken, the curries and the idea that all these dishes from all these differing canons can exist so comfortably together on one single, straightforward menu. Owner Tom Bird gleefully tosses out all geographic constraints,… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    US Thai

    Step into US Thai on a busy afternoon, when both of the small dining rooms are full and the rail of the open kitchen is crowded with dupes, and you can watch the blur of the cooks at work. With the grates popped on the ancient, fire-breathing hot-top and water cascading down the backsplash to keep the whole place from… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Super Star Asian

    The spartan Super Star Asian is primarily known for its dim sum, but that's really just the start of what it does. The restaurant has another menu for those days that aren't Saturday or Sunday, those hours that aren't between early morning and just-past-noon. It is this menu that offers the quote/unquote French-style cubed beef in black sauce, the shark's… More >>
  • Best Chinese Duck

    Spice China

    Spice China is about 8,000 miles from Beijing, the home of the Peking duck, and yet it is in this Louisville dining room that you can have set before you the best Peking duck in the Denver area. The kitchen takes two days to cook its ducks, then serves them the right way: a full breast, expertly deboned and sliced… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Royal Peacock - CLOSED

    The Royal Peacock would win this award on smell alone. As you walk up to the restaurant, it feels like you could be lifted off the ground by the mingled aromas coming from the kitchen, like a cartoon hobo smelling pie. But once you get past the smell of tandoori and cumin, curry, saffron and a hundred other barely identifiable… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Indian Restaurant

    Masalaa

    The best vegetarian food is just food that happens to have no meat in it — a dinner served without the sides of guilt, bullying or whining, Be Nice to Animals socio-political rhetoric. And that's exactly what you'll get at Masalaa, a good restaurant that happens to not serve meat. The big draw here are the dosa — enormous Indian… More >>
  • Best American Indian Restaurant

    Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery

    While American Indian food may be the original American cuisine, not many of us have experienced much past fry bread. But Tocabe, a new fast-casual spot that got its start in Denver, does a perfect job of fusing the old with the new. In a Chipotle-esque setting, and at Chipotle-esque prices, you can get Medicine Wheel Nachos and delicious green… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Ya Hala Grill - CLOSED

    First things first: The service at Ya Hala Grill is terrible — sometimes laughably so, sometimes maddeningly so. The building itself is little more than a cement bunker on Colorado Boulevard with half a bakery in front and a few tables in back, and the kitchen often seems to be working in its own little world, releasing your dinner in… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Los Cabos II

    Peruvian food is some of the strangest, most delicious stuff in the world: a mishmash of centuries of cultural influences thrown together onto one plate. Spanish conquistadors, Arabs and Moors, explorers bringing spices from India, Italian cartographers, historic Creoles, African slaves and Asian immigrants — they've all added to the rich history of Peruvian cookery. And at Los Cabos, you… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Indulge

    No matter how many bodies you pack inside, some restaurants are always going to be as cold and sterile as a surgical pre-op, where voices seem to evaporate into wisps of cold before they can travel across the length of a table. But there are also restaurants that miraculously exude warmth and life and comfort no matter the condition of… More >>
  • Best French Menu

    Z Cuisine

    It begins with the assiette de charcuterie maison — the house meat plate, a delirious mix of pâté and rillette and cheeses and sausage and cornichons and chutney and more. From there — from that best of all possible beginnings — Z Cuisine's menu blooms outward into a board that might include foie gras marinated in sauternes, pork belly brined… More >>
  • Best American Restaurant

    Steuben's

    Shrimp and grits. Buffalo chicken wings and Rhode Island calamari. Memphis ribs, Louisiana etouffee, Maine lobster rolls and Chicago-style hot dogs. Steuben's isn't just an American restaurant, it's an All-American restaurant — a restaurant dedicated to the preservation and glorification of our mutt, immigrant canon; our staples and standards; our occasional flashes of brief genius. And while opinions may differ… More >>
  • Best New American Restaurant

    Fruition

    "New American" is a term that's fallen somewhat out of favor as a way to describe the type of cuisine that essentially marks the page where, in the history of gastronomy, American chefs began asserting themselves as being capable of cooking more than just cheeseburgers and fat steaks. And that's because, for a time, the phrase was used to describe… More >>
  • Best New American Menu

    Duo

    Duo has the trappings of a simple neighborhood bistro — but one with a particularly inventive cook behind the grills. Chef John Broening can do French, as evidenced by his duck confit over potato pancakes with apricot mustard. He can do Italian (gnocchi with oyster mushrooms and pecorino), fusion (a dish of pastry-wrapped mahi with herb pistou and sautéed vegetables).… More >>
  • Best Really American Menu

    O's Steak & Seafood - CLOSED

    Chef Ian Kleinman is a magician. Not just because he manages to make thoroughly impossible food (carbonated grapefruit, grape caviar, floating bacon and the like) that people come from all over the country to eat, but because he somehow figured out a way to do this at a hotel restaurant in Westminster, Colorado. Magic, indeed. In addition to watching over… More >>
  • Best Old American Restaurant

    Beatrice & Woodsley

    Why "Old American"? Because the central conceit behind both the menu and the design at Beatrice & Woodsley is that the restaurant is supposed to look like a place that might've been prepared by a particularly adept woodsman for his lady love in turn-of-the-last-century Colorado — and the food is part of the same fantasy. Thus are the bar's back… More >>
  • Best Fusion Menu

    L'Atelier

    Radek Cerny has never been a "normal" chef. He's always been the kind of guy who pushes borders and boundaries for his own amusement — for the thrill of hanging himself out there on the edge just to see what will happen. At L'Atelier, his current culinary workshop, he's free to be as weird as he wants to be. And… More >>
  • Best Fusion Restaurant

    Izakaya Den

    Izakaya Den is a lot of things. It's a tapas restaurant, a small plates restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a sake bar. It does Mediterranean food and Italian food, re-envisioned American bar food and really, really authentic Japanese food. And sometimes, it does all of these together on a single plate — to the delight and confusion and occasional horror of… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Venue - CLOSED

    Venue serves American comfort food. It serves American comfort food prepared with French technique, with a little Italian influence, with a greenmarket sensibility. But that doesn't begin to convey the wonders coming from this kitchen: Manila clams with crumbled fennel sausage and roasted quarters of tomato in a sweet and rich broth spiked with lime and smoked paprika; slow-slow-slow-cooked beef… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Neighborhood

    Berkeley/Highland

    This year's hot restaurant neighborhood news is a northwest-side story. In 2008, three new restaurants sprang up at the corner of 44th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard long held down by Cafe Brazil: Billy's Inn, Tocabe and Shazz. From there, it's a quick trip to Tennyson Street, where you can have breakfast at DJ's Berkeley Cafe, lunch at Brasserie Felix, then… More >>
  • Best High-End Neighborhood Restaurant

    Frasca Food and Wine

    Boulder is blessed with many good restaurants, but the best of all is Frasca. Although it no longer has the three-month backlog of reservations it did in the early years, this deceptively plain-looking spot is still an amazing little Northern Italian restaurant with a strong vein of modernism running through its big heart, staffed by the best crew around and… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Frank Bonanno

    Frank Bonanno envisioned Mizuna a neighborhood fine-dining restaurant before that trend became de rigueur in every neighborhood in town. Then came Luca d'Italia, a great little Italian restaurant that hit before this city got overrun with great little Italian restaurants, back in the day (not so long ago) when the city really was a red-sauce wasteland. There were a couple… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Bones

    Bones is a restaurant made by a cook, for cooks. It's a restaurant dreamed up by a guy who loves food unreservedly and opened for those who share his outsized passions. Borders? Canon? Fads? Fuck 'em. Nominally a noodle bar, Bones is really a loose conglomeration of plates and styles and techniques that came together only because one man thought… More >>
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