Food & Drink

  • Best Breakfast Under $2

    Rise and Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe

    Rise and Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe, a pioneering little enterprise that shares the same Crestmoor quarters as Basil Doc's Pizza, buzzes with a heavy trade of moms toting toddlers in state-of-the-art strollers, java guzzlers and bread heads who show up bright and early for the flaky, fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits — pudgy, warm in the center and delicious on their… More >>
  • Best Blowout Brunch

    Ellyngton's

    The champagne just keeps flowing at the Dom Perignon Sunday Brunch, offered from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. every week in Ellyngton's, the elegant corner dining room at the Brown Palace. And the brunch buffet spread is just as sumptuous as the surroundings: There are stations that make waffles and omelets to order; stations that carve up huge haunches of… More >>
  • Best Dinner Under $10

    Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe

    Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe marked its 25th anniversary this year — 25 years of serving up some of the city's best Mexican food in a northwest Denver neighborhood that was beyond sketchy when Rosa Linda's first opened and is now the hottest restaurant neighborhood in the city. To celebrate this big birthday, the Aguirre family decided to give the entire… More >>
  • Best Hookah Hookup

    Gypsy House Cafe

    Put this in your pipe and smoke it: If you like your coffee strong and the atmosphere in which you drink it just as pungent, head for Gypsy House Cafe. The specialty here is Turkish coffee, which is a leap for the Starbucks connoisseur, but it's well worth the plunge. The food is good, the wi-fi is free — and… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail

    Bitter Bar - CLOSED

    Happy has made a number of adjustments since it opened in early 2009 as Happy Noodle House, most of them very smart (and earning this Big Red F venture a nod from Forbes in its "America's Best New Restaurants" lists). But none of the developments have been as happy as the evolution of the Bitter Bar, Happy's "late-night alter ego,"… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Smashed on Local Brews for $20

    Great Divide Brewing Company Tap Room

    Twenty bucks might seem like a steep admission fee, but you won't leave one of Great Divide Brewing Co. Tap Room's events sorry — or sober. The brewery's garage-like warehouse is big enough for snaking beer lines, and its fenced-in outdoor space is a great place to throw a summer bash. Plus, Great Divide never forgets the food — which… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Masalaa

    Fearlessly spiced with garlic, ginger, chile, onion, cumin and curry leaves, the food of south India is some of the best in the world. And Masalaa, a divey storefront surrounded by international markets in a dilapidated strip mall in Aurora, is the sole Indian restaurant in the metro area that really delivers the goods via uttapams, spongy idlis, savory vada… More >>
  • Best Coq Au Vin

    Brasserie Felix - CLOSED

    Like a Midwesterner clutching his cheese mac, the true Francophile embraces the delectable stews and soups of provincial (or is that Provençal?) tradition, the unsnooty side of French cuisine. Felix is a welcome westside refuge for those who like their comfort food exquisitely prepared, reasonably priced and served in a leisurely fashion. From la soupe a l'oignon to the bouillabaise,… More >>
  • Best Chili in a Cup

    Rackhouse Pub - CLOSED

    Sure, the chili's good — but the presentation is unbeatable. The chili comes in a silver measuring cup, with the toppings — shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions — arrayed in the half-cup, third-cup and quarter-cup that complete the set. Wash it down with a shot of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, which is distilled right next door to the… More >>
  • Best Molcajete

    El Paraiso

    Although El Paraiso offers more than 400 dishes, this restaurant's regulars never seem to crack open a menu. They'll spend five minutes agonizing over whether they should spring for a margarita, agua fresca or cerveza, but they never have any trouble deciding what to order for their meal. That's because they know to go with the sizzling molcajetes, lava-hot mortars… More >>
  • Best Ramen

    Den Deli - CLOSED

    Den Deli pimps bobas and hijikki, a lovely miso soup and a Japanese French dip, sushi and spicy shrimp and udon, soba and, above all, ramen. It arrives in a smoldering bowl of chicken broth, lightly seasoned, and you slurp the noodles with deliberate abandon, making as much noise as possible as they slip through your lips. The noodles drift… More >>
  • Best Samosas at a Non-Indian Restaurant

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    What you should eat at Vesta Dipping Grill: the cheese plate, simply one of the best in the city. Also anything the kitchen does with duck, or beef, or pig, or venison or lamb — especially lamb. Definitely Matty's Wacky Apple, dipped in caramel and swathed in crunch. And the samosas, which fly under the radar but are vastly better… More >>
  • Best Fusion Restaurant

    TAG

    Troy Guard's TAG, which he launched last May in Larimer Square, swaggers one of Denver's brashest border-crossing kitchens — a kitchen that slants toward the other F-word. So what? Guard is a master of multiculturalism, and his menu, which is full of playfully modern dishes that usually erupt into something wondrous, is smart, hip and approachable. He sets off his… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito

    Pico de Gallo Mexican Grill

    Starting at 6 a.m., squadrons of disciples elbow their way through the doors of Pico de Gallo, a comradely strip-mall Mexican joint that pushes a freaking awesome breakfast burrito, among other South-of-the-border beauties. Stuffed like a sumo wrestler before his next throwdown, and more or less the length of a telephone pole and weight of the Titanic, the griddled tortilla… More >>
  • Best Blowout Brunch With Music

    Comedy Works South

    There's nothing funny about the Gospel Brunch offered at Comedy Works South. This is a serious brunch, and, appropriately enough for this second outpost of the famed comedy club, the spread is all Southern food, a groan-inducing board of carb-heavy and flavor-rich fare that's stunning on its own, but absolutely heavenly when set off by a serving of R&B gospel… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Menu

    Steuben's

    There are so many reasons to heart Steuben's: the classic cocktail list that never feels old, even though most of the drinks were in vogue around the same time as shag carpet; the righteous soundtrack that begs for a dance floor (or at least a small corner dedicated to disco); tatted servers whose ink inspires you to get your own;… More >>
  • Best Conscientious Coffee Shop

    The Cup Espresso Cafe

    The owners of the Cup Espresso Cafe are dead serious about their coffee; they get it from Boulder's Conscious Coffees, a roasting company that specializes in organic, fair-trade coffee and works directly with the small farming cooperatives that grow their product. On the Cup website, you'll find detailed descriptions not just of how to brew a perfect cup, but also… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Wynkoop Brewing Company

    Yes, it's the brewpub that helped define the LoDo neighborhood, but the Wynkoop Brewing Company is also the brewpub that continues to sustain that neighborhood. Well into its third decade and long past the days when co-founder John Hickenlooper would regularly hold forth at the bar, the Wynkoop found new relevance over the past year, expanding its beer list and… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Smashed on Non-Local Beers for $10

    Jackson's

    If you're looking for that so-drunk-you-have-to-hold-onto-the-curb-to-keep-from-falling-off-the-earth experience, Jackson's has the right mix for you. From 9 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday nights, this bar across from Coors Field offers all-you-can-drink beers (Coors, Coors Light, Killian's, Molson) and house wells — all for $10. There's just one catch: Your designated driver will still have to pay the cover. So… More >>
  • Best Almost-Vegetarian Restaurant

    India's Pearl - CLOSED

    We won't avoid the obvious: India's Pearl isn't strictly vegetarian, what with venison, peasant, beef, quail and duck all making appearances on the voluminous menu, but considering that upwards of forty dishes are meat- and fish-free — more than what you'll find at most full-on herbivore huts — it's as vegetarian-sympathetic as any restaurant you'll find in a city that… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Virgilio's Pizzeria Napoletana - CLOSED

    From his 1,400-square-foot eponymous pizzeria just west of Belmar, Virgilio Urbano churns out wonderfully satisfying, thin-crusted chewy pies. You can watch him at work in the exposed kitchen, whose brick-lined oven doubles as a stage for more magic, including addictive spinach pinwheels, olive-oil-brushed garlic knots, calzones, strombolis and oven-hot subs. The straight-up, old-fashioned pizzas slippery with a judiciously herby and… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    El Taco de México

    The clean-kitchen-obsessed women with permanent frowns on their faces who bust their asses at El Taco de México? They understand a lot more English than you might think, and if you're stupid enough to malign their green chile — which we've heard a hell of a lot of bullying gringos do — then you deserve whatever bad karma creeps into… More >>
  • Best Pupusas

    Tambien - CLOSED

    The pupusas at Tambien started out as a simple staff snack, a way for prep cook Sonia Hernandez, who hails from El Salvador, to swell the bellies of the hungry kitchen line with the national street grub of her homeland. But because pupusas — those flattened orbs of masa, water and salt rolled into a dough, griddled on the flat… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho 95

    We've eaten at our share of pho houses, skulking along Federal Boulevard for our fix every chance we get. And still, we haven't found a better bowl of pho than the one served at Pho 95. The enormous bowls of noodles, floating in brilliantly flavored broths stockpiled with raw and cooked meats, arrive with heaps of Asian greens, rings of… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Phoenician Kabob

    Phoenician Kabob is where you come for kabobs, tabbouleh and kibbeh, garlic dip and grape leaves, beef shawarma and lamb shanks, where you enjoy your Mideast feast in a dining room spackled the colors of sumac, cumin and turmeric. It's also where you station yourself on a Saturday night, when the restaurant becomes a sultry den in which to get… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Squeaky Bean - CLOSED

    You've worshiped at the shrine to Farrah Fawcett that merits its own shelf above the bar; hoofed your way through the pig platter; contemplated holding chef Max Mackissock hostage because he refuses to part with his chicken-liver mousse recipe; and shimmied while unapologetically inhaling the shake-n-bake sweetbreads. But it's Mackissock's beef cheeks that are the silent sleeper on Squeaky Bean's… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito Neighborhood

    2500 Block of Federal Blvd.

    The breakfast burrito could be Colorado's official food. Just about every breakfast joint in Denver offers one, even if the only authentically Mexican thing about the place is the dishwasher. Vendors peddle breakfast burritos door-to-door at office buildings in the morning and sell them in LoDo at let-out. And you can find a good breakfast burrito on just about every… More >>
  • Best Blowout Brunch With Bowling

    Lucky Strike Lanes

    Here's a deal that's right up our alley. Lucky Strike Lanes in the Denver Pavilions is known as a hip nighttime hangout, but it also rewards those who get up early with Brunch and Bowl. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Sunday, Lucky Strike puts out an impressive brunch buffet spread for $12.95 (wash down your meal with $2… More >>
  • Best 24/7 Restaurant

    Great Scotts Eatery

    Yes, the '50s shtick can seem a little glaring at 4 a.m., when all you need is a big burger or a plate of steak and eggs to start — or end — your day. But even though Great Scotts hasn't been around since the '50s, it's been around long enough to serve a generation of fans authentically good roadside… More >>
  • Best Tea List

    Dushanbe Teahouse

    Perhaps you've heard about the years-long political struggle to get the City of Boulder to accept the Dushanbe Teahouse after it had already been sent there in boxes — eight years during which the mayor of Dushanbe died without seeing his dream of an exchange fulfilled. Perhaps you know that over the years, the food at Dushanbe has been variable… More >>
  • Best Beer List

    Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids

    The Oskar Blues Brewery makes some of the best beers in the state, selling six of them in cans and another handful on tap. But this Longmont-based brewer doesn't keep all the glory for itself. At Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids, the company's second restaurant in Boulder County, you'll find thirty or so more beers on tap, many… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Deal

    Panzano

    If happy hour has taught us well-lubricated lushes anything, it's that drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for stupidity, especially if you drink like we do. So if you're smart, you'll spend your next happy hour (and those after it) at Panzano, where, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. daily in the convivial lounge, attentive tenders pour $3 draft… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Dish in a Non-Vegetarian Restaurant

    Izakaya Den

    What do otherwise dedicated carnivores eat when they think no one's watching? Seaweed salad at Izakaya Den, a tide of flashy green algae, weeds and leaves, pink grapefruit wedges, pencil-thin rods of asparagus and sliced apples tossed in a stark white, square bowl, sprinkled with sesame seeds and dressed with a citrus-y spray. The salad is included on the vast… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Pizza

    Pizzeria Basta

    Pizzaiolo Kelly Whitaker learned how to make pizza in Italy, then brought that knowledge to Boulder, where he recently opened Pizzeria Basta. Boulder already has some of the best restaurants in the state, Frasca and L'Atelier among them; can an artisan pizza joint share in their stardom? There's no question that Whitaker has every intention of trying. He makes his… More >>
  • Best Red Chile

    Elway's Cherry Creek

    Who would have thought, in a town flush with cantinas, taquerías, carnicerías and Mexican markets, that Denver's best red chile would come from the kitchen of a full-blooded steakhouse? While the Cherry Creek Elway's is best known for its slabs of steer, chef Tyler Wiard's New Mexican-style red chile, which he drapes over his steak enchiladas, is worthy of worship.… More >>
  • Best Crepes

    Chili Verde - CLOSED

    When Chili Verde opened last summer with a skeleton staff, sporadic hours and no liquor license, owners and brothers Eder and Hanzel Yañez-Mota seduced the city with their crazy-good Pueblan food, a showcase of complexly spiced moles, remarkably good ceviche and pudgy rellenos uniquely packaged with peaches, plantains and nuts. And then they pulled out all the stops with a… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Star Kitchen

    "You back! Long time to see!" shouts the woman. It's been a while since we last picked the pushcarts clean at Star Kitchen, and the tiny owner with the one-inch waist won't let us forget it. "It's been long time," she repeats, shoving metal-rimmed steamers full of siu mai dumplings under our noses. "You love these!" she enthuses. She's right,… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Africana Cafe

    Denver is home to an estimated 10,000 people of Ethiopian descent — and nearly as many Ethiopian restaurants, or so it seems when you're driving east on Colfax through Aurora. Choosing one that reflects the diversity and nuances of Ethiopian cuisine can be a challenge for those unfamiliar with the smells and spices of East Africa. But the native, the… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Neighborhood

    Lower Highland

    Ask a dozen Denver food fans to name the best 'hood for grubbing, grazing and guzzling, and you'll get a dozen answers — plus a few extras from people who can't stop at just one — which just confirms what we already know: There are pockets of fiendishly great eating all over the city. But right now the lower edge… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    Benny's Restaurante y Tequila Bar

    Benny Armas got his start more than three decades ago, cooking in other people's kitchens. But from the moment he opened Benny's, his own place in central Denver, it's been a Denver institution, growing bigger (gaining a new patio last year) and better, catering to generations of families, friends — and drunks. Because Benny's regulars know that as welcoming as… More >>
  • Best Lunch Under $5

    The Walnut Room

    You can slum it with a slice and a drink for $5 at just about every pizza joint in town, but when you want to slum it in style, either location of the Walnut Room feels your vibe. Throw down a fiver at the original, up on Walnut, or the new store, at the heart of Broadway, and a fresh-faced… More >>
  • Best Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

    Liks Ice Cream

    By old-fashioned, we're not talking turn of the last century. We're talking the '70s, which were short on decor but long on flavor. Liks Ice Cream hasn't changed much in decades, and this Capitol Hill mainstay continues to attract both children and meandering urban couples, in warm weather and in cold, who appreciate the shop's dedication to craft that produces… More >>
  • Best Wine List Price

    Caveau Wine Bar

    At their worst, wine lists are pompous, stratospherically overpriced, ridiculously long, awkwardly categorized and full of overexposed, yawn-inducing labels. But at Caveau Wine Bar, the 75-bottle list (55 are available by the glass) is an easy-to-navigate document of new discoveries, small producers and familiar but not overrated labels. The polished yet easygoing staff is well-versed in wine education and just… More >>
  • Best Beer Prices

    Vine Street Pub & Brewery

    Microbrews aren't cheap, whether on tap or on the shelves. But Vine Street Pub, part of the Boulder-based Mountain Sun string of brewpubs, makes things a little easier on the wallet by charging only $4.20 (yeah, it had the marijuana thing going long before your local dispensary) for a pint as opposed to the usual $4.50 or $5 (an eight-ounce… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour in a Market

    Tony's Market

    When Tony's decided to open a new market, complete with a small restaurant, close to downtown Denver last year, it made a critical move: It applied for a liquor license that covered not just the bistro, but the entire building. As a result, Tony's now offers one of the greatest grocery-shopping amenities imaginable: You can buy a glass of wine… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Park Burger

    Ah, Park Burger, how the Platt Park neighborhood loves thee. How else to explain the restless bodies spilling onto the sidewalk, the thirty-minute waits for a table, the sparring over who gets the last slurp of milkshake, the brawls over the fries? It took you a while to get those tubers right, but once you did, we could hear the… More >>
  • Best Flatbread Pizza

    Encore - CLOSED

    Those people you see hanging out by the door, their feet shifting impatiently, their jaws moving up and down, mimicking the eating motion? Those people have been to Encore before, have already tried the fig 'n' pig flatbread pizza, and can't wait to get at it again. A properly charred oval smeared with a fig spread that's dotted with crumbles… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Racines, Dixons

    The winner and still the chomp: Sibling restaurants Racines and Dixons are known as go-to spots where you can start your day with a power breakfast and end it with a powerful cocktail. But our favorite item on the vast (and differing) menus at both is the nachos: a mountain of food that's more than a meal, particularly if you… More >>
  • Best Low-End Steakhouse

    Gala Gardens

    Commerce City is hardly a restaurant utopia, and Gala Gardens isn't exactly the first joint that floats into your head when you're lusting after a brick of beef. But it should be, because the steaks — of which there are several, including a hefty 25-ounce porterhouse, a 22-ounce T-bone, a couple of New York strips and a club steak —… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    J'Shabu - CLOSED

    Glide a near-translucent slip of beef through a deep vessel of gurgling broth, and the sound you'll hear is shabu shabu, a swooshing hiss that's heard often at J'Shabu, a superb Japanese restaurant. Shabu shabu is a do-it-yourself proposition, a little like fondue. A server equips you with a burner, a pot of broth — water with kale, miso, sweet… More >>
  • Best Lamb That Mary Would Have Liked

    Mecca Grill

    The service is peculiar, and the droning music even weirder at Mecca Grill, a mini-mall storefront with a saffron-stained dining room that smells unmistakably of mothballs. But the food — herby falafel, hummus, gyros, lemony fattoush, shawarma, kabobs and grape leaves — is undeniably good. The best dish: the bold-flavored lamb shank, an extravagantly huge hunk of meat that arrives… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Argyll - CLOSED

    In the great gastropub movement that's marching through Denver, Argyll is doing its part to ensure that its contributions to the crusade don't go unnoticed. There's an awful lot to appreciate about this joint: the cask-conditioned ales, wickedly strong and poured only on the weekends; the bartenders and servers, who are quick with a smile and a good story; and… More >>
  • Best Reason to Love the Belgians

    Waffle Brothers - CLOSED

    You know the frozen waffles that come 24 to a box, 72 if you shop the chaotic aisles of Costco? The waffles that you'll eat at Waffle Brothers are not those waffles. No, these waffles – yeasty, caramelized, misshapen, chewy, simultaneously savory and sweet, toasty and tinged the color of a tiger's eye — are made-to-order morning glories conceived by… More >>
  • Best Cart on the 16th Street Mall

    Thai Food Cart

    You'll wait for twenty minutes, maybe thirty, sometimes even forty before it's finally your turn to step up and order from She Who Won't Be Rushed, the conversational but don't-push-me Thai woman who single-handedly commands the sensational Thai Food Cart on the 16th Street Mall. And once you've made it to the front of the queue, decisions await: Do you… More >>
  • Best Newfangled Ice Cream Parlor

    Sweet Action

    Who'd have thought that the hottest spot on SoBo would serve ice cream? When Samantha Kopicko and Chia Basinger opened their storefront spot last year, they just wanted to serve up the very best homemade ice cream they could, using milk and cream from Diamond D Natural Dairy and spices from Savory Spice Shop to create dozens of truly cool… More >>
  • Best Wine List — Selection

    The Infinite Monkey Theorem - CLOSED

    According to the infinite monkey theorem, a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. But could a monkey squeezing grapes for even an infinite amount of time ever come up with wines as wonderful as those created… More >>
  • Best Social-Media Beer

    Twitter Brew

    What could go better with a social beverage than social media? Last spring, Odell Brewing Company asked beer enthusiasts to tweet suggested styles for the company's first Twitter Brew poll. After the votes were tallied, the brewery asked followers to tweet suggested qualities such as color, strength, body and hop character, as well as the name and tap handle design.… More >>
  • Best Oyster Shooters

    Deluxe - CLOSED

    In 2003, when Dylan Moore opened Deluxe on a stretch of South Broadway that was better known for its bar brawls than its restaurants, he knew was taking a risk. But his first menu, a straight-ahead California board, was a quick hit. Since then, even as he's added new ventures (Delite next door, Deluxe Burger over on East Colfax), he's… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    Biker Jim, aka Jim Pettinger, a former repo man who slings Denver's best wieners from his polished stainless-steel carts downtown and, more recently, from the parking lot of Argonaut Liquors, knew he'd struck culinary gold when acerbic food mouthpiece Tony Bourdain declared publicly, to a full audience at the Temple Buell Theater, that he'd "been to the mountaintop and found… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Gaetano's

    It's worth hanging out at Gaetano's just to banter with the endearing kooks who belly up to the bar. There's the guy who insists on having his burger well-done and a half dozen "pats" of butter with his basket of white bread; the woman who orders shot after shot of Jack and never seems to slur or stumble; the old-timer… More >>
  • Best Chips and Salsa

    Tacos y Salsas

    So here's the thing: Tacos y Salsas, the canary-yellow, slightly seedy, fluorescently lit and stridently loud taquería with six locations throughout the metro area, has always pimped an unassailable salsa bar stockpiled with a six-pack of flavor-bombed reds, oranges and greens bolstered by vats of pickled jalapeños and carrots, cool radishes, cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges and a sweat-inducing pico… More >>
  • Best High-End Steakhouse

    Elway's Cherry Creek

    The Cherry Creek Elway's is a bastion of big spenders, big deals and big steaks. While the hormone-charged bar is a meat market for pin-up cougars with head-turning cleavage and the young, moneyed cads who want to take them home, and the dining room is a swell of starched shirts, pressed pants, high heels and more cleavage, the real showpieces… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Dancing Noodle Thai Cuisine

    At noon on a Friday, Dancing Noodle Thai Cuisine, a tiny storefront restaurant, is anything but dancing. It deserves to be packed, though, because the Thai dishes turned out here shimmy, spin and sway with penetrating, provocative flavors that don't just dance, but sing, too — loud and proud. The coconut-laced curries are redolent with the stink of garlic, ginger… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Z Cuisine

    A coveted seat at the frolicsome bar of Z Cuisine, chef/owner Patrick Dupays's lovely French bistro, is still one of the most pleasurable spots to spend an enchanting Denver evening, especially when you can share the time and a bottle of wine with a like-minded devotee who appreciates the virtues of Z Cuisine as much as you do. From day… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Buffalo Doughboy Bakery - CLOSED

    Just a block off Broadway, a Popsicle-hued Victorian is home to Buffalo Doughboy Bakery, a hustling bakehouse and confectionary whose glass cases brim with scratch-made savory cheese galettes, crumbly scones, sweet turnovers that pop with cherries, cupcakes, breakfast quiches and warm and buttery croissants, lighter than froth and so flaky that the softest blow turns the golden shards into confetti.… More >>
  • Best Fruity Pancakes

    Snooze

    It's easy to flip for the flapjacks at Snooze, the mod breakfast barn for hipsters who stumble in and congregate at the counter or the crescent-shaped vinyl booths for steaming jolts of java, Bloodies to counteract the bleary eyes and sustenance to soak it all up. Snooze doubled our pleasure with a second location this year, keeping the same menu,… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches

    Masterpiece Delicatessen

    If you're going to haul out the ego and deem your restaurant — or, in this case, deli — a "masterpiece," you'd better live up to the superlative. There's a reason that this Highland sandwich shop commands lines out the door, making it nearly impossible to snatch up one of the few tables or counter stools: The sandwiches really are… More >>
  • Best Dessert That's Not a Cupcake

    LoHi SteakBar

    Thank Sean Kelly, exec chef of LoHi SteakBar, for the best chocolate pudding in town. There are other sugar finales on his menu — slices of pie from Living the Sweet Life Bakery, sorbet and ice cream from neighboring Little Man and a fantastic banana split — but it's the housemade double chocolate pudding, a luxuriously thick, excessively rich, astonishingly… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Village Cork

    Sociable, inviting and foreplay-heavy with the murmurs and hums of flirtatious couples, the Village Cork earns a coveted spot in our amply lubed livers for its whimsy, its far-reaching list of wines by the bottle and glass, and its chalkboard menu of sumptuous sharable plates, including beef short ribs, roasted chicken and a trifecta of thrilling vegetarian dishes from new… More >>
  • Best Growler Deal

    Bull & Bush Brewery

    The Bull & Bush is one of a handful of brewpubs in town that sell growlers — 64-ounce glass containers — that you can fill up and take with you. At this 39-year-old brewpub, you spend $12 for your first growler and then bring it back for $8 refills (of anything on tap aside from special releases). But on Tuesdays,… More >>
  • Best Salumi

    Il Mondo Vecchio - CLOSED

    Mark DeNittis, Adam DeSacco and Gennaro DeSantis are Denver's salumi sultans, and they've gifted us with Il Mondo Vecchio, the state's first (and only) USDA-inspected salumeria. During the tasting tours, which must be arranged in advance, DeNittis will seduce you with the best pepperoni you've ever tasted; make you kneel in gratitude just from the scent of the longanzia spiced… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Colt & Gray

    Last year, when owner/chef Nelson Perkins revealed plans to open Colt & Gray, he swore up and down that, if nothing else, his kitchen would put forth Denver's best burger. In a city that lives and dies by its beef, those were fighting words. And when that city is suddenly enjoying a windfall of burger joints — with more in… More >>
  • Best Devil Food

    Lechuga's Italian Restaurant & Lounge

    Lechuga's is one of the great pasta-and-pizza joint holdouts that testify to northwest Denver's great Italian tradition. The generous calzones are nothing to sneeze at, but what sends patron's tastebuds spinning is the infamous Little Devil: spicy sausage, wrapped in spicy jalapeño, locked down in a chewy, fresh-baked roll. Dip it (or just smother it) in sweet marinara sauce and… More >>
  • Best Taco

    El Taco Veloz

    Why is Federal Boulevard Denver's best stretch of asphalt for pumping up your spare tire? Because of joints like El Taco Veloz, where a meager $1.75 gets you a steaming corn tortilla abundantly mounted with whatever animal flesh rocks your world, plus onions and cilantro and access to the bar of Mexican condiments, a startling reservoir of grilled or pickled… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Our ship came in the day Oceanaire landed in Denver. The restaurant itself has the feel of a vintage ocean liner, with a comfortable, clubby bar; the service is formal but friendly. But what really floats our boat at Oceanaire is the seafood: fresh fish brought in six days a week from around the globe, then handled with care by… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Viet's

    Jammed into the corner of the Far East Center, Viet's is the unsung emperor of Vietnamese restaurants, the handsome prince among the plebes of Federal Boulevard, the kind of discovery that every gastronaut dreams of making. And there's no discovery here more dazzling than the House Special, which includes an array of different dishes — soft-shell crab, grilled ropes of… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Los Cabos II

    "Puro Peru," promises the website of Los Cabos II, and this downtown restaurant delivers. Peruvian food is some of the strangest, most delicious stuff in the world — a mishmash of centuries of cultural influences thrown together on one plate. Spanish conquistadors, Arabs and Moors, explorers bringing spices from India, Italian cartographers, historic Creoles, African slaves and Asian immigrants —… More >>
  • Best Pizza at a Greek Market

    Melita's Greek Cafe & Market

    There are people who come to Melita's to bulk up on Greek feta; others stock up on sumac, a lemony powder that the Greeks use on, well, just about everything. Still others pop in for the aptly named "Hercules" burger, five or six inches of heft favored by those whose only afternoon requirement is a really long nap. But it's… More >>
  • Best Biscuits at Brunch

    Lucile's

    There are now branches of Lucile's in Fort Collins, Longmont and Denver, but the only true Lucile's is the one situated in a charming Victorian house on a side street just off the Pearl Street Mall, a spot this restaurant has occupied for almost thirty years. Lucile's served good coffee long before everyone started talking shade-grown, organic, single origin or… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Lunch

    Sushi Sasa

    There's nothing cheap about Sushi Sasa, the elegant — and expanding — sushi restaurant at the edge of downtown. Not the toned and tony clientele, the kind of customers who never bobble their chopsticks, stab their toro or dip their rice into the dish of soy sauce. And not the raw fish, not the Chilean sea bass steamed in a… More >>
  • Best Dessert With a Show

    D Bar Desserts - CLOSED

    You would think that D Bar Desserts, the dessert bar that Food Network star Keegan Gerhard and his wife, Lisa Bailey, brought to Denver almost two years ago, offers enough of a sugar rush just with the incredible desserts and other goodies on offer; the crowds that pack this little joint certainly come away satisfied. But late on weekend nights,… More >>
  • Best House Margarita

    Lola

    How do we love Lola? Let us count the ways. We love the history of the building it resides in, an old mortuary that served as the almost-final resting place of Buffalo Bill (he couldn't be buried on Lookout Mountain until after the ground thawed). We love looking out over the city from its deck, heated so that you can… More >>
  • Best Schooner Deal

    Edgewater Inn

    You go to the Edgewater Inn for the pizza and the atmosphere — "Howdy, paisano!" — but you won't be able to leave without ordering a schooner. Perhaps the most festively shaped drinking vessel known to man, schooners are like giant, rounded margarita glasses perfectly suited to toasting. And you'll have reason to toast, because during happy hour, the Edgewater… More >>
  • Best Use of Offal

    Olivea - CLOSED

    Not only is John Broening, Olivea's incredibly talented chef/co-owner, crafting authentic charcuterie in the small confines of his culinary workroom, but he's also making his own headcheese, the tour de force of all offal. There's just something so maniacally pleasurable about seeing all the scraps from the meatiest parts of the pig's head — Broening uses the tongue, too —… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Boney's Smokehouse

    Nothing more profoundly scents a room than the char of smoke-impregnated animal flesh — especially when that flesh has been smoked low and slow over hickory, which is the wood of choice at Boney's Smokehouse, Lamont and Trina Lynch's downtown, down-home temple of barbecue. From long before noon to long into the afternoon, pit worshipers pile in to stuff themselves… More >>
  • Best Cheap Italian Carb Overload

    Sexy Pizza

    Do bagels turn you on? Do you get just as hot and bothered over thick, sesame-seed-encrusted buns as you do over the meat between them? Carb lover, let us introduce you to your next meal: Sexy Pizza's Baked Ziti Pie. Picture it: ziti on top of cheese on top of sauce on top of bread. Eating a slice is like… More >>
  • Best Shrimp Cocktail

    El Camaron Loco

    There are very few dishes on the menu of El Camaron Loco that don't include shrimp. But if you look around the dining room of this Mexican seafood shack on Federal (our favorite of the three metro locations), almost everyone is tucking into a huge goblet of shrimp cocktail. Swamped with a land mine of shellfish bobbing in a soupy… More >>
  • Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Den

    Denver, we're often reminded by those who can't help themselves, is a landlocked city — which, according to those same clever people who think they know everything, undercuts our ability to serve anything that swims in the ocean. But those people don't know their Starkist from their salmon collar. At the very least, they obviously haven't ever been to Sushi… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    China Jade

    With all due respect to the rest of the Chinese restaurants in town, China Jade whups your sorry wooden chopsticks. This joint is that glorious rarity whose food makes you moan and groan and sigh and hoot and holler, sometimes all at once. It's the type of place that stops you dead in your stilettos, if only to remind you… More >>
  • Best American Restaurant

    Second Home

    For those who can't decide between a T-bone and a twice-baked potato, chicken and waffles, lobster pot pie or a green-chile-smothered pork chop partnered with scalloped potatoes, we have good news for you: All of those dishes grace the menu of Second Home, the restaurant at the JW Marriott. The wide-ranging menu reads like a love letter extolling your mom's… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Avenue Grill

    Sure, plenty of places serve fashionable, frou-frou martinis, featuring chocolate or pineapple or organic juniper berries. And the affable bartenders at the Avenue Grill are willing to make a martini just about any way a customer asks for it. Over the years, this go-to spot has made other changes, too, including recently adding a Saturday brunch. But when we're ordering… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Colt & Gray

    At brunch at Colt & Gray, the lovely restaurant that made its long-awaited debut on Platte Street last August, the French-press coffee is woody and rich and strong. It has to be, in order to prepare you for the duck confit hash, served with the most beautifully poached eggs you've ever seen, the streams of yolk brighter than a yellow… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Rioja

    Everything about Rioja radiates perfection, from the flavors and flourishes on the plate to the wine list and waitstaff — which is precisely the kind of faultless experience you should expect when you're celebrating an anniversary, bar mitzvah, time off for good behavior or an extra five hours of furlough. If you're part of the precious few still flush with… More >>
  • Best Artisan Chocolates

    Seth Ellis Chocolatier

    The candies created by Seth Ellis Chocolatier are wildly expensive, but each small piece yields a sensational level of flavor. These candies are developed by Rick Levine, who's devoted to the natural and organic and would rather boil down a field of mint leaves to create the decorative green squiggle on a chocolate than resort to artificial flavor. As a… More >>
  • Best Classic Cocktail

    Churchill Bar

    A classic cocktail deserves a classy, classic setting. The Brown Palace's Churchill Bar is like an exclusive club, complete with comfy leather chairs and obsequious service — but the only membership requirement here is that you cover the cost of your drink. And what a drink: The Churchill features an extensive roster of premium spirits, including an impressive array of… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink With FBI Agents

    Stockyard Saloon

    FBI agents make the best drinking companions because they never steal the limelight. They couldn't if they tried: After a rigorous background check, each is hand-selected by Uncle Sam specifically for his or her lack of blackmailable individuality. Then the agents are all meticulously trained to keep their yappers shut and to listen long and hard. There's no need to conduct… More >>
  • Best Place to Shop Local

    In Season Local Market - CLOSED

    In Season is a tiny green shop with big ideas. Its motto — "If it's not from here, it's not in here" — means that the market only stocks products produced within a 250-mile radius of its location in Highland. So while you'll still have to swing by King Soopers for Tide and toilet paper, In Season's shelves are stocked… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Tom's Home Cookin'

    Tom's Home Cookin' is a stick-to-your-ribs dispatch for soul-food seekers and Southerners, blue-collar workers and chefs, chatterers, chewers and chicken chasers — the latter a devoted force of purists who know the difference between a great cluck and a forgettable one. There's nothing at Tom's we wouldn't kill for, but the fried chicken, profoundly moist with skin crusted the color… More >>
  • Best High-End Italian Restaurant

    Luca D'Italia

    By this point, we all pretty much know that just about everything coming out of Frank Bonanno's four kitchens — Osteria Marco, Mizuna, Bones and Luca D'Italia — makes our heads whirl like a spinning top. But just when you think Bonanno and his enormously talented kitchen crew couldn't possibly have any more culinary stunts up their sleeves, they add… More >>
  • Best Posole

    Tarasco's New Latin Cuisine

    Tarasco's awesome posole, the traditional Mexican stew that even gringos slurp for breakfast after a night of corruption and immorality, is ladled into a big white bowl with tender pork and pork bones and hominy. It's accompanied, as it should be, by steaming corn tortillas, plenty of quartered lime wedges, a heap of diced white onions and shredded raw cabbage.… More >>
  • Best Noodle Bar

    Bones

    Steamed suckling pig and pork belly buns, roasted bone marrow, escargot pot stickers, tempura-fried cod, dumplings, shishito peppers, soba noodles and soft-serve ice cream: These all play starring roles on the board at Bones, Frank Bonanno's Capitol Hill noodle bar and the fourth soldier in his army of restaurants. Celebrated since Bonanno opened the doors at the end of 2008,… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    India's

    When Krishan Kappor relocated India's, his terrific curry house, from its longtime home on the perimeter of Tamarac Square to Tiffany Plaza, he definitely traded up in space. And the food is better than ever. The Punjabi-tempered menu may feature many of the same dishes that litter the boards of just about every other Indian restaurant in town, but Kappor… More >>
  • Best New American Restaurant

    Fruition

    The year was 2007; the space the tiny former home of Sean Kelly's Somethin' Else. In this unlikely spot, partners Alex Seidel and Paul Attardi — chef and maître d', respectively — created Fruition, a restaurant that's become a culinary deity. From the start, Seidel has used the seasons as a canvas for his menu, a near-perfect board of flawlessly… More >>
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