Food & Drink

  • Best Pete's Restaurant

    Pete's Kitchen

    Morning, noon and night — and way past midnight — this iconic East Colfax institution, illuminated with fluorescents, hums with the melodic chatter of bankers, beatniks, bikers and buggy-eyed drunks, all of whom co-exist in hungry harmony, tucking into gigantic plates tricked out with slabs of bacon, well-seasoned sausages, flapjacks, omelets and mounds of hash browns glistening with gobs of… More >>
  • Best Pancake

    Snooze

    Snooze has tricked out just about every breakfast item in existence — and wooed and won hordes willing to wait an hour for a table as a result. The restaurant's pancake isn't just a griddled buttermilk breakfast; it's a vehicle for a variety of changing flavor combinations that play up the idea of having dessert for the morning meal. A… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Vine Street Pub

    Vine Street Pub serves good bar food alongside its line of tapped craft beers, but its chicken wings fly right up to great. Fat with tender, moist meat, they're crisped in a fryer until crackly, then slathered in lip-stingingly spicy hot sauce or honeyed barbecue sauce. The steamy wings come by the glistening dozen or half-dozen, piled high on a… More >>
  • Best Wings Challenge

    Ghost Pepper Challenge

    You'll laugh, you'll cry. But mostly you'll cry. Ask the server at Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids to "weaponize" your order, and she'll bring you two pounds of wings made with ghost peppers — 200 times more fiery than jalapeños, and the hottest chiles in the world. You'll also get carrots, celery, one delicious beer and no napkins.… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    The Pinyon - CLOSED

    From the moment the doors flew open at the Pinyon, there was an audible cluck about a bird that flies right. Executive chef/owner Theo Adley, who commands an exhibition kitchen surrounded by voyeurs, many of them local chefs, rubs his chickens with a housemade chile-and-garlic paste sweetened with sugar and tarted up with vinegar. He then floods the fowl in… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Jabo's Bar-Be-Q

    When Jabo Lawson abandoned his mobile barbecue pit and moved indoors, he traded up for a custom-built, in-house smoker, where he can now cook 700 pounds of meat at once. He uses that smoker to make tender brisket, piquant Louisiana-style hot links, pulled pork shoulder and, best of all, pork ribs, which are two inches thick, layered with opaque fat,… More >>
  • Best BBQ Novelty Item

    Yazoo Barbecue Company

    We're huge fans of Yazoo's signature dry-rubbed, Memphis-style 'cue — and especially fond of the Bob, a generous chunk of chicken breast that's smoked and swathed in jalapeños and bacon, giving the meat just the right touch of heat and savor. Lunchtime regulars at the bare-bones downtown location know it's best to arrive before noon or the Bobs might all… More >>
  • Best Catfish

    Shead's BBQ & Fish Hut

    Down south, they know how to tame this ugly-ass bottom-feeder. They fillet it, pan-fry it with light seasoning and serve it up with hush puppies, okra and other comfort foods. Shead's keeps the Southern tradition alive in its clean, well-lighted strip-mall location; save some room for a juicy peach cobbler as a chaser. The fried tilapia isn't half bad, either.… More >>
  • Best Chili

    Elway's Cherry Creek

    Considering the absurdly high number of chili cookoffs that take place in Denver, it doesn't make sense that it's next to impossible to find a butt-kicking bowl of the stuff at a restaurant. What's even more wacky is that the one chili that does bowl us over comes from the kitchen of Elway's Cherry Creek, a white-tablecloth steer palace that… More >>
  • Best Bone Marrow

    Colt & Gray

    Colt & Gray is a temple of offal, and the menu features parts of an animal that some people would consider scraps: sweetbreads, crispy trotters, liver pâtés...and bone marrow. Rather than serve a cross-section of bone, the kitchen slices the specimen lengthwise and roasts it until caramelized, velvety, collagen-y marrow is clinging tenderly to the hole in the middle. That… More >>
  • Best Sausages

    Il Mondo Vecchio - CLOSED

    Mark DeNittis, Denver's high priest of salumi, is a sausage-slinging genius, his pristine laboratory of pig — and the state's only USDA-inspected salumeria — a shrine to dry-cured sausages and fresh sausage links made with amore from a hot-blooded Italian who's devoted his career to pimping meaty, salty, pudgy ropes and rings of porky goodness. Sausage-making is his passion, and… More >>
  • Best Cheese Board

    Osteria Marco

    Many restaurants offer cheese courses, but none as tantalizing as the board at Osteria Marco, where every cheese on the plate is crafted in-house. There's milky, pure, hand-stretched mozzarella. Soft, slightly chunky ricotta, kissed with sweetness and a tinge of clover. Smooth, slightly sharp goat's-milk ricotta. And, of course, an orb of sinfully rich burrata, the firm, mozzarella-like edge encasing… More >>
  • Best Croissant

    The Kitchen

    No other kitchen in the area makes makes croissants like those at the Kitchen, which has perfected the luxurious treats that pair so well with strong black coffee. Rich but feather-light, and so flaky that crumbs blow across the table at the lightest touch, these croissants are especially spectacular because they're buttery, not butter-flavored. And while the plain croissants are… More >>
  • Best Charcuterie Plate

    Argyll - CLOSED

    Denver chefs are going to have to do more — much more — than toss a few slices of prosciutto on a platter with a fistful of olives if they're going to go nose-to-tail with Sergio Romero, the executive chef of Argyll. Romero's charcuterie program is done 100 percent in-house and features an all-star lineup of all the things we… More >>
  • Best Free Bread

    Rioja

    We try our very best not to fill up on bread before dinner comes, but that's no easy task at Rioja. The restaurant's given serious thought to its complimentary carbohydrate accompaniment, so it doesn't serve you stale chunks of ciabatta. Our mouths start watering as soon as we spot the employee charged with bread service, lugging a beautiful basket of… More >>
  • Best Fried Food

    Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria

    Not content with his command over Neapolitan-style pizza, Mark Dym, the piehole behind Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria, has expanded his repertoire to include deep-fried pizza, filling a deep-fried niche that's been previously saturated with Twinkies, pickles and pig ears. The stretchy doughs, submerged in palm oil for less than thirty seconds, are then surfaced with a sauce made of San Marzano… More >>
  • Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Lou's Food Bar

    Frank Bonanno oversees a burgeoning group of local restaurants, the newest of which is Lou's Food Bar, a down-to-earth American comfort-food den with an affinity for market-driven French influences and, on occasion, Italian-American dalliances. This is a neighborhood joint, pulsating with lively crowds, where you can sample a plate of portly housemade sausages followed by Frenchy escargot bobbing in butter… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Pizzeria Basta

    So often, things get lost in translation when you're transporting one country's cuisine to another part of the world. So instead of trying to create an exact replica of an Italian pizzeria when he opened Pizzeria Basta, chef/owner Kelly Whitaker drew inspiration from Naples, where he'd spent a year making pizzas. But Whitaker definitely grounded Pizzeria Basta in Boulder, focusing… More >>
  • Best Specialty Pizza

    Brava!

    Weeks, months or years from now, when someone decides it's time to compile a compendium of Denver's high priests of pizza, dough-slinging genius David Bravdica should occupy the centerfold. A former airport manager-turned-pie peddler, Bravdica now operates a wood-fired pizza wagon that squats on the 16th Street Mall, an 850-degree powerhouse of smoldering Missouri oak wood. When Bravdica yanks the… More >>
  • Best New York-Style Pizza

    Big Bill's NY Pizza

    Real New York-style pizza has a few rules. The crust must be thin but not cracker-like — crispy along the edges, but with some give in the center to allow the slices to be folded. That crust should be mounted with tomato sauce, spread thinly across the base so that the white of the dough is still visible beneath. The… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    Locanda Del Borgo

    Just folksy enough to make fidgety rugrats feel like they're not a nuisance, but classy enough to make their well-heeled adult guardians feel coddled, this warmly welcoming shrine to Italian cuisine is the kind of restaurant that neighbors and non-neighbors alike seek out when they want a home away from home. Part of that stems from the affable — and… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Panzano

    Elise Wiggins, the enormously talented executive chef of Panzano, holds true to a steadfast rule when she designs her menus: "The dishes I create are all mine: I don't copy what anyone else is doing," she insists. Indeed, Wiggins marches to her own drummer, and her contemporary, come-hither Italian dishes — seductive, sophisticated and classier than a cashmere shawl —… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Elway's Cherry Creek

    Elway's Cherry Creek is a lot of things, including a meat market — meeting a potential mate, meeting up for a drink, meeting a moneyed sugar daddy or meeting a pair of enhanced breasts that make you slap-happy. But that's just foreplay, because at the meat of the matter is the real beef: majestic slabs of seasoned steer weeping with… More >>
  • Best Cinnamon Roll

    Duffeyroll Cafe

    Nothing sates a cinnamon-roll craving quite like downing a fresh bun, still steaming from the oven, at Duffeyroll Cafe, a Wash Park breakfast shop with suburban offshoots. Hand-rolled with the ideal amount of cinnamon filling between each layer of fluffy, bready pastry, each bun is lightly crisped around the edges and just gooey enough with glaze — your choice of… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    TAG

    Troy Guard, chef/owner of TAG and the just-opened TAG|RAW BAR, grew up in Hawaii, which may explain why his board at TAG is a fish-lover's deep-sea dream, floating such dishes as Maine diver scallops puddled in a parsnip-vanilla purée and sushi rolls tucked with yellowfin or lobster. Guard's infatuation with aquatics spans the world, and he embraces a universe of… More >>
  • Best Cold Bar

    Lola

    Lola has always embraced the power of the ocean, turning out coastal Mexican food in a city — as people will annoyingly remind you — framed by waves of mountains. But co-owner/executive chef Jamey Fader knows his way around a fish, and he's cast his net far and wide to hook seaworthy creatures that are the prize of his new… More >>
  • Best Clam Chowder

    Bittersweet

    Bittersweet is the blood, sweat and tears of chef/owner Olav Peterson, who opened his own restaurant after spending the past several years as the exec chef of Bistro One. His seasonal board is short but powerful, a direct, focused and ambitious stab at some of our favorite foods, including clam chowder. There are dozens of renditions around town, most of… More >>
  • Best Oysters

    Ototo Food and Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Ototo Food and Wine Bar sources its oysters seasonally, ordering in the freshest specimens from whatever location has them. But no matter the source or the variety, these oysters come to the table as cold and fresh as if they've just been plucked from a tide pool. After they're drizzled with astringent sherry vinaigrette or biting jalapeño ponzu, the slick,… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Amu

    Loosely translated, the word "amu" means "everything and nothing." Amu is a quiet sliver of a restaurant attached to the raucous Sushi Zanmai, easily missed by the masses but fervently supported by fans and Boulder's chefs, who spend hours in this authentic izakaya. Amu doesn't serve sushi, as the robed chefs behind the narrow bar will note when a guest… More >>
  • Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    It's been six years since Wayne Conwell opened Sushi Sasa, bringing to Denver the new-style Japanese cuisine he'd learned under Iron Chef Morimoto. Six years of dishes punched up with the influences of Italy and France, six years of stellar fish, six years of imaginative omakase menus exploring the best Japanese cuisine the city has to offer. Six years of… More >>
  • Best Sushi in a Non-Sushi Restaurant

    Elway's Downtown

    The staff at Elway's Downtown clearly saw what a bloody steak could do for a carnivore's libido, so last spring, they unshucked a sushi bar: proof that the junction of toro and tenderloin is just as natural as that of beer and pretzels. The display — exquisitely fresh, glistening fish that glows like silk — rivals the quality of what… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine

    "Really? You want that?" The server's eyes grow wide and sparkle with mischief, and after patiently reciting the English translations from the "secret" Chinese menu, she cheerfully nods and scampers toward the kitchen, pausing just once to glance back for affirmation. Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine is a shrine to familiarity and weirdness, where tofu skin and fried pork livers… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Star Kitchen

    It's high noon on a Saturday and, predictably, there's a crowd of hungry people pushing through the door, speaking in English and foreign tongues, wondering how long the wait might be for a table. It's just another dim sum day at Star Kitchen, a brightly lit utopia of imaginatively prepared, vibrant dumplings and steamed barbecue buns, floppy shrimp rice-noodle rolls… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery

    Saunter into Jason and Jeanette Burgett's stylish meet-and-greet bakery, and you'll be immediately bombarded with sensory overload — the kind that makes your double chin drop in disbelief. If the scents of exquisite fresh-baked cookies, pastel-hued French macaroons, ooey-gooey sticky buns that rise like the sun, perfect fruit tortes, pies, cakes and scones don't give you a sugar high, biting… More >>
  • Best Ramen

    Sachi Sushi

    Tucked into a corner of the Niwot Market grocery store, the modest Sachi Sushi spends most of the week serving up raw fish offerings. But on Sundays, owner Tsukasa Hibino cooks up a batch of authentic, Kyushu-style ramen that's better than anything you'll find along the Front Range. Cloudy tonkotsu broth, made by boiling pork and chicken bones for hours… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho Duy

    Pho Duy has been slinging pho — and not much else — for nearly two decades, and the kitchen makes the noodle soup in a way that'll please even the most resolute purist. The dish starts with dark and pungent beef broth, with depth added by slices of onions, cooked soft, their flavor infused into the liquid. That base plays… More >>
  • Best Xiao Long Bao

    Lao Wang Noodle House

    Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, originated in Shanghai but became so much a part of Taiwan's cuisine that the most famous version in the world is made at a Taipei-based restaurant chain called Din Tai Fung. Dumpling connoisseurs on both sides of the Pacific spend plenty of time debating what makes a great soup dumpling, analyzing everything from the… More >>
  • Best Non-Traditional Noodle Bowl

    Bones

    When Frank Bonnano opened Bones in late 2008, he took traditional Japanese noodle bowls and infused them with French touches, adding confit, pork belly and suckling pig to a lineup built around ramen, udon and soba. And while his dishes are a far cry from what you'd find over in Japan, they're undeniably good. The lobster ramen is ethereal, a… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    New Saigon

    After more than two decades, New Saigon is still the indisputable champion of Vietnamese cuisine on the Front Range. And not only is it the best, but it's the biggest — at least in terms of its offerings. The menu here is a veritable tome: page after page of Vietnamese dishes offered by Thai Nguyen and his wife (and chef)… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Thai Flavor

    Surin Thanon is a native of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, and she brings her capable touch to everything on the menu at Thai Flavor, which includes such standards as pad Thai and Thai curries, as well as specialties from her home — with some, like certain whole-fish dishes, that aren't even translated into English. The fresh green papaya salad,… More >>
  • Best "Thai Hot"

    US Thai Cafe

    "Medium" isn't a server's suggestion at US Thai Cafe when a new guest innocently asks for Thai hot -- it's an order. Because US Thai's "medium" is what most places peg as "hot," a sweat-inducing smattering of fiery red chiles mixed through any dish on the menu, used with just enough restraint to allow an eater to actually taste the… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Seoul BBQ

    Every meal at the upscale Seoul BBQ starts with the superb, complimentary banchan, a collection of a dozen or so tiny dishes that showcase what Korean cuisine is all about. Savory mini-omelettes full of garlic and scallions. Baked Korean yams doused in sweet syrup. Crisp pickles, totori muk acorn jelly and, of course, kimchi, pickled napa cabbage coated in chili… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Mirch Indian Grill - CLOSED

    The southern suburbs, with their mega-priced steakhouses, chain horrors and multimillion-dollar mansions, are hardly where you'd expect to find the most interesting Indian restaurant in the city — hustling Indian street food, no less. The two Mirch Indian Grill outposts are brightly hued, comfortably informal shrines to Bollywood, where Indian pop music pulsates from the speakers while the kitchen turns… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Shish Kabob Grill

    For more than six years, Shish Kabob Grill, a block from the State Capitol and a million miles from Lebanon, has been a popular Mideast feast house for falafel and fattouch, baba ghanouj and beef kafta kabobs, grape leaves and gyros, tabbouleh and hummus. The food, created, cooked and plated in an open kitchen, is stunningly prepared. The hummus is… More >>
  • Best Corned Beef Hash

    Syrup

    Syrup's got plenty of sweet offerings on the menu, but the star of the list is savory: Chef Tom Willis makes his own corned beef hash, mixing succulent chunks of salty meat with sweet onions, cooked until soft and translucent, and crispy bits of golden-brown potato. The hearty blend is satisfying on its own, served with crisped hash browns and… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Queen of Sheba

    Save for a few maps of Ethiopia, the decor at Queen of Sheba, an East Colfax storefront, is modest. But the food? As owner Zewditu (Zodi) Aboye's daughter puts it, "Some people just have a gift for cooking, you know?" From a partially visible kitchen, Aboye turns out stellar renditions of her home country's cuisine: stews of earthy lentils, gamey… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Cafe Brazil

    When the original owner lost Cafe Brazil in the early '90s, Tony and Marla Zarlenga took it over and saved the name because Brazil has a great culture, a great spirit and a great reputation — and they wanted to channel that. But instead of a strictly Brazilian restaurant, they created a novolatino place that offers a contemporary interpretation of… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Z Cuisine

    Francophiles have flocked to Z Cuisine from the moment it opened in 2005, comforted by its warm service, seduced by its small, neighborhood feel, and bewitched by the restorative cooking of chef/owner Patrick DuPays, whose French bistro eats continue to make us swoon. Mirroring the boards in Paris, Z's menu is filled with charcuterie, foie gras, hearty beef bourguignon and… More >>
  • Best Local Cookbook

    Rioja

    The hardback cover, a photo of Jennifer Jasinski's braised artichoke and white-truffle tortelloni — a recipe that has made grown men break down in tears faster than negotiations between PETA and the Pork Board — is the first stunning glimpse into The Perfect Bite, Jasinski's self-published cookbook comprising 76 Rioja recipes, including the chef's signature tasting menu, and page after… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Decor

    Beatrice & Woodsley

    When Kevin Delk and John Skogstad opened Beatrice & Woodsley, they crafted an elaborate backstory, weaving a tale of a woodsman and a daughter of a winemaking family who came to settle in the Colorado mountains. And then the restaurateurs brought the story to life, outfitting their Broadway spot with light wood slats, round booths that appear almost carved into… More >>
  • Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant

    Fruition

    If you're going to bill yourself as a farm-to-table restaurant, then you'd better make damn sure you're following in the footsteps of Alex Seidel, whose enlightening little restaurant walks the walk and talks the talk. A couple of years ago, Seidel bought himself a ten-acre farm just outside Larkspur, where he raises Nebraska-bred sheep along with chickens that pop out… More >>
  • Best View

    Flagstaff House

    Braving the twists and turns of Flagstaff Road for dinner at the Flagstaff House is worth every thrill and chill once you're seated at a table in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows or, in the summer months, on the patio. Nestled in the woods on a cliff high above Boulder, this forty-year-old restaurant features expansive views of the valley below,… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Street

    Federal Boulevard

    One of Denver's main north-south thoroughfares, Federal Boulevard is lined with dilapidated strip malls, a patched-together network of parking lots and unkempt buildings. Still, there's plenty to look at: an unbelievable assortment of excellent restaurants that serve cuisine from all over the globe. Federal is home to countless pho shops, several restaurants offering dim sum, many more Asian joints, and… More >>
  • Best Front of the House

    Frasca Food and Wine

    The front of the house at Frasca is like a ballet: a graceful collection of choreographed movements conceived of and directed by co-owner Bobby Stuckey so that every need of every guest is always met. Each employee, from the expediter to the wine director, carries an immense amount of knowledge about the Friulian eatery, articulating answers to questions with authority.… More >>
  • Best Bar for Fine Dining

    twelve - CLOSED

    When Jeff Osaka left Los Angeles and moved to Colorado, he started looking for a turnkey spot where he could open a restaurant, a place that just needed a little elbow grease and no extensive renovations, so that he could focus on what he really cared about: the food. He found such a space on Larimer Street, a former BBQ… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    JaJa Bistro

    There's nothing pompous about this French bistro, where the informal, come-as-you-are ambience makes it all too easy to become a regular. And by the looks of it, especially on Sunday mornings, when Littleton residents sashay in for brunch, there are plenty of regulars who crave JaJa's dazzling crepes, filled with everything from smoked ham and Swiss to scrambled eggs and… More >>
  • Best Chef's Counter

    Deluxe - CLOSED

    We like to live dangerously by hopping on a stool and taking in the controlled anarchy of an exhibition kitchen, specifically one that's as up-close and personal as the copper-topped chef's counter — the only thing separating the cooks from the customers — at Deluxe. It's pockmarked, scratched and a tight squeeze, with only a half-dozen seats, but it's also… More >>
  • Best Rising-Star Chef

    Jorel Pierce

    Jorel Pierce worked the line at Rioja for nearly four years under chef Jennifer Jasinski (who owns Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendôme with business partner Beth Gruitch) before taking his maverick prowess to Euclid Hall, where he now mans the kitchen. Pierce is confident, brilliantly innovative and, at 26, one of the city's youngest kitchen kingpins to pioneer a… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Max MacKissock

    The Squeaky Bean may very well be Denver's most wickedly irreverent restaurant, which is just one of the reasons it's such an alluring escape when you need a mood-lifter that's legal. Owner and head bean-counter Johnny Ballen has a wonderfully warped mind that's resulted in the erection of a Farrah Fawcett shrine, a bingo billboard and the flight of helium-filled… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Ernie's Bar & Pizza

    People flock to Ernie's every night, using this Highland restaurant for everything from a heated game of Skee-Ball with a first date to a respite from that home office. Groups convene over massive bowls of family-style salads, platters of meat and cheese and large, thin-crust pizzas; individuals post up at the bar to nurse local draft beers and catch a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Neighborhood

    LoHi

    Right beside the 26-year-old Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe, the two-year-old Squeaky Bean unleashes a porkerific platter of fine swine followed by Brussels with mussels. A few doors down the street, there's the burble of frivolity emanating from LoHi Steak Bar, home to the city's best chocolate pudding and blue-cheese fondue. Down the block and around the corner, culinary creativity awaits… More >>
  • Best American Restaurant

    Jonesy's EatBar

    In just a few short years, Jonesy's EatBar has become one of Denver's favorite haunts for American grub, seducing diners all over the city with its sassy board of classics: incredible fries, duck-confit posole, shrimp and crawfish grits, sliders lobbed with lamb. And in true, easy American fashion, these dishes are best consumed at the bar, where you'll enjoy the… More >>
  • Best New American Restaurant

    Table 6

    Is it the smashing wine list, the Sunday brunch that encourages a pajama-clad clientele, a sommelier who has a fetish for deliberately mismatched clothes, the riotous din, or chef Scott Parker's exceptional food that makes you wonder if you've somehow just stepped into a restaurant that's more akin to a playground, where frolic and fun are the name of the… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Euclid Hall

    Veteran Denver restaurateurs Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasiniski started with a clear vision for Euclid Hall: an American tavern, an unassuming place where diners could gather for beers and bar food, elevated well above bar level by making everything possible — sausages, mustards, pickles — in-house. With that articulate frame, they outdid themselves in every way imaginable. The space itself… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse for Ambience

    Stella's Coffeehaus

    The eclectic array of rooms that make up Stella's Coffeehaus reflect the evolution of this spot since it first opened on South Pearl in the early 1990s, and every nook and cranny has its own rich personality that changes with the crowd. During the day, Stella's is ideal for work and study, when a pensive silence hangs over each table,… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse for Coffee

    Aviano

    Aviano is the only Colorado cafe to source beans from Intelligentsia, a Chicago-based roaster with a cultish following that has just six shops in the country — three in the Windy City and now three in L.A. The beans alone get Aviano a lot of the way to a great cup of coffee, but owner Doug Naiman also trained with… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse for Finding a Date

    Common Grounds - CLOSED

    A regular gathering spot in a busy stretch of Highland, home to some of the town's most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, Common Grounds is teeming with people from all over the neighborhood at just about every time of day. Young singletons walk their dogs over for a cappuccino, students and solitary workers hack away on laptops in the corners, and… More >>
  • Best New Coffeehouse

    Rooster and Moon Coffee Pub

    Sorting through the city's java joints is a little like finding your foothold in a foreign city — and like foreign cities, coffee shops are all about personality. Rooster and Moon mirrors ours: Buzzy, quirky, allegedly spooked by ghosts, artistic and community-driven, this charismatic spot celebrates our obsession with octane by pouring organic Allegro fuel that's always piping hot and… More >>
  • Best Brother's Bar

    My Brother's Bar

    Accept no substitute: My Brother's Bar is the real thing. An eclectic crowd haunts the tables and bar here, and it's a crowd that represents a cross-section of this city's population. Families and downtown professionals eat burgers and fries on the back patio during the day; Highland neighbors stop in for a tap Tetley's pretty much anytime; and industry folks… More >>
  • Best Old Coffeehouse

    Paris on the Platte

    Paris on the Platte has been caffeinating crowds since 1986, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Over the past 25 years, the neighborhood has certainly picked up: This area in the Central Platte Valley used to be a no-man's-land; today, families, friends and telecommuters flock to Paris, where they suck back bottomless cups of joe, lattes and crowbars… More >>
  • Best Local Roaster

    Novo Coffee

    Herb, Jake and Joe Brodsky are passionate about getting the best cup of coffee possible into the hands of consumers. And so they spend a lot of time forging relationships, searching for beans and perfecting the processing of Novo Coffee. Their search for perfection sends them to Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Indonesia and many other corners of the world, but then they… More >>
  • Best Cappuccino

    The Cup

    There's more to making cappuccino than pulling a shot, steaming a little milk and adding a great big dollop of foam — and the baristas at the Cup recognize that. They start by pulling a perfect shot of espresso topped with caramel-colored crema — and then the real work begins. They know the secret for creating perfect foam at a… More >>
  • Best Afternoon Tea

    Denver Tea Room - CLOSED

    The Denver Tea Room is tucked into a front room of a nineteenth-century Colfax mansion that now houses a bed-and-breakfast, and it's the perfect setting for lazy, weekend English-style tea service as well as book clubs, which meet in the room at night for heady intellectual discussion over hot drinks and cookies. During the holidays, the tea room (no relation… More >>
  • Best After-Dinner Coffee

    Flagstaff House

    A dinner at Flagstaff House is exemplary, and service doesn't flag after the meal is done. Even the most basic form of the restaurant's after-dinner coffee program is advanced: The eatery brews a proprietary house blend, made from six different African and Asian beans. More serious caffeine hounds can order from the French-press menu, which includes single-origin roasts from Ethiopia… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Olivéa - CLOSED

    Sugar sultana Yasmin Lozada-Hissom is arguably Denver's top pastry chef, and her deeply delicious desserts, created in the kitchen of Olivéa, where she shares space with husband and executive chef John Broening, make our veins rupture in rapture. Indulgent, innovative and wholly gratifying, they're culinary masterpieces of art that have been recognized — and heralded — by the James Beard… More >>
  • Best Dessert That's Not Chocolate

    Spuntino

    We're hot, like California boys on California "Gurls," for popsicles. But not — definitely not — the shirt-staining, artificially flavored ice pops in supermarket freezers: Those suck. So do the ice crystals that pass for popsicles handed out by your creepy neighborhood ice-cream truck driver, all in an effort to force kids to spend their entire allowance just to be… More >>
  • Best Cupcake

    Kim & Jake's Cakes

    Jake Rosenbarger has been meditating on cake since he was a kid, baking the stuff in secret in a health-conscious household and stashing it in his room. As a result, he formed a philosophy that cake should be more than a hunk of sugary substance that ends the meal — rather, the pastry should be a balance of unique flavors,… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Sweet Cow

    O — MOO — GOOD! You really haven't had ice cream until you've had Sweet Cow's. Spike-haired Drew Honness, a young DIY-style entrepreneur who got his start in the ice cream business scooping for Springs-based Josh and John's, runs his ecologically correct concern in downtown Louisville with a friendly air that extends to kids and adults alike, and the ice… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream for the Milk-Averse

    Sweet Action Ice Cream

    Vegans and lactose-intolerants know all too well that sometimes the best stuff, like pizza and fettuccine Alfredo and especially ice cream, is made with milk. But those who shun dairy no longer have to suffer in the summer — or settle for sorbet. Sweet Action Ice Cream, a bastion of rotating flavors of homemade deliciousness, regularly has one or two… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Under $2

    Gordo Loco - CLOSED

    The intersection of Federal Boulevard and West 26th Avenue was already ground zero in the breakfast burrito wars, with Jack-n-Grill and an outpost of Santiago's launching their two-buck breakfast burritos from opposite sides of Federal, and Araujo around the corner firing back with a smaller, 99-cent breakfast burrito. But now Gordo Loco, which occupies the historic bungalow that was the… More >>
  • Best Milkshake

    H BurgerCo - CLOSED

    It's great being an adult: You can have dessert first. And you'll want to every time you eat at H Burger, which makes liquid-nitrogen milkshakes so cold and creamy they're almost powdery, with a texture like that mouthful of snow you get when you follow a friend down a ski hill after a big dumping — though they come out… More >>
  • Best Milk Flight for Kids

    Steuben's

    We live in hip times, times when out-on-the-town diners can order flights of just about anything — from wine to bacon to pancakes. But what about our hip kids? How can we keep them in the loop? The answer is the milk flight at Steuben's, which consists of a glass of chocolate milk, a glass of vanilla and a glass… More >>
  • Best Food Truck

    Pinche Tacos

    Pinche Tacos, one of the early businesses in the vanguard of Denver's street-truck movement, turns out terrific Mexican street-food tacos bumped with everything from smashed potatoes and chorizo to carnitas, caramelized onions and beef tongue. Finer still are the vegetarian queso a la plancha tacos, good enough to compel carnivores to surrender to the green side. The tortillas — made… More >>
  • Best Food Cart

    The Porker

    Swine sultan Chad Clevenger's humble stainless-steel cart, perched on a downtown corner, unleashes a snort of pig-centric street food in all guises: pork belly, pork cheeks, pulled pork slathered with barbecue sauce and heaped with slaw, grilled macaroni and cheese hog-wild with pig, and, on occasion, a simply incredible posole. It's an unduplicated, indelible bowl of New Mexican warmth, tinted… More >>
  • Best Street-Food Gathering

    Justice League of Street Food

    Last summer, a SWAT team of Denver street-food slingers gathered in a graveled parking lot just beyond the ballpark to play curbside hosts to hundreds upon hundreds of foodophiles, all of whom showed up to get a taste of the city's best pavement cuisine. The fleet of trucks and carts — Biker Jim, Steuben's, Pinche Tacos, Deluxe Burger and the… More >>
  • Best Lunch Under $5

    La Villa Real

    The two trucks that comprise the La Villa Real operation hold down two very different corners in Denver: one at Alameda and Raritan, the other at Fourth and Federal. But both attract a steady stream of regulars who shout their orders through a window over the noise of a sizzling grill, ordering tacos piled with spicy strips of carne asada… More >>
  • Best Dinner Under $10

    Pho Duy

    Tucked into a dilapidated shopping area on Federal and flanked by an impossible-to-maneuver parking lot, Pho Duy has somehow managed to keep slinging pho for nearly two decades. Every seat in the sparse dining room is almost always filled, as staffers scurry through the crowd to take orders, unceremoniously deliver dishes and then clear away the remnants just in time… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Fruition

    When cost is no object, there's one restaurant in Denver that will consistently deliver on your expectations, no matter how high, and that's Fruition. Chef Alex Seidel turns out flawlessly executed dishes, course after course, from the crisp, tender duck confit to the fat-laced pork belly and egg-topped housemade cavatelli to a soft, flaky cut of bass; a carefully constructed… More >>
  • Best Dinner on a Monday Night

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    The Denver Restaurant Week deal lives on at Vesta Dipping Grill, one of the sexiest, best-dressed feedlots in the city. While many restaurants shutter on Mondays, Vesta, the Goddess of the Hearth, flaunts her prowess by offering a three-course meal — which changes every month, and often features past Vesta favorites — at the DRW price of $52.80 for two.… More >>
  • Best Community-Table Dinners

    Firenze a Tavola

    In the jovial, cafe-style dining room of Parisi, the tables are littered with irresistible airy pizzas and housemade pastas, frilly salads and hearty sandwiches. But downstairs, in the rustic, subterranean hearth that's Firenze a Tavola, the mood is flavored with the camaraderie of community. Every month, on sporadic Wednesday nights, owner and chef Simone Parisi turns this chamber into a… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito — Eat In

    La Fuente

    It's worth skulking into the office late in order to snag one of the plump breakfast burritos that La Fuente, a groovy, low-rent Mexican joint, cooks up in a tiny kitchen that turns out big flavors. There are nearly a dozen manifestations of the breakfast burritos, all of which feature soft scrambled eggs and shards of crisp-edged potatoes, as well… More >>
  • Best First-Date Restaurant

    Village Cork - CLOSED

    Village Cork has an ultra-feminine appeal. With its exposed brick walls, antique glass lamps, mismatched floral-patterned plates and sound system playing the sultry voices of 1930s and 1940s jazz vocalists, a woman can easily envision herself here, charming the pants off a suitor while flipping her hair in good light. And that makes this just the spot for a first… More >>
  • Best Blind-Date Restaurant

    Steuben's

    Steuben's channels its namesake — a Boston nightclub that started in the 1940s and hosted such notable customers as the Rat Pack — and other hometown restaurants of yore into an irrevocably hip, casual American comfort-food spot that brings together every slice of the Denver social scene. And because the place is always packed, it's a good spot for first-daters… More >>
  • Best Break-Up Restaurant

    Vine Street Pub

    When calling it quits on a romance, it's best to do so in a casual spot — and the convivial atmosphere at Vine Street Pub, which has the feel of an ongoing college house party, is exactly right. After a rousing round of Cornhole, a couple of small-batch tap brews and an order of nachos, your about-to-be-dumped former darling might… More >>
  • Best Boys' Night Out

    Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery

    Bull & Bush is like a heavily fortified man cave, stocked with all things needed for a testosterone fest. Whether you're holed up inside or enjoying the shaded patio, it's a dark spot, full of heavy, masculine furniture and TVs tuned to sports. The menu boasts pub food and hefty burgers, and the list is paired with the dozens of… More >>
  • Best Girls' Night Out

    A Côté Bar à Absinthe

    The sliver of a spot that holds Z Cuisine's A Côté Bar à Absinthe is filled with lovely things: French art, a handmade chandelier, wooden tables topped with candles, and old French movies projected on one wall. The place is intimate without the blatant romantic air (or pricing) of its sibling next door, making it an ideal spot for a… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Menu

    Euclid Hall

    Gone are the days when looking for a late-night meal meant finding the most palatable diner or drive-thru. Because Euclid Hall was envisioned as a beer hall and tavern, the place stays open as late as most bars, serving its entire menu until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Which means that after most… More >>
  • Best 24/7 Restaurant

    Tacos Rapidos

    Late-night munchies often call for a hit of greasy Mexican food, and that's when it's time to cruise over to one of the two drive-thru Tacos Rapidos outposts. Under their red roofs, these kitchens turn out fat burritos full of creamy beans, melted orange cheddar, juicy carnitas and French fries (yes, French fries); tacos exploding with tongue, pork and beef;… More >>
  • Best Happy-Hour Deal

    Interstate Kitchen & Bar

    Interstate has the best happy-hour deal in Denver — and not just because it offers the deal twice a day. And not just because the lineup includes a variety of delicious snacks, all of them a bargain. We'd brake at Interstate for the stovetop popcorn alone. Not only is the corn popped in wickedly rich bacon fat, but exec chef… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Root Down

    The happy-hour menu may not be as cheap as at other spots, but at Root Down, you get what you pay for — and much, much more. This eccentric spot has a wonderful vintage-kitsch-meets-modern-funk vibe and a bar that's always buzzing with good cheer — and booze, poured by talented bartenders who know just when we need another round. The… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    El Diablo - CLOSED

    From the moment Jesse Morreale bought the old First Avenue Hotel, he envisioned something special for the big space on the first floor that faces both Broadway and First Avenue. And he created it with El Diablo, a hellaciously clever tequila joint and Mexican restaurant. (Sean Yontz is in charge of the kitchen.) To one side are booths beneath Mexican-style… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito — To Go

    Taco Wagon

    The Taco Wagon, crouching in the parking lot of El Mercado, a Mexican grocery in Lafayette, commands eye-rollingly long waits, but it's worth missing whatever commitment you've got lined up — school, court, hell, even your nuptials — to first profess your love for the breakfast burritos. They're delivered through a sliding glass window, behind which resides a couple with… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Kentucky Inn

    Dive right in! An utterly unceremonious spot that we'd never want to see in the light of day, the Kentucky Inn is a classic dive that's never been anything but. A jukebox serves up drinker's picks, which range from Eminem to Miles Davis to Metallica, depending on who's in control. A pool table occasionally plays host to a group of… More >>
  • Best Hotel Bar

    Second Home Kitchen + Bar

    The lure of finding a young, impressionable female draws more than a few prowling males to Second Home, a clubby, perfectly lit Cherry Creek watering hole in the JW Marriott, where the day's stresses are drowned in aggressively potent cocktails that pack a decisive punch. The long, narrow lounge, bedecked with cushy sofas and chairs, is simultaneously chic and understated,… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail Bar

    Green Russell

    Frank and Jacqueline Bonanno's subterranean speakeasy in Larimer Square is a show-stopper. "Fronted" by a diminutive pie shop that gives no indication of what exists beyond the swinging doors, the low-ceilinged, moodily lit space reeks of sensuality, romance and swank elegance, and the clever, highbrow liquid assets, all masterfully concocted by some of the city's most renowned bartenders, who don't… More >>
  • Best Old Bar Brought Back to Life

    Bar Car

    By last summer, the Recovery Room was a neighborhood joint in need of a nip and tuck — which is exactly what it got after Leigh Jones, the proprietress of Horseshoe Lounge, Jonesy's EatBar and the new Stingray, took control of the space. Today the boxy little bar is one of the city's most glorious watering holes. Antique brass chandeliers… More >>
  • Best Bar in the Suburbs

    Virgilio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar

    By 5 p.m. on most nights, the bar and lounge at Virgilio's Pizza & Wine Bar is a sea of bodies, butts bumping into one another like bumper cars at an amusement park, but no one seems to mind the jostle, possibly because they're all having too much fun getting tipsy — which is easy to do when the wine… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Kevin Burke

    Kevin Burke's knowledge of everything behind the bar runs deep, and when he pours a patron a drink, it often comes with a side of vineyard history, a nugget of information about why he used one type of tequila over another, or a taste of something rare on tap that the drinker might otherwise have missed. His understanding of alcoholic… More >>
  • Best By-the-Glass Wine List

    Lou's Food Bar

    If you're certain to save more than a few bucks off your total check by ordering the bottle, then why would you ever choose to order wine by the glass? A few possible reasons: a) You're afflicted with a rare, intense case of Wine Attention Deficit Disorder; b) You're dining alone, and therefore only capable of consuming three glasses of… More >>
  • Best Overall Wine List

    ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro

    Nothing's worse than getting all fired up for a decadent, wine-soaked meal, only to discover that the restaurant's wine list is a total snooze. That's why we woke up and took notice last fall when ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro opened. The array of sixty-plus modern selections (including eight sake offerings) might make you scratch your head initially (Côtes-du-Rhône? Chilean sauvignon… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Cellar Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Denver is overflowing with wine bars — but when Cellar Wine Bar opened last year, it proved that there's always room for one more. If it's as good as this place, at least. Cellar Wine Bar, tucked into a cool, minimalist space in a triangle-shaped building at the edge of LoHi, has the feel of a favorite New York City… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery

    Celebrating forty years of independent family ownership this year, the Bull & Bush keeps getting better, whether it's with award-winning beers like Man Beer and the Legend of the Liquid Brain Imperial Stout, its cellar parties that pull together vintage bottles of rare and hard-to-find brews from other breweries, or the layered atmosphere that mixes old-school Glendale regulars, families and… More >>
  • Best Homegrown Burrito Chain

    Chipotle

    Denver's been in love with Chipotle ever since Steve Ells opened his first store on East Evans Avenue back in 1993. And with each passing year, Chipotle gives us more to love. Even as the homegrown chain opens more and more restaurants, it keeps working to improve its gourmet Mexican food, strengthening its commitment to sustainably raised meats and sourcing… More >>
  • Best Tap House

    Dry Dock Brewing Company

    Like a fresh beer poured quickly, Dry Dock's tap room has foamed up and over the sides in the past two years, attracting a regular clientele from Aurora as well as a steady stream of beer pilgrims who make the journey from the city to the suburbs. In fact, the brewery, tap room and attached home-brew shop are so popular… More >>
  • Best Tap Room Culture

    Great Divide Tap Room

    If Denver were a brew kettle, then the Great Divide Tap Room would be the brilliant flame (or heating coils) that makes it cook. Drop in for a pint and you'll find not only some of the best craft beer that this city has to offer, but rousing conversations about beer, bars and breweries from an ever-rotating roster of people… More >>
  • Best Bottle Beer List

    Freshcraft

    Rather than bringing in beers to fit its menu, Freshcraft's menu of upscale comfort food and small plates was created around beer. The restaurant, owned and operated by the Forgy brothers, has twenty beers on tap — selections that are special enough to lure in even the most jaded beer geeks — but it also has around 120 beers on… More >>
  • Best Draft Beer List

    Falling Rock Tap House

    It's hard to argue with an entire wall of taps representing some of the best breweries in Colorado, the country and the world — unless you're drunk. Which you might be, since many of the rare and hard-to-find beers here have a nice, hefty alcohol level. For years, the tap list made Falling Rock Tap House the only place for… More >>
  • Best YouTube Beer

    Double Rainbow Collaborative Saison

    The Double Rainbow YouTube video that went viral last year was so inspiring to Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs that he and his team decided to brew a beer with Black Fox Brewing that was based on the colors of the rainbow. So intense! Double Rainbow Collaborative Saison included ingredients like turmeric, parsley, agave nectar, pumpkin and… More >>
  • Best Free Beer

    Rock Bottom

    The only thing better than beer is free beer, and on occasional Thursdays — usually once or twice a month — the Rock Bottom in downtown Denver gives away free pints from 6 to 6:30 p.m. to introduce its newest beer on tap. And brewmaster John McClure is always working on a new brew, whether it's a seasonal specialty, a… More >>
  • Best Way to Switch From Coors to Craft Beer

    Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids

    Why, you might ask, does Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids & Solids, a bustling Longmont restaurant owned by one of Colorado's most well-known craft breweries, offer Coors Light amid a draft lineup that not only includes its own stellar beers, but dozens of other craft-beer treats? Simple. It's an intervention. If you order a Coors, the bartender will bring you… More >>
  • Best Way to Switch From Corona to Craft Beer

    Del Norte Brewing Company - CLOSED

    Not all Mexican-style beers are created equal. And according to the owners of the Del Norte Brewing Company, they don't need no stinkin' limes, neither! To prove it, head to the Del Norte tasting room (call ahead first for hours), where the owners will pop the top on a mass-market Mexican cerveza like Corona so that you can compare it… More >>
  • Best Beer Karma

    Vine Street Pub, Mountain Sun, Southern Sun

    No, these three beer oases don't take credit cards, but they do take you at your word. If you don't have cash and don't want to use the ATMs on site, the staff will provide you with a self-addressed stamped "karma envelope" so that you can mail in your payment — and tip! — later. "I'd rather take that loss… More >>
  • Best Beer Glassware

    Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe

    Founded by Tina and James Pachorek, the Cheeky Monk has always focused on Belgian beers. Over the past year, however, both the original Monk on Colfax and its new brother in Westminster have broadened that focus to include the new world of American craft beer. But their dedication to fine brews holds firm — and not just in what beers… More >>
  • Best Offshoot of a Homegrown Burrito Haven

    Bubba Chinos - CLOSED

    More than forty years ago, Stella Cordova took over the Chubby Burger Drive-In on West 38th Avenue and started featuring the green chile she'd learned to make when she was a kid growing up in Colorado. That sauce — thick, savory and laced with enough spice to produce a slow, sweat-inducing burn — soon became iconic. Before she passed away… More >>
  • Best Name for a Beer Tap

    Hoptymus Pryme

    Beer taps are our friends. They are utilitarian devices, often carefully and creatively adorned at the handle with a beer name and brand. But rarely do we give our friends their own names. At Hops & Pie, owners Drew and Leah Watson have a special tap, one that serves a house beer, Hops & PiePA, made just for the restaurant… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Encore - CLOSED

    Any bar can ice down three ounces of vodka or gin and pour it in an up glass, but a true martini is a classic cocktail, made with care above all. It also contains gin, vermouth and maybe a dash of bitters, stirred and served up with a twist. If you order a martini at Encore, you'll know you're in… More >>
  • Best House Margarita

    El Camino

    In its most basic, blissful form, the margarita is nothing more than tequila, triple sec and lime juice — no orange juice, no sugar, and for God's sake, no mix. And while it's possible to achieve good results by gussying up that original recipe — using a premium añejo spirit and Grand Marnier, for example — our utmost respect goes… More >>
  • Best Salsa Bar

    El Jakalito Taqueria y Panaderia

    In salsas, as in sex, it's all about the spice. And at El Jakalito, a canary-yellow taqueria that serves up tacos, gorditas, tostadas, tamales and tortas, the salsa bar — actually a stainless-steel cart — is filled with exotic concoctions powerfully fragrant with the fruit of chiles, most of them lashed with fire. You'll want to douse everything on your… More >>
  • Best Mexican Buffet

    Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet

    The buffet at this Mexican restaurant is a spectacular parade of chafing dishes swelled with just about every Mexican dish under the blazing sun: barbacoa; menudo; posole, one with pork, the other with shrimp; ceviche de pescado; tacos dorados; tinga de pollo; fried fish; enchiladas de roja and verde; fish and shrimp soup; costilla de puerco; nopalitos; a half-dozen salsas.… More >>
  • Best Pupusa

    Pupusas Sabor Hispano

    From the moment Pupusas Sabor Hispano opened five years ago in a dilapidated roadside shack in north Boulder, the citizens of the People's Republic clamored for more. They clamored so hard, in fact, that last fall owner Nancy Reed shuttered the original Pupusas and relocated to a bigger, more contemporary spot across the street. But while the new space is… More >>
  • Best Arepa

    Empanada Express - CLOSED

    Empanada Express is faithful to the cooking traditions of Venezuela, the owners' home country, and the arepas are excellent examples of this. Round cornmeal cakes about the diameter of a soda can are studded with kernels of corn and pressed flat, then pan-fried until crispy. They might be coated with melted cheese or used to sandwich filling: piquant shredded chicken,… More >>
  • Best Torta

    Teleras Deli Mexicana - CLOSED

    The chalkboard menu at this sparsely decorated strip-mall temple to tortas lists nearly two-dozen manifestations of the celebrated Mexican sandwich, including la mamalona, a hedonistic beast heaped with breaded steak, hot dogs, pork chops, ham, chorizo, chicken, Oaxacan cheese, pineapple, frijoles refritos, avocado, onions, tomatoes, a smear of chipotle mayonnaise (whew!) and whatever else you want lobbed between two slices… More >>
  • Best Street Taco

    Carniceria y Taqueria La Flor de Michoacán

    At promptly 4 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the graveled parking lot of Carniceria y Taqueria La Flor de Michoacán begins to fill up with a brotherhood of taco warriors: burly men drawn by the mingled scents of char and sizzle permeating the air from a makeshift, smoke-filled canvas tent. They occasionally glance toward the TV or give a… More >>
  • Best Free Chips and Salsa

    Casa Blanca - CLOSED

    The first basket of chips and salsa comes free at Casa Blanca, a Mexican restaurant tucked into an Arvada strip mall — and that first basket is so addictive, you'll find it hard to resist ordering more. The kitchen makes batches of firm, crisp corn chips, hot and thick and grease-free. They're served with a small bowl of tangy, piquant… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Sandwich

    Masterpiece Delicatessen

    The crew at Masterpiece Deli has really mastered the art of the sandwich, and this skill extends to breakfast, when the place turns out ten renditions of a morning meal that all involve gooey cheese, a runny-yolked egg and a toasted roll of some sort (as well it should). At Masterpiece, it doesn't matter if the kitchen's using cheddar or… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    El Camino

    El Camino is known for several things, including stiff drinks and the joint's near-bottomless bowls of queso — but the appropriately named grande nachos should be at the top of the heap. Whether you have the guts to down the entire platter on your own is debatable, but three amigos, maybe two, should have no problem plowing through the pile… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    Los Farolitos

    This is a city that loves its green chile in all forms, but the verde at Los Farolitos, a sincere Mexican joint shoehorned into a featureless Aurora mini-mall, is the most lovable of all. Tart with tomatillos, specked with oregano and unleashing an unrepentant hot flash of blistering heat, it's the perfect cloak for everything it drapes, including the equally… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Green Chile

    Sputnik

    Sputnik's fire-roasted, homemade green chile comes in both pork and vegan varieties, and although the pork version is tasty, the vegan green chile is spectacular. Served with corn tortillas on the side, it's everything a green chile should be: thick, filling and mouth-watering, redolent with smoky green chiles and a mild heat that lingers on the lips. You can order… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    City, O' City

    There are some fantastic vegetarian restaurants in this town, but City, O' City rises above them all, boosted by several things. The first? The atmosphere is that of a slightly divey neighborhood bar — albeit one with excellent food, a vast wine and beer list, free Wi-Fi and couches in the corner that make visitors feel free to spend hours… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Dish in a Non-Vegetarian Restaurant

    Pho 95

    Although on the surface it might seem easy to procure a vegetarian version of this popular Vietnamese soup, the deep, flavorful broth is traditionally made with beef. The ever-popular Pho 95 has the solution: pho that can be ordered either with beef broth (for culinary purists) or made-to-order vegetable broth (for dietary purists). Loaded with still-crunchy broccoli florets, carrot slices,… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Park Burger

    Park Burger's housemade veggie patty is a mash-up of grains that's smashed on the grill — giving it the juicy, messy characteristics of a smashburger, but without the beef. The burgers are served in wire baskets lined with paper and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and a special burger sauce (which tastes a lot like Thousand Island dressing), and from… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Tarbell's - CLOSED

    Tarbell's is certainly not the first restaurant to elevate the burger to lofty, beasty, Herculean status, but while size is in the shoe of the beholder, Tarbell's double-decker burger — all six, maybe even seven inches of it — is, buns down, the best burger in the city. The freshly ground beef, loose and hand-formed into two impossibly thick patties,… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Jonesy's EatBar

    "There's coolness in doing that great dish that's made everyone feel warm and comfortable," says Leigh Jones, the restaurateur behind Jonesy's EatBar (as well as the Horseshoe Lounge, Bar Car and the Stingray). And at Jonesy's, that dish is the fries. Specifically, the mac & cheese fries, a pile of crispy, golden-brown strips of potato doused in enough creamy, savory… More >>
  • Best Gravy Fries

    Steuben's

    The beauty of Steuben's lies in its steadfast refusal to bow to those whose lives are dictated by calorie counters, hour-long infomercials pimping the latest and greatest way to turn no abs into abs of steel, and self-medicating cookbooks penned by the latest diet guru. Those people, sadly, will never experience the exhilaration of inhaling the gravy fries at Steuben's.… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Mile High Vienna Stand

    Cubs ticket stubs, Harry Caray photos and other Chicago sports paraphernalia line the walls of Mile High Vienna Stand, channeling the city that's famous for a favorite sports snack: the Chicago dog. Naturally, that's what Mile High Vienna serves. The bona fide Chicago dog starts with a pungent Vienna beef dog, then adds chopped white onions, pickled sport peppers squirting… More >>
  • Best Eggs Benedict

    Devil's Food Bakery and Cookery

    How do you make really excellent eggs Benedict? Perfect each element and then combine for peak perfection. Devil's Food starts with a base of slightly sweet, lightly toasted, spongy challah bread, topping it with thick cuts of ham and a couple of quivering poached eggs, the yolks simultaneously runny and thick. All of that is smothered in the tangy, housemade,… More >>
  • Best Specialty Hot Dog

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Hot Dogs

    Biker Jim Pittenger used to repo cars for a living, but several years ago he ditched the lucrative life of dumping Dodge trucks to wrangle wieners — fat, juicy, flame-licked dogs that he dispatches from his downtown Denver carts, as well as his just-opened brick-and-mortar restaurant. The un-ordinary sausages — reindeer, elk, venison, yak and pheasant among them — are… More >>
  • Best Philly Cheesesteak

    Large Marge's Philly Cheesesteaks

    If we lived in a perfect cheesesteak culture, every Philly cheesesteak would be constructed with a fresh roll that's neither too hard nor too soft, but still has plenty of chew; enough cheese, preferably Cheez Whiz, to require more than a single napkin; and finely chopped ribeye that's never too tough to chew. Not every cheesesteak subscribes to those rules… More >>
  • Best Cuban Sandwich

    Buenos Aires Pizzeria

    While Buenos Aires Pizzeria is an Argentine restaurant, members of the family that owns it are from Cuba, and they recognize that the key to a really good Cuban sandwich is the bread. Cuban bread: a long baguette of white bread that's similar to French bread, but richer, denser and chewier, thanks to the lard that goes into the dough.… More >>
  • Best Panini

    Shangri-La

    For several years, Massimo Ruffinazzi, who was born and raised in Casteggio, Lombardia, Italy, was chef/partner at Il Fornaio, an Italian restaurant that once occupied prime real estate in LoDo and was always lauded for its breads. Ruffinazzi remains a bona fide bread-head, turning out loaves of love at Shangri-La, his groovy cafe in Highland. The menu — salads, a… More >>
  • Best Sandwich Shop

    Spinelli's Market

    Generation after generation of sandwich lovers stroll through the aisles of this market-cum-sandwich emporium, pausing to rap with neighbors and non-neighbors — most of whom are headed for the deli case, filled with cold cuts and cheeses, salads and spreads, olives and roasted peppers, shells and sauce. During the lunch rush, Spinelli's Market is busier than a free day at… More >>
  • Best Sandwiches

    Carbone's - CLOSED

    The lines outside Carbone's spill onto the sidewalk, a declaration of the devotion that cultists have for this decades-old, ramshackle purveyor of Italian meats and cheeses, spicy peppers plumped with Provolone and prosciutto, dried pastas, frozen pastas, meatballs and marinara sauce and, most important, sandwiches. Owner Rose Lonardo knows just about everyone by name, and everyone certainly knows hers. She'll… More >>
  • Best Banh Mi

    Ba Le Sandwiches

    Part market, part sandwich shop, this bare-bones spot in a dilapidated strip mall boasts nothing more than a counter, a couple of refrigerators and a wall of self-serve frozen-yogurt machines. But that's enough, because those refrigerators hold everything needed to make authentic banh mi. Ba Le offers almost twenty varieties of the Vietnamese sandwich, illustrated in backlit pictures on the… More >>
  • Best Deconstructed Banh Mi

    ChoLon Bistro

    Chef Lon Symensma may tout it as a charcuterie board on ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro's menu, but this platter of meat and bread is really an ingeniously deconstructed banh mi, an artfully arranged spread of the traditional elements of the Vietnamese street-food sandwich — bread, pâté, shaved meat, mayonnaise, pickles and microgreens — that very much belongs on a special-occasion… More >>
  • Best Cassoulet

    Masterpiece Delicatessen

    Making cassoulet, the bean-and-meat stew that's chock-full of sausage and duck confit, is a days-long undertaking, and that's why it only graces the menu at Masterpiece Delicatessen as a special. Still, the sandwich shop makes a near-perfect version of the stuff: toothsome white beans bathed in a thick, buttery broth, topped with a couple of crisp strips of bacon and… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    Tom's Home Cookin'

    The crew at Tom's Home Cookin' cooks up real comfort food, serving up plates of fried chicken and catfish as well as such typical Southern sides as sweet potatoes and peach cobbler. But one side definitely qualifies as the main event: the macaroni and cheese. You get a baseball-sized scoop of fat elbow macaroni swimming in creamy, orange cheese sauce… More >>
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