Food & Drink

  • Best Official Snack Food for Colorado

    Steuben's

    From turkey legs to Rocky Mountain oysters, Denver is stacked with snack foods — and those who can't get enough of them. But the single best way to feed your snack attack is to stuff your gullet with the porkerific Steubie Snacks from Steuben's and the Steuben's food truck. Chef Brandon Biederman's addictive bites of braised pork shoulder are deep-fried… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito — To Go

    Araujo's Restaurant

    Araujo's, a colorful storefront spot in the Federal Boulevard breakfast-burrito triangle that also includes a Santiago's and a Jack-n-Grill, opens at 6 a.m. weekdays (7 a.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. Sunday) and starts handing out the city's best breakfast burritos to go just minutes later. Every day of the week, Araujo's offers a special breakfast burrito from opening until 11 a.m.… More >>
  • Best Noodle Bar

    Uncle

    Say Uncle! Tommy Lee, a 32-year-old Denver native of Chinese descent, didn't have a lot of experience in the restaurant business, but he knew he wanted to open a noodle bar — even though he worried that what he wanted to do was "too obscure." So he listened to customers' ideas — even before they were customers. "In the middle… More >>
  • Best Pho

    Pho Duy

    Fans of pho will stick up for their favorite joints like a couple of old-timers hashing out the finer points of Ford versus Chevy. When it comes to being the best, though, the tiny details add up to unquestioned excellence. Pho Duy gets those details right: the multi-layered complexity of the long-simmered beef broth, the fresh and artfully sliced rare… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Vietnam Grill - CLOSED

    Fresh, pungent herbs, pronounced spices, big plates and lovely service are the hallmarks of Vietnam Grill, a busy strip-mall scene-stealer on Federal Boulevard that, like its neighboring competition, is all bright lights and no-frills decor. But this isn't a see-and-be-seen joint: You come here for the dazzling, adventurous food — and you keep returning because the menu is larded with… More >>
  • Best Chinese

    East Asia Garden

    Some of the best cooking in Denver comes from restaurants that are completely off the grid — those with generic names, facades as forgettable as last night's one-night stand and featureless dining rooms with clashing color schemes. East Asia Garden is that kind of restaurant. You've whizzed by it on Broadway a dozen times, never giving it even a cursory… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum

    Super Star Asian

    Super Star Asian nearly doubled in size last year, but securing a table here — especially on the weekends, when hunger-pained customers line up like dominoes to get their dim sum fix — is never easy. An eclectic mix of Asian families, American groups, couples and intrepid stalwarts with massive hangovers scramble for tables in the chaotic crowd of faces,… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Shin Sa Dong Korean BBQ - CLOSED

    Transparent strip-mall exteriors, bare interiors and stoic service mark most of the area's Korean restaurants — but not Shin Sa Dong. This swank shrine to Korean grill-your-own barbecue as well as banchan, the miniature bowls of Korean side dishes that include kimchi and jelly noodle salad and all sorts of other curiosities, is modern and elegant, with dark woods, melodic… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Thai Street Food

    The hours — or lack of them — are maddening at Thai Street Food, which, despite whatever the posted schedule may read, is sometimes open when it's meant to be and sometimes not. In other words, dial the digits first. But once you've pushed your way through the front door slapped with signs, glowing reviews, notices of holiday and vacation… More >>
  • Best Central/South American Restaurant

    Las Salteñas

    You may not even know that metro Denver has a Bolivian restaurant, much less what kind of food you'll find there. But this tiny restaurant's name gives away the Bolivian national treasure: empanada-like pockets of beef or chicken stew called salteñas. Soupy and notoriously difficult to eat without spilling, salteñas contain spicy filling studded with olives, potatoes and diced hard-boiled… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Bistro Vendome

    Classic Francophilia gets a flirtatious modern update at this bewitching, ooh-la-la bistro tucked behind the bustle of Larimer Square. The location is the perfect setting for the inspiring cooking of Dana Rodriguez, a spirited, gifted chef who romances her guests with lovely, unfussy dishes: butter-misted escargot primped with fresh herbs; sublime steak frites; and a phenomenal cassoulet with rabbit sausage,… More >>
  • Best German Restaurant

    Karl's Deli

    Red plastic cafeteria trays and vinyl tablecloths in the colors of the Bavarian flag won't distract from the simple heartland daily specials at Karl's: golden-fried schnitzel and belly-warming goulash sided with creamy potato salad, wine-braised cabbage and maybe a malty German beer or two. Karl's will fill you with alpine goodness to brace you against the worst that Denver winters… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Table Six

    Table Six is the consummate neighborhood hang, the kind of place where, at least on Sunday, you can wear your mismatched PJs and fit right in with the rest of the smitten disciples — many of them local chefs — who converge in droves for dashing dishes that stretch far beyond pancakes and eggs Benedict. Chef Scott Parker's eccentric menu… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Phoenician Kabob

    Denver has its fair share of places hawking kabobs and baklava. But no one does the little things as well as Phoenician Kabob. Here the dimple in a side of hummus is filled with chickpeas and olive oil that's fruity extra-virgin rather than plain. Falafel is shaped into discs, not spheres, ensuring no soggy middles. And the pita, which so… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    India's Restaurant

    For more than two decades, India's menu has been making people chuckle with descriptions as ornate as its lantern-bedecked space, which lost none of its luster when it moved across Hampden. Pakora curry, for example, is "spiced to perfection," and rajma boasts kidney beans in "delectable" gravy. What's not a laughing matter are metal bowls and plates overflowing with cream… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Nile Ethiopian Restaurant

    You'll know you're in the right place when you see the red, green and yellow stripes of the Ethiopian flag lining the windows of this nondescript storefront. Nile Ethiopian's dining room may be run down, and service can be slow, but decor and service aren't the things that families and friends, many speaking African languages, look for here. They come… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria

    If you're one of those types who search out the latest and greatest and then move on, you might have overlooked Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria, which opened on Larimer Street when this stretch of Larimer wasn't cool. Even those who do settle into one of the two-tone booths and gape into the fiery mouths of the wood-burning ovens might be swayed… More >>
  • Best Specialty Pizza

    Udi's Pizza Cafe Bar

    Ballsy, brash, bold and flavor-bombed pizzas that rely on ultra-fresh ingredients are the specialties at this duo of Udi's locations, both of which toss superb pies that render us speechless — at least while our mouths are occupied. The deeply golden, wood-fired crusts, slightly blackened on the edges, are at once springy and crisp, their surfaces smeared with everything from… More >>
  • Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Patsy's

    A river of red sauce once ran through northwest Denver, then known as the North Side and an enclave for Italian families that had emigrated to this country decades before. Many opened their own restaurants, specializing in the dishes of their home country — but those are disappearing fast these days. Pagliacci's closed last summer; Longo's Subway Tavern is gone;… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    DiFranco's

    When it comes to Italian cuisine, simplicity, craftsmanship and unassailable ingredients are what count — and DiFranco's, an unassuming, low-key joint that started as an Italian deli, embraces all of those attributes. It serves a lovely selection of house-made pastas, including a terrific tagliolini carbonara specked with pancetta and haloed with a yolky egg, as well as a textbook-perfect Bolognese… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

    The Wooden Table

    The Wooden Table opened in 2011 in Greenwood Village, where it was an immediate standout in a suburban mega-wasteland of fast-food joints and chains. But this restaurant would be a standout anywhere. Jane Knauf and chef Brett Shaheen, a former executive chef at Osteria Marco, are the forces behind the elegantly informal, high-decibel, sociable space that's always buzzing with sophisticated foodophiles,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Fruition

    Irresistible dishes that make you swoon, unpretentious consistency and sincerity, a pedigreed but informal staff and laid-back dining rooms that encourage conversation with friends and strangers — that's the definition of a neighborhood restaurant. And Fruition, chef-owner Alex Seidel's homage to indulgently comforting cuisine, merges all of those attributes into nuanced suppers that keep you coming back for more. Reservations… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Neighborhood

    LoHi

    Other parts of Denver — Ballpark neighborhood into RiNo, Broadway and points south — are becoming hot dining destinations. But the LoHi restaurant scene continues to be red-hot — with no sign of cooling down. At the end of 2012, the LoHi Merchant Group did a count of the restaurants, eateries, bars and coffee shops in this quadrant at the… More >>
  • Best Brunch Buffet

    Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet

    Let's face it: Most brunch displays are mirror images of each other: omelets, waffles, strips of (cold) bacon and shriveled sausage links. And more often than not, you'll pay through the pancake for that kind of carbon-copy brunch spread — most of it stuff that you could make at home. If you wanted to. Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet has a… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Uncle

    Fifteen years ago, if someone had said the city's best new restaurant was a ramen shop, you might've asked, "What's a ramen shop?" But we're living in a post-Momofuku era, where the virtues of minimalist decor, cloudy broth and curly noodles are commonly extolled, so today most Denver diners would shake their heads knowingly and reply, "I know, isn't Uncle… More >>
  • Best Healthy Breakfast

    Early Bird Restaurant

    You might think an extra dose of willpower is necessary to shun fluffy omelets or pancakes with whipped cream in favor of doctor-approved toasted oats. But at Early Bird, a cheerful new breakfast and lunch spot in Westminster, the granola makes it easy to start the day off right. Thick Greek yogurt serves as the foil for sweetened, toasted oats… More >>
  • Best Takeout When You Feel a Cold Coming On

    New York Deli News

    When you feel that ominous tickle in your throat, you need chicken soup — and you need it fast. But Grandma's too busy watching your sister's kids to make it for you, and this is hardly the time to pull out the stockpot. So before you crawl under the covers, make a stop at New York Deli News for a… More >>
  • Best Milkshake

    Sassafras American Eatery

    Spoon? Straw? No matter how you suck them down — and no matter the season — the handmade milkshakes at Sassafras American Eatery, a breakfast/lunch spot that brought new life to Jefferson Park last year, are a connoisseur's crack. There are more than twenty versions, all served in old-timey glass jars with a spoon for support and a straw for… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream/Gelato

    Glacier Home Made Ice Cream & Gelato

    The best ice cream should be rich, creamy and packed with flavor, without being overly sweet or gooey. Glacier, which got its start in Boulder but is slowly spreading along the Front Range, nails it with a dense, unctuous base and flavors so intense you won't even think about adding toppings. Traditionalists and adventurous eaters alike will find something to… More >>
  • Best Lunch Under $5

    House of Kabob

    Cheap lunches tend to be greasy, and while we love those smothered burritos and cheesy slices of pizza, we also live in the real world, where work, not a nap, follows the mid-day meal. So for a fraction of the grease — not to mention a better balance of protein and carbs to help you power through the day —… More >>
  • Best New Coffeehouse

    Black Eye Coffee Shop

    Black Eye Coffee keeps its brews to a sophisticatedly high standard that appeals to a growing crowd of java aficionados, using the handcrafted method of pour-over to personally construct each cup of Sweet Yellow Brazil, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or whichever of the four varieties is on the bi-weekly rotation. While you sip, it's not uncommon to find yourself conversing with one… More >>
  • Best Dinner Under $10

    New Saigon Bakery & Deli

    The Vietnamese bakery and deli that New Saigon opened last year locks its doors at 4 p.m., so you'll need to plan ahead. But you can order two banh mi sandwiches and get change back from a ten — so holding onto them until dinner is mostly a matter of self-control. Then, when the moment strikes, that crusty baguette —… More >>
  • Best Expense-Account Dinner

    Restaurant Kevin Taylor - CLOSED

    At restaurants across town, it's not hard to rack up a big bill: Those small plates add up, and one steakhouse slab can carve out a day's pay. But if the sky — or at least your card's credit — is the limit, you're looking not just for fabulous food, but impeccable service and an upscale ambience to match. And… More >>
  • Best Food Truck

    Pink Tank

    While other food trucks hustle burgers, pizza and ice cream — not that there's anything wrong with those — Pink Tank, which is indeed the hue of a ballerina's tutu, is where you go for the F-Bomb, a hefty hot dog weighted with thick strips of bacon, scrambled eggs and cheddar mounted on French toast fairy-dusted with powdered sugar and… More >>
  • Best Food Cart

    The Orange Crunch

    During football season, the outgoing owners of the Orange Crunch food cart pay homage to the Denver Broncos — hence the cart's name — by garbing themselves in home-team gear colored bright blue and even brighter orange, which happens to be the same hue as their fantastic Filipino empanadas, deep-fried half-moon crescents made with rice flour and stuffed with everything… More >>
  • Best Vegan Food Truck

    Vegan Van

    The offerings at Vegan Van keep getting better as the all-plant-based food truck keeps rolling. Owner and operator Amie Arias has been incorporating local products in her shifting seasonal menu, and she's meticulous about updating the van's online calendar and Twitter feed, so fans always know what's on the roster — and where to get the goodies. You'll usually find… More >>
  • Best Taste of New York Street Food

    Baba Wali Halal Cart

    The halal cart parked at the gas station on the corner of Colfax and Josephine is like a bite of the Big Apple spit out in Denver. The cart offers burgers, fries, gyros and corn on the cob, but the big rice plates are the real deal. Try chicken and lamb piled high on a bed of salty rice and… More >>
  • Best Sandwich Shop

    Vert Kitchen

    When it comes to our daily bread — and everything tucked inside — Vert Kitchen, a diminutive sandwich shop in West Washington Park, is our culinary playground for sandwich supremacy. There are no crazy combinations here that require a Mensa IQ in order to figure out which sandwich or toppings you want. Instead, the tiny roster boasts just eight sandwiches… More >>
  • Best Salad Bar/Shop

    Choppers Custom Salads

    There are "chef's choice" salads at Choppers Custom Salads for those who might not be fully on board with the concept of customization — and they're delicious salads, made with fresh ingredients chopped up with rocking blades into bite-sized pieces that get tossed in dressing before landing in your bowl (and, eventually, your mouth). But for those who embrace the… More >>
  • Best Kale Salad

    OAK at Fourteenth

    There's no reason that OAK at Fourteenth's plate of antioxidant-rich greens should be so much better than the rest. The dressing is nothing to crow about — just lemon and extra-virgin olive oil. The add-ons aren't any flashier — a dusting of parmesan, thin slices of apple, some candied almonds for crunch. But as with movies on the big screen,… More >>
  • Best Friendly Baristas

    Rooster & Moon

    You won't get cold coffee or the cold shoulder at Rooster & Moon. The staff at this coffee shop/bar will offer a single customer multiple greetings before he even reaches the counter. These baristas know the importance of politeness, and they'll never make you wait to order while they commiserate with each other — or spill a story to you.… More >>
  • Best First-Date Restaurant

    Jonesy's EatBar

    First dates can be make it/break it propositions — and there are rules for getting it right, including minding your manners, wearing the right shoes, forgoing the offensive cologne, covering your private parts with clean underwear and making sure that your socks match. Beyond those, you don't want to be too frugal, nor do you want to come across as… More >>
  • Best Breakup Restaurant

    Punch Bowl — Social Food & Drink

    "Baby, it's not you, it's me." If that's the conversation coming up, then Punch Bowl — Social is the place to walk the talk. This spot has all the bases covered: There's the parlor room with cushy sofas and chairs and dim lighting, so that you can hide your tears and bury your busted ego in one of the water-resistant… More >>
  • Best Diner

    20th Street Cafe

    Denver has many restaurants that pimp class and sass, but sometimes nothing soothes the soul like cheap breakfasts with buttery hash browns slapped on the flattop, sandwiches stacked the height of Gary Coleman, pancakes that span the plate and unlimited jolts of java. For all of that and more, there's nowhere better than 20th Street Cafe, an iconic pit stop… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Waitresses

    Denver Diner

    The women on the late shift at the Denver Diner don't take any shit — but they don't dish it, either. Whether you drop in at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday when the place is quiet or 2 a.m. on a Saturday when customers are hanging from the rafters, the staff keeps its cool. The service is consistently efficient and… More >>
  • Best After-Midnight Menu

    Ralibertos

    These seedy San Diego-style taco huts, both of which are 24/7 operations with the luxury of drive-thru windows (a huge perk at 2 a.m., when garish lights do justice to no one), dole out the diviest drunk food south of the border: tacos, tortas, quesadillas, taquitos, nachos and huge mounds of carne asada fries blanketed with cheese and green chile.… More >>
  • Best 24/7 Restaurant

    Tom's Urban 24

    There are numerous reasons to be out and about in Denver, even at 3 a.m., and Tom's Urban 24 will make sure that you never go to bed with a growling belly — although if you're two sheets to the wind, you might have a few problems maneuvering your way through the menu, which is as long as the work… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Patio

    Potager

    Given that this is a city saturated with sunshine, it's no wonder that al fresco dining is one of our most coveted leisurely pastimes, and the lovely back porch at Potager will transport you to the pastoral French countryside for a tranquil, delicious dinner. Strewn with weathered wooden tables and chairs, rimmed with pots and rustic whiskey barrels filled with… More >>
  • Best Rooftop Patio

    Linger

    A glass of bubbly and a cheese plate on the tiny balcony of your lower-level apartment just isn't enough to take your life to the next level. For a panorama that spans every which way, try the classy rooftop deck at Linger, where lounging is a lovely way of life. Gaggles of trendy twenty-something girlfriends, their legs as long as… More >>
  • Best Snapshot of a Season

    The Kitchen Denver

    Thanks to extensive relationships with farmers and ranchers, The Kitchen Denver is always in sync with the seasons. So it might seem impossible to single out one dish that best captures a moment in time — tantamount to asking a parent which child he or she loves best. But late summer's burrata-and-peach bruschetta tells you otherwise, with crusty bread, creamy… More >>
  • Best Use of Jam

    Makan Malaysian Cafe

    We love sweet, fruit-thickened jams, and we especially love what they do to a buttered baguette at breakfast. But raspberries, apricots and figs don't have anything on kaya, the coconut jam served at Makan Malaysian Cafe. Made with eggs, coconut milk, sugar and floral pandan essence, the jam is cooked for more than an hour over a double-boiler until it… More >>
  • Best Chef's Counter

    TAG|RAW BAR - CLOSED

    For an unofficial — and free — lesson in masterful raw cookery, head straight to TAG|RAW BAR, where every stool gives you insider access to the workings of chef Shaun Motada, whose pedigreed techniques speak to a real counter culture. Motada and his staff cook at a supersonic but controlled pace as they prepare a series of brilliant small plates… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Lon Symensma

    If the kitchen is a stage, then Lon Symensma, chef-owner of ChoLon, is its undisputed star. He exudes extraordinary verve and charisma behind — and beyond — the line, and there's no end to his experimental innovation and bedazzling flavors and textures. But even more important is his endless pursuit of perfection, evident in every dish he creates, plates and… More >>
  • Best Garden-to-Table Chef

    Olav Peterson

    Olav Peterson, the brilliantly talented chef/grower/gardener/owner of Bittersweet, draws a crowd at his lovely West Washington Park restaurant, an urban oasis hedged with a stunning 600-square-foot organic garden (it doubles as a patio), from which Peterson plucks seasonal foodstuffs. Sure, locavorism started long ago, and sourcing locally is nothing new, but Peterson is his own pioneer, steadfastly dedicated to growing… More >>
  • Best Feel-Good Chef

    Daniel Asher

    On the first Tuesday of every month, Daniel Asher, the kitchen magician at Root Down and a certified raw-foods chef, sets out to prove that a plant-based diet is anything but banal or boring, and he succeeds beautifully, turning out vibrant raw vegan dishes, all of which are organically sourced. His hummus is a showstopper, his squash pasta a mind-altering… More >>
  • Best Chef Ambassador

    Jeff Osaka

    A few years ago, Jeff Osaka, chef-owner of twelve, issued a plea to his fellow troops: Call me. Let's get together and hang and talk about how we can continue to capitalize on Denver's ever-evolving restaurant landscape. Osaka, a brilliant chef in his own right, has made it his mission to make sure that chefs in this city have a… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Courtney Wilson

    Being a great bartender is about far more than mixing magic — although that element is certainly important. But a bartender's role behind the stick is also about spending time with those bellied up to the bar, whether they're high rollers or gravediggers. And Courtney Wilson, now a bartender at the very new Old Major after her most recent stint… More >>
  • Best Late-Afternoon Happy Hour

    Virgilio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar

    There's hardly an hour of the day (or night) that Virgilio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar doesn't pimp happy hour. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, plus 9 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. to close on Friday and Saturday, this suburban Italian joint pours $4 glasses of bubbles and red and white vino, along with premium… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Happy Hour

    Interstate Kitchen & Bar

    Interstate is modeled after an old-time roadhouse, right in the heart of the city, and there's no better place to pull over for a late-night happy hour. Interstate's runs from midnight to 1:30 a.m., with offerings that include deviled eggs ($1 each); fried chicken livers, a pulled-pork slider or the legendary lap dog ($2 each); and bacon corn, fried pickles… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Ace

    Ace is much more than a bar, of course. Owners Josh and Jen Wolkon took a cavernous, 9,000-square-foot garage next to Steuben's and turned it into a hangout extraordinaire, with an ambitious kitchen that reinterprets Asian food with smart, silly twists; a huge front patio with a couple of ping-pong tables; and a back room with many more. But even… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Bar Bar (Carioca Cafe)

    Dive bars are drying up in Denver, swept away by tides of development. We've lost many of this city's old saloons over the last few years, which makes the survival of Carioca Cafe — better known as Bar Bar — something to celebrate. Perhaps with a drink or ten. It's fascinating to watch how the clientele at this spot at… More >>
  • Best Pancakes

    Snooze

    When Snooze opened its first location in 2006 in the Ballpark neighborhood, restaurateurs in Denver — and soon, across the country — woke up and took notice. Today there are four Snoozes in the metro area, with more to come both inside and out of Colorado. With its retro dining room, hipper-than-thou clientele of club kids and big weekend crowds,… More >>
  • Best Contemporary Cocktail Bar

    Squeaky Bean

    A bar — a really good bar — should function like a kitchen. And bartenders — really, really good ones — should put signature stamps on their cocktails the same way that a really good chef handprints his food. A chef like Max MacKissock at Squeaky Bean, for example. So it's no surprise that the Bean's innovative bar program, commanded… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary Bar

    The Corner Office

    You won't want to stop till the glittery balls of light stop spinning at the Corner Office, which hosts a disco-themed brunch every Sunday, complete with "I Will Survive" bottomless Bloody Marys. At $15, they're not a cheap date, but the pour starts with a generous plop of Sobieski vodka — and then the rest is up to you. While… More >>
  • Best New Brewery Tap Room

    Prost Brewing

    Eight new breweries opened in Denver in 2012, while at least that many opened in the surrounding counties, making the metro area one of the best tap-room destinations in the country. Prost Brewing combines the best parts of a German bier hall (beautifully made, easy-drinking craft lagers, a copper kettle, long wooden tables, buskery decorations and giant steins) with the… More >>
  • Best Brewery Tap Room — Beer

    Crooked Stave

    Crooked Stave brews what is perhaps the most challenging style of beer — not just for the palates of the general public, but for craft-beer lovers, as well. Sour and wild ales are fermented, usually in wooden barrels, with specific kinds of yeast and bacteria that add funky, occasionally off-putting and potentially addictive flavors to beer. It's not a new… More >>
  • Best Brewery Tap Room — Ambience

    Renegade Brewing

    Located just off the main drag, in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, Renegade Brewing has attracted a satisfying mix of regulars and new visitors since it opened in 2011. With its high ceilings, massive windows, garage doors, exposed brick and gorgeous wooden bar, the tap room is welcoming and cozy, but also large enough to host… More >>
  • Best Brewery Tap Room — Glassware

    Black Shirt Brewing

    As craft-beer culture grows, breweries, bars and restaurants increasingly add to their collections of style-appropriate glassware. But it took a single-minded dedication on the part of Black Shirt Brewing to help design a brand-new — and somewhat challenging — glass with Golden's Offero Vessels. Based on a coffee-mug design engineered to capture the aromas of a drink as you bring… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Vine Street Pub & Brewery

    A brewpub needs to do two things: serve its own food and make its own beer. Since opening in 2008, the Vine Street Pub has done the former very well, offering a mix of healthy fare, Colorado-centered creations and elevated pub food, like its meaty, award-winning wings. But last April, the neighborhood spot also became the primary brewing facility for… More >>
  • Best Bottle Beer List

    Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe

    One hundred bottles of beer on the wall, one hundred bottles of beer. Take one down and pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Unless you're at the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe, which has more like 150 different bottles in its cellar, including rare Belgian and American specialties that you may not be able to find… More >>
  • Best Draft Beer List

    Falling Rock Tap House

    It's good to be king, and Falling Rock Tap House has ruled this city's craft beer scene since owner Chris Black opened the place sixteen years ago, serving rare beers from sought-after breweries all over Colorado, across the country and even overseas. If Falling Rock doesn't have the beer you're looking for, it's probably not possible to get it in… More >>
  • Best Table for a Beer — or Forty

    TRVE Brewing

    TRVE Brewing is one of Denver's newest — and smallest — beer-makers, but the long, slender space that was once an art gallery is now home to one of the city's biggest communal tables: a forty-foot, solid-wood masterpiece lined with benches on either side. The thing is so big that traffic had to be stopped on Broadway when it was… More >>
  • Best Wine List at a Restaurant Known for Beer

    Euclid Hall

    Denver's craft beer scene is officially on fire. Which means that wine lovers are liable to end up at more than a few dining destinations whose emphasis on malt-and-hops-based beverages does not portend a pleasurable evening of wine enjoyment. Thank Bacchus for Euclid Hall, that elusive venue that doesn't overlook guests who prefer vino just because beer is the star… More >>
  • Best By-the-Glass Wine List

    Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Row 14's dizzying array of wine that can be ordered by the glass — more than forty options in all, evenly divided between reds and whites — is reason to toast. Creating a killer BTG wine program is no easy feat. Offer too few selections that aren't regularly updated, and you run the risk of failing to keep guests intrigued.… More >>
  • Best New Wine List

    The Populist

    After opening last November amid a flurry of industry- and hipster-driven buzz, this tiny jewel of a restaurant has settled into a pattern of turning out ridiculously good food to a packed dining room night after night. We were delighted to discover that the Populist's wine program was just as unassuming — and satisfying — as its menu: by-the-glass pours… More >>
  • Best Overall Wine List

    Root Down

    It could have been the stunning cocktail program at Root Down that made us overlook the wine list for years. But that changed last summer, when we spent a magical, wine-soaked evening on the patio falling head over heels in love with its delightfully eclectic vinous selections. What makes Root Down's list so bewitching? First, the variety. Root Down is… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Cellar Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Denver is notorious for sucking down and spitting out wine bars, so it's something of an accomplishment for an independently owned enoteca to last more than a hot minute. Cellar Wine Bar is now verging on three, and during that time, it's uncorked a perfect pairing of ambience, service and quality juice that continues to surprise and delight downtown dwellers.… More >>
  • Best Barrel-Aged Cocktail

    Central Bistro & Bar

    Central Bistro & Bar is hot. You don't need to look further than the "Hot" sign over the open kitchen — a vestige of the Regency Hotel once owned by the family of Central founder Isiah Salazar — to recognize that. But this new spot on the edge of LoHi also serves up one of the coolest cocktails in town:… More >>
  • Best House Margarita

    Hacienda Colorado

    If we want to drink tequila, we're going to drink it straight. But lately, we've been thirsting for that most adult of slurpies: a frozen margarita. Popular in other parts of the country, they're a rarity in Colorado (probably because the heated stares of margarita purists are enough to melt them into syrup) but a specialty at Hacienda Colorado, the… More >>
  • Best Chicken and Waffles

    Lola

    Which came first, the chicken or the waffle? There may be a lot of disagreement about how this dish came about, but almost everyone agrees that the unusual combination of sweet and savory is delicious, which is why it's a staple of Southern cuisine. And you'll be heading south across the border — at least hypothetically — for Denver's best… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Elway's Cherry Creek

    With so many contemporary-cocktail choices out there, you don't want a mixologist messing with your martini — throwing in fruit and chocolate or, God forbid, edging the glass with chile powder. You want your martini as classic as the atmosphere in which it's served. And for that, you want Elway's. Grab a seat at the bar, tell bar manager Ky… More >>
  • Best Bartender's-Choice Cocktail

    Colt & Gray

    Waffling about the perfect cocktail is hardly sexy, but indecision is often the result when you're confronted with a menu full of clever names and obscure ingredients. You know what you want, but nothing looks quite right. Not to worry: The bartenders at Colt & Gray have you covered. Not only is their bar stocked with every spirit known, but… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Boney's Smokehouse BBQ

    Here's a meaty subject: Why is Denver so shy of good barbecue spots? There's no easy answer for that — but there's an easy answer for the best BBQ joint in town. And the best just got better this year when Boney's Smokehouse, Lamont and Trina Lynch's downtown, down-home restaurant, moved into a much bigger space next door that not… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Highland Tap & Burger

    Even in this era of carbonated mojito spheres, caviar bubbles and beet cheesecake, the hamburger remains America's favorite food, and burger fans — of which you are undoubtedly one — are insanely opinionated about what the consummate burger should look and taste like. Highland Tap & Burger gets to the meat of the matter, serving its plump, char-grilled patties every… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Park Burger

    Park Burger makes the (veggie) burger to beat in this city. All four locations stock the same patty, which uses egg to bind together rice, barley and other grains that give it a meaty texture without trying to imitate beef (always a mistake). The result is smashed on a grill and served up toasted golden-brown on a bun with lettuce,… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Jonesy's EatBar

    French-fry fans are unwavering in their preferences: Some like them matchstick-skinny, others covet the pencil-thin version, while still others prefer pudgy. And then there's the issue of whether the french fry is intended to stand on its own, licked with nothing more than salt, or dipped in duck fat and blanketed with everything but the kitchen sink. The fresh-cut fries… More >>
  • Best Fried Rice

    Benihana

    Benihana is the Barnum & Bailey Circus of Japanese food, an unabashedly corny and often embarrassing centerfold of eye-rolling wisecracks, theatrics and occasional mishaps from the knife-wielding teppenyaki chefs who elevate (some would say disintegrate) food into an entertainment form. But guess what? The food here is nothing to sneer at, and the fried rice — allegedly a "top secret"… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Tom's Home Cookin'

    While the dish's origins are solidly steeped in the South, cooks far and wide have embraced the indisputable truth: There are few things as delicious as a juicy plate of fried chicken. And Tom's Home Cookin', an iconic soul-food shack in Five Points, is the incontestable bastion of the bird. Plunged in oil until the batter and skin meld into… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Grillin' Wings & Things

    Grillin' Wings & Things has really taken off since it opened last year; its wings soar above the rest. In one valiant sitting, you can stuff your face with traditional wings, deep-fried and hand-tossed in one of more than a dozen sauce offerings ranging from sweet to painfully hot, or wings that are char-grilled and liberally rubbed with spice mixtures.… More >>
  • Best Fried Pickles

    TAG Burger Bar

    There's something about fried pickles — sometimes called "frickles" — that turns a sour mouth into a Cheshire-cat grin. TAG Burger Bar, which also pounds out bodacious burgers and adult milkshakes that make you quake, had perfected the fried pickle in a way that makes you want to pounce. The thick-cut cucumbers, pickled with coriander seeds, black peppercorns, garlic, sugar,… More >>
  • Best Eggs Benedict

    Devil's Food Bakery & Cookery

    Nothing says breakfast (or brunch) better than a plate of eggs Benedict, and no one does them better than Devil's Food, a diabolical morning powerhouse in Washington Park, where the kitchen cooks up a trio of these morning glories: one with ham, another crowned with fresh spinach and ripe tomatoes, and a third slapped with smoked salmon and arugula. Each… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    Just because gourmet hot dogs are popping up all over town doesn't mean that all hot dogs are created equal. And Biker Jim's links remain the wildest, most exotic and delicious pups around. The chubby franks, most of which are sourced from Continental Sausage, are hoisted hot from the grill, split down the center and tucked into a soft bun,… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    Mizuna

    Macaroni and cheese, once a comfort-food staple of every Sunday supper, isn't what it used to be. The slightly chewy, sauce-soaked elbow macaroni and cheese at Mizuna is definitely not your grandmother's version — unless, that is, your nana favors sweet lobster meat in place of Oscar Meyer ham and silky mascarpone over Velveeta. The immodestly rich recipe, which originated… More >>
  • Best Chili Con Carne

    Rackhouse Pub - CLOSED

    The Rackhouse Pub welcomes you with stews, casseroles and sauces served in metal measuring cups. This playful touch draws you right into the spirit of the kitchen, as if you were standing next to the cook while he offers you samples from a simmering pot of chili con carne. The spicy aroma of the whiskey chili grips you with cumin… More >>
  • Best Red Chile

    Little Anita's New Mexican Foods

    Little Anita's is an institution in New Mexico, where its locations spread across the state and its history stretches back forty years. In the Land of Enchantment, foodies in the know generally consider it a destination of last resort; they respect its longevity, yet think of it as a place to stop if you want to kill an afternoon making… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    The Pioneer

    There are rules when it comes to nachos: The chips (corn, of course) need to be sturdy; otherwise, they'll become soggy under the weight of the real reason you ordered nachos in the first place: all that stuff that comes heaped on top. These chips should be baked so that the outer edges emerge golden, and never piled on top… More >>
  • Best Free Chips and Salsa

    Zocalo Restaurant and Bar

    Zócalo, which got its start just off Broadway in Capitol Hill, added a sibling on South Broadway last year — which means there are now two places where you can get Denver's best free chips and salsa. The basket of fresh, salty chips arrives at your table a second after you sit down — accompanied by an incredible salsa that… More >>
  • Best Salsa Bar

    El Trompito Taqueria

    The chicken mole, soft corn tacos filled with marinated meats, and a lamb shank the size of a small bulldozer are just a few of our favorite eats at El Trompito Taqueria. But before digging in, after we snatch our food off the counter, we make a beeline for the salsa bar, a freestanding contraption in the middle of the… More >>
  • Best Taqueria

    La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas

    If you're in search of the city's most transcendent taqueria — the one that makes you raise your fist to the heavens, having just discovered enlightenment on a plate — then the entrance to La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas is our pearly gate. Taquerias are an omnipresent fixture on Denver's food landscape, and a religious experience for many of us.… More >>
  • Best Green Chile

    Boone's Tavern

    Boone's Tavern — a member of the Pour Kids bar group — claims that its green chile is "famous," which may be a stretch, but, whoa, is it destined to become that way! The joint's verde, which is actually green — not red, not orange, not neon, but green — is prepared mild, medium or hot, and the latter is… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Green Chile

    Sam's No. 3

    Let's face it: There isn't much for non-meat-eaters on the menu at Sam's No. 3. Not at the oldest one in Aurora, not at the downtown one, which opened a decade ago right where the first Sam's stood in the '20s, and not at the new spot in Glendale. And perhaps that's as it should be, considering that no matter… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Dish in a Non-Vegetarian Restaurant

    Tarasco's New Latino Cuisine

    The menu at Tarasco's has a dizzying number of award-worthy dishes; in the past, it's won accolades for its mole and posole. This year, though, what caught our attention was a small item under soups: a traditional Michoacán bean soup called sopa Tarasca that has fresh tortilla strips stirred in and (if you like) queso fresca and crema adorning the… More >>
  • Best Vegan Dish in a Non-Vegan Restaurant

    Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    Biker Jim's seems like the last place you should be able to get a vegan meal — let alone a damn good vegan meal. The spot is best known for its array of sausages crafted with exotic meat, ranging from rattlesnake to reindeer. Don't let its reputation fool you, though, because Biker Jim's serves a spicy vegan dog, a plant-based… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    WaterCourse Foods

    In some cities, naming a restaurant the best vegetarian eatery is faint praise, but in Denver — which is blessed with vegetarian and vegan options at almost every turn, plus a handful of all-herbivore restaurants — it's an honor. And WaterCourse Foods is deserving of that honor once again, partially because of its consistently delicious regular menu and partially because… More >>
  • Best Steak Outside a Steakhouse

    Trillium

    With plates of aquavit-cured salmon, poached shrimp on brioche, and the deliciously caramelized Norwegian cheese known as ekte gjetost, Trillium is the place to get your Scandinavian groove on. But unless you visit with a fish-shy friend, you might miss the real star of Ryan Leinonen's stylish restaurant: the "Never, ever" New York strip. Named because yucky stuff like antibiotics… More >>
  • Best Cheap Steak

    Bull & Bush

    Here's the primary problem with ultra-cheap steaks: They're annoyingly thin — too thin to prepare mid-rare — and for those of us who prefer a mooing cow to a muffled cow, that just doesn't cut it. But you don't have to pay upwards of $30 for a great piece of meat. For a bargain-priced steak that's thick, beastly and full… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Shanahan's

    Steakhouses are all about unabashed high-roller gluttony, and when you're paying a head and a hoof for their beef, the cow better damn well be worth the price of its hide. Luckily, the steaks at swanky Shanahan's, while ludicrously expensive, make the cut. Mineraly, chewy, dribbling with crimson droplets of blood and beautifully crusted, these are the steaks of cow-craving… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burrito — Eat In

    Jalapeños Mexican Restaurant

    Denverites take their breakfast burritos as seriously as they do their bicycle laps around Washington Park, and given the hundreds of burrito trucks, burrito carts and burrito shacks sprinkled throughout the city, it's not easy to choose just one as that marvelous eye-opener. But morning, noon and night, Jalapeños delivers in spades — and spice. Soft-scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, fried… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Jax Fish House

    There's now a trio of Jax Fish Houses — and a fourth opening soon in Glendale — but the newly remodeled LoDo location is the front-runner stunner. The nautically funky interior showcases whale-tail cutouts suspended from the ceiling, white subway tile, a gorgeous marble-finished bar that stretches from one end to the other, and an interactive raw bar, from which… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Land of Sushi

    Revered for its innovative and stunningly composed raw fish and rolls served (if you ask) with freshly grated wasabi, Land of Sushi — whose unfortunate name belies everything that lifts this restaurant to sea stardom — is also a spectacular restaurant for traditional Japanese-intensive cuisine. Besides sushi, the kitchen turns out everything from udon and soba noodle dishes to Japanese… More >>
  • Best Sushi Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    Sushi Sasa is located as close as you get in Denver to a beach: Confluence Park, at the intersection of Cherry Creek and the South Platte. And that's appropriate, because even in this landlocked city, eight-year-old Sushi Sasa is swimming in incredible sushi. Even the simplest tekka maki is a work of art, lavished with the kind of attention that… More >>
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