Here at Cafe Society, we like any excuse to gorge ourselves -- and that means our favorite meal of the week is brunch, when we can stuff ourselves from breakfast through lunch.
Denver has plenty of restaurants where we're happy to make pigs of ourselves over platters of bacon, piles of eggs and bottomless pitchers of mimosas. Here are the city's five best:
5. Beatrice & Woodsley No matter what time of day you take up residence in one of Beatrice & Woodsley's booths, you feel like you're dining in an enchanted forest. But this room is especially magical during brunch, when the menu is vaguely Southern and clearly playful. The kitchen serves up a biscuit stuffed with eggs, green chile and bacon; a massively hearty Kentucky hot brown; and some of the best shrimp and grits you'll find in town. Start your meal with some monkey brains: If you're gonna feast, you might as well start with a sticky, sugar-bombed pastry.
4. Root Down Before we even glance at Root Down's brunch menu, we order the bottomless blood orange mimosas, a delightful -- and sweet -- twist on the traditional brunch beverage. Only after we have a cocktail do we dive into the myriad options, asking for the nutella-mascarpone crepes or banana bread French toast if we're after sweet, opting for the mole-smothered steak and eggs or one of the Benedicts if we're feeling savory. The breezy vibe at Root Down makes it our favorite spot to come with a group, even if we have to camp out and wait for a table.
3. Star Kitchen Dim sum brunch is one of our favorite weekend traditions, and in Denver, there's no better place to get it than at our pick for Best Dim Sum, Star Kitchen, where people pack the round tables, nabbing steamers of buns and dumplings stuffed with pork, shrimp and red beans, platters of sauteed vegetables and plates of short ribs until the lazy Susan in the center is filled. This carb and protein orgy is an ideal way to fight a morning-after hangover, especially when washed down with cleansing Jasmine tea.
2. Gaia Bistro For years, Gaia Bistro (which I review this week) served only daytime meals, and built a loyal following of eaters based solely on its ability to turn out stellar dishes fit for brunch. It's since added liquor -- and dinner -- but we'd gladly forgo the Bloody Marys to nosh on the eatery's crepes, Benedicts, baked eggs and quiches, packed with seasonal produce, much of which comes from Gaia's own backyard garden. And as a bonus, this bungalow also has one of the best patios in town, which is extra incentive to stop by, and sip coffee while you drink up the sun.
1. JaJa Bistro There are few places we'd rather be on a Sunday morning than cozied up at a table in this unpretentious suburban brunch spot, drinking bottomless mimosas and diving into French breakfast staples. And while we might have trouble choosing between delightful, delicate crepes filled with pork loin and Granny Smith apples, or nutella and bruleed bananas, or ham, Swiss and a sunny-side up egg -- or forgoing the French pancake altogether for a Croque Monsieur or crabcake Benedict -- we're never shy about cleaning our plates of every scrap. And that's why JaJa Bistro earned our Best Brunch award in Best of Denver 2011.
Have another favorite? Tell us about it below.
More Best of Denver Lists: - Denver's five best restaurants for blind dates
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