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Denver's ten best new restaurants of 2012

Squeaky Bean bartender Nick Touch plays mad scientist. Slide show: Scenes from Squeaky Bean
Squeaky Bean bartender Nick Touch plays mad scientist. Slide show: Scenes from Squeaky Bean
Mark Manger

With new restaurants popping up left and right, Denver's food scene is as exciting as it's ever been. Over 200 restaurants opened in the metro area in 2012, featuring everything from globally inspired cuisine to American classics. In the Best of Denver 2013, we'll unveil our pick for the Best New Restaurant. In the meantime, here is our list (in no particular order) of the top ten to open in Denver in 2012.

See also: - First look: An Italian feast at Amerigo - Presentation matters at Squeaky Bean - The 2013 Best of Denver Readers' Poll

Denver's ten best new restaurants of 2012
Lori Midson

Amerigo When Ian Chisholm opened 10) Amerigo Delicatus Restaurant & Market in Denver's Ballpark neighborhood this summer, he hit it out of the park. This small, inviting neighborhood eatery makes every dish from scratch. The menu includes such Italian classics as bruschetta, linguini and lasagna. But for dessert, there's the decidedly untraditional doughnut sundae, a house-made buttermilk doughnut and vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate ganache and walnuts.

Denver's ten best new restaurants of 2012
Mark Manger

9) Squeaky Bean Squeaky Bean was a surprise hit in Highland, but the cramped quarters ultimately convinced owner Johnny Ballen to close his place. But he resurrected the concept with an entirely new Squeaky Bean that opened this past June in LoDo. The space is much, much larger -- and this time, he even has a kitchen where Max Mackissock turns out incredibly innovative fare, featuring fresh produce from the Bean's mini-farm in Lakewood known as "Bean Acre."

Denver's ten best new restaurants of 2012
Lori Midson

8) The Populist Jonathan Power and Noah Price already had a hit with Crema Coffehouse, but they wanted to do more. And so this past November, they opened a hip (very) American eatery called The Populist on Upper Larimer Street. The chic, recycled space has just the right intimate atmosphere for diners to enjoy a menu full of adventurous dishes and unusual flavor combinations.



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