The Ten Best Chinese Restaurants in Denver in 2016

The la zi ji chicken at Hop Alley packs some serious heat.EXPAND
The la zi ji chicken at Hop Alley packs some serious heat.
Danielle Lirette

During our recent explorations of traditional Chinese cuisine in Denver, we also revisited our last list of the best in town. From homey and traditional zha jiang mian at Zoe Ma Ma to forward-thinking, wood-fired cooking at Hop Alley, Denver has more to offer than ever before when it comes to regional Chinese dishes. Here's our list of the ten best Chinese restaurants in Denver right now, in alphabetical order, with this year's pick for Best Chinese Restaurant in the number-one slot.

Will it repeat in 2017? Looks like the competition could be stiff. 

Tofu with preserved egg at China Jade.EXPAND
Tofu with preserved egg at China Jade.
Mark Antonation

10. China Jade
12203 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora
303-755-8518

China Jade, a stalwart in an ever-changing Aurora strip mall on East Iliff Avenue, has been a perennial favorite for its dedication to traditional Sichuan cooking featuring hot pots, blazing hot sauces and dishes studded with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Soothing plates can be had, too, including a chilled appetizer of silken tofu topped with preserved eggs in shades of jade and amber. And recently, the little shop did guests a favor by combining its Chinese menu with its roster of American Chinese favorites, with prime menu real estate given to the house specialties. 

Pork belly with fermented mustard greens and black bean sauce.EXPAND
Pork belly with fermented mustard greens and black bean sauce.
Mark Antonation

9. China Taipei
8100 South Quebec Street, Centennial
303-773-0155

For more than twenty years, the Chou family has been serving bold and beautiful Chinese fare to residents of Denver's southern suburbs — since before the name Centennial was even official. Tucked behind a row of retail shops and a stuccoed faux bell tower, the family-run restaurant surprises seekers of standard kung pao and sesame chicken with a deep menu of Taiwanese treasures, from thick noodle soups to succulent braised pork belly.

The husband-and-wife salad at Hop Alley.EXPAND
The husband-and-wife salad at Hop Alley.
Danielle Lirette

8. Hop Alley
3500 Larimer Street
720-379-8340
Restaurateur Tommy Lee just opened his second spot in River North in December (his first is the still jam-packed noodle house Uncle), but it has already become one of the tops in town thanks to a thoroughly researched slate of regional specialties — like the Sichuan-style offal combo called husband-and-wife salad or the Xi'an street-food favorite cumin lamb sandwiches. Meats get added punch from time spent over wood coals, while modern menu sensibilities, from locally sourced, sustainable proteins and produce to a strong list of cocktails and wines, make Hop Alley, named in honor of Denver's long-gone nineteenth-century Chinatown, an instant destination.

Even the American Chinese dishes — like this sweet-and-sour pork — are a cut above at JJ Chinese Seafood.EXPAND
Even the American Chinese dishes — like this sweet-and-sour pork — are a cut above at JJ Chinese Seafood.
Mark Antonation

7. JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant
2500 West Alameda Avenue
303-934-8888

The multiple menus at this eatery adorned with live tanks assure you that there's something here for almost every taste — all of it prepared with skill and an eye to tradition, and served by some of the friendliest waitstaff in town. Even the standard American Chinese dishes are far from standard, including sweet-and-sour shrimp that's neither cloying nor gloppy. But the restaurant's name is a giveaway that the best dishes are those featuring the ocean's bounty, whether the delicate and ultra-fresh razor clams in XO sauce or whole flounder with steamy white flesh encased in a shatteringly crisp deep-fried crust. This is the go-to spot for Denver's off-duty chefs.

Spare ribs and other dim sum delights draw customers to King's Land.EXPAND
Spare ribs and other dim sum delights draw customers to King's Land.
Mark Antonation

6. King's Land Seafood Restaurant
2200 West Alameda Avenue
303-975-2399

King's Land serves plenty of fresh seafood, but fans flock to the cavernous west Denver dining hall for the weekend dim sum brunch, where teetering carts stacked with baskets of buns, siu mai, fritters and noodles trundle between tables — daring you to stuff yourself like a taut-skinned dumpling. Variety, quality and value combine into a dizzying eating event where, no matter how much you eat, the bill always seems to come to no more than twenty bucks a head.

Keep reading for the rest of our list of the best Chinese restaurants in Denver...



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