Filter

Neighborhood

  • + Aurora
  • + Boulder
  • + Central Denver
  • + Cherry Hills Village
  • + Downtown Denver
  • + East Denver
  • + Golden
  • + Lafayette
  • + Lakewood
  • + North Denver
  • + Northwest Denver
  • + South Denver
  • + Southwest Denver

Cuisine

  • + African
  • + American
  • + Asian Fusion
  • + Bakery
  • + Barbecue
  • + Brewpub
  • + Burgers
  • + Chinese
  • + Deli
  • + Ethiopian
  • + French
  • + International
  • + Israeli
  • + Italian
  • + Japanese
  • + Latin American
  • + Mediterranean
  • + Mexican
  • + Modern American
  • + Pizza
  • + Seafood
  • + Soul Food
  • + Spanish
  • + Steakhouse
  • + Sushi
  • + Thai
  • + Vegan
  • + Venezuelan
  • + Vietnamese

Search By Name

The 100 Best Denver Restaurants for 2021

The 100 Best Denver Restaurants for 2021
Osaka Ramen
Osaka Ramen
Katie Knoch

Chef/restaurateur Jeff Osaka closed his labor of love, 12@Madison, last spring, but his deft culinary touches can still be experienced through Osaka Ramen’s tight menu of Japanese small plates, bento boxes and, of course, steamy noodle bowls. Flavorful broths made from pork and chicken — or Thai-style green curry for a meatless option — bob with flourishes of mushrooms, scallions, jiggly eggs and slow-cooked meats. But don’t miss the chilled green beans dashed with sesame, addictive bacon-fried rice and some of the best fried chicken in town.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2611 Walnut St., Denver, 80205
303-955-7938, website
Abejas
Abejas
Danielle Lirette

Since Abejas opened in downtown Golden in 2015, the intimate eatery has become a standout for fine dining in the western suburbs. The name is Spanish for “bees,” after founders Brandon Bortles and Barry Dobesh, who were called “the Bs” by their friends. An eclectic, seasonal roster of clever yet grounded dishes incorporates influences from Italy, North Africa and even a hint of Mexico, and the food is bolstered by an excellent, value-based wine list. Whatever you decide to eat, it’s clear that these Bs are killer.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

807 13th St., Golden, 80401
303-952-9745, website
Ace Eat Serve
Ace Eat Serve
Courtesy Ace Eat Serve

Ace owners Josh and Jen Wolkon, who also run Steuben’s, had a fast hit on their hands when they opened their ping-pong hall and pan-Asian eatery in 2012. The menu at Ace Eat Serve has just gotten better over the years, especially since chef Thach Tran joined the team, adding a Peking duck special, hearty noodle soups and new flavors from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

501 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80203
303-800-7705, website
African Grill and Bar
African Grill and Bar
Mark Antonation

Sylvester and Theodora Osei-Fordwuo launched their second eatery at the beginning of 2019, after the success of their Green Valley Ranch location, bringing their unique, delicious cooking to Lakewood. At African Grill and Bar, you’ll find bold spices flavoring uncommon dishes representing Ghana, Nigeria and other African nations, as well as warm service from the owners and their family. This is an unforgettable culinary journey for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$, $$$)

955 S. Kipling Parkway, Lakewood, 80226
303-985-4497, website
American Elm
American Elm
Courtesy of American Elm/Lucy Beaugard

American Elm opened last year with a seasoned pro calling the shots in owner Bob Reiter and a steady hand in the kitchen with executive chef Brent Turnipseede. Since Turnipseede hails from the South, you’ll find hints of country cooking as well as subtle and unusual ingredients integrated into nearly every dish. And don’t miss the bar offerings, which are among the best in northwest Denver.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

4132 W. 38th Ave., Denver, 80212
720-749-3186, website
Annette
Annette
Danielle Lirette

Located in Stanley Marketplace, Annette is a beautiful restaurant flooded with light and dotted with natural elements that make the room feel sophisticated, not stark. Chef/owner Caroline Glover cooks seasonal ingredients over a wood-fired grill with equal parts reverence and panache, turning out dishes that read as home cooking, even when venturing into such chef-driven ingredients as beef tongue, octopus and heirloom vegetables.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 80010
720-710-9975, website
Arcana
Arcana
Danielle Lirette

When Arcana opened in 2016, its mission was to explore “the true identity of American cuisine,” and the result was elaborate, special-occasion fare. Over the years, the menu descriptions have simplified while the vision has broadened, even as the eatery has remained constant in its dedication to sourcing ingredients from the country’s top artisans and purveyors.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

909 Walnut St., Boulder, 80302
303-444-3885, website
Atelier by Radex
Atelier by Radex
Danielle Lirette

For a chef who’s been in the restaurant business as long as he has, Radek Cerny still manages to bring a sense of fun and whimsy to some seriously French cuisine. At Atelier, you can luxuriate in rotating classics like rillettes, escargot, foie gras and lobster, but Cerny also has a way with Western favorites such as elk, salmon and bison. Be sure to throw in a few extra bucks for a bottle of wine; the list here is dazzling, and the food is built to match the best of Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

2011 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80206
720-379-5556, website
Barolo Grill
Barolo Grill
Mark Antonation

Longtime general manager Ryan Fletter purchased Barolo Grill from his former boss, Blair Taylor, who’d founded the Italian eatery in 1992. Since taking over in 2015, Fletter has modernized the service and menu, designed by chef Darrel Truett, and built a formidable wine cellar while maintaining a touch of the classic. As a result, today Barolo Grill is informed by its past without being weighed down by it.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

3030 E. 6th Ave., Denver, 80206
303-393-1040, website
Basta
Basta

Since it opened in 2010, Basta has evolved from a simple, wood-fired pizzeria to an evocative Italian kitchen favoring Colorado ingredients over imported products. The restaurant is tiny and hard to find, tucked away in a Boulder apartment complex, but chef/owner Kelly Whitaker’s reputation for honoring tradition while experimenting with new ideas has become a beacon for locals and visitors alike.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 80303
303-997-8775, website
Bastien's Restaurant
Bastien's Restaurant
Mark Antonation

There may not be another restaurant in Denver that’s used its history to such great advantage, keeping everything noteworthy from the past — from the mid-century aesthetic to the quality steaks that meet the expectations of modern diners. The family-run business dates back to the 1930s, but the current incarnation was constructed in 1958, in distinct Googie style from the roofline to the neon sign. Inside, dinner in the bird’s-nest loft feels intimate and old-school, and a sugar steak — served no more than medium-rare — gives a taste of Colfax Avenue’s swingin’, stylish earlier days.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3503 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206
303-322-0363, website
Beast + Bottle
Beast + Bottle

Siblings Aileen and Paul Reilly have built a beautiful operation since they opened Beast + Bottle in Uptown in 2013, with an emphasis on warm, gracious and genuine service to bolster a brief but ever-changing slate of beast-based bites. The plates that fly from the tiny kitchen have an artistry that matches their creative flavors, from verdant vegetable dishes to local lamb and heritage pork presentations to hearty family meals.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

719 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80203
303-623-3223, website
Beckon
Beckon
Danielle Lirette

When the times allow, Beckon’s chef’s-counter dining room feels like a dinner party thrown by a close friend — if that friend happened to be the best cook you know. But even at scattered seating under the stars and in intimate greenhouse pods, or with food bundled up for a special evening at home, the Beckon experience is unique, thanks to thoughtful executive chef Duncan Holmes and the entire Beckon team, who exude hospitality even when you're picking up food to go.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

2843 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-749-0020, website
The Bindery
The Bindery
Mark Antonation

Linda Hampsten Fox, the Bindery’s chef/owner, lived and worked in Italy for decades, and the elegant dinner menu of the restaurant she opened in 2017 reflects her intimate knowledge of that country. But the culinary roster ranges farther, with Mexican and New American influences that reflect experiences throughout Hampsten Fox’s nearly thirty-year career, as well as her penchant for unusual proteins — tuna ribs and rabbit — and brash flavor combinations.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

1817 Central St., Denver, 80211
303-993-2364, website
Bittersweet
Bittersweet

In a neighborhood better known for convenience stores and takeout Chinese, Greek and Thai, chef Olav Peterson and his wife, Melissa Severson, have carved out a reputation for avant-garde cuisine with an eye toward seasonality. Since it opened in 2011, Bittersweet has never been pretentious or unapproachable; instead, its offerings delight with discovery while remaining grounded in familiar flavors, especially when it comes to homey takeout meals built for the whole family.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

500 E. Alameda Ave., Denver, 80209
303-942-0320, website
Black Cat Bistro
Black Cat Bistro
Mark Antonation

Black Cat offers the ultimate farm-to-table experience, especially in recent months, as dining has moved entirely to chef/owner Eric Skokan’s farm, which provisions the menu year-round. You’ll find heirloom tomatoes, bold peppers and plenty of greens in the summer, root veggies and grains in the colder months, and lamb, beef and pork all year. Pasture rotation, organic farming and biodynamic practices result in the highest-quality produce and meats, all expertly utilized by Skokan and his team.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1964 13th St., Boulder, 80302
303-444-5500, website
Blackbelly
Blackbelly
Danielle Lirette

Chef Hosea Rosenberg turned his 2009 victory on Bravo’s Top Chef into a growing culinary business that started with a food truck and catering company and turned into a full-fledged restaurant in 2014. The butcher-driven eatery encompasses all of the chef’s passions: charcuterie, top cuts from locally raised animals, and Southwestern flavors from his childhood in New Mexico. Blackbelly’s next-door butcher shop provides an endless supply of cured meats and fresh cuts for the restaurant as well as your home kitchen.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1606 Conestoga St., Boulder, 80301
303-247-1000, website
Blue Pan Pizza
Blue Pan Pizza
Linnea Covington

Denver embraced Detroit-style pizza when Blue Pan Pizza debuted in 2015 in West Highland. Chef Jeff “Smoke” Smokevitch and partner Giles Flanagin now run two Blue Pan locations serving rectangular pies built on a traditional base — an airy, crackly crust, Wisconsin brick cheese and a thick, tangy sauce — with toppings that modern customers crave. But you should try all of the styles here: award-winning Italian thin-crust, an even thinner Chicago cracker crust, and big slices of New York-style pizza.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

3930 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, 80212
720-456-7666, website
Boney's Smokehouse BBQ
Boney's Smokehouse BBQ
Ariel Fried

Downtown Denver doesn’t seem like the perfect environment for barbecue, but if you follow the scent of smoke and meat to Boney’s, you’ll find Trina Lynch’s menu of Southern barbecue cooked low and slow. Barbecue aficionados make a point of loading up on deliciously fatty, black-crusted brisket that pulls apart easily; potently spicy sausage links; beautifully seasoned ribs that are quickly stripped clean; and pulled pork, usually slapped onto a soft bun and served Carolina style.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

1543 Champa St., Denver, 80202
303-825-9900, website
Cafe Brazil
Cafe Brazil
Summer Powell

In a city with few Brazilian restaurant options, Cafe Brazil has managed to remain vital and popular for more than twenty years while teaching us the finer points of feijoada and xim xim and the various tropical preparations of peixe. If you’ve been in Denver long enough, you probably knocked back your first caipirinha at Cafe Brazil, possibly even at the eatery’s original Highland location (long before folks started calling the area LoHi), if not at the newer Berkeley cafe. While Brazilian steakhouses downtown offer showmanship and piles of grilled meat, Cafe Brazil relies more on flavorful stews and seafood — often imbued with dende oil, coconut and spicy chiles — to win Denver diners over to Brazilian cuisine.($$$)

4408 Lowell Blvd., Denver, 80211
303-480-1877, website
Cart-Driver
Cart-Driver
Michael Emery Hecker

Cart-Driver’s original location, a tight space built from recycled shipping containers, has always been a great pick for wood-fired pizzas and other simple Italian fare, and with a second spot at 2239 West 30th Avenue in LoHi, the eatery cements its position as a favorite for casual but still elegant street-style eats and drinks, from crusty focaccia to batched cocktails.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2500 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-292-3553, website
Cattivella
Cattivella
Marla Keown

Chef Elise Wiggins finally opened her dream restaurant, Cattivella (“naughty girl” in Italian), on the eastern edge of Denver in 2017, creating a place that reflects her many experiences traveling, working and eating in Italy. The wood-fired pizza oven is used for far more than pizzas, and an adjustable charcoal grill gives meats (many of them brought in whole and butchered on site) and vegetables a rustic, old-world depth of flavor. Housemade breads and pastas separate Cattivella from the standard bistro or trattoria, too, making for a sensuous experience — whether you’re naughty or nice.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

9186 E. 35th Ave., Denver, 80238
303-645-3779, website
The Cherry Cricket
The Cherry Cricket
Courtesy of the Cherry Cricket

Over almost eight decades, the Cherry Cricket has morphed from smoky bar to burger institution, even as Cherry Creek has gentrified around it. The Cricket is beloved by chefs, musicians, Creekers, night creatures and neighbors for its smoky, char-grilled patties and the lengthy list of toppings with which you can personalize them, from sauerkraut to salsa to raspberry jam. (We prefer standards such as green chiles and cheese.) This is also a great place to grab wings, hefty sandwiches, enchiladas and some of the best green chile in town; you’ll find the same food (but not atmosphere) at a second location in the Ballpark neighborhood.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2641 E. 2nd Ave., Denver, 80206
303-322-7666, website
Cherry Hills Sushi Co.
Cherry Hills Sushi Co.
Mark Antonation

The menu at Cherry Hills Sushi Co. almost seems to be missing a page or two, so short and focused is chef Bradford Kim’s roster of hand-rolled temaki and meticulous sashimi. But therein lies the brilliance: perfection captured through simplicity. Since opening in 2015, Kim has added Sushi Co. locations in Berkeley and Park Hill, spreading the temaki concept throughout town — along with good sake and Japanese whisky and beer.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1400 E. Hampden Ave., Cherry Hills Village, 80113
303-761-1559, website
Chimera Ramen
Chimera Ramen
Courtesy of Chimera

Edwin Zoe opened Chimera in 2018 alongside Zoe Ma Ma, his casual Chinese restaurant. The original concept spanned Asia, but ramen became Zoe’s obsession, and in 2020 he switched to an all-ramen menu, with even the noodles made in-house — a real rarity in Colorado. Deeply flavored broths illustrate Chimera’s dedication to traditional ingredients and methods, with just enough experimentation to set the eatery apart.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2014 10th St., Boulder, 80302
720-580-1100, website
ChoLon Central Park
ChoLon Central Park
Courtesy ChoLon

Chef Lon Symensma’s expertise in Asian cuisine reveals itself in the dumplings, bao buns, stir-fries, curries and noodle bowls bursting from a menu designed for the east Denver neighborhood where he opened his second ChoLon. (The downtown original is temporarily closed.) Family-sized dishes and steam-at-home soup dumplings — yes, Symensma’s famed French onion soup version — have become mainstays for customers looking for great takeout.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

10195 E. 29th Dr., Denver, 80238
720-550-6934, website
Citizen Rail
Citizen Rail
Danielle Lirette

Citizen Rail has proven that inventive, chef-driven fare can work in a hotel setting— in this case, at the Kimpton Hotel Born near Union Station. The kitchen focuses on artisan food production, with dry-aged steaks (some aged for up to a year) and handmade bread and pasta. The heart of the restaurant is an open kitchen with several wood-burning grills, where everything — from those flavor-packed steaks to cocktail garnishes — is kissed with flame and smoke.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1899 16th St., Denver, 80202
303-323-0017, website
Coperta
Coperta

Brother-and-sister team Paul and Aileen Reilly couldn’t have done a finer job with Coperta, their followup to Beast + Bottle a few blocks away. Knockout dishes culled from little-known regions and towns in Italy, an enticing bar program built on Italian spirits, and warm hospitality equal to that of its older sibling combine to give Uptown residents one of the best dining experiences in any neighborhood.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$, $$$)

400 E. 20th Ave., Denver, 80205
720-749-4666, website
Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
Mark Antonation

The menu at Daughter Thai reads as a little more upscale than the average neighborhood Thai restaurant, but it doesn’t give up on the bold flavors and fresh ingredients typical of the Southeast Asian country. So you’ll find beef panang curry in the style of Kanchanaburi, where chef/owner Ounjit Hardacre grew up, and a house pla-larb salad that’s the chef’s own invention, served with crispy frog legs that rival the best chicken wings in town. Since it opened in 2019, Daughter Thai has been a welcome addition to a rapidly changing Platte Street.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1700 Platte St., Denver, 80202
720-667-4652, website
Denver Milk Market
Denver Milk Market
Trusted Photographer, LLC

Food halls went from novelty to ubiquity in just a few short years in Denver, but only one of them serves food coming from the mind of a single chef. Restaurateur Frank Bonanno went big with Denver Milk Market, the food hall he opened in mid-2018. So big, in fact, that it takes up the better part of a block, with three bars and a dozen food counters serving pizza, fried chicken, salads, fresh fish, steaks, ramen, gelato and more for breakfast, second breakfast, tea, lunch, happy hour, dinner and snacks. You could spend weeks at Milk Market and not eat the same meal twice.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$, $$$)

1800 Wazee St., Denver, 80202
303-792-8242, website
Dimestore Delibar
Dimestore Delibar
Mark Antonation

At its heart, Dimestore is easy to define: It’s a sandwich shop — but not just any sandwich shop. The specialty of the house is a rolled focaccia sandwich called a “dimeroll.” Chef/co-owner Tim Dotson more or less invented the configuration, taking spongy focaccia, toasting it on one side, and rolling it up around housemade pastrami, roast beef, pulled pork, meatloaf and other tempting ingredients. The results are so delicious and addictive that the Dimestore has become a Denver classic in the year it’s been open.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

1575 Boulder St., Denver, 80211
303-537-5323, website
Dio Mio Handmade Pasta
Dio Mio Handmade Pasta
Danielle Lirette

Alex Figura and Spencer White elevate pasta’s status as an oft-abused filler to the star of the plate, one handmade noodle at a time. Rather than taking an overtly refined approach, as you’d expect given their backgrounds in kitchens where success was measured in awards and Michelin stars, their pasta joint is a minimalist counter-service spot. But the lack of pretention only accentuates what will surely be the best pasta you’ve had in ages.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

3264 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-562-1965, website
Domo
Domo

Few Denver restaurants are as transportive as Domo, a fantasy land that’s delighted diners for more than two decades with its farmhouse setting in an unlikely urban neighborhood. But even taken outside to the restaurant’s Japanese garden seating or removed from its rustic context to be enjoyed at home, the country-style Japanese cooking is a standout.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$, $$$)

1365 Osage St., Denver, 80204
303-595-3666, website
El Five
El Five
Danielle Lirette

Chef/owner Justin Cucci didn’t build El Five just as a restaurant, but as an experience. It debuted in 2017 atop a five-story building in LoHi, with breathtaking views of downtown and the mountains. But the food — a variation on Mediterranean tapas — is dramatic enough on its own, making dinner a fascinating journey through the food of the Asian, African and European cultures surrounding the sea.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

2930 Umatilla St., Denver, 80211
303-524-9193, website
El Taco De Mexico
El Taco De Mexico
Courtesy El Taco de Mexico Facebook

Perhaps no Mexican spot in the Mile High is as beloved as El Taco de Mexico, a no-frills joint that offers little in the way of ambience and even less in the way of service. But that hasn’t deterred the crowds that have been coming here since 1985 for tasty tacos and anything smothered in the lip-tingling green chile. In 2020, El Taco was honored by the James Beard Foundation as an American classic, a well-deserved honor.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

714 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, 80204
303-623-3926, website
Farmhouse Thai Eatery
Farmhouse Thai Eatery
Mark Antonation

Freshness and balance are the keys to great Thai cuisine, and this Lakewood kitchen, which opened in 2019, serves up both, whether in seasonal salads, rich curries and soups (don’t miss the incendiary khao soi) or enlivened classics, from the floating market noodle soup to the sublimely porky hang le curry. Everything is made from scratch and loaded with the flavors of galangal, lemongrass, garlic, tamarind, chiles and other Southeast Asian spices.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

98 Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood, 80226
303-237-2475, website
Fish N Beer
Fish N Beer
Danielle Lirette

Bigger may be better for certain things, but smaller and louder are no-brainers when it comes to instant ambience — and Fish N Beer, from Kevin Morrison of Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey fame, has it in spades. The menu is as compact as the fifty-seat space, offering oysters, shrimp and mussels plus wood-fired entrees, seasonal sides and a killer chocolate cake for dessert. The kitchen hums with confident precision, paying as much attention to Buffalo-style blowfish tails as to the signature grilled whole bass.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3510 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-248-3497, website
Frasca Food and Wine
Frasca Food and Wine
Kelly Kaoudis

The word "hospitality" seems practically invented to describe the experience at Frasca, which won the Outstanding Service award from the James Beard Foundation in 2019. Of course, the food and wine are also worthy of the restaurant's international reputation, making it not only a top Italian specialist, but one of the best restaurants in any category in Colorado. Book a table at Frasca for beautifully composed plates, perfectly paced tasting menus, and stellar wine service from Master Sommelier and co-owner Bobby Stuckey.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, 80302
303-442-6966, website
Fruition
Fruition

From his tiny restaurant on Sixth Avenue, which he opened back in 2007, chef/restaurateur Alex Seidel looks outward, finding inspiration at his own farm and dairy, which provide seasonal produce and artisan cheeses for Fruition. An artist’s focus results in a compact menu, but each plate is an unforgettable masterpiece.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1313 E. 6th Ave., Denver, 80218
303-831-1962, website
Guard and Grace
Guard and Grace
Lori Midson

Chef/restaurateur Troy Guard debuted Guard and Grace in 2013, and it instantly became one of Denver’s top steak destinations — no mean feat in a town known for its beef. A modern approach to service, plating and the meat itself — grass-fed and dry-aged steaks are offered alongside grain-fed choices — has kept the posh establishment at the top of the steakhouse game; Guard recently launched a Guard and Grace in Houston, as proof that every cowtown can use a little shaking up.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1801 California St., Denver, 80202
303-293-8500, website
Hop Alley
Hop Alley
Danielle Lirette

Building on the success of Uncle, his ramen joint, Tommy Lee opened Hop Alley (named for Denver’s long-gone Chinatown) in 2015. Lee’s exhilarating take on Chinese food, with interpretations of Cantonese, Sichuan and Beijing-inspired dishes (among other regions), translates surprisingly well for takeout and delivery, bolstered by an equally inspiring list of wine, beer and cocktails.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3500 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
720-379-8340, website
Il Porcellino Salumi
Il Porcellino Salumi
Mark Antonation

At Il Porcellino Salumi, owner Bill Miner and his staff of butchers and cooks make every meat product themselves: pink hams, fat-streaked bacon, dry-cured salami and other sausages, as well as less common Italian-style meats that hang for months — sometimes upwards of a year — before they’re ready to slice and sell. So every sandwich here comes stacked with delicious meats you can’t get anywhere else in town. Add to that a market and butcher counter for take-home meats and pantry items, and you have a well-rounded neighborhood deli for every need.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

4334 W. 41st Ave., Denver, 80212
303-477-3206, website
Il Posto
Il Posto

Il Posto moved from Uptown to RiNo in early 2017, but the new spot carries on the tradition of great Italian cooking started by chef/owner Andrea Frizzi in Uptown — with an added view. Stellar risotto and masterful pappardelle with pork ragu prove Il Posto’s prowess with the classics. You can often spot the chef himself, now as much of a neighborhood fixture as his restaurant, chatting with neighbors and strolling between Il Posto and Vero, his more casual eatery at the Denver Central Market just up the street.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2601 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-394-0100, website
Jax Fish House
Jax Fish House
Jax Fish House

Sip, slurp and shuck your way to shellfish bliss with Jax, the fish house and oyster bar that Dave Query launched in Boulder in the ’90s, then introduced in LoDo over two decades ago. Start with raw, grilled or fried oysters, then focus on sustainably caught fish and other seafood rounded up by culinary director Sheila Lucero. Jax is now also leading the way with its own delivery team to bring the freshest catch to your door.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1539 17th St., Denver, 80202
303-292-5767, website
La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas
La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas
Mark Antonation

The Street: There’s no better name for this former bungalow that’s been transformed into an iglesia for the worship of tacos. The menu offers more than a dozen preparations of beef, pork and goat in styles from around Mexico: cochinita pibil from the Yucatán, shredded pork mixed with pork rinds in the style of Campeche, and carne al pastor to rival the D.F.’s. And every house salsa and condiment has been made to match your taco of choice.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

1565 W. Alameda Ave., Denver, 80223
720-583-6586, website
La Fiesta
La Fiesta
Danielle Lirette

La Fiesta has lasted through many changes since it opened in 1964 (in what had once been a Safeway), including the recent loss of founder and patriarch Michael Herrera, who passed away in February 2020. But the Den-Mex mainstay has carried on, with members of the extended family serving timelessly tasty chiles rellenos fried in giant wonton wrappers and smothered in hot, hot green chile. La Fiesta has become a living history museum of Mexican food as it has evolved to fit the tastes of the neighborhood.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($, $$)

2340 Champa St., Denver, 80205
303-292-2800, website
Leven Deli Co.
Leven Deli Co.
Mark Antonation

If the pastrami is good, the rest of the sandwich is sure to follow. At Leven Deli, chef Luke Hendricks makes pastrami from scratch, starting with whole beef brisket that’s cured for more than ten days before being smoked. Leven loads it up on fresh-baked rye or sourdough bread for an eye-rolling combo of homemade goodness. While Leven doesn’t have the broad range of classic Jewish delis, what it lacks in variety it makes up for in dedication to quality. Whether you’re swinging by for a sandwich or loading up with a full meal and bottles of wine, you’ll find that Leven fulfills the mission of a neighborhood eatery beyond being merely a sandwich shop.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

123 W. 12th Ave., Denver, 80204
303--325-5691, website
Linger
Linger
Mark Antonation

Linger, built from the bones of the old Olinger Mortuary building, burst onto the scene in 2011 with an international menu and a theme to match the surroundings (cocktails listed on toe tags, tables built from gurneys, water served in apothecary bottles). Although newer buildings have blocked some of the view from the rooftop bar/deck, Linger’s continued commitment to sustainable practices and carefully sourced ingredients have kept the restaurant at the top of the list of Denver dining destinations.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

2030 W. 30th Ave., Denver, 80211
303-993-3120, website
Lola Coastal Mexican
Lola Coastal Mexican
Courtesy of Lola Coastal Mexican

An expansive tequila bar and delicious house margs, signature guacamole, a taco-filled happy hour, fresh oysters and inventive dinner specials are just a few reasons to love Lola, a mainstay in a neighborhood that has vastly changed since the restaurant debuted more than a dozen years ago. The east-facing, heated deck is a lovely place to soak up the sun or simply fortify yourself against the wintry nights ahead.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1575 Boulder St., Denver, 80211
720-570-8686, website
Marco's Coal Fired
Marco's Coal Fired
Mark Antonation

Every restaurant is cooking with wood these days, it seems, but in the Ballpark neighborhood back in 2008, true Neapolitan pizza was unheard of. Owner/pizzaiolo Mark Dym’s obsession with every step of pizza production led to his earning the only Italian Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana certification in Colorado, and the dedication to tradition can be tasted in every slice to this day.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2129 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-296-7000, website
Maria Empanada
Maria Empanada
Courtesy Maria Empanada

What started as a cottage-industry bakery working out of a tiny Lakewood storefront in 2011 has evolved into an empanada mini-empire, thanks to the recipes and dedication of founder Lorena Cantarovici. In 2014, the chef moved her Argentinean cafe to a corner on South Broadway, expanding her offerings and adding a liquor license to serve malbec from adorable penguin-shaped carafes called pinguinos.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

1298 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210
303-934-2221, website
Matsuhisa
Matsuhisa

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa brought everything we expected when he opened a branch of his namesake restaurant in Cherry Creek in 2016. The building is opulent and stunning, the plates executed with an artist’s skill and mastery of color and form, and the flavor pure and focused. Yes, Matsuhisa is destination dining for the most special of occasions, but its food is also perfect for an extravagant dinner at home.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

98 Steele St., Denver, 80206
303-329-6628, website
Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant and Grocery
Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant and Grocery
Lori Midson

Megenagna serves Aurora’s Ethiopian community as well as other nearby residents who appreciate house-baked goods, meats and packaged Ethiopian specialties — along with fresh-made entrees that exude the welcoming aroma of spice blend. Every dish comes with tangy, spongy housemade injera, great for sopping up vegetable stews or wrapping up bites of spicy beef.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

306 S. Ironton St., Aurora, 80012
720-532-0266, website
Misfit Snackbar
Misfit Snackbar
Courtesy of Misfit Snackbar

Chef Bo Porytko was half of the duo behind Rebel Restaurant, which served some of Denver’s most thrilling cuisine for three years before closing in 2018. Now he’s manning his own tiny kitchen inside the Middleman, where he turns out a dizzying array of small plates and bigger dishes, with no regard for culinary tradition or international borders. Never expect the same thing twice, but always expect a balance of the delicate and the audacious.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

3401 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80204
201-679-7079, website
Mizuna
Mizuna
Joni Schrantz

Mizuna was the first restaurant from chef Frank Bonanno, whose empire now includes restaurants, bars, a food hall and even a pie shop. The flagship has maintained its elegance and upscale tradition (in this case, French) while serving as a training ground for some of the city’s best chefs and acting as a neighborhood spot in Governor’s Park. Without Mizuna, Denver’s culinary landscape would be far less rich and varied than it is today.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

225 E. 7th Ave., Denver, 80203
303-832-4778, website
My Brother's Bar
My Brother's Bar
Mark Antonation

Yes, My Brother’s Bar has a fascinating history: The building has held a bar since the 1870s; Neal Cassady hung out here when it was Paul’s Place; and as My Brother’s Bar, it’s survived with no TVs while playing classical music and serving as a neighborhood joint for the whole city. But the most interesting chapter is the current one: After four decades, a longtime employee and her family bought the place from the Karagas family, vowing to keep My Brother’s Bar going. And they have, embracing safe outdoor dining without losing any of that historic charm.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

2376 15th St., Denver, 80202
303-455-9991, website
New Saigon
New Saigon
Mark Manger

The legendary New Saigon has been holding down this spot on South Federal for over three decades, and it’s still a favorite for its soups, noodles, grilled meats and excellent curries. The Vietnamese coffee is sweet and comforting; the massive bowls of warming soups prove perfect for a long lunch or early dinner. It could take you years to eat your way through everything on this thick menu, so get started: Those build-your-own spring rolls aren’t going to wrap themselves!

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

630 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, 80219
303-936-4954, website
New Saigon Bakery & Deli
New Saigon Bakery & Deli
Linnea Covington

While New Saigon offers a phonebook-sized menu with every possible combo of protein, noodle, rice and sauce, its spinoff, New Saigon Bakery, draws regulars with super-sized banh mi on house-baked French baguettes. Salty-sweet barbecued pork, luscious pâté and generous stacks of deli meats make for stellar sandwiches. Beyond banh mi, there are also grilled-meat-topped salads, pandan waffles and delicate desserts.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

640 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, 80219
303-935-7859
Nocturne
Nocturne
Mark Antonation

Just off the main Larimer Street drag, Scott and Nicole Mattson’s Nocturne continues the jazz tradition of the neighborhood with its art deco-style bar, classic cocktails and stage-side dining room. While the stage and dining room are currently silent, you can still enjoy the Nocturne experience every Saturday night with takeout suppers accompanied by live-streamed jazz concerts.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1330 27th St., Denver, 80205
303-295-3333, website
Oak at Fourteenth
Oak at Fourteenth
Danielle Lirette

Bryan Dayton and Steve Redzikowski opened Oak at Fourteenth in 2011, and almost immediately suffered a three-month closure because of a fire. But ever since then, Oak has been atop Boulder’s dining scene, thanks to Redzikowski’s inventive wood-fired cooking and Dayton’s eye for top-notch service. Years later, Oak has settled into an easy groove, turning out seasonal fare culled from local farms combined in novel platings.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 80302
303-444-3622, website
Olivia
Olivia
The Denver Dish

Olivia’s owners — Heather Morrison, Austin Carson and chef Ty Leon — have figured out how to adapt a small, upscale restaurant to difficult times with new ideas that could prove a future path for many other restaurants. Pre-paid dinners (with a built-in service fee to eliminate tipping) allow flexibility for guests while paying equitable wages for both front- and back-of-house staff and eliminating skipped reservations. And Olivia’s takeout menu options have been designed specifically with portability in mind. Add to those innovations pasta and cocktails that are among the best in town? Great food like this serves as an unchanging cornerstone in times of change.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

290 S. Downing St., Denver, 80209
303-999-0395, website
Osteria Marco
Osteria Marco
Joni Schrantz

In 2007, things like burrata, housemade salumi and Sunday pig roasts weren’t part of the Italian-restaurant lexicon in Denver, but restaurateur Frank Bonanno made them household phrases, serving less common regional dishes alongside pizza and panini to help demystify the more esoteric side of Italian cuisine. These days, Negronis, fresh Italian cheeses and boards of cured meats are popular all over town, thanks in part to Osteria Marco, which is still among Denver’s best.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1453 Larimer St., Denver, 80202
303-534-5855, website
Ototo Den
Ototo Den

The youngest of the Den Corner of restaurants run by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, Ototo offers a more intimate experience, not to mention robatayaki — skewered meats and vegetables grilled over charcoal. But the concise menu also encompasses other Japanese specialties, whether you’re in the mood for expertly sliced sashimi, a rich bowl of ramen, or whole grilled squid. With 35 years of experience serving the food of their home country in Denver, the Kizaki brothers still know how to keep things fresh. Ototo is currently closed during the coronavirus pandemic, but is expected to open soon for takeout orders.($$$, $$$$)

1501 S. Pearl St., Denver, 80210
303-733-2503, website
Owlbear Barbecue
Owlbear Barbecue
Mark Antonation

Perfection is the elusive goal of every pitmaster cooking meat over wood, tweaking techniques and recipes until the ideal brisket emerges from the smoker encrusted in mahogany bark and dripping with fat. Owlbear founder Karl Fallenius has put it all together at the smokehouse he opened in 2019, where pork, beef, turkey and even burgers attain barbecue transcendence with equal parts oak and patience.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2826 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
720-667-1181, website
Pho Duy
Pho Duy
Mark Antonation

Located in a sea of noodle shops along South Federal Boulevard, Pho Duy still serves the best pho in town from this former KFC it moved to in 2015. The aromatic broth, fresh and flavorful meats, and options far beyond the standards — there’s even a vegetarian broth — keep this pho joint on the top of everyone’s list of standby lunches, between-meal drop-ins and cold-weather haunts.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

925 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, 80219
303-937-1609, website
The Plimoth
The Plimoth

Denver clearly has a love for tiny neighborhood eateries that turn out meals on par with those served by the big boys downtown. Under chef/owner Peter Ryan, the Plimoth captured the hearts of both City Park residents and those willing to take a drive into unfamiliar territory. Classic European technique, local ingredients and regional inspiration give guests something new to look forward to with each order, even when enjoyed on the patio or at home.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2335 E. 28th Ave., Denver, 80205
303-297-1215, website
The Post Brewing Co.
The Post Brewing Co.
Courtesy of The Post Brewing Co.

Until the Post Brewing Co. came along, it was almost as if the Front Range had no fried chicken at all, so quickly did fans flock here. Quaffable beers and a supporting cast of other countrified fare bolstered the Post’s reputation, and devotees in need of a fix had no trouble trekking to the bedroom community of Lafayette. Thankfully, founder Dave Query, who also runs Jax Fish House and other Denver and Boulder eateries, soon added more Posts in south Denver and Longmont and on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

105 W. Emma St., Lafayette, 80026
303-593-2066, website
Potager
Potager
Eileen Warthen

Capitol Hill neighbors who have frequented Potager since it opened in 1997 were worried about what would become of the place when founder Teri Rippeto sold it in early 2019. But their fears have been allayed by the restaurant’s continued dedication to locally sourced, seasonally driven fare. Potager was a bellwether for a style of cuisine that’s become almost cliché, but few new restaurants are as good or as devoted to simple, honest cooking with premium ingredients.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1109 Ogden St., Denver, 80218
303-832-5788, website
Q House
Q House
Mark Antonation

Traditional Taiwanese and Sichuanese ingredients and techniques are at the heart of Q House, which earned a James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant in the spring of 2019. The upscale eatery has turned tingly Sichuan peppercorns, head-on shrimp, beef tongue and pig ears from exotic ingredients into craveable everyday fare.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3421 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206
720-729-8887, website
Quiero Arepas
Quiero Arepas
Mark Antonation

When you only make one thing, you’d better make it right. Igor and Beckie Panasewicz had compiled more than a decade of experience serving Venezuelan cuisine from their food truck and at the Avanti food hall when they finally opened their own Platt Park brick-and-mortar. Their experience shows in the succulent meats, fluffy corn-flour shells, savory black beans, sweet plantains and tangy sauces loaded with lime and cilantro.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

1859 S. Pearl St., Denver, 80210
720-432-4205, website
Ramen Star
Ramen Star
Mark Antonation

Ramen Star opened on a quiet Sunnyside street in 2019 with a couple of secrets hidden inside. First: a high-tech noodle machine that allows chef/owner Takashi Tamai to turn out springy ramen noodles every day (when most ramen shops purchase pre-made noodles). Second: Tamai’s dedication to building layers of flavor in his broths using traditional ingredients and methods. They add up to the best sips and slurps in town.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

4044 Tejon St., Denver, 80211
303-455-3787, website
Rioja
Rioja
Scott Lentz

In 2004, chef Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch opened Rioja, a game-changer in Larimer Square. Since then, Rioja has only gained in popularity and national praise, with Jasinski winning Colorado’s first Best Chef: Southwest award from the James Beard Foundation, in 2013. The fare coming out of the open kitchen remains a jumble of Italian, French and Spanish influences highlighted by handmade pastas, exquisite sauces and carefully chosen wines.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1431 Larimer St., Denver, 80202
303-820-2282, website
Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que
Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que
Danielle Lirette

Denver lacked its own barbecue identity until Coy and Rachael Webb opened Roaming Buffalo in 2015. Coy, a trained chef with roots in Texas and a career in professional kitchens, decided early on to capture the spirit of Colorado in smoked lamb shanks and shoulder, bison ribs and game sausage; he also turns out more typical pork ribs and pork, sliced beef brisket and smoky chicken. Roaming Buffalo has almost single-handedly created a style of barbecue that Denver — and now Golden, too — can call its own.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2387 S. Downing St., Denver, 80210
303-722-2226, website
Root Down
Root Down

DIY decor with industrial elements and roll-up garage windows have become the norm in Denver restaurants, but it was awe-inspiring and new, as was the menu, when chef/restaurateur Justin Cucci opened Root Down in an old garage in 2009. Bold mashups of international influences, along with a commitment to pleasing vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free customers, remain the draw a decade later.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1600 W. 33rd Ave., Denver, 80211
303-993-4200, website
Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen
Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen

Josh Pollack brought the East Coast with him when he moved to Colorado, in the form of bagels just like those he remembered from growing up in New Jersey. Stack those bagels with smoked and cured fish (all made on site) or house-cured pastrami, and you’ve got winning sandwiches that still please customers every morning (don’t wait too long, or your favorites might sell out) at the Five Points deli.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

725 E. 26th Ave., Denver, 80205
720-440-9880, website
Safta
Safta
Danielle Lirette

Safta, which means “grandmother” in Hebrew, is a personal project for New Orleans chef/restaurateur Alon Shaya; he opened his first restaurant outside of Louisiana at Denver’s Source Hotel in 2018. Inspired by his grandmother’s recipes and the cuisine of Israel, where he was born, Shaya has given the city a new taste of Mediterranean cuisine, with wood-fired pita bread, an expansive hummus menu, and a range of other dishes including kebabs, falafel, braised lamb shank and duck matzoh ball soup.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver, 80216
720-408-2444, website
Sam's No. 3
Sam's No. 3
Danielle Lirette

Sam’s No. 3 — the flagship in a then-fifty-year-old restaurant empire — finally closed in 1969, but the Armatas family returned the diner to its original downtown block in 2004. The menu is voluminous, with eight pages crammed with specials and sides and extras. Although the core offerings remain the Coney Island favorites that made Sam’s reputation back in the 1920s, there are also skillet breakfasts, burgers, breakfast burritos and other Mexican grub.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

1500 Curtis St., Denver, 80202
303-534-1927, website
Senor Bear
Senor Bear
Danielle Lirette

Chefs Blake Edmunds and Max MacKissock have worked on numerous projects together, but Señor Bear is the purest distillation of their intelligence and adventurousness, combining a variety of Latin American culinary traditions into a tight and lively menu. Puerto Rican, Mexican and Peruvian flavors showcase the creativity of the kitchen, and new cocktail kits, happy-hour packs and meals for two to four hungry bears at home have elevated LoHi’s takeout game.($$$)

3301 Tejon St., Denver, 80211
720-572-5997, website
Somebody People
Somebody People
Chelsea Chorpenning

This plant-based eatery feels casual and lighthearted, but the food is serious business, built on real vegetables, nuts and grains rather than relying on fake meats. Somebody People, named for a line in a David Bowie song, opens up a whole new world of light yet satisfying fare, along with market boxes of seasonal produce and other kitchen needs.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1165 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210
720-502-5681, website
Spuntino
Spuntino

Chef Cindhura Reddy and her husband, Elliot Strathmann, took over Spuntino in 2014, adding their own touches to the intimate Italian eatery. Today, hand-rolled pastas and braised meats are the stars, while goat from El Regalo Ranch and creamy arancini have become signature items. At the bar, Strathmann has amassed a collection of Italian amari, the bitter after-dinner spirits that give diners one more reason to linger. Since June, Spuntino has been serving dinner entirely outdoors, while Strathmann has personally walked to-go orders to Highland neighbors.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2639 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, 80211
303-433-0949, website
Steuben's Uptown
Steuben's Uptown

Steuben’s is named after a Boston diner once run by founder Josh Wolkon’s family. Since 2006, this retro joint has paid tribute to regional American favorites, from well-made lobster rolls to juicy green-chile cheeseburgers. Steuben’s was also a pioneer in large-format cocktails, so the bar has years of experience batching booze — which you can now enjoy at home.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

523 E. 17th Ave., Denver, 80203
303-830-1001, website
Stoic & Genuine
Stoic & Genuine

Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch made the short leap from Larimer Square to Union Station in 2014 with Stoic & Genuine, the oddly named but well-appointed seafood bar inside the refurbished train station. Raw oysters draw seafood lovers with unparalleled freshness, while playful interpretations of tuna melts and chowdah as well as unique presentations of mussels, scallops, shrimp and other delights make for a lively lunch or a serious supper.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1701 Wynkoop St., Denver, 80202
303-640-3474, website
Super Mega Bien
Super Mega Bien
Danielle Lirette

Chef Dana Rodriguez brings magic to even the humblest of ingredients at Super Mega Bien, where dim sum-style small plates offer diners tastes of Oaxaca, Yucatán, Puerto Rico and other Latin American culinary hotbeds. Family-sized dishes have always been part of the menu, and they’ve adapted well for takeout and delivery, particularly the succulent cochinita pibil complete with tortillas, salsas and toppings.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1260 25th St., Denver, 80205
720-269-4695, website
Super Star Asian Cuisine
Super Star Asian Cuisine
Cassandra Kotnik

A cluster of dim sum houses surrounds the intersection of Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, and all of them have their strengths — but the most consistently excellent is Super Star Asian, a bare-bones cavern whose back wall is lined with seafood tanks. When the carts are parked, takeout is an excellent option, but make sure to read through the restaurant’s menu of excellent Cantonese offerings beyond the dumplings.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2200 W. Alameda Ave., Denver, 80223
303-727-9889, website
Sushi Den
Sushi Den
Sushi Den

Denver has a longstanding love affair with sushi, thanks in large part to Sushi Den, the pristine house of Japanese seafood that brothers Yasu and Toshi Kizaki opened in 1984. As testament to Sushi Den’s status, chefs at just about every other revered sushi restaurant in town have spent time working here. Rather than resting on reputation, though, Sushi Den stays at the top with its commitment to the best seafood available while adapting to the times with top-notch packages for home diners.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

1487 S. Pearl St., Denver, 80210
303-777-0826, website
Sushi Sasa
Sushi Sasa
Linnea Covington

Wayne Conwell has been slicing fish and finding new ways to turn Japanese tradition on end at Sushi Sasa since 2005. By synthesizing Western technique and current Denver tastes with the traditions of sushi that evolved in isolation long before it hit American shores, the chef has continued to stay relevant in a scene that shifts and changes like an undulating school of tuna

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

2401 15th St., Denver, 80202
303-433-7272, website
Tacos Tequila Whiskey
Tacos Tequila Whiskey

Kevin Morrison has taken a taco cart with a bawdy name and turned it into a thriving taco business. Back in 2010, Morrison often had trouble getting licenses to set up street-food sales because of his business’s original name: Pinche Tacos. Now there are three brick-and-mortar locations under the simple but descriptive Tacos Tequila Whiskey moniker. While the menu remains true to Morrison’s street-food days, the food seems to get better with each passing year.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

1514 York St., Denver, 80206
720-475-1337, website
TAG
TAG

Chef Troy Guard’s first restaurant is still one of his best — a wild culinary thrill ride capturing elements from around the Pacific Rim, including his home state of Hawaii. Now a Larimer Square mainstay, TAG still surprises with unique flavor combinations and tropical ingredients, along with colorful combos of sashimi and sushi rolls built with takeout customers in mind.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1441 Larimer St., Denver, 80202
303-996-9985, website
Taste of Thailand
Taste of Thailand
Mark Antonation

Taste of Thailand was one of metro Denver’s first Thai restaurants when it opened in Englewood in 1994, and since its move to South Broadway in 2015, it’s remained one of the best. Chef/owner Noy Farrell visits her home country regularly, touring Thailand on the hunt for new flavors and trends, which she brings back to Denver. Light and vibrant salads share space on the menu with blazing hot preparations and complex soups — all with the fresh flavors of Farrell’s kitchen garden

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2120 S. Broadway, Denver, 80210
303-762-9112, website
Tavernetta
Tavernetta
Danielle Lirette

Frasca Food and Wine founders Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson brought their impeccable hospitality from Boulder to Denver with Tavernetta in 2017, creating a more accessible Italian menu than Frasca’s, but not sparing any details in the sumptuous decor or deep wine list. The result is magnificent, and the team has put the same attention to detail into new meal kits for takeout and delivery.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$, $$$$)

1889 16th St., Denver, 80202
720-605-1889, website
Tessa Delicatessen
Tessa Delicatessen
Mark Antonation

Vince Howard’s spartan deli has only been open a year, but already the neighborhood has embraced his breakfast and lunch sandwiches as if they’ve been mainstays for much longer. And Howard has returned the favor by providing a variety of experiences throughout the year, from burger nights to South Indian feasts (courtesy of his sous chef) to occasional barbecues. Like a multi-layered Reuben on flavorful rye, the whole is greater than any single ingredient at Tessa.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

5724 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80220
720-746-9138, website
To the Wind Bistro
To the Wind Bistro

Well-edited: That’s how we’d describe To the Wind Bistro, the restaurant from husband and wife Royce Oliveira and Leanne Adamson. The space is snug but smartly appointed, the wine list short but clever, and the menu brief but long on winners — no easy feat, given that it changes often. While To the Wind is an ideal setting for a romantic date when the dining room is open, it's also a wonderful takeout option, with a unique selection of wines and beers to accompany you home.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

3333 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80206
303-316-3333, website
Uchi
Uchi
Danielle Lirette

It takes a lot of confidence to take a concept successful in one town and translate it for a new audience in a faraway city. But chef/restaurateur Tyson Cole exudes confidence with his repertoire, which re-envisions Japanese sushi-house fare without ever disrespecting its roots. The Denver version of Uchi remains true to the Austin original while adding just enough Colorado originality to entice dubious diners. We’ll take this Texas invasion.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$$)

2500 Lawrence St., Denver, 80205
303-444-1922, website
Ultreia
Ultreia

Tapas, gin and good times have turned a once-dark corner of Union Station into a destination for folks seeking Spanish cuisine in Denver. While the interior is tight at this restaurant from Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, a table outside makes for a pleasing outing when accompanied by rounds of small plates filled with the flavors of the Iberian Peninsula.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

1701 Wynkoop St., Denver, 80202
303-534-1970, website
Uncle
Uncle

Uncle was Denver’s first modern entrant in the ramen-shop craze, and what an entry it was. Owner Tommy Lee took a less traditional approach to the time-honored Japanese noodle soup, creating intensely complex and tasty broths as a base for a nest of noodles and other delicious accoutrements. Years into this restaurant’s run, its popularity shows no signs of abating, even as it expanded to a Washington Park West location and switched to takeout only for the majority of 2020.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2215 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, 80211
303-433-3263, website
Uncle Zoe's Chinese Kitchen
Uncle Zoe's Chinese Kitchen
Mark Antonation

Handmade dumplings and a little Sichuan spice make Uncle Zoe’s an eye-opening experience compared to standard American-Chinese fare. The kitchen takes the time to pleat every soup dumpling and season every dish just right. Go ahead, ask for the wontons in spicy chili oil so that you can experience the balance of heat and numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Also not to be missed are the savory pastry pockets filled with beef and celery or shrimp and pork.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

12203 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora, 80014
303-755-8518, website
Urban Burma
Urban Burma
Mark Antonation

Aurora’s Mango House bills itself as “a shared space for resettled refugees” and includes medical and dental offices as well as space for youth organizations and community programs. But there’s also a small food court with international vendors selling the best of their country’s food. Siri Tan launched Urban Burma here in early 2019, with the most complete roster of Burmese dishes the city has seen. But Tan’s restaurant isn’t just a novelty. The beef curry, nan gyi dok noodles and occasional mohinga, a catfish noodle soup considered the national dish of Myanmar, are all made with love and care.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

10180 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 80014
626-628-5430, website
Vinh Xuong Bakery
Vinh Xuong Bakery
Linnea Covington

Banh mi are big these days, but the Huynh family that founded Vinh Xuong Bakery served the sandwiches decades before son Duc Huynh opened his stylish and sunny cafe in 2011. He’s continued his family’s banh mi tradition of using baguettes baked in the shop every morning, then loading them with barbecued pork and chicken, pâté, meatballs and other housemade meats. Vinh Xuong is also a full Vietnamese bakery cafe, so you can grab coffee drinks to take out with your moon cakes, sesame balls and other delights.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($)

2370 W. Alameda Ave., Denver, 80223
303-922-0999, website
Welton Street Cafe
Welton Street Cafe
Mark Antonation

Five Points has long been the focal point of African-American culture and community in Denver, with jazz and supper clubs and a variety of storefront restaurants offering homestyle cooking. The one with the most staying power is the Welton Street Cafe, where the Dickerson family has kept the catfish, fried chicken, smothered pork chops and other soul-food specialties coming for more than twenty years. Just make sure you leave room for some peach cobbler or a slice of sweet-potato pie. The Welton Street Cafe is currently open for takeout only; see the restaurant's Facebook page for current menus and ordering details.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

2736 Welton St., Denver, 80205
303-296-6602, website
The Wolf's Tailor
The Wolf's Tailor

Yes, the Wolf’s Tailor combines influences from Italy, China and Japan, but if your mind is wandering to fusion, you should know that chef/owner Kelly Whitaker focuses more on what the different cuisines have in common: grilled meats served on skewers, raw-fish preparations, fermented vegetables and noodles made from fresh-milled grains. Most of the food is cooked in a wood-burning oven and on charcoal grills, and the results are subtle, strange and often stunning.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

4058 Tejon St., Denver, 80211
720-456-6507, website
Work & Class
Work & Class

What possessed chef Dana Rodriguez and her business partner, Tony Maciag, to open their first restaurant inside a space created from recycled shipping containers is beyond us, but the result is a joyous celebration that seamlessly combines Rodriguez’s Mexican roots with traditions from the American South. Since day one, Work & Class has served family-style fare, making the food excellent for taking home.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$$)

2500 Larimer St., Denver, 80205
303-292-0700, website
Yuan Wonton
Yuan Wonton
Penelope Wong

If you haven’t been following chef Penelope Wong’s scarlet-and-black food truck, you’d better start — stat — because you’re missing out on some of the best food in Denver. The chef loads steamers full of dumplings and pans full of potstickers, and garlic-chile wontons, pan-fried soup dumplings and adorable bao in the shape of pigs and pandas are on the roster. Over the past year, Wong has joined other chefs for one-time pop-ups, each selling out well in advance. Keep an eye on @penelopewong and @yuanwonton on Instagram so you don’t miss the next one.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$)

No Address, Denver
720-961-3406, website
Zocalito
Zocalito

Chef Micheal Beary moved his Aspen-based Mexican restaurant to Denver in the waning days of 2018, bringing with him the biggest selection of Oaxacan dishes the city has ever seen. The bold, smoky flavors of Oaxaca are bolstered by chiles and other ingredients that the chef imports from southern Mexico through his own company, which works with Mexican farmers to grow chiles rarely found outside the region.

Since restrictions and conditions are changing frequently, contact the restaurant for the latest on COVID-related accommodations and options.($$, $$$)

999 18th St., Denver, 80202
720-923-5965, website

Osaka Ramen

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.