Kim Ba Vietnamese Cuisine
Kim Ba
Denver has many good Vietnamese restaurants, but our favorite is Kim Ba. There may be better places for pho, for frogs' legs, for other individual dishes. But no crew works the grills better than the one at Kim Ba, and there's no other Vietnamese kitchen in Denver that does everything with such simplicity, confidence and excellence as Kim Ba's.
Pints Pub
Before any of you dedicated drinkers of the Irish dew get all up in arms, we'll admit that the whisky list at Pints Pub, though unbelievably deep, broad and inclusive, is primarily a list of Scotch whiskys. And while there are a few Irish whiskeys-with-an-e listed toward the bottom — Bushmills, Clontarf, Connemara and Tyrconnel, as well as pop-cult classics like Japanese Suntory and Colorado's own Stranahan's — they are not the primary draw here. But who needs 'em when you can get a glass of thirty-year Laphroaig, a vintage 1966 Balvenie from the cask or one of the rarest Scotches from Banff, where the distillery itself has been demolished?
Z Cuisine and A Cote Bar a Absinthe
Patrick Dupays already operated one of the city's best French restaurants, Z Cuisine, so when he announced that he'd picked up a second spot just two doors down from his original restaurant and was planning on turning it into a wine bar, Denver's francophiles were (literally) beside themselves with joy. And with good reason, too, because Z Cuisine À Côté stands as its own destination — a warm, beautiful tribute to the Parisian wine-bar culture of the 1900s, offering plenty of wines by the glass, cheeses, charcuterie and a selection of small plates (like frisée aux lardons, petit chèvre and asparagus quiche, and onion soup gratinée) made to the same high standards of rustic Frenchiness exemplified by Dupays's original restaurant. From A to Z, this is one class act.
Frasca Food and Wine
Julia Vandenoever
It helps to have the right help in a restaurant. You want well-trained and passionate people working at every stratum — from chef to dishwasher. That's the ideal situation, and while many restaurants fall short of the ideal, one does not: Frasca. Everyone here knows his job, is passionate about his job, does his job as best he can. And nowhere does this show more than in the wine department, because Frasca is one of only a couple of restaurants in the country that has not just one, but two certified master sommeliers on the floor. And they're not just strolling around with a silver cup, reverentially pouring bottles of Petrus; they're ardently pimping the small, the weird, the bargain and the interesting. They're pouring tajuts and giving out free samples, attempting to educate their customers while they coddle them with this unusual Spanish vintage, that killer bottle from Argentina, or a glass of something that's not going to be found anywhere but at Frasca.
Palace Arms
The Brown Palace
A Penfolds shiraz from 2000. La Tache Burgundy, 1999. A Château Ausone Bordeaux, 1995, and a '98 Cheval Blanc. Need we go on? Okay, how about a bottle of 1990 Petrus? An '89 LaTour? Bottles of Lafite-Rothschild from (almost) every important year dating back to 1978, a cellar full of Mouton-Rothschild. Then there's the Haut-Brion Bordeaux, the '28 Château Margaux? Save your pennies, oenophiles, and make your reservations. The Palace Arms is justly legendary, and its wine list full of classic vintages is one reason why.

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