Best New Restaurant in a Former Best New Restaurant 2021 | The Fifth String | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Best New Restaurant in a Former Best New Restaurant

The Fifth String

Mark Antonation

When Justin Brunson closed Old Major, his acclaimed LoHi restaurant, in order to focus on River Bear American Meats last spring, it seemed unlikely that anyone would be able to fill his shoes. But the space didn't remain vacant for long, because former Old Major executive chef Amos Watts (who'd filled the same role at Acorn and Corrida) stepped in and turned it into the Fifth String, changing little of the interior decor but launching his own menu of thoughtful and surprisingly veg-forward (given the previous occupant's meaty reputation) dishes. Along with excellent food, the chef/owner brought his love of wine, and his wine roster is already among the deepest and most interesting in town. Watts isn't playing second fiddle to anyone at the Fifth String.

Joni Schrantz

The finest restaurants make you feel as if you're the only one who matters, and that's how Ty Leon, Heather Morrison and Austin Carson treat diners at Olivia, which opened in January 2020. While Leon is in the kitchen folding pasta into intricate shapes for your wonder and amusement, Carson is mixing a cocktail just right for your tastes, and Morrison is gliding between tables to check on your every need. The food must be perfect, too, so that your dinner is a smooth trip in a luxury sedan, not a wild ride of highs and lows. And from bread to entree to dessert, Olivia executes on all cylinders. Each menu item is as tempting as the last, so choosing isn't easy. But a tasting menu solves that problem, and even if you go à la carte, there are no bad choices. Fine dining is a rare treat for most of us, and we want our dining dollars to be well spent. Olivia makes sure that happens every time.

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