The 10 Best French Dip Sandwiches in Denver | Westword

The Ten Best French Dip Sandwiches in Denver

When I dip, you dip, we dip.
A5 has outstanding steaks, but the French dip is a must-try, too.
A5 has outstanding steaks, but the French dip is a must-try, too. Molly Martin
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The French dip is a sandwich with some real meat to it. Tradition calls for a crusty French roll, thin shavings of rare beef and a cup of meat drippings, or jus, to go with it. Some accepted variations include horseradish, melted white cheese or even grilled onions. But we aren't stopping there: One of our current favorites substitutes smoked mushroom for meat, and another stars a unique jus that almost tastes like it has schmaltz (chicken fat) mixed in.

The French dip is a hearty order, for sure, and one that, when done right, can satisfy on all fronts. These ten restaurants are making a classic French dip right — or have come up with versions so tasty that you'll forgive any unconventional twists.

Here are the ten best French dip sandwiches in Denver:

A5 Steakhouse

1600 15th Street
With so many great meaty options at A5 Steakhouse, why should a simple sandwich be at the top of the list? One reason: wagyu beef, which comes sliced paper-thin and piled high on top of a soft, pre-dipped baguette. Like everything chef Max MacKissock sources for the restaurant, the beef is some of the best he can find. The sandwich also comes with a healthy slathering of horseradish and spicy mustard, which cuts the richness of the tender meat. Find the $14 dip during happy hour on the bar menu only, giving guests the opportunity to watch the cocktail show while dining.
click to enlarge a french dip sandwich and fries
American Elm uses shaved ribeye for its French dip.
American Elm

American Elm

4132 West 38th Avenue
It takes two hands to hold the hearty French dip at American Elm, but once you've grasped it, you won't want to put it down. Created by executive chef Daniel Mangin, the sandwich comes on a soft Grateful Bread roll, which is piled high with slow-roasted and shaved ribeye and slathered with a slightly spicy horseradish aioli. Use the velvety jus for both the dip and the perfect fries that come with it. The $24 dish is big enough to share...but that doesn't mean you have to.
click to enlarge a roast beef sandwich
Caramelized onions amp up the flavor of this French dip.
Molly Martin

Congress Park Market

2620 East 12th Avenue
Last year, the owners of neighborhood market and deli Spinelli's bought a longtime market in Congress Park that was once a Piggly Wiggly, gave it a refresh and added a deli. The menu features some Spinelli's staples, along with a lineup of sandwiches all its own created by chef Michael Neale, whose résumé includes Hop Alley and the Wolf's Tailor. Among them is a dreamy mash-up: the French onion French dip. Priced at $15.99, its loaded with Thumann’s thick-cut roast beef, Gruyere, caramelized onions and arugula on a sturdy baguette with French onion jus on the side. Like every sandwich here, it also comes with a pickle spear and a piece of fruit, both if which you can grab at the register when you check out.
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The French dip at Culture Meat & Cheese is a must for any fan of the sandwich.
Linnea Covington

Culture Meat & Cheese

2669 Larimer Street
On the south side of Denver Central Market in RiNo is the bustling counter hosting Culture Meat & Cheese, Justin Brunson's sandwich and charcuterie shop. The French dip served here popped up on the specials menu often enough that it has now become a permanent fixture for $17.50. Luckily for us, it's truly one of the best in the city. The baguette comes fresh from Marczyk Fine Foods, and it gets toasted before a pile of thinly sliced roasted beef, horseradish aioli, caramelized onions and Swiss cheese is added. The jus works perfectly to pull it all together, though the sandwich is just as good without it.
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Head to French 75 for a perfect, simple French dip.
Linnea Covington

French 75

717 17th Street
While you probably shouldn't eat this massive sandwich in its entirety, chances are you won't be able to stop yourself. Yes, the $23 French dip with a side of fries or a salad at Frank Bonanno's downtown spot French 75 is that good. The hoagie comes from the restaurateur's nearby bakery, LoDough, and acts as the ideal vehicle for a heap of shaved, mid-rare rotisserie-roasted sirloin. There's nothing else to the simple but perfect sandwich, save for a bowl of jus for dipping, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
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The French dip at Guard and Grace downtown.
Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace

1801 California Street
Since opening in 2014, Troy Guard's downtown steakhouse, Guard and Grace, has made one of the best French dips in the city. Take note: it's only available during its lunch service, which runs Tuesday through Thursday. The venue's own steak seasoning adds flavor to thinly shaved piles of low-and-slow-cooked prime rib on a hearty hoagie that's griddled with butter and slathered with a fresh thyme-garlic aioli. "We wanted to keep it minimal and showcase the highest-quality ingredients," says Guard. Dip the creation into the scrumptious drippings (made from steak trimmings), or slather it with creamy horseradish sauce. Either way, this $20 sandwich is this steakhouse's go-to at lunchtime.
click to enlarge French dip sandwich on white paper with sauce
Order the full French dip (shown here) or a half portion from Mr. Lucky's.
Linnea Covington

Mr. Lucky's Sandwich

3326 Tejon Street
711 East 6th Avenue
With locations in LoHi and Capitol Hill, Mr. Lucky's has been serving a wide variety of sandwiches in Denver for over two decades. Not much has changed as far as style and offerings — even the prices remain on the lower end compared to other local sandwich shops. This means you can get a French dip starting at $6.25 for a half, or $11.75 for a whole. The dip proves simple, with roast beef and provolone nestled into a crusty baguette. The jus and creamy horseradish are on the side, packaged to-go.
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The Smoked Mushroom, a pecan-smoked portobello dip at Pony Up.
Linnea Covington

Pony Up

1808 Blake Street
Denver never knew it needed a place dedicated solely to the wonderful dip sandwich until Angela Neri unveiled Pony Up downtown. The late-night, laid-back eatery specializes in an array of dips to go with bar manager Erin Katz's equally tasty cocktails. If you want traditional, go with the Alameda Street Classic, made with shaved beef, rosemary, mayonnaise and a lovely jus to soak it in. For guests looking for something a little different, the Frenchie carries layers of thin roast beef, Gruyère, thyme and crispy onions, with a version of French onion soup for the sauce. Vegetarians can even get in on the magic with the Smoked Mushroom, which swaps in superbly smoky portobello along with Swiss cheese and an oh-so-velvety porcini broth. Indulge in these dips, which will run you $15 to $17, in the hip, relaxing bar every day between  4 p.m. and 2 a.m.
click to enlarge a french dip with french fries
Poppies is a neighborhood favorite for good reason.
Molly Martin

Poppies Restaurant & Lounge

2334 South Colorado Boulevard
Poppies has been an institution in South Denver since 1985, so it's not surprising the French dip here proves to be a timeless classic as well. The prime rib is as tender as the inside of the baguette, which has a good crust to stand up to the jus. Eat it for lunch or dinner — it's $18 a plate and comes with a nice pile of fries. Or, if you want to change things up, consider the Philly style for just $1 more. It's the same base as the French dip, but laden with sautéed onions, bell peppers and melted pepper jack cheese.
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Try the French dip at Zaidy's for a classic version of the sandwich.
Linnea Covington

Zaidy's Deli & Bakery

600 South Holly Street
When Zaidy's moved to the Hilltop neighborhood and was taken over by Joel Appel and Beth Ginsberg in 2021, the classic Jewish deli kept a lot of the old menu made popular by longtime owner and founder Gerard Rudofsky. But one thing that wasn't on the Cherry Creek menu was a French dip, something the new guard helped rectify. And we're so glad it did, because it's a wonderful example of a classic dip sandwich, coming in at $17 with your choice of side. The deli roll is soft and pliable but sturdy enough to stand up to the pile of thick-cut beef brisket and rich jus, which is lighter in color and a little fattier than most of the others we've tried. It's almost as if a bit of schmaltz might be mixed in — which wouldn't be a bad thing at all.
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