The Best Green Chile in Denver | Westword

The Ten Best Places to Get Green Chile in Denver

Did your favorite make the cut?
The green chile plate at Chakas.
The green chile plate at Chakas. Molly Martin
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No food debate in Colorado is hotter than the arguments that ensue when someone brings up green chile. Some people are loyal only to the version made in New Mexico, where Hatch chiles reign supreme. But Colorado has its own style, as well as a loyalty to its own Pueblo chile, which many consider to be meatier and more flavorful than the Hatch variety.

In the Mile High, green chile is often served smothering Den-Mex staples like Mexican hamburgers and crispy chiles rellenos wrapped in egg roll wrappers. Sometimes it's eaten straight from a bowl, served with tortillas on the side, which you can use to scoop up every last drop.

But while there's no denying that green chile is delicious, not all versions are created equal. From saucier varieties to more stew-like options, we've sampled the goods from restaurants across the metro area. Choosing a favorite is a very personal matter. Many people have tried and true go-to's, and with so many kinds available, it's easy to understand why opinions on this matter run hot.

In our search for this year's ten best, we focused on finding green chile that delivers big on flavor, whether you're eating it straight or ladled onto burritos. Some pack a lot of heat; some are tomato-heavy; others go big on chunks of pork. But they're all sure to satisfy, especially as the chilly days of winter get closer.

Here are this year's ten best places to get green chile, in alphabetical order:
click to enlarge green chile on a plate
The green chile at Brewery Bar II packs a lot of heat.
Molly Martin

Brewery Bar II

150 Kalamath Street
The original Brewery Bar opened in the Tivioli Brewery in the 1950s and moved to its current space in 1974. While Brewery Bar III was added in Lone Tree in 2003, the only thing we love more than Brewery Bar's (very red-hued) green chile are the low-key, divey vibes at the Kalamath location, along with the regulars who hold court over cold beers. The crispy relleno is the way to go here, and you'll be asked if you want your chile mild or hot, but be warned: Even the half-and-half option packs a hell of a punch. Loaded with tomatoes and chunks of pork, it's unapologetically chunky and downright craveable.
click to enlarge green chile, rice and beans on a plate
Pair your Chakas green chile with a house marg.
Molly Martin

Chakas Mexican Restaurant

6265 East Evans Avenue
Located in a south Denver strip mall, Chakas is a full-service restaurant with a bar that serves a pretty solid house margarita. But it's the green chile plate, available in mild, hot or half-and-half, that's really worth coming back for again and again. If you get a burrito (or anything else) smothered, the orange-colored chile is gravy-like, with visible pieces of chopped peppers. But when you order the plate, you'll get a heaping serving loaded with large pieces of tender pork, plus rice and beans alongside, all of which can be loaded into tortillas or scooped up with the basket of chips that's delivered to every table.
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The green chile plate at D'Corazon comes with large chunks of pork.
Molly Martin


1530 Blake Street
This downtown spot, which has been open since 2004 (it spun off from a Las Delicias once located in LoDo), is an ideal place to take visitors for an exemplary Colorado-style green chile. While you can get the thick, gravy-like chile on many items, tasting it solo truly lets it shine. There's a vegetarian version available, or you can opt to order it with big chunks of tender roasted pork. It has heat, but not so much that you'll be sweating, as well as a hint of acidity to add some balance. The long strips of chiles and flecks of roasted skin are your assurance that only the fresh stuff is used here.
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Efrain's brings the heat.
Molly Martin

Efrain's of Boulder

2480 Canyon Boulevard, Boulder
The original Efrain's opened in Lafayette over three decades ago, but its namesake owner now only operates the Boulder outpost, which moved in May 2022 from its longtime home in south Boulder to a space near McGuckin Hardware. While the restaurant might have new digs, the pork-studded green chile remains as fiery as ever — though the staff says it tends to be a bit less spicy in the winter months. The heat hits hard from the very first bite, but this chile also has a depth of flavor that makes it nearly impossible to stop eating bite after bite — except, of course, to take a sip of the sweet-and-sour house margarita that is a must-order if you're going green.
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Burritos smothered in El Taco's green chile are a favorite.
Molly Martin

El Taco de Mexico

714 Santa Fe Drive
For 38 years, this bright-yellow counter-service joint has been serving up some of the best Mexican fare in the city — and it was recognized for that in 2020, when it was honored with an America's Classics Award by the James Beard Foundation. While there are a lot of reasons to love El Taco de Mexico (including, yes, the tacos), it's the green chile, unlike any other in town, that shines the brightest of all. The deeply flavored, dark-greenish-brown-hued chile verde is smooth and saucy, ideal for blanketing burritos. But it's also essential to get a large side of it to go in a Styrofoam cup, with chunks of tender pork added for an ideal complement to any meal...or to eat on its own.
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Pair your green chile with eggs and hash browns at Hits the Spot.
Molly Martin

Hits the Spot Diner

5637 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
For twelve years, Manuel Gatsiopoulos and his wife, Trish, have run this classic diner that feels like it's been around much longer. The rotating pie cases are filled with tempting options, and the counter seats offer a view of tasty plates coming through the kitchen window, from burgers to pancakes to pork chops. The green chile is the unexpected standout, though, with a nice, warming heat level and a finely tuned balance of chopped chiles, tomatoes and pork. And it's made with cornstarch, so it's gluten-free.
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The Mexican hamburger at La Fiesta, served with spicy, stick-to-your-ribs green chile.
Mark Antonation

La Fiesta

2340 Champa Street
This old-school spot celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2023, making it one of the longest-running restaurants in metro Denver still operating in the same place, under the same family. For all of that time, the Herrera family has been ladling the classic, roux-thickened green chile on top of sloppy-in-a-good-way burritos, Mexican hamburgers, chiles rellenos and other heaping plates of Den-Mex goodness. The spice hits hard up front but mellows quickly, leaving you warm and satisfied. Close enough to downtown that it has often been a lunchtime choice for business deals, meetings of city officials and even Supreme Court judges, the restaurant — once a full-blown supper club and dance hall — still feels like a neighborhood joint in tree-lined Curtis Park.
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La Fogata is a go-to for Den-Mex staples and pink-hued margs.
Molly Martin

La Fogata

8090 East Quincy Avenue
5670 East Evans Avenue
The original location of La Fogata on Evans was opened by Danette Calhoun back in 1990, and in 2004, a second spot was added at the Denver Tech Center. Both eateries are staples in their neighborhoods, with regulars greeted warmly by longtime staff. The thick, warming, gravy-style chile leans just slightly into the orange color palette, the better to match swirls of shredded cheese that meld into the sauce atop burritos, rellenos and enormous Mexican hamburgers. But don't let the muted color fool you: This green chile still glows with a heat that slowly builds until you find yourself reaching for another sip of the pink-hued house margarita.
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The green chile recipe at La Loma hasn't changed in decades.
Molly Martin

La Loma

1801 Broadway
Although La Loma has moved twice since opening in 1973 — first just a few blocks down West 26th Avenue, then all the way downtown in 2016, when it reopened across from the Brown Palace, in the former home of the Trinity Grille — there's one thing that hasn't changed over the decades: the green chile. The recipe was created by Grandma Savina Mendoza, matriarch of the family that started the restaurant. While La Loma has been owned by the Brinkerhoff family since the ’80s, Grandma's Green Chile remains on the menu, vibrant green with a thick, smooth, stew-like consistency and large chunks of pork throughout. Order it as the main event, served in a bowl with supple, housemade flour tortillas on the side, or with the restaurant's crispy mini rellenos for the ultimate Den-Mex snack. And soon there will be even more of it to enjoy, as La Loma, which also has an outpost in Castle Rock, is planning to open additional locations in the DTC and Parker.
a tamale smothered in green chile and cheese
Tamales by La Casita is a longtime Northside staple.
Molly Martin

Tamales by La Casita

3561 Tejon Street
While you can get staples like burritos and chiles rellenos at this counter-service spot that's been in business for nearly fifty years, the real draw at Tamales by La Casita is (obviously) the tamales. But while the husk-wrapped masa pockets stuffed with your choice of red chile and pork or green chile with cheese are reason enough to visit, they become one of the top dishes in the city when ordered smothered with La Casita's heat-forward green chile, which is on the thinner side and studded with small pieces of pork, scant bits of tomato and visible diced chiles. A $3 smothered tamale makes a cheap and filling snack — or grab a dozen and a quart of chile to keep on hand at home for a spicy fix anytime.
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