Most of the 16th Street Mall appeals more to tourists than locals, but Otra Vez Cantina is one of the exceptions, offering drink specials and great food for Denver residents as well as visitors. Just a few doors down from the 16th and California light-rail stop, the lively Mexican cantina is easy to get to without having to battle for parking — so you can indulge in the liquid side of brunch without worry.
The Tavern Hospitality Group opened Otra Vez in spring 2017, bringing its drink-forward brand to this part of downtown. You won't be disappointed in the restaurant's eleven margarita flavors beyond its traditional house margarita. Blueberry, kiwi, ginger, coconut and pineapple are just a few of the choices, available in a generous "casa" pour or the even more imposing "grande," which can only be described as a two-handed margarita. The brunch menu also offers white or red sangria, espumosa fruta (mimosas), micheladas, Bloody Marys and Bloody Marias. "We started working with Tommyknocker and were excited when we could add their green chile beer to our michelada," explains general manager Kiersten Klaud; house Bloody Mary mix and a Tajin spiced rim complete the zingy drink.
And with 200 tequilas available, you're sure to find something you like for brunch.
The cantina's popular dinnertime street tacos also make an appearance on the brunch menu, with nearly a dozen choices of beef, pork, chicken, seafood and veggie toppings, none of which are particularly breakfasty, even if they hit the spot alongside a hair of the dog. Particularly tempting is the barbacoa taco, topped with shredded chile-braised beef, queso fresco and red onions.
Tacos al pastor are piled with more grilled pineapple than you'd find at your local taqueria, but the marinated roast pork can still be tasted, even with its accompanying pico de gallo and avocado salsa verde. A meatless taco called the Vegetal comes with roasted poblanos, zucchini and sweet corn topped with cotija, red onions and salsa verde.
You can get pork cartinas on a taco, but Otra Vez also layers its shredded pork in a skillet hash, which comes with with two fried eggs, pico de gallo, salsa verde and Hatch green chile breakfast potatoes. Two flour tortillas work perfectly for wrapping your skillet fixings or mopping up your plate.
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Leave room for dessert; there are five to choose from. The churro doughnuts come as golden-brown rings with a spiral pattern dusted in cinnamon sugar, with sides of chocolate and caramel sauce for dipping. Sopaipillas are always a hit, but for something more unusual, try the avocado lime cheesecake.
Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday this year, so you can combine your brunch outing with the Mexican celebration of the Battle of Puebla. Mark it on your calendar or check the Cinco countdown clock on the Otra Vez website — accurate down to el segundo.
Otra Vez is located at 610 16th Street and serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 303-226-1567 or otravezcantina.com. Hot tip: Ask for your drink "en fuego," and Otra Vez will set it on fire.