Through the challenges of the pandemic, the local restaurant scene has proven to be resilient, with hundreds of new eateries debuting in the last year. It also continues to shine on the national scene: Thirteen Colorado chefs and restaurants were named 2023 James Beard award semifinalists.
From February 22 to 26, diners will be able to dig into the first-ever Mile High Asian Food Week. And that will soon be followed by Denver Restaurant Week, back for its eighteenth year.
Nearly 180 restaurants are participating in the 2023 edition, which is set for March 3-12. During that period (actually ten days rather than a week), each eatery will offer a prix fixe, multi-course menu for either $25, $35 or $45 per person.
The menus were just released on February 1, so the time is right to start digesting all the details and booking reservations before they're gone. Some standouts to consider:
Apple Blossom, chef Paul Reilly's farm-to-table restaurant inside the Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver, is offering three courses for $45. Courses include savory duck gumbo to start, rigatoni with Colorado lamb Bolognese for a main and citrus Earl Grey cheesecake for dessert.
Chez Maggy, celebrity chef Ludo Lefevbre's sleek French eatery with a Colorado edge, has put together a Restaurant Week menu that includes a soup, salad, main and dessert for $45. Don't miss the buttery, indulgent trout almandine.
Cucina Bella opened in Lowry last November and is an under-the-radar spot in a strip mall serving some seriously good Italian fare. It's offering three courses for $35, with a number of options for appetizers, salads and mains, including beef carpaccio, salmon risotto and Diavola pizza with spicy Calabrian chiles.
The recently reopened El Rancho in Evergreen is drawing crowds, and for Restaurant Week, it's serving up three courses for $45. Start with such appetizers as beer-battered cheese curds or shishito peppers, followed by a soup or salad (you can opt for the throwback salad bar, too) and mains like chicken-fried steak with sausage gravy or a smoked chicken pot pie.
Chef Charles Mani's Urban Village Grill in Park Meadows excels at Indian fare, and its Restaurant Week menu includes a lot of choices. For $45, you'll pick an appetizer like tandoori chicken or kale moong dal chat, a main of butter chicken or boneless lamb curry, one side, and cardamom pistachio kulfi or gulab jamun for dessert.