6625 Leetsdale Drive
This tiny Colombian eatery in east Denver serves up a wide variety of appetizers as well as belt-busting platters. You can make a meal by mixing and matching arepas, pandebono (round, fluffy cheese buns), papas rellenos (stuffed potato croquettes), fried plantains and empanadas. Bring friends so you can sample your way through the menu, or opt for the bandeja paisa, a heaping plate of beans, rice, pork, beef and plantains that will keep you in leftovers for days.
571 East Colfax Avenue
The Bourbon Grill isn't new (in fact, it's been on East Colfax Avenue for more than a decade), but a move to a new sit-down restaurant from its original walk-up window brought the char-grilled chicken to a whole new demographic. Piles of rice, veggies, gooey macaroni and cheese and spicy-sweet chicken can be had for under $10 — and you can now sit down at a table inside to enjoy it all.
258 Santa Fe Drive
The pupusa is El Salvador's gift to the world. The tender disks of grilled cornmeal masa oozing with cheese and plumped with meat or vegetable fillings make a delightful and inexpensive midday meal. El Tazumal's pupusas have just the right balance of crisp and tender, with crunchy flakes adhered to the edges where the cheese has leaked out and caramelized on the grill. Just look for the bright yellow sign announcing "Pupusas" if you're driving north on Santa Fe from Alameda Avenue.
4850 East 39th Avenue
Hinman's Bakery opened a couple of years ago but added a retail counter and lunch hours last spring. When the weather's nice, you'll find an outdoor grill turning out cheesesteaks, burgers and other hot sandwiches. But for a tasty bargain, stop at the indoor counter for savory hand pies and croissants. Recent options have included butternut squash, green chile, and "biscuit and gravy" hand pies with all the good stuff (pork sausage included) on the inside. Flavors change with the season, so regular visits are a must.
1417 South Broadway
Colombian cooking experienced a surge in Denver in 2017, and nobody does it better than Jorge Aguirre, who opened La Chiva on South Broadway last summer after several years of serving empanadas, arepas and other specialties out of his food truck. The Chiva Picada sampler plate is a great way to enjoy sausage, fried plantain, marble-sized potatoes and yucca fries, but don't miss the lomito sandwich bursting with shredded pork or a set of empanadas filled with cheese, chicken, beef, pork or a veggie blend.