Best of Denver

Denver's Best Pancakes for Breakfast and Brunch

Vietnamese-style pancakes at Root Down come with cinnamon and cocoa nibs.
Vietnamese-style pancakes at Root Down come with cinnamon and cocoa nibs. Linnea Covington
Forget basic pancakes. The hot, fluffy disks coming off the griddle at new breakfast eateries and old favorites offer so much more than a simple vehicle for absorbing syrup. Pancakes from creative kitchens around town aim to please with piles of toasty nuts, molten chocolate, international flavors and themes, bacon and syrups flavored with citrus, warming spices and candy. Pair your pick with juice, coffee or cocktails — for whatever mood you find yourself in — and get your morning fix of the best pancakes at one of these ten mansions of morning magic.

click to enlarge Corinne's buttermilk pancakes with blackberries and lemon syrup. - CORINNE
Corinne's buttermilk pancakes with blackberries and lemon syrup.
Blackberry-Buttermilk Pancakes

1455 California Street

Though simple, the pleasing pancakes at Le Méridien Hotel's downtown restaurant explode with the dark tartness of blackberries mixed with a bright and sunny lemon syrup. It's a beautiful pairing that brings to mind breakfast on a summer's day, even when you're huddled indoors on a bone-chilling morning. To make the pancakes even better, the chefs use local eggs straight from Morning Fresh Farms, an all-natural dairy in northern Colorado. And for those who don't want to wait for weekend brunch to get a pancake fix, you can order these babies every morning if you want to, since Corinne opens at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

click to enlarge Coconut pancakes coming out of the Departure kitchen every weekend for brunch. - DEPARTURE
Coconut pancakes coming out of the Departure kitchen every weekend for brunch.
Coconut Pancakes

249 Columbine Street

Sweet, fluffy pancakes may not spring to mind when considering pan-Asian fare, but at this futuristic Cherry Creek hot spot, the coconut pancakes marry the world of American breakfast comfort and Asian food flair. Each beautiful order comes topped with sliced strawberries, toasted coconut flakes, an addictive coconut-caramel sauce and classic maple syrup. You can only get them during breakfast and brunch, but when you do, be prepared to be amazed at how well they stack up to an order of dumplings. As a bonus, these ’cakes are made with coconut flour, which means they're gluten-free.

click to enlarge Chocolate chip pancakes from HashTAG. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Chocolate chip pancakes from HashTAG.
Linnea Covington
Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Pancakes

10195 East 29th Drive

When chocolate chips are added to pancakes, it's hard not to swoon. At Troy Guard's Stapleton joint, the theme is breakfast, and these sea-salt chocolate chip hot cakes fit in wonderfully. Each order comes with two large buttermilk pancakes topped with a slathering of sea-salt caramel sauce. From there the kitchen eschews the standard method of mixing chocolate chips into the batter and instead piles them on top, which allows each piece of chocolate to keep its shape but still melt in your mouth (and on the fork).There's also a cinnamon streusel crumble, a lovely addition that helps give the dish a crunchy texture atop the pillowy-soft flapjacks. You could add syrup if you want to, but with all that sweetness, you really need nothing else but a fork.

click to enlarge Jelly U Cafe's cinnamon roll pancakes. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Jelly U Cafe's cinnamon roll pancakes.
Linnea Covington
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Jelly U Cafe
, 1700 East Evans Avenue, 720-596-4108
Jelly Cafe Capitol Hill, 600 East 13th Avenue, 303-831-6301

Whether you visit the Capitol Hill Jelly or its counterpart near the University of Denver, make sure an order of cinnamon roll pancakes is on your list. You can get one, three or five stacked up in a glorious tower of breakfast indulgence. No matter the size, each griddle cake comes topped with sweet cream-cheese glaze to help tame the warming cinnamon buried inside. It's a high-class dish in a laid-back and whimsical setting. While there, consider giving the blueberry-lavender pancakes a go, too, for a taste of sweet, dark jam balanced with sharp cinnamon.

click to enlarge The extravagant horchata pancakes at Lola Coastal Mexican. - LINNEA COVINGTON
The extravagant horchata pancakes at Lola Coastal Mexican.
Linnea Covington
Horchata Pancakes
Lola Coastal Mexican

1575 Boulder Street

Just try and finish a stack of three giant horchata pancakes served during this LoHi restaurant's brunch. Trust us, you will want to, but you might need help. The massive pile of buttermilk pancakes gets topped with cinnamon butter and a layer of sweet and filling horchata cream. As if that weren't enough, each order comes with a handful of puffed amaranth-pepita crumble, sliced strawberries and plump blueberries. It's a masterpiece in the fusion-food realm: comforting, satisfying and definitely not boring. The dish could easily feed two and feels like a steal at $11.

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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington