Denver's top five patios for a long lunch

It may be a bit brisk for outdoor dining but as of this morning, spring has official sprung. For us, that means it's time to make an excuse to get out of the office for an extended lunch, grabbing a seat on a patio and enjoying some time in the sun...and away from the glow of our computer screens.

Here, in celebration of the change of seasons, are our five favorite decks for midday.

Ignite! Most of the roof-top decks downtown are at spots you're not likely to frequent at lunch, since they're the kinds of places that feature frozen drinks, beers by the pitcher and, well, bar food. That's why Ignite is such an asset to the outdoor dining scene: From its perch on Upper Larimer, the gorgeous roof-top patio, much of which is covered, features views of the Denver skyline,and you can eat sensible lunch food -- like pizzas, burgers and salads -- while you enjoy the fresh air. Domo Dining at Domo is a little like dining in Epcot's version of Japan: The dining room is like a hosue in a dark, enchanted forest with tables made from stone slabs and seats cut from tree stumps. But the real place to relax is on the sunny oasis in back, where the restaurant keeps a lushly planted garden that lends a zen ambiance to a meal of Japanese country food. And after a bowl full of ramen and a pot of green tea, you might want to curl up on the spot and take a nap.
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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk

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