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Suvir Saran

Denver Restaurant Recommendations

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I find that the Brown Palace's Palace Arms Restaurant was very exceptional...

You're in a classic dining room with new and improved menu with some classics like caesar salad that have been slipt here and there in throughout the menu..

check the blog for pictures and a review..

Also, Vesta Dipping Grill is a fun place if you are looking for a group dinner (of like 4 to 6) that has a little bit of fine dining with a casual and hip style. They are open considerably late for Denver, midnight.

Table 6 is a one of my favorite casual dining destinations, you sit down with some friends and have a couple of bottles of wine and order tons of appetizers and get a dessert platter with some nice cheeses and you can't think of a better thing to do that night.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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Just read this, and I must agree with Maybelline about Star of India in Ft. Collins. I used to eat there often when I lived there and still miss it!

Now I live in Longmont, which is a town with some wonderful Mexican food, but I must say that two weeks ago I was having some margaritas at the Rio Grande downtown (Denver), and after waiting forever for a table we decided to give up and go to a tiny Mexican dive across the street. I don't recall the name (if anyone's interested I can look it up), but their carnitas were excellent - better than any I've had before. The rest of my party raved about their food as well. Warning, though - the margaritas are terrible.


Edited by Aileen (log)

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I stayed at the Hotel Boulderado in Boulder a few years ago and ate at the restaurant in the hotel called Q's. It was fantastic.


"Yo, I want one of those!"

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Busboy is way off target here.

I've eaten all over the planet, too, and Frasca would be top tier anywhere in the world. Adega was, as well.

Rioja - fantastic. Kevin Taylor, like wise. And there's plenty more...

And what's wrong with Mel's, Busboy? It's not supposed to be Le Bernardin (or Jams, for that matter - but more the latter than the former!) Solid joint, never had a bad meal there, and a great (practical) wine list. And the mussels (along with a nice Sancerre maybe) is as sublime a dining experience as you are likely to have anywhere.

The point isn't whther Denver ranks with NYC or SF (both places I have lived, BTW.) The point is whether or not there are a variety of great high-end restaurants of various types. Enough to keep things interesting. 10 years ago that was a bit dicey here - not anymore.


always looking forward to...the next meal

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Busboy, you need to visit again and try some of the newer places that have opened. Things have improved significantly even since I moved here a few years ago. I remember coming here on vacation before that and being very disappointed with the fine dining options and the wine service. Flagstaff House was one of the only places I heard anyone mention when I asked for upscale recommendations (and it's the only place where you wouldn't feel like you were drinking wine out of a Dixie Cup). Then Bryan Moscatello's Adega (R.I.P.) opened with multi-course tasting menus and an elevated level of wine service and it made people start looking at Denver more.

Now Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder (opened by French Laundry alums) has received the kind of national attention that will hopefully attract even more talented people to move here and set up shop. I wandered in and sat at the bar one evening and couldn't believe I was having such an amazing meal in Boulder, and I've had many, many more fantastic meals there since. It's not true that reservations are required though, as they have six bar seats and four salumi bar seats that are always open to walk-ins. Here is an older thread on egullet about Frasca. The chef was one of Food and Wine magazine's Top 10 Best New Chefs last year and is nominated for a Beard award this year. They now have two master sommeliers on staff, and they obviously put so much thought and care into their wine program including staff training that it's a no-brainer destination if you love vino.

Take a look at Westword's Best of Denver 2006 or Lori Midson's list of top spots in Colorado Avid Golfer or John Lehndorff's Rocky Mountain News 2006 Dining Guide or Tucker Shaw and Co.'s write-ups in the Denver Post food section and tell me there aren't any good places to eat here now.

One of the most satisfying meals I have had this year (other than places in the Bay Area like Manresa and mussels in Brussels) was at a tiny French spot in Denver called Z Cuisine. I am also maniacally addicted to the tiny tacos at Troy Guard's up-market comfort food spot Nine75.

Yes, Denver is still a little thin in areas like quality Chinese places, and yes, you'll still occasionally get clunky glassware and shoddy wine service at places that should know better (but that can happen in any city). And yes, you should still go somewhere like Efrain's or Jack-N-Grill and get something unhealthy slathered in a mountain of green chile and chased with a margarita or twelve, but those aren't your only options anymore. We've got Jennifer Jasinski's Rioja and Frank Bonanno's Mizuna and Pim Fitt's Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai and lots of other places worth exploring. So let's get busy and support our talented independent local chefs and sommeliers and line crews and servers so they'll stay and tell their friends to move here too.

Thanks for the links... especially Lori Midsen's. I think she's one of the best. I'm on the way to Denver later and will hopefully get to at least three on her list.

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Bumping this as it's a couple of months old and I have a time restriction to consider, so hoping for a little help.

Heading to Denver tomorrow for a wedding - will be eating banquet-y food most of the weekend (god help me) but will have time for a solo late lunch tomorrow (airline willing, I might be seated by 1:30). I can't really go to Boulder as I may have to return to DIA to pick up another wedding goer.

So there's the challenge . . .somewhere that serves lunch until at least 2, within approx 25 miles of DIA and is the antithesis of the "rubber chicken" cuisine I anticipate being subjected to the rest of the trip.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Bumping this as it's a couple of months old and I have a time restriction to consider, so hoping for a little help.

Heading to Denver tomorrow for a wedding - will be eating banquet-y food most of the weekend (god help me) but will have time for a solo late lunch tomorrow (airline willing, I might be seated by 1:30).  I can't really go to Boulder as I may have to return to DIA to pick up another wedding goer.

So there's the challenge . . .somewhere that serves lunch until at least 2, within approx 25 miles of DIA and is the antithesis of the "rubber chicken" cuisine I anticipate being subjected to the rest of the trip.

The problem is that DIA is so far east and Aurora/East Denver is kind of a wasteland food-wise (please, please someone tell me I'm wrong), so you may have to head into Denver-proper...

Rioja (Citysearch Rioja) is open until 2:30 on Fridays if you can make it.

Tula (Citysearch Tula) is open from 11 to 11.


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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The problem is that DIA is so far east and Aurora/East Denver is kind of a wasteland food-wise (please, please someone tell me I'm wrong), so you may have to head into Denver-proper...

Rioja (Citysearch Rioja) is open until 2:30 on Fridays if you can make it.

Tula (Citysearch Tula) is open from 11 to 11.

Rioja looks really good and I should be able to make that with time to spare.

Our airport is 30 mins from downtown without taking traffic into account, so DIA doesn't seem that far out to me. I figured I would have to go downtown/LoDo to get good food - just didn't have time to make Boulder (assuming traffic is still incessant between Denver and there).

Thanks, BekkiM


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Can anyone recommend someplace near Tabor Center? Looking for good food and a good wine list.

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Can anyone recommend someplace near Tabor Center?  Looking for good food and a good wine list.

Kevin Taylor's is nearby and can be quite lovely (although pricey by Denver standards)--definitely a good winelist. Restaurant Kevin Taylor

You're not that far from Zengo (on the other side of the Platte--not a bad walk if the weather's decent), which I've been to several times and enjoyed. Zengo

Rioja is right down there too. I've had some lovely meals there, although I've had spotty service (not everyone has had this experience, though, so maybe I'm just picky) Rioja

And, finally, if you're looking for a steak house, many people here in Denver swear by Sullivan's and they do have a good wine list (although, like most steak houses, it can be over-priced). I'm not actually all that partial to the place myself (it bothers me to pay $35 for a lonely piece of, admittedly tasty, meat on a plate), but I throw it in there for reference. Sullivans

Hope this helps!


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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Can anyone recommend someplace near Tabor Center?  Looking for good food and a good wine list.

I'll second the recommendation for Rioja - the food can be inconsistent and the wine list is a bit pricey (although they had an excellent and very fairly priced 2004 Edmeades Zinfandel the last time I was there). The pork belly seems to be a permanent fixture on the menu, and should not be missed.

Across the street from Rioja is Bistro Vendome, owned by the same team - surprisingly good, fairly classic French cooking - I actually like it better than Rioja, but that may be personal preference more than anything else. I've only done solo meals there so I've never had an opportunity to study the wine list.

Jax is an excellent seafood joint with a reliable but not terribly exciting wine program - excellent selection of oysters and a blackened catfish that for me is the most consistently satisfying entree in Lodo.

Haven't been to Kevin Taylor but had an absolute train wreck of a meal at Prima, a casual Italian place right next door run by the same chef. Truly hard to believe how bad this meal was - paper thin veal scallopini the consistency of shoe leather smothered in black pepper so you couldn't taste anything else. Just awful.

Finally, I agree with the reservations about Sullivan's expressed previously, except I actually pretty much hated the place - the wine program isn't bad, but they have an uncanny knack for taking every classic steak house cliche and running it into the ground. However, I did get an e-mail from them recently about a Turley wine dinner that I would probably have attended if I had been in town at the time, so it might be worth checking for special events.

Enjoy your visit!

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I don't know if it has a good wine list, but Panzano is close by (17th street) -- and seems like a cool/happening place.

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I'll second the recommendation for Rioja - the food can be inconsistent and the wine list is a bit pricey (although they had an excellent and very fairly priced 2004 Edmeades Zinfandel the last time I was there).  The pork belly seems to be a permanent fixture on the menu, and should not be missed.

Ahhh... the pork belly at Rioja! MMMMMMM...

Haven't been to Kevin Taylor but had an absolute train wreck of a meal at Prima, a casual Italian place right next door run by the same chef.  Truly hard to believe how bad this meal was - paper thin veal scallopini the consistency of shoe leather smothered in black pepper so you couldn't taste anything else.  Just awful.

I've heard similar horror stories about Prima, but did have a divine dinner at Kevin Taylor. My husband still drools when he recalls the homemade peanut-butter cup dessert.

The good news is there are lots of good choices!

PS: Panzano is pretty good too, but not spectacular. Too bad Adega's gone.


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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My family (me, wife, 16-year old daughter) will be in Denver one night next week. Our lodging is in the Wyman district. I did a search for "wyman" in this forum, and got no returns. So . . .

Anything in that area that qualifies as a foodie-type neighborhood restaurant? Specifically, we are staying on E. Colfax, between Downing and York with St. Luke's Medical Center a few blocks north and Cheesman Park a few blocks south. We will have a car if we absolutely must drive.

Nothing too high brow -- wife won't like the price tag. And while I love all ethnic things, daughter is stupidly fussy.

The rest of the trip we will be in Rifle, visiting my mother for Thanksgiving. I know her cooking. I know what's in Rifle. The night in Denver may be my best shot at a good dinner during this trip.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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You're in a pretty good location to meet your dining requirements, as East Colfax is undergoing a bit of a renaissance and there are lots of not-too-pricey options.

Within Walking Distance for the Healthy

* My husband and 9-year old son have eaten at the Milagro Taco Bar at 17th and Vine. Don't let the name fool you; it's a sit-down restaurant with more than just tacos, but it's reasonably priced. Not 5-star cuisine, but not bad either.

* I've heard (but can't personally vouch for) that Sushi Heights has good sushi.

* You're not too far from Table 6 (609 Corona St) is a little more expensive, but they have lovely food. The service can be sketchy though--sometimes it's fabulous and sometimes it's incredibly bad.

* I haven't been in a while, but used to go to the Painted Bench (400 E 20th) quite frequently. The prices are reasonable (but not cheap), the food is good, and I like the service. The atmosphere leaves a little to be desired, but it's not bad.

* For breakfast, WaterCourse (206 E 13th Ave) does a great job for a great price. We've had brunch there a couple of times and been very pleased.

Downtown

You're a very easy drive (if you're willing to drive) to downtown from there, so there are actually an overwhelming number of choices, depending on what you're interested in:

* 1515 Restaurant (which I have not eaten at) is listed as $21-$30 on CitySearch

* Wazee Supper Club (1600 15th Street) has my husband's favorite pizza

* Il Fornaio (I've eaten at the Tech Center one, but I'm sure they're similar) at 1631 Wazee St has mid-priced, decent Italian. For my money, though, Panzano (in the Hotel Monaco at 909 17th St) is better and doesn't cost that much more.

* Vesta Dipping Grill (1822 Blake St) has great food and I think it's reasonably priced for what you get. Plus it allows the picky eater(s) in the group to tailor their meal to their tastes, while allowing you to explore a little bit

Cherry Creek North

One other option is to head to Cherry Creek North. There are a number of restaurants there that might do the trick. Our favorites are Cherry Creek Grill (salads, burgers, rotisserie chicken) and Cucina Colore (moderately-priced Italian). The nice thing about CCN is that it's a lovely neighborhood to walk around in.


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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Cafe Star....(http://denver.citysearch.com/profile/41791618/denver_co/cafe_star.html)

....would probably fit the bill. It's about halfway between York and Colorado on Colfax. Not cheap, but can be done fairly cheaply. Very nice space, warm, friendly, chic but not pretentious, something for everyone food-wise.

Mezcal is right around there, too, if you're looking for Mexican. But Cafe Star is better.

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Thanks to both of you. I'll check out Cafe Star on the web. I've been to the Table 6 web site. We'll probably end up at Milagro, but at least I have some options.

Years ago I was at the Il Fornaio on Wazee. Not bad, but unremarkable. I've also walked plenty around Cherry Creek North in the past. If we have the luxury, we may drive there. But I'm grateful for the local options if we decide to stay put after a day of driving here and there.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Well, I walked the four blocks to Milagro Taco Bar (on a recon mission), and desperately wanted to go after looking at the posted menu. However, that would've meant dinner followed by nothing else to do in the neighborhood.

So we got in the car and drove to Larimer Square. I would've been way up for Bistro Vendome, but they were closed. We eneded up at Lime. Food was fine and plentiful. Daughter like being entertained by the magician doing card tricks at the tables. My guess is the place has a reputation as a bar first and restaurant second. I did enjoy the chips and salsa, though. Nice to have flour tortilla chips when all I'm ever used to is commercial corn ones. I got carnitas tacos, which ere fine. I did enjoy the glass of limeade I ordered.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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We eneded up at Lime.  Food was fine and plentiful.  Daughter like being entertained by the magician doing card tricks at the tables.  My guess is the place has a reputation as a bar first and restaurant second.  I did enjoy the chips and salsa, though.  Nice to have flour tortilla chips when all I'm ever used to is commercial corn ones.  I got carnitas tacos, which ere fine.  I did enjoy the glass of limeade I ordered.

Were the complimentary tequila shots in reemed out limes your first clue as to the bar-like atmosphere? :biggrin:

Glad you liked Lime. Milagro's better, but Lime isn't bad. I've enjoyed the Sweet Corn Tamales several times and the chips are good. Haven't tried the carnitas yet, but I think I'll have to (Mmmm... Pork...)


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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Were the complimentary tequila shots in reemed out limes your first clue as to the bar-like atmosphere?   :biggrin:

Glad you liked Lime.  Milagro's better, but Lime isn't bad.  I've enjoyed the Sweet Corn Tamales several times and the chips are good.  Haven't tried the carnitas yet, but I think I'll have to (Mmmm...  Pork...)

I had read about the hollowed out limes filled with tequila, but didn't see a one. The mirror ball hanging voer the bar, however, tiped me off. And my 16-year old daughter got hit on as she walked through the bar to use the restroom.

My wife had the sweet corn tamales, which were pretty good. BTW, the tacos I ordered were filled with carnitas. If carnitas is an option, I also go for it.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that we ate at Watercourse for breakfast (drove there directly from the airport). Huge thumbs up for that place. The coffee could be a little better, but the food was yummy.


Edited by Brad Ballinger (log)

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I'll be going to Denver on a business trip in a couple of weeks and I want to check out the culinary scene in downtown Denver, where I'll be staying. It will be my first time in the mile-high city. I won't have a car or I might have consider Frasca in Boulder. Anyone interested?

Besides the high-end places, are there any good breakfast places, diners, ... I should visit? I suppose there's a good steakhouse downtown, ehh??

Thanks in advance!


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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There are some recent recommendations that include Denver on this thread: CO Restaurant Recommendations Needed

What area of downtown are you staying at (in case you want "walk-to" recommendations)?

Too bad you can't make it to Frasca in Boulder (shamelessly beg a colleague for a ride if you can).

If you want the top table in Denver-proper right now, I would suggest taking a short cab ride one night and going to Fruition on E. 6th Avenue (just mentioned in the June Gourmet).

There are quite a few chain steakhouses downtown (but why go to a new city to go to a chain unless you are really craving steak?), with the best probably being Capital Grille on Larimer. Elway's (yes, THAT one) is an independent carnivore's den, but it's in Cherry Creek rather than downtown.

The afore-mentioned Capital Grille on Larimer is nearby other hot spots like Rioja, which also does an excellent weekend brunch, as does their sister restaurant Bistro Vendome across the street. The breakfasts at Panzano in the Hotel Monaco still seem to be quite consistent.

As for diners, if you hear recs for the Denver Diner or the historic Davies Chuck Wagon Diner (both on different parts of Colfax), keep in mind that you will enjoy both of these options more if (a) you are really intoxicated and starving and there aren't any other options in your immediate vicinity and (b) you really love sitting amidst both heavily-pierced club kids and truckers with Elvis sideburns.


Edited by rlm (log)

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Thanks for the recs, RLM!

I'll be staying at the Grand Hyatt on Welton, near the 16th St. Mall and the Convention Center.

Is Frasca worth the drive, if I can find someone? Same with Fruition?

Someone else recommended these: Kevin Taylor, Rioja, Palace Arms

I want to stay with local restaurants, no chains, no corporate, thank you.

Any local places for breakfast and lunch? Delis? Any good food stores that are "only in Denver"?


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Is Frasca worth the drive, if I can find someone? Same with Fruition?

Someone else recommended these: Kevin Taylor, Rioja, Palace Arms

Any local places for breakfast and lunch? Delis? Any good food stores that are "only in Denver"?

If you click on the Colorado Restaurant Recommendations thread link I included and scroll down, Kevin Taylor and Rioja are both discussed. Another poster, JWest, has a great write-up with pictures of Palace Arms on his food blog. There are other egullet posts mentioning these restaurants if you do a forum search.

In my post, I included links to the websites of two gourmet food stores that also have delis, Cook's Fresh Market on the 16th St. Mall (at Glenarm) and Marczyk Fine Foods on 17th Avenue and Clarkson. Cook's will be the closest to you, and they have excellent sandwiches.

The two top places right now that I would recommend without hesitation to foodies visiting from a major food city like NYC or SF would be Frasca Food and Wine & Fruition (the latter is a much shorter drive from where you are staying). If you are into wine even a little bit, you will find a trip to Frasca worth it, as they are able to source reasonably-priced wines (including many by the glass that they will be happy to pair with your food) that you won't see on everyone else's wine lists.

Note: Of the places mentioned in the CO restaurants thread, both emogene and Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai have subsequently closed.

Kevin Taylor, Rioja, and Marczyk Fine Foods (as well as Duo in the Highlands area) are all in the June 2007 Cooking Light "Enlightened Traveler" article on Denver.


Edited by rlm (log)

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Just went to the Palace Arms for my 2nd visit in 2 years. The food is even better and the service seems to have been polished a bit as well. On slow nights, I reccommend asking for the Chef's all out tasting menu (I've heard he'll do up to around 25). For my party, we actually had about 8 courses. New pics are up here.

Pictures of Kevin Taylors are here as well.

As far as steaks...I've heard steak lovers love Elway's. Also, Kevin Taylor and The Palace Arms offer American Kobe Beef.

Frasca's service and quality in food just can't be beat by anyone in Denver, unfortunately it is in Boulder. Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey is a master of running a dining room and Chef Mackinnon Patterson's kitchen is near flawless when it comes to the execution of every dish. If you can find someone to drive up there, do it!

I know they run out of reservations quickly but it seems as if there's always one or two tables available on last minute reservations.

Also..I haven't been there myself but have heard great things about Sushi Sasa and their omakase. This would be a short drive or a long walk from where you are staying.


"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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