What a difference a year makes. Denver’s restaurant scene is in the midst of a big transformation—you won’t want to miss a single bite.
—Photography by Carmel Zucker
10 Bittersweet (last year 5)
Nearly four years after Bittersweet opened in Washington Park West, the restaurant remains a sleeper—even, inexplicably, during the summer when the spot’s abundant gardens create a paradise within the city. Those gardens are executive chef and co-owner Olav Peterson’s muse, and they provide a bounty that, with careful consideration, lasts all year long. Planning, in fact, is something you’re always aware of here. Never do Peterson’s dishes simply arrive; there’s always artistry. Gazpacho comes as a small tower of tomato and avocado topped with a seared scallop—and then a server carefully decants cucumber-jalapeño water into the bowl. It’s gorgeous. Similarly, a $9 mini crock of smoked mussels comes with polenta crisps stacked like Lincoln Logs. Skilled servers bridge the gap between Peterson’s fine cuisine and a relaxed, informal evening out. 500 E. Alameda Ave., 303-942-0320, bittersweetdenver.com