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
16 Rioja (last year 18)
As Denver’s only James Beard Award–winning chef, great expectations follow Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja’s executive chef and co-owner. The stakes are especially high in 2014, as Denver’s dining scene continues to grow (40 restaurants opened in July alone) and Jasinski’s time is divided between Rioja, the newly opened Stoic & Genuine (18 on this list), Bistro Vendôme, and Euclid Hall. Updates to Rioja’s dining room’s decor and an on-point waitstaff buttress a menu that’s the strongest it’s been in years. Although some ingredients stray from the Mediterranean focus, we welcome the modern additions. Rioja is a Denver staple, and with its current direction, we imagine it’ll stay that way for years to come. 1431 Larimer St., 303-820-2282, riojadenver.com