Fancy schmancy, glitzy bells and whistles, and opulent dining rooms don’t a restaurant make. In fact, Denver has its share of excellent bargain-bite restaurants that make up a large part of the dining scene. “El cheapo” doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. Nor does it mean you’ve been relegated to fast-food hell. Oh, no, quite the contrary. Denver’s best bargain bites are all about diversity, flavor, and stretching those dining dollars without compromising your taste buds. • I’ve compiled my favorite bargain bites, most of which hover around the $10 to $15 range – but some are much lower. The notable exceptions are those deals at Denver’s top restaurants where the $15 ceiling may be stretched, but the extra splurge is worth every penny. Happy noshing.
10555 Westmoor Drive, Westminster, 303-469-2976
Monday through Friday at Birdies Tavern, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., look for the $2 meal deal, with your choice of oyster shooters, Prince Edward Island mussels, burgers, crab cakes, chicken satay, chicken wings, calamari, and other treats. At 50 cents a slide, oysters on the half shell will barely snatch up your pocket change.
9555 E. Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village, 303-925-0701
Here’s a suggestion: Stop shelling out your week’s worth of wad on designer plates and frou-frou food and pay a visit to The Ladle, Denver’s newest addition to the soup craze. For around five smackers, you can get a big bowl of soup, a huge hunk of good bread, and a big ol’ cookie. Now, that’s a bargain. The chicken-pot-pie soup is worth $5 and then some.