Feature

Denver's Top New Restaurants

It's been a banner year for restaurants all around—the Denver area has seen dozens of restaurants open. Allow us to help you move these spots onto your to-dine list.

December 2005

It's been a banner year for restaurants all around—the Denver area has seen dozens of restaurants open. Of these, red-hot Rioja and fabulous Frasca have dominated the spotlight, setting the bar high for all newcomers. In fact, these two superstars vaulted right out of the "new kids" list onto our best-of-the-best crib sheet. But that's not to say there isn't a host of new spots whose praises we can't wait to sing. Our critics hit dozens of the hottest contenders, cleaned their plates, and came away with a sampling of the city's best new eateries to open since our last Best New Restaurants issue, 14 months ago. Allow us to help you move these spots onto your to-dine list.

9th Door
Small plates come of age at this gorgeous tapas bar that's spiced up the LoDo scene since last year. The 9th Door was named after the Spanish bar made famous by The Drifters author James Michener; he and other expat literary types hung out there and pondered the meaning of life. While there's little evidence of any kind of philosophical angst in this glossy crowd, there are Moorish overtones to warm up the exposed brick and mirrored bar: hanging Venetian-glass lights, gauzy ochre and plum curtains, and cerise and dusty-rose paisley banquettes. And, of course, there's the big, red bed in the middle of the lounge, as popular as you'd expect such a sybaritic pleasure to be. When 9th Door's owners began developing the concept for the restaurant, Denver was still virgin territory for tapas. By the time the doors swung open, it felt like every restaurant in town was doing small plates. Nonetheless, 9th Door's tapas are distinguished by their authentic Iberian Peninsula heritage and their excellent execution.