101 Dining Experiences Every Denverite Must Have

March 2007

At tiny Z Cuisine, window tables are a hot commodity. Should you be so lucky to be seated there, pretend you're in Paris and order a bottle of Burgundy and chef Patrick Dupays' savory cassoulet with hand-picked French Tarbais beans. 2239 W. 30th Ave., 303-477-1111

Finally, a sports bar that understands the fans: The multiroom Blake Street Tavern has HDTVs big and small, and patrons get seated in front of whichever screen has the game they want. If you still can't hear the audio, request a "sound dog" gizmo and tune in your game of choice. 2401 Blake St., 303-675-0505

Snagging a table at charming (and bustling) Potager is no easy feat, but if you've got a choice sit by the exposed brick wall—tables there afford you a view of the Capitol Hill restaurant's comings and goings and allow more privacy. No matter where you sit, don't miss the decadent chocolate pudding. 1109 Ogden St., 303-832-5788

The Oven Pizza e Vino is first and foremost a pizza spot, but it offers up a far more stylish scene than the usual pie joint. Pull up a lime-green leather barstool and treat yourself to the roasted seasonal veggie salad (hint: add Haystack goat cheese). 7167 W. Alaska Drive, Lakewood, 303-934-7600

Some of LoDo's most prime people-watching awaits on The Market's sunny patio—opt for the iconic coffee joint's fresh brews or order up a half-and-half, a blend of fresh-squeezed orange juice and fresh-squeezed carrot juice. 1445 Larimer St., 303-534-5140

Lady and the Tramp fans will want a corner table at Mikey's Italian Bistro. The red-and-white checked tablecloths, drippy candles, and Dean Martin soundtrack encourage a nuzzle here and there—and, of course, the classic joint dishes up a mean spaghetti and meatballs. 4140 W. 38th Ave., 303-433-7400

If the teal walls and historical photos don't designate the Bonnie Brae Tavern a Denver institution, the No. 5 pizza piled high with sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, and onions will convince you of the shop's staying power. Favorite place to sit: in "Grandma's" (the late owner Sue Dire's) booth in the middle of the room. Word is that when Dire passed away in 2002, diners loyal to the 72-year-old eatery showered the table in flowers and cards. 740 S. University Blvd., 303-777-2262

The original Jax Fish House might be in Boulder, but we prefer the slightly roomier Denver outpost. Singles should set up shop at the bar and survey the scene over oyster shooters—fresh-shucked East Coast oysters, spicy vodka, and Bloody Mary mix. 1539 17th St., 303-292-5767

If only the walls could talk at My Brother's Bar (one-time hangout for beatnik Neal Cassady). Instead, let Jimmy the bartender fill you in on the history. Fridays at lunchtime are an especially good time to sidle up to the bar, order a JCB (jalapeño cheeseburger), and hang with the regulars. When you're finished drinking, put a coaster over your glass; otherwise Jimmy'll keep the beer flowing. 2376 15th St., 303-455-9991

The legendary sexy booths, copper menus, and undulating bar make Vesta Dipping Grill a favorite—and that's before scanning the menu and ordering a pitcher of sangria. It's at the top of our list when entertaining out-of-towners. 1822 Blake St., 303-296-1970

Five o'clock is the magic hour at Frasca—each day patrons line up outside for one of the 14 seats reserved for walk-in traffic. Once seated at the salumi bar, a table, or at the bar, close the menu and allow your server to order for you. Chef Lachlan Patterson and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey won't let you down. 1738 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-6966

Balmy evenings beg for dinner on Mizuna's tiny front patio. Buttery lobster mac-n-cheese, seared yellowfin tuna with gulf prawns in lobster-lime broth, and banana tarte tatin with rum ice cream taste even better when eaten al fresco. 225 E. Seventh Ave., 303-832-4778

If you must do business at lunch, take your client to one of the lovely private booths at L'Atelier, where cell phones aren't verboten. Boulder chef Radek Cerny, back from a stint with the culinary wizard Ferran Adria, is bringing new magic to the menu with dishes such as lobster with potato foam, duck confit with liquid potatoes, and Scottish smoked salmon with horseradish foam. 1739 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-7233

Wander outside and catch a sunset from The Fort's back patio. Continue the light show inside with a table by the window—order a gunpowder whiskey and let the kids choose from the impressive kiddie menu. 19192 Highway 8, Morrison, 303-697-4771

Homemade brats, German potato salad, and fresh sauerkraut can all be found at the Continental Delicatessen. Eat near the counter and catch up on some great local gossip (in German, of course) or tote your picnic to City Park, where you can discretely sip a cold lager. 250 Steele St., 303-388-3354