101 Dining Experiences Every Denverite Must Have

March 2007

After your kid's soccer game, zigzag over to Icon Burger (conveniently located by the Y's soccer fields). Griddled buns, hot fries, thick shakes to toast the winning team, and cold beers for the supportive parents...really, what's not to love? 2755 Dagny Way, Lafayette, 303-926-9700

Kids feeling restless? Stop off at André's Confiserie Suisse for a quick pick-me-up. Adults will reach for the delicate linzertortes while kids point to tiny, almond-flavored frogs filled with strawberry jam or strawberry buttercream. Pile back in the car to devour them, and you won't hear another peep. Go before 11 a.m. or after 1 p.m. to miss the lunchtime crush. 370 S. Garfield St., 303-322-8871

The funky Bump & Grind Café is all about good food and tongue-and-cheek references. We love the "kissed" or "dissed" peanut-butter cookies, topped with or without a Hershey's Kiss, the raspberry jammies cookies, and the over-the-top fluffernutter sandwiches with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. 439 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-4841

Grab the girls for afternoon tea at the Brown Palace. Listen for twinkling piano music, clinking china cups, and ladylike conversation over traditional tea sandwiches and mini pastries. The best part: Once seated under the glass-domed atrium, you're never rushed. 321 17th St., 303-297-3111

Home-grown Bonnie Brae Ice Cream is busy all year long, but the best time to visit is in the heat of the summer, when it's too hot to eat just about anything else. Just make sure to be patient—you won't be the only one thinking a double scoop of Snickers Delight sounds good. 799 S. University Blvd., 303-777-0808

A stone's throw from Red Rocks Amphitheater, hikers, bikers, and concertgoers flock to the Morrison Inn's sunny deck for frosty margs. Try Juan's specialty sweet-and-sour mix in the gold margarita, or choose from 13 different fruity flavors (including tasty wild berry). Pass on the other cocktails—they tend to be too weak. Come early on concert nights and beat the crowds. 301 Bear Creek Ave., Morrison, 303-697-6650

Drop in at Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill on your birthday and drink for free. Order an Irish coffee, listen to Patrick Stone on the piano, and thumb through the bible of lyrics ranging from Sinatra and Billie Holiday to Patsy Cline and Otis Redding. If Paulie Lopez, an octogenarian who fills in once in a blue moon, is tickling the ivories, consider it your lucky night. 980 Grant St., 303-860-1655

Dietrich's Chocolates and Espresso draws in chocolate lovers with its vast collection of boutique, grand cru, and even diabetic-friendly treats. Pick up a bag of extra-dark DeVries chocolates (which are locally made), and then stay for a Bavarian breakfast of semmel rolls, German cold cuts, and artisan cheeses in the tiny cafe. Sit close to the register and chat with German-born owner Erich Dietrich. 1734 E. Evans Ave., 303-777-3358

Across the street from Dietrich's lies Trompeau Bakery, home of Denver's best croissants. Pastry chef Pascal Trompeau is a native of Limoges, France, and his delicate pastries start with the finest flour and country sweet cream butter, and then turn into the kind of flakey croissants worthy of Paris. Plan to arrive in the morning, as the shop closes at 1 p.m. 1727 E. Evans Ave., 303-698-9682

Palace Arms, Denver's grande dame restaurant, whisks diners to a different era with its tableside Caesar salad, bananas Foster, and strolling martini cart. Tuck into the deep leather booths near the circle of Revolutionary battle flags and feel like a VIP. 321 17th St., 303-297-3111

At the Peaks Lounge, 27 floors up in the Grand Hyatt, candlelight, decadent desserts, and a stunning view of the city will send date night through the stratosphere. Score with a table right by the window and order the New York cheesecake with shards of tempered chocolate, a swirl of sugar threads, and a delicately twisted tuile cookie. 650 15th St., 303-436-1234

Take the family to Aurora Cinema Grill for dinner and a movie. Arrive before 6 p.m. for $2 first-run flicks, sit back in comfy turquoise chairs, and order up a pleasing mix of adult cocktails and full-on kid fare (thick strawberry shakes, salty fries, and great hot wings). 13682 E. Alameda Ave., Aurora, 303-344-3456