Feature

Best New Restaurants

The Mile-High dining scene has never been hotter, and this year was one for the record books. Our definitive list of Denver's 10 best new eateries.

December 2007

Centro

950 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-7771

When restaurateur Dave Query closed the Caribbean-focused Rhumba and opened Centro in its place, this Boulder location finally found its identity. As opposed to Rhumba's island fusion, Centro's Latin American menu is straightforward—corn, chiles, meat, shrimp, veggies, and chicken—and spectacular. Soulful dishes such as chef Ian Clark's cheesy smoked pork belly masa cakes have the spice and interest to bring you back for more. And more comes in the form of dishes like the hearty barbecue beef tacos with chorizo hash, a whole tilapia for two (cheekily named "the third date"), and the vaguely spicy seafood and potato enchilada suiza.

Even the new decor reflects the casual menu's refinement: Rhumba's wild colors, funky sculptures, and awkward tables are replaced with elegant Cabernet-red walls, stunning black-and-white Richard Avedon photographs, and a long community table that frees up space near the bar. Centro does brisk cocktail business serving fresh takes on drinks—try the cucumber-mint limemade, Dark 'n' Stormy with fresh-squeezed lime, rum, and ginger ale, or the sultry Manzarita with elderflower and apple juice. Our advice: Sip on a signature cocktail before dinner and then stick around after your meal for a slice of the burnt mango and lime pie.

Opened March 2007

Best Bites Dulce de leche crêpes with pecans

Hot Seat Pull up a stool at the bar where you can see—and be seen by—everyone who walks through the door.

Don't Miss Cocktail hour sipping a Manzarita—Gran Centario Plata tequila, St. Germain elderflower, apple juice, cinnamon, and fresh lime juice—with Devlin, the Centro's bartender who dreamed up this tasty cocktail. Look for the recipe in Food & Wine Magazine's Cocktail Guide.

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