Best New Restaurants 2009

They are all hip, refined places to see—and be seen. But, most of all, the food is excellent. This winter, escape to one (or more) of Denver’s most fabulous new eateries for a meal that’s guaranteed to please your palate.

December 2009


719 E. 17th Ave.

When it was announced that Duo Restaurant owners Stephanie Bonin and Keith Arnold were partnering with chef John Broening and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom on a new venture, Olivéa quickly became the most anticipated project of the year. The restaurant opened in Uptown in May, and it has made good use of the former Aix space—walls have been painted a stormy gray, the bar seems larger and less awkward than before, and the vibrant dining room is jammed with tables. Some grouse that the tables are too close and that noise reverberates off the hard surfaces, but we like the tight, bustling-bistro vibe that comes from close quarters. It feels alive and in-the-know. Olivéa can be experienced one of two ways: Make a meal out of Broening's creative small plates (flatbread with lamb sausage, eggplant, wilted greens, and feta; patatas bravas with aïoli), or settle down for a more traditional meal (duck meatballs on creamy polenta or grilled skirt steak with onion mermelada and romesco). Either way, don't skip dessert. If you're lucky, the rustic walnut-honey tart (which notched Lozada-Hissom a 2009 James Beard Foundation nomination) will be available. If not, order the first treat that sounds good—you can hardly go wrong with any of the characteristically balanced desserts.

Hot Seat
The two tables against the back wall are the quietest and most tucked away.

Don't Miss
Duck meatballs with polenta; hazelnut dacquoise dessert; breakfast flatbread with applewood-smoked bacon, crème fraîche, caramelized onions, and two sunny-side-up eggs

Did You Know?
Thanks to his father's job as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, Chef Broening spent the bulk of his childhood in France, Portugal, and the Soviet Union.