Dining in Denver

For the first time ever, we rank the top 25 restaurants in the region. Plus: Denver's best chefs and dining trends.

March 2010

6. Sushi Den

Platt Park
Long the pinnacle of sushi in Denver, Toshi and Yasu Kizaki's Sushi Den never loses its edge. Demand speaks for itself: Hardly a night goes by that the restaurant doesn't experience a full house, despite several add-ons and remodels to render more table space. And everyone comes for one thing: the fish, much of which is sourced straight from the Nagahama fish market in Japan. The stunning, precise presentation is a bonus. Nab a spot at the sushi bar, relinquish control to the chef, and see what he delivers. 1487 S. Pearl St., 303-777-0826, www.sushiden.net

7. Table 6

Alamo Placita
When asked for a restaurant recommendation, more often than not Table 6 is the first to slip off our lips. Chef Scott Parker's playful menu (take the little Phillies appetizer, a gussied-up version of the Philly cheese steak, as an example) will put all diners at ease. At the same time, dishes such as braised veal breast with spinach, spelt, and baked onion appeal to well-versed diners. As a bonus, the vegetarian entrée never fails to inspire even the most dedicated carnivores. Owner-sommelier Aaron Forman, clad in his signature thrift-store sports coat, is forever working the small, exposed-brick space, greeting, pouring, and making all diners feel right at home. 609 Corona St., 303-831-8800, www.table6denver.com

8. Potager

Capitol Hill
It may sit in the middle of Capitol Hill, but there's something positively San Franciscan about Potager. Maybe it's the chic, bohemian vibe, or the laid-back but spot-on waitstaff, or the Chez Panisse-esque menu. Whatever it is, we like it—and even more so since Denver can claim it as its own. Go to Potager for a glass of biodynamic wine and chef-owner Teri Rippeto's legendary cassoulet, or eschew the wait-list and order dinner at the bar. 1109 Ogden St., 303-832-5788, www.potagerrestaurant.com

9. Tables

Park Hill
At this cozy Park Hill spot, husband and wife Dustin Barrett and Amy Vitale are just as often found greeting diners at the front as they are cooking in the back. And each evening, plates as nuanced as seared scallops over a heavenly Meyer lemon risotto or black cod over a hearty chowder vie for favorite status. 2267 Kearney St., 303-388-0299, www.tablesonkearney.com

10. Colt & Gray

If you order nothing else at Colt & Gray, make it the Long Family Farms crispy pig trotters. This memorable bar snack—well-seasoned, addictive patties made from the meat of pigs' feet—underscores chef-owner Nelson Perkins' cooking philosophy: simple, clean, and unexpected. That approach is pervasive throughout the menu—not to mention the city-meets-hunt club space. You'll find it in the whole, roasted trout with spicy guanciale sausage and earthy farro, the salmon tartare tossed with minced beet greens, or the buttery, bratwurstlike lobster bangers. Whatever the combination, Colt & Gray's dishes are inspired and balanced—and, along with the hip space, are a huge reason this newcomer has us paying very close attention. 1553 Platte St., 303-477-1447, www.coltandgray.com