Best New Restaurants 2012

Our food scene has never been more vibrant, and with global street eats, Scandinavian-inspired cuisine, and modern comfort food, it’s a thrilling time to be a foodie in the Mile High City. Book a table at one of these eight newcomers—and taste the future of Denver dining.

March 2012

Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar

Trend: Classic cooking, house-cured charcuterie

If you lived in Denver in 2003, you likely remember—perhaps even pine for—Brasserie Rouge. Regardless of whether you dined there, the good news is that in many ways, Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar is Rouge reincarnated. Robert Thompson (who owned the late brasserie with his now ex-wife, Leigh Jones) has brought everyday, affordable French back downtown. And by cooking French with modern sensibilities, executive chef Sergio Romero ensures that Le Grand isn’t stuffy or trite. On paper, the menu looks traditional—cassoulet, French onion soup, trout almondine—but on the plate Romero’s dishes are light, fresh, and remarkable. You’ll find this in the ratatouille tart with mandoline-thin vegetables; the steak frites starring Colorado’s Best Beef; or the exquisitely seasoned salade niçoise topped with a hunk of seared tuna. Equally exciting is Le Grand itself, which has taken up residence in one of Denver’s oldest (and largest) restaurant spaces. The 125-year-old dining room with original mosaic tile and a sparkling chandelier simply shines, making any meal—brunch, lunch, or dinner—feel like an occasion. 1512 Curtis St., 303-534-1155, legranddenver.com

■ Opened: September 2011

■ Order this: Ratatouille tart, salade niçoise, profiteroles