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.
Trend: Scandinavian cuisine
If someone had said one year ago that Scandinavian-influenced restaurants would be one of the biggest trends in Denver dining at the start of 2012, you would have told him to shut up and enjoy another bite of his lutefisk. But here we are, with not one, but two spots on this list that mine the rich culinary roots of northern Europe. At Trillium (named for the flower), chef-owner Ryan Leinonen blends American inspiration with Scandinavian tradition. He coaxes beauty out of stark, hearty ingredients such as root vegetables, cold-water fish, and rye bread to turn out soulful combinations. The crisp winter salad with shaved turnip, pear, rutabaga, and carrot is refreshing and simple, especially against the savory comfort of the apple, rosemary, and cheese curd bread pudding appetizer. Dishes like these are conversation starters, and they soften the exacting, Ikea-esque edges of the downtown space. Try the steelhead trout raaka appetizer—a briny, clean-tasting tartare topped with whitefish roe—and follow it with the lusty open ravioli of grilled blue prawns, the richness of which is cut by seared kale. 2134 Larimer St., 303-379-9759, trilliumdenver.com
■ Opened: December 2011
■ Order this: Apple, rosemary, and cheese curd bread pudding, aquavit-cured salmon, grilled whitefish