25 Best Restaurants
After countless lunches and dinners, tens of thousands of calories, and hours of careful deliberation and debate, our fourth annual ranking of the Denver area’s best restaurants is complete. Dig in for a comprehensive, of-the-moment snapshot of the local dining scene.
22 Linger (last year 10)
When Linger exploded onto the scene in 2011, it was the “it” restaurant: Linger had an in-the-now vibe, a gorgeous crowd, and an exhilarating global menu. Two-plus years on, OpenTable suggests that Justin Cucci’s restaurant is as busy as ever, but go on the early end of the evening, and you’ll find the dining room and bar half-full. This is both a blessing and a curse: Vacant tables mean efficient, attentive service and no wait for cocktails. It also means the vast space can feel a little too empty, almost devoid of the buzz that first defined it. The menus, however, pull the experience back together—no matter what time of the day you’re there. Fewer new items rotate through the kitchen (though brunch has been added), but the available dishes are virtually seamless. The exception: Food served in the bar, and especially during happy hour, doesn’t offer the same degree of finesse. Those sloppy dishes, sadly, sell the otherwise steadfast restaurant short. 2030 W. 30th Ave., 303-993-3120, lingerdenver.com