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.
15 Twelve Restaurant (last year 15)
Most restaurants change their menus with some regularity: Some switch out dishes daily or weekly to reflect prime ingredients; others overhaul the entire lineup every month, which is the philosophy to which Twelve’s chef-owner Jeff Osaka subscribes. The caveat, of course, is that if you fall in love with a dish—such as July’s grilled cauliflower “steak” with pearl pasta and green curry and coconut milk—it’s gone within a matter of weeks. This mantra of constant reinvention strips any tedium or boredom from Osaka’s kitchen and keeps Twelve’s dishes relevant and on-trend. The trade-off is that sometimes there’s not enough time between menu changes to perfect every dish. A recent example is the needlessly overwrought duck and goat cheese rillettes starter that resulted in disappointing, muted flavors. One element that is flawless: A dining room that provides a graceful and unencumbered experience. 2233 Larimer St., 303-293-0287, twelverestaurant.com