Denver's 25 Best Restaurants 2016

From funky hot spots to neighborhood bistros, there's a restaurant in Denver to satisfy your every craving.

October 2016

RiNo’s Hop Alley radiates fun, from wild cocktails to tongue-numbing Chinese-inspired dishes. Photography by Aaron Colussi

6. Bar Dough 

*New to the list

Having chef and co-owner Max MacKissock cooking again is a boon to the Denver dining scene: MacKissock’s talent is so immense that the two years he took off between leaving the Squeaky Bean and opening Bar Dough in LoHi felt like an eternity. But at his year-old restaurant, MacKissock now seems to have settled ever more comfortably into his calling. His cooking is still bright and replete with exciting combinations, but it’s less precious, more mature, and more approachable. And that’s not just because there’s pizza on the menu. Dishes like the lamb shoulder with charred red onion, puffed grains, and salsa verde also score high on the elevated-comfort-food scale. 2227 W. 32nd Ave., 720-668-8506

7. ChoLon 

*Last year 4

In 2010, Lon Symensma traded New York City for Denver because he craved the Colorado lifestyle and recognized that our burgeoning dining scene was on the verge of exploding. In the years since, Symensma has used ChoLon as a way to educate and challenge diners on the topic of modern Southeast Asian cuisine. He has won us over with intensely colorful, vibrant, and thrilling dishes that pull insight and inspiration from near and far. Take the tandoori lamb chops with caramelized yogurt and biryani, or the okonomiyaki-esque dancing scallops with a sweet corn pancake and bonito flakes that ripple in the steam. Symensma’s dishes function as a microcosm of the chef himself: Colorado flair combined with far-flung influences. 1555 Blake St., 303-353-5223

8. The Plimoth 

*Last year 20

When chef Peter Ryan opened the Plimoth north of City Park three years ago, he wasn’t looking to make a big splash, nor was he looking for press—but he got both because the tidy corner restaurant was just that good. Ryan, who is an alum of Z Cuisine and a former instructor at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, simply wanted to feed the neighborhood. Never did he expect the Plimoth, which is named after his hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts, to become a dining destination where reservations are practically a must. Despite its popularity, not much has changed since the Plimoth’s opening days. Ryan and his staff’s intention to cook the European-style food they want to eat—pork rillettes; creative salads that toss together ingredients such as lentils, sunchokes, and lime vinaigrette; roasted rabbit loin—has served them well. 2335 E. 28th Ave., 303-297-1215

9. Beast and Bottle 

*Last year 7

Chef Paul Reilly co-owns Beast & Bottle with his sister Aileen Reilly, and together they produce a dining experience that perfectly fits Uptown’s eclectic vibe. That’s due largely to beverage director Jon Feuersanger’s always-packed bar and Paul’s well-edited menu, which showcases the meat and fish the team butchers daily in its tiny kitchen. What Paul does with those cuts wanders enough outside of the norm to be intriguing (lamb ribs with molasses mustard and giardiniera) while still adhering to standbys like goat’s milk gnudi and pork with sweet corn and chanterelles. But the best part of Beast & Bottle is that whether you’re a neighbor or not, you feel like one every time you walk through the door.  719 E. 17th Ave., 303-623-3223

10. Sushi Ronin 

*New to the list

Chef Corey Baker

Local sushi fans usually fall into one of two camps: Sushi Den or Sushi Sasa. But there’s a new player in town that will surely cut into both loyal fan bases: Sushi Ronin. More than any other spot around town, Sushi Ronin adheres to the omakase (or chef’s choice) philosophy. Of course, you could order from the menu, but why, when you can leave it up to whip-smart chef and co-owner Corey Baker? Whatever you decide when you stop by the LoHi hot spot, you’ll find yourself rewarded with gorgeous fish arranged like precious jewels. Count on Sushi Ronin becoming your new staple. 2930 Umatilla St., 303-955-8741