Feature

65 Things You Need to Eat in Denver

From classic diners to trendy new hot spots, our food editors scoured the Mile High City for these bucket-list eats.

March 2017

Telegraph's late-night charcuterie
—Photography by Aaron Colussi

What's For Dinner?

If a splurge is in order, this is where to go.

Matsuhisa’s $45 bento box with sushi is a double-decker beauty. Although available only during lunch, it’s bountiful enough to count as dinner, too. We can’t stop thinking about the beef teriyaki version, which comes with miso soup, a tuna sashimi salad, the chef’s choice of nigiri, Nobu’s famous miso black cod, and rock shrimp tempura dressed in a creamy, spicy sauce. 98 N. Steele St, 303-329-6628

For a refined celebration, afternoon tea at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa is unsurpassed. There are varying levels of indulgence that range from $36 to $128 per person (the latter price includes Champagne), but all come with high-end teas, scones with cream and preserves, delicate finger sandwiches, and exquisite pastries. 321 17th St, 303-297-3111

Mizuna is a mainstay for special-occasion dinners, but we’d argue that it’s also one of the city’s preeminent cocktail destinations. Barman Austin Carson nails fanciful takes on the classics. One example: his verdant and refreshing $12 version of the mojito, which features Don Q Cristal, fresh spearmint (from owner Frank Bonanno’s garden), matcha tea, melon, and lime. 225 E. Seventh Ave, 303-832-4778

Izakaya Den. Photograph courtesy of Izakaya Den

Lobster is a classic indulgence, and nowhere is the crustacean tastier than in the heavenly ramen ($13 to $16) at Izakaya Den. Lobster shells and red snapper bones lend the stock rich flavor, while lobster-and-tiger-shrimp-filled dumplings up the ante. Snappy noodles and fresh scallions round out the flavorful bowl. 1487-A S. Pearl St, 303-777-0691

Barolo Grill’s wine list is 115 pages long (there are bottles stored in almost every corner of the restaurant and even across the street). For a special bottle on a special night, consider the 2005 Prinsi Barbaresco Gaia Principe ($149), all plum and black licorice, which the staff discovered on its annual summer pilgrimage to Piedmont, Italy. 3030 E. Sixth Ave, 303-393-1040

The quickest way to feel like a VIP at the new Breckenridge Distillery Restaurant is to order the $128 caviar service ($140 with vodka) for two. It’s all pomp and circumstance—the caviar tin gleams like a jewel, the bowl beneath glitters with ice, and a mother-of-pearl spoon feels delicate in your hand—met with the crispiest of potato chips and crème fraîche. Sip an ice-cold shot of vodka (pinky up, of course) with each bite. 1925 Airport Road, 970-771-3251 —Amanda M. Faison

“Omakase” translates roughly to “trust the chef,” which is what you’ll do when you settle in for Sushi Sasa’s nine-course feast. Chef Wayne Conwell dives deep into Japanese-Italian fusion with dishes such as pecorino-dusted halibut and crisp veggies with a bagna-càuda-esque anchovy, miso, and olive oil fonduta. It’s an unforgettable experience that’s worth the $120 per person. 2401 15th St, Suite 80, 303-433-7272

Foie gras—or fattened goose liver—is a polarizing ingredient, but no one can dispute the deliciousness of the foie-gras-topped Shroom Luva at Tap and Burger. This $22 indulgence features a beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, Emmental cheese, white truffle aïoli, and shavings of the liver on top. 2219 W. 32nd Ave, 720-287-4493; 1565 N. Raleigh St, Unit 100, 720-456-6779

Edge Restaurant & Bar. Photograph by Aaron Colussi

You can score a mighty fine piece of beef at plenty of steak houses around town. But when only the finest 30-ounce wagyu tomahawk will do, head to the Edge Restaurant & Bar inside the Four Seasons. There, you can slice into a perfectly marbled, pecan-wood-grilled steak for a cool $125. Ask for the Stranahan’s Whiskey butter sauce on the side. Four Seasons Hotel, 1111 14th St, 303-389-3343


HIDDEN GEMS

Does the truism that cabbies know all the best places hold up in the ridesharing era? We took a fleet of Lyfts to find out; based on our drivers’ recommendations, the answer is “yes.” —Ruth Tobias

Luis, our driver, came to Denver from the Yucatán, so when he told us to try a Sinaloan seafood joint, we took his word for it. Our faith was rewarded. From “molcajetes” (mortars overflowing with seafood, meats, cheese, and sauces) to wacky Mexican-style sushi, El Coco Pirata’s menu is worth exploring. Start with an outrageous michelada garnished with oysters, shrimp, and carne seca; next, try the cevichelike “botana pirata” (pirate’s snack) full of abalone, snail, and octopus. All are served by the Spanish-speaking staff with great cheer. 3325 W. Alameda Ave, 303-934-4133

“It’s one of the last remaining authentic Irish pubs” in town, said ex-firefighter Rick about Clancy’s Irish Pub, open almost continuously since 1973. We’ll gladly vouch for its old-school charm, which stems from the inlaid wood floors, multiple bars, and Emerald Isle memorabilia that fills the space. The kitchen does a proper job with across-the-pond classics (hearty beef stew, savory bangers and mash) as well as updates like the delightful corned-beef-and-pastrami Irish Castro (based on a Cubano). 7000 W. 38th Ave, Wheat Ridge, 720-456-7320

“All the time,” Kyle said when we asked if riders ever grill him about restaurants. One of his go-to recommendations is Cafe Brazil, a festive South American fixture in Berkeley, because “it’s got great atmosphere, it’s genuine, and it’s something different for Denver.” We couldn’t agree more. Start in the bar with a rum flight and (free!) happy hour tapas, then move on to a feast centered around robust stews, including the famous mixed-meat “feijoada completa.” 4408 Lowell Blvd, 303-480-1877

Welton Street Cafe. Photograph courtesy of Welton Street Cafe

Ironically, Ricardo learned about Welton Street Cafe, a low-key Southern and Caribbean soul food sanctuary, from a passenger “who told me it had incredible food made from scratch.” So it has for years, including some of the city’s finest fried chicken and catfish as well as seven different kinds of Jamaican-style patties. 2736 Welton St, 303-308-0860

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