Top of the Town 2015: Dining

The best places to order pizza, breakfast, juice, Korean food, pie, sandwiches, and more.

June 17 2015, 2:46 PM

—Steuben's; Photo courtesy of Kari Cummings Photography


 

Eat Your Way Around the World

Mexican

Editors’ Choice
El Taco de Mexico
Eat This: Stuffed with heavenly refried beans and oozing with cheese, the chile relleno burrito (smothered in killer house-made green chile) is a must, as are the delicately spiced marinated pork tacos. 
Drink This: Horchata.
Note of Authenticity: The Zanabria family, which hails from Mexico, has been crafting its take on Mexico City eats at this counter-service taquería since 1986.  
714 Santa Fe Drive, 303-623-3926

Readers’ Choice
La Loma 2527 W. 26th Ave., 303-433-8300


Middle Eastern

Editors’ Choice
Damascus Restaurant
Eat This: You’ll leave full after trying the vegetarian combo (hummus, baba ghanoush, fattoush salad, basmati rice, falafel, grape leaves, and moussaka) or mixed grill meat combo (lamb, beef, chicken, and kofta kebabs) and fresh-out-of-the-oven pita bread.
Drink This: Damascus’ fresh strawberry juice—made in-house—tastes like summer.
Note of Authenticity: Syria-born Mahmoud Kassir opened this south Denver eatery more than 20 years ago using recipes his mother sent him on audiotapes. 
2276 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-757-3515

Readers’ Choice
Jerusalem Restaurant
 1890 E. Evans Ave., 303-777-8828


Korean

Editors’ Choice
DaeGee Korean BBQ (pictured)
Eat This: Start with an order of comforting mandoo guk, a chicken dumpling soup. You’ll be satisfied with any of the barbecue-it-yourself options—all of which come with eight traditional sides—but the beef bulgogi is particularly tender. (Note: The Colorado Boulevard location is still awaiting its barbecue tables.)
Drink This: Share a bottle of cold ginseng soju, a pleasant Korean sake.  
Note of Authenticity: When chef-owner Joe Kim opened DaeGee’s first location, his Korean mother-in-law (who taught him to cook) manned the burners. He still uses many of her recipes. 
827 Colorado Blvd., 720-639-9986; 7570 Sheridan Blvd., Westminster, 720-540-0700

Readers’ Choice
DaeGee Korean BBQ


Italian

Editors’ Choice
DiFranco’s
Eat This: The simple salad of field greens, carrots, tomatoes, and shaved fennel, paired with the equally modest but flavorful penne in prosciutto vodka sauce, will only set you back $11 on Mondays.
Drink This: A glass of Martini & Rossi prosecco straight from Italy. 
Note of Authenticity: Owner Ryan DiFranco is inspired by his Southern Italian grandmother, but he keeps his ingredients local to maintain the same level of freshness you’d find in Italy’s impeccable seaside restaurants.
955 Lincoln St., Unit D, 720-253-1244

Readers’ Choice
Mici Handcrafted Italian multiple locations


Ethiopian 

Editors’ Choice
Queen of Sheba
Eat This: A combo platter (all veggie, all meat, or a mix of the two) is a great introduction to the wide variety of African spices, which lean toward tangy and complex rather than simply spicy.
Drink This: Any of several native beers (including St. George, the Ethiopian Budweiser) or the meadlike honey wine.
Note of Authenticity: Ethiopia-born chef-owner Zewditu Aboye decorated the walls of the small eatery with her collection of Ethiopian folk art.
7225 E. Colfax Ave., 303-399-9442

Readers’ Choice
Queen of Sheba


Japanese

Editors’ Choice
Domo
Eat This: Get your fill with a lunchtime donburi bowl—we suggest the fresh tuna—which comes with three country sides, miso soup, and rice. (Or make your co-workers jealous with a to-go bento box with chicken teriyaki.)
Drink This: The delicious Sencha, a steamed green tea, arrives in a bowl-size cup.  
Note of Authenticity: We’ll never stop raving about the peaceful back patio, located in the middle of a lush Japanese garden.
1365 Osage St., 303-595-3666,

Readers’ Choice
Sushi Den 1487 S. Pearl St., 303-777-0826


Thai

Editors’ Choice
Thai Monkey Club
Eat This: Any of the stir-fried noodle dishes (we’re partial to the pad see ew and drunken noodles). Ask your server for an explanation of the spiciness scale, and err on the conservative side—things get real hot here, real fast. Trust us. 
Drink This: A crisp Singha beer or the very sweet (but very refreshing) mango boba smoothie.
Note of Authenticity: You know this is real Thai because the hottest spice level—six on a scale of one to six—is borderline inedible.
Multiple locations

Readers’ Choice
Thai Basil multiple locations


Greek

Editors’ Choice
Axios Estiatorio
Eat This: The lasagnalike pastitsio stops just short of being too rich; on weekends, ask about the seasonal fish (last time we were in, it was halibut—and it had already sold out at 7 p.m.). 
Drink This: Any of the nearly 50 Greek wines on the menu.
Note of Authenticity: Axios Estiatorio imports an impressive collection of ouzo—the traditional Greek anise-tinged aperitif—and offers suds from Septem Microbrewery, located on Evia, Greece’s second largest island.
3901 Tennyson St., 720-328-2225

Readers’ Choice
Axios Estiatorio


Vietnamese

Editors’ Choice
Vinh Xuong Bakery
Eat This: Perfect banh mi sandwiches with house-made baguettes, hand-ground or sliced meats, and hand-pickled daikon radish and carrot. Add a few warm-from-the-fryer sesame balls to go.
Drink This: Slow-brewed Vietnamese iced coffee. 
Note of Authenticity: The bakery’s original location at 375 South Federal Boulevard (which is also worth a visit) was started more than 20 years ago by Vietnamese immigrants. 
2370 W. Alameda Ave., Unit 15, 303-922-0999

Readers’ Choice 
(TIE) New Saigon 630 S. Federal Blvd., 303-936-4954
and Pho 95 1401 S. Federal Blvd., 303-936-3322; 6879 S. Vine St., Centennial, 303-797-9535


Chinese

Editors’ Choice
China Jade
Eat This: Order the spicy boiled fish slices, and you’ll be rewarded with a stewlike dish of tenderly poached ocean whitefish and boiled vegetables in an earthy broth.
Drink This: A warm pot of floral chrysanthemum tea.
Note of Authenticity: The menu features a plentiful array of traditional Szechuan dishes—and doesn’t hold back on chiles or the sweat-inducing Szechuan pepper.
12203 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora, 303-755-8518

Readers’ Choice
Imperial Chinese 431 S. Broadway, 303-698-2800


Indian

Editors’ Choice
India’s Castle
Eat This: Hearty dal soup, stuffed-to-bursting vegetarian samosas, curry-forward lamb Madras, and crispy yet soft garlic naan.  
Drink This: Chai tea, of course.
Note of Authenticity: The restaurant’s focus on North Indian cuisine means you’ll discover new dishes, such as the Mughlai Baida, a curry made with hard-boiled eggs. 
9555 E. Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village, 303-782-9700

Readers’ Choice
Little India multiple locations


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—Image courtesy of Mikey T. Nguyen

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