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A tapas and low-ice cocktail feast at El Five (Photograph by Matt Nager)

Best Restaurants 2018: El Five

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El Five, the fifth brand in the eclectic Edible Beats empire (which also includes Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, and Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox), is one sexy restaurant. No other penthouse perch in Denver is plastered with vintage Middle Eastern movie posters and glittering mirrors, nor can you find the same wraparound views of the Mile High City skyline and the Rocky Mountains elsewhere. But it’s not all looks at El Five—there’s substance below the surface. Culinary director Jeremy Kittelson delivers a dinner menu of Pan-Mediterranean tapas that travels with confidence from the patatas bravas of Spain to Israeli-style spiced lamb ribs. His Sunday brunch service, which began in July, brings something new to our oversaturated eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys scene: a $47 meal with a view that includes an unlimited tapas buffet, entrée, cocktail (or mocktail), and coffee. On top of all that, beverage director Ky Belk has made it his mission to reduce El Five’s water waste via excellent low- and no-ice cocktails. In other words, El Five is a restaurant rock star, with talent, brains, and beauty. $$, 2930 Umatilla St., 303-524-9193

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