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Denver’s food scene is on fire. The evidence? Our culinary community attracted national attention last month when news broke that a Michelin guide to Colorado restaurants will be released next year—and the Front Range welcomed an abundance of new bars and eateries over the past few months. With so many exciting additions, from two dumpling restaurants to a cheerful breakfast joint, we surveyed the scene’s newcomers to curate a list of the best eats. Here, 18 new restaurants and bars you should check out this season and beyond.
This celebrated food hall has brought in not one, not two, but three new concepts in the past few months: Mangia Panino in April at the Boulder location, then Amá Modern Mexican and Pho King Rapidos—both formerly food trucks—in May at the LoHi location. At Mangia Panino, an East Coast–style Italian deli, the must-eats include sandwiches presented on fluffy house-made focaccia (get the caprese); fresh and crunchy kale salad studded with shaved apples, Parmesan, and toasted pine nuts; and the herb-breadcrumb-laced pesto casarecci (made with local Sfoglina pasta).
At the Denver location, head to Amá for delicious tacos and scoopable salsas, though don’t miss the tempura-battered, mole-seasoned sweet potato fries served with ancho aïoli and basil crema. Chef Long Nguyen’s celebrated Vietnamese fusion spot, Pho King Rapidos, is the newest addition to the LoHi food hall. There, you can feast on cult-favorite creations like the pho banh mi and garlic- and ginger-scented chicken over rice plus newer creations like the crispy-juicy Mochiko chicken nuggets. 3200 N. Pecos St. and 1401 Pearl St., Boulder —EP and PK
Call Your Mother Deli opened its first location outside of the Washington, D.C., area this May on Tennyson Street. While the line into the brightly colored Berkeley spot is often long, its stacked bagel sandwiches, tender babka muffins, and other twists on “Jew-ish” deli fare are well worth it. We recommend the exclusive-to-Denver Jetski, which sandwiches Colorado-sourced pastrami and brisket, sliced jalapeño, and generous amounts of melted American and cheddar between a halved cheddar bagel. Grab it to go with a hot coffee and enjoy it like a true East Coaster—while strolling the surrounding streets. 3880 Tennyson St. —EP
One of Denver’s only dedicated crêperies, Crêpes ’N Crêpes, moved into a new home in Congress Park this March. The 19-year-old restaurant, formerly located in Cherry Creek, serves more than 30 types of crêpes crafted by chef-owner Alain Veratti. Slide into a booth in the charming yellow-walled dining room furnished with French art and homey knicknacks to savor delicate pancakes wrapped around sweet and savory fillings such as chicken, mushroom, and onion cooked in a white cream sauce or sour cherries and whipped cream. 1222 Madison St. —PK
High-tech social darts, shareable plates, and animal-inspired cocktails in swanky, Victorian-inspired digs? Sign us up. With 17 locations worldwide, Flight Club from London-based State of Play Hospitality (which also launched and spun off Puttshack) opened its Denver outpost in LoDo this past June. Computerized boards with automatic scorekeeping and dedicated gaming staff make the venue a great place for darts newbies, but it can also serve purely as a sipping spot for those who want a less active happy hour. Try the rum-based Iguana infused with ginger, hibiscus liqueur, allspice, gingerbread rooibos tea, and lime for a Caribbean-influenced delight, then order a burrata flatbread for the table. 1959 16th Street Mall —EP
Last month, chef Carrie Baird, formerly of Bar Dough and the Ginger Pig, and Michael Fox, owner of Denver-based Dis Burrito, joined forces under Culinary Creative Group (where Baird is also a partner) to bring Denverites a new open-daily breakfast and brunch concept. The LoHi eatery is injected with nostalgic Americana touches, both in the decor and on the menu. Go for dishes inspired by iconic fast food items, like the In-N-Out “animal-style” hash brown topped with cheese, chopped onion, and special sauce, or Le Big Mac Omelette, which takes the classic French variation of the egg dish and adds ground beef, American cheese hollandaise, lettuce, onion, pickles, and sesame bun breadcrumbs. 2257 W. 32nd Ave. —EP
Aurora’s Glissade Coffee Company is one of the newest entries to the pantheon of Colorado specialty roasters. Opened late March, the spacious cafe offers an excellent cup of joe and light food options in a relaxing, tile-accented environment. While it blazes outside through this summer season, order an iced cold brew (we recommend it black to fully taste the fruity, chocolatey notes), and if you’re feeling snacky, grab a breakfast Danish sourced from nearby Bánh & Butter Bakery Cafe. The coffee shop is open until 6:30 p.m. most days, making it perfect for a remote workday, too. 2520 Galena St., Unit 3, Aurora —EP
This dumpling-centric restaurant, which launched in Northglenn in late April, is also a haven for coffee, tea, and boba lovers. In fact, owners Kiki Bentley, Elaine Wang, and Ally Wang invested in a $10,000 tea-making machine and hired Min Yuan, a barista from San Francisco, to manage their drink program. That means you can pair the fast-casual eatery’s steamed buns, chile wontons, and xiaolongbao (made with the trio’s family recipes and hand-folded daily) with rare-in-Denver caffeinated bevies such as the mojito coffee, a drink made with muddled mint, sugar, and cream that was popularized by San Fran’s Philz Coffee or the Insta-famous whipped Dalgona coffee. There’s also an extensive selection of imported craft teas, including oolongs, green, and black varieties, to choose from. 1024 W. 104th Ave. —PK
Fans of Kiké’s Red Tacos no longer have to devour tacos dripping with consomé and birria ramen oozing with melted cheese perched on the hood of their cars. The food truck, which formerly operated out of a parking lot in West Highland, debuted a brick-and-mortar with plenty of seating off 38th Avenue in May. There, you can upgrade the brand’s signature queso tacos, stuffed with cheese and your choice of meat and fried to a crisp on the flat top, with a rainbow of sauces from the salsa bar and sample newer dishes such as loaded fries and churro bites. Alcoholic drinks are also available at the bar; get the flight of cucumber, spicy, and strawberry margs. 1200 W. 38th Ave. —PK
Well-beloved Las Tortas had long satisfied Denverites’ craving for its eponymous Mexican sandwiches from a small storefront on Leetsdale Avenue (plus locations in Thornton and Greeley), but this past January, the restaurant relocated its Denver outpost to a larger space in Glendale. The tortas, though, are still just as delicious. With 13 protein options and 20-plus specialty combinations, take your pick of the loaded sammies, which come with cheese, refried beans, avocado, tomato, onion, and mayo. If you’re feeling bold, order your torta smothered (or “ahogada,” which means “drowned” in Spanish) with a red, chile-based sauce. Trust us: The fork-and-knife affair is worth it. 682 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale —EP
In April, Nozomi landed in Sunnyside, bringing a thoughtfully curated lineup of sushi, sashimi, temaki, and Japanese-style small plates to Tejon Street. Inside a nondescript corner space, a cozy bamboo-paneled dining room and sushi bar bustles with patrons, who devour plates of serrano-chile-studded salmon crudo and nigiri topped with generous portions of hotate (seared scallop), uni (sea urchin), and maguro (bluefin tuna). Be sure to dig into the menu of temaki and maki: hand rolls and sliced rolls stuffed with your choice of everything from avocado and peanuts to salmon skin to blue crab. 4100 Tejon St. —PK
Denver’s pizza scene just got hotter, thanks to the arrival of Red Tops Rendezvous, which turned on its oven earlier this month. Another spot from the Culinary Creative Group, the Jefferson Park spot is the brainchild of co-founder and chief development officer Kevin Eddy, who grew up in the Motor City eating the region’s signature square pizzas. Chef Alan Youngerman (formerly of Cart-Driver) developed the menu of inventive Detroit-style pies, starters, salads, and other specialties. His light and fluffy dough, which becomes framed with cheese-crusted edges after a run through the oven, is the perfect palette for specialty pies such as the Millions of Peaches (a cheese blend, Palisade peaches, shishito peppers, and red onions). Order it on the rooftop patio with the summer salad dressed with house-made green goddess dressing. 2917 W. 25th Ave. —PK
Since 2021, Vesta alum chef Nicholas Kayser and his team of culinary pros have churned out seasonally rotating contemporary American specialties at Rooted concepts inside Avanti Food and Beverage in Boulder and LoHi. This past February, Kayser upgraded the Denver food stall—Rooted Craft American Kitchen—to a sun-soaked, greenery-bedecked brick-and-mortar in West Highland with a bar and patio, which began welcoming diners in May. Go for the cold-smoked and roasted Norwegian salmon with lemon caper aïoli on a bed of smashed red potatoes (a favorite at the food stall). Or opt for something more decadent such as the buttermilk-brined, Calabrian-chile-zinged chicken thigh sandwich with ultra-crispy potato-starch-coated fries. Complement whatever you get with a cocktail curated by beverage director Scott Ericson such as refreshing yuzu-shrub-infused Elevators. 3940 W. 32nd Ave. —PK
Husband-and-wife team Tuan “Ni” and Anna Nguyen have had Sắp Sửa, named one of Bon Appétit’s most anticipated restaurant openings of the summer, in the works since 2020. In late June, their dream eatery, which serves upscale, nontraditional Vietnamese cuisine inspired by Ni’s experiences as a first-generation Asian American chef, finally came to fruition. And Denverites lucky enough to score a sold-out reservation agree that it was worth the wait. If you can secure a table (or a seat at the bar, reserved for walk-ins), don’t miss the cá kho, coconut-caramel-slicked hamachi collar; bắp cải luộc, charred cabbage with anchovy breadcrumbs and an egg-yolk-based sauce; and any of Anna’s desserts, which showcase the flavors and techniques of Vietnam and other countries around the globe. 2550 E. Colfax Ave. —PK
Since February, Ross and Amy Koenigs have been capitalizing on the former’s 10-plus years of experience brewing at New Belgium to deliver a consistently stellar line of beers to residents of Aurora and beyond. Scaling down has allowed Ross to easily experiment with small-batch brews, which means Second Dawn’s menu frequently sees new offerings, but all of its options—from a fruity Citra hazy IPA, to a smooth imperial stout, to a nonalcoholic hop-infused sparkling water—are both full in flavor and easy to knock back. Linger in the comfy, dog-friendly taproom designed by Kaci Taylor until you’re hungry, then order from whichever food truck is in that day; the brewery’s roster includes Doublewide Sandwiches, Over Rice Thai, and Puerto Rican concept Lechonera La Familia. 2302 Dayton St., Aurora —EP
Legendary Boulder restaurant Chez Thuy, which began getting locals hooked on pho, spring rolls, and other ubiquitous Vietnamese eats in 1992, hatched an offshoot in Broomfield in early 2023. At the petite, casual spot, situated in the same complex as Great Wall Supermarket, you can get tasty versions of the aforementioned beef noodle soup. But we recommend going for lesser-known items such as the fried soft shell crab, grilled beef snuggled in betel leaves, or pan-seared noodles—a tangle of fried strands crowned with your choice of umami-rich brown or peppery coconut sauce. 6500 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield —PK
Yummy Dumpling serves just that: yummy dumplings. This airy Chinese eatery in Federal Heights debuted earlier this month, and though dough-wrapped masterpieces are the veritable star of the menu, a quick glance over its options reveals a number of unique offerings (green tea bacon fried rice, anyone?). Here’s our recommendation: Go for dumplings like the not-too-spicy chile oil wontons, whose slippery skins come dressed in a sweet soy-based sauce. Then, fill out your meal with the kung pao chicken noodles—an extra saucy version of the classic Chinese takeout dish poured over thick wheat noodles. 10350 Federal Blvd., Suite 400, Federal Heights —EP