1. Acorn

Last year 2

Housed in a former 1800s foundry, Acorn perfectly blends the old with the new and the casual with the refined. The brick walls may be storied, but Steven Redzikowski’s food is as current and creative as it comes. Servers fill the tables with dishes as diverse as razor clam ceviche enhanced with refreshing cucumber and tarragon; avocado toast and cilantro-jalapeño vinaigrette; and oak-smoked bone marrow dabbed with golden raisin jam—and the ensuing meals are cohesive, well-paced, and full of fun. Bryan Dayton’s bar follows suit; it’s stocked with spirits such as sip-it-straight Matthiasson vermouth, and night after night the team turns out the kinds of balanced, innovative cocktails that foster loyalty. Take a good look, Denver, because Acorn is the future of dining. 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721, denveracorn.com

Order this: yellowtail crudo with eggplant agedashi, spiced aïoli, charred scallions, enoki mushrooms, and sesame

(Read 5280’s review of Acorn from the April 2014 issue.)