9. To The Wind Bistro

Last year 15

Royce Oliveira and Leanne Adamson are entertaining masters. To The Wind’s tiny open kitchen sits just feet away from the front door—and brings you into the fete the moment you step inside. The wide-ranging but concise menu (foie gras au torchon with lemon-scented madeleines; barley carbonara with roasted carrots and scapes) displays Oliveira’s familiarity with classical cuisine but also shows that he doesn’t feel hemmed in by it. Dinner begins with messy, delicious boiled peanuts, and dishes come out when they’re ready—there are no airs, and that extends to the rotating mix of neighbors, regulars, and newcomers, who are quick to share in easy conversation. To The Wind is a little like your charismatic, sensible, and whip-smart friend. 3333 E. Colfax Ave., 303-316-3333, tothewindbistro.com

Order this: Yakama sturgeon with pierogi, cabbage, mustard, and chicken hock

(Read 5280’s review of To The Wind Bistro from the January 2015 issue.)