If you live in Denver or Boulder, you may not think of Westminster when going out to dinner. And you may not think of the Westin Hotel as a dining destination either. But these two factors are exactly why you should consider making a reservation at the weeks-old Kachina Southwestern Grill.

The restaurant, located just off of the hotel’s expansive lobby (in the space formerly occupied by O’s Steak and Seafood), features an inviting indoor-outdoor patio, a festive bar scene, and two vaulted main dining rooms. The decor is casually elegant southwestern: adobe-esque walls, a sculpture of a howling coyote, luminarios, and bursts of bright red and yellow. The ambience alone will put you in a vacation mindset so quickly you’ll order a prickly pear margarita without thinking about it.

The playful menu combines southwestern favorites such as stacked enchiladas and pork posole, with more inspired creations like smoked bison meatloaf served with quinoa corn pudding, and Colorado striped bass crusted with red chile popcorn. An a la carte taco menu and shared plates of lamb sausage or classic tamales rounds out the menu.

Adding to the getaway feel of the place: a highly attentive waitstaff that seems to care about your good time as much as you do.

Bonus: To make this a real getaway, book one of the Westin’s mountain view rooms where you can watch a slow-motion Front Range sunset before heading downstairs to dinner.

10600 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, 303-410-5813

—Photo courtesy of Adam Larkey