I’m all for grabbing a bite at the neighborhood coffeeshop, but all too often the menus fall off at muffins, scones, and breakfast burritos. That’s all well and good before noon, but for lunch, that simply won’t do.

Enter Shangri-La, a sliver of a coffeeshop sandwiched between Lola and Vita in LoHi. The friendly spot, which is under new ownership, functions as mini cafe with inventive salads and panini. A couple weeks ago, I ordered the mad grain salad—I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The combination of rice, barley, and rye, tossed with greens, basil leaves, cannellini beans, sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, house-made croutons, and shaved Parmesan is a study in texture, freshness, and healthy eating.

The next dishes on my to-try list are the quinoa salad (red onion, grapes, cilantro, red beans, croutons, and Parmesan) and the carpaccio plate with bresaola, arugula, Parmesan, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bonus: Other local spots worth seeking out for restaurant-quality eats include Rooster & Moon (don’t miss the Havana flatbread panino) and Under the Umbrella Cafe & Bakery (I love the New Mexican sandwich with turkey, green chiles, tomato, pepper jack, and cheddar).

Shangri-La, 1575 Boulder St., Suite B, 720-855-7585

Rooster & Moon, 955 Bannock St., 303-993-2622

Under the Umbrella Cafe & Bakery, 3504 E. 12th Ave., 303-256-0797

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.