Denver’s dining scene is on the rise. It seems that every month, a handful of new and noteworthy eateries pops up in the metro area. Options abound, including pan-Latin cuisine, elegant steak tastings and venues with spectacular views of the city.
Feast your eyes on these newly opened places you won’t want to miss the next time you set foot in the Mile High City.
With restaurants that include the lauded Root Down, Linger and the fast-casual concept Vital Root, chef and restaurateur Justin Cucci has shown he knows a thing or two about vegetables and what the public wants to eat. At his latest venture, El Five, he takes a different turn and showcases the cuisine of the Mediterranean with a modern, Denver twist.
Of course, vegetables still have a starring role on the menu; items such as the ash-roasted carrots (with fennel, pine nuts, spiced yogurt and mint) don’t merely please the taste buds, but they prove to be Instagrammable as well.
Between snaps, you’ll also want to try the tangy goat cheese croquettes with bacon and mastic chili honey; matzah ball soup dumplings ; and the charred baba ghanoush with lemon goat yogurt and smoked almonds.
As a bonus, the cityscape from the five-story restaurant is a real stunner, especially if you find yourself dining at sunset.
In the heart of downtown Denver, an elegant, roomy steakhouse has sprouted unlike any other restaurant in the area. After all, not every venue offers a steak tasting like chef Chris Starkus does here.
The protein-packed spread comes with a variety of six-ounce beef selections, including grass-fed, corn-fed and 21-day dry-aged. Pair the cuts with the twice-baked fingerling potato tart and macaroni and cheese with cured tomato; then, order a glass of rich red wine to cap off this feast.
Another unique feature of this downtown spot comes in the form of a tableside beef tartare, a sophisticated appetizer with fennel and Parmesan that’s served with housemade crackers.
Oddly though, the chef has a background in fish, so you won’t want to pass up the chance to order the epic seafood tower or the more manageable seafood salad with chorizo oil.
Urban Farmer sources its ingredients as locally and sustainably as possible, so you can dine like a king and feel good about it.
Located in the city’s Riverfront Park neighborhood, this eclectic eatery focuses not only on featuring ingredients indigenous to Colorado, but also on having a positive social and environmental impact.
Chef Patrick Kelly helms the kitchen, churning out plates of crispy confit potatoes; Calabrian clams with olives, preserved lemon and shallots; and roasted heritage breed chicken with herbed soubric, housemade tomato jam and savory bread pudding.
Seasonal cocktails play an important role here, too, and, like the food, the bar is stocked with local goods.
Owners Chad Michael George, Kade Gianinetti and Jared Schwartz opened up this space right as their other popular spot, The Way Back, closed over the summer due to location issues. Luckily for fans of the trio’s work, this new eatery has been going strong, and even though it’s different from the first venue, it carries the same ideals and great cocktails.
Cool taupe and white walls accented with grays and blues make up the color palette of this pan-Latin eatery. But if you look closely at the tiling, textures and tasteful knickknacks, you can see the influences from Peru, Nicaragua and other South American countries that owners and chefs Max MacKissock and Blake Edmunds visited to garner inspiration for the restaurant as well.
Of course, you can detect the same themes in the wonderfully plated food. The menu changes often, but expect to find seasonal ceviche; a squash blossom quesadilla; carnitas with veal, guacamole and pico verde; and queso fundido with pepitas and chorizo verde.
Order one of the signature frozen margaritas — flavors like lime-banana and pomegranate come out of a frosty machine and taste so good, you’ll be tempted to sip on them all night long. Be warned, these unassuming cocktails pack a punch, so you’d be better off chasing one with local craft beer.
No matter what you order, make sure to snag the mezcla de fiesta, a bar-nut mix of candied black lime cashews, garlic chile peanuts, chulpe corn and a dash of lime.