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Everywhere You Need to Eat in Denver Right Now

From pizza to pierogies.

Citizen Rail
Citizen Rail

With the cold weather quickly setting in, we’re counting on our favorite comfort-food spots for cozy date nights or takeout to curl up on the couch with. Denver restaurateurs are determined to open up new concepts and locations constantly, from hot new pizza joints to go-to sushi spots to places devoted entirely to pierogies, and winter is shaping up to be high-time for exploring Denver’s ever-growing food scene. Oh, and remember that the world is still going through it, so prices may have changed at your favorite places since the last time you visited. Make sure to be kind to restaurant staff.

The gist: Swiftly making its way into the hearts of Denver pizza lovers after just opening this past July is Redeemer, showcasing New York-style, naturally leavened sourdough pizza. The concept comes from Dio Mio owners Spencer White and Alex Figura, who have a not-so-secret thing for bread in all forms.
The food: Sure, you can start with a farm-fresh salad or some crunchy cauliflower, but you’ll definitely want to dig into a Kale and Chili (featuring Dio Mio sausage and calabrian cream sauce) or Diavolo pizza to get a proper fix of heat. There’s also a daily specialty pizza at market price to keep you coming back for new and enticing flavors day after day.
The cost: Appetizers range from $9 - $20, pizzas are $18 - $25 depending on toppings and sides, and cocktails are $12 - $13.

Available for Reservations

Forget Me Not

Cherry Creek

The gist: Culinary Creative’s Juan Padró, Katie O’Shea, and Max MacKissock and rockstar behind the bar, Nicole Lebedevitch, have created a small oasis in the midst of the refined Cherry Creek. Velvety couches, bright white brick, and gold accents make for an airy, elegant space to sip cocktails and enjoy company.
The food: While the main draw here is the expertly curated menu of handcrafted cocktails and lovely, clean atmosphere, the snack menu has quite a lot to offer. Meat and cheese boards and tinned fish are great for sharing, but we’d be remiss not to urge you to try the lobster crunch wrap, Chicago style hot dog, or raclette over confit potatoes and cornichons—each is even better than it sounds.
The cost: Cocktails range from $13 - $16, unless you and at least four friends opt for a large-format cocktail for $120. Small shareables range from $11 - $28 and larger snacks are $6 - $32.

Available for Reservations

The gist: Chef Jose Avila, of the X’Tabai Yucateco food truck and El Borrego Negro fame, has brought to Denver its first restaurant dedicated to authentic pozole. Avila sources heirloom ingredients from Mexico, sticks to traditional methods like nixtamalization to prep corn for his dishes, and relies on whatever supplies are available to him each week, meaning offerings are constantly rotating.
The food: There’s never a bad time for pozole, though winter offers more opportunities to seek something warm and comforting; cozy up and stay awhile at La Diabla for food that truly hits the spot. Several variations of the flavorful Mexican soup are available with or without meat, including a common Rojo (red), white, and green variety (representing the Mexican flag, of course). And because La Diabla is also a mezcaleria, don’t miss one of the signature cocktails, 1oz pours, or flights of distilled Mexican goodness.
The cost: Pozole starts at $17, small plates and apps are $7 - $10, tacos are $5 - $7, and cocktails range from $10 - $14.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Ronin

Congress Park

The gist: The third installment from the Ronin group (joining LoHi’s Sushi Ronin and Highlands Ranch’s 47 Ronin Sushi & Spirits), Ronin Congress Park joins the ranks of some of the city’s best sushi. Guests can expect the omakase experience (similar to a chef’s tasting menu), with more emphasis on seasonal dishes and an even more refined technique from behind the sushi counter.
The food: Sushi that’s almost too pretty to eat and an impressive selection of fish to boot. Choose from nigiri or sashimi à la carte, specialty hand rolls like the Colorado (with jalapeños, naturally), smaller bites like edamame, warmer appetizers like pork or chicken gyoza and karaage, or rice bowl combos, served with a side of miso soup and house salad.
The cost: Choose your own adventure here. Nigiri and sashimi by the two-piece starts at $7 and can head up to $14, not including those at market price. Eight-piece rolls from $10 - $24, starters and small bites from $5 - $28, and rice bowl combos $24 - $38.

Available for Reservations

The gist: What started as a pierogi food truck run by Jeremy and Katherine Yurek quickly gained a large following and prompted the couple to open up a brick-and-mortar shop in Aurora’s arts district (close to neighbors Lady Justice brewing and Third Culture bakery). Since its opening in March 2020 (yes, right around when the world shut down), Baba and Pop’s has been a nonstop force of flavor and tradition, honoring Jeremy’s grandparents, THE Baba and Pop.
The food: Well, pierogies, though not just any pierogis. There’s classic potato and cheese, of course, so mouthwateringly good you’ll have eaten a whole dozen before you blink. But the neat thing about Baba and Pop’s—aside from the fact that it also offers other Slavic dishes like stuffed cabbage rolls and a kielbasa and sauerkraut sandwich—is that there is always an array of pierogi flavors to choose from, like the Pizza-rogi with tomato, basil, and mozzarella, the Colorado with Chile Relleno and house green chile, or Uncle Paul’s Pierogi Poutine (pork bone gravy and cheese curds included).
The cost: Shareables from $8 - $10, pierogies are $11, sandwiches from $12, and a variety of seasonal cocktails from $9 - $11. Oh, and don’t forget to grab a few bags of frozen ‘rogis on your way out. The pulled pork and buffalo chicken are must-trys.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Courtesy of Jovanina’s Broken Italian

The gist: A modern spin on traditional Italian cuisine using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients—and whatever creative inspiration strikes chef Jake Linzinmeir for that night’s dinner service. Now officially reopened to full dine-in capacity (be sure to check out the speakeasy-esque, underground dining room).
The food: Everything you might expect at an Italian restaurant, but with some added sparkle and bang. Fresh focaccia bread with Parmesan olive oil garlic butter, pickled vegetables, a variety of charcuterie options and bright, crisp salads to get dinner off to a good start. However you prefer to enjoy gluten—wood-fired pizza, hand-made pasta, or olive oil cake—there are no wrong choices here. And Jovanina’s does, in fact, offer gluten-free pastas, so you don’t have to miss out on the impeccable flavors of dishes like elk bolognese, cacio e pepe, or puttanesca. Round things out with an affogato and let your heart sing—you’ll be coming back time and time again for everything Jovanina’s has to offer.
The cost: Shareables from $9 - $25, pizzas $21 - $23, pastas $26 - $29, and hearty mains from $32 - $38.

Available for Reservations
Photo by Larry Herz

Lady Nomada

Olde Town Arvada

The gist: The sister restaurant of Perdida, Lady Nomada opened this July in the quaint Olde Town Arvada, boasting a bright, coastal atmosphere and a menu full of “Baja bites,” tacos, and bright, refreshing cocktails.
The food: It’s hard not to imagine a sea breeze and sand beneath your feet when tasting the bright and colorful flavors of Lady Nomada’s coastal Mexican dishes. Enjoy classics like warm queso and Mexican street corn alongside unique takes, like the deliciously fresh melon and tomato salad with tajin and mint or the savory carne asada fries. Tender meats packed with flavor shine both in the selection of tacos (please see: birria and carnitas) as well as in the larger menu options like the posole verde, which features little neck clams, pulled pork, cilantro, and hominy nestled in corn tortillas.
The cost: Enjoy options for every budget, with shareable snacks from $5 - $9, small plates from $10 - $15, large plates from $18 - $25, and assorted tacos from $11 - $14.

Photo by The Denver Dish

Citizen Rail

Union Station

The gist: Opened initially in 2017 then gradually reopening as Covid-19 restrictions allowed, the popular Union Station restaurant within the Kimpton Hotel Born remains a favorite downtown spot for upscale, farm-fresh fare in the heart of the city.
The food: Produce-forward takes on menu staples, like the new Vegetable Charcuterie and Sourdough Bread Salad with summer squash and house-made ricotta, combine the freshness of summer with chef Christian Grave’s ever-present creativity. Coal simmered mussels and the Citizen Rail 50/50 burger remain on the menu for those who love a lasting fan-favorite, but new additions to the dinner menu include a bone-in pork chop and miso-glazed, dry-aged duck breast. Pair with any number of CR’s classic or seasonal cocktails, wine, or drink of choice for a meal that checks all the boxes.
The cost: Anywhere from $13 - $65 for small plates or entrees. But if you’re feeling fancy, opt for the 48-ounce dry-aged Tomahawk (for two), which also comes with two sides for $140.

Available for Reservations

Of A Kind

Cherry Creek

The gist: Upon its opening in April 2021, Of A Kind set the precedent for this year’s crop of new concepts to persevere despite the disheartening pandemic. The Mediterranean restaurant offers plates meant for sharing and serves as the main food destination for the exclusive Clayton Members Club and Hotel, but is also open to the public.
The food: Helming the kitchen is executive chef Brandon Duley, who brings a culinary career of over 15 years and a particular knack for California coastal fare to focus on a fresh, produce-forward, and rotating seasonal menu. Expect bright, acid-forward flavors like citrus vinaigrettes on small, shareable salads and sides of pickled vegetables, fresh-from-the-wood stove pitas, a sweet, tart, and creamy blackberry currant labneh, and heartier plates like sweet corn gnocchi and turmeric confit chicken.
The cost: Veggie-centric snacks and raw bar plates range from $6 - $22, shareable dips and pitas are $10 - $16, and small and large plates range from $14 - $52.

Available for Reservations
Courtesy of The Original

The Original

Union Station

The gist: Located inside the Rally Hotel at the new McGregor Square development next to Coors Field, this retro-inspired eatery is a bright and fun spot to grab a bite.
The food: Classic diner eats get a playful, modern makeover with options that range from the all-American cheeseburger and the BLT amped up with raclette to crab and trout dip served with a bag of bugles and everything bagel deviled eggs complete with house-made salmon bacon. The drinks also get a nostalgic twist, with non-alcoholic options like Yoo-hoo, root beer floats, and of course, milkshakes (which you can definitely get a boozy version of). And yes, there is pie.
The cost: Appetizers are $5 - $15 and entrees are $12 - $36

Available for Reservations
Ginger Pig Boulder

Ginger Pig

Berkeley

The gist: From hockey player to attorney, owner Natascha Hess took a winding path to the food scene and made a big splash with her food-truck-turned-recently opened brick and mortar location.
The food: Inspired by her time living in China and traveling to Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Hess’ street food inspired dishes go big on bold flavors. From the snackable Bangkok Balls to the playful Cheeseburger Fried Rice, the entire menu is full of crave-worthy temptations. But if you have to pick one place to start, it’s a bestseller from her food truck days, the tantalizing Char Siu pork with smashed cucumber salad.
The cost: Appetizers are $5 - $14, and entrees range from $13 - $16.

Restaurant Olivia

Washington Park

The gist: Chef Ty Leon, beverage director Austin Carson, front-of-house master Heather Morrison opened this fresh pasta haven in the former Cafe Marmotte space in January 2020.
The food: When Leon and his team first purchased Cafe Marmont in 2019, they kept the French cuisine intact, but after a brief makeover, they reopened with a new name and a dedication to Italian cuisines with a focus on Leon’s area of expertise: handmade pasta (do not skip the lobster spaghetti with black truffle). Carson’s cocktails are impeccably crafted whether you opt for a classic or one of his creative spins, like the caprese negroni (yes, there’s tomato and basil involved).
The cost: Starters are $13 - $26, entrees are $28 - $39, and cocktails are $16. They also have a five-course tasting menu option for $115 / person.

Available for Reservations

The gist: Chef Kelly Whitaker (the founder of Boulder’s Basta) opened this unique eatery in 2018 where seasonal ingredients, house milled grains, and playful cooking techniques come together in unexpected ways.
The food: Heritage grains milled in house take center stage here in the form of house made pasta which is a staple, although the preparations often jump the borders of global cuisines—for example, right now you’ll find both a lamb bolognese and radish kimchi fried rice on the them. Many dishes feature wood-fired and charcoal grilled elements, but the best part of the food here may be that you can always expect the unexpected.
The cost: A la carte items are available for dine in and pickup and range from $9 - $65. You can also enjoy the wild and partly foraged Tent Experience this November for $125 per person.

Available for Reservations

The gist: A Texas-style BBQ hit from Karl Fallenius who spent time working under Aaron Franklin at Austin’s famed Franklin’s before bringing his smoking skills to the Mile High.
The food: Fallenius made Owlbear synonymous with stellar brisket via his original outpost behind Finn’s Manor, and after a long (but well worth it) wait finally opened a brick & mortar location. The brisket remains the best in town, and he continues to expand the selections with specials like a super craveable burger, house-made sausages, and gumbo.
The cost: Meats are available by the pound starting at $6 for a quarter pound. Sandwiches are $7 - $9 and sides come in a range of sizes starting at $4 - $6 for a small.

Available for Reservations

Safta

Rino

The gist: Known for his eponymous New Orleans restaurant, award-winning chef Alon Shaya brought his take on modern Israeli cuisine to Denver in 2018, and pita lovers all over the Mile High have rejoiced ever since.
The food: It’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with this spot after just one bite of the insanely fluffy, perfectly charred wood-fired pitas. And it only gets better from there. Pair those pitas with oh-so-smooth hummus topped with decadent lamb ragu or lutenitsa, a flavorful blend of roasted eggplant, tomato, peppers, and garlic. Then move on to harissa roasted chicken or pomegranate braised lamb shanks or charred cabbage or anything really. There are no bad moves to be made here.
The cost: Starters and hummus range from $8 - $17 and small and large plates from $9 - $58. Catch weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays for special pricing and offerings, too.

Available for Reservations

Hop Alley

Five Points

The gist: After years of serving stellar ramen to the hungry masses at Uncle, owner Tommy Lee opened this Chinese powerhouse in 2015; its bold flavors continue to make it a must-visit spot today.
The food: If you still think Chinese in Denver means too-sweet beef and broccoli and chow mein, you’re missing out. The hip-hop soundtrack and high energy atmosphere pair perfectly with dishes that are ideal for sharing. Don’t skip the la ji zi (mouth-numbing—in a really, really good way, Szechuan fried chicken), bone marrow fried rice, and chilled tofu with bang bang sauce.
The cost: Plates range from $6 - $27

Available for Reservations
Annette | Photo courtesy of From the Hip Photo

Annette

Stanley Marketplace

The gist: The first restaurant from Caroline Glover, one of Food & Wine Magazine’s ten best new chefs in America 2019.
The food: Glover’s driving goal for Annette is to make each service feel like a dinner party among friends, whether that means sharing snacks like house popcorn and chive-covered deviled eggs or conversing between bites of succotash and fresh, seasonal salads. While many items are perfect in their simplicity, like the sherry-glazed roasted half chicken, Glover’s also not afraid to tackle less common ingredients and transform them into comfort food, like the grilled beer tongue + marrow toast that’s become a staple on the menu.
The cost: Snacks are $3.50 - $4.50, plates range from $8 - $29.

Available for Reservations

Yuan Wonton

Various locations
The gist: This food truck featuring handmade dumplings and a rotating menu of other specialty items from chef Penelope Wong has developed a cult following in Denver, often selling out in minutes.
The food: Delicate, hand-folded chili garlic wontons with the proper spicy kicks have quickly become this food truck’s signature item, but your best bet is to order (at least) one of everything on the menu. Wong often experiments with new items, kimchi fried rice, Chinese baked coconut buns, and scallion pancakes. Follow the truck on Instagram for the latest schedule and ordering options. Your best bet is to pre-order for pickup as items typically sell out very quickly.
The cost: An order of five chile garlic wontons is $8, other dishes typically range from $8 - $12.
Available for Reservations
Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.
Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on food, fun, and life in the Mile High.

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