Food & Drink

All-Meatballs? All-Waffles? Denver's 7 Tastiest Specialty Restaurants.

Published On 02/11/2015 Published On 02/11/2015
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Dnphotos.com
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1. Chowder Room 560 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209 (Baker)

This dead-ringer for a Cape Cod clam shack serves up all sorts of seafood, from crab cakes to barbecued shrimp -- but its forte is its namesake (because if it weren’t, that would be confusing). Both New England-style clam stew and red chowder with salmon, tuna, and halibut are always available, while the bowl du jour changes constantly.

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2. Kobe An Shabu Shabu 3400 Osage St, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

The Japanese hot pot with a name that translates to "swish swish" isn’t just a dish, it’s a multisensory, DIY, capital-e Experience. Drink it in at this sleek retreat, where pots set on tabletop burners bubble with dashi broth, surrounded by platters of sliced ribeye, noodles, and vegetables.

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3. Manneken Frites 5616 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002

Hot, hand-cut, salt-dusted fries in a cone with any of a jillion (we counted) dipping sauces, including curry ketchup, ghost-chile ranch and Parmesan-pesto mayo. What more could you ask for? Oh, right, Belgian beer: this quaint little Old World-themed shop has got plenty of that, too.

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4. Maria Empanada 1298 South Broadway Ave, Denver, CO 80210 (South Broadway)

Lorena Cantarovici’s all-empanada joint has tons of Argentinian treats on its menu -- enjoy fillings that are both savory (Caprese, ham & cheese) and sweet (dulce de leche, Marsala-poached pear).

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5. The Pasty Republic 4166 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212 (Northwest)

No, it’s not a socialist tanning salon. Pasties are basically English empanadas, and this little counter joint (and its brand-new food truck) aces them. Fillings range from traditional (beef, potatoes, and rutabaga) to modern (spinach, feta, almonds, and herbs) to sweet (spiced pumpkin and cream cheese). They’re then encased in crunchy-tender shells so golden-brown, it's as if this were a tanning salon after all.

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6. Slotted Spoon Meatball Eatery 2730 S Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80222

Opening at the height of the meatball craze a few years ago, this quick-casual cafe has outlasted the hype by putting a premium on variety. Beef, chicken, salmon, pork, and veggie balls star in dozens of smart signature sandwiches, pastas, and salads; you can also build your own, thanks to a huge list of ingredients ranging from caramelized onions and banana peppers to chile queso and Alfredo sauce.

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7. Waffle Up! 300 Elati St, Denver, CO 80223 (Baker)

You don’t have to harbor a throbbing sweet tooth to appreciate the crusty, yeasty, chewy wonders that are Liège-style waffles. This new brick-and-mortar sibling of a popular food truck offers as many savory topping combos as it does sweet, like the crispy-gooey, basil-laced bacon & Brie.