Food & Drink

The Best Lunch Spot in 18 Denver 'Hoods

Published On 08/27/2015 Published On 08/27/2015
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ellen Jaskol/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Four Friends Kitchen
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
P17
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
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1. Hong Kong Barbecue 1048 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 (Southwest)

This Athmar Park hole-in-the-wall has a display case full of roast ducks, pig heads, and other traditional Chinese and Asian fusion meats, which we wholeheartedly recommend. The spot is also great for vegetarians, if the case of meat isn't too much for your more PETA involved friends.

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2. Gozo 32 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209 (Southwest)

A Mediterranean restaurant with a relaxed fine dining feel, Gozo churns out delicious eats like grilled prawns over mashed cauliflower, and braised pork shoulder with preserved lemon and mustard greens.

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3. El Chingon 4326 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212 (Northwest)

Having moved El Chingon from Aravada to Northwest Denver, executive chefs David Lopez and Gloria Nunez haven't skipped a beat. Delicious carnitas, green chili, and specialty cocktails come from a kitchen that buys ingredients locally, so you can enjoy both the food and having supported local business.

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4. Los Cabos II 1525 Champa St, Denver, CO 80202 (Cbd)

This peaceful cafe serves Peruvian cuisine, and is complete with a near-life-sized stuffed llama (alpaca?). Not sure what to expect from Peruvian food? Expect a blend of Chinese Cantonese and Spanish flavors, with clear influence from the Peruvian highlands. We recommend the aji de gallina, and the parihuela, and the ceviche, and the lomo saltado, and...maybe just get the lunch buffet.

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5. Carbon Beverage Cafe 1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (Highland)

This hip spot in the hip Central Platte Valley area is the beverage & munchie half of the sibling pair of Habit/Carbon -- the other half (Habit Doughnut Dispensary) will fill all your late night, lack of doughnut related woes. Wander into Carbon to find taps on taps on taps -- of coffee, kombucha, wine, beer, and batch cocktails. All can be customized with additional syrups, salts, and herbs, and go great with munchie-satisfying snacks like pizza in a cup.

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6. Dae Gee 827 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80206 (Congress Park)

This Korean BBQ joint rocks just as hard as its Westminster sibling (harder, in fact, because it’s got a full bar). Marinated meat’s only half the story anyway — the rest is a sizzling, bubbling, thrilling saga starring textbook zucchini pancakes, bibimbap, sinus-clearing stews, and the best dubu kimchi in town, bar none.

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7. Glaze 1160 Madison St, Denver, CO 80206 (Congress Park)

Glaze is first & foremost a bakery, serving mostly baum cakes: a multi-layer cake that evolved from baumkuchen , a German spit cake. It's cooked in an oven Glaze imported from Japan and topped with almost whatever you'd like. They even have a matcha green tea cake. If you're not into sweets, they also serve Japanese bao buns, tasting plates like fried tofu or scallops, and do brunch.

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8. Charcoal Restaurant 43 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204 (Golden Triangle)

If you can't visualize European-inspired American food, go to Charcoal, where dishes like pan-roasted chicken and crab cakes on creamed corn will convince you of your favorite new niche cuisine. Almost everything here is prepped on the open kitchen's Colorado-made Bincho grills, which in laymen's terms means your dinner will be cooked quickly, with maximum flavor. The restaurant is located just a few minutes from the Denver Art Museum and boasts a modern space.

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9. Chili Verde 2311 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80211 (Jefferson Park)

Not all Mexican food is the same, and this kinda-upscale, definitely-good, spot specializes in the Puebla style, which means lots of sauces with lots of flavors. If you were ever going to order a smothered burrito, this is the place to do it.

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10. Jamaican Grill 708 W. 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80204

This colorful little cafe-slash-Bob Marley shrine has some of Denver's best fried chicken. The friendly owners call their concoction "Jamaican barbie fried chicken," presumably alluding to the island’s style of barbecue rather than the Urban Dictionary definition of "Jamaican barbie," and certainly the copious topping will remind you of barbecue sauce: sweetish and slightly spicy. As for the breading beneath, it doesn’t get soggy because it’s thin as lacquer, glossy and crackling over tender meat that slips off the bone with satisfying ease.

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11. Biju's Little Curry Shop 1441 26th St, Denver, CO 80205 (Northwest)

Biju's Little Curry Shop is a dhaba-style, fast-casual Indian joint in RiNo with a heat index that will induce sweat in even the highest of tolerant tongues. The menu is packed with southern Indian-style ingredients and curries, with flavors equally as vibrant as the turquoise-yellow-fuscia-colored space in which it lives. According to Guy Fieri, standouts include biryani with beef and vindaloo (extra hot) chicken. Cool off with a frosty beer, you're going to need it.

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12. Four Friends Kitchen 2893 Roslyn St, Denver, CO 80238 (Stapleton)

What's not to like about a spot with Southern comfort food, spiked sweet tea, and Etch-a-Sketch to bring back all the childhood cancelled out by the spiked sweet tea thing? If you thought of anything, we promise that the better-than-great food (like fried green tomatoes with jalapeño aioli and green-chile chicken cobbler with cheese biscuits) will cancel it out, and you'll be left having to admit that you like this place.

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13. Tacos el Paisa 1920 N Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80204 (Sun Valley)

At this welcome taco spot tucked between Sun Valley and Jefferson Park, umbrella drinks actually come with umbrellas, tacos come with all the fixings, and the sauces come hot (like really hot). They run breakfast all day, like machaca con huevos, and since they have drinks too that's almost like brunch every. day.

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14. P17 1600 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218 (Uptown)

By taking European fare and adding a few Asian dishes, Mary Nguyen built a bistro menu at her flagship restaurant P17. Don't be surprised when you find pork buns, spring rolls, lamb bolognese, and shrimp & grits on the same menu.

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15. Fooducopia 1939 E Kentucky Ave, Denver, CO 80209 (Wash Park)

Half local market, half comfy cafe, Fooducopia serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner for Wash Park. The menu has way more than you'd expect from a cafe, making it even more appealing. Breakfast includes four different takes on french toast, lunch has nine sandwiches plus salads, and dinner includes small plates, salads, entrees, & dessert.

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16. 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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17. Suvipa Thai Food 1015 South Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 (Southwest)

This Westwood café's unassuming storefront may fool some people, but you're Thrillist educated now and know how ridiculous the homestyle Asian food inside is. Pro Tip: Try the curry puff and gingered catfish.

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