Food & Drink

Your Last Denver Meal: 16 Things You Have to Eat Before You Die

Published On 06/30/2015 Published On 06/30/2015
Lower 48 Kitchen
Scottie Davison
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Lo Stella Ristorante
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
The Plimoth
Marc Piscotty
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
Jennifer Olson
Glaze
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist
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1. Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen 725 E 26th Ave, Denver, CO 80205

Imagine baskets overflowing with everything bagels and ramekins stuffed with scallion cream cheese. What you are now imagining: Rosenberg's.

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2. Phoenician Kabob 5709 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220 (Park Hill)

Just the puffed-up pita rounds alone are worth a visit to Phoenician Kabob. And the Lebanese garlic dip? Icing on the cake.

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3. Old Major 3316 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

Located in a rustic, farmhouse-style space, Old Major -- named after the advising pig in George Orwell's Animal Farm -- is "dedicated to seafood, swine, and wine." Restaurateur Justin Brunson's Highland Park eatery sources sustainable seafood (read: not the farmed stuff from China), has in-house butchery and charcuterie programs, and an extensive wine list (note: every bottle is half-off on Sundays). The menu often changes, but one dish reigns throughout: the Nose to Tail. Let's just say it's a heaping pile of pork (of varying cuts, cures, and preparations) on a plate, and it's not to be missed.

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4. Lower48 Kitchen 2020 Lawrence St Unit A, Denver, CO 80205 (Northwest)

At Lower48, two Frasca alums dish up a menu that changes daily, with cuisine inspired by regional ingredients and culinary traditions from all over America.

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5. Bones 701 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 (Capitol Hill)

Two words: lobster ramen. (Well, also "escargot potstickers," but that’s another story.) The first restaurateur in town to see the Momofuku train coming, Frank Bonanno opened his chic noodle bar back in 2008, when that miso-fortified, beurre blanc-slicked, edamame-studded, clawmeat-topped creation became an instant smash hit. Since then, Chef John DePierro has added his own signature -- a Southwest-style bowl with green chiles, braised pork shoulder, hominy, jalapeños, and queso fresco -- to the menu while keeping seasonal tricks such as spinach-chipotle ramen up his sleeve.

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6. ChoLon Bistro 1555 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202 (Lodo)

The lauded "modern Asian bistro"'s name stands for "big market", which is perfect, because the amount of delicious food they're serving up would lead you to believe that you are choosing from an actual Vietnamese market. It's everything you know and love about Asian food, with a modern-day flare.

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7. Thai Flavor 1014 S Peoria St, Aurora, CO 80012

Thai Flavor's Eggplant Salad is one of the best salads in the Denver area. Chunks of velvety-soft roasted eggplant, strips of pan-fried omelet, and plump chilled shrimp all tossed with cabbage, red onion, and basil in a tangy-sweet, chili-laced dressing. Delicious.

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8. Lao Wang Noodle House 945 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219 (Southwest)

If you have never had the pleasure of slurping the hot broth out of a Xiao Long Bao you need to get yourself to Lao Wang Noodle House right now. The soup-filled purses of steamed dough are glorious and you, my friend, have been missing out.

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9. Lo Stella Ristorante 1135 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204 (Golden Triangle)

Don’t go to this Italian spot asking for fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti & meatballs. First of all, the answer’s no, and second, even if it were yes, you’d be doing yourself a grave disservice not to sample the Ligurian specialties of owner Alessandro Polo (who hails from Portofino, where his family has been in the restaurant business for generations). We’re talking exquisite focaccia al formaggio, luscious trenette al pesto or pansoti in salsa di noci (ravioli in walnut sauce), and all the sparkling seafood you’d expect from a coastal region.

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10. Trillium 2134 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

Trillium is an American restaurant with serious culinary Scandinavian roots housed in the Five Points neighborhood. Fancying a layout that favors a relaxing, comforting atmosphere, a menu featuring interesting combinations of seafood and meat (sometimes on the same plate), and seasonal brews, you may find yourself staying a while.

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11. The Plimoth 2335 E 28th Ave, Denver, CO 80205 (City Park)

The Plimoth offers European-inspired plates locally raised proteins and herbs that come from the restaurant's patio garden. Choose something you like from their extensive wine list, or let them do the work -- each menu item comes with a suggested pairing.

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12. Rioja 1431 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202 (Lodo)

Brought to you by Top Chef Master Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja serves up inventive Mediterranean cuisine to LoDo patrons all day long. Take a walk on the wild side and try the Spanish Octopus Farfalle, or appeal to your inner kid with Eric's House Made Donuts for brunch.

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13. Bastien's Restaurant 3503 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206 (City Park)

This isn’t just a slice of the jazzy, snazzy mid-century lush life — it’s the whole pie, from the snug mirrored bar to the split-level dining room lined with the black-and-white mugs of (who else?) Marilyn and Frank. You’ve got your goofy martinis, wine glasses filled to the brim, and soft, warm breadsticks. Your throwback snacks; your myriad chops; and finally, speaking of pie — could be banana cream or skillet-baked apple à la mode, depending on the evening.

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14. Colt & Gray 1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (Highland)

Colt & Gray is a New American resto and bar, serving grub with high quality regional ingredients and specializing in nose-to-tail utilization. They also pour some terrific craft cocktails.

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15. Funny Plus 2779 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80014

Funny Plus means serious business poultry-wise. Stick with the plain chicken, so you can add chili sauce as you go. Oh, and order the "rice cake simmered in chili sauce," too.

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16. Work & Class 2500 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

Work & Class keeps it simple: a choose-a-meat-and-side menu with delicious options like Stout-Braised Short Ribs and two types of Rotisserie Chicken, a respectably large beer, wine, and spirits menu, and a no-nonsense attitude all make this spot an easy pick for an after-work hangout.

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17. 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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18. Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs 2148 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (Cbd)

Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, settled in Denver's Central Business District, started as founder Jim Pettinger's mobile stainless steel slinging machine of one-of-a-kind hotdogs. Now a brick-and-mortar establishment, you can sit down comfortably and enjoy coca-cola sautéed onions and cream cheese atop an elk frank.