Restaurant Guide–Denver

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Colorado


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Arvada

Yak & Yeti–7803 Ralston Rd. (Nepali) Open Daily.  Some way it’s world class, some say it’s inconsistent. Has buffet, but some say the best food is found when you order from the menu. Similar to Indian food–chai, naan, and samosa are good. Vegetable korma is recommended. Has chow chow (Nepali style chow mein). This restaurant is also a brewpub. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Aurora

Annette–2501 Dallas St. (Ndew American) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Won a James Beard award for the best chef, and has excellent reviews. Some items are expensive but some of the popular ones are more moderately priced. Reservations are “highly advised.” Map (Dining room is open 9-18-22)

Cafe Paprika–13160 E. Mississippi Ave. (Moroccan) Dinner Tue-Sat; lunch Tue-Thu (closed Sun & Mon).  Said to have very good tagines, but has other good items including bastilla and apricot chicken. Map (Takeout only 11-13-21)

Honduran Breeze–1443 Chester St. (Honduran) Closed Tue.  Has the highest rating out of several Honduran restaurants in the area (some say the service is sometimes lacking but the food is very good). Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

La Cueva–9742 E. Colfax Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Recommended by a reader as one of the best in Colo. Green chile recommended on Urbanspoon. Some say it is too expensive, though, and not a good value for Mexican food. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

La Guatemalteca–10320 E. Colfax Ave. (Guatemalan) Open daily except Sun evening.  This is one of the highest rated of the Latin American restaurants along Colfax Ave. Tamales are popular (reviewers say it has an authentic tasting masa). Map (Dining room is open 9-18-22)

Urban Burma–10180 E. Colfax Ave. (Burmese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  This is a food stall located in the Mango House food hall. There is a five star rating from almost everyone who leaves a review. Reviewers especially like the nan gyi thohk noodle dish, but it seems that everything is good. Samosa soup and tea leaf salad are also typical Burmese dishes that are popular here. There are tables in the food hall (food is served on regular plates and not takeout containers unless you order takeout). Map (Dining room is open 9-18-22)

Boulder

Amu–1221 Spruce St. (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Tue). Known for its dinner specials, and its sister restaurant next door (Sushi Zanmai) specializes in sushi. Ami also has sushi, though, and some say it is a “life changing experience” (and I think you have to pay big bucks for it). Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

China Gourmet–3970 Broadway St. (Chinese) Closed Sat. lunch. Top quality Chinese food. Ask for the Chinese menu (on the Internet this is the menu of “Shanghai Specials,” and about half of them are spicy). Hotpot and noodle dishes are good. Also in Longmont. Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Dushanbe Teahouse–1770 13th St. (Middle Eastern & Asian) Closed Mon.  Dushanbe is the capital city of Tajikistan, but reviewers say if they serve Tajik style food it is not emphasized (but they do have Tajikistan plov, a dish of grilled beef and rice). Instead there is an eclectic menu of Middle Eastern dishes (such as Moroccan beef) and Asian dishes (such as breakfast banh mi). Serves different styles of tea (which pair with the different types of food served). Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Rincon Argentino–2525 Arapahoe Ave. (Argentine) Closed Sun.  Reviewers find the food delicious, as an authentic ethnic restaurant should be. Empanadas are popular, but the chicken milanesa sandwich is said to be very authentic and very good. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

The Buff–2600 Canyon Blvd. (American) Open daily 7 am to 2 pm.  Popular for breakfast–emphasis is on high quality and flavor (this is not a greasy spoon joint). Dogs are allowed on the patio. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Zoe Ma Ma–2010 10th St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Specializes in “simple” Chinese food such as noodle soup. Has bao, potstickers, etc. Guy Fieri called it the “best fast Asian food I’ve seen in 10 years” (he recommends chicken noodle soup, pork steamed buns, and the Za Jiang Mian noodle dish. Also in Denver. Map (Dining room is open 9-3-22)

Centennial

Shawarma–7527 S. University Blvd. (Lebanese) Open 10 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers particularly like the kabobs, both because of the quality and variety available (although some say the chicken is not as good as the others). The spicy hummus is popular (I don’t think it is as spicy as it is in Lebanon, but it’s more spicy than in most American restaurants). Map (Dining room is open 2-17-22)

Commerce City

La Casa del Rey–7035 E. 72nd Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  It is hard to find a review of this place that is not five stars. Many say it is the best Mexican restaurant in Colorado. Pictures indicate that it is not totally authentic, but is “Colorado style” (if there is such a thing)–many items have green chile (which I think is comparable to New Mexico green chile). Map (Dining room is open 9-3-22)

Denver

Aladdin–3550 W. 38th Ave. (Lebanese) Open Daily.  This is one of the best rated Lebanese restaurants on Yelp, and it is moderately priced with the most popular dishes (kabobs, hummus, etc.). The high rating is based on the flavors as reported by reviewers. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Call–2845 Larimer St (Temporarily closed but supposedly serves traditional aebleskivers for breakfast, as opposed to Three Little Griddles in Englewood which I think jazzes them up a bit). Map (12-16-21)

Chili Verde–2311 Federal Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Serves Puebla style Mexican food including mole (this mole supposedly goes better with pork than with chicken). Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

El Taco de Mexico–714 Santa Fe Dr. (Mexican) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  James Beard Award winning restaurant that has simple food done the right way (according to reviewers). Most of the menu looks very authentic (no Tex-Mex or Americanized food here). However, many reviewers say the “green chili” is very good (which can be added to tacos or other items to give what I think is a Colorado twist to the food). Map (Dining room is open 8-27-22)

Fritangas–3090 W. Alameda Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm (10 pm Fri & Sat). Popular place that also has locations in Thornton and Aurora. I think it is most popular at breakfast and has an extensive menu including things I didn’t even know that Mexican restaurants serve. Breakfast burritos with green chile are especially recommended (some say that recently it has not had enough chile so if this happens you might want to send it back to get the full flavor and spiciness). People do say, though, that items with the green chile are the things to get. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Hong Kong BBQ–1048 S. Federal Blvd. (Chinese) Open 10:30 am to 8:30 pm (closed Wed).  Authentic restaurant for everyday Chinese food (noodles, porridge, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Jaya Asian Grill–1699 S. Colorado Blvd. (Malaysian) Closed Tue.  Serves Malaysian & Singaporean food that is said to be authentic and delicious. Most food here is “healthy” (light, not fried, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Kinga’s Lounge–1509 N. Marion St. (Polish) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  The “lounge” part is because they have a large selection of beers & mixed drinks. The Polish food is said to be authentic. They make their own pierogi fresh weekly. One tip is to look for free parking on the street nearby. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Lucy Ethiopian–7401 E. Colfax Ave. (Ethiopian) Closed Mon. One of many Ethiopian restaurants in the city, and this one is said to be one of the most authentic. Vegetarian plate is said to be very good. Map (Dining room is open 11-1-21)

Marco’s Coal Fired–2129 Larimer St. (Pizza) Open Daily.  Serves Neapolitan style pizza that is certified by VPN. This location also has Sicilian pizzas Wed & Thu after 5 pm. The 12″ Margherita pizza is $12 as of Dec. 2021 (really a good price compared to other cities). Also in Englewood. Map (Dining room is open 12-16-21)

New Saigon–630 S. Federal Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open Daily.  Very popular Vietnamese restaurant with an extensive menu–this is a a very rare opportunity to try a large range of authentic Vietnamese food. Two things evident from the reviews are that the seafood is very popular and they have real Vietnamese fish sauce. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Pho Duy–925 S. Federal Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.  Said to have the best pho in town, and most reviews are for this. The rest of the menu, though, is very extensive and has items such as bun bo hue and marinated pork chop with fried egg on top. Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Rioja–1431 Larimer St. (Spanish) Open Daily.  Upscale restaurant on the expensive side, but it’s very good. Can order small plates, get very enjoyable food, and not spend as much money. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Safta–3330 Brighton Blvd. (Israeli) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  Rated as one of the best Lebanese restaurants on Yelp, but compared to others I think this is more upscale, more expensive, and has items on the menu that are not served at other restaurant (and probably served at few restaurants outside of the Middle East). It is actually an Israeli restaurant (thus the more unique dishes that are served). Both Israel and Lebanon have many of the same dishes, thus the Lebanese food on the menu. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Samarkand–1842 S. Parker Rd. (Uzbek) Closed Mon.  Small, family owned, authentic food. This is Middle Eastern food with some Russian dishes. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Savory Vietnam–2200 W. Alameda Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  One of several very authentic Vietnamese restaurants, all with good reviews. Reviewers say this has the best noodle bowls (bun) in town. Has an extensive menu of other items. Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Star Kitchen–2917 W. Mississippi Ave. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  Dim sum (everyone says it’s good). Possibly 2nd best dim sum in Denver (reviewers say Superstar is best). Has congee and other dishes that make it worthwhile even if you don’t get dim sum (but reviewers say you should get the dim sum). Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Super Star Asian–2200 W. Alameda Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Dim sum (said to be best in Denver–comparable to NY or SF). They have 3 or 4 menus (if you want something other than dim sum). I tried a clay pot dish and roast duck, both of which I thought were excellent. Map (Dining room is open 11-1-21)

Suvipa Thai–1015 S. Federal Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue.  Authentic Thai food in what appears to be a hole in the wall atmosphere. Cash only, and is a restaurant/grocery store combination. Has papaya salad, and appears to be northern Thai style (reviewers say the pad thai is “different,” making me think it is northern Thai style). Map (Dining room is open 11-24-21)

Tarasco’s–470 S. Federal Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  I was looking for an alta cocina restaurant that would have very good mole, but it appears that one of the best is at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The Westword blog said this was one of the two best moles along with Chili Verde (that was written before Zocalito opened with Oaxacan style food). Tarasco’s  is also good for fish tacos, guacamole, cactus salad, and quite a few other items. Map (Dining room is open 2-17-22)

Tocabe–3536 W. 44th Ave. (Native American) Closed Mon & Tue.  Owner is from the Osage tribe, but has food from various tribes and areas of the country. Bison ribs seems to be the specialty of the restaurant but has a choice of different meats or vegetarian dishes. Much of the menu is Southwestern with items such as Indian tacos and green chile stew. (Also at 8181 E. Arapahoe Rd. in Greenwood Village). Map (Dining room is open 9-3-22)

Vinh Xuong Bakery–2370 W. Alameda Ave. (Vietnamese) Open daily until 6 pm.  Said to have the best banh mi in Denver (among quite a few competitors). Also know for drinks (such as milk tea) and baked good (including cookies and moon cakes). Was featured on Food Network. Thrillist also lists it as one of the ten best places in Denver for breakfast (it opens 10 am weekdays and 9 am weekends)–serves dim sum including steamed pork buns and sesame balls. Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Waffle Brothers–700 E. 1st Ave. (Breakfast) Open 7 am to 3 pm (closed Tue).  Has an extensive waffle menu which includes supposedly authentic Belgian waffles and a long list of “local style” waffles that they created. Deli sandwiches are available for lunch, and drinks include latte, espresso, and even wine. It is said that many times there is a line waiting to get in to order. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Work & Class-2500 Larimer St. (Latin American) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Is a fusion between Latin American and American food (you can have either or a combination of them). Reviewers emphasize that it has such good flavor this makes it memorable. Upscale but not fine dining (so most people can afford it). Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Zocalito Latin Bistro–999 18th St. (Mexican) Open 5 pm to 10 pm (closed Sun).  Oaxacan style restaurant that moved from Aspen to Denver in Jan. 2019, and gets very good reviews. Mole and Aztec soup are said to be two of the best dishes. Pozole is also recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Englewood

Three Little Griddles–10111 Inverness Main St. (Breakfast) Open daily 6 am to 1 pm.  Mainly a breakfast restaurant but serves some lunch items. Has standard breakfast items, but I think it is most famous for its Danish ebelskivers filled with your choice of fudge, lemon curd, or their seasonal selection. Some other breakfast items seem pretty upscale such as quiche and bananas foster (also has breakfast burrito with green chile). (Also in Aurora). Map (Dining room is open 12-16-21)

Evergreen

Elk Meadow Eatery–32156 Castle Ct. (American) Open 9 am to 6 pm Wed-Fri (9-5 on Sat).  I put it on the list because of the reviews (some say the BLT, biscuits & gravy, name just about anything on the menu is the best they ever ate). The food, though, is casual (sandwiches for lunch, typical breakfast items). Breakfast chimi with Colorado green chile is recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Federal Heights

Tacos Samy–9120 Federal Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Sun, Mon & Tue.  People say these are the best tacos around, with carnitas, carne asada, and shrimp being popular. Open until 1 am on Fri & Sat. Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Note: Tacos Samy is in the middle of a strip of food trucks, with one being the Sonoran Hot Dog y Hamburguesas truck (one that looks especially interesting).

Golden

Sherpa House–1518 Washington Ave. (Nepali) Closed Tue (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Very good reviews (except for some people’s opinion about the service). Buffet is affordable (and very good). Serves Indian food with a few specialties from Nepal (such as yak stew). Food is spicy like Indian food should be. Sampler plates are available. Has chow mein (Nepali style). Has an outside patio that looks like a Nepali garden. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Xicamiti La Taqueria–715 Washington Ave. (Mexican) Breakfast & Lunch Mon-Fri; Dinner Tue-Fri.  The tacos here are said to be very delicious and very substantial (they make a very filling meal). Has has mole that is said to be very good. It sounds as if it is very authentic. Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Greenwood Village

Shanghai Kitchen–4940 S. Yosemite St. (Chinese) Open Daily. This restaurant is not in the Asian restaurant district and caters largely to those who want Americanized food, but they do have an authentic Chinese menu and it appears to be Shanghai style (reviewers say it is good). Map (Dining room is open 8-26-21)

Shangrila–5969 S. University Blvd. (Indian & Nepali) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Reviews are very good for Indian food, and the menu for Nepali food is pretty impressive (sherpa stew, chow mein, momo, and many more). Prices are a little high which would be bad for trying appetizers and extra dishes, but ok if I like the entree (which I think I will). Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Lafayette

Ras Kassa’s–802 S. Public Rd. (Ethiopian) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Food is said to be excellent, and especially good for vegetarians. Apparently the food is as good as in the Denver Ethiopian restaurants, but prices are higher here. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Lakewood

African Grill–955 S. Kipling Pkwy. (African) Closed Sun.  Food that is authentic, and reviewers like it exactly for this reason (it is food they will not have the opportunity to find at very many places). Serves several styles of African cuisine, but seems to focus on Ghana. Map (Dining room is open 11-13-21)

Casa Bonita–6715 W. Colfax Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  This is the last remaining restaurant of the Casa Bonita chain that used to be located throughout the Southwest. I’m not really listing this because of the food, but because of the nostalgia. This is highly Americanized Mexican food that may make a good meal if you’re in the mood for this kind of thing (I know I would like to try it again). Map (Temporarily closed 9-3-22)

European Market–1990 Wadsworth Blvd. (Deli) Open 10 am to 7 pm (10-6 on Sun).  Deli and market that also serves food in the store (sandwiches, wraps, and salads). Reviewers say the food is excellent. Has a Balkan salad and several types of lunch meat from eastern Europe (as well as gyro and doner kabob). Market and restaurant are mostly Balkan and surrounding countries. Map (Dining room is open 12-16-21)

Gabys Germany Eatery–245 S. Harlan St. (German) Dinner Wed-Sun; lunch Fri-Sun.  This seems to be the best place in Denver for both authentic food and a large menu selection. Reviewers say this is like a small restaurant in Europe in many small details. I thought the food tasted fresh and home made. The schnitzel was probably the best I ever had, but there is much more on the menu that is not found at many German restaurants (the sauerbraten is excellent). Map (Dining room is open 2-17-22)

Lao Wang Noodle House–945 S. Federal Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Sun evening; closed Mon & Tue (and closed from 2:00 to 6:00 PM).  Xiao long bao dumplings, dan dan noodles. Said to be Taiwanese style, but the soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are from Shanghai. Customers say the restaurant is quirky–you can’t split checks, they make ask you to move to a different table, etc. (because it is very busy and they are trying to use the tables efficiently). Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)

Littleton

Wild Ginger–399 W. Littleton Blvd. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 PM).  One of the most authentic Thai restaurants in the U.S. according to some. Map (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Morrison

Cafe Prague–209 Bear Creek Ave. (Czech) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Good Czech food but there are two opinions about whether it is worth the price. Some say it’s peasant food for upscale prices, and some say it is absolutely authentic and worth it. Dumplings, stew, and streudel are good. Atmosphere is upscale here and they do have fairly high prices. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Westminster

Cracovia–8121 W. 94th Ave. (Polish) Lunch Fri-Sun; dinner daily.  Beet soup, mushroom gravy, goulash, potato pancakes, kielbasa, pierogie, cabbage roll. Some say they like Kinga’s better because it is more consistent (but Cracovia is cheaper and better if you don’t want to go throuth the “fine dining” routine they have at Kinga’s. Map (Dining room is open 11-2-21)

Woody’s Wings N Things–6817 Lowell Blvd. (Cambodian) Open 10 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Has Thai and Lao food, but Cambodian is the specialty. Moreover, descriptions of the flavor of the food make me think this is one of the best Cambodian restaurants in the country. They do have lemongrass peanut sauce wings, but just haven’t changed the name from the former Woody’s that was in this building. Map (Dining room is open 9-25-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Denver: El Taco de Mexico–714 Santa Fe Dr.

James Beard Foundation Best Chef Mountain Region

  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora

Note About “50 States, 50 Dishes” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Jul. 3, 2018 using various sources to compile a “list of the dishes that capture the hearts, souls, and (oh, yes) stomachs of these 50 states (plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico), and where you should order them.” For Colorado it was lamb because many of the state’s restaurants “have learned how to prepare it right.” They suggest going to Flagstaff House in Denver, an upscale restaurant with white tablecloths (and an outdoor patio that is very nice in the summer).


Closed (Formerly on the Restaurant Guide)

  • Golden Europe–6620 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada (closed 2022) Said to have been the best Czech restaurant in Denver, but was also popular for its German and Polish dishes (especially the Polish plate with kielbasa and roast pork).

Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

Chowhound (former web site)

City-Data (Denver Favorite Restaurants)

City-Data (Chinese Food)

Condé Nast Traveler, “50 States, 50 Dishes: America’s Favorite Foods and Where to Get Them”

Culture Trip (Colorado)

Google Maps

Mashed “The Best Diners, Drive Ins, And Dives Restaurant In Every State”

Roadfood (Colorado Suggestions)

Thrillist (Denver’s Best Breakfast Joints)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Westword (Food & Drink)

Yelp (Denver)

Zomato (Denver)

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