Denver Restaurants/Bars

This is a mini review of a few Denver area restaurants from a native New Orleanean who loves tasty nibbly bits!

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Top Ten:

Red Fish [sadly, closed 12/03] - LoDo attached to Union Station - Super happy hour, good microbrews, delicious selection of tasty New Orleans and other innovative dishes including spicy ribs, crawfish tails, fried green tomatoes, etc. Super collection of New Orleans photos, posters, and decorations. Comfortable layout and often lively at night with live music.

Falling Rock Tap Room - LoDo - 69 microbrews on tap - "no crap on tap" - homemade food including delicious rolled fajitas and cordon bleu. Rarely crowded, good jukebox, killer selection of beers and laid back atmosphere with empty bottle collection lining the walls.

Tommy's Oriental - East Colfax - Small, inexpensive and unpretentious space with wonderful Thai iced tea, spring rolls, red curry, panang and pad thai.

Todai - Cherry Creek Mall - Yeah, it's a chain in a mall, but it's all-you-can-eat sushi! Even a non-sushi diner will find the equivalent of 70' of cooked foods, salads, and desserts. Only around $12 for lunch. [sadly, closed in 2001]

Benny's Restaurant & Cantina, 301 E. 7th Ave., Denver, 303 894-0788 - Lively, often busy, inexpensive Mexican restaurant. Super pork adovado, salsa and margaritas. Good happy hour. A neighborhood place that's good for guests and children. Best to arrive a little early or late to avoid crowds. Good breakfasts. Open 7 days a week.

Rodezio - 1801 Wynkoop, 7900 W. Quincy Ave., & 8545 S. Quebec. Can you say meat? An all you can eat fine dining chain with a big, unique salad bar, Brazilian fufu drinks, and waiters that walk around with different cuts of mostly red meat. They approach your table and you tell them if you'd like a slice. Very fun, filling and usually quite tasty.

Cafe Brazil - Navajo Street off 28th, 3611 Navajo, Denver, 303 480-1877 - Small, neighborhood place only open for dinner, but oooh, some of the tastiest food in Denver! Not recommended for children.

Cherry Cricket - Cherry Creek - Cherry Creek's only blue collar bar with great beer selection and delicious BBQ sauce. Often crowded and smoky.

Caldonia's - suburbs - Super BBQ with lively atmosphere.

Portager - 1109 Ogden St, Denver, CO 80218 Phone: (303) 832-5788 - Owned and run by Teri Ripetto, serving wonderfully creative and tasty dishes in a unique neighborhood atmosphere.

My Brother's Bar - Platte River area - There's no sign outside this "in-the-know" sandwich haven with good beer and classical music.

Other Favorites:

Mercury Cafe, Hemmingway's, Strings, El Taqueria, Dixon's, Racine's, Patzcuaro, Pizza Colore, Hilario's, Basil's, the Hornet, White Spot, Walnut Cafe, the Wynkoop.

There's many other fine restaurants I've yet to afford but will mention as I try them.



REVIEWS

Appaloosa Grill, 535 16th St. Mall (at Welton), Denver, 720 932-1700 - Tasty meals and desserts and two happy hours daily. Nice bar and booths with good lighting. [11-02]

Bayou Bobs, 1635 Glenarm Pl, Denver, 303 573-6828, & DTC - Decent po-boys, gumbo, etouffee, & other creole and Cajun dishes and drinks. The shrimp po-boy sauce is too sweet for a real po-boy. [7-01] [12-01]

Bang!, quaint neighborhood restaurant, with fun and creative dishes like chilled carrot ginger soup, a variety of meat and seafood dishes with delcious sauces. Located in small storefront in the Highlands neighboorhod.

Bova's Italian Restaurant, 7169 Federal Blvd, Westminster 303 427-6161 - Delicious, inexpensive, sausage, meatballs, good sauce, calzones, pizza, and stuffed shells (Thursday special) at this simple mom & pop. Some micro-brews on tap. [7-13-01]

Breckenridge BBQ & brewhouse, Kalamath - A small pub and feed area in this microbrewery serves up fresh brews and some dynamite BBQ. Always check out the seasonal beers, like their wonderful Christmas ale and bock (2-02). Great happy hour but don't expect anything sexy or glamorous.

Brother's BBQ, 6th Ave. - Good meat, friendly relaxed little place, but for me the two BBQ sauces are either too vinegary or too smoky.

Charro Lienzo, Federal Blvd. - Simple Mexican place with good food and nice margaritas. Nothing fancy so you'll be able to get in on the busiest nights.[11/01]

Cherry Cricket, 2641 E. 2nd Ave., Cherry Creek, Denver, 303 322-7666 - proudly blue collar restaurant/bar in this otherwise upscale, hoity-toity area offering big burgers and a large selection of draft brews from around the country and world. Especially tasty BBQ sauce. Often crowded and smoky. [7-17-01]

Chevy's Mexican Grill, Cherry Creek Mall - A chain offering wonderful fresh chips, tasty salsa, and very good Mexican dishes. Consistently clean, friendly, with a good happy hour for drinks and appetizers. [2000-02]

Chili's Grill & Bar, 16th Street Mall - Another chain, but with quite tasty sandwiches, drinks and deserts. Good service and decent prices and two happy hours. Doesn't stay open too late but still a worthy selection for some tasty grub. [5-02]

Chili Pepper - Neighborhood restaurant overlooking I-25, Elitch's, and downtown. Big assortment of Mexican drinks and meals with one of the best views of Denver; great for out-of-town guests. The habernero cream sauce dishes pack some spice! The guacamole is made fresh in front of your table.

Crab Del Mar, Larimer Street - Excellent happy hour from 4-6pm with clam chowder, mussel dishes, other yummies and drink specials. [12/01]

Croc's, Market St in LoDo - Gringo Mexican food in a psudo-yuppie or sport's bar type setting. Some great daily specials like $2 margaritas and 99 cent tacos can fill your belly cheaply.

Denver Chop House & Brewery, LoDo - Semi-upscale steak house with unique appetizers and a full selection of homemade microbrews including some cask conditioned ones. A tasty but less expensive option is their marinated steak pizza. [5-02]

Duffy's, downtown - A blue collar style restaurant with hearty meals at yesterday's prices. A 70' long bar is great when dining or drinking alone. A few good brews on tap.

Elk Creek Station, Pine, CO on Hwy. 126 - This out-of-the-way restaurant and bar and liquor store offers very good Mexican, BBQ and other dishes in the middle of this tiny town amongst beautiful terrain about an hour from Lakewood. [2001]

Flying Dog Brewery, Blake Street (LoDo) - One of the few non-yuppified brewpubs in Denver with big yummy calzones and a wonderful selection of affordable and tasty brews. [2001]

The Fort, Morrison - Expensive but quite the experience. Starters included the most tender buffalo tongue I've tasted, some rich guacamole, yummy jalapenos stuffed with peanut butter, special sausage, rocky mountain oysters and sauces. Pumpkin and Italian breads followed. The main course included a tender filet of buffalo, New Zealand elk medallions, and teriyaki quail. The Jim Bridger drink included 9 ingredients with rum.[July 24, 2001]

Fresh Fish Company, E. Hampden - An institution featuring daily fresh fish in a big restaurant with big fish tanks scattered throughout. Very tasty breads, appetizers, and of course, fish dishes. On your birthday they'll deduct your age as a percentage of your meal price. Great Sunday buffet. [2000]

Gumbo's, on 16th street mall - Semi-upscale Cajun and Creole restaurant with various gumbo dishes (around $11 each), seafoods, specialty appetizers and dishes you might not often see in restaurants outside New Orleans. Yummy bread and garlic whipped butter with each meal, and Oysters Rockefeller for Friday happy hour. Quite tasty. [2002]

Handle Bar Grille, Alameda - Nice neighborhood place with fun decorations, delicious sandwiches, and a good beer selection. [7/01]

Hog Heaven, between Bailey and Pine Junction on Hwy. 285 - Former truck driver drove around the country learning BBQ secrets. He has wonderful meats, side dishes, and desserts but his forte is some of the best medium and hot BBQ sauce in the country. The restaurant is nothing fancy but the food is excellent.

Lechuga's Italian Restaurant & Lounge, 3609 Tejon, Denver, 303 455-1502 - Very good, simple and inexpensive Italian cannolis and pizza. [6-01]

Lone Star Steakhouse, on south Wadsworth - Delicious steaks, salmon, and baked yams with butter and cinnamon. They no longer have the peanuts that you can throw on the floor and it's a chain, but good food at decent prices with a big fu-fu drink list. [7-02]

Macaroni Grill, Cherry Creek - A chain with very tasty breads, Italian dishes, gladiolas, and house wine. On busy nights a strolling opera singer adds excitement.

Marlowe's, 16th Street Mall - Slightly upscale but quite comfortable bar and restaurant tastefully decorated with good food & wine. A very nice late night bar menu and Paulaner Hefe-weizen on tap. [2002]

Marc's 6920 W. 38th, Wheat Ridge, 303 422-6600 - Fairly big place with nice Frank Sinatra style lounge and very good lunch and weekend buffets. Usually very tasty salmon, carved meats, casseroles, big salad bar, and desserts. Very nice & reasonably priced. [5-01]

Palamino, 16th St. Mall, Upscale yet friendly restaurant with some excellent starter bread and tomato-cheese sauce, tasty Italian concoctions and a nice bar, ambience and location. [8-03]

Patsy's Inn Italian Restaurant, 3651 Navajo, Denver, 303 477-8910 - Delicious sausage, meatballs, sauce, and stuffed shells at this neighborhood restaurant across from the Bug Theater. Decent prices & full bar. On some Friday and Sat. nights you can hear a live singer doing Frank Sinatra genre songs. [6-01]

Pete's Kitchen, Colfax Ave. - Diner type grub served till the wee early hours of the morning year round. Somewhat of a dive and not worth waiting in line for, but can fill the belly when everything else is closed.

Petra's Restaurant, 2700 E. 3rd Ave., Cherry Creek, Denver, 303 377-5100 - New Orleans cuisine served for dinner and Sunday Brunch. A bit pricey, but darn tasty. For Sunday Brunch they have sweet potato pancakes, fried catfish with cheesy grits, and a delicious though spicy jambalaya omlette. [7-15-01]

P.F. Changs, 15th St. LoDo - Tasty dishes in a bustling restaurant with consistently good service. Nothing too unique or spicy, but very nice.

Purple Martini, 15th St. - Their happy hour runs till 9pm offering $3 martinis and price appetizers. Great deal and strong drinks in a cool atmosphere. Often has cool jazz bands and plenty of pretty people. The bar has two sides, some comfy booth or mini-sofa seating, and Fettouch Mediterranean food is available. [11/01]

Red Lobster (various locations) - Yeah, another chain, heavy on the butter/oil on many dishes, but consistently good with various fresh fish dishes. Nothing unique except the cheesy biscuits and paraphernalia. Often crowded but good for simple seafood lovers. [8/01]

Rocky Mtn. Diner, 18th street downtown - An upscale "diner" with some unique dishes such as duck enchiladas and salmon fish and chips, large glasses of microbrews, and big desserts. Good happy hour. [2000-02]

Rubio's Baja Grill, 703 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, 303 765-0636 - Fast food style Mexican fish tacos and the like. Clean, plain, with a nice salsa bar. Beer available. [12-01]

Swanky's, Blake Street - A sports bar with heavy Green Bay Packer and New Orleans influence. Far better food than you might expect. On Wednesday nights they offer a Crawfish boil. Even though it was December and crawfish were frozen, they boiled up perfectly with potatoes and corn. The jambalaya is also nice. Happy hour offers 50 cent oysters. [12/01]

Swing Thai (on Alameda and on Colorado Blvd.) - Very interesting in that all their dishes are sweeter than any Thai food I've had elsewhere. Very tasty but be prepared for sweetness. Happy hour features Singha for only $2 a bottle. [2002]

Tommy Tsunami's, Market Street - Sushi served very nicely by non-Japanese chefs in a chic restaurant with other avant garde dishes. Try the sake sampler!

Tommy's Thai, E. Colfax - Simple restaurant, delicious food. Their fish, pad thai, panang, red curry and Thai iced tea are spectacular. See top 10 at top.

Tuk Tuk Thai Wrap, Grant St. near Speer - A semi-fast food chain with cheap, tasty Thai food and some sushi. Nothing too fancy, but tasty.

Wolfgang Pucks, the Pavilions, 16th St. Mall - Very nicely decorated restaurant with good lighting and a variety of seating possibilities and very tasty and creative dishes. Especially fun is sitting in the sofa chair section above the street as cars travel under you. The sushi, salads, soups and other dishes are wonderful. Great butternut squash soup, pumpkin ravioli, and sushi happy hour.

Disappointments: Burger King, McDonald's, Country Buffet, Taco Bell, Brother's BBQ.

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Contact:

Logan Perkins
1565 California St. #607
Denver, CO 80202
Phone/Fax: 303 777-5511
Cell: 720 217-6896
logan@priorities.org