Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New Current Denver Dining Guide

As I talked about in my first Current Denver Dining Guide, I'm trying to do my Denver dining guides in installments so they aren't as intimidating. Basically, I just wait a few months until I've tried a bunch of new restaurants and make a new post. At the end I'll actually narrow it all down into my ultimate guide that is just my favorites. But y'all deserve to know how I feel about every Denver restaurant I've tried, so here is the latest guide, I hope you enjoy - xoxo darling, Hayden.

Denver

Acme Delicatessen

Located in Union Station, this sandwich spot is a little pricey but so good. The bread was excellent, I liked the shredded lettuce and the chipotle aioli is so good. It is the perfect place to grab food before you get on a train or if you are going to sit down and get work done in the station.

Allegro Coffee Roasters

Right on Tennyson Street, Allegro is also in almost every Whole Foods in Denver. The shop itself is cute, with creaky wooden floors and lots of options. They also serve Topo Chico (a favorite of mine) and it's nice to sit outside sipping one of those while on wifi.

Ba-Nom-a-Nom

This food truck roves around Denver's events and they make ice cream out of fruit...that's it. There's no dairy, which is insane. And I'm a dairy lover but this stuff was creamy and good and I loved it. I had the classic banana with chocolate and it was so good. Like dream of it good.

Birdcall

A "fast food" joint that is so good, I love it. They basically make fried chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, etc. You order on a computer and it just pops out of the kitchen. I had the Nashville Hot and it was h o t. But so good. Also, the banana cream pie milkshake is excellent. It tastes just like banana pudding.

Bonnie Brae Tavern

A Denver classic, Bonnie Brae seems like somewhere where everyone knows everyone. They do burgers and pizzas and the burger I had (the Hank Special) was so good. The atmosphere is old school but there is parking and it will fill you up.

Cerveceria Colorado

I realize this is a brewery and it doesn't serve real meals but it must be mentioned. I love Mexican style beer and this place does it so well. Plus, it's adorable inside and the bartenders are super nice. It's a great Sunday afternoon place to drink away the Sunday scaries.

Chook Chicken

A fast casual restaurant started by some pretty successful Denver restaurateurs, Chook is good. Like truly good. I took Julia and kind of fell in love with it. While it's counter service, the restaurant doesn't feel that way, it feels upscale. The chicken was juicy, the mac & cheese creamy and the potatoes are a great side option. Have the Piri-Piri sauce and you'll feel like you're at Nando's.

Cozy Cottage 

If there is a Sunday brunch place in Denver, Cozy Cottage is it. It's this tiny little house on Tennyson with a great patio (well, if it's summer). Sit outside on a sunny day and get the chocolate chip waffles. They are crispy and Belgian in every way possible. I love 'em so much. Also, the restaurant is BYOB, so I saw a ton of people bringing their own champagne and just using the restaurant's orange juice, which is kind of ingenious.

Crema

In Denver Central Market in RiNo, Crema does a mean cappuccino.

Cruise Room

Probably my all-time favorite Denver bar, the Cruise Room was born after the repeal of Prohibition back in 1933 and has been going strong ever since. It's in the historic Oxford hotel, it's immediately on your left when you walk in, and it gets insane at night. I take all of my friends and if you wait in a corner you can usually get a spot at one of the booths or the bar. The whole thing is art deco, lit in this cool red lighting. All of the drinks I've had are good, I've never tried the food but it is a must visit.

Duffeyroll Cafe

OMG, some friends & I tried this place during the South Pearl Farmers Market (my all time favorite in Denver) and it was so good! I just assumed it was all cinnamon rolls, which aren't my favorite, but they do amazing savory options as well. I highly recommend getting a few mini rolls and going to town. The Bacon, Cheddar, House Roasted Tomato and Original are my favorites.

Euclid Hall

Off Larimer Square, this spot is a little over the top but the sandwiches are well done. The rest of my party loved the Bubble & Squeak. They also have a good beer selection. I think it's good for a once in a while situation, but their food is a little too complicated for me on the regular.

Finn’s Manor

Like a food hall, but drinks, Finn's Manor has outdoor seating (and a bar) as well as some indoor areas (and a bar) too. The best friend and I went inside to get drinks then ended up by their colorful walls. It's very RiNo, very hipster, very Denver. Have the Caloosahatchee, it's bourbon, curacao, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit hops bitters and an orange twist.

Habit Doughnut Dispensary 

A donut shop that is open for longer and their donuts are good! Plus, you get to squirt a shot of some type of alcohol in your donut...and let me say, it does wonderful things. I had the Real Mint Shady with Jameson and loved it.

Happy Bakeshop

This adorable bakery made me a cake for my one year anniversary but they also do good cupcakes (including a great deal on Tuesdays). I'm a big fan of just the traditional vanilla cake with vanilla icing.

High Point Creamery

This is a very famous Denver spot as they do the ice cream flight; meaning five flavors of ice cream, one of their sauces and a few waffle cone chips. It's a great way to find out what your favorite HPC flavor is. We went to the one in Denver Central Market and the people working were super nice! The salted caramel was probably my favorite.

Izzio Bakery

Inside Denver Central Market, Izzio is a bakery that I would eat at every day if I could. They have so many options and they all look amazing. I usually go for a classic almond croissant but I've been known to expand my palate occasionally.


Link Coffee Bar

One of my favorite cozy coffee shops. Mainly because it's across the street from where I volunteer, but still, it's good. Plus, they do self-serve alcohol and have really good wifi. It does close at 4:30, which is quite early. And annoying for me now, since I used to go at 4 and stay until 5:30, but maybe their hours will change in the fall!

Milkbox Creamery

Located inside Union Station, Milkbox dishes up Little Man Ice Cream in a subway tile setting. I had the creamsicle (it was summer) and sat out in the station with a book. So good. 

Platt Brewing Company (Gates Deli & Grog)

Platt Brewing is one of our go-to breweries because they do good trivia and the guys are so nice! The beer itself is good and the pizza sandwich at Gates Deli (inside the brewery) is such a great drinking food.

Post Oak BBQ

If you're a Texan or if you just love Texas, Post Oak is for you. Literally, their logo, their atmosphere, everything about it is Texas. I went on a weeknight and it wasn't crazy crowded. You line up and order, then pick a seat. They have a full bar and the sides are really good. They do a mean sausage as well!

Rise & Shine

When I'm missing Bojangles, Rise & Shine is the place I go. Also, it's just a great breakfast place with good biscuits (their biscuits are much like Bojangles) and tasty combos. It's a counter service situation with lots of seating and while it can get crazy, it moves quickly.

Steam Espresso Bar

Such a good coffee shop. The drinks are well done, the place is cute and the wifi is solid. I will say, it's small and in a neighborhood so it does get crazy busy. I went on a Saturday afternoon, sat outside in the beginning then went inside and snagged a table.

The Budlong 

This hot chicken joint is in the Zeppelin Station food hall and let me just say, their chicken lit me up. I think I do fairly well with spicy foods so I got the extra hot and it burned...but in a good way. I like that you can get the chicken in strips instead of just a piece on a sandwich roll. It makes it easier for leftovers, which I definitely had. The mac & cheese was creamy as well and helped soothe my mouth.

The Pig & The Sprout

Downtown, a little walk from Union Station, The Pig and The Sprout is a cool spot. We sat right by the windows, which were open because it was still summer and enjoyed the people watching. They have a good beer selection and offer a meat menu and a vegetarian menu. I had the pulled pork sandwich, it was good, I wish they had put the bbq sauce on it instead of on the side — but I'm a bbq traditionalist. Julia had the poutine and seemed to enjoy it.

The Welton Room

Okay, this has become my new favorite bar in Denver. It is AMAZING. The two bartenders were the nicest I've ever had. They made us special drinks and just generally got us. We were the only customers for a bit on a Tuesday evening, but I'm sure it can get nuts. The actual atmosphere is slick, located in a new apartment building in Five Points. The drinks are out of this world. Get the cotton candy martini for the 'gram but also because it's good. Also, the RTD stops just in front, so you have no excuse to drink and drive.

Tupelo Honey

A chain, but such a good one. The fam and I visited the location right by Union Station on a Sunday around noon and it was nuts inside. But we got a seat at the bar and I cannot stress enough how cute the place is. Down to their glasses, which have graphics of a hand holding horses (aka, hold your horses). It was as if Kacey Musgraves had designed the restaurant. The food was good as well, very southern comfort in the best way possible.

Taziki's

A fast casual Mediterranean spot, Taziki's is super good. Their hummus is amaze and I like that while it's fast casual they are actual meals. Like you don't go down a line saying what you want (no offense to one of my favorite med-fast-casuals). Plus, it's really cute inside and a good place to meet a friend for lunch.

Vero

The best friend and I ate at this stall in Denver Central Market and were so happy with it. We had a spicy pepperoni pizza (well, you call those soppressata). It was super spicy but so good! I dream about that pizza to this day.

Wild Women Winery

Such a fun place to visit on a Friday night — they do happy hour well. I think it would be a great girls night as the winery is owned by women so, ya know, girls supporting girls. The roommate and I went and drank a lot for about $30 (plus, we had the cheese plate).

Yazoo BBQ

Located kind of at the entrance to RiNo, Yazoo has great bbq and a cool atmosphere. They have seating on the first floor and then a full bar and more seats up top. And y'all, they have parking in downtown Denver! I must say the baked beans are excellent and the mac & cheese was good too. The chicken was also flavorful.

Lakewood

Bardo Coffee House

While technically in Wheat Ridge, I'm putting this in the Lakewood section. It's a really cute coffee shop with lots of space, although on a Tuesday afternoon around 3pm it was pretty crowded. They do have wifi but it's only for 180 minutes per purchase. So if you want to camp out there expect to have to buy a new item every so often. They have lots of coffee options and snacks. I went for a simple cappuccino as it was cold outside and it wasn't bitter, just rich and strong.

Hello Coffee 

This super cute coffee shop is probably off your radar as it's in a shopping center I had never even seen until I visited. They have a few very instagramable spots inside and on a Saturday afternoon it wasn't crowded. They have an extensive latte menu that all looks delightful — I had a mint chocolate concoction and loved it. 

Piggin’ Out BBQ

Piggin' Out has a few locations but the Lakewood one is fun because all the seating is outside. It's an eclectic mix of seating options but so nice for a hot summer day or a crisp fall afternoon. All the meat was flavorful and smoked well. Would recommend this spot to get out of your routine!

Littleton


Adelitas y Cocina

As I try to eat at all the Littleton restaurants — the Denver community I call home — this was at the top of my list. It's located along the adorable main street downtown and has a rooftop portion. Have yet to go up there but the roommate and I grabbed dinner at the bar one night and I was happily surprised. We had margaritas, they make 'em strong and the Pollo con Crema is excellent. It's smothered in this chipotle cream sauce that I wish they bottled and sold so I could put it on everything.

Atlas Coffees

My favorite car wash is in this parking lot, so one morning I thought to finally try this little coffee shop. The atmosphere is cute, very world travel themed and the coffee was strong but not bitter (aka my goal with coffee). I had a chocolate muffin too and just sat for a bit; twas very peaceful.

Bacon Social House

I have never been to the original location of this spot, but I love the Littleton one. It's right across from the Littleton courthouse and has a rooftop with views of the Front Range. It's a all-day brunch type of place, which as a basic human I love. Definitely get the bacon flight, bacon & waffles and an aperol spritz.

Bowles Cafe

You walk into Bowles and you get the sense that everyone knows everybody. It's cute and sweet. I did breakfast on a cold, rainy morning so I didn't get to take advantage of the outdoor seating next to the waterfall — but do that if you can. The breakfast burrito was pretty good and the service was excellent. It's that no-frills breakfast spot near your house that won't have an insane wait on a weekend.

Cafe Terracotta

A classic brunch spot in a big, old house off of the main Littleton drag, Cafe Terracotta does not disappoint. The brunch wait can be kind of long, so go early on a Sunday. But while you wait indulge in their mimosas and pretty much all the food on the menu is good. I had a classic breakfast with bacon, eggs and potatoes, all were good and cooked to perfection.

Flying Pig Burger Co.

In west Littleton, Flying Pig serves up juicy burgers and good craft beer. They also do good specials so check out their website before you head over.

Gunther Toody’s

I love a classic diner, the more over-the-top the better and Gunther Toody's is right up my alley. The best friend adores their Monte Cristo, I love their thick chocolate malts and the burger is also good.

LaMar's Donuts

I finally tried this Denver staple, they've been around since 1933, and was not disappointed. I had a pumpkin spice donut, because I'm basic and it was so perfectly done.

Nekter

A chain, but a new to me chain, Nekter does juices/smoothies/cleanses. And while I'm not a huge fan of all that I do recommend if you are looking for a quality smoothie. When I got sick I went and got their "immunity" shots — not sure if they helped but they made me feel like they helped. 

Nook Coffee

Located in a downtown Littleton cheese shop, Nook is good for when you need to get something done in cute surroundings. They have great wifi, good baked goods and delicious coffee.

Original Pancake House

OPH might be a chain you are familiar with but just in case you aren't, here's this one! It's located in the busiest/maybe best shopping center in Littleton and it doesn't disappoint. The meals aren't cheap but they are MASSIVE. Look at the whipped cream atop those chocolate chip pancakes! If you are headed for a long day shopping, hiking, driving this would be my go-to.

Piccino Wood Oven Pizza

A cute pizza spot with great deals — including a 6" pizza, half salad and drink for $12.25 — the food is really yummy. It's fast casual but a little bit nicer so you can use it as a date night spot or a place to meet with your girlfriends for their wine bottle deal on Monday nights.

Rosie’s Wild Flour

Please walk, don't run to Rosie's. It's in a strip center across from the Southwest Mall and if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't go. BUT GO. I went twice in two days because I love it so much. They serve up delicious baked goods but they also do great breakfast biscuit sandwiches that both myself and a friend love. The atmosphere is cute and the guy who operates the front is hilarious. Seriously, go to this local spot and enjoy it!

Tacos Selene

This little spot is located in an unassuming strip-mall near the Elvis movie theater...if you know, you know. I wasn't expecting a whole lot but you walk in and it's cute and the service is great. The tacos are tiny — just like the classic taquerias in Texas — and they do good sauces/salsas as well. 


Taste of Philly

I'm a big philly cheesesteak fan, I grew up with a place right by my house, so I was curious how this place would be. It was classic and perfect. Good for when you just want something a little greasy and bad for you. 

The Bundt Shoppe

I love a bundt cake, Texas has many Nothing Bundt Cake shops but this is the local version of that! I went in the afternoon on a weekday and they still had a ton of the mini bundts in tons of flavors. It was summer and they even had pumpkin! I had the creamsicle and the chocolate, which were both incredibly moist and the icing was just sweet enough. 

Arvada

Global Goods & Coffee 

This is one of my go-to coffee shops on the west side of Denver. It's in a cute old house with outdoor seating and for some reason it gives me the feeling it could be in Stars Hollow (where are my Gilmore Girls fans at). I think it is the perfect spot on a crisp fall morning to grab a chai, breakfast burrito and sit out on the patio with a good book. Too cold? Sit inside where the wooden floors creak and you can curl up next to a window.

New Image Brewing

My friend and I tried to go to this brewery/restaurant one Friday night and it turned out they were celebrating an anniversary that was insane so we ended up at a chain. But a few Sundays ago I took my parents because the brewery is known for IPAs and my mother is an IPA lover/snob (give her a follow). I wasn't expecting to like the food as much as I did. I snacked on the Carnivore Nachos, house-made chips and shredded chicken with all the normal fixins.

Aurora

HashTAG

This spot out near the airport...as close as a cute restaurant can be to the airport... had been on my radar for a while but I hadn't had a chance to try it until recently. The place looks like if Bumble (the dating/friendship app) was a restaurant. In the best way possible — it's highly Instagramable with bright yellows and honeycomb design features. The wait can be super long on weekends (but the counter is a free-for-all). Get the Fro-J, basically a frozen mimosa and split the cinnamon roll — it's massive. I enjoyed the breakfast nachos, because that's fun but I think they could have thrown some scrambled eggs on top to keep with the breakfast theme.

Rolling Smoke BBQ

Located in Stanley Marketplace, Rolling Smoke is bringing traditional bbq to Denver. Their mac & cheese is made with shell pasta and is delightfully cheese, plus they serve traditional baked beans — where there is almost more molasses than bean. The meats were smoked well and I was shocked at how good it all was on a Sunday afternoon only a few hours before closing.


Snowl

I think Snowl was designed with social media in mind because it seems like every corner has a staple of the perfect aesthetic restaurant. This was also the first place (and only) I have had Taiyaki, those adorable fish shaped cones. I had it filled with red bean paste, taro and covered in fruity pebbles. The cone was so good because it wasn't overly sweet. That was probably my favorite thing that while I was eating dessert, it wasn't sickly sweet. Plus, the place was packed but I easily got a seat and just enjoyed people-watching the other influencers. 

Sonder

If you love that minimalist, Pinterest coffee shop design, go to Sonder immediately. If you're like me and love a good coffee shop with good wifi, Sonder is great too. It's located in an apartment complex...or so it seems? But there is always parking and I highly recommend asking about their seasonal menu. I went in the summer and had a sunflower latte (not sure I liked it, but it was so different than anything I've experienced).

Wonder Tea

I love Thai-rolled ice cream. The love began in Austin and it continues today. This particular spot is in a grocery store...but don't be intimidated. You don't even have to walk into the actual store as Wonder sits to the right before the second set of doors. Wonder is another Instagram place, there is a cute green wall with twinkle lights and a golden sign. I had the mango ice cream, which was so light and airy that I wanted to go back for more. The people running the shop are so sweet and gave me suggestions on what to top it with — overall a fantastic experience. 

Zero Degrees

Yes, this is a chain (and for my Austin readers, y'all are getting one!) but it's so unique I wanted to include it. I have never had Ube in my life but when I saw a photo of that beautiful lavender milkshake I knew I had to get my hands on it. The place gets packed but you can always find a parking spot and the line moves quickly. Most people, myself included, were getting items to go. The food is something I have yet to try but it looks interesting!

Centennial/Lone Tree

Fox & Hound

This sports bar invited me to dine for free and I said yes (of course) because I love a good sports bar. And this one doesn't disappoint. It's massive yet intimate at the same time. The night I was there my roommate and I were seated in the more billiards-style room and we had no idea trivia was going on on the other side of the restaurant until my roommate went to the restroom. For a sports bar to be quiet can be a nice thing. They also have about 8,000 tvs so if you want to watch "the game" they will have it. I highly recommend the boozy milkshakes and the loaded tater tots. 

Morrison

The Cow, An Eatery

This is a cute spot on the main Morrison drag. I love it because it's one of the closest breakfast restaurants near my apartment and it's a great place to take people who don't have mountains where they're from. The drive to the place is almost magic. They do have a parking lot, but I've gone during the week at 9am and gotten the last spot, so be prepared to park on the street. They serve up all the classic breakfasts, including a delicious biscuit dish smothered in gravy. If you're visiting Morrison in the afternoon and want a sweet treat, you can walk up to their ice cream window.
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