For nearly four decades Paula Sandoval and her family have offered up exceptional, fresh-made tamales in north Denver, food that reflects what Sandoval calls New Mexican style. She describes her restaurant as "a clean, well-lighted place that speaks of comfort, home and friendship, a place to enjoy a good plate of food and don't forget to take tamales home!" Truth be told, this is the place in Denver for authentic, affordable, house-made tamales--green, red or vegetarian. So highly regarded are the Sandovals, they also have a factory that sells tamales wholesale to other restaurants. Of course, there are tacos, tostados, enchiladas, huevos rancheros, chili rellenos, burritos and smothered sopapillas on the menu, too.
Huckleberry Roasters is a place for coffee purists--but not elitists. Huckleberry was started with the idea that good coffee is a vehicle for meaningful conversations and shared experiences, and that's the vibe that persists. The owners source coffee from the world's best producers and then honor it through careful roasting that yields complex and naturally sweet, not bitter, coffee. The owners like to expand their own coffee horizons and those of their customers. To that end, they create new coffee beverages every few months that are seasonally inspired. An example of a recent winter selection is a juniper- infused-milk cappuccino with house-made chocolate sauce--coffee and dessert in one delectable drink.
This artsy coffee shop does all the things that hip patrons love: They exhibit local art, offer free WiFi, let folks linger over their laptops and journals, and showcase area bands and performers. Plus, the owners are widely reputed to be incredibly friendly and neighborhood-focused, which always provokes a good measure of loyalty. As if that's not enough, the locally-roasted coffees are fantastic, and snacks and baked goods are available for nibbling. To top it all off, Hooked on Colfax promotes green living and puts its money where its mouth is by offering cups and straws are made of biodegradable corn!
Blue Sushi Sake Grill isn't just about fresh sushi but also an electric atmosphere. Inside, find a spot reminiscent of a classy club atmosphere but with sake specialties instead of spirits. The sushi includes all types of traditional roles but also catches a lot of customers with speciality nigri rolls like the Cherry Bomb which is served with tuna, Serrano, rice tempura and a spicy sauce. There are also rolls made with gluten free ingredients including nigri, sashimi, maki soups and salads. You will also want to check out the sake menu which includes both warm and hot options. Check out happy hour from for $5 maki and discounted apps and martinis.
Rooster & Moon management defines the place as "more of a public house than a coffee shop," where the conversation is always buzzing. A full-on restaurant with coffee, food, dessert and a bar, Rooster & Moon has something for everyone. This is definitely not a place where you'll be confronted by one of those condescending baristas who feel superior to customers; Rooster & Moon baristas were voted the friendliest in Denver in 2013. Rooster & Moon is also a place where patrons can sit, sip and work; there are electrical outlets all over the place to keep everyone powered up. Pastries here, baked in-house, are both sweet and savory, with offerings such as traditional blueberry scones but also goat-cheese-rosemary scones. Rooster & Moon is known for its salads, so consider going green before satisfying the sweet craving.
Forget about counting calories when you step into this bake shop. Savor a divine pastry, cake, or tart from the double cream vanilla bean custard puffs, white chocolate and grapefruit tarts, and flourless hazelnut chocolate cakes that beckon from the spotless display case. Breakfast, brunch, or lunch (think egg dishes, salads, sandwiches, and pastas) can also be had. Afternoon tea is a cherished tradition, and patrons claim that freshly baked scones (served with cream, jam, and lemon curd) are true to their English counterparts and the best in town. Desserts like the pineapple upside down pineapple cake offer a refreshing dessert option for summer.
This bakery believes in doing things the old-fashioned way by making all menu items from scratch. You won't find anything pre-packaged or processed, just sinfully delicious homemade goodies. Seven-layer tortes, hand-decorated cookies, and traditional layer cakes line the shelves, and German and European recipes are the specialty. (The kitchen has been perfecting them since 1963.) They even offer a full line of sugar-free and low-carb desserts. To splurge, try the streuselkuchen, bienenstich or authentic potica. You will also find one of the largest selections of pastries and cupcakes in Denver. The bakery is located in Historic Olde Town Arvada, an up and coming neighborhood just outside the city.
It's not just about the food here, though Grandma Bea's meatloaf, the liver and onions, chicken-fried steak and slow-baked barbecue brisket do the menu proud. Annie's is a longtime neighborhood restaurant that has always made its patrons feel like part of a family. For customers whose family traditions include southwest cooking, there are dishes such as smothered homemade pork tamales, a grilled fajita quesadilla, black-bean tacos and burritos. Personally, we vote for the return of Annie's chicken pot pie. The robust breakfast menu includes adults-only cocktails and spiked milkshakes, but the old-fashioned floats and "virgin" shakes and malts (chocolate peanut butter and dreamsicle, among them) are just fine on their own, too.
Acme Burger & Brat Corporation is in a prime location inside Union Station in LoDo--the perfect setting for this food that's also of prime quality yet reasonably priced. The burgers are made with Niman Ranch prime beef, the fries are hand-cut Kennebec potatoes--all the rage on the culinary scene these days--and the buns are fresh-baked locally using Acme's own recipe. Add to that the fact that nowhere in Denver is the people watching better than in Union Station, where Amtrak passengers, locals and tourists mix and mingle in an ever-changing panorama, day and night. After dinner, grab dessert at Milkbox Ice Creamery, housed a couple of doors down in the carefully preserved former barbershop space.
This is authentic Mexican cuisine with its roots in Mexico City and dishes featuring ingredients commonly used in Mexico but less so in the United States. Cheek meat, tongue and tripe are mainstays for the famous tacos, which are also offered with beef or fried or marinated pork. Cheek meat, tongue and milanesa, a breaded beef, appear in combo plates, and every kind of burrito is available, too. Although it has been winning awards for years for its tacos, green chile and chile rellenos, it's impossible to go wrong here if you like traditional Mexican food. While some aficionados recommend smothering pretty much everything in the deeply satisfying green chile--perhaps especially breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros, served all day starting at 7 a.m.--that may be an overstatement. Or not! Several kinds of chilaquiles are served, as are enchiladas, gorditas, flautas and quesadillas, among other items.