The wind swoops high on the Mile High city plains and the biggest city in this otherwise mountainous state has many things going for it; among them is that the food in Denver is pretty well the only game in a great while. My wife and I were recently in the Denver area for a few days and we were able to break bread with a variety of foods at a few different restaurants. While we are by no means a Denver area expert this is our culling of our five favorite food retailers for this or any summer in Denver.
Summer Dining Denver: Rioja (1433 Larimer Street. 303-820-2282. www.riojadenver.com) Unfortunately for our limited time there, when we were in Denver and we were looking for the best, we had to go to the resource of record for our search. That search began and ended with Rioja. When you’re looking for really high class food in the Denver area Rioja is hard to top. Their Mediterranean cuisine coupled with their impeccable service all paid off with the wonderful delivery. Rioja is not inexpensive but when you’re looking for the best summer dining destination in Denver, you can’t go wrong with Rioja.
Summer Dining Denver: Casa Bonita (6751 West Colfax Ave. 303-232-5115.) Many fans of the mid-level Mexican may be familiar with the world’s first Chipotle which is in the city, but for the truly outlandish Mexican experience in Denver, definitely visit Casa Bonita. Probably best epitomized in the South Park episode where Trey and Matt really just slapped animation to Casa Bonita’s already festive themed atmosphere. Some folks may not take too kindly to themed restaurants but if you’re looking from a break from the ordinary in Denver, Casa Bonita is about as strange as it gets.
Summer Dining Denver: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery (1001 16th Street Mall. 303-534-7616. www.rockbottom.com) If you like beer like I do, then you’ll at least appreciate Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. I don’t know if it’s because we had been traveling for so long or if it was because Rock Bottom in fact brews its own beer on site, but I was impressed. The food at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is pretty standard but the alcohol makes the memory that much more warm. If you’re not a beer fan they have a whole line of classic & “twisted” margaritas.
Summer Dining Denver: Steubens (523 East 17th Ave. 303-830-1001. www.steubens.com.) Any place that starts off their lunch menu entrees section with macaroni & cheese is alright by me; the fact that they take this level of camp and turn out great food makes this place my choice for Summer lunches in Denver this summer. Steubens is a meat and potatoes kind of a place; much like Denver; much like much of America. Rather than try and hide behind some façade, Steubens embraces it. check out their menu; baked meatballs, Rhode Island calamari, spaghetti & meatballs; I don’t know how you could argue with that!
Summer Dining Denver: Pasquini’s Pizzeria (1310 South Broadway. 303-744-0917. www.pasquinis.com) While summer dining can be an involved thing, sometimes you just want to grab a slice and sit. Pasquini’s Pizzeria is a fresh little chain in the Denver area which would be a great spot for your pizza desires. Pasquini’s Pizzeria has a full menu of Italian specialties in addition to salads, subs, and of course wonderful pizza.