After a few months of home-cooked meals, which were definitely missed before quarantine began, the craving for takeout slowly started to creep in. As restaurants began to reopen with safety precautions, my family felt safer going to pick up takeout or to dine-in where there was outdoor seating. If you live in Denver or are planning a road trip there sometime after COVID-19, this is a list of some of our favorite places which we discovered! In case that you plan on trying some of these restaurants in the near future, the safety precautions will be mentioned for each place and can be found in more detail on their websites.
Wow! Growing up in NYC, I loved going to all the new ramen spots and ramen quickly became one of my favorite foods. Uncle was absolutely worth the hype and my craving for good ramen was totally satisfied. They have more traditional Japanese options and then more funky ones that are unique to them. We had the pork belly and crispy Chinese eggplant buns, which were both super flavorful but stood out because the buns themselves were perfect. The rest of my family had the spicy chicken ramen, which Uncle is most well known for, and it was definitely a hit, especially if you love spicy food. I went the more traditional route with the Tokyo Shoyu ramen and it didn’t feel heavy, the broth wasn’t too salty and it was simply delicious. If you haven’t had ramen in a while, this place will not disappoint.
* As of Aug. 2, they are offering dine-in with outdoor seating, takeout and no-contact delivery.
Located in the River North Art District area, this restaurant makes food that definitely adds to the aesthetic. This place is the PERFECT brunch spot. They have breakfast, lunch and options in between — hence why they call their menu “Brunchy.” I had the apricot and saffron sourdough waffle, which had the most delicious saffron custard cream with seared apricots and was topped with toasted pistachios. I am not usually a waffle person but this was honestly out of this world; even the description makes it sound stunning. I tasted what the rest of my family got, which was more savory and leaning towards lunch and I would suggest these plates too. The Colorful Colorado, which is a salt-and-vinegar hash with ham, tons of veggies and topped with a poached egg, was so flavorful and was the perfect combination of savory breakfast ingredients. Another standout was the Japanese asa-gohanm, which is grilled salmon with avocado, carrot and ginger slaw, poached egg and rice. It was an interesting way to put an American twist on a Japanese-style breakfast. I would also recommend trying anything from their “Baked Today” section — we had the best blueberry muffin I have ever had — and getting a cup of their awesome coffee.
*As of Aug. 2, they are open for dine-in with outdoor seating by reservation only, pickup and delivery.
This breakfast/lunch spot is crazy! This apparently “hole-in-the-wall” place has tons of super cool options, many of which include something being cooked in duck fat. The two standout options that we got were the breakfast tacos and the congee. The tacos had homemade tortillas, scrambled eggs, crispy hashbrowns, grilled mozzarella cheese and a choice of meat, with housemade green or red salsa on the side. This was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone since I don’t usually go for breakfast tacos but these were special and just super tasty in every way! The congee was probably one of my favorite and more unique dishes that I tried on this trip. The congee is rice porridge cooked in chicken stock, duck confit, poached egg, green onions, tamari soy sauce, salted ginger and chili oil. I was honestly a little nervous to try it because the description sounded super intense but it wasn’t super heavy and all the flavors blended so well together in an almost subtle way that made it so easy to just keep wanting more! They have less intense food options as well, but if you come here, I think these two dishes are a must.
* As of Aug. 2, they are only doing curbside pickup and no-contact delivery.
This was our first dinner in Denver and it is definitely my favorite! It is a modern Israeli restaurant opened by an award-winning Israeli chef, Alon Shaya. This place has so many delicious dips and amazing Mediterranean flavors. They had several types of hummus but we chose the tahini and wood-roasted mushroom, served with lots of hot off-the-press pita. I love hummus and these were so good that I continued eating whatever was left even after we finished our mains. For the salatim, we had the baba ganoush (charred eggplant, lemon and sour cream), muhammara (hazelnuts, cilantro and chili oil) and the lutenitsa (roasted eggplant, peppers, tomato and garlic), which was the closest to what I ate in Israel. Needless to say, you can’t go wrong with any of these and once you start eating them, you can’t stop dipping. For the mains, we all shared the falafel, cheese bourekas and the half harissa chicken. The falafels were not even remotely dry and had so much flavor, the cheese bourekas were a perfect combination of sweet and savory with the perfect crunch, the half harissa chicken was so juicy and the stunning harissa paste that didn’t overpower the chicken. If you come here I would definitely recommend sharing everything so that you can try so much more. Oh, and if you want a non-alcoholic drink, I would try the Moroccan mint tea press!
*As of Aug. 2, they are offering dine-in, takeout, and delivery.
We wanted to bring it back to basics after our major breakfast at Onefold so we came here for some pizza. Again, growing up in NYC made me super picky about pizza but this place really nailed it. We got two super delicious appetizers — the chicken liver mousse, which they actually make in house, and the Panzanella salad. The main stars were the pizzas, of course. We got the Daisy, which is your basic margarita, but all of the ingredients tasted super fresh and the crust was perfect. We also had the Market Pizza, which is basil-almond pesto with farm tomatoes, mozzarella and balsamic reduction, and finally, the mortadella, which had pistachio, ricotta, mortadella, balsamic and arugula. The pizza toppings speak for themselves and the crust was cooked perfectly, so if you’re in a pizza mood, you should definitely check them out!
*As of Aug. 2, they are open for in-house dining with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as pickup.
Some Bonus Recs
We gathered a list of places to go from local Denverites, but we didn’t have time to go everywhere so I would like to pass on the list just in case the restaurants I mentioned are not enough.