Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine, Bistro Vendome
Fourth Story Restaurant that was above The Tattered Cover bookstore on 1st Avenue in Cherry Creek North. Tyler Wiard was the chef for a while. Great wines by the glass program before many restaurants did that. Giant windows facing 1st Avenue. Romantic, great ambiance. Best of all, it was on top of a great bookstore and you had to go through The Tattered Cover, get on an elevator to get up there.
Ruth Tobias, freelance writer, contributor at Eater Denver, Thrillist, Zester Daily
I moved to Denver in '07, so I can only speak of the scene from that point onward. But the first place that comes to mind is Buenos Aires Grill. Quite the classy oasis in Ballpark at the time, and I loved the grilled provolone with mushrooms and the steak smothered in gorgonzola and tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, Buenos Aires Pizza is great too, but that random slice of Euro-Latin cosmpolitanism had something special going for it.
Steve Jankousky, Tom's Home Cooking
I loved Micole, Chef Eric Roeder's place on South Pearl Street. I loved his contemporary cooking, and loved the $40 prix fixe menu; it was a bargain! I remember eating the most delicious chocolate cake there, garnished with edible gold foil...
And I loved Aubergine Cafe. Sean Kelly introduced me to duck confit there in a risotto with butternut squash.
Elaine St. Louis, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles
We loved Dudley's (on 6th and Downing next to the Safeway) in the early eighties. Ahead of it's time with creative presentation and rare ingredients and a real special-occasion dining establishment. I miss the intimacy and refined elegance, the stellar waitstaff, the hushed yet happy ambiance, the HUGE flower arrangement that greeted you. And we were foodie newbies so everything was a revelation.
Etai Bar-on, Etai's and the U Baron Group
There used to be a restaurant on 72nd and Sheridan called Vientiane Garden. They occupied a defunct Chuckie Cheese where coincidentally I had my first job. Vientiane Garden served Laotian and Nortern Thai style cuisine. We used to go there for Pork Larb, Som Thum and Sticky Rice. The owner taught us to eat with our fingers using the sticky rice to scoop up the pork and papaya. The food was extra spicy but always in balance with the other flavors. I've never been able to find this style of food done as well anywere in Denver since Vientiane closed. Only in the past few years have I found anything remotely as good but I've had to travel to New York, Portland or Bangkok. It must have closed 12 years ago and I'm still sad.
Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor
Two places in Boulder. Trilogy- it was where I seduced my now husband who was working as a door guy, I miss the dancing, the weird clientele, the good wine and the cheap wine, the funkiness, the velvet couches, all of it.
The original Laudisio which was open for close to 20 years. I regret the years I lived in Boulder in my late teens as a college kid and missed the opportunity to dine here. When friends describe meals there, the food is the best, and the hospitality and heart behind the place are huge. The Laudisio family has been an integral part of the Colorado culinary culture for generations.
Brandon Biederman, ACE and Steuben's
I gotta say I miss Tommy Tsunamis a little bit. I met my wife Emily there, learned a lot about seafood and it became my first executive chef job. There was a lot of funny things that happened as well but I am waiting for the statute of limitations to run out before I can talk about them.