As we put a cap on 2016, Eater surveyed a group of critics, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurant Grievances. All answers will be revealed—cut, pasted, unedited and unadulterated—by the time we pop the cork on 2017.
Q: What were your top restaurant standbys of 2016?
Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine managing editor
This year, you could you could find me at the chefs table/bar at Cho77 and Leña. Both South Broadway joints frequently change their menus, but they also have some tried and true plates that consistently deliver. For me, I aways get the octopus ceviche and the pozole with yuca bread at Leña and the red chili pork dumplings and Thai coconut curry at Cho77. Besides that, about one Saturday a month, I have dim sum at Star Kitchen because I always need more dumplings.
Amanda Faison, freelance writer, former 5280 Magazine editor
Hop Alley (chilled tofu!), La Potranca (tacos al pastor!), Coperta (Sienese peppers and Aperol spritzes!), Vital Root (mango-carrot lassi!), Bar Fausto (farro salad!), Mercantile (Nicoise salad!), Beast & Bottle (sit at the bar!), Onefold (congee!), Globe Hall (ribs!), Dae Gee (seafood pancake!), Cho77 (khao soi!), Brider (sweet potato-avocado salad!), Denver Central Market (everything!)
Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor
Hop Alley, El Taco de Mexico, Acorn, Departure, Uncle (for takeout!), Bar Dough
Rebecca Gart, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles food editor
Hop Alley, Avelina, Acorn, Cart Driver, Mercantile, Matsuhisa
Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer
Hop Alley, Bar Dough, Osaka Ramen, Bar Fausto, Central Market, Pon Pon
Denise Mickelsen, 5280 Magazine food editor
Work & Class, TAG Burger Bar (my son loves the mac and cheese with goldfish crumbs on top), Avanti F&B, Sushi Sasa, Bar Dough, El Taco de Mexico
Gigi Sukin, Eater Contributor, CoBiz editor
City O City, North, Departure, Cherry Cricket
Laura Shunk, Westword contributor
Things I missed while I was away: El Taco de Mexico, Pho Duy, La Loma (that moving hype was a good way to sucker me in frequently once I returned). Rosenberg's and Masterpiece continue to compete for my breakfast dollars. Central Market became my de facto office. I think I ate more at Acorn than any other finer dining spot in Denver; that crew is crushing it right now.
Justin De La Rosa, Denver Post contributor
This may come as a surprise to some, but El Camino Community Tavern ended up being my casual spot for celebrating life's milestones throughout the year. The hospitality there is always amazing. James does it right. Otherwise, it's been Avanti, Old Major, or Mister Tuna.
Lori Midson, Denver Life Magazine Food Editor, DiningOut contributor
My standbys this year were Nile Ethiopian, which is my home away from home. I've eaten there at least three dozen times — probably more — and I don't even bother to look at the menu: It's kitfo (raw!), the vegeterian combo and lamb tibs awaze every time. I frequent Homegrown Tap & Dough because it's in my ‘hood and the beer list is excellent, and I love Mercantile Dining & Provision. No matter how many times I eat there, Alex Seidel and his superbly talented kitchen staff surprise me at every turn. I also spent countless hours at Aung's Bangkok Café, El Taco de Mexico, Garibaldi Mexican Bistro, Land of Sushi, Biju's Little Curry Shop, Café Brazil and Acorn, which continues to get better and better. And my go-to for all things bread and pastry is City Bakery Café. I can't get enough of Michael Bortz's pies, soft pretzels and ciabatta. He's made me a bread-head for life.
Rachel Greiman, Eater contributor and photographer
Just like last year, Thai Street Food stayed in our weekly rotation. Also, my husband ate huevos rancheros almost every single Saturday at Denver Fresh Mex on Colfax. You just can't beat $6 for such a gigantic plate of delicious food.
Callie Sumlin, 5280 Magazine assistant food editor
Mercantile Dining & Provision was my go-to this year.
Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor
Basta and The Kitchen in Boulder. Work & Class and Spuntino in Denver.
Josh Dinar, DiningOut Publisher
Man, there are too many to name them all, but living up in Boulder we can never get enough of Brasserie TenTen, Basta, Blackbelly or Japango. T/ACO with the kids or margs with friends. Amu crushes unique Japanese dining, and Colterra or Carelli's are our favorite date night escapes (close by but a world away). Zeal, Leaf, or Fresh Thymes for healthy food that doesn't taste like "healthy food." Lucille's or the Teahouse for brunch. And always anything Big Red F-related.
Lauren Rapp, Westword contributor
With so many restaurant openings, my standbys sometimes play second fiddle, but there are definitely places I return to over and over again. For breakfast, Crema and Stowaway are always quick and great. Lunches are typically on the go, but Curtis Park Deli and Vert never disappoint. Dinner? Hop Alley, Bones, Cart-Driver, Comida, Park Burger RiNo, and New Saigon. Nice night out? You'll find me at Izakaya Den if I have my way.
Rebecca Treon, DiningOut editor
Vesta, Los Tarascos, Sushi Den, Comal, Tacos Junior, Post Oak Hall, Ohana, Park Burger, and Patzcuaro.