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Denver Dining Experts Share Their Top Restaurant Standbys of 2017

Where local food writers found themselves again and again

Hop Alley, which opened in 2016, is still an expert favorite
Adam Larkey

As is the tradition, Eater asked a group of journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here, they share their go-to Denver restaurants of 2017.

Linnea Covington, freelance writer, Westword

El Five has proved a winner time and time again.

Gigi Sukin, editor, CoBiz

City, O’ City, Denver Central Market, Vert, North Italia, Coperta, Birdcall

Alexandra Palmerton, food and booze editor, 303

Urban Farmer — if I wasn't eating there, I was recommending it. I'm a big fan of anything chef Chris Starkus does.

Andra Zeppelin, former editor, Eater Denver

Acorn, Annette, Potager, El Taco de Mexico, Hop Alley

Brittany Werges, managing editor, 303

Corner Ramen was one of my favorite standbys this year. It’s casual, near my house, and they do really great ramen at a decent price. For a fancier meal, 12 at Madison, El Five, and Departure have become reliable go-tos. All three have great service, an awesome vibe, and delicious food every time.

Ruth Tobias, writer, Zagat Denver

Given the insane pace of openings this year (and the need to eat steamed vegetables in between them), what counts as a "standby" for me is a place I've been to more than, say, two or three times in a year. Definitely Rebel: Dan Lasiy and Bo Porytko's wacky, freewheeling menu is never not right up my alley. And Spuntino, where Elliot Strathmann runs one of the city's coolest wine programs, and Cindhura Reddy's pastas are bomb. And Mizu Izakaya—I'm obsessed with the cream pork kimchi.

Laura Shunk, freelance writer, Westword

Señor Bear, Il Posto (the business lunch is a killer deal), Annette. Sunflower down in Littleton for Chinese food. La Loma is always going to be on this list for me. For lunch, I'm on a fairly steady rotation among Vital Root, Sushi-Rama, and Ohana.

Callie Sumlin, associate food editor, 5280

Hop Alley, Blue Pan, Coperta, Pho 95, La Potranca, Frozen Matter, Villagran, Mercantile, My Brother’s Bar, Ohana Island Kitchen, and breakfast burritos from Chickee’s Lil Kitchen.

Denise Mickelsen, food editor, 5280

With so many new spots opening every week and countless established restaurants that I’ve yet to try, there’s not enough time (or stomach space) for me to eat at any one place on the regular. But the restaurants I recommended to friends most this year include Annette, Dio Mio, Hop Alley, Blue Pan Pizzeria, Departure Restaurant & Lounge, ChoLon, and Basta. (That said, my husband and I were forced to establish a three-times-a-week limit for visits to Sweet Cooie’s; our son would go every day if we let him.)

Rebecca Treon, freelance writer, Denver Post

Cochino, Post Oak Hall, Ship's Tavern, Park Burger

Ashley Dean, culture reporter, Denverite

For brunch: Black Eye Coffee Capitol Hill (RIP) and Max's Wine Dive. For happy-hour dinner friends: Las Margs. In fact, I'm there so often that the owner said he'd have to put me on the schedule. For dinner: Trattoria Stella (the one on Colfax). I've been going there for years because they have good-priced pasta dishes that go beyond the basics. I never get tired of the truffle asparagus spaghetti. For delivery: I order an embarrassing amount of delivery and it's almost always from Spicy Basil (red curry or drunken noodles) and Sexy Pizza (plain pie or a vera salad with garlic knots).

Hop Alley

3500 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 (720) 379-8340 Visit Website

Vital Root

3915 Tennyson Street, , CO 80212 (303) 474-4131 Visit Website

El Five

2930 Umatilla Street, , CO 80211 (303) 524-9193 Visit Website


400 East 20th Avenue, , CO 80205 (720) 749-4666 Visit Website

Rebel Restaurant

3763 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80216 (303) 297-3902 Visit Website

Ohana Island Kitchen

2563 15th Street, , CO 80211 (303) 718-6580 Visit Website


2501 Dallas Street, , CO 80010 (720) 710-9975 Visit Website

The Denver Central Market

2669 Larimer Street, , CO 80205 Visit Website


249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206 (720) 772-5020 Visit Website

Blue Pan Pizza

3930 West 32nd Avenue, , CO 80212 (720) 456-7666 Visit Website

12 at Madison

1160 Madison St, Denver, CO 80206 (720) 216-0190 Visit Website

Post Oak Hall

6195 West 44th Avenue, , CO 80033 (303) 834-7048 Visit Website

Mercantile Dining and Provision

1701 Wynkoop Street, , CO 80202 (720) 460-3733 Visit Website

Sweet Cooie's

3506 E 12th Ave, Denver, CO 80206 (720) 550-7140

Señor Bear

3301 Tejon Street, , CO 80211 (720) 572-5997 Visit Website


1109 North Ogden Street, , CO 80218 (303) 246-7073 Visit Website


2639 West 32nd Avenue, , CO 80211 (303) 433-0949 Visit Website

La Loma

2527 W 26th Ave, Denver, CO 80211 (303) 433-8300 Visit Website

Corner Ramen

1629 Bruce Randolph Avenue, , CO 80205 (303) 292-0250 Visit Website


3601 Arapahoe Avenue, , CO 80303 (303) 997-8775 Visit Website