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The Best Denver Meals Local Dining Pros Ate in 2017

Time to try out the menus at these 13 restaurants

Denver restaurant experts raved about their meals at El Five this year
Rachel Greiman

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 favorite meals of 2017.

Linnea Covington, freelance writer, Westword

There are so many winning meals, but most memorable was the steak tasting at Urban Farmer. I have never tried beef that was processed three ways in side-by-side presentation like that. I loved it.

Gigi Sukin, editor, CoBiz

Easily Tavernetta. There is simultaneously a complexity and simplicity to the preparation, texture, presentation, and flavor of every bite and every beverage, boozy or otherwise. Moreover, the service is meticulous and warm, and the Slim Aarons prints — oh, I could go on and on.

Alexandra Palmerton, food and booze editor, 303

There were SO many, but I think I have to say El Five. The menu is full of dishes I could never dream of (much less execute) on my own at home. (I'm looking at you, Matzo Ball Soup Dumplings.) Also, the menu at River & Woods is essentially a list of all of my food fantasies.

Ruth Tobias, writer, Zagat Denver

Man, there've been so many. The first few that come to mind (not counting press tastings) are 1) a meal at Mizuna that was just special on all counts. It happened to be a birthday dinner, which we didn't disclose, yet based on the service you'd have thought we had. Mizuna's still got it. 2) The Night Market pop-up at Rebel, as brilliantly executed as it was creative. 3) Dinners at Cattivella, 12 @ Madison, and Sunflower Asian Cafe where my companions and I tried half the menu without a miss in the mix.

Laura Shunk, freelance writer, Westword

This is not a meal -- but the standout industry experience of the year for me was drinking James Lee's Manhattan at the Bitter Bar, which is the best Manhattan I've ever had by a wide margin. So good I might not ever be able to order another Manhattan anywhere else, in fact.

Denise Mickelsen, food editor, 5280

Every single meal at Annette.

Rebecca Treon, freelance writer, Denver Post

Brunch and dinner at Bar Dough — Chef Baird has it going on. The new Vesta menu was also amazing.

Ashley Dean, culture reporter, Denverite

I had a great time at El Five. I tend to love the meals I have at small plate-focused restaurants most because you get a wide variety of food, but also because it tends to slow the meal down a bit. And with the view at El Five, I could drag dinner out for hours. I've been back a couple times, but the first meal still stands out: goat cheese croquettes, matzo ball soup dumplings, Moroccan lamb sausage, and skewers of serrano ham, prunes, Valdeón blue cheese, and piquillo pepper-feta fondue.

El Five

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


1889 16th Street Mall, , CO 80202 (720) 605-1889 Visit Website

Rebel Restaurant

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


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

River and Woods

2328 Pearl Street, , CO 80302 (303) 993-6301 Visit Website


225 East 7th Avenue, , CO 80203 (303) 832-4778

12 at Madison

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

Bar Dough

2227 West 32nd Avenue, , CO 80211 (720) 668-8506 Visit Website


80238 East 29th Drive, , CO 80238 (303) 645-3779 Visit Website

The Bitter Bar

835 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302 303 442 3050

Sunflower Asian Cafe

91 West Mineral Avenue, , CO 80120 (303) 798-0700 Visit Website

Urban Farmer Denver

1659 Wazee Street, , CO 80202 (303) 262-6070 Visit Website


2022 Broadway, , CA 94063 (650) 362-5052 Visit Website