clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Denver’s Eater Awards Winners 2017

The restaurants, chefs, and neighborhoods that made the city run wild this year

Annette is the 2017 Eater Denver Restaurant of the Year
Adam Larkey

After nearly a week of intensive reader voting, today we announce the winners of the eighth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and restaurants that made the largest impact on all 24 Eater cities over the past twelve months.

Here now are the places — from first concepts and over-the-top penthouses to hotel bars and entirely reimagined food districts — that have taken the Denver food world by storm in 2017. The competition was especially tight this year. In two categories (Restaurant and Chef) your votes nearly tied the winners. Thank you to everyone who voted last week, and congratulations to the winners of the readers’ choice and editors’ choice awards. Read on to learn more about this year’s best of the best.

Restaurant of the Year

Annette, Stanley Marketplace

ANNETTE at STANLEY Adam Larkey

When Annette opened earlier this year, it singlehandedly gave diners a reason to travel to Stanley Marketplace for a weeknight dinner, weekend brunch, or any special occasion, for that matter. The intimate dining room transports visitors from the buzz of the surrounding building, and, once inside, the fun really starts. At Annette, the operating word is thoughtful — from the staff, to the cocktails and coffee service, to chef Caroline Glover’s small and surprise-filled menu. On it, au gratin is back with a vengeance, and endive never tasted so complicated and so effortless. Go to Aurora for dinner, and then go back to the city wishing for another restaurant like it.

Restaurant of the Year Reader’s Choice Winner: Annette

Chef of the Year

Elise Wiggins, Cattivella

Rachel Greiman

When chef Elise Wiggins left Panzano’s after 12 years and announced she was starting her own restaurant in her own neighborhood, diners listened. And when she opened Cattivella alongside heavy hitters in Stapleton’s Eastbridge development, a community began to gather around and inside it. At Cattivella, Wiggins offers an Italian menu all her own, and totally approachable. When she’s cooking in the open kitchen, the energy is palpable — the restaurant is packed with friends and fans, even on a mid-weeknight. In Wiggins’ Cattivella, a burgeoning East Denver community finds its perfect chef champion.

Chef of the Year Reader’s Choice Winner: Carrie Baird

Design of the Year

El Five, Edible Beats

EL FIVE - DENVER Adam Larkey/Eater

Call it gauche, gaudy, or appropriated, but El Five wins big for being the design of the year that really runs with it. In a time of precious eateries and more and more elegant dining spaces, El Five takes a fresh approach in its irreverence — a design that might as well be laced with expletives. Vintage Egyptian movie posters are the easiest feature to spot on this fifth-floor, elevator-transported homage to “tapas de Gibraltar.” It’s a Mediterranean mix that Justin Cucci and his Edible Beats team (Linger, Root Down, Ophelia’s) have re-mastered. Sticking with a film theme, the sprawling affair at El Five would be best fit for a single-take tracking shot, one that slinks around the room like a leading lady and ends on a balcony with some of the best long views of a transforming Denver.

Design of the Year Reader’s Choice Winner: Emmerson

Food Neighborhood of the Year

LoHi, (Señor Bear, The Bindery, Bremen’s, The Family Jones, Marcella’s, and more)

Ryan Dearth

It’s a bittersweet time for Denver’s beloved neighborhoods, where the operating word this year could very well be gentrification. From entirely new builds to renovated historic houses, each neighborhood has taken a distinct and nuanced approach to its growing development. Fitting that in Lower Highland (LoHi), less than a decade ago, Little Man built its first 28-foot cream can, and Generator started developing the Olinger mortuary building. And this year, the man behind those projects, Paul Tamburello, opened another collaborative and integrative business: The Family Jones Spirit House, which brings a distillery, tasting room, and restaurant to Osage Street. Just up a few blocks, the owners of Bar Dough and Highland Tap and Burger added their newest neighborhood staple this year (and one that nearly tied your votes for Restaurant and Chef of the Year): Señor Bear.

Food Neighborhood of the Year Reader’s Choice Winner: LoHi

Hotel Restaurant of the Year

Tavernetta, Kimpton Hotel Born, Union Station

Adam Larkey

Technically, the newest addition to Union Station and Kimpton’s Born is hotel-adjacent. Tavernetta’s partners Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Bobby Stuckey, and Peter Hoglund brought their latest concept to Denver at the base of the Hotel Born building but operating as free agents. Regardless of the details, the result for travelers and locals alike is a near-transit restaurant that is anything but expected and downright category-disruptive. From the owners of Frasca Food & Wine, Tavernetta brings to Denver an approachable Italian cuisine with all the service and preparation now expected from one of the country’s best restaurants. A walk-in lounge and bar area provides easy noshing at lunch and happy hour; the walk-through kitchen provides the feeling of home amazingly in the middle of Lower Downtown Denver. And just like that, with this place in existence, restaurants in hotel buildings are once again formidable.

Hotel of the Year Reader’s Choice Winner: Corinne

El Five

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

Tavernetta

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

Annette

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

Bar Dough

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

Cattivella

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

Señor Bear

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

Emmerson

1600 Pearl Street, , CO 80302 (303) 953-9852 Visit Website

Corinne

304 East Cesar Chavez Street, , TX 78701 (737) 787-7018 Visit Website

Here Are Colorado’s 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalists

City Guides

An Eater's Guide to Denver

Eater Guides

Where to Eat at Denver International Airport (DEN)