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Rosé-braised beef shank with bone marrow at Noisette
Rosé-braised beef shank with bone marrow at Noisette.
Jeff Fierberg

The Hottest Restaurants in Denver Right Now, Fall 2022

No better way to keep warm as the weather cools than to curl up with the Eater Denver Heatmap

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Rosé-braised beef shank with bone marrow at Noisette.
| Jeff Fierberg

No better way to keep warm as the weather cools than to curl up with the latest edition of the Eater Denver Heatmap. Unlike the Eater 38, which is meant to serve as a guide to the best of the best, this regularly updated roundup aims to introduce readers to the best of the new: what’s popular, what’s promising, what’s poised for success in the weeks to come. Included here in geographical order are noteworthy restaurants and cafes that all opened — or reopened after a hiatus — within the past six months.

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Bodega Denver

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Poised to fill a similar niche in the Sunnyside neighborhood as its predecessor, Buchi — that of an all-day hangout — this spunky little cafe has launched with coffee, top-flight sandwiches, and easy-drinking adult beverages: Come early for a latte and a BEC with hash browns on a Kaiser roll, a little later for a beer or a Bloody and a burger. And whenever possible, get the griddled banana bread — it might prove to be the sleeper on the small menu (which will expand in the future).

Noisette Restaurant and Bakery

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Elegant yet easeful, the pastel-hued dining room of this buzzy new French restaurant in LoHi sets the mood for what husband-and-wife team Tim and Lillian Lu call cuisine bourgeoisie: Think escargot-stuffed potato fritters; skate with anchovy béarnaise, chanterelles, and cherry tomatoes; and classic tarte tropézienne, all paired with wines from the France-centric list. Think, too, about croissants, eclairs, and macarons, because Noisette operates as a bakery by day.

Duck breast in foie jus
Noisette’s magret de canard.
Jeff Fierberg

Pit Fiend Barbecue

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The spirit of Owlbear lives on in the beloved barbecue joint’s RiNo space, where former crew members have taken over to turn out not only brisket, spare ribs, sausage, and other genre staples but also, at any given time, lamb, pastrami, duck, burgers, quesadillas, and vegetarian items such as pulled jackfruit and smoked zucchini. Rest assured they’ve got all the trimmings, from mac and cheese to curried cauliflower, on deck too.

Smoked brisket
Pit Fiend’s signature brisket.
Juan Pablo Llano

Point Easy Denver

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A bright spot in quiet Whittier, this contemporary newcomer strikes that delicate balance between casual neighborhood bistro and upscale date-night destination, reinforced by a seasonal menu that merges the familiar with the fresh. On the one hand, dishes like plum-glazed pork belly with polenta, braised lamb shank with new potatoes, and ratatouille with robiola and quinoa salad are straightforward and appealing; on the other, flourishes like shaved bottarga, black-lime yogurt, and grilled spigarello add just the right amount of intrigue. The same goes for the beverage list, which might feature a daiquiri laced with pistachios or a blend of Roussanne and Grüner Veltliner from Texas.

Various dishes at Point Easy
A spread at Point Easy.
Joni Schrantz

Everyday Pizza

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From the owners of exceptional plant-based eatery Somebody People, this colorful, cool-as-could-be new Ballpark parlor is turning out vegan pizzas that showcase not fake cheese or meat but seasonal produce in highly creative combos, from shishito peppers and hemp cream to corn and saffron to falafel and almond tzatziki. A handful of small plates and pastas follow suit (try the fried romano beans), while the bar concocts virgin as well as full-strength cocktails.

Onion pizza with green olives
An onion pie with green olives at Everyday Pizza.
David Williams

Pirate Alley Boucherie

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Fans of the much-missed Julep will recognize chef Kyle Foster’s savvy Southern stamp on the sandwiches (and a smattering of sides) at this luncheonette in LoDo’s Ice House building, where it shares a cute space with wife Katy Foster’s Stir Cooking School events space. It may be a po’ boy, but the roast beef debris is rich indeed with both gravy and remoulade as well as sweet potato and cabbage, while the French club is elevated by red-wine chicken, mushrooms, and arugula.

Stephan Werk/Werk Creative

Lucina Eatery & Bar

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On their website, chef-owners Erasmo Casiano and Diego Coconati describe this Park Hill arrival as “a melting pot of incredible Latin American, Latin Caribbean, and coastal Spanish cuisine,” and the menu delivers in spades, with Peruvian, Argentine, Cuban, Mexican, Iberian, and other influences all making a collective colorful splash. That means mofongo, asopado de mariscos, pollo a la brasa, and congrí y maduros, not to mention paella on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bánh & Butter Bakery Café

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Already an Instagram darling for colorful treats like rainbow crêpe cake and ube lattes, this Aurora cafe specializes in savory and sweet baked goods, from spinach-feta croissants and pâte-filled cruffins to coconut-pandan and Thai tea cupcakes. But it also, as the name suggests, makes a mean bánh mì to wash down with Vietnamese egg coffee or milk tea with grass jelly.

Bánh & Butter Bakery Café
Inside Bánh & Butter Bakery Café.
Ruth Tobias

Mister Oso Wash Park

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A spinoff of ever-popular LoHi spot Señor Bear, the equally hot Mister Oso in RiNo now has an offshoot of its own in Wash Park. Sultry tropical vibe, check; festive modern Mexican menu, check (don’t sleep on the smoked-potato tacos); spicy mezcal margaritas and congelados del día, or daily changing frozen cocktails, check. As the Culinary Creative team behind the venture (and many others) keeps proving, don’t fix what ain’t broken — expand it.

Kayla Jones

Next Level Burger

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Opening with a bang in the University neighborhood, the first Colorado link in this multistate vegan chain offers up a whole lot more than plant-based burgers to sway hardened carnivores, from “chicken” tenders to “fish” ‘n’ chips. But the burgers featuring mushroom-quinoa patties are the best place to start when it comes to joining the meatless movement, accompanied by loaded fries and soy- or coconut-based shakes.

Vegan burger, bratwurst, and fries
Next Level does more than burgers, including vegan brats and loaded fries.
Next Level

Bodega Denver

Poised to fill a similar niche in the Sunnyside neighborhood as its predecessor, Buchi — that of an all-day hangout — this spunky little cafe has launched with coffee, top-flight sandwiches, and easy-drinking adult beverages: Come early for a latte and a BEC with hash browns on a Kaiser roll, a little later for a beer or a Bloody and a burger. And whenever possible, get the griddled banana bread — it might prove to be the sleeper on the small menu (which will expand in the future).

Noisette Restaurant and Bakery

Elegant yet easeful, the pastel-hued dining room of this buzzy new French restaurant in LoHi sets the mood for what husband-and-wife team Tim and Lillian Lu call cuisine bourgeoisie: Think escargot-stuffed potato fritters; skate with anchovy béarnaise, chanterelles, and cherry tomatoes; and classic tarte tropézienne, all paired with wines from the France-centric list. Think, too, about croissants, eclairs, and macarons, because Noisette operates as a bakery by day.

Duck breast in foie jus
Noisette’s magret de canard.
Jeff Fierberg

Pit Fiend Barbecue

The spirit of Owlbear lives on in the beloved barbecue joint’s RiNo space, where former crew members have taken over to turn out not only brisket, spare ribs, sausage, and other genre staples but also, at any given time, lamb, pastrami, duck, burgers, quesadillas, and vegetarian items such as pulled jackfruit and smoked zucchini. Rest assured they’ve got all the trimmings, from mac and cheese to curried cauliflower, on deck too.

Smoked brisket
Pit Fiend’s signature brisket.
Juan Pablo Llano

Point Easy Denver

A bright spot in quiet Whittier, this contemporary newcomer strikes that delicate balance between casual neighborhood bistro and upscale date-night destination, reinforced by a seasonal menu that merges the familiar with the fresh. On the one hand, dishes like plum-glazed pork belly with polenta, braised lamb shank with new potatoes, and ratatouille with robiola and quinoa salad are straightforward and appealing; on the other, flourishes like shaved bottarga, black-lime yogurt, and grilled spigarello add just the right amount of intrigue. The same goes for the beverage list, which might feature a daiquiri laced with pistachios or a blend of Roussanne and Grüner Veltliner from Texas.

Various dishes at Point Easy
A spread at Point Easy.
Joni Schrantz

Everyday Pizza

From the owners of exceptional plant-based eatery Somebody People, this colorful, cool-as-could-be new Ballpark parlor is turning out vegan pizzas that showcase not fake cheese or meat but seasonal produce in highly creative combos, from shishito peppers and hemp cream to corn and saffron to falafel and almond tzatziki. A handful of small plates and pastas follow suit (try the fried romano beans), while the bar concocts virgin as well as full-strength cocktails.

Onion pizza with green olives
An onion pie with green olives at Everyday Pizza.
David Williams

Pirate Alley Boucherie

Fans of the much-missed Julep will recognize chef Kyle Foster’s savvy Southern stamp on the sandwiches (and a smattering of sides) at this luncheonette in LoDo’s Ice House building, where it shares a cute space with wife Katy Foster’s Stir Cooking School events space. It may be a po’ boy, but the roast beef debris is rich indeed with both gravy and remoulade as well as sweet potato and cabbage, while the French club is elevated by red-wine chicken, mushrooms, and arugula.

Stephan Werk/Werk Creative

Lucina Eatery & Bar

On their website, chef-owners Erasmo Casiano and Diego Coconati describe this Park Hill arrival as “a melting pot of incredible Latin American, Latin Caribbean, and coastal Spanish cuisine,” and the menu delivers in spades, with Peruvian, Argentine, Cuban, Mexican, Iberian, and other influences all making a collective colorful splash. That means mofongo, asopado de mariscos, pollo a la brasa, and congrí y maduros, not to mention paella on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bánh & Butter Bakery Café

Already an Instagram darling for colorful treats like rainbow crêpe cake and ube lattes, this Aurora cafe specializes in savory and sweet baked goods, from spinach-feta croissants and pâte-filled cruffins to coconut-pandan and Thai tea cupcakes. But it also, as the name suggests, makes a mean bánh mì to wash down with Vietnamese egg coffee or milk tea with grass jelly.

Bánh & Butter Bakery Café
Inside Bánh & Butter Bakery Café.
Ruth Tobias

Mister Oso Wash Park

A spinoff of ever-popular LoHi spot Señor Bear, the equally hot Mister Oso in RiNo now has an offshoot of its own in Wash Park. Sultry tropical vibe, check; festive modern Mexican menu, check (don’t sleep on the smoked-potato tacos); spicy mezcal margaritas and congelados del día, or daily changing frozen cocktails, check. As the Culinary Creative team behind the venture (and many others) keeps proving, don’t fix what ain’t broken — expand it.

Kayla Jones

Next Level Burger

Opening with a bang in the University neighborhood, the first Colorado link in this multistate vegan chain offers up a whole lot more than plant-based burgers to sway hardened carnivores, from “chicken” tenders to “fish” ‘n’ chips. But the burgers featuring mushroom-quinoa patties are the best place to start when it comes to joining the meatless movement, accompanied by loaded fries and soy- or coconut-based shakes.

Vegan burger, bratwurst, and fries
Next Level does more than burgers, including vegan brats and loaded fries.
Next Level

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