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A photo of the Pad Thai Goong with a stir fry of small rice noodles, prawns, bean sprouts, chives and peanuts.
The Pad Thai Goong, which consists of small rice noodles, prawns, bean sprouts, chives and peanuts, at Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

The 15 Hottest Restaurants in Denver

Where to dine around town this month

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The Pad Thai Goong, which consists of small rice noodles, prawns, bean sprouts, chives and peanuts, at Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
| Jonathan Phillips/Eater

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends, and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now around Denver? Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, and which favorite chef just launched a sophomore effort. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering top destinations and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the ‘it’ places of the moment and the most promising new openings.

Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, unranked and updated on a monthly basis to highlight where the food-loving crowds are flocking today. The coverage radius includes Denver, Boulder, and surrounding areas. This month, Uptown Italian spot Gattara and LoHi’s Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar join the map. Accordingly, two restaurants have been retired after a year-long run: high-end RiNo chef’s counter Beckon and the Peal Street rotisserie chicken spot Chook.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. American Elm

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4132 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80212
(720) 749-3186
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The large elm tree on the patio fittingly sets the tone for this Denver debut from owner Bob Reiter, which provides the Berkeley neighborhood with a restaurant that is rooted in comforting (albeit elevated) classics. That means delectable deviled eggs, pork belly, and oysters for starters and main dishes such as steak frites cooked in bone marrow butter and a roasted half-chicken. More unusual offerings, such as the trout and a carbonara, keep things compelling (as does a cocktail list that is over two dozen options deep).

A photo of three pieces of pork belly from American Elm on a plate
Pork belly from American Elm
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

2. Lou's Italian Specialties

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3357 N Downing St
Denver, CO 80205
(720) 287-3642
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The team behind ever-popular Rosenberg’s Bagels and Famous Original J’s Pizza continues its “New Yorking” of Denver with this new Italian-American delicatessen and market located in the Cole neighborhood. Diners should know that the jam-packed subs — in varieties like eggplant parmesan, Italian beef, and Roman fiesta — are only available for takeout. But they’re worth it.

Lou’s Italian Specialties
Lou’s Italian Specialties
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

3. Ash'Kara

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2005 W 33rd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 537-4407
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LoHi’s new Israeli and Middle Eastern restaurant is a homecoming of sorts for longtime Denver chef Daniel Asher, who also owns River and Woods in Boulder. Here, he’s conjuring his family’s Jewish roots along with the street food he grew up eating in Montreal. Hummus and pita are the best ways to start the meal, which should consist of multiple small plates shared between friends or family.

Ash’Kara
Ash’Kara
Ryan Dearth/Eater

4. Owlbear Barbecue

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2826 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

Owlbear’s two offset smokers cook up plates of pulled pork, spare ribs, pork tenderloin, double-smoked barbecued bacon, smoked duck, Texas-style brisket, and other meats that have been produced from sustainably-raised animals. The simple menu also features a selection of classic fixings, including pinto beans, mac and cheese, and coleslaw, as well as pudding for dessert.

Owlbear Barbecue
Owlbear Barbecue
Owlbear Barbecue/Facebook

5. Della Radice

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2955 Ulster St #100
Denver, CO 80238
(720) 531-2958
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Chef Cristino Griego brings this European restaurant with French, Italian, and Spanish small plates to Stapleton. The menu features charcuterie, cheese, olives, rillettes, house-baked bread, and Mediterranean comfort dishes that are made with local ingredients and meant to share. The renovated space also includes a communal wine bar and a market with pasta, sauces, cheese, meats, pickles, and more to take home.

Arancini di Riso at Della Radice
Arancini di Riso at Della Radice
Della Radice [Official Site]

6. Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar

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1700 Platte St Suite 140
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 667-4652
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It almost feels like a shame to have to eat the gorgeously-plated dishes at this month-old LoHi Thai restaurant. But the fried quail, lamb Massaman curry, and other expertly-crafted dishes are every bit as delicious as they are beautiful. The focus on beautiful presentation extends to the space itself, which is decorated with light fixtures that are designed to look like bells from Thai temples and other elegant touches.

A photo of a woman reaching for spoonful a of the chicken and noodles in the Khao Soi Kai
A woman reaching for spoonful a of the chicken and noodles in the Khao Soi Koi at Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

7. Maine Shack

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1535 Central St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 997-2118
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Denver finally has a New England-style seafood shack to call its own (with the proper seafaring memorabilia on the walls to prove it) thanks to this new entry from the team behind Denver favorites Bar Dough, Highland Tap & Burger, and Señor Bear. Customers can start their meals with bowls of clam chowder before digging into orders of whole belly clams, scallops, or haddock. Then there’s the Lobsterado, a classic lobster roll topped with a 4-ounce lobster tail.

Lobster rolls from Maine Shack
Lobster rolls from Maine Shack
Maine Shack/Facebook

8. LeRoux

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1555 Blake St Ste. 102
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 845-1673
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Chef Lon Symensma, known for the pan-Asian restaurant ChoLon, gets back to his French culinary training with this jewel box of a restaurant off downtown’s 16th Street. Dishes such as lobster meunière and lamb chops with potatoes Anna are served alongside old-world wines and wintery house cocktails. The bar is a highlight and lunch is served weekdays.

LeRoux
LeRoux
Lucy Beaugard/Eater

9. Morin

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1600 15th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-0534
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Perhaps the biggest debut of 2018, Morin is a modern French spot by the same successful chefs and restaurateurs behind the aforementioned Maine Shack. In a historic downtown setting, it combines comfort flavors with French technique and artful presentations. The bar is a highlight, as are the pommes de terre (potatoes).

Morin
Morin
Ryan Dearth/Eater

10. Sotto Voce

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1520 Blake St
Denver, CO 80202

Tucked under the dining room of LoDo Italian restaurant Jovanina’s Broken Italian is this new Prohibition-style bar, which opened in June. Cocktails are prepared tableside from a roving bar cart. The cart’s options include a signature Aperol Spritz, a classic Corpse Reviver #2, or a barrel-aged Sazerac fixed with an absinthe wash. Menus change with the seasons, but diners can count on offerings from the wood oven, mainstays like pasta and pizza, and colorful entrees served in beautiful ceramics.

Jovanina’s Broken Italian

11. Gattara

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1776 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 318-7272
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This bright and airy addition to Uptown’s Warwick Hotel features plenty of quirky cat-themed decor and a stone oven that turns out perfectly charred Neapolitan pizzas. However, Gattara is more than just a pizza joint; chef Thomas Newstead’s menu is also heavy on expertly-crafted Italian specialties like charred (not fried) octopus and a pappardelle pasta topped with braised short rib.

A photo of pieces of gnocchi pasta topped with pork cheeks at Gattara
The gnocchi topped with pork cheeks at Gattara
Paul Albani-Burgio/Eater

12. Logan Street Restaurant

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400 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(720) 617-9400
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The owners of Governor’s Park Italian destination Angelo’s Taverna and daytime spot Ivy on 7th continued their takeover of the neighborhood with the recent opening of the new Carboy Winery. Along with a taproom, tasting room and space for wine production, the 11,000-square-foot facility also houses this enticing Mediterranean-focused restaurant from chef Rebecca Weitzman. Once ensconced in the well-lit dining room, diners can nosh on starter portions of spicy Sicilian meatballs and roasted carrots before diving into plates of affordably-priced seafood (the spicy garlic shrimp is $8 while oysters are $12).

A photo of the dining room at Logan Street with several tables and chairs, including one filled with a group of four women dining
The dining room at Logan Street
Paul Albani-Burgio/Eater

13. Le Bilboquet Denver

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299 St Paul St
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 835-9999
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This New York transplant brought to Denver a weighty reputation for being one of the Big Apple’s snobbiest restaurants when it opened its doors in September. But beyond that legendary snootiness, there’s a reason this classic French bistro has become one of Manhattan’s most enduring dining destinations: it offers appealing takes on classic French dishes such as the steak frites and beef tartare in a comfortable setting rich with Parisian elegance. The Cajun chicken, a generous portion of sliced chicken breast cooked in a secret mix of Cajun spices that's composition is known only to a few staff members, is a staple.

A photo of the dining room at Le Bilboquet with long tables with white table cloths and a vibrant graffiti-style painting on the wall
The dining room at Le Bilboquet
Chantelle Fandino

14. Uncle Ramen II

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95 S Pennsylvania St
Denver, CO 80209

Uncle Ramen is growing up. After seven years in the Highlands, it expanded with a second location in the West Washington Park neighborhood. “Uncle II” still serves up some of the familiar fare found in the Highlands, but the new location’s bigger kitchen means the menu here includes 60 percent more dishes.

Instagram/Uncle

15. Le French Denver

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4901 S Newport St
Denver, CO 80237
(720) 710-8963
Visit Website

Sisters Aminata and Rougui Dia opened the Parisian-inspired bistro Le French at Belleview Station, just steps from the train platform. Le French serves classic daytime fare — think ham and cheese crepes, salads, and brioche bread with tuna — along with a more upscale dinner menu full of French fusion dishes.

Le boeuf bourguignon at Le French
Le boeuf bourguignon at Le French
Rachel Adams

1. American Elm

4132 W 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80212
A photo of three pieces of pork belly from American Elm on a plate
Pork belly from American Elm
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

The large elm tree on the patio fittingly sets the tone for this Denver debut from owner Bob Reiter, which provides the Berkeley neighborhood with a restaurant that is rooted in comforting (albeit elevated) classics. That means delectable deviled eggs, pork belly, and oysters for starters and main dishes such as steak frites cooked in bone marrow butter and a roasted half-chicken. More unusual offerings, such as the trout and a carbonara, keep things compelling (as does a cocktail list that is over two dozen options deep).

4132 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80212

2. Lou's Italian Specialties

3357 N Downing St, Denver, CO 80205
Lou’s Italian Specialties
Lou’s Italian Specialties
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

The team behind ever-popular Rosenberg’s Bagels and Famous Original J’s Pizza continues its “New Yorking” of Denver with this new Italian-American delicatessen and market located in the Cole neighborhood. Diners should know that the jam-packed subs — in varieties like eggplant parmesan, Italian beef, and Roman fiesta — are only available for takeout. But they’re worth it.

3357 N Downing St
Denver, CO 80205

3. Ash'Kara

2005 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Ash’Kara
Ash’Kara
Ryan Dearth/Eater

LoHi’s new Israeli and Middle Eastern restaurant is a homecoming of sorts for longtime Denver chef Daniel Asher, who also owns River and Woods in Boulder. Here, he’s conjuring his family’s Jewish roots along with the street food he grew up eating in Montreal. Hummus and pita are the best ways to start the meal, which should consist of multiple small plates shared between friends or family.

2005 W 33rd Ave
Denver, CO 80211

4. Owlbear Barbecue

2826 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Owlbear Barbecue
Owlbear Barbecue
Owlbear Barbecue/Facebook

Owlbear’s two offset smokers cook up plates of pulled pork, spare ribs, pork tenderloin, double-smoked barbecued bacon, smoked duck, Texas-style brisket, and other meats that have been produced from sustainably-raised animals. The simple menu also features a selection of classic fixings, including pinto beans, mac and cheese, and coleslaw, as well as pudding for dessert.

2826 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

5. Della Radice

2955 Ulster St #100, Denver, CO 80238
Arancini di Riso at Della Radice
Arancini di Riso at Della Radice
Della Radice [Official Site]

Chef Cristino Griego brings this European restaurant with French, Italian, and Spanish small plates to Stapleton. The menu features charcuterie, cheese, olives, rillettes, house-baked bread, and Mediterranean comfort dishes that are made with local ingredients and meant to share. The renovated space also includes a communal wine bar and a market with pasta, sauces, cheese, meats, pickles, and more to take home.

2955 Ulster St #100
Denver, CO 80238

6. Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar

1700 Platte St Suite 140, Denver, CO 80202
A photo of a woman reaching for spoonful a of the chicken and noodles in the Khao Soi Kai
A woman reaching for spoonful a of the chicken and noodles in the Khao Soi Koi at Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar
Jonathan Phillips/Eater

It almost feels like a shame to have to eat the gorgeously-plated dishes at this month-old LoHi Thai restaurant. But the fried quail, lamb Massaman curry, and other expertly-crafted dishes are every bit as delicious as they are beautiful. The focus on beautiful presentation extends to the space itself, which is decorated with light fixtures that are designed to look like bells from Thai temples and other elegant touches.

1700 Platte St Suite 140
Denver, CO 80202

7. Maine Shack

1535 Central St, Denver, CO 80211
Lobster rolls from Maine Shack
Lobster rolls from Maine Shack
Maine Shack/Facebook

Denver finally has a New England-style seafood shack to call its own (with the proper seafaring memorabilia on the walls to prove it) thanks to this new entry from the team behind Denver favorites Bar Dough, Highland Tap & Burger, and Señor Bear. Customers can start their meals with bowls of clam chowder before digging into orders of whole belly clams, scallops, or haddock. Then there’s the Lobsterado, a classic lobster roll topped with a 4-ounce lobster tail.

1535 Central St
Denver, CO 80211

8. LeRoux

1555 Blake St Ste. 102, Denver, CO 80202
LeRoux
LeRoux
Lucy Beaugard/Eater

Chef Lon Symensma, known for the pan-Asian restaurant ChoLon, gets back to his French culinary training with this jewel box of a restaurant off downtown’s 16th Street. Dishes such as lobster meunière and lamb chops with potatoes Anna are served alongside old-world wines and wintery house cocktails. The bar is a highlight and lunch is served weekdays.

1555 Blake St Ste. 102
Denver, CO 80202

9. Morin

1600 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
Morin
Morin
Ryan Dearth/Eater

Perhaps the biggest debut of 2018, Morin is a modern French spot by the same successful chefs and restaurateurs behind the aforementioned Maine Shack. In a historic downtown setting, it combines comfort flavors with French technique and artful presentations. The bar is a highlight, as are the pommes de terre (potatoes).

1600 15th St
Denver, CO 80202

10. Sotto Voce

1520 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202
Jovanina’s Broken Italian

Tucked under the dining room of LoDo Italian restaurant Jovanina’s Broken Italian is this new Prohibition-style bar, which opened in June. Cocktails are prepared tableside from a roving bar cart. The cart’s options include a signature Aperol Spritz, a classic Corpse Reviver #2, or a barrel-aged Sazerac fixed with an absinthe wash. Menus change with the seasons, but diners can count on offerings from the wood oven, mainstays like pasta and pizza, and colorful entrees served in beautiful ceramics.

1520 Blake St
Denver, CO 80202

11. Gattara

1776 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203
A photo of pieces of gnocchi pasta topped with pork cheeks at Gattara
The gnocchi topped with pork cheeks at Gattara
Paul Albani-Burgio/Eater

This bright and airy addition to Uptown’s Warwick Hotel features plenty of quirky cat-themed decor and a stone oven that turns out perfectly charred Neapolitan pizzas. However, Gattara is more than just a pizza joint; chef Thomas Newstead’s menu is also heavy on expertly-crafted Italian specialties like charred (not fried) octopus and a pappardelle pasta topped with braised short rib.

1776 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203

12. Logan Street Restaurant

400 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
A photo of the dining room at Logan Street with several tables and chairs, including one filled with a group of four women dining
The dining room at Logan Street
Paul Albani-Burgio/Eater

The owners of Governor’s Park Italian destination Angelo’s Taverna and daytime spot Ivy on 7th continued their takeover of the neighborhood with the recent opening of the new Carboy Winery. Along with a taproom, tasting room and space for wine production, the 11,000-square-foot facility also houses this enticing Mediterranean-focused restaurant from chef Rebecca Weitzman. Once ensconced in the well-lit dining room, diners can nosh on starter portions of spicy Sicilian meatballs and roasted carrots before diving into plates of affordably-priced seafood (the spicy garlic shrimp is $8 while oysters are $12).

400 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

13. Le Bilboquet Denver

299 St Paul St, Denver, CO 80206
A photo of the dining room at Le Bilboquet with long tables with white table cloths and a vibrant graffiti-style painting on the wall
The dining room at Le Bilboquet
Chantelle Fandino

This New York transplant brought to Denver a weighty reputation for being one of the Big Apple’s snobbiest restaurants when it opened its doors in September. But beyond that legendary snootiness, there’s a reason this classic French bistro has become one of Manhattan’s most enduring dining destinations: it offers appealing takes on classic French dishes such as the steak frites and beef tartare in a comfortable setting rich with Parisian elegance. The Cajun chicken, a generous portion of sliced chicken breast cooked in a secret mix of Cajun spices that's composition is known only to a few staff members, is a staple.

299 St Paul St
Denver, CO 80206

14. Uncle Ramen II

95 S Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80209
Instagram/Uncle

Uncle Ramen is growing up. After seven years in the Highlands, it expanded with a second location in the West Washington Park neighborhood. “Uncle II” still serves up some of the familiar fare found in the Highlands, but the new location’s bigger kitchen means the menu here includes 60 percent more dishes.

95 S Pennsylvania St
Denver, CO 80209

15. Le French Denver

4901 S Newport St, Denver, CO 80237
Le boeuf bourguignon at Le French
Le boeuf bourguignon at Le French
Rachel Adams

Sisters Aminata and Rougui Dia opened the Parisian-inspired bistro Le French at Belleview Station, just steps from the train platform. Le French serves classic daytime fare — think ham and cheese crepes, salads, and brioche bread with tuna — along with a more upscale dinner menu full of French fusion dishes.

4901 S Newport St
Denver, CO 80237

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